Here we see three verses in Genesis which, in the teaching notes of the 1537 Matthew Bible, are related to Christ the Son of God. This study is an excellent introduction to the spirit, faith, and teaching of the Matthew Bible.
We will also see and compare the teaching notes of:
- the 1599 Geneva Bible (“GNV,” 1599 Tolle Lege edition).
- the Oxford Annotated Version (“OAV,” 1962, based on the RSV).
- the MacAurthur Study Bible (“MSB,” 2017, based on the NKJV).
Sometimes the differences are incredible, and even disturbing.
First, I give the verse under discussion as it was translated in the Matthew Bible (“MB”). Then I give the MB note as updated for the New Matthew Bible (“NMB”), and then the notes on the verse from the other three Bibles.
In later posts we will see figures of Christ in the other books of the Pentateuch. But for those who don’t want to wait, the full study and comparison of all five books of the Pentateuch is here on Academia.edu
Genesis 1:26-27. In the likeness of God.
MB: And God said, let us make man in our similitude and after our likeness … And God created man after his likeness; after the likeness of God created he him: male and female created he them.
NMB note: In or after the likeness of God: that is, in the form and appearance that was before appointed for the Son of God. Also, the chief part of man, which is the soul, is made to be like God in a certain correspondence of powers and functioning, so that in this we are made like God. Ecclesiasticus 17:5-11.
GNV note: This image and likeness of God in man is expounded, Eph 4:24, where it is written that man was created after God in righteousness and true holiness, meaning by these two words, all perfection, as wisdom, truth, innocence, power, etc.
OAV note: 26: The plural us, our probably refers to the divine beings who surround God in his heavenly court and in whose image man was made.
MSB note: The first clear indication of the Triunity of God. The very name of God, Elohim (1:1) is a plural form of El. … Our image: This defined man’s unique relation to God. Man is a living being capable of embodying God’s communicable attributes. In his rational life, he was like God because he could reason and had intellect, will, and emotion. In the moral sense, he was like God because he was good and sinless.
The Matthew Bible shows the Son of God as one with whom God spoke, and thus tacitly acknowledges the divinity of Christ within the Trinity. It also shows that Christ was ordained from before the beginning, as it is said in the Nicene Creed. The explanation of how we are made in God’s likeness is reasonable and helpful. A lot of wisdom is packed into this one short note
The Geneva Bible note in error confuses the description in Eph 4:24 of a born-again man, who is risen to life in Christ, with the first man, who fell into death. It is also wrong to describe the mortal believer, even born again, as perfectly holy. Only when this mortal puts on immortality will we know perfect holiness (1Cor 15:53). The GNV is also in error to describe the first man, even before the fall, as “true holiness … in all perfection, truth, power, etc.” Perfect truth and power would not choose disobedience like Adam did! Further, only God has “all power.” In truth, the GNV teaching about the first Adam belongs only to the second Adam (1Cor 15:45). The GNV thus brings subtly false and even blasphemous teaching on this important verse
The Oxford Annotated Version tacitly denies that the Son of God was included in “us” and “our,” and thus denies the Trinity. It then goes on to suggest that man was made in the image of unidentified “divine beings” that are in “God’s heavenly court,” which puts one in mind of cherubims, angels, and the many-eyed creatures of the book of Revelation. Thus the OAV brings manifestly false teaching here.
The MacArthur Study Bible, like the Matthew Bible, acknowledges the Trinity and explains about man’s power of reasoning, etc. It also describes the first innocent and sinless state of man before the fall without exaggerating his power, etc., as did the GNV. The explanation of the Hebrew ‘Elohim’ is helpful.
Genesis 3:15. The seed.
MB: Moreover, I will put hatred between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. And that seed shall tread thee on thy head, and thou shalt tread it on the heel.
NMB note: The head of the serpent signifies the power and tyranny of the devil, whom Christ, the seed of the woman, overcame. The heel is Christ’s manhood, which was tried with our sins.
GNV note: (1) “Thee” chiefly meaneth Satan, by whose motion and craft the serpent deceived the woman. (2) “Thy head” means the power of sin and death. (3) Satan will sting Christ and his members, but not overcome them.
OAV note: 14-15: The curse contains an old explanation of why the serpent crawls rather than walks and why men are instinctively hostile to it.
MSB note: This “first gospel” is prophetic of the struggle and its outcome between “your seed” (Satan and the unbelievers, who are called the Devil’s children in John 8:44) and her seed (Christ, a descendant of Eve, and those in Him), which began in the garden. In the midst of the curse passage, a message of hope shone forth – the woman’s offspring called “He” is Christ, who will one day defeat the Serpent. Satan could only “bruise” Christ’s heel (cause Him to suffer), while Christ will bruise Satan’s head (destroy him with a fatal blow). Paul, in a passage strongly reminiscent of Gen. 3, encouraged the believers in Rome, “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Rom. 16:20. Believers should recognize that they participate in the crushing of Satan because, along with their Saviour and because of His finished work on the cross, they also are of the woman’s seed.
The Matthew Bible gives a simple and yet profound explanation of this prophecy of Christ who overcame the devil.
The Geneva Bible joins “Christ’s members” with the Lord as “stung” by the serpent, but not overcome. See my comment on the MSB.
The Oxford Annotated Version does not even mention Christ, nor demonstrate any comprehension of the significance of the prophecy. It childishly relates this passage to garden snakes.
The MacArthur Study Bible, like the GNV, joins the believer into the second part of the prophecy, making him a co-overcomer with Christ. It also makes man a co-crusher with God, though the quoted passage does not say this. I’m not sure what to make of this. It seems to me that Christ ought to stand alone here in glory, but let the reader judge.
Genesis 49:10. Prophecy of Shiloh.
(Here I show the OAV translation as well since it is so different.)
MB: The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a ruler from between his legs, until Shiloh comes, unto whom the people shall hearken.
OAV: The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
NMB note: Scepter is here taken for royal power and dignity. Here is also prophesied the coming of Christ, as in Isaiah 9:6-7.
GNV note: (1) Scepter or kingdom. (2) [Shiloh] is Christ the Messiah, the giver of prosperity who shall call the Gentiles to salvation.
OAV note: The first part of the verse portrays Judah as a sovereign; the second part, however, is very obscure. To whom it belongs refers to the sceptre, the ruler’s staff. Until he comes may mean that after the kingdom of Judah has lasted for an indefinite time there will arise a ruler like David who will command the obedience of the peoples.
MSB note: … “the one to whom the scepter belongs,” i.e. Shiloh, the cryptogram for the Messiah, the one also called the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” (Rev 5:5).
The Matthew Bible gives a short, unproblematic note.
The Geneva Bible would have done better simply to say the prophecy was of the Messiah, than to also describe him a “giver of prosperity.” He is more than that and he is other than that. We will see again in later posts how the GNV subtly robs Christ of the glory due him.
The OAV scholar admits that he does not understand the prophecy. The note does not mention Christ, but refers the verse to the Jewish state. Here again is demonstrated the blindness of the modern doctors of the law. William Tyndale said, Beware the scholars, who, with all their high learning, seek to take us captive and rob us of truth.
The MacArthur Study Bible gives a short, true, unproblematic note.
The differences in commentaries are marked!
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See the full study in my paper on Academia.edu: Figures of Christ in all five books of Moses .