QnA: What Is the Genesis Gap Theory?

R. Guntrum asks:

“What is the Genesis gap theory?”

My answer…

It’s a false doctrine that teaches that God created everything then destroyed it in the gap between Genesis 1:1–2, and that He then recreated everything. Many people will say that Satan’s rebellion led to this destruction and all sorts of mad speculation proceeds from that point. It is fantasy religion.

“Foundation” of Sand: Bullinger’s Katabole, Overthrow or Rebellion

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“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” – Genesis 1:1-2

To understand the Shepherd’s Chapel you’ll need to understand the influence of 19th Century theologian and hyperdispensationalist E.W. Bullinger. He was the one that originated some of Murray’s more pivotal false doctrines.

Case in point, the Gap Theory and the KATABOLE… which I consider to be foundational Chapel teachings.

Frequently you’ll hear the Chapel make reference to the “three earth ages” – the one that was, is and is to come. This model is simply not biblical.

In the New Testament Jesus Christ is VERY clear, there are only two ages: the one that is and the one that is to come…

This World (Gen 1:1)     Timeline of Events
World to Come (Rev 21, 22)


twoagemodel

We can see that this is completely different from Bullinger’s model of three earth ages. This is taken from 2nd Peter…

“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:” – 2nd Peter 3:5-6

Bullinger and Murray teach that the whole world was destroy by water in the gap between Genesis 1:1-2, prior to the six days of creation. Folks, it is very plain what Peter is talking about here…

It’s the antedeluvian world that perished by Noah’s global flood! Now you can understand why the gappers grasp to make the Noah’s flood a local event because evidence does in fact corraborate such a global flood. Do you see how catastrophic this error is now? 

This is directly from the Companion, click for a larger image…

bull1 bull2

This is from Bullinger’s Companion bible, italics and highlights are mine…

COMPANION BIBLE. APPENDIX 146. “THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.”

To arrive at the true meaning of this expression, we must note there are two words translated “foundation” in the New Testament:

(1) themelios, and

(2) katabole.

The Noun, themelios, occurs in Luke 6:48, 49; 14:29. Acts 16:26. Rom. 15:20. 1Cor. 3:10, 11, 12. Eph. 2:20. 1Tim. 6:19. 2Tim. 2:19. Heb. 6:1; 11:10. Rev. 21:14, 19. It is never used of the world (kosmos) or the earth (ge). The corresponding Verb (themeliou) occurs in Matt. 7:25. Luke 6:48. Eph. 3:17. Col. 1:23. Heb. 1:10 and 1Pet. 5:10. The verb is only once used of the earth (ge). Heb. 1:10. A comparison of all these passages will show that these are proper and regular terms for the English words “to found”, and “foundation”.

The Noun, katabole, occurs in Matt. 13:35; 25:34. Luke 11:50. John 17:24. Eph. 1:4. Heb. 4:3; 9:26; 11:11. 1Pet. 1:20. Rev. 13:8; 17:8; and the corresponding Verb (kataballo) occurs in 2Cor. 4:9. Heb. 6:1; and Rev. 12:10. A comparison of all these passages (especially 2Cor. 4:9, and Rev. 12:10) will show that kataballo and katabole are not the proper terms for founding and foundation, but the correct meaning is casting down, or overthrow.

Consistency, therefore, calls for the same translation in Heb. 6:1, where, instead of “not laying again”, the rendering should be “not casting down”. That is to say, the foundation already laid, of repentance, &c., was not to be cast down or overthrown, but was to be left — and progress made unto the perfection. Accordingly, the Noun katabole, derived from, and cognate with the Verb, ought to be translated “disruption”, or “ruin”.

The remarkable thing is that in all occurrences (except Heb. 11:11) the word is connected with “the world” (Gr. kosmos. Ap. 129. 1), and therefore the expression should be rendered “the disruption (or ruin) of the world”, clearly referring to the condition indicated in Gen. 1:2, and described in 2Pet. 3:5, 6.

For the earth was not created tohu (Isa. 45:18), but became so, as stated in the Hebrew of Gen 1:2 and confirmed by 2 Pet. 3:6, where “the world that then was by the word of God” (Gen. 1:1), perished, and “the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word “were created (Gen. 2:4), and are “kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment” (2Pet. 3:7) which shall usher in the “new heavens and the new earth” of 2Pet. 3:13.

“The disruption of the world” is an event forming a great dividing line in the dispensations of the ages. In Gen. 1:1 we have the founding of the world (Heb. 1:10 = themeliou), but in Gen. 1:2 we have its overthrow.

This is confirmed by a further remarkable fact, that the phrase, which occurs ten times, is associated with the Preposition apo = from (Ap. 104. iv) seven times, and with pros = before (Ap. 104. xiv) three times. The former refers to the kingdom and is connected with the “counsels” of God; the latter refers to the Mystery (or Secret. See Ap. 192) and is connected with the “purpose” of God (See John 17:24. Eph. 1:4. 1Pet. 1:20).

Ample New Testament testimony is thus given to the profoundly significant fact recorded in Gen. 1:2, that “the earth became tohu and bohu (i.e. waste and desolate); and darkness was on the face of the deep”, before the creation of “the heavens and the earth which are now” (2Pet. 3:7).

Do these arguments look familiar? They should. This is the very foundation that Murray built his system of theology upon and guess what? It is of sand…

The reason why we know the KJV translators were correct in properly translating the greek word “katabole” as foundation because the old testament is replete with references to the foundation of the earth…

“Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.” – Psalm 102:25

…and,

“Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.” – Isaiah 48:13

The reference is obvious, it points to the events spoken of in Genesis 1:1-2. It logically follows that 2nd Peter was pointing to the same founding in Genesis 1:1-2. Therefore the KJV translators are CORRECT! Foundation is the proper interpretation…

Are you a Shepherd’s Chapel follower? Do you want to really learn what the bible means? Set up shop over this issue and dig – a landslide of error will come cascading off your mind by the grace of Christ…

Fantasy Katabole, Chapel’s False Foundation Exposed…

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Another great article by Colby Braden of reformedthinker.blogspot.com… exposing the Chapel’s false teaching about the “foundation of the world”.

Refuting Shepherd’s Chapel – Katabole

A couple of years ago I posted some videos on YouTube. In those videos I tried to show some of the errors of Shepherd’s Chapel teachings. I also have a post on this blog where I briefly list and refute the false teachings of Arnold Murray. I believe more needs to be said to refute their claims more clearly. I have some posts that deal with their doctrine on Hell and Kenites (serpent seed) in more depth. In this post I want to discuss their doctrine of the Katabole and the Three Earth Ages.

One of the big oversights I can point out is how Shepherd’s Chapel followers misuse the Greek word katabolē (Strongs #G2602). Using hyper-dispensationalist E.W. Bullinger’sCompanion Bible, Arnold Murray weaves a false system of belief that there was an “earth age” before the one we live in now and in that age Satan rebelled and caused God to destroy it in what they call the “katabole” or the “destruction of the world that was”.

In the New Testament, Arnold Murray claims that when the word katabolē is used in the Greek it is actually a mis-translation in the KJV and should be translated as “destroyed” or “overthrow”. For example in Ephesians 1:4 when you see the word foundation (which in the Greek is the word katabolē) used in “before the foundation of the world” it should be translated as “before the overthrow (or destruction) of the world”. This, to them, validates their aberrant doctrine.

In the New Testament the word katabolē is used 11 times. 10 of those times it is translated in the KJV as foundation. The other one is the most interesting to our discussion and it appears in Hebrews 11:11.

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11 KJV)

The word translated as conceive in this verse is the same Greek word katabolē that Shepherd’s Chapel claims should be translated “overthrow” or “destroyed”. This verse shows that the proper understanding of katabole does not follow Shepherd’s Chapel view but instead is consistent with the traditional renderings.

In the other uses of katabolē in the New Testament it is translated as foundation and is always in connection with the world. In Hebrews 11:11 when the word is used in connection with the birth of a child it carries the meaning of conceive. When used in the connection with the world it carries the meaning of founding or creating (conceiving the world). It does NOT carry the meaning of destruction, overthrow, destroyed, or ruin in any circumstance. The use of “laying down” or “throwing down” is only correct in the connotation of laying a foundation or creating not in the sense of destroying or judgment.

In fact the proper Greek words used for “destruction” is apōleia (#G684) and the Greek for “overthrow” is either katastrophē (#G2692) or anatrepō (#G396). In Luke 6:49 we have the Greek word rhēgma (#G4485used for “ruin”. If Paul wanted to stress some sort of judgment, satanic overthrow, or ruined state he would have used one of those Greek terms.

A simple survey of how the word katabolē is used in the New Testament gives us a very clear understanding of its meaning.

All verses that use the Greek word katabolē in the New Testament:

Mat 13:35Mat 25:34Luk 11:50Jhn 17:24Eph 1:4Heb 4:3Heb 9:26Heb 11:111Pe 1:20Rev 13:8Rev 17:8

Here are some notes concerning the supposed “gap theory” of Genesis 1:1-2:

Shepherd’s Chapel students often argue that the word translated as “was” in the KJV and most English Translations of Genesis 1:2 should actually be translated “became” as in “the Earth became formless and void.” This, to them, proves the supposed katabole.

This theory of creation is commonly called the gap theory and it suffers from a number of hermeneutical problems:

Time cannot be inserted between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 because verse 2 does not follow verse 1 in time. Verse 2 uses a Hebrew grammatical device that is called a waw-disjunctive. This is where a sentence begins with the Hebrew word for and (waw) followed by a noun such as the earth (erets). A waw-disjunctive indicates that the sentence is describing the previous one and does not follow in time. In other words, verse 2 is describing the conditions of the earth when it was first created. Hebrew grammar simply will not allow for the insertion of vast periods of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 in which a supposed satanic fall took place.

Exodus 20:11 clearly teaches that everything was created in the span of six literal days. This passage  refutes any possibility of vast periods of time between any of the days of creation. This theory suffers from the problem of death and suffering long before Adam’s sin. Romans 5:12 teaches that death came by Adam’s sin. God himself said on the sixth day that creation was very good (Gen. 1:31), how could it be very good if there was sin and death before the fall of Adam?

Another argument you may encounter when dealing with Shepherd’s Chapel students is they will claim Isaiah 45:18 substantiates their view:

For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:18 KJV)

The word in vain is the same Hebrew word tohu as used in Geneses 1:2 “without form”. Shepherd’s Chapel students will claim that God didn’t create the earth tohu but it became tohu (that is it became tohu “vian / without form” by the Katabole). But we must look at the context. The context here requires us to translate tohu as “in vain” instead of“without form”. Isaiah’s point here is that God did not create the earth without a purpose; He formed the earth to be inhabited by man. Genesis chapter one goes on to tell us how God formed the earth and created man and living creatures to fill the earth. Genesis chapter one records for us the whole act of creation and it was not completed until after the 6th day. Isaiah is not saying that God didn’t originally create the earth tohu “without form” on the first day, as Genesis 1:2 states, but that he didn’t create it without a purpose. God didn’t let the earth stay tohu but had a purpose and formed the earth for that purpose. The whole act of creation (from day 1-6) had a purpose and was not vain“tohu”.

The word tohu is used in several places in the Old Testament and it is translated 10 different ways in those places. In the Hebrew language it depends on the context as to how to precisely translate a word. Tohu is no exception. In Genesis 1:2 the context shows that the earth had no form to it yet so tohu is use to describe this state. In Isaiah 14:18 tohu is use to show that the whole act of creation had a purpose and was not in vain. There is no contradiction and this verse does not prove there was an earth age prior to this one.

Soli Deo Gloria! 

Is A Gap of Time Between the 69th & 70th Week of Daniel?

chart_daniels70weeks1

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” – Daniel 9:27

As we have noted before, the Shepherd’s Chapel is dispensational. This is very ironic as we find that Murray rails against the system of deception in which he is in bondage. He swings at the low-hanging fruit of a pre-tribulation rapture while expanding the essential ideas of dispensationalism even further…

To recap – E.W. Bullinger lived during the emergence of a now popular system of scripture interpretation called dispensationalism. Bullinger is a very close cousin of Scofield but pioneered his own system and study bible to rival the Scofield bible. Bullinger’s form is called hyperdispensationalism, as it has the church starting later in Acts.

If you go to the Companion Bible – notice his notes for Daniel 9:26-27 will detail his position. You can read his appendix 91 here to see for yourself…

Here are Bullinger’s own words in the appendix, “THE THIRD PERIOD. The last, or the seventieth seven. This period is yet future, and awaits the same literal fulfillment as the other two periods.”

So as you can see, Bullinger makes this passage in Daniel about a future Antichrist as he splits the 70th week off into the future. This is a classic example of dispensationalism. There’s a lot more but I simply want to demonstrate that there is no gap. The 70 week prophecy is one continuous prophecy with no gaps.

Once you begin to realize this, it will help you break free from a lot of the madness within futurism, a system of biblical interpretation that was invented by Roman Jesuits and passed down to the Anglican church and then on to the evangelicals of today.

Shepherd’s Chapel though it has it’s own variety of dispensationalism it bares many of the hallmarks, including the gap between the 69th and 70th week. In Murray system, the 70th week commences at the 6th trumpet and lasts a period of 5 months. 7 years is truncated to 5 months based on Jesus words… 

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” – Matthew 24:22

The 1260 days, 42 months and time, times and half of time (the great tribulation) is shortened to just 2.5 months.

The reality is this: dispensationalism completely distorts the meaning of prophecy when it adds this gap in time.

In the prophecy of the 70 weeks, Jesus the Messiah is the context throughout. During his earthly ministry he confirmed the covenant (the new covenant) with many, performing miracles, proclaiming the kingdom and forgiving sins. In the midst of the week he was cut-off in crucifixion thus bringing an end to the sacrificial system. He said, “it is finished” when He died and thereby ratified the new covenant…

The old covenant worship system continued on in form until it became a blasphemous caricature of worship and a stumbling block to all – it was swept away in judgment by the Romans a generation after the crucifixion of Christ…

That said, there remains a period of time after Christ’s death – the last half of the 70th week… I will address some issues on how to interpret this in an upcoming post.