Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Genesis 12:14-13:4: out of Egypt

    14 ¶  And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15  The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16  And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17  And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife. 18  And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19  Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 20  And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

Pharaoh’s princes saw Sarai as something worthy of the Pharaoh and perhaps were too afraid of his wrath to steal her for themselves but thought to use her as a way of gaining his favor. Abram, thought of as her brother, was treated very well and made wealthier for his supposed sister being part of the Pharaoh’s harem.

But, God plagued Pharaoh and his house for this action, thereby saving Sarai from suffering the humiliation, the unfinished murder of being forced sexually against one’s will. Pharaoh makes himself out to be a just man who is done wrong by Abram although we know by Abram’s repeat of this behavior and Isaac’s copying of it that the chance of Abram being eliminated was likely, regardless of this heathen’s protestations of his innocence. Still, he sent Abram and Sarai away with all of their possessions. The plagues put a fear in Pharaoh that would have served a later Pharaoh well if he had heeded them.

Chapter 13

1 ¶  And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. 2  And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 3  And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 4  Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Like the Hebrews in the Exodus, Abram leaves Egypt being given much goods by the Egyptians, only Abram gets his from the Pharaoh’s hand while the Hebrews received theirs from all their neighbors (Exodus 11:2). Abram, now a very wealthy man, returned to the place where he had built an altar to God and called upon His name in 12:8. We, too, in a time of great deliverance, should return to where we first called on God for help, at least in our minds, to get straightened out from the false self-confidence that often comes when we escape something bad ‘by the skin of our teeth.’ Here, Abram, at the place where he built the altar, calls on God again. This whole episode brings to mind that even when we are not praying, not acting out of concern for God’s will but for our own self-preservation, that God is directing the reality of our lives and manipulating events and people to push us toward the end He has set for us. I recommend stopping at this point to read Psalm 139 and contemplate God’s sovereignty over the affairs of men, even heathens like the Pharaoh. Abram and Sarai escaped Egypt by God’s will and not Abram’s dishonesty and cleverness or the Pharaoh’s self-glorying protestations of being morally offended. God used Pharaoh’s power to save them from harm for His purpose.

Psalm 105:15  Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Genesis 12:10-13 comments: that status of women

10 ¶  And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11  And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12  Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13  Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

Later, we will get the definition of famine which is a period of little food and a poor return for farmers. We look at a word in context and compare its use against like phrases in the verse or passage.

Genesis 41:27  And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.

Grievous is shown later to mean that there will be no surplus during a famine. It will then be a grievous famine.

Genesis 41:31  And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.

Grievous is an abundance of calamity in the curses on Egypt in Exodus 9 and it is a very difficult burden to bear in 1Kings 12 and 2Chronicles 10. Grievous causes grief, obviously, but it is important to see how the Bible defines words in context and I want to reinforce that for you to help in your own personal reading.

Abram does what we would consider a cowardly thing rather than trusting in God to deliver him. He tells his wife, who is in her 60’s but still at that time still a fair woman to look upon, to lie and say she is his sister, not concerning himself in this whether she will suffer humiliation but in preserving his own life.

Abram, as Abraham, will do this again in Gerar in chapter 20. His son, Isaac, will also do this with his wife, Rebekah, in chapter 26 in Gerar, as well. Apparently, by this, we know that it would not be uncommon for a man to be murdered so that someone could obtain his attractive wife as a sexual resource, one kind of rape.

We know that fair to look upon means that a person is sexually desirable. In our modern world women seek to dress and look like this although if they considered the assortment of characters they would be attracting, most of which do not look like their favorite movie or music stars, they might think better of it. Sarai, like other women, had little choice in the matter and was little better than a commodity or a pack animal under prevalent laws and customs. It is only in Christ that woman’s status rises.

Galatians 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Unless, of course, she is an Independent Fundamental Baptist, in which case she is typically still in Egypt.

In this general time, although you cannot seriously accept the dates put forth without absolute proof of which there is none, Mizraim’s Egypt (see comments on 10:6) was ruled by a Pharaoh, a king, who held absolute power. Later, the Greek historian Herodotus will tell us that there could be as many as      12 rulers leading from various places claiming all to be THE Pharaoh. This makes any attempt to put the Pharaohs and their dynasties in any absolute dating plan difficult. In addition, the commonly accepted method for dating ancient Egypt is not without its detractors and is controversial. So, when reading about Old and New Kingdoms, Intermediate Periods, Dynasty dates, etc. etc. be very skeptical and cautious about accepted conclusions. Egypt’s ancient history is probably much more compressed than current scholarship would be willing to let on.

In any event, depending on the flooding of the Nile River to irrigate crops, rather than an abundance of rainfall, Egypt was the place to go in most famines in Canaan with certain exceptions which we will see. Egypt was also the superpower that would have held the kings of Canaan as tributaries in those times when other empires were not in control such as the Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Genesis 12:6-9 comments: God promises Abram the land of Canaan

    6 ¶  And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 7  And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 8  And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. 9  And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

Noah built an altar to the Lord and offered sacrifices upon leaving the ark in 8:20 acknowledging thanksgiving and God’s mercy. Abram here builds an altar to the Lord confirming his acknowledgment of God’s promise and direction. In between Noah and Abram there was a great deal of counterfeiting of the religious impulse placed in man by God that carried on through the centuries, even today where we don’t necessarily refer to God directly but call our god by the names of Self, Ambition, Science, Entertainment, Sports, Country, etc. etc. But, modern man does build altars quite regularly acknowledging his relationship with his god.

After Noah, perhaps in remembrance of the sons of God who led the pre-Flood earth in rebellion and eventually in veneration of elders who died such as Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, men accepted that there were gods everywhere, little gods, gods that could easily be made angry because they were so irritable and malevolent. This belief, “crushed man with the fear of always having the gods against him, and left him no liberty in his acts.”(41)

For Abram to turn from this powerful social and religious impulse of man, to leave his own responsibilities for the family religion, to turn from the gods to THE God, this return to monotheism, as a scholar might say, was remarkable evidence of God’s interaction with him in choosing this man out of thousands to reveal Himself to a fallen world and APPEARING to him.

Not having God walking physically with them as Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden in Enos’ time man called upon the name of the Lord.

Genesis 4:26  And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

And again, in this age of man, which some call “the church age,” we bring into our minds the authority of our Creator over us and He establishes a relationship with us and His Spirit indwells us by our calling upon His name and acknowledging His sovereignty over us and over all that exists.

Romans 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

But, God, in the form of His physical presence, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word by which all things were created, appeared to Abram. One cannot see the soul of God, the seat of His will and self-identity, God the Father, so an angel, which is an appearance of someone or something which is someplace else actually, or a vision, or the physical presence of the pre-incarnate Christ is what Abram could see. And the LORD appeared unto Abram and made this covenant and promise.

(41) Ibid., 211.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Genesis 12:4-5 comments: into the land of Canaan

4 ¶  So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5  And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Abram obeyed God and took his nephew with him, the servants and possessions they had acquired in Haran, and entered the land of Ham’s grandson, Canaan. Haran, the village which ruins some believe lie in Southern Turkey, should not be confused with Abram’s brother in 11:27, Lot’s father, who died in Ur before the family left. The question might be asked, did Terah found the village and name it after his dead son? Haran is used as a person’s name later as well. Abram, who will eventually be renamed Abraham, left the religious associations of his father as commanded.

Joshua 24:2  And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. 3  And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.

They may have then traveled northwest from Ur several hundred miles and settled in Haran, from whence Abram and company would travel southwest to Canaan. Haran, when translated from the Greek language, rather than the Hebrew here, will be spelled Charran in Acts 7:2,4. The CH is pronounced as a K when you find it in the Bible transliterated from one of the original languages. Think of Nebuchadnezzar or Michael. But when we moderns say Cherubims we use the CHA sound, not the K sound. Words that are directly from English like checker in 1Kings 7:17, of course, would be exceptions to this rule.

Abram, being 75 years old, is not elderly in the way we would think today. Prior to this time, as you read, many people lived hundreds of years. Their natural abilities, their appearance, would have remained far more youthful than we would consider a 75 year old’s body to be today although the upper age limit of men was rapidly falling in the new environment after the Flood and Abram will consider himself old and beyond the age of fathering children fairly soon.

Genesis 17:1  And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect…17  Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

Terah, Abrahams father, lived to be 205. (Genesis 11:32). When the dispersal at Babel occurred the lifespan dropped dramatically. See also in chapter 11 Peleg’s lifespan of 239 years as opposed to his father, Eber, who lived 464 years.

Regarding the word souls, in the Old Testament, as the operation of God in separating the soul from the sins of the flesh referred to in Colossians, chapter 2, has not taken place yet, soul and souls are used to include the physical presence of the person or beast spoken of as well as the soul, which is tied to the flesh until Christ’s resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in those people who believe and are given faith.

Numbers 31:28  And levy a tribute unto the LORD of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep:

For those who do not believe that some beasts have souls and spirit also note;

Job 12:10  In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

Ecclesiastes 3:21  Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Genesis 12:1-3 comments: get thee out of thy country

1 ¶  Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

What had been brought about in the land of Babel, Babylon, was a religion counterfeit to the true worship of God. It was not long after men and women left the ark of Noah. What I said in my comments on 4:16 bears repeating a little at this point.

From Cain’s time the ancient city had become religious entity, a type of church, started all at once with invited families who would share in the same worship and the same gods, although the individual family would have its own singular worship and gods which represented their lars familiaris or familiar spirits (see Leviticus 20:27), the guiding divinities of ancestors dead. (38) It is likely that Cain’s false religion was carried on through his city and it is possible and likely that Shem, Ham, and Japheth would be worshipped as venerable ancestors in different names under the confusion of languages long after their death.

In addition, each home in the ancient world was to have a sacred flame which was the religious center of the home and must not be permitted to go out. (39) This eternal flame, like the lamp in the tabernacle in Exodus 27:20, must never go out. This was a counterfeit city in the ancient world, a city of man’s creation, man’s poor attempt to replace what God intended. Cain’s false religion, which infected the rest of human history after the Flood, began to be expressed by his brethren in his city, Enoch, and the eventual religion of the city-states of Canaan, Greece, and the worship of Rome and India would have begun there, reinforced by Babylon after the Flood.

The king of an ancient city was also the high priest, who offered up sacrifices, and was the highest religious authority. This is evident in a number of ancient writers such as Aristotle, Euripides, and Demosthenes. (40) This is the world that Abram moved and lived in, a world awash in everyday religious ritual, a world that had no problem believing in a distant God the Creator but also a whole pantheon of gods that were much closer to him and had more of a role in his daily home life. Every man or group of men desired to have a personal god, it would seem, to make up for the lost relationship with their Creator, which their ancestors had willfully eliminated in disobedience. Perhaps also this worship of gods represented the power the sons of God who had come to earth, mated with women, and produced giants, the mighty men of renown worshipped in deities whose presence on earth had been remembered and spoken of by Noah and his three sons and their wives.

Some things to note about the ancient world include that from this earliest time human relationships, such as a family, were a religion symbolized by the meal they would take together. Also, in their minds all authority must have some connection with this religion. Law was just another part of religion. In addition, it should be noted that two cities were religious associations that did not share the same gods. When war was made it would be made, not only against the soldiers, men, women, and children of a city but against its crops, its slaves, its gods.

Abram is commanded to do something very brave, to leave the protective confines of the gods of the hearth, of the family, where the dead were worshipped, where the eldest son had no choice but to inherit his father’s property, and his gods, and the father and the son were joint owners of what the father possessed.

Here, now, God calls Abram to come away, not only from a city, but from an entire worldview, to renew the relationship with the one who created him, something lost to mankind as the darkness spread to every corner where men and women had been scattered. He is called to obey God, to leave this world while living in it.

He promises to make of Abram a great people and that he will be a blessing to the entire world. Those who curse him God will curse and those that bless him God will bless. Now begins a process of God turning mankind back to Himself. He will use Abram as the conduit through which this blessing will pass.

(38) Numa Denis Fustel De Coulanges, The Ancient City: A Study of the Religion, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome (1864, repr. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2006), 134.

(39) Ibid., 25.

(40) Ibid., 173.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Genesis 11:10-26 comments: Abram leaves his family

10 ¶  These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: 11  And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. 12  And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah: 13  And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. 14  And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: 15  And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. 16  And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: 17  And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. 18  And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: 19  And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters. 20  And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug: 21  And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters. 22  And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor: 23  And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. 24  And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: 25  And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. 26  And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

From this passage, if my math isn’t wrong, Shem, the son of Noah, lived to see Abram’s birth. Genesis 10:25 showed us that it was in Peleg’s time the earth was divided. Assuming this refers to the scattering at Babylon that took place between 101 and 310 years after the Flood. Check my math and let me know if you think I’m wrong. It happened within Peleg’s lifespan. According to 9:28 Noah himself lived 350 years after the Flood so he would have been alive as well.

    27 ¶  Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. 28  And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 29  And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. 30  But Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31  And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 32  And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

Terah took his family, Abram and Lot, his grandson, Abram’s nephew, and left Ur, an ancient city in the general geographical area of Babylon. It was a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates then although it is well inland now due to the coastline shifting over thousands of years. Ur was a metropolis with its patron god as Sin, in Akkadian, the moon god. A bull was one of his symbols. Remember what was said about the alphabet earlier. Some Christian writers have put forth that Sin, who was known to Ur as the god of wisdom pictured as an old man with a long, flowing beard, eventually became Allah, the god of the Muslims. Early archaeologists found in Sin’s temples the crescent moon as a symbol of his presence. I have done an extensive study, for a non-scholar, on the etymology of Allah which, while not politically correct, I think should give one pause about whom a great many of the religious adherents of the world actually worship.

God calls Abram to leave Ur, its culture, its religion, its practices, and its territory even though Terah has already led his family to Canaan, to Haran.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Genesis 11:5-9 comments: confusion

5 ¶  And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6  And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8  So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9  Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

There are a number of verses that refer to God coming to earth to watching what is happening from a distance.

Genesis 18:21  I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

Exodus 19:11  And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.

Psalm 11:4 ¶  The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.

Psalm 33:13  The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.

Psalm 33:14  From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.

However, the doctrine of the Lord’s immanence, or presence everywhere is also a major doctrine of the Bible.

Jeremiah 23:23  Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? 24  Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

This doctrine applies even to seeing the inside of a person, his thoughts and intentions, as the following examples know.

Genesis 6:5  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Proverbs 20:27  The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

Psalm 94:11  The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

Psalm 139:23  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

Matthew 9:4  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The common sense application of verse 5 is for God to turn His attention to this activity just as earlier in 8:1 to remember Noah did not mean that he had been forgotten but that God’s attention was now turned to his plight.

Here, God recognizes that man’s intention is to disobey and stand united against His will. This is why a one world government run by man will fail because it will inevitably be founded on opposing God as all of the many facets of current-day globalism have borne out. The powerful nations wish to impose their corrupt modern sexual morality, manipulative banking, business, and finance practices, and a bland, uniform and non-threatening religion around the world focused on materialism and submission to a world-wide plan of  a faceless power behind the scenes. The control demanded by the Beast and his henchman, the False Prophet, at the end, as expressed in the Book of Revelation, which is too detailed to go into here, is in direct opposition to God’s authority over mankind.

A mirror of this can be found in God’s statements to Samuel about Israel’s desire for a king like the nations around them in 1Samuel 8.

Here is the beginning of the languages of the world, usually unintelligible to each other, but having a common root in man’s unique ability to form sentences, sentences within sentences, figures of speech, and all of the things that make man’s ability to communicate with words different from the abilities of the beasts of the earth, as far as we know now. Not only this but the people have been scattered across the face of the earth. This may have been done by not only locating certain families everywhere from the jungles of South America to the bush country of Southern Africa but also initiating the beginning of the great migrations from the Near East to the rest of the world, from Siberia to Central Mexico. As the earth is still in the drying out process after the Flood of Noah mankind has constantly been on the move, one family conquering and murdering another family to take their land only to be displaced by another family moving in. Kingdoms, empires, and even modern-nation states like America and its globalist evangelists have been trying to recreate this first great effort to unite all of mankind under one head, under one banner, controlled by one city, and one method of government, one ideal, and one view of the world with one tower or religion reaching to heaven. The final consequences will play out in the book of Revelation.

Babel is the same word that Babylon and Babylonian is translated from, that infamous city in the land of Shinar, the fount of all false religion and rebellion that spread with man across the globe.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Genesis 11:1-4 comments: let us make us a name

1 ¶  And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2  And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3  And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 4  And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

This entire clan of likely brown-skinned, brown-eyed people spoke one language, which is defined in context as speech. We are now back to their departure from the ark and the early movement of their families. But, they were resisting the command given in Genesis 9:1 to repopulate the earth empty of people. Disobedience to God is a dependable character flaw of all mankind.

Just like after Acts 1:8 the early Jewish Christians did not leave Jerusalem after the Holy Ghost was received as they were told to do and had to suffer persecution to get the impulse to obey Christ’s command and go out, these people are afraid of being divided up. They decide to embark on a building project and establish roots where they are in the land of Shinar. The power to name is a power indeed as we saw by Adam’s authority to name the beasts of the earth. It establishes political authority and if you don’t believe that just tell a citizen of Belfast that he lives in Ulster if he’s an Irish Nationalist or Northern Ireland if he’s a Unionist. Depending on the political sentiments of the hearer you might get a bloody nose or worse.

Their goal is, primarily, either to actually reach the abode of God, which may have been understood as a possibility, although that implies a level of stupidity on their part that is not likely, or that may have been a metaphor for just an incredibly tall building as an emblem of their unity. They will also build a city. We have already been told that Nimrod was in charge of building Babel, which is named in the next passage. So, Nimrod, of Ham’s family, is the first great empire builder whose ambitious plans come to God’s attention.

Note here how the metaphor is used in other Scripture.

Deuteronomy 9:1 ¶  Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,

Daniel 4:22  It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.

Jeremiah 51:53  Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the LORD.

Keep in mind that the word, heaven, refers to the atmosphere above us and what we call Outer Space, as per the first chapter of Genesis, and not only the abode of God.

It is possible then that this reference is the majesty of the building project they decided to work on to keep them together. The Inca Empire of South America, for instance, used great government funded road and building projects to assert their authority and keep people occupied under that authority, even building roads to nowhere or multiple roads to the same remote village.

Go to is used three times in a very short space here as an idiom meaning, “let’s go,” which is evident in the context of verse 7 coming next. It states a call for group action, a group being two or more. In 7 it will refer to the three parts of God; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. In Genesis 38:16 it will refer to Judah speaking to Tamar, thinking that his daughter-in-law is a prostitute.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Genesis 10:21-32 comments: Shem's descendants

21 ¶  Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. 22  The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. 23  And the children of Aram; Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Mash. 24  And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber. 25  And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan. 26  And Joktan begat Almodad, and Sheleph, and Hazarmaveth, and Jerah, 27  And Hadoram, and Uzal, and Diklah, 28  And Obal, and Abimael, and Sheba, 29  And Ophir, and Havilah, and Jobab: all these were the sons of Joktan. 30  And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the east. 31  These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations. 32  These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.

We get the word, “Semites,” from Shem. It has come to refer only to the Jews but it has a much broader application Biblically. Shem is first noted as the father of the line of Eber, his great grandson.

Eber’s son Peleg marks the significant event coming up at Babel that affected all of the rest of the earth’s history and moved forward the repopulation of the earth. We will see this soon. 

Shem’s son, Elam, lends his name to a great, early empire in what is now part of Iran. It was a significant political entity in the ancient Near East after the Babel dispersal. Some of the oldest written records of man are located from there. We must understand that scholars talk about the oldest tablets or parchments they have in hand but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the oldest in actual date because documents that are found in a later age may be copies of even earlier documents which we don’t have the originals of. For instance, the earliest copies of Homer’s Illiad we have are from the 900’s AD. However, we know that The Illiad was penned over  a thousand years earlier. So, don’t be fooled when someone says, “the earliest writing came from Sumeria.” No, the earliest copies of writing we actually can find may be from Sumeria or Elam but that doesn’t mean that the earliest writing comes from there, only that’s the evidence we have. But, all of the spades and shovels of archaeology will never dig up most of history and we must be cautious with absolute statements made from incomplete evidence.

Genesis 14:9  With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.

Asshur built Nineveh, Assyria’s capital, which we have seen, and lent his name to that great empire of the ancient world. Assyria and Asshur are translated from the same word.

Numbers 24:22  Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive.

The scholars of The Enlightenment era denied that Assyria existed other than as a myth in the Bible. The Bible was the only testimony of the empire historically. Then, in the early 1800’s the remains of Nineveh were uncovered in what is today northern Iraq. Information began to be revealed that confirmed the Bible account teaching us not to doubt the Bible. Science may catch up to it but it is never in danger of being wrong.

Aram’s child, Uz, is noteworthy as lending his name to the land where the Bible character, Job, dwelled.

Job 1:1  There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Uz was in the area that later became Edom which plays prominently in the Bible.

La 4:21a  Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz...

Edom was in current day southern Jordan.

Although it is a fascinating study to trace each of these names to their linguistic roots or try to figure out where they wound up after Babel or who they were the ancestor of I doubt it will be helpful in moving the narrative along to the next important step in man’s ‘development’ or rather his ‘devolution’. Nevertheless, these were the nations, or families and tribes, that the world of men was divided into after the Flood and the Babel event.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Genesis 10:15-20 comments: Canaan

15 ¶  And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, 16  And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17  And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, 18  And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19  And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. 20  These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.

As Canaan is of particular noteworthiness due to the curse on him and the way it plays out in Biblical history this passage is devoted to him. We can see how Israel interacted with some of these families and tribes in the Bible.

Sidon is also called Zidon, both translated from the same word.

1Chronicles 1:13  And Canaan begat Zidon his firstborn…

Sidon/Zidon is known as a city of Phoenicia, whose merchants will spread the alphabet from what is called Proto-Canaanite script, that plays such a part in the Exodus, as in God giving His Law, creating the writing that contrasted with the pictograms of hieroglyphics and cuneiform writing that dominated the ancient world. The basic units of writing, the letters, become symbols for ideas rather than pictures representing things to be worshipped as idols. ‘A’, instead of a symbol for a bull or an ox, is Aleph in Hebrew and Alpha in Greek, and ‘A’ for modern purposes. A good study for this is Marc A. Ouaknin’s Mysteries of the Alphabet.

The Phoenicians spread the alphabet, and their pernicious religious practices, probably started during their sojourn in Babel or Babylon, around the world, trading from England to Somalia to Australia, and perhaps even the Americas based on some limited archaeological evidence of Phoenician coins and other things. Early American Christians believed that the Native Americans of the east coast, at least, were descendants of Canaanites, as some of them wrote.

Isaiah 23:2  Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that pass over the sea, have replenished.

A descendant of Heth is a Hittite.

Genesis 23:10  And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying,

2Samuel 11:3  And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

The Jebusites would eventually inhabit Jerusalem.

Joshua 15:63  As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.

The Canaanites, in developing their religion that included temple prostitutes called whores, depending on the context, for women and sodomites for men, in practicing bestiality, child sacrifice, and other abominations, will have been condemned in God’s foresight as inheritors of their ancestor, Ham’s, notorious character.

Deuteronomy 23:17  There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18  Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog [slang for a homosexual male prostitute even today], into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Genesis 10:6-14 comments: Ham's descendants

6 ¶  And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. 7  And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. 8  And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9  He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. 10  And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11  Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 12  And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. 13  And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, 14  And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim.

Ham’s sons included Cush. Cush has long been associated with the region of the Sudan and Ethiopia south of Egypt. The word is translated as Ethiopia in a number of places. See Ezekiel 29:10. The kingdom of Cush was located in the area of Nubia in Northern Sudan.

Mizraim lends his name to the Hebrew name for Egypt.

Genesis 50:11  And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.

Mizraim’s son Casluhim gives birth to the Philistine culture. So, the Philistines were related to the Egyptians.

Phut, eventually lived between Egypt and Canaan, perhaps, but the Jewish historical writer, Josephus, names the people of Phut as the founders of ancient Libya.

Canaan, as we know from extensive writing in the Bible, lived in what we call Palestine and environs.

But, none of these geographical relationships are yet established. Remember, that everyone is still together, still pretty much probably brown-skinned, dark-haired, and brown-eyed, speaking one language moving about in the region of the ancient Near East.

The most notable of Cush’s sons was the first ancient conqueror, a man who brought people together, you might say. His name was Nimrod. He is said to be a mighty one in the earth and a mighty hunter before the Lord. At least one myth I have read details that he led people in defense against the great proliferation of predators, lions and such, after the Flood, therefore justifying the hunter epithet. He would represent the first world empire.

Nimrod founds four cities of note in the land of Shinar, which is where we will soon see that the  families of Noah journeyed after leaving the ark. Shinar is the ancient name for the region of Babylonia. Think of the area centered on Iraq today. Nimrod, Cush’s son, builds Babel in the south while Asshur, Shem’s son, builds Nineveh, which will become the capital of Assyria, the northern part of the culture that includes Babylon.

The world of men is one, united in culture, language, and color.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Genesis 10:1-5 comments: Japheth's descendants

1 ¶  Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. 2  The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. 3  And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. 4  And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. 5  By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

And he died closed the last chapter and Noah’s life as it did the pre-Flood fathers. See chapter 5 of Genesis for a number of times this phrase is used. So shall we all if the Lord tarries.

Nineteenth century thought held that Gomer was the ancestor of the Celtic tribes of Europe while some did say he became the Germanic tribes but they will move to Europe after Babel. Ezekiel’s prophecy in chapter 38 shows why God raised up the European, why he is enlarged, to one day turn against Israel and be destroyed in God’s judgment. All of their civilization, learning, arts, organization, and ability to unite and conquer in history leads to it. What has saved America as a nation is not its existence as a Christnation or a Redeemer-nation for the world, ridiculous ideas of our forebears, but that it has treated the Jews well and honored God, at least on the surface with our lips. As that changes so will judgment come on this country and is coming now. If there even is a United States of America at the end it will not be a significant player except, perhaps, as one of the nations being judged by God. It is not the Promised Land as our forebears often said and it is not God’s special envoy to bring Christ to the world. Even our conservative Christians hardly know Christ except as an idea. They certainly don’t believe Him or believe they even have His words. America is a wicked nation, a Babylon, so much the moreso because we claim to be something else. The right wing worships the Constitution as originally written and a Christ they invented that is not of the Bible as an excuse for selfishness and greed while the left worships its own intellect and desires and revels in its moral bankruptcy; its murders and extortions.

Ezekiel 38:6  Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.

Read Matthew 25, starting in 31. Understand that nations in the Bible are ethnic groups, peoples, not nation-states as in the last few hundred years where many ethnic groups are bound together by force or even voluntary agreement behind imaginary lines drawn on a map.

See in the following that Abraham’s physical descendants through Isaac, referring specifically to the Jews who dwell in many countries or nation-states or kingdoms, are to be a great nation or people.

Genesis 12:2  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Exodus 19:6  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

See that Abraham’s descendants through Ishmael who live in many countries or kingdoms will also be a great nation or people.

Genesis 17:20  And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

Spiritually, when Peter was speaking to the predominantly Jewish early church he brought this idea up again of the Jews, now those who believed on Christ, being a separated unto God, holy nation.

1Peter 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

The places and people’s whose modern names we give to Gomer and his children are often matters of pure speculation but they are European tribes, although in the beginning, like Ham and Shem’s children, most likely dark skinned, dark haired, and brown eyed.

Commentators have said that Magog would become the horsemen of the steppes with the Latin church “father”, Jerome, reportedly calling them Scythians, whom others report are the ancestors of the Russians.

Colossians 3:11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Magog will play a part in the rebellion of the kings of the earth under Satan’s influence at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, only to be destroyed and cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:8  And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

Madai is the name the Medes of the Medes and the Persians are known on Assyrian monuments.

Javan was used as a generic name for the Greeks of mainland Greece and the colonists and mercenaries of the ancient world, the entire Greek race. See Daniel 8:21 for Javan used for Grecia.

Tubal, which will become residents of the Caucasus Mountains from which we get Caucasian, will be confederates of Magog, according to Ezekiel, and destroyed at the end.

Some commentators report the Meshech became to be called Muscov and mixed with the Scythians to become the Russians. We can go on and on with speculation, conflicting historical records, and the surmisings of Bible scholars but these descendants of Japheth are the ancestors of the ethnic groups “native” to Russia and westward through Europe. Their descendants, those who are not saved, will rise against God for their final destruction. Their warlike organization, wealth of killing technology, and desire to rule over the world, which helped them conquer the world, will do them no good against God.

Tongue here means language, as it does elsewhere in the Bible, and that a discernible language of families and nations.

Acts 2:5 ¶  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12  And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13  Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

The division of verse 5 will come at Babel.

Acts 17:26  And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;