Genesis 30-31

October 25, 2015

Ch 30: Rachel is unhappy she hasn’t had a son so she asks Jacob to impregnate her maid in her stead. Leah did the same with her servant when she stopped bearing children in a sort of baby arms race. Finally Rachel has a boy, Joseph. Although Benjamin is born several chapters later in Genesis, let’s look at an interesting observation on the meaning of the names of the sons of Jacob, a.k.a. Israel, by ICA at Midnight Watcher:
jacob 12 sons

When we take the tribes as listed in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and then take the time to discover the meaning of and/or why those names were given, we get something very interesting after constructing it in the listed order. Here are all the verses with the names (KJV/NASB):

Judah – Gen 29:35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, NOW WILL I PRAISE THE LORD, therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

Reuben – Gen 29:32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said Surely THE LORD HATH LOOKED UPON MY AFFLICTION; now therefore my husband will love me.
Gad – Gen 30:11 Then Leah said, HOW FORTUNATE!” So she named him Gad.
Asher – Gen 30:13 And Leah said, HAPPY AM I for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
Nepthalim – Gen 30:8 And Rachel said, WITH GREAT WRESTLINGS HAVE I WRESTLED with my sister, and I have prevailed and she called his name Naphtali.
Manasseh – Gen 41:51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: “FOR GOD HATH MADE ME FORGET ALL MY TOIL and all my father’s house.”
Simeon – Gen 29:33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, BECAUSE THE LORD HATH HEARD THAT I WAS HATED, HE HATH THEREFORE GIVEN ME THIS SON also: and she called his name Simeon
Levi – Gen 29:34 “And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, NOW THIS TIME WILL MY HUSBAND BE JOINED UNTO ME, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
Issachar – Gen 30:18 Then Leah said, “GOD HAS GIVEN ME MY WAGES because I gave my maid to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.
Zebulon – Gen 30:20 Then Leah said, “GOD HAS ENDOWED ME WITH A GOOD GIFT; NOW MY HUSBAND WILL DWELL WITH ME, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun.
Joseph – Gen 30:24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, THE LORD SHALL ADD TO ME another son.
Benjamin – Gen 35:17-18 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; THOU SHALT HAVE THIS SON also. And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.Now, when we take them all and put them in the order that the tribes appear, we get the following:

“Now will I praise the LORD, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction, How fortunate!, Happy am I, With great wrestlings have I wrestled and I have prevailed, For God hath made me forget all my toil, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated he hath therefore given me this son, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, God has given me my wages, God has endowed me with a good gift; my husband will dwell with me, The LORD shall add to me, thou shalt have this son.”

The name Benjamin literally means “Son of My right hand” so another reading of the last portion could be “The LORD shall add to me the Son of [His] right hand.”

Let this sink in for a moment. The way that the 12 tribes are listed in Revelation 7 describes the Bride of Christ and the complete story of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ marrying His bride after delivering her from her affliction. This is fulfillment of the prophecy regarding Israel in Hosea 2:

Hosea 2:14,16,19, “Therefore I am now going to allure her (Israel) … ‘In that day,’ declares the Lord, ‘you will call me ‘my husband‘; you will no longer call me ‘my master… [and] I will betroth you to me forever.’

Jacob grew rich by God’s hand when most of the sheep offspring were striped or spotted, meaning they belonged to Jacob rather than Laban. Jacob thought it was his cleverness but God reveals in a dream it was not.
Ch 31: Jacob with his possessions and family escapes to Canaan. He gets far into the desert before Laban catches up with him. There are many parallels to Israel leaving Egypt:

1. Israel went to Egypt poor and left rich–Jacob went to Iraq poor and left rich
2. Israel went to Egypt few and left as many–so too Jacob
3. Pharaoh/Egypt gave up much wealth to Israel–so did Laban to Jacob
4. Israel was blessed by God by his grace, not due to their righteousness–so too Jacob
5. Israel had to flee Egypt with the army pursuing–so too Laban pursued Jacob
6. Israel crosses the Red Sea on its way to the promised land–Jacob crosses the Euphrates River


Is This The Beast Arising?

July 8, 2014

beastThe expansion and increasing power of the “Islamic State” is stunning–from relatively obscure to a recognized, regional player in a month. They have put out a map and timeline for a Caliphate that is eerily similar to what we find in ‘End Times’ Bible passages:

Rev 6:8, “I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.”

Rev 13:4,5, “they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him

This map and article
describe the Islamic State’s geography conquest aims and their timeline to achieve them–its very close to 1/4 of the earth, both by population and area, stretching nearly the length of the “10-40 Window”.   They believe they can achieve their goal in 5 years, but judging by their recent speed overtaking large areas of Syria and Iraq its not unreasonable to wonder if they could achieve it in 3-4 years.

Though mapAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi has a $10 million bounty on his head, since he was formally  in US custody, he continues to gain strength and its difficult to imagine the US carrying out a raid intended to kill him if he takes on the mantle of Head of a new Islamic State.  Already on Twitter we are seeing a constant stream of Muslims giving him bayah, or Islamic religious allegiance, due to the Caliph, the combined spiritual/governmental/military head of the Ummah, the worldwide Muslim populace.

While its far from a sure thing that the new Islamic State is the final incarnation of the seven-headed Beast of Revelation, this one bears watching.

One thing is for sure, we need to be praying for our suffering brethren in areas under the control of IS–deliverance yes, but faithfulness to the end, since we know there will be a great reward in the coming kingdom of Messiah.  And we need to pray for Israel–Biblically its apparent that great hardships are headed their way. Father, give your people peace, and let them see and know the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus.

Is the Kingdom of God here now?

February 17, 2014

economics.politics.kingdom-of-godSome well-meaning teachers have declared (in opposition to the “Kingdom Now” or “Dominion Theology” views) that the Kingdom of God does not presently exist and will not exist until Jesus returns to establish it.

If you are not familiar with Kingdom Now (or the similar Dominion Theology) adherents, they believe that we can usher in the Kingdom of God by political action and changes in law, or that it can “believed” or “prayed” into existence.  They hold that Christians will transform society on on world-wide scale, with sin and sickness decreasing, and that Heaven-like conditions will exist on earth prior to the return of Christ.

But is it entirely one or the other?  The world will become an earthly paradise before Jesus returns OR that the Kingdom of God is entirely future?  What does scripture say?  We find that Jesus indeed speaks of the Kingdom of God in the present tense, for example:

Matthew 12:28, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Mark 1:15, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

We certainly ARE in the Kingdom of God if we belong to Him by faith.  We are His hands and feet, we bring His kingdom to our lost world wherever we go, as we walk in His Spirit.  This is what God has always been after–even Israel was to be YHWH’s representative on earth.  Jesus was stern with the Jews and national Israel when He said:

Matthew 21:43, “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.”

Jesus told Peter that he should forgive not just seven times but seventy times seven, which is too much of a coincidence for Jesus not to be recalling the Daniel 9 prophecy that it would be 70 “weeks” (literally “sevens”), or 490 years, until the coming of Messiah and the ultimate fulfillment of the temple sacrifices, after which desolation would be brought on the Jerusalem temple.   I believe the verse above complements the view that the 490 years represent the extent of God’s tolerance with national Israel for repentance.  The Kingdom of God is a present reality, on some level, whose fruit needs to be produced.  The Jewish nation after corporately rejecting Christ would no longer be the means of executing its authority and prerogatives–this was being transferred to a primarily, but of course not exclusively, Gentile ekklesia (translated “church” in English).

But that’s somewhat of a bunny trail–returning to our present discussion, Jesus shows that the Kingdom of God existed presently during His day and would continue to exist going forward.  Particularly deadly to the view that the Kingdom of God is exclusively future beginning with the millennial reign of Jesus, is the following:

Luke 17:20, 21,“Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

If its not coming with “signs to be observed”, i.e., the sun and moon darkened, then we do not have to wait until after the tribulation for it to appear.  It is wherever Jesus’ followers are.

On the other hand, Jesus also makes clear that the Kingdom’s full reality is not yet here:

Luke 21:31, “So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.”

Luke 22:16, “for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Luke 22:18,“for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.”

Kingdom-of-HeavenJesus doesn’t promise a Utopia–He said “in  this world you have tribulation”.  Thankfully He added “but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  This world will not gradually become “Christianized.”  Unfortunately we have to be content with the understanding that we are in the Kingdom of God and that we bring the Kingdom of God near to whoever we engage (I suppose if we are walking in the Spirit; if in the flesh, not so much), but that its full reality will not appear until “YHWH Saves” stands personally on the earth.

The Ram Caught in the Thicket

August 24, 2013

raminthicketIs the Torah intended for our righteousness?  Is it the measure against which we are to demonstrate our obedience to God? What is its purpose?

No single group has exerted more effort seeking to keep the Law than ancient Israel and even the Jews of today.  Has it drawn them closer to God?  I would say and most would agree, demonstrably ‘no’.

We can look back at the thousands of years of history since the Law was first given and see that no one has drawn closer to God by keeping it.  Israel has failed in its pursuit of God through the keeping of rules.

And they will continue to fail, as will all humanity, anyone who tries to obey the Law and please God through their works.  If you are able to keep the Law perfectly (at least on the outside) as Paul claimed he did in Philippians 3:6, God knows your heart, and you still fail.

If we seek God by keeping the Law, we become more aware of our sin, not less.  This is the purpose of the Law–to make us aware of our need (Galatians 3).

God is holy, completely separate from sin. No one who is unclean can come near Him. Our hands are blood red.

As the OT tells us:

There is no one who does good.
The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
To see if there are any who understand,
Who seek after God.
They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good, not even one

Jesus said in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus:

But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

What is it that Moses and the Prophets teach us?

There is no one who does good, not even one

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith.

Abraham, who was justified by his faith according to Paul, was about to slay his promised son in obedience to YHWH God.  As he prepared to plunge the knife into his son, YHWH called out to Abraham to stop–YHWH, seeing Abraham’s faith, instead provided a ram caught up in a thicket of branches.  The ram was the substitutionary sacrifice for Abraham, and Isaac’s life was spared (Genesis 22)

Believe and receive what God has already provided for you, the perfect ram Yeshua caught in the thicket of the cross to which He was nailed, the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world.

Will flying missiles drive Jews into the Bozrah “Sheep Fold”?

June 16, 2012

Mountaintop location of Busheira, or “Bozrah”, with steep drops on all sides except for a single, narrow access.

Micah 2:12-13 reads:

“I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob,

I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.

I will put them together like sheep in the fold;

Like a flock in the midst of its pasture

They will be noisy with men.

“The breaker goes up before them;

They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it.

So their king goes on before them,

And the Lord at their head.” (NASB)

In the King James Version the Hebrew word “Bozrah” (בצרה , botsrah, Strong’s H1223 & H1224) is kept instead of “fold”, as it’s translated in the New American Standard Bible; “Bozrah” means a “fold” for sheep.  It is also a place name in southern Jordan, SE of the Dead Sea, currently the town Busheira in the highlands on the eastern escarpment of the Jordan rift valley .  It is the original location of Edom, the alternate name of Esau.  Bozrah is first referenced in the Bible as the abode of Esau’s grandson in Genesis 36:33.

This Micah 2 passage is popular with ‘End Times’ prophecy teachers – in it they see Israel in the last days of this age being gathered by the Lord in the desert where they are then freed (“the breaker goes up before them”)  by the returning Messiah.  It is often linked with this clear Messianic passage in Isaiah 63, since it too mentions Bozrah:

“Who is this who comes from Edom,

With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,

This One who is majestic in His apparel,

Marching in the greatness of His strength?

“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

Why is Your apparel red,

And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?

“ I have trodden the wine trough alone,

And from the peoples there was no man with Me.

I also trod them in My anger

And trampled them in My wrath;

And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,

And I stained all My raiment.

“For the day of vengeance was in My heart,

And My year of redemption has come.

“I looked, and there was no one to help,

And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;

So My own arm brought salvation to Me,

And My wrath upheld Me

This passage, along with Zechariah 14:3,4, “Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east”, foresees Yeshua the Messiah returning to vanquish the enemies who have invaded Israel and besieged Jerusalem, but what of this mention of coming from “Edom” and “Bozrah” before arriving in Jerusalem?  One scenario has Yeshua setting free His people who have taken refuge in (or perhaps been cornered in ??) Bozrah, just prior to His appearance on the Mt. of Olives.

A question arises with this particular understanding of these Bozrah passages – what device moves millions of Jews into the wilderness of southern Jordan?  The following might be one possibility, which several Israeli news outlets have been reporting:

Home Front Officer: Missile attack would force massive evacuation of Tel Aviv

DEBKAfile Special Report June 12, 2012, 6:18 PM (GMT+02:00)

Tel Aviv

Col. Adam Zusman, Home Front Commander of Israel’s Dan region (Tel Aviv and its environs), told AFP Tuesday, June 12, “In case of a missile attack on the centre of Israel, especially unconventional attacks and if buildings are destroyed, the population from Tel Aviv and other cities will be evacuated and relocated in other areas of the country.

The officer did not say to where the roughly two million inhabitants of the Dan region’s core towns of Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, Holon, Petakh Tikva, Ramat Hasharon, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Bein Brak, Herzliya, Or Yehuda, Givat Shmuel and Kiryat Ono, would be evacuated. debkafile’s military sources estimate they will be relocated in the southern mostly desert Negev region. The outer Gush Dan ring includes some 3 million people…

This article can be read in full here.   Similar articles can be read here, and this this one has the intriguing title of “Tel Aviv ‘exodus’ planned in event of missile strike”.

So perhaps a future missile or WMD strike against Israel will prompt a mass exodus to the southern Israel Negev desert.  The Negev is less than 20 miles west of Busheira.  At its closest point near Idan, the Israel border is only about 16 miles as the crow flies.  What might prompt a massive crossing of the border by Jews after seeking refuge in the Negev?  Perhaps a redirected attack on these evacuees?  Seeking shelter from fallout or chemical weapons?  Or will they be chased there by pursuing armies of the surrounding nations?  It could even be that knowing God’s Micah 2 promise to rescue them from the “sheep fold” will inspire many to trust Him for a Bozrah breakout.  A more thorough biblical search needs to be done on these possibilities.

The ancient fortress of Busheira is on a mountaintop, standing alone above a canyon dropping toward the desert and Israel – it might be seen as a place of safety, of shelter or of last resort – a fold for lost sheep.

Peter’s Two Stunning Claims in his Acts 2 Sermon

January 10, 2012

When Peter stood up on the Day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit had fallen on the gathered believers, he made a bold proclamation:  Yeshua was “the Anointed One”; Jesus was “the Christ”.   He declared:  “Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” (v. 36)

We are so familiar with the name and title ‘Jesus Christ’, we don’t give it a second thought — it is used throughout the New Testament, appearing over 400 times.   We may even know that ‘Christ’, or Christos in Greek, means ‘the Anointed One’, and is the equivalent of the Old Testament Hebrew word Moshiach, translated ‘Messiah’.   But what exactly was/is Jesus anointed for, and what is the Old Testament source of this concept?

In Acts 2:29-33, Peter, in his sermon, references Israel’s King David, who lived 1,000 years prior to Christ.  Peter revisits a promise God made to David through the prophet Nathan in 2 Sam 7:12:  “I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.”   In context this seems to describe only Solomon, one of David’s sons, since God proclaims that “He (Solomon) shall build a house for My name” (v. 13).   Earlier in that chapter, David stated his intention to build a house for the Lord, since the Ark of the Covenant up until that time was kept in a tent.  Instead, God declared He would build a house for David — the job of building a house for God would be left to Solomon.  Nathan ends with God assuring that “Your (David’s) house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” (2 Sam 7:16)

The Jews early on recognized that this was a significant prophecy.  It is reiterated in Psa 132:11, where we find a promise paraphrased by Peter in Acts 2:30:   ‘The LORD has sworn to David, a truth from which He will not turn back:  “Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.” ‘  This verse is recounting the 2 Samuel episode covered above.  Regarding the promise to David, Peter said “he [David] looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ” (v. 31), whom Peter identifies as Jesus (v. 36).  Jesus is a descendant of King David.  (Matt 1:1)

So the first, clear notion of an “Anointed One” is found in 2 Samuel with the promise to David that a King issuing from his own body would be ‘anointed’ to sit on an eternal throne, ruling over Israel.  Peter’s first stunning claim then, is that Jesus is the long awaited and promised ‘Messiah’, the Christ.  His second claim is no less monumental:  Jesus, or Yeshua in Hebrew, is YHWH, or YahwehGod Himself!

Starting in Acts 2:17, Peter quotes verbatim from Joel 2:28-32, with a minor, but paradigm-shifting change–he substitutes the word “YHWH” from Joel 2:32 with the word Lord, in reference to Jesus.  Here is the passage:

And they shall prophesy.

Whereas Joel prophesies that in YHWH’s name we would be saved (YHWH is the four letter name of God used throughout the Old Testament), Peter states that it Yeshua who accomplishes this, showing in no uncertain terms His co-equal status with Yahweh.  He says “know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”   At that point 3,000 Jews ‘were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” ‘  Peter told them to “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (v. 38)

When we call on Jesus (or Yeshua) as Lord and Christ, we are essentially declaring and agreeing that:

1.  Jesus is ‘the Christ’, the Anointed One to sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem over Israel forever, and that

2.  Jesus is Lord, Yahweh in the flesh, eternal God, our only salvation, long promised (Psa 68:19; Isa 25:9).

The coming Turkish-led caliphate

June 4, 2011

By Joel Richardson

Prime Minister Erdogan, who once projected, “Democracy is like a streetcar. You use it to get you where you wish to go, and then you get off.”

Several years ago, I began publicly stating that the world will witness the rise of a Neo-Ottoman Caliphate. With the Islamist party in Turkey poised to win yet another sweeping election victory next week, now is another appropriate moment to revisit the subject.

The first thing that the West must understand concerning the concept of the caliphate is that it is somewhat of a blank canvas for Muslims. To the Muslim socialist, it is through the concept of the caliphate that a socialist utopia will become a reality. For the moderate Muslim, it is in the idea of the caliphate that a tolerant Muslim empire will arise. For the radical Muslim, the caliphate is the means by which Islam will arise to supremacy in the earth. The point is that the dream of reviving a caliphate is a wide-ranging vision and is certainly not restricted to the radicals.

Second, the West must come to terms with the tectonic shift that has only recently taken place in the Middle East, beginning in 2003 in Turkey.

But first, let’s define the old order of the region. This old order saw the Middle East divided up primarily between the Arab block and the Iranian block.

Imagine a random Arab Sunni Muslim (Sunnis comprise 85-90 percent of Muslims) who has long desired to see the unification of the Islamic world under a caliphate. In yearning for someone to rise up and lead the Islamic world, this Sunni Muslim first turns his eyes toward the leaders of the Arab block (Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt). On one hand, he identifies with the fact that they are both Sunni and Arab. But they are also either corrupt monarchies or dictatorial autocrats and hopelessly compromised through their relationship with Israel and/or the United States. To the average Muslim, these nations are led by MINOs (Muslims in name only). Frustrated, this Muslim shifts his attention to Iran. On one hand, the Iranians are seen as courageous, bold and assertive. They thumb their noses at Israel, the United States and any who would defy them. This is admired, but there is still the gaping sectarian divide. In other words, being Shia, they are essentially heretical. Without hope, this Sunni Muslim lets out a long sigh and prays that Allah will soon raise up a genuine Muslim leader capable of reviving Islam’s former glory.

This was the old order of the Middle East for the past 30 years.

But suddenly, this has all begun to change. Through the rise of the Turkish AK party over the past several years, the Middle East has experienced a political shift of tectonic proportions.  More here

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