Genesis 16-18

August 29, 2015

Ch 16: Abram and Sarai were not able to have children, though God promised children from Abram’s body (though not explicitly from Sarai’s). Abram listens to the voice of Sarai, who tells him to impregnate Hagar her maid, so Abram can have a son through her. This is akin to Adam eating the forbidden fruit when Eve gave it to her–a man, or anyone, is responsible to do what the Lord commands and are not to be swayed by alternative voice. Once Hagar was pregnant, Sarai despised Hagar. The angel of YHWH (preincarnate Jesus, 2nd person of Trinity) appears to Hagar to comfort her and promises that a great nation will arise from her son, though his descendants will be violent and in much conflict with their neighbors. This prophecy has been borne out to a ‘T’, as we can observe in the Middle East today. Abram named the son “Ishmael”. Its interesting to note that Ishmael was named before Abram’s name was changed (Sarai too).

Ch 17: At 99 years old, YHWH appears to Abram, changes his name to Abraham and promises him that within a year he will have a son (through Sarai), who is to now be called Sarah. This chapter is significant. God promises Canaan to Abraham forever. He makes a covenant with Abraham, the sign of which is male circumcision. Circumcision is in itself a sign of our lives belonging to God. Later in Galatians we find the Jews making it a requirement of salvation under the new covenant, which it is not, and it becomes emblematic of the Law, which we are no longer under as new covenant believers (Gal 3:25).

I think Abraham doesn’t quite believe God yet about a son through Ishmael and begs that God allow Ishmael to be the heir to the promises God has made. God says no, the covenant will be with Isaac, a child of (God’s) promise. Abraham is then circumcised at 99 and Ishmael at 13.

3 visitorsCh 18: YHWH appears before Abraham in the form of three men (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and speaks to him. Sarah and Abraham invite YHWH in for a meal, making 3 cakes and slaughtering a “choice” calf, like a sacrifice. They again promise Sarah she will have a son and she laughs, just like Abraham when he was told. Isaac means “he laughs”. The men (YHWH in bodily form) tell Abraham they are going to destroy Sodom. Abraham negotiates (intercedes) with God to preserve Sodom if 10 righteous men are found in the city. Abraham began with 50, then 45, 40, 30, 20 and finally 10. He didn’t feel bold enough to go lower than that.

This episode, if I were a Jew, I would find very hard to understand. Jews believe God is invisible and not a man, and here we have YHWH clearly appearing as a man, in fact as 3. And in the previous chapter the “messenger of YHWH” appeared to Hagar, speaking as God.


Zechariah Ch. 01

January 26, 2014

zechariah_horses1 In the eighth month of the second year of Darius [Fall of 520 BC within months of Haggai’s prophecy; Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon on March 16, 597 BC, so this book begins about 7 years after the 70 years of the Babylonian Captivity], the word of the LORD [YAHWEH per Blue Letter Bible, see here] came to Zechariah [meaning: “The Lord Remembers”] the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo saying,

2 “The LORD [Capitalization of “LORD” or “GOD” in NASB always is “YHWH” (YAHWEH) in Hebrew, The triune God’s personal name] was very angry with your fathers.

3 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts [If we return to YAHWEH-God He will always return to us, see also James 4:8: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”]

4 “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return [Hebrew ‘shuv’, occurring over 1100 times in the OT] now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.”’ But they did not listen or give heed to Me,” declares the LORD [In the NT we are told to “repent”, which simply means to “return”, turn around, change one’s mind].

5 “Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your fathers? [Don’t think you can outsmart God, be wise, submit to Him] Then they repented [again the word ‘shuv’, same as “return” in v4 above] and said, ‘As the LORD of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so He has dealt with us.’”’”

7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat [Winter of 519 BC, about 4 months later], in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, as follows:

8 I saw at night [the work of rebuilding the temple took place in the context of spiritual darkness], and behold, a man [Because of Zech 1:11, we know this “man” is the Angel of the LORD (YAHWEH), and that He is God, see v11] was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees [an evergreen of the Laurel family, probably representing Israel, the people of God] which were in the ravine [a low, humble place], with red, sorrel and white horses [connecting these with the four horsemen of Revelation 6:1-8 doesn’t seem to work, because these are patrollers and not messengers of judgment] behind him.

9 Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” And the angel [Yeshua, the angel of the LORD, see v11] who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.” [when we ask for wisdom, God gives it]

10 And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered [Zechariah asked the angel, but it was the man among the myrtles that answered – they are the same person] and said, “These are those whom the LORD [YAHWEH] has sent to patrol the earth.”

11 So they answered the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees [here it is even more clearly stated – the “man among the myrtles” and the angel of the LORD are the same; moreover, this is a special “angel”, the “angel of YAHWEH”; this is a Christophany, an appearance of Christ Jesus in the OT, wherein a heavenly man is revealed to be God Himself; see also Gen 16:7-13,  22:11-18, Exo 2:3-9 and Judges 2:1-4, among many others] and said, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet.” [but not the right kind: the earth is at rest at the expense of YAHWEH’s people, so in reality, there is no rest at all]

12 Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” [Yeshua interceding for His people before God the Father; per Heb 7:24-26 He is a priest forever and is always interceding for us]

13 The LORD [YAHWEH the Father] answered the angel [YAHWEH the Son] who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words. [Per 2 Cor 1:3 He is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort”]

14 So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I [the angel speaking in the first person as God] am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. [the passion of God for His people is clearly evident]

15 But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease [the import of a “peaceful and quiet” earth is now evident]; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster.”

16 Therefore thus says the LORD [YAHWEH], “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” [the temple was completed in four years] declares the LORD of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.”’ [the ultimate fulfillment is in Rev 21:15, when the heavenly Jerusalem descends and is measured: 1,500 miles square]

17 Again, proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”’” [quite a promise for the returnees just a few years removed from Babylon, struggling to rebuild the temple and ruined cities]

18 Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there were four horns. 19  So I said to the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these?” And he answered me, “These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.” [the number four represents the world and worldly kingdoms – for instance there’s 4 seasons, 4 compass directions and 4 kingdoms described in Dan 2 & 7: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and most likely Rome; these could be the same four kingdoms represented by the horns, two of which had not yet come to trouble Israel; a “horn” is symbol of human power, for instance, the “little horn” of Dan 8]

20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 I said, “What are these coming to do?” And he said, “These are the horns which have scattered Judah so that no man lifts up his head; but these craftsmen have come to terrify them, to throw down the horns of the nations who have lifted up their horns against the land of Judah in order to scatter it.” [the craftsman are sent by God to protect vulnerable Israel from worldly powers; a craftsman would grind down or cut off the horns]

NASB translation [with my notes in blue]

Zechariah Ch. 03

December 13, 2013

tissot_zechariahThe book was written from 520-518 BC during the reign of Darius the Great after some of the Jews began returning to Jerusalem and Israel following the 70 years of Babylonian exile. I am impressed by the depth and density of messianic prophesy and allusions to the ministry of Jesus in this old testament book.

I will be adding verses and chapters as I have time.

1 Then he showed me Joshua [In the NT believers are called “Christians” meaning simply “followers of Christ”; Joshua is actually the same name as “Yeshua”, Jesus’ Hebrew name, meaning YAHWEH Saves!] the high priest [in the Jerusalem temple] standing before the angel [mal’ak, messenger; theophany] of the Lord [Yahweh], and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. [Joshua is “standing before”, an act of priestly service; he is ministering to the second person of the Godhead, Yeshua]

2 The Lord [Yahweh Yeshua, in the form of the angel] said to Satan, “The Lord [Yahweh the Father] rebuke you, Satan! [Similar to Jesus rebuking Satan when he was trying to tempt Jesus through Peter] Indeed, the Lord [Yahweh the Father] who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” [Joshua and we all have been rescued from certain destruction and Hell]

3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. [our sin makes us dirty and unworthy of fellowship with God, thus Satan’s accusations; “filthy” or tsow’ is the strongest of Hebrew terms, only used twice in the entire OT, here and in verse 4]

4 He [Yeshua, YAHWEH’s angel] spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” [Our sins are forgiven by God’s action] Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” [We have been robed with Christ’s righteousness, Isa 61:10, Gal 3:27]

5 Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban [Exodus 28:36-38 says the high priest was to wear a turban with a gold seal engraved with “Holy to YAHWEH”; Eph 6:17 says we are to put on the “helmet of salvation”] on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments [Joshua is given a positive righteousness. Being clothed by God in righteousness runs from Genesis (Genesis 3:7 and 3:21) to Revelation (Revelation 7:13-14)], while the angel of the Lord was standing by.

6 And the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access [Paul tells us “through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father” in Ephesians 2:18] among these who are standing here. [Similar to the admonishment given to the first Joshua in Joshua 1:7.  YAHWEH promised Joshua privileged access into the presence of God, not a surprising promise for a High Priest, but we too can enter YAHWEH’s presence: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” Hebrews 4:16]

8 Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol, [or “a sign” – they represent the free access we have to YAHWEH through His provision, the Messiah, just as Joshua was given clean clothes] for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch [A messianic reference, see Isaiah 4:2 and 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15; Jesus used similar imagery when He said “I am the vine and you are the branches”, John 15:5].

9 For behold, the stone [we are told in Isa 28:16 that YAHWEH has laid in Zion “a precious cornerstone” and in Psm 118:22 that “the stone rejected by the builders has become the very cornerstone”–Christ Jesus is the cornerstone rejected by the builders, national Israel] that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. [seven is the perfect number, representative of God and the eyes represent God’s omniscience; the stone is YAHWEH Himself] Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ [Zion/the people of God are inscribed on the palms of YAHWEH’s hands, Isa 49:16; Yeshua is the visible manifestation of God and was crucified with nails in His hands; per Jn 20:27 He still bears the scars after resurrection]  declares the Lord of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day’ [when Yeshua died He paid in full for the sins of the world on the day of Passover, the first of the 7 Leviticus 23 Feasts].

10 ‘In that day,’ [the day that iniquity is removed and all the days that follow] declares the Lord of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.’” [proverbial expression that means prosperity and peace specifically under the Messiah–we are experiencing the “first fruits” now, but the full experience will occur during His millennial reign]

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