Posted in abimelek, abraham, bible, lie, prophecy

Abraham and Abimelech: Lies of omission and half-lies are still lies

By Elizabeth Prata

Abimelech rebuking Abraham by Wenceslaus Hollar

After Abraham was personally visited by angels and by Jesus, (Genesis 18:1-3, 14), and after Abraham personally asked for the LORD to protect his nephew Lot from destruction in Sodom, (Genesis 18:22-23), and after Abraham personally witnessed the destruction of four of the five Cities of the Plain (Genesis 19:28), despite having had another reassurance by God of His chosen plan involving Abraham (Genesis 15:6), thus knowing his God’s sovereign power, holiness, and mercy, in the next chapter Abraham lied. And why? To help God out.

In Genesis 20:1, Abraham is journeying in King Abimelek’s lands. (“toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar.” Gen 20:1). Abraham thought to himself that since the people in that area are not God-fearing, I am going to need to lie about my beautiful wife Sarah.

And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. (Genesis 20:2).

Twenty-five years earlier, Abraham said that of his wife when he feared Pharaoh. Pulpit Commentary said of Abraham’s lie then and in this chapter, that lying was “an ignoble expedient.”

Did Abraham think God didn’t know that the lands in the Negev were filled with pagans who did not fear God? Did Abraham think God needed to be helped out? Did Abraham not want to bother God with a prayer-petition for safety for his wife and himself? Or did Abraham just not trust God enough?

Let’s look at what Abraham’s lie did to himself and others. Then I’ll look at the sovereignty of God and how He worked through Abraham’s sinful lie.

Now, Sarah really was his sister, or half-sister to be specific. “she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.” (Genesis 20:12). So Abraham’s lie was a half-truth. Alternately it can be called a lie of omission. It is still a lie. Lies we tell have effects upon the people who hear them. In this case, Abimelek went forward with an action that was based on faulty information, and he took Sarah. Then night God came to him in a dream with a message. And the message was not good.

Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” (Genesis 20:3b)

Thanks a lot, Abraham.

Now the King did plead with the LORD earnestly. I mean, Abimelek was told that she was not a wife. Here is where God’s sovereignty over ALL FLESH comes in.

Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.” (Genesis 20:6)

God is sovereign and can and does control ALL that happens on earth and even within the hearts of men and allows or prevents certain actions. Example: God would not let Abimelek touch Sarah. Did God put a wall around Sarah or consign her to a room in chains far away from Abimelek? No. He invisibly ordained that Sarah would remain untouched and in His power He made that come to pass, even though the King, Sarah, and the entire household was not aware of His workings. This is Providence.

God told the King to release Sarah and not to touch her or the King would certainly die. Abimelek called all the servants together and told them all that had happened, and followed God’s commands immediately. (So much for NOT being God-fearing, eh? Not that the King was a believer, but the king did recognize God’s authority and His power, and submitted to it in this instance.)

Then the King severely rebuked Abraham.

What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” (Genesis 20:9b-10).

That is the problem with lying. Not only did Abraham sin, not only did Abraham lead his wife into sin, but it caused the King to sin also, albeit unknowingly. He had a right to be angry. As did Pharaoh 25 years prior. Pulpit Commentary says of Abraham’s current lie and the 25 year old lie,

Abraham should a second time have resorted to this ignoble expedient after the hazardous experience of Egypt and the richly-merited rebuke of Pharaoh, but more especially after the assurance he had lately received of his own acceptance before God (Genesis 15:6), and of Sarah’s destiny to be the mother of the promised seed (Genesis 17:16), is well nigh unaccountable, and almost irreconcilable with any degree of faith and piety.

Of course we know Abraham was faithful and pious. (Hebrews 11:11). Our Bible is so great to show us the successes and the foibles and fumbles of the great men and women who are recounted in this record. We are all sinners, tending toward doing wrong most of the time, yet our God uses us again and again in His plan to move history forward to the end goal of displaying His glory to an unspotted Bride. Abraham was no different. But more gloriously, God is no different. He is totally sovereign over all that happens. After Abimelek gave Abraham 1000 pieces of silver, animals, and free passage through the land, he said you have been vindicated and this matter is concluded.

Just as God had promised Abimelek, (Genesis 20:7) Abraham then prayed to God on the King’s behalf (Genesis 20:17). God opened the wombs of all the women in the house of Abimelek because he had closed them on behalf of Sarah. God is sovereign over wombs, minds, flesh, and events. He is also merciful, in sparing Abimelek, in not punishing Abraham, in protecting Sarah, and in allowing the females of the house of Abimelek to conceive babies once again.

Genesis 20 is a tremendous chapter on the sinfulness of man, of what lies do to people (even lies of omission). Imagine what Abimelek might have been thinking. ‘Why would God pick THAT guy, he’s a liar.’ Do you want your witness on behalf of Holy God to be polluted by a legacy of lies?

The chapter is also a wonderful example of God’s sovereignty and Providential outworking, and His mercies.

Gill’s Exposition on Genesis 20:2-

And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, she is my sister,…. This he gave out in all conversation he came into, and said it to every one that asked who she was, which was little better than a lie; it at least was an equivocation and deception, and not at all justifiable, and tended to expose his wife’s chastity, and discovered a distrust of divine Providence; the same infirmity be had given way to, and the same evil he had fallen into in Egypt, Genesis 12:11, and therefore was the more inexcusable now; good men not only fall into sin, but have their relapses:

BibleGateway’s All the Men of the Bible explains of Abimelek:

THE MAN WHO REBUKED ANOTHER FOR LYING

Abimelech would have taken Sarah, Abraham’s wife, into his harem, but learning that she was the wife of another, returned her uninjured. Abraham appears here in a bad light. He deceived Abimelech, but when found out was justly rebuked by the God-restrained Abimelech. Certainly the righteous should rebuke the ungodly (1 Tim. 5:20), but how sad it is when the ungodly have just reason for rebuking the righteous. What a degradation it was for Abraham, then, to be rebuked by a heathen king!

Abraham sought to palliate his deception by claiming that Sarah was actually his half sister, daughter of the same father but not the same mother (Gen. 20:12, 16).

A lie if half a truth Is ever the worst of lies.

Abraham was the more blameworthy because he had done the same thing before (Gen. 12) and had suffered much in the same way as upon this occasion. How grateful Abimelech was for the dream warning him of his danger! The covenant made with Abraham is somewhat significant—

I. It was proposed by Abimelech who, although knowing how Abraham had failed God, yet saw how favored he was of God (Gen. 21:22).

II. It revealed certain distrust of Abraham. Abimelech requested Abraham not to be tempted to sin in such a direction again (Gen. 21:23).

Wow, a pagan praying for the righteous!

We faithful Christians sure do have relapses. We are redeemed by, governed by, supported by, sustained by, and provided for by a gracious and loving God. He knows all the details, He is calmly in control of all that happens. He even forgives our sins (like when we lie). We don’t need to “help” God in His plans but we do need to submit to them. We need to remember that our actions and words affect other people. We need to have integrity in all that we do for Jesus (Colossians 3:17).

PS: trivia- did you know that Genesis 20 is the first time we read the word “prophet”? God said Abraham was His prophet. (Genesis 20:7). The Bible is so wonderful to read!

Posted in abimelek, abraham, bible, lie, prophecy

Abraham and Abimelek: Lies of omission and half-lies are still lies

Abimelech rebuking Abraham by Wenceslaus Hollar

After Abraham was personally visited by angels and by Jesus, (Genesis 18:1-3, 14), and after Abraham personally asked for the LORD to protect his nephew Lot from destruction in Sodom, (Genesis 18:22-23), and after Abraham personally witnessed the destruction of four of the five Cities of the Plain (Genesis 19:28), despite having had another reassurance by God of His chosen plan involving Abraham (Genesis 15:6), thus knowing his God’s sovereign power, holiness, and mercy, in the next chapter Abraham lied. And why? To help God out.

In Genesis 20:1, Abraham is journeying in King Abimelek’s lands. (“toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar.” Gen 20:1). Abraham thought to himself that since the people in that area are not God-fearing, I am going to need to lie about my beautiful wife Sarah.

And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. (Genesis 20:2).

Twenty-five years earlier, Abraham said that of his wife when he feared Pharaoh. Pulpit Commentary said of Abraham’s lie then and in this chapter, that lying was “an ignoble expedient.”

Did Abraham think God didn’t know that the lands in the Negev were filled with pagans who did not fear God? Did Abraham think God needed to be helped out? Did Abraham not want to bother God with a prayer-petition for safety for his wife and himself? Or did Abraham just not trust God enough?

Let’s look at what Abraham’s lie did to himself and others. Then I’ll look at the sovereignty of God and how He worked through Abraham’s sinful lie.

Now, Sarah really was his sister, or half-sister to be specific. “she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.” (Genesis 20:12). So Abraham’s lie was a half-truth. Alternately it can be called a lie of omission. It is still a lie. Lies we tell have effects upon the people who hear them. In this case, Abimelek went forward with an action that was based on faulty information, and he took Sarah. Then night God came to him in a dream with a message. And the message was not good.

Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” (Genesis 20:3b)

Thanks a lot, Abraham.

Now the King did plead with the LORD earnestly. I mean, Abimelek was told that she was not a wife. Here is where God’s sovereignty over ALL FLESH comes in.

Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.” (Genesis 20:6)

God is sovereign and can and does control ALL that happens on earth and even within the hearts of men and allows or prevents certain actions. Example: God would not let Abimelek touch Sarah. Did God put a wall around Sarah or consign her to a room in chains far away from Abimelek? No. He invisibly ordained that Sarah would remain untouched and in His power He made that come to pass, even though the King, Sarah, and the entire household was not aware of His workings. This is Providence.

God told the King to release Sarah and not to touch her or the King would certainly die. Abimelek called all the servants together and told them all that had happened, and followed God’s commands immediately. (So much for NOT being God-fearing, eh? Not that the King was a believer, but the king did recognize God’s authority and His power, and submitted to it in this instance.)

Then the King severely rebuked Abraham.

What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” (Genesis 20:9b-10).

That is the problem with lying. Not only did Abraham sin, not only did Abraham lead his wife into sin, but it caused the King to sin also, albeit unknowingly. He had a right to be angry. As did Pharaoh 25 years prior. Pulpit Commentary says of Abraham’s current lie and the 25 year old lie,

Abraham should a second time have resorted to this ignoble expedient after the hazardous experience of Egypt and the richly-merited rebuke of Pharaoh, but more especially after the assurance he had lately received of his own acceptance before God (Genesis 15:6), and of Sarah’s destiny to be the mother of the promised seed (Genesis 17:16), is well nigh unaccountable, and almost irreconcilable with any degree of faith and piety.

Of course we know Abraham was faithful and pious. (Hebrews 11:11). Our Bible is so great to show us the successes and the foibles and fumbles of the great men and women who are recounted in this record. We are all sinners, tending toward doing wrong most of the time, yet our God uses us again and again in His plan to move history forward to the end goal of displaying His glory to an unspotted Bride. Abraham was no different. But more gloriously, God is no different. He is totally sovereign over all that happens. After Abimelek gave Abraham 1000 pieces of silver, animals, and free passage through the land, he said you have been vindicated and this matter is concluded.

Just as God had promised Abimelek, (Genesis 20:7) Abraham then prayed to God on the King’s behalf (Genesis 20:17). God opened the wombs of all the women in the house of Abimelek because he had closed them on behalf of Sarah. God is sovereign over wombs, minds, flesh, and events. He is also merciful, in sparing Abimelek, in not punishing Abraham, in protecting Sarah, and in allowing the females of the house of Abimelek to conceive babies once again.

Genesis 20 is a tremendous chapter on the sinfulness of man, of what lies do to people (even lies of omission). Imagine what Abimelek might have been thinking. ‘Why would God pick THAT guy, he’s a liar.’ Do you want your witness on behalf of Holy God to be polluted by a legacy of lies?

The chapter is also a wonderful example of God’s sovereignty and Providential outworking, and His mercies.

Gill’s Exposition on Genesis 20:2-

And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, she is my sister,…. This he gave out in all conversation he came into, and said it to every one that asked who she was, which was little better than a lie; it at least was an equivocation and deception, and not at all justifiable, and tended to expose his wife’s chastity, and discovered a distrust of divine Providence; the same infirmity be had given way to, and the same evil he had fallen into in Egypt, Genesis 12:11, and therefore was the more inexcusable now; good men not only fall into sin, but have their relapses:

BibleGateway’s All the Men of the Bible explains of Abimelek:

THE MAN WHO REBUKED ANOTHER FOR LYING

Abimelech would have taken Sarah, Abraham’s wife, into his harem, but learning that she was the wife of another, returned her uninjured. Abraham appears here in a bad light. He deceived Abimelech, but when found out was justly rebuked by the God-restrained Abimelech. Certainly the righteous should rebuke the ungodly (1 Tim. 5:20), but how sad it is when the ungodly have just reason for rebuking the righteous. What a degradation it was for Abraham, then, to be rebuked by a heathen king!

Abraham sought to palliate his deception by claiming that Sarah was actually his half sister, daughter of the same father but not the same mother (Gen. 20:12, 16).

A lie if half a truth Is ever the worst of lies.

Abraham was the more blameworthy because he had done the same thing before (Gen. 12) and had suffered much in the same way as upon this occasion. How grateful Abimelech was for the dream warning him of his danger! The covenant made with Abraham is somewhat significant—

I. It was proposed by Abimelech who, although knowing how Abraham had failed God, yet saw how favored he was of God (Gen. 21:22).

II. It revealed certain distrust of Abraham. Abimelech requested Abraham not to be tempted to sin in such a direction again (Gen. 21:23).

Wow, a pagan praying for the righteous!

We faithful Christians sure do have relapses. We are redeemed by, governed by, supported by, sustained by, and provided for by a gracious and loving God. He knows all the details, He is calmly in control of all that happens. He even forgives our sins (like when we lie). We don’t need to “help” God in His plans but we do need to submit to them. We need to remember that our actions and words affect other people. We need to have integrity in all that we do for Jesus (Colossians 3:17).

PS: trivia- did you know that Genesis 20 is the first time we read the word “prophet”? God said Abraham was His prophet. (Genesis 20:7). The Bible is so wonderful to read!

Posted in abraham, abram, encouragement, worship

The first worship in the Land

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. (Genesis 12:7)

“By this act, Abram made an open confession of his religion, established worship of the true God, and declared his faith in God’s promise. This was the first true place of worship ever erected in the Promised Land.” ~MacArthur Commentary

“The March of Abraham” József Molnár – 1880

The first true worship in the Land… a worship of a worthy Lord which will never end. We are privileged to proclaim His excellencies forever and ever, in that marvelous Light of the eternal heavens.

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9)

Posted in abraham, isaac, jephthah, jephthah's daughter, jesus

Two dirty words of the new Millennium

I suppose the Millennium isn’t new anymore, now being in its second decade. However in this day and age we see the words obey and submit as increasingly maligned.

We usually see the kerfuffles on social media and played out in small, sometimes heated, discussions among people in real life of the words obey and submit when applied to wives. Here are a few of the verses which command wives to do both.

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (1 Peter 3:1-2).

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18)

Today I will focus on children. Not just husbands or wives, but children are supposed to obey and submit, too. The Fifth Commandment speaks to this, and it is the first commandment with a promise, interestingly.

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

Lest one balk that these are just “Old Testament” commands and argue that they’re passe, old fashioned, or outdated, look at what Jesus said several times in the New Testament:

For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ (Matthew 15:4)

honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 19:19)

AND see what Paul by the Spirit:

“Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise— (Ephesians 6:2)

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)

In that last verse, Paul was speaking about the family structure, with husband/father as head, submitting to Jesus, mothers/wives are to submit to husbands, and children are to submit to and obey parents. As long as the persons within the family structure follow these commands, everything will flow smoothly, spiritual blessing will come, and the Lord’s promises will be delivered. This is because the Godly family is the foundation block of society and one of the ways to illustrate God’s standards and His strength to a dark world.

Biblical Filial Obedience: Jephthah’s daughter and Abraham’s son

Genesis 22:1-19 records the story of Isaac’s obedience to his father, Abraham. (It records the incident for many other reasons, too, but we’ll look at Isaac in this scenario). God told Abraham to journey to the top of Mt. Moriah and to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, whom Abraham loved, at the altar there. Isaac was no babe. He was no mere tot, nor a child. Though the bible does nor record exactly how old Isaac was, he was anywhere from between the age of 13 to 37. He was his own man, or nearly so. Isaac was obedient to his father all his days- not just when he “had to” as a kid.

Sacrifice of Isaac, by Caravaggio

First, Isaac journeyed with his father. When Abraham announced the lengthy journey, Isaac didn’t argue, roll his eyes, stamp his foot, or demand that he be allowed to go to the prom instead. He went.

In addition, he willingly was a beast of burden for his father. When Abraham laid the bundle of wood on Isaac’s back for the offering, Isaac carried it. He didn’t whine, he didn’t groan, and he didn’t complain.

Third, and of course this is the most meaningful one, is that Isaac allowed his father to tie him and lay him on the altar. Isaac isn’t recorded as balking even when Abraham raised the knife to “slaughter” his son.

Of course I do not mean that children are to be passive tools of abuse. I don’t accept that they are to be dealt with violently. The scene in Genesis was an extraordinary scene, mirroring the one and only scene of the Father of Lights glorifying His Son whom He loved as He allowed Him to be slaughtered by sinful men for our sins as the sacrifice. Abraham and Isaac had a unique and vivid relationship with the LORD. However, the point is that Isaac trusted His father Abraham. When Isaac asked where the sacrifice was, and Abraham said the LORD would provide it, Isaac knew His LORD and he knew his father knew his LORD. At the root of obedience is trust in God.

As for the gals, we have Jephthah’s daughter. Judges 11 has the story. Jephthah was a mighty warrior. When it looked like the Ammonites were going to attack, the men besought Jephthah to be their general and lead them into victory in the LORD’S name. He accepted the call of duty, and the Spirit of the LORD was upon Jephthah. (Judges 11:29). But just because the Spirit was upon him does not mean that Jephthah was making all the right decisions, as his tragic vow in the very next verse demonstrates.

The Return of Jephtha, by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini

Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, “If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, 31then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the LORD’S, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” (Judges 11:30-31)

The LORD did give the Ammonites into the Israelites’ hand, and satisfied, Jephthah went home. He loved his daughter, his only daughter, as the bible records. He had no sons. Despite being an old and mighty warrior he was tender toward her. That is why he was horrified to see that the first person exiting his house upon his return was…his daughter. The LORD was punishing Jephthah for bargaining with Him, not having enough trust in Him to deliver the victory, and for making a vow to sacrifice a person – which is forbidden.

Jephthah accepted her father’s vow and only asked for two months to go into the mountains to bewail her misfortune in never being able to bear children, the high point of life for a Hebrew maiden. It also means that her father’s line would be ended, thus nullifying the possibility that their genealogy would be included in the Messianic line.

The Daughter did indeed return at the appointed time and indeed the burnt offering was carried out. (Judges 11:39).

The daughter’s obedience actually indicated a deeper worship and knowledge of the LORD than her father’s.

Her answer was most heroic. There were no resentful or rebellious tones in it. She shed no tears, nor shook with despair after her father with a crushed heart spoke of his vow. There was the quiet acceptance of the tragic fact that she was to be the burnt offering her father had promised. Only known by the simple title of “Jephthah’s daughter,” this most commendable maiden may not have had the gifts and talents of some other women of the Bible, but she will ever remain as the incarnation of willing sacrifice. “My father, if thou hast made this promise to the Lord, do to me according to the promise.” If there is a quality for which a woman is supreme, it is sacrifice, and in this virtue the obedient daughter of Jephthah gave what was nobler than gifts—she offered herself. (Source Bible Gateway)

The two examples here, Isaac and Jephthah’s daughter, show that they were either prepared to or actually did submit themselves unto death for the glory and honor of the name of the LORD. There is no greater filial obedience humanly possible, except for Jesus’ sacrifice in willingly following His Father’s plan to die for our sins.

In today’s times, we are not called by our parents to sacrifice ourselves unto death, but we are called to be living sacrifices by our spiritual Father, Jesus Christ. These two examples of filial obedience are worth mulling. We see the pale shadow of obedience of today’s youth and adults, and we know that in the future that obedience will be non-existent. (2 Timothy 3:2, 1 Timothy 1:9).

Jephthah accepted her fate, asking only for time to mourn and prepare. Today’s daughters pitch a fit when dads ask them not to text at the table. Isaac humbly carried the firewood up the mountain for his dad, asking only where the sacrifice was. Today’s sons roll their eyes and diss their dad when asked to take out the trash.

We are all called to Godly obedience. Ephesians 6:1 says

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Bible Exposition Commentary by Warren Wiersbe says,

When a person becomes a Christian, he is not released from normal obligations of life. If anything, his faith in Christ ought to make him a better child in the home. To the Colossians Paul enforced his admonition with “for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Col. 3:20). Here is harmony in the home: the wife submits to the husband “as unto Christ”; the husband loves his wife “even as Christ also loved the church”; and the children obey “in the Lord.”

Children, youth, young adults, older children of aged parents, submit and obey. They are not dirty words but are blessed words which in brings blessing when lived out. When you’re asked to do something against which you rebel, whether it be anything from taking out the trash, to being denied access to the family car at the moment you want it, all the way to refraining from porn or protecting your virginity, think of the honor Jephthah’s daughter brought to the Lord’s name and how Isaac’s submission is still talked of today. Love, honor, and obey your father. After all, Jesus did.

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)

Posted in abraham, mikveh, second temple, ur, winepress

This week there have been some amazing archaeological discoveries in the Holy Land

There have been some interesting archaeological discoveries in the Middle East in the last two weeks. I don’t know what they mean especially, except to ponder the eternal truth that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. (Psalm 24:1). He is the Creator of it, the sustainer of it and the One True God who knows every bit of its surface from atop Everest to the bottom of the Marianas trench and below the earth to the center. He knows each layer and each strata. He knows every molecule and which molecule is a part of an igneous rock and which molecule is a Christian burned at the state and ashes spread over His creation. God is not surprised by any of these discoveries. In fact, He knows all about them, when they were built, why, and even that they would be re-discovered this week. It is so comforting to know that our God is so perfect and wise.

Here are the discoveries–

Mysterious Stone Structure Discovered Beneath Sea of Galilee
“A giant “monumental” stone structure discovered beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Israel has archaeologists puzzled as to its purpose and even how long ago it was built. The mysterious structure is cone shaped, made of “unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders,” and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons the researchers said. That makes it heavier than most modern-day warships. Rising nearly 32 feet (10 meters) high, it has a diameter of about 230 feet (70 meters). To put that in perspective, the outer stone circle of Stonehenge has a diameter just half that with its tallest stones not reaching that height. It appears to be a giant cairn, rocks piled on top of each other.”

Sonar survey. Credit: Shmuel Marco
The circular structure was first detected in a sonar survey
of part of the sea in the summer of 2003.
Divers investigate. Credit: Shmuel Marco.
Scuba divers investigated the structure revealing
that it is made of basalt boulders up to 3.2 feet (1 meter) long.
The rocks are piled on top of each forming what appears to be a cairn.
In this image an arrow points to a 4 inch (10 cm) fish beside the structure.

“Researcher Yitzhak Paz, of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Ben-Gurion University, believes it could date back more than 4,000 years. “The more logical possibility is that it belongs to the third millennium B.C., because there are other megalithic phenomena [from that time] that are found close by,” Paz told LiveScience in an interview, noting that those sites are associated with fortified settlements.”

That would make it just about pre-flood according to the data in Answers in Genesis. Cool.

—————————————

Rare 2,000-Year-Old Mikveh Uncovered in Jerusalem
“A 2,000-year-old mikveh has been uncovered in Jerusalem, a rare find that researchers say points to a

sophisticated understanding of water preservation. “Numerous ritual baths have been excavated in Jerusalem in recent years, but the water supply system that we exposed in this excavation is unique and unusual,” said Benjamin Storchan, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The mikveh includes an underground bath that is entered via steps, and receives rainwater form three separate basins. The basins are located on the roof of the bath, streaming pure water into the mikveh using various channels.”

The bible says: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.” (Ezekiel 36:25).

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, a mikveh (ritual pool) is “a pool or bath of clear water, immersion in which renders ritually clean a person who has become ritually unclean through contact with the dead (Num. 19) or any other defiling object, or through an unclean flux from the body (Lev. 15) and especially a menstruant or postpartum woman. It is similarly used for vessels (Num. 31:22–23).”

Jesus came to cleanse us with His very own body. “Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”(John 3:5). Anyone in Jesus is now cleansed by His blood and the baptism is an outward show of obedience to Our Lord and Savior.

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The ancient city of Ur was discovered only recently, about 90 years ago. It is thought to be Abraham’s birthplace, and certainly the bible describes it as a place where Abraham dwelled. However what makes this discovery so exciting is that it is the first time a building has been unearthed that might be connected with the city and/or have religious connections to the idolatry there.

Archaeologists in Iraq find ancient complex near Ur, home of biblical Abraham
“British archaeologists have unearthed a sprawling complex near the ancient city of Ur in southern Iraq, home of the biblical Abraham. The structure, thought to be 4,000 years old, probably served as an administrative centre for Ur, around the time Abraham would have lived there before leaving for Canaan, according to the Bible. … “This is a breathtaking find,” Campbell said, because of its unusually large size — roughly the size of a soccer pitch, or about 80 metres on each side. The archaeologist said complexes of this size and age were rare.”

Genesis 11:27-28 says, “Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans”

Genesis 12:103 says, “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The ruins of Ur,
with the Ziggurat of Ur visible in the background. Wiki pic

The article says they found the complex near a partially reconstructed ziggurat of the Sumerians. “By 2000 BC Sumerians living in cities such as Ur and Uruk in southern Iraq had developed paved roads, the arch and vault, writing, schools, epic literature, law codes, banking, and even joint-stock corporations. All this occurred two thousand years before Cleopatra or Julius Caesar. … The Ziggurat at Ur, a massive stepped pyramid about 210 by 150 feet in size, is the most well-preserved monument from the remote age of the Sumerians. The ziggurat was part of a temple complex that served as an administrative center for the city… Construction of the ziggurat was completed in the 21st century BC by King Shulgi, during whose 48-year reign the city of Ur grew to be the capital of an empire controlling much of Mesopotamia. To win the allegiance of the many formerly independent cities he controlled, Shulgi proclaimed himself a god and became a great patron of the arts.” (source)

It was in that pagan civilization God called Abram. It was an advanced civilization existing 4000 years ago, but one that for all its advances, was nothing and would come to nothing because they did not know righteousness. He had revealed Himself personally before the flood and mightily during the flood and all descendants knew Him after the flood. However, some went the way of Cain, and departed from the presence of the LORD (Genesis 4:16, Jude 1:11).

Then they built temples to false gods and proclaimed themselves gods- as this website explains and is excerpted below.

“Construction of the ziggurat was completed in the 21st century BC by King Shulgi, during whose 48-year reign the city of Ur grew to be the capital of an empire controlling much of Mesopotamia. To win the allegiance of the many formerly independent cities he controlled, Shulgi proclaimed himself a god and became a great patron of the arts.” Photo- The Sumerian Ziggurat at Ur During Excavations. (source)

Abram lived in all that mess. I often wonder, why Abram? Why did Abram believe? Why did he leave, not knowing where he was going, (Hebrews 11:8) with such faith? Abram’s own father Terah worshiped idols! All of Babylon had been under the influence of the first dictator, Nimrod, and his towers to false idols and astrology and idol worship remained to Abram’s day. The pollution of unrighteousness had even grown tremendously. So why did Abram believe? I can only say that God is God and when he makes Himself known you cannot help but know His voice is the voice of the one and only God when you hear it. Abram/Abraham believed God!

“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

I just think that is all so amazing!

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Well-Preserved Wine-Making Facility Found in Southern Israel
“Antiquities Authority workers have discovered a well-preserved Byzantine era wine-making facility in southern Israel. The discovery, made during a construction project for a wedding hall, is one of the best preserved examples of an ancient wine-making facility from that era found so far in Israel. The wine-making facility includes a 100 meter tiled floor for crushing grapes, as well as a winepress. Below the wine-making floor are three large holes, where freshly produced grape juice would flow. The holes were well protected from dirt and pests, and there are several vats for the fermentation of the wine around the facility.”

“The owner of the facility was apparently Christian, archaeologists said, as the model of an as yet

unidentified Byzantine-era church was found at the site. The model is intricately made, with precisely carved crucifixes, decorations, and handles for the doors and windows. In addition to the wine-making facility, an almost perfectly preserved clay model of a church was also discovered. The find was discovered near Hamei Yoav, east of Ashkelon. Right, A ceramic lantern shaped like a miniature church, unearthed at Hamei Yoav in southern Israel (photo credit: Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority) source”

The facility would have been in use 1500 years ago.

I think it is exciting to see the well-preserved remnants of the daily life of our forefathers in the land of Jesus!

“And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia. (Revelation 14:20)

“Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” (Revelation 19:15)

Posted in abraham, end time, prophecy, remember lot's wife

Abraham’s altars and the lesson for us

Genesis is such an amazing book of the bible. In re-reading Genesis 12, I was again astounded by the depth and complexity of human history and our relationship with God. Gen. 12 is the famous chapter in which God called Abram (later name changed to Abraham) and made a significant promise:

I will make you a great nation; … I will bless those who bless you. And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:2a & 3a)

You can be sure that the promise of God is solid, and that we are seeing the curse of nations who curse Israel beginning before our eyes. In verse 7 of Genesis 12, “Then the LORD appeared to Abram,” God appeared to Abraham. In my interpretation he appeared as the Son (Jesus said in John 8:58,”Before Abraham was, I AM.” He was quoting God speaking to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:14). God appeared to Abram! Think on that for a moment. The El-Shaddai, the I AM, the ALMIGHTY, appeared to a man, walked with him, spoke to him, comforted him, and commanded him. It is a shuddering thought to ponder the gravity of those moments. That gravity was not lost on Abraham, who built altars to Him all over the Land wherever he went. Abraham did not build houses for himself, he built altars to God.

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.

Abraham built altars right away, to mark his obedience to the LORD, and to sacrifice and worship. When Abraham came back from Egypt, “to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the LORD.” (Gen. 13:3-4) which is another way of saying worship and sacrifice. When Abraham and Lot had separated and Abram moved to the region of Hebron, he “built an altar there to the Lord” (Gen. 13:18).

Abraham corresponded with the LORD by building altars for worship. Building an altar is an intentional, physical act. Worshiping on front of an altar is an intentional, physical act. When Abraham returned from Egypt, Abraham saw the altar he had originally made and ‘called on the name of the LORD’ in worship and thanks. In this case, the altar was a reminder of his relationship with the great I AM.

We do not need to build altars, but we do need to be as dedicated and as intentional as Abraham in our relationship with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. You note that when Abraham and Lot separated, there was no mention of Lot building an altar to the LORD. Lot was with Abraham when Abraham got the calling from God (Gen. 12:5) and was with Abraham throughout the blessing of his peoples’ increase. Lot saw God working in his family’s life. He reaped the blessings of Abraham’s obedience. But Lot did not build an altar. And from the biblical record we see how the distance between man and God can slowly grow when we fail to consistently correspond with the LORD. Lot crept toward Sodom, closer and closer he pitched his tent, until he was finally living inside the city with all its sin and perversity. Though the sins of the city grieved Lot greatly (2 Pet. 2:6-8) Lot did not build an altar. And in the end, Lot lost his city, his possessions, his family, his wife, (“Remember Lot’s wife” Luke 17:32) and sin fell upon his daughters, who lay with their father.

We do not build altars … but we pray. Our part of the correspondence between ourselves and God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is maintained through prayer, corporate worship, and fellowship in the body of the believers. Is your heart an altar to I AM? Do you pray constantly? Do you worship in faith and obedience, as Abraham did? No? Remember Lot’s wife. Jesus said:

Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife.

Build an altar of prayer in your life and you will be blessed by the presence of the I AM Himself!!!