Torah portion: Genesis 18:1 – Genesis 22:24
A whole lot happens in this week’s portion of the scriptures:
- Abraham was sitting in front of his tent at the big trees of Mamre, when suddenly 3 men appeared to him. The LORD was 1 of them, my understanding that this person was Yeshua Ha’Mashiach also called Jesus Christ. The other 2 were later identified as angels. Abraham proves himself to be an excellent host and receives the LORD’s promise of a “Covenant Son” born from Sarah.
- The LORD informs Abraham of HIS eminent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham intercedes and negotiates the LORD down to sparing these 2 cities if 10 righteous people are found in them, but alas there wasn’t.
- The 2 angels entered Sodom (while the LORD was talking to Abraham), and overnight at Lot’s house. Dramatic vile events occur during the night and the angels impress on Lot to flee to the mountains as GOD’s destruction of the 2 terrible cities were imminent. Lot could save 6 souls, including himself – note that 6 people are less than 10, the number negotiated by Abraham. Of the 6 escapees of GOD’s wrath, 3 made it and 3 didn’t. Lot and his 2 daughters were saved. Lot’s wife famously turned back and became a salt pillar and the 2 young men who were engaged to Lot’s daughters declined the opportunity to be saved. The parallel between these events and Yeshua’s parable about the 10 bridesmaids are striking. The events also remind us of the flood, when GOD saved 8 souls and I believe teach us about the coming rapture before GOD’s wrath is poured out on all the earth and those who were seduced to serve the antichrist.
- The nations of Moab and Ammon are conceived.
- Abraham and Abimelech enter into a covenant regarding scarce water supply and Beer-Sheba.
- The events regarding the binding of Isaac follows, prophetically pointing to GOD’s SON and HIS “Meshiach Ben Joseph” role i.e. Yeshua’s ultimate sacrifice on Golgotha. The binding of Isaac might have caused Sarah’s death.
- In Abraham’s last years, he remarried (Keturah) and fathered another 6 sons.
Who was Abraham?
When Abram was born, Noah and Shem Ben Noah were still alive and from Shem, young Abram was taught an eye-witness account of the Flood. Ham’s grandson, Cush’s son Nimrod ruled the land. Nimrod was evil incarnate, a rebel against GOD as his name indicates. Nimrod build the Tower of Babel. Nimrod founded sun worship aka Zoroasterism, a Luciferian religion. Nimrod’s wife, Semiramis aka Ishtar the goddess of war and sexual love, was a great witch and worshipped as a female goddess through the centuries, presenting as “Maria” worship and “Easter” celebrations with bunnies and eggs in our day.
(After Esau killed Nimrod, Semiramis changed her name to Ishtar and married her own son, Tammuz)
Before Abram was born, Nimrod’s wizards told him that his nemesis was coming, to be born in Terah’s house. Nimrod planned to kill baby Abram as soon as he was born. In Terah’s household a female slave also was pregnant at the same time and her baby was born on the same night as Abram. Nimrod came to Terah’s house and seized the slave’s baby, believing that it was Abram. Nimrod personally strangled this new-born baby in his palace. These events was prophetically repeated some 500 years later by Pharaoh in Egypt and fulfilled by Herod in Beth-Lechem when he wanted to murder the Messiah.
Terah and baby Abram’s mother realised that Abram will not be safe at home, so that he was hidden in a cave (for 2 years?) and then send to Shem’s household to be raised. I have little doubt that Abram was brought to faith there.
Years later, grown-up Abram returned to Terah’s house. Terah was an idol-maker and while Terah went away on a business trip, Abram who managed the shop in his father’s absence famously smashed all the idols with a stick and placed the stick in the hands of the biggest idol. When Terah returned, he was furious. What happened? – He demanded from Abram. Abram said that the idols argued over food and the big one took a stick and smashed all the other idols. Terah responded that it was not true as these idols were not alive, they didn’t eat and cannot move. At which point Abram retorted that Terah’s own words convict him – he the idol-maker confessed that these idols were nothing but dead and dull statutes. Abram then testified about his unfaltering faith in Adonai.
Word of this reached Nimrod and he commanded an audience with Terah, Abram and Abram’s brothers Nahor and Haran (Haran was the father of Lot). Nimrod prepared a fiery furnace to burn Abram and the rest of the family if they confessed their faith in Adonai – events that was repeated in Babylon years later when Daniel’s friends were thrown into a similar furnace, and it also reminds us of the pyres used by the RCC during the middle-ages to burn anybody who questioned their false doctrine. Abram was thrown into the furnace and survived just like Daniel’s friends with not even the smell of fire on him. His brother Haran delayed his decision but after witnessing what happened to Abram, he also confessed his faith. Haran succumbed to the fire, which is why Abram adopted Lot. He was not saved from the fire, because he hesitated.
Abram’s brother Nahor survived these events and remained in the land of the Chaldeans. Nahor married Milcah and conceived Bethuel who fathered a.o. Laban, the father of Rachel and Leah.
After these dramatic events, GOD called Abram to “lech lecha”, to boldly go to the Promised Land. Abram took his father Terah and his nephew Lot with him and departed from Ur to Haran en-route to Canaan. They delayed in Haran and that is where Terah died. After Terah’s passing away, Abram, Sarai and Lot continued their trek.
Abram took possession of the Promised Land, but a drought and famine tested his faith. Yielding, Abram moved his party to Egypt and infamously and not for the last time either, denied that Sarai was his wife. Sarai must have been an exceptional beauty in-spite of her age as first the Pharaoh and later on Abimeleck, desired her as a wife. When Pharaoh fell in love with Sarai, she must have been about 66-67 years old, maybe slightly older. For Pharaoh unintended adultery, Egypt was struck by plagues as a foreshadow of what transgressed 5 centuries later in Moses’ days. Pharaoh’s return of Sarai to Abram was a clear signal for them to return to Canaan.
The move to Egypt also opened another pit of snakes in Abram’s life with lingering effect that endures to this day: Hagar, an Egyptian princess was given to Sarai as a slave. Pharaoh said that it will be better for her to be a slave in Abram’s house than being a princess in Egypt. We now know that later in Abram’s life, in another moment of little faith, Sarai convinced Abram to father Ismail with Hagar. Their family life and indeed all of humanity’s unfolding history has never been the same since. Whilst this son, is Abrahams’ first-born, he is and was not the son of the Covenant. Ismail’s descendants still demand what they perceive to be the right of the first-born and the resentment of Hagar towards Sarah and Isaac is as alive today as it has been when Sarah first demanded that Abraham expelled them.
Upon their arrival in the Promised Land, Abram gave the choice of grazing range to Lot. Lot chose the Southern plains and eventually settled in Sodom for reasons of personal safety. Abram ventured North and settled at Mamre. Before moving to Sodom, Lot got raided along with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by 5 kings coming from the East. As they captured Lot, Abram pursued them and liberated his nephew as well as all the other captives and the loot. This rescue most certainly placed both Abram and Lot on a good footing with these cities.
After the rescue, Abram met Melchizedek, the King of Salem. Melchizedek served Abram bread and wine, in the first ever recorded “communion” service. In response Abram gave a tithe to Melchizedek. These sacraments are with us to this day. It is loaded with meaning, and resulted in GOD changing Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah during an unconditional covenant made. Why unconditional? Because GOD alone passed through the Covenantal sacrifices. The onus to keep the Covenant rest on GOD alone, Abraham the beneficiary of the covenantal blessing was a passive participant. GOD chose Abraham based upon his faith. By faith alone Abraham got saved. By faith alone, we also receive the right to be brought into this Covenant of Grace as “adopted” children of Abraham.
We take courage from this as we often stumble in our faith. As was the case for Abram, our failures also have consequences. We are free to “choose”, but not free of the consequences. By GOD’s grace, neither Abram nor us, remain stuck there. Failures of faith can be turned into blessings by our Father’s loving hand. We can therefore take new encourage and resolve from the moments that we stumble and fail in our journey of faith, in that even “Avi Emunah” the father of faith, Abraham, had his very human moments of lacking. Chazak! Be strong. Hope. Trust. Just like Abraham and in NT times the Apostle Peter, we can grow spiritually from our failures and grow closer to our Yeshua, our Salvation in Jesus Christ. It is not long now before HE returns to take HIS bride to the place that HE prepared in HIS Father’s house.
The Promise of a Son – the battle of the wombs.
Sarai was barren, but desired to have a son for Abram. She made her own plan, she gave her slave Hagar to Abram as a second wife. Hagar became pregnant and despised Sarai.
Abram loved Sarai.
The strife and jealousy between the wives became vicious.
Sarai lost hope. GOD heard her silent cry and answered with a promise of a son. In Sarai’s special son, GOD’s promise that Abraham will be the father of nations is fulfilled. Isaac is the son of the Covenant. From Isaac’s loins the Messiah will be born. “In HIM all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
The historic account of Sarai Abram’s barren wife, locked in combat with Hagar the fertile one reminds of similar duels in the Bible:
- Rachel vs. Leah
Rachel was barren but desired to have a son, an heir for Jacob. Leah was fertile. Rachel’s plan was to give her slave Bilhah to Jacob and Leah followed the play with Zilpan.
Jacob loved Rachel.
The strife between the 2 sisters turned vicious.
Rachel cried out to GOD.
GOD answered Rachel’s prayer with a very special son, one who rose to be 2IC of Egypt, a position from which he saved his people. Joseph points us to the SON of GOD. Yeshua aka Jesus Christ came as a humble servant (Messiach Ben Joseph) and rose to an exalted position so that HE can save everybody who comes to HIM.
- Hannah vs. Peninnah,
Hannah was barren but desired a son for Elkana. Her plan was to give her slave, Peninnah to Elkana as a 2nd wife. Peninnah was fertile and had 10 children.
Elkana loved Hannah.
Penninah turned on Hannah with vicious taunts and teases.
Hannah cried out to GOD.
GOD answered Hannah’s prayer with a very special son, a judge and high priest in one, a figure pointing to the Promised SON, the Messiah. Samuel saved Israel from the Spiritual doldrums/drought experienced under Eli. Yeshua aka Jesus Christ saves us from our sin.
- Israel vs. the 70 nations.
Israel was barren, the smallest of all the nations. The nations were fertile and filled the earth.
GOD loved and still loves Israel.
The nations turned viciously against Israel in repeated attempts to exterminate the entire nation of Israel.
Through the ages, prophets, poets and kings cried out to GOD for a Mediator.
GOD answered Israel’s prayers with a very special SON, a Saviour a Judge a High Priest and the King of kings. Yeshua aka Jesus Christ saves HIS people from eternal damnation, HE sits on the right hand of GOD and will soon return to judge the world, HE is our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, HE is the King of kings, HE is worthy, HE is GOD.