Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Abraham, Israel, and the Goy:What's In A Name? Part 1

Genesis 11:
1Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth." 5And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech." 8So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

10 These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. 11And Shem lived after he fathered Arpachshad 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
12When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he fathered Shelah. 13And Arpachshad lived after he fathered Shelah 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
14When Shelah had lived 30 years, he fathered Eber. 15And Shelah lived after he fathered Eber 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
16When Eber had lived 34 years, he fathered Peleg. 17And Eber lived after he fathered Peleg 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
18When Peleg had lived 30 years, he fathered Reu. 19And Peleg lived after he fathered Reu 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
20When Reu had lived 32 years, he fathered Serug. 21And Reu lived after he fathered Serug 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
22When Serug had lived 30 years, he fathered Nahor. 23And Serug lived after he fathered Nahor 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
24When Nahor had lived 29 years, he fathered Terah. 25And Nahor lived after he fathered Terah 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
26When Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

27Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. 28Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.
31Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. 32The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.

Genesis 12:
1Now 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. 2 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. 3 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."

This entire section scripture contains some of the most important revelation given to us, and certainly these words are foundational in terms of understanding the unfolding of God's plan of restoration and salvation.

Genesis 12:1-3 has been used by many in reference to "eretz (the land of) Israel" of today. I disagree with that interpretation, and over the course of the next several posts I would like to go through the scriptures concerning jews, gentiles and the Israel of God.

It is very curious that Genesis 11 which begins with the story of the rebellion at Babel (Babylon) and the beginnings of the nations and cultures of the earth, and ends with Abraham and family being called out of Ur (Babylon) would have the lineage of Noah's son Shem placed right in the middle of it all.

As always the Lord has a reason for this. First we have this statement made by the men of Babel:

4Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth."

These men knew that if they succeeded in building this city and tower, they could stand in defiance of God, having made a name for themselves. They also understood that they would not be dispersed, since a dispersion would no longer serve a useful purpose, i.e. from the Lord's point of view,the damage would have been done. God brings a speedy end to their ambitions and disperses them throughout the earth, having first confused their common language, by turning their one tongue into many.

Immediately after this narrative, we have the recitation of Shem and his descendants, leading all the way to Terah and his three sons, one of which is Abram/Abraham.

Now I believe that the Lord has other things to show us other than the fact that Abraham being in the lineage of Shem puts him in the lineage of Jesus.

The word used as name in verse 4 which the men of Babel use as in "let us make a name...., is the word "Shem" which also happens to be the name of Noah's son.

an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character: -

This is also the word the Lord uses as He speaks to Abram/Abraham in Genesis 12:2

"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."

So we have men desiring to create a "shem", a distinctive name for themselves, but the Lord had already prepared the way through the descendants of Shem, in order that the honor of the "great name" would be given to Abraham, father of many nations. Only God can originate and bestow this great name. Man will never be allowed to make this name for himself.

As awesome as this is. it gets even better.

He will make a great nation of Abraham, also. Here is one of the most under-discussed facts found in scripture. The same word used as nation here, in relation to Abraham, is the word;

a foreign nation; hence a Gentile; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts: - Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

This "great nation" which is proclaimed by evangelicals today as the nation of Israel, is referred to here with the word which is commonly used for the gentiles, that is, non-jews.

The truth of the matter is that the word goy used some 550 times in the scriptures is applied as much to the nation state of Israel, as it is to the gentiles.

For example in Exodus 19:

"and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel."

compare this to:

1Peter 2:
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Peter is speaking to the church,which is both jew and gentile.
When God established His covenant with Abram, there was nothing known as Israel, and no people called jews, in existence. Abram was called a Hebrew (Genesis 14) but neither he, nor his descendants, called themselves by that name, which makes the letter to the "Hebrews" all the more compelling. (The word Hebrew roughly translated as "one from the other side, or from over there")
This parallels the fact that those in the early church did not refer to themselves as "christians", but were given that name by non-believers

Looking at the scriptures as a whole, and a not a book of "proof texts", the conclusion is that the Lord intended that Israel to be comprised all of those who come out of Babel/Babylon. like their father Abraham, be they jew or gentile. The Mosaic covenant was given to a people at Sinai, who were called to be a kingdom of priests, and failed in that the very day they received the Law.
Exodus 32

They failed as priests, and in keeping the Law.
The need for Christ was foreknown before time began; He being both the great high priest and the ultimate and final sacrifice. He also kept the law perfectly. His death and resurrection fulfill the covenant of Sinai.
The Law was given so that sin might be known.

Romans 5:
13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

Romans 7:
7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet."
8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.

Hebrews 2:
16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.
17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Rom 9:
7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named."
8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Matthew 5:
17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Acts 15: 7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us,
9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.
10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
Act 15:11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."

The people known as jews were called to a specific purpose.

Romans 3:
1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?
2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged."
5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)
6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world?
7 But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
8 And why not do evil that good may come?--as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.
9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;

However the original plan of God was to have a great nation created from every tribe tongue and nation. This is the promise given to Abraham. The promise that He would bless all who bless and curse all who dishonor was spoken directly to and specifically for Abraham. It applies to all who are his descendants.
We are the children of Abraham.

Eph 2:
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands--
12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.
18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Galatians 5:
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The wall of hostility is the Law!! The dwelling place of God, His living temple, is us, His body,His priests.

1Peter 2:
5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Israel, both jew and gentile is the children of Abraham, the called-out remnant of the goy.

Galatians 3:
21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.
22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.
24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,
26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Glory to God!

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