Saturday, June 20, 2020

Verse off the Week: Genesis 12:3

Verse off the Week: Genesis 12:3

                And I will bless those who bless you;
                                And the one who curses you I will curse.
                                And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Genesis 12:3

And I will bless those who bless you;
                                And the one who curses you I will curse.
                                And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Genesis 12:3

And I- Complete sovereignty. If a nation or a person experiences blessing because of their attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people God is responsible for that blessing.

Bless…curse- Abraham’s relation to God was so close that to bless or curse him was, in effect, to bless or curse God. This remains true today and is a root reason for the decline and death of many empires. Barnhouse writes:

“When the Greeks overran Palestine (Israel) and desecrated the altar in the Jewish temple, they were soon conquered by Rome. When Rome killed Paul and many others, and destroyed Jerusalem under Titus, Rome soon fell. Spain was reduced to a fifth-rate nation after the Inquisition against the Jews; Poland fell after the pogroms; Hitler’s Germany went down after its orgies of ant-Semitism; Britain lost her empire when she broke her faith with Israel.”

Why has America been so blessed? Because of her treatment of the Jews. Because of the lack, though not totally, of anti-Semitism in American and their embrace of Jewish people God has blessed the nation. The United States was of the first modern nations to grant full citizenship and protection to Jewish people.

Will bless- So intimately is God concerned in having men take the proper attitude toward this prophet and servant of His that whoever wishes him well God will bless. God is so concerned with Abraham and the covenant people that whoever wishes them blessings will cause God to do well to them. Man wishes good, God imparts good.

Those- There will be many who cross Abraham’s path that will wish him well.
God’s promise to bless others because of Abraham was not an opportunity for Abraham to demonstrate how great he was. This was given to Abraham to that through God he might help others. His high regard by God would be a great motivator for him in this actions and care of others.

When we think of the Church today, we forget that the reason God has given us blessings not for our own personal comfort and enjoyment. We have a great privilege today to be the carriers of His Word. Only we have been commanded to go into the whole world and present the gospel of Jesus Christ to a dying world. But we have a great responsibility to make this proclamation. We encounter many people from all walks of life and it is our duty to bring them the Word.

Who bless you- This is a promise for those who do good to Abraham and to his posterity.

The one- divine grace presupposes that there will not be many that wish this friend of God ill.  

Who curses you- The Hebrew uses two words for curse-

1.       ‘arar God’s judicial cursing. Other related words to ‘arar include “lie in wait, lion, to ambush.” Many of the nations would wait, they were more powerful and could attack when they wanted. They did not have anything to fear from little Israel and could use them as they wished. When they would attack, they would discover Israel pouncing like a lion. The Six-Day War was such a case. God is there to protect those who would curse Israel and protect them at all times.

2.       Galal for man’s injudicious or blasphemous cursing that will lead to being humbled, made little, humiliated, or diminished.  This is what we would see in what happened to Nazi Germany in World War II. Because of the persecution of the Jews they not only lost their territory but they were conquered and their homeland was split in two.

This is the person who degrades or despises Abraham and his posterity. Those who would curse Abraham would in this act reveal their insensitivity to God. By acting in such a manner, they demonstrate a conspicuous absence of love and honor to God. Because of these actions they will find themselves the objects of God’s wrath.

The idea conveyed here is that to curse Abraham is almost the equivalent of cursing God.

Curse- This is God’s judicial curse and would affect anyone who would treat him lightly.

In you- Not only was Abraham promised blessing from God, God also promised that Abraham would become a blessing. This promised blessing was not for the Jewish nation only but for the entire scope of mankind.

All the families- Jew and Gentile, who will be blessed by Abraham and his seed. This blessing is so great that it will extend to the entire earth.

This is the first allusion to the fact that blessing would not be limited to just the Jewish nation. God had a plan for all people who were born into the world. This should lead them to a realization that this first was given to the Jewish nation and then spread out to the Gentile population.

History is the outworking of this covenant through the nation of Israel. What we read about what God’s actions through Abraham will seep through mankind.

Martin Luther wrote concerning this promise that “in your all the families shall be blessed” should be written:

“…in golden letters and should be extolled in the languages of all the people…” for “who else…has dispensed this blessing among all nations except the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ?”

Even in the darkest times on planet Earth we see the promise of Gentiles being blessed by this promise in the Tribulation:

                                And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy art Thou to take the book and to bread its seals; for Thou wast slain and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9

And then in the midst of the most horrible time to be a believer:

After these things I looked and behold, a great multitude,[1] which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; Revelation 7:9

Of the earth- The justification of uncircumcised Gentiles was anticipated in the universal aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant.

Shall be blessed- When we look at the blessing that God has given, what do we find that has affected all that have ever lived? Only the promises of the coming Messiah. When Abraham was given this promise very little was known of the coming Messiah. Over the centuries more would be added to the Messianic prophecies. This word is definitely Messianic and determines that the Messiah is to emerge from the line of Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob, through the tribe of Judah.

When the time was right, according to God’s promise, this promise was fulfilled in the coming of Abraham’s seed, Jesus Christ:

And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” Galatians 3:8
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.[2] He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. Galatians 3:16

This promise takes on its greatest fulfillment in the fact that Jesus Christ became the means of blessing to the world.

[1] A great multitude- This multitude is composed of many racial and geographic groups who will be redeemed during the tribulation period (v. 14). In these difficult days, many will find Christ as Savior.
[2] Seed- Since Paul’s argument here is based on the singular form of the word in the Old Testament (Genesis 22:17, 18), he must have believed in the accuracy of the very words of Scripture.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Revelation 11

A verse-by-verse study of Revelation 11. John describes for us the ministry and translation of the two witnesses from God. At the end the seventh trumpet is sounded and the heavens prepare for the coming kingdom.

Revelation 11:1-3

Revelation 11:4-19

Verse of the Week: Genesis 12:2
                And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you will be a blessing; Genesis 12:2

The inter-relationship of the eternal, gracious, covenants of God with Israel might be graphically set forth in the following manner:[1]

The general, basic covenant with Abraham
The Other Covenants
1. The promise of a national land.
Genesis 12:1
               13:14-15, 17
1. The Land (many times called the Palestinian Covenant) Covenant gave Israel assurance of final, permanent restoration to the land.
Deuteronomy 30:3-5
Ezekiel 20:33-37. 42-44

2. The promise of redemption, national and universal.
Genesis 12:3
Galatians 3:16
2. The New Covenant has particularly to do with Israel’s spiritual blessing and redemption.
Jeremiah 31:31-40
Hebrews 8:6-13, etc.

3. The promise of numerous descendants to form a great nation.
Genesis 12:2
               17:2-6, etc.
3. The Davidic Covenant has to do with promises of dynasty, nation, and throne
II Samuel 7:11, 13, 16
Jeremiah 33:20, 21

And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you will be a blessing; Genesis 12:2

And I…And I- A sovereignty statement concerning God. It is not Abraham who will make all of this happen. It will be God. In all aspects that is noted in the passage it is not an achievement of Abraham, but a divinely wrought favor.

Make you- This will be a work of God. Though instructions will be given to the leaders of the Jewish nation it will be God who make the nation happen and will be the One who preserves the nation. Since this will be a work of God it will “great” in every sense.

A great nation- When God made this promise, Abraham had no son. God makes this great promise at a time when it was impossible for any nation to come from Abram. This promise would entail not just a son but grandchildren, great grandchildren and so forth. It would entail enough descendants to populate a nation.

The “nation” is in reference to the Jewish nation. Or the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Typically, “goy” is used of heathen nations, however this is one of the few times that the word is used to describe Israel.

Great- There are two realms that “greatness” envelopes. The first is the nation itself. The many accomplishments of the tiny Jewish nation, apart from giving us the Scriptures and the Messiah, contribute to their greatness. The second would be with Abraham himself and what he means for Jews and Christians.

This word does not imply great numbers as many in the secular culture would translate the word. This is written with the idea of true greatness in every sense. The influence of Israel today is seen in that when they move an inch the world trembles. Their influence in today’s world is felt in all areas of life. Some modern-day inventions that have impacted us positively include:

1.       Smart drip and micro-irrigation, starting from the idea of Israeli engineer Simcha Blass for releasing water in controlled, slow drips to provide precise crop irrigation. 
2.       The world’s first solar window, which combines energy efficiency, power generation and transparency. 
3.       BabySense, a non-touch, no-radiation device designed to prevent crib death. The device monitors a baby’s breathing and movements through the mattress during sleep. An auditory and visual alarm is activated if breathing ceases for more than 20 seconds or if breath rate slows to less than 10 breaths per minute.
4.       A low-cost alternative to silicon that generates significantly more electricity than leading silicon-based PV solar modules at a lower cost per kilowatt hour.

This is just a few of the many inventions that Jewish inventors have created that make our life easier. To see a more exhaustive list, though by no means everything, here is a link:

And if you would like to explore Israeli medical innovations:

The Jewish people represent less than .02% of the world’s population yet they achieved the following in Nobel prizes:
                Chemistry 21% awarded
                Physics 26% awarded
                Physiology/Medicine 27% awarded
                Economics 37% awarded

Bless you- This refers to primarily to Abram. However, because of Abram’s faithfulness, and the descendants that will come from him, the blessing God promised encompasses all of us because of the work of his descendants.

What does it mean to be blessed? For Abraham it was due to the gracious working of God in all things.  Because God is in charge of all things, they will go well for Abram. All that Abram undertook, and eventually his descendants, thrive and are successful.

Today, for believers in Christ, we have this promise made to us in our spiritual lives

Make your name- The second realm of greatness comes from the man Abraham. His name is his character, his attributes, what makes him what he is.

There is probably not a person more honored in history that Abram. He is honored by Christians:

Abraham is one of the most important figures in the New Testament. Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy back to him (Matt 1:17). Faithful Jews are called “sons” or “daughters” of Abraham (Luke 13:16, Luke 19:9). A summary of his accomplishments occurs in Acts 7 and Heb 11, and two incidents stand out. First, he was willing to leave his own country and trust God to lead him to a new one. Second, be believed God could make him the father of many nations, even though his wife Sarah could not have children. Indeed, James thinks his faith was so great that he would have offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice if that was what God wanted (Jas 2:21). Fortunately, it wasn’t (see Gen 22).[2]  


Our father Abraham observed the entire Torah before it was given to Israel, as it is written (Genesis 26:5) "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and my laws" (Mishnah, end of Kiddushin).

and Muslims:

"When his Lord said to him, ‘Submit [to My will],’ he [Abraham] responded, ‘I submit to the Lord of all worlds,’ and Abraham instructed his sons to do the same, as did Jacob, [saying], ‘My sons, God has chosen for you this faith; so do not die except in [a state of full] submission.  ’ Were you [Jews] there to see when death came upon Jacob? When he said to his sons, ‘What will you worship after I am gone?’ They replied, ‘We will [continue to] worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac—the One God.  And we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.’ That community passed away.  What they earned belongs to them, and what you earn belongs to you.  And you will not be accountable for their deeds.  They say, ‘Become Jews or Christians, and you will be rightly guided.’ Say [O Prophet], ‘No!  We follow the faith of Abraham, the upright—who was not a polytheist.’" (Quran 2:131-135)

This promise was also fulfilled in Abraham’s temporal blessings:

                                Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. Genesis 13:2

       And the LORD has greatly blessed my master [Abraham], so that he has become           very rich; and He has given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and                    servants and maids, and camels and donkeys. Genesis 24:35

Abraham’s spiritual blessings:

Now it came about at that time, that Abimelech[3] and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do; Genesis 21:22

And fame:

“Hear us, my lord, you are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our graves; none of us will refuse you his grave for burying your dead.” Genesis 23:6

“But you, Israel, My servant,[4]
                Jacob whom I have chosen,
                Descendant of Abraham My friend, Isaiah 41:8

The descriptions of Abram detail how his name as great (unless noted differently all passages are in Genesis):

1.       Father of a multitude (17:5)
2.       Man in God’s confidence (18:17-19))
3.       Prophet (20:7)
4.       Servant of God (Psalm 105:6)
5.       Friend of God (2 Chronicles 20:7)
6.       Prince of God (23:6)

And so- Because of what I am doing for you.

You will be- In the analysis of all that is written in this verse the only conclusion we can come to is that God is the One who makes Abram a blessing unto others.
This also conveys a moral responsibility that is demanded upon Abram. He should live a life that others are blessed by it.  

A blessing- Literally, a blessing, a certain consequence of God’s blessing. 

[1] Things to Come, J. Dwight Pentecost, pp 71-72
[3] Abimelech, though militarily and politically superior, recognized God’s protection of Abraham and desired an amicable relationship with him.
[4] In this passage the servant is the nation Israel (as also 43:10-10; 44:1-8, 21; 45:4; 48:20); in other passages it is an individual whom the New Testament identifies as Jesus Christ (42:1-12; chap. 49; 50:4-6; 52:13-53:12; cf. Acts 8:28-35).

Psalm 5

A verse-by-verse study of Psalm 5. David's morning prayer calling out to God for protection and guidance.

Psalm 5

2 Peter 2:14-22