Tag Archives: Promised Land

Is there faith enough to dare to speak about Jesus and his God?

A born-again believer and follower of Jesus asks “Where is your faith?” and looks at the Nazarene master teacher who, according to him, did not have fear (though in the four gospels you’ll notice there were moments that Jesus had a lot of fear and even came to call unto his heavenly Father asking why He had abandoned him.) But looking at the other moments of his life it is true we can find a person who has given himself totally in the hands of his heavenly Father. Even when he was so afraid he asked his God to make him strong enough to be able to do the Will of Him.

Jesus was not afraid to give himself in the hands of his God, the God of Israel. His fear for that God meant he respected the power that God had over him. As a sign of his respect, Jesus did everything to please his heavenly Father, Whom he recognised to be greater than him. He knew he could not do anything without this Great God Who has all the Power.

Charlotte Creamer on her blog writes:

As followers of Jesus, we also have the same capacity to live as fearlessly as Jesus did while on Earth. But what made Jesus so fearless? What enabled him to live his life without fear of anyone or anything?

The answer is rooted in Jesus’ complete faith and trust in God, and in his understanding of God’s Kingdom on Earth. As soon as Jesus came out as the Messiah – the king of the Jews – the Kingdom was established. Jesus knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was under the protection of God’s Holy Spirit and holy angels while he was in the Kingdom. This was the safe place promised by God to his people: No physical or spiritual harm can come to those who live in the spiritual Promised Land. The physical protection lasts until it’s time to go home (when it’s removed to enable physical death), but the spiritual protection remains as long as the person being protected is in right-standing with God. {Where is your faith?}

When people have enough faith in a certain matter, they are not afraid of it. The same for Jesus. He fully trusted the One who had sent him here on earth. He knew that he had to fulfil a task, but trusted his heavenly father for providing the means to succeed. By the authority of God Jesus spoke and acted in the midst of people who were curious to see that miracle worker, but who were also interested to hear what that man had to tell about the one many prophets had spoken. Even when they saw that there were several people not liking him, they were not afraid to be around him. (This at least until the moment he was imprisoned, because than the fear caught many who were close to Christ.)

 

What about today?

Have you become afraid to talk about Jesus and his God?

Do you dare to speak about Jesus and his heavenly Father, the Only One true God?

Charlotte Creamer writes:

Faith is the opposite of fear. If you have faith in God, then you know God’s Kingdom has been established on Earth, with Jesus as King. If you know the Kingdom has been established and that Jesus is your king, then you know you are protected both physically and spiritually. This should give you the same level of fearlessness that Jesus had while on Earth.

So, if you find yourself being afraid of anyone or anything in this Age of Fear, ask yourself “Where is your Faith?” Then do everything you can to deepen your faith and trust in God and get a better understanding of his Kingdom. {Where is your faith?}

8 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

12 Verses: Where Is the Promised Land? and 4 Other Questions

In Genesis 12, God promised Abram:

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. (2–3)

God also promised Abraham a particular piece of real estate. It would be from this land God would make good on his words in Genesis 12, to multiply Abraham’s offspring “as the stars of heaven” and bless all nations of the earth (Gen 26:4).

Here are 12 Bible passages that will help you explore the location of the promised land, when it was first promised in the Bible, to whom it was given and for how long, what piece of property was promised, and who ultimately owns the land.

Where in the Bible is the land first promised to Abraham?

Genesis 12:7
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”

To whom did God confirm his land covenant, in addition to Abraham?

Genesis 26:2–3
And the Lord appeared to [Abraham] and said . . . “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring* I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.”

Genesis 28:12–13
And [Jacob] dreamed . . . And behold, the Lord . . . said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.”

Genesis 35:9, 11–12
God appeared to Jacob again . . . and God said to him, . . . “The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring.”

Genesis 48:3–4
Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’”

Genesis 50:24
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Where is the promised land?

Genesis 15:18
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”

Exodus 23:31 (see also Numbers 34:1–12)
And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates, for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.

How long did God give the land to Abraham and his descendants?

Genesis 13:15
All the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.

1 Chronicles 16:14–18
Remember his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, as your portion for an inheritance.”

Genesis 17:8
I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.

Who owns the land, ultimately?

Leviticus 25:1–2, 23
The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them . . . The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine.”

***

*Emphasis is the author’s throughout.

1 Comment

Filed under Quotations from Holy Scriptures, Religious affairs

The Exodus Story: History or Myth?

A biblical scholar reviews the historical claims of the biblical book of Exodus.

The Book of Genesis ends with the story of Jacob going down to Egypt with his family. The first chapter of Exodus tells how the 70 members of Jacob’s s clan evolved into a large people, cruelly enslaved by the kings of Egypt. The enslavement is presented in the Bible as a crucible that forged the nation of Israel. Oppressed for several centuries, the Hebrews suffered until Moses, of the tribe of Levi, brought up in Pharaoh’s household, led them to freedom in the name of God, an omnipotent deity unknown to the Hebrews prior to their liberation.

The Exodus Narrative

File:Karolingischer Buchmaler um 840 002.jpg

Moses empfängt die Gesetzestafeln – Karolingischer Buchmaler

The story of the Exodus is related in a few dramatic chapters: 600,000 men left Egypt on a long trek to freedom. God punished their enemies (the ten plagues of Egypt), drowned Pharaoh’s army with its chariots and cavalry in the Red Sea, and brought them to Mount Sinai where they witnessed the revelation and received the DecalogueGod’s commandments to his people.

The First Commandment is the essence of Jewish monotheism:

“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus, 20:2‑3).

By the time they reached the frontiers of Canaan after forty years in the desert, the Israelites had become a strong, united nation, and were ready to conquer the Promised Land.

Is Exodus History?

The historical validity of this narrative is controversial. Some scholars stress the lack of Egyptian evidence testifying to the enslavement of the Israelites, pointing out that very little Egyptian influence is discernible in biblical literature and in ancient Hebrew culture. Other scholars, how­ever, claim that it is highly improbable that a nation would choose to invent for itself a history of slavery as an explanation of its origins. If such a tradition exists, it must reflect an historical truth.

Were the Israelites Slaves?

Statue of Akhenaten in the early Amarna style.

Statue of Akhenaten in the early Amarna style.

There is no doubt that slavery played a major role in the structure of the Egyptian state. It is also true that some form of single‑god worship was introduced into Egypt by Akenaton in the middle of the fourteenth century B.C.E., and this may have been a source for Jewish monotheism. Finally, the reign of Ramses II (1290-1212 B.C.E.), known for its costly wars and vast building enterprises, may well have been the era of cruel oppression described in Exodus.

But the only contemporary Egyptian source which actually mentions Israel is the stela (pillar with inscription) of King Merneptah from the fifth year of his reign (1207 B.C.E.), recording among his many victories:

“Carved off is Ashkelon, seized upon in Gezer…Israel is laid waste, his seed no more.”

This inscription implies that an entity named Israel existed in Canaan at the time, yet it is difficult to determine precisely what it was. One thing, however, may be regarded as certain: if the Israelites indeed emerged out of Egypt, their migration took place before the end of the 13th century B.C.E.

Explaining the Passover Miracles

This single fact, however, does not resolve the enigma. Obviously, the orthodox tradition accepts the biblical account literally, despite all the miracles it describes. There are scholars who seek to explain the miraculous events in rational and natural terms. They refer to ancient disasters which befell Egypt – floods, drought, slave rebellions, and invasions. Could these not be the ten plagues of Egypt? And the drown­ing of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea – can it not be explained by the ebb ­and flow of the marshes between the Nile and the Sinai Desert?

Problems and Contradictions in Exodus

Ipuwer Papyrus (officially Papyrus Leiden I 344 recto) – often put forward in popular literature as confirmation of the Biblical account, most notably because of its statement that “the river is blood” and its frequent references to servants running away, but these arguments ignore the many points on which Ipuwer contradicts Exodus, such as the fact that its Asiatics are arriving in Egypt rather than leaving, and the likelihood that the “river is blood” phrase may refer to the red sediment colouring the Nile during disastrous floods, or may simply be a poetic image of turmoil.

Other scholars, however, totally reject the historical validity of Exodus. The story of Ipu‑wer, they say, describes the anarchy in Egypt at the end of the third millennium B.C.E. and has no bearing on the biblical story; and 600,000 men (“not counting dependents”) means that approximately two million Hebrews left Egypt– is it possible that such a vast emigration left no trace in Egyptian sources? The biblical narrative, they point out, is full contradictions concerning the topography and the sequence of events – a feature typical of folktales, not of historical texts.

Intermediate Theories about Exodus

Between the two opposing views there are several intermediary theories. One hypothesis is that the Israelites left Egypt in two waves, and that by the time the second wave departed – in the middle of the thirteenth century – the first group had already settled in the land of Canaan, mostly around the town of Shechem in Samaria. Another possibility is that there was no organized mass emigration, but rather a constant flow of thousands of people from different Semitic tribes who left Egypt, roamed the desert, slowly infiltrating the land of Canaan where they eventually formed a single nation.

+

Preceding articles

Adar 6, Matan Torah remembering the giving of Torah

The smaller the miracle the greater the wonder

Commemorating the escape from slavery

Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter

The Best Bedtime Stories

++

Additional reading

  1. Today’s thought “God spoke all these words” (February 15)
  2. Today’s thought “Ability to see that God is not dead” (May 12)
  3. 14 Nisan a day to remember #5 The Day to celebrate
  4. Most important weekend of the year 2016
  5. 1,500 to 1,700 years old Chiselled tablet with commandments sold at auction

+++

Related

  1. Reading the Jacob story as a prequel
  2. Out of Egypt
  3. Passover celebrates freedom to worship
  4. A Seder Supplement for Passover 5778: “The 10 Sacred Acts of Liberation”
  5. 10 Things You Should Know About the Exodus
  6. Exodus 14: Making Pharaoh Obstinate
  7. The Book of Exodus, Chapter 34
  8. The Book of Exodus, Chapter 35
  9. #36 – The Ten Commandments [Part 2] (Exodus 20b)
  10. The Leaven of Bitterness
  11. Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Exodus redux

2 Comments

Filed under History, Religious affairs

To turn the world into a “vessel” receptive of God

At the end of the first weekly Shabbat of the seven weekly Shabbats, in between firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks the close friends of rabbi Jeshua had the shock of their life, having come to hear that their beloved master who was killed at the stake, now had disappeared from the grave. From the heavenly malach they heard that יהושע {Jeshua} was risen form the dead. Later they also had come to see him again, him also showing his wounds to proof to them he was not a ghost or spirit. Them knowing that God is a Spirit, came to hear from their beloved master teacher that he (Jeshua) was going back to Him and they saw him lifted in the air. When the moed of Shavuot was fully counted by the omer, they were all with one accord in one place. The talmidim knew they had to continue to study Torah and remember those Fifty days after Pesach and remembering how the Most High had revealed Himself and given the mitzvot to Moshe so that he could deliver them to the People of God.

For the talmidim and us it might be not a negligible fact that on the day of the revelation at Sinai they also remembered the death of of King David and the death of the successor of King David, the risen King of kings, from King David’s Tribe, the son of man and son of God, יהושע {Jeshua} (Jesus Christ). Their master had revealed the Words of God and made the mitzvot clear, so that they too could go into the world and explain them.

Today we remember that the entire people of Israel (600,000 heads of households and their families), as well as the souls of all future generations of Jews, heard God declare the first two of the Ten Commandments and witnessed God’s communication of the other eight through Moses. Following the revelation, Moses ascended the mountain for 40 days, to receive the remainder of the Torah from God.

At Sinai, the Elohim  rescinded the “decree” and “divide” (gezeirah) that had been in force since the 2nd day of creation separating the spiritual and the physical into two hermetic worlds; from this point on,

“the higher realms could descend into the lower realms, and the lower could ascend to the higher.”

Thus was born the “mitzvah” — a physical deed that, by virtue of the fact that it is commanded by God, brings Godliness into the physical world.

The deaths of two of the greatest figures in history serves as a reminder to us that revelation was not just a moment but a continuing process; that new faces of the infinitely meaningful Torah have always been revealed at the critical moments of our religious development; and that Sinai posed an immense challenge to the Jewish people to which we continue to try to rise.

English: King David, second king of Israel

English: King David, second king of Israel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David, a descendent of Judah the son of Jacob as well as of Ruth, a Moabite convert to Judaism, was anointed King of Israel by Samuel in 878 BCE. All future legitimate kings of Israel were David’s descendants. Mankind was told it would be from him that the Moshiach or the messiah, would come, who will “restore the kingdom of David to its glory of old.”

These two figures stand at key points in the development of this response, and thus have a special relationship to Shavuot.

“lower (worlds) shall ascend to the higher, and the higher descend to the low.”

It is significant that though the Midrash quotes God as saying

“I shall take the initiative,”

and though the descent of God in fact preceded Moses’ going up, it still mentions the ascent of the lower worlds before the descent of the higher. This is because the ascent of the low was the ultimate purpose of the giving of the Torah, and the ultimate purpose is the last tobe realized. Though Moses’ ascent came after God’s descent, it was nonetheless of great importance. God’s initiating step was needed beforehand, before man could rise to meet Him.

Only by the liberation of the people from slavery man could become a free person able to aim for the promised Land and preparing themselves for entering the Kingdom of God. That entrance also made possible for the goy, they now also liberated from the curse of death like all people became liberated from death by the death of the descendant of King David, the long awaited Messiah, Jeshua who by the allowance of the Most High God, may now be seated next to God to be a mediator between God and man.

The Elohim had come down to the world to give His Word, in two senses, the stone tablet and the fulfilment of His promise in the Gan Eden, when man had rebelled against God. That Word spoken in that Royal Garden had become in the flesh and the talmidin had been close to it, feeling how it brought in them the Word also to live.

Like in the time of Moshe the effect of the giving of the Word was felt within the world, now that Word given also would have its effect unto many generations still coming after the talmidin.

The Midrash may say

“No bird called, no bird flew” and “the voice which came from G-d had no echo”

because it was absorbed into the very texture of the world. But from the Shavuot 30 CE change came over the world, several disciples of rabbi Jeshua having shaken by the sound from the shamayim as of a groaning Ruach, which  filled all the Bayit where those scaredy-cats had taken their refuge.

For those talmidin it was now clear that the Torah was no longer “in heaven,” but that the Word of God had descended to earth. For that reason, grasping that the world could face a new world, the beloved disciple of Jeshua, the apostle Jochanan (John)wrote about the word having come in the flesh.

John 1:1-5 OJB
Besuras Hageulah According to Yochanan

Bereshis (in the Beginning) was the Dvar Hashem [Yeshayah 55:11; Bereshis 1:1], and the Dvar Hashem was agav (along with) Hashem [Mishle 8:30; 30:4], and the Dvar Hashem was nothing less, by nature, than Elohim! [Psa 56:11(10); Yn 17:5; Rev. 19:13]  (2)  Bereshis (in the Beginning) this Dvar Hashem was with Hashem [Prov 8:30].  (3)  All things through him came to be, and without him came to be not one thing which came into being. [Ps 33:6,9; Prov 30:4]  (4)  In him was Chayyim (Life) and the Chayyim (Life) was the Ohr (Light) of Bnei Adam. [Tehillim 36:10 (9)]  (5)  And the Ohr shines in the choshech [Tehillim 18:28], and the choshech did not grasp it. [Yeshayah 9:1]

There had been man like the baptiser John who tried to shed light, but the true light that could enlighten everyone was his cousin who came into the world by the Ruach of the Most High, but the talmidin could be witnesses that the world did not recognize him who was sent by God.

Moshe had received the stone tablets and given them to the people, who took a very long time to come to make out why they had to follow those mitzvot and how they had to follow them.

Only afterwards did the work begin of refining, sanctifying and raising the world in spiritual ascent. This was the worship of the Jewish people, to turn the world into a “vessel” receptive of God. The possibility of this achievement was created at Sinai; the actuality began later.

Just as the descent of God to the world began with Abraham and culminated in Moses, so the ascent of the world to God began after the giving of the Torah and reached its climax in the wise kings David and Shlomo (Solomon), his son, who in building the Temple took the Jewish people to a new apex in their upward climb to God. In line with the great kings the world received a high-priest who would not only be king of the United Monarchy, with the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah, but of the whole world with its seven continents (Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Oceania).

With the advent of David came two new developments. Firstly, he was the first king to rule over the whole of Israel (unlike Saul, who according to the Midrash {Bamidbar Rabbah, ch. 4.} did not rule over the tribe of Judah), and the dynasty was entrusted to him in perpetuity:

“The kingship shall never be removed from the seed of David.’ {1 Chronicles 29:2 ff.)

Jeshua being that seed has now taken over the dominion. the apostle John and his comrades could see that now the time for a special kind of monarchy had entered this system of things. Through the intermediary of kingship, Israel has an obedience to God which is both total and extending to every aspect of their being. Now the Kingdom of Israel shall have to come to witness their new king for ever. Though the world shall not want to recognise this sent one from God, many objecting such a position to a person who was once a man of flesh and blood. (Lots of Christians still take him as being their god and want to believe Jesus is God.) They all shall have to come to accept Jesus to be the mediator between God and man and the High Priest in the order of Melchisedec.

Thus we can see the difference between the acceptance of the Torah at Sinai and the obedience to God involved in the idea of Kingship, which David initiated and with the kingship of this King of kings, the sent one from God. The revelation at Sinai was an act of God:

“I shall take the initiative.”

It did not come from within the hearts of the people. And so it did not affect their whole being absolutely. But kingship does come from the people — their obedience is the source of the king’s authority. David’s reign signifies a new phenomenon: The voluntary, inward acceptance by the people of an absolute authority over them.

Ever since the Torah was given, the world was given a possibility to come into unity with God. Jeshua being revealed from above should be the eye opener for the world, him being the way to God, and the one who explained how we have to interpret the Law of God.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe urged that all children — including infants — should be brought to the synagogue on the 1st day of Shavuot to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments in re-enactment of the Giving of the Torah at Sinai. Our sages relate that when God came to give the Torah to the people of Israel, He asked for a guarantee that that they will not forsake it.

“The heaven and the earth shall be our guarantors,”

said the Jews, but God replied that

“they will not last forever.”

To this the people replied

“Our fathers will guarantee it,”

But the Elohim said that

“they are busy.”

It was only when we promised that

“our children will guarantee it”

that God agreed,

“These are excellent guarantors.”

therefore we should make sure that our children do come to hear the mitzvot and shall have the Word of God imprinted in their hearts.

+

Preceding articles

Looking at the time when the Torah was given

Elul Observances

9 Adar and bickering or loving followers of the Torah preparing for Pesach

++

Additional reading

  1. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  2. Jesus is risen
  3. Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition Matthew Chapter 28
  4. The Acts Of The Sent Ones Chapter 2
  5. Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 v1-13 Working Spirit
  6. Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2
  7. For those who believe Jesus is God
  8. God’s salvation
  9. Jesus Messiah

+++

Further reading

Text of Book of Ruth and its connection to Shavuot

13 Comments

Filed under Knowledge & Wisdom, Religious affairs, World affairs