Posts Tagged ‘Abraham’

The Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot

“The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days.  The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work.  For seven days present food offerings to the LORD, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the LORD. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work” (Leviticus 23:33-36). 

The Feast of Tabernacles is the last of the seven ‘’appointed time’s’ given to God’s people.  In Hebrew, the Feast of Tabernacles is sukkot meaning ‘shelters or booths.’ Sukkot is the eight-day fall festival of ingathering that follows the solemn days of awe and the Day of Atonement.  It is known as the ‘season of our joy’ when everyone dances with lulavs and builds temporary shelters with roofs made from branches of trees.  Like the other fall festivals, the Feast of Tabernacles has yet to be fulfilled by Messiah.  Its shadow contains the vision of the coming Millennial Kingdom when Yeshua will once again tabernacle with Israel and the nations in Jerusalem.   The culmination of the Feast of Tabernacles will occur in eternity when there is a new heavens, new earth and the New Jerusalem where Yahweh will sit on His throne and dwell with His people.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Booth or Sukkah, the singular of sukkot – סכה

Samech ס – A Prop means ‘to support and protect’

Kaf כ – An Open Palm means ‘to allow, to open’

Hey ה – A Window means ‘to reveal’

The Hebrew word picture for sukkah: A protection allowing revelation.

Abraham’s Faith

Abraham’s Tent

“By faith he [Abraham] made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country;  he lived in tents as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:9-10).

Abraham was called a friend of God because he believed God and had faith in God’s promises to make him a great nation through a promised seed.  Though he had to live in a tent in this world, he had the hope of an eternal city built by God, the New Jerusalem.

Jacob’s Sukkah

Jacob at Succot

“Jacob went on to Sukkoth, where he built himself a house and put up shelters for his animals.  This is why the place is called Sukkoth (shelters)” (Genesis 33:17).

When the Israelites left Egypt, their first stop on their way to Mount Sinai was Takut, the Egyptian name for Sukkoth.   Hundreds of years earlier, Jacob, whose name had been changed to Israel,  stopped at this exact place after he reunited with his brother Esau.  He built ‘temporary dwellings’ for his family and livestock and called it Sukkoth.

Sukkot

“You are to live in sukkot for seven days … so that generation after generation of you will know that I made the children of Israel live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 23:42).

In the LORD’s command for the Feast of Tabernacles, the Israelites  were to live in sukkot as a reminder of the 40 years they traveled in the wilderness and lived in temporary shelters. Throughout their generations, the nation of Israel (specifically the Jewish people) have built  sukkot no matter where they have lived.

Sukkah

A sukkah can be built in a yard or on a porch or balcony.  It generally has three walls with all or part of its roof open to the sky.  Any roof covering is usually branches from trees.  Lights may be hung in the    sukkah along with interior decorations such as pictures, flowers, leaves or fruit.Some families line the interior walls with white in order to remember the ‘clouds of Glory’ that appeared over like a sukkah them as they traveled  in the desert.  For seven days the sukkah, the personal or family dwelling place,is used for eating, sleeping and inviting special guests for the season of joy. 

The Lulav

“On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD for seven days each year” (Leviticus 23:40-42). 

Rejoicing with the Lulav

On the first day of Sukkot, branches from palms, willows and myrtles along with a large fragrant citrus fruit called the etrog are bound together in what is called the lulav or the Four Species representing the nations of the world.   On each day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the lulav is waved facing north, south, east and west while proclaiming the coming Kingdom of God to the nations.

Several other symbolic meanings developed from the four species creating the lulav. Some believe the four species represent the memorial name of God: Yod Hey Vav Hey which is why they species are bound together as one.   Others believe the fruit and the aroma of the trees relate to different people and how they respond to God’s Torah very similar to the Parable of the Sower and how different people’s hearts respond to the Word of God.  Still others believe that the branches and the fruit represent the parts of our bodies, our temporary dwellings, that we are to offer to God as “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:12-13).   

The Tabernacle

“On the first day of the first month of the second year, the tabernacle was set up” (Exodus 40:17). 

The Hebrew word for ‘tabernacle’ is mishkan and this is what the Tabernacle or ‘tent of meeting’ was called in the wilderness.    

Hebrew Word Pictures

Tabernacle or Mishkan – משכן

Mem מ – Water means ‘to come down from, immense’

Shin ש – A Tooth means ‘consumed’ or Shekinah, ‘the Divine Presence of God’

Kaf  כ – A Palm or Wing means ‘to cover or allow’

Nun נ – A Fish means ‘ action and life’

The Hebrew word picture for mishkan: The immense consuming [divine presence of God] cover life.

After the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, they ended up at Mount Sinai where Moses received God’s instructions for constructing His portable ‘dwelling place’, the mishkan. It took a long time for all of its posts, curtains, and holy articles to be made.  Gold, silver and bronze objects that were taken from Egypt had to be melted down or beaten and formed into shapes.  Acacia wood had to be gathered, cut and built into boxes.  Animals had to be slaughtered for their skins.   Fabric had to be spun from flax and wool.

Tabernacle in the Wilderness

Eventually the articles became a the Altar of Sacrifice, a hammered golden Menorah, an Altar of Incense, a Table of Presence and the Ark of the Testimony.  Mirrors were collected from the women to cover the large basin for priestly washing and purification.  Tabernacle coverings were stitched together and mounted on the posts.   Curtains from finely twisted linen with blue, purple and scarlet yarn were hung in the Holy Place.  By the time of their two-year anniversary of leaving Egypt, the Mishkan was set up and the glory of the LORD filled it with a cloud.  Yahweh had His ‘temporary dwelling’ that could be transported when He moved His people. 

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud remained on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  Whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel continued with all their travels.  But if the cloud was not taken up, they did not travel onward until the day with it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was above the tabernacle during the day, and the fire was (in the cloud) at night, so that all the house of Israel could see it throughout all their travels” (Exodus 40:34-38).

The Living Tabernacle

Sukkah for Yeshua’s Birth

Yeshua is the living tabernacle of God’s divine presence on earth.   According to the details given in the first two chapters of Luke, it can be determined that Yeshua was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  In a ‘temporary dwelling’ outside the town of Bethlehem, the Word became flesh and was placed in a sukkah.  His heavenly Father, the angels in heaven, the shepherds watching their flocks, his mother Miriam and his earthly father celebrated in the birth of the Son of God.  While all Israel commemorated the festival of ingathering, Yeshua became the reason for the season of great joy!

“The Word became flesh and tabernacled with us, we saw his glory, the glory of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth … for it pleased God to have his full being live in His Son…” (John 1:14, Colossians 1:19).

Yeshua celebrates Feast of Tabernacles in John chapter 7, though he didn’t go to Jerusalem until the festival was half over.   When he arrived and began to teach in the Temple, the people were astonished and wondered how he knew so much.  He gave credit to his Father who had sent him to find the lost sheep of Israel and told them to search the Scriptures to know if his teachings were from God or himself.

“So Yeshua gave them an answer: ‘My teaching is not my own, it comes from the one who sent me.  If anyone wants to do his will, he will know whether my teaching is from God or I speak on my own.  A person who speaks on his own is trying to win praise for himself; but a person who tries to win praise for the one who sent him is honest, there is nothing false about him” (John 7:16-18). 

Streams of Living Water

Pool of Siloam

The Levitical priesthood officiated the sacrifices in the Temple during the Feasts and led other traditions rooted in celebrating  the ‘’appointed time’s.’   The highlight each day of the Feast of Tabernacles was the Water Pouring Ceremony.  A white-robed priest would lead a joyful procession carrying a golden pitcher.   The people would follow him through the Water Gate to the Pool of Siloam where he filled the pitcher with water.  He  would return to the Temple with the filled pitcher with the worshippers following him singing, waving their lulavs and dancing in the streets.  When the priest arrived at the Altar, he would pour out the water.  As he poured the water from the golden pitcher, he would cry out in a loud voice words from the prophet Isaiah, “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).

The multitude of people who gathered in Jerusalem for this festival  would respond with:

“LORD, save us!  LORD, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.  From the house of the LORD we bless you” (Psalm 118).

The last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles was called Hoshana Rabbah and means ‘The Great Salvation.‘It was the culmination of the week-long celebration of the Feast and was a vision of the restoration of God’s eternal Kingdom when He would Tabernacle with mankind forever.

Living Water

It was on this day of the Great Salvation that Yeshua responds to his nation’s cry for salvation.  As the Great Salvation, he delivered a message not of judgment, but of freedom and fullness of life in the Spirit.  If they would come to him and put their faith in him, the Spirit of God would be poured out into their hearts and their spiritual thirst would be quenched.  Living waters would flow from within them and they would receive their Great Salvation.

“Now on the last day and greatest day of the festival, Hoshana Rabbah, Yeshua stood and cried out, ‘If a man is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drink!  Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being.’”  (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who trusted in him were to receive later.  The Spirit had not yet been given, because Yeshua had not yet been glorified”) (John 7:37-39).

Our Earthly Sukkah

“I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Messiah Yeshua has made clear to me” (2 Peter 1:13).

While we live on the earth, we have an earth suit.   Peter and Paul called it our earthly tent.   Our earthly tent is mortal, decaying and dying.  It is only a temporary physical dwelling for our spirits and will one day be destroyed through death.  We will return to the dust of the ground from where we came.   While we live in our mortal sukkot, we know that we are naked and unclothed in the eyes of God.   We cry out in our temporary sufferings and affliction while we wait for the redemption of our bodies and receive our immortal clothes. 

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).

Once we are born again into God’s Kingdom, our earth tents become the dwelling place for God’s Spirit.  He seals us with His Spirit as a guarantee  that we will be released from our mortal tents and given heavenly bodies.   When we receive our glorified bodies, they will never decay or die because they are eternal.  Until that day arrives, we live in our bodies by faith just as our father Abraham who looked forward to what is to come.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 16:19-20).

Feast of Ingathering

“Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field” (Exodus 23:16).

The Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Ingathering.  It is celebrated after the harvest of grain and grapes while the olive harvest is still in process. 

This ‘’appointed time’’ foreshadows when the House of Judah and the House of Israel are gathered from the nations back to the Promised Land.   This ingathering of God’s chosen people will be so divinely inspired that it will be celebrated as a ‘greater exodus’ than when the Israelites left Egypt.   The Ingathering has only just begun with a modern-day movement of Jewish people returning to Israel from all the nations of the world.  It is called aliyah and means ‘going up.’   

“‘Therefore,’ says The LORD, ‘the day will come when people will not longer swear, “As The LORD lives, who brought the nation of Israel out of the land of Egypt,” but, ‘As The LORD lives, who brought the people of Israel out of the land to the north and all the countries where he drove them,’ for I will bring them back to their own land which I gave their ancestors’” (Jeremiah 16:14-15).

“They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month  and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: “Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make temporary shelters”—as it is written” (Nehemiah 8:14-15).

When Israel returned from captivity in the days of Nehemiah, they found the book of Torah that commanded collecting branches to make their sukkot.  In addition to branches from palms, willows, and myrtles, they also collected branches from olive and wild olive trees (Nehemiah 8:14-15).  Because the Feast of Ingathering is a shadow of the coming Kingdom of God, the  olive and wild olive tree branches are significant to its fulfillment.

The first mention of the olive tree is in Genesis after the flood when Noah sends out a dove and it brings back a leaf, a symbol of new life.   In Exodus Moses is given pure olive oil as one of the ingredients for the anointing oil, a symbol of the Spirit.   In Deuteronomy, the land flowing with milk and honey also flowed with olive oil indicating the abundance of provision in the Promised Land.  The doors of Solomon’s Temple were made from olive wood on which were carved the cherubim that guarded the entrance to the Garden of Eden (1 Kings 6:32). In the Psalms, children are like olive shoots around a blessed man’s table. Jeremiah and Hosea call Israel ‘a thriving olive tree with great splendor.’

When Paul discusses the olive tree in Romans 11,  he sees natural olive branches and wild olive branches attached to the same tree.   He tells the gentiles, those of the nations, that they are the wild olive branches which have been grafted into the olive tree along with the natural branches of Israel.

When a branch is grafted into a tree, it gets its nourishment from the roots and sap of the tree.  It will still bear fruit, wild olives, but only through its dependence on the natural tree.   If the grafting doesn’t take and the branch doesn’t get its nourishment,  it will die and fall off the tree.

Paul reminds the gentiles that as wild olive branches they can be cut off the olive tree if they become arrogant over the natural branches.    They are to remember that the living water of the Spirit that comes from Messiah, the root of David,  and the nourishing sap of the  Hebrew Scriptures supports them both by faith.    Though some of the natural branches may have been broken off due to a lack of faith, they are easily grafted back into their own olive tree  (Romans 11:13-24).    

The addition of olive and wild olive branches to the sukkah in Nehemiah’s time suggests that the Ingathering will not only include the natural olive branches of Israel,  but also the wild olive branches  of nations who have joined the covenant that God made with Israel.  When both branches of olives live by faith in Yeshua trusting in him as the root of the tree, living water will bring nourishing sap to both branches.  They will finally thrive with splendor as God intended for  the Olive Tree of Israel.

The Millennial Kingdom

“In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. …Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken” (Micah 4:1, 3).

Ezekiel’s Millennial Temple

Yeshua’s teachings centered around the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven.  Though it was near, it had not yet fully arrived and will not arrive until he had been glorified and crowned King.  During a one thousand year ‘season of our joy,’  the nations of the world will come to the mountain of the LORD in Jerusalem.  Yeshua will sit on his throne in the Temple and rule the nations from Israel.  His reign will join the present world and mortal men with immortal men in a unique time in history.  With an iron scepter, he will rule the earth and prepare its people for his Father’s eternal kingdom.

“After six days Yeshua took Peter, James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain privately.  As they watched, he began to change form – his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became as white as light.  Then they looked and saw Moses and Elijah speaking with him.   Peter said to Yeshua, ‘It’s good that we’re here, Lord.  I’ll put up three sukkot [temporary dwellings]  if you want – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them; and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him’! (Matthew 17:1-5).

Just days before, Yeshua told the disciples that some of them would not die until they saw the Son of Man coming in his kingdom (Matthew 16:28).  They were waiting for this kingdom to arrive with great expectation.  Six days later Yeshua took Peter, James and John up a mountain.

The three disciples watched as Yeshua changed into glory in front of them. They saw him speaking with Moses and Elijah establishing a witness of three to the transfiguration.  They didn’t realize that were receiving only a glimpse at the coming Kingdom, but believed that Yeshua was establishing his Kingdom rule on earth at that ‘’appointed time’.‘   They believed that Yeshua was going to take up his throne in Jerusalem and reign as King of Kings.  They weren’t being stupid as often taught,  they knew the prophecies.  Peter responded with his great faith in Yeshua’s words about the Kingdom of God when he offered to build these three glorified men, Moses, Elijah and Yeshua shelters or sukkot.

The Eternal Tabernacle

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place (the Mishkan) is now among the people, and he will dwell (tabernacle) with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3 NIV and Orthodox Jewish Bible).

The New Jerusalem Descends

At the end of Yeshua’s Millennial reign, a new heaven and a new earth will appear.  Everything from the old heaven and earth will pass away.  The New Jerusalem will come down out of the restored heavens and descend to the renewed earth.  There won’t be a Temple in the New Jerusalem because God will be the Temple.  There will be no sun or moon to shine on it because the glory of God gives it its light.  It’s lamp will be Yeshua.

The river of the water of life will flow from the throne of God producing fruit for each month and healing leaves for the nations.  The servants of God will worship Him as His throne will be in the city.   The eternally redeemed will see His face and His name will be written on their foreheads.  They will reign as kings forever and ever.  When the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, Yahweh, the Father, the Creator,  the great I AM will eternally Tabernacle with His people.

“All of these people kept on trusting until they died, without receiving what had been promised.  They had only seen it and welcomed it from a distance, while acknowledging that they were aliens and temporary residents on the earth.  …As it is, they aspire to a better homeland, a heavenly one.  This is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city”  (Hebrews 11:13-15).

Our father Abraham lived in a tent. As Abraham’s children by faith and heirs to the same promises, we also live in earth tents like he did.  Until the day of our redemption, we will live as strangers and foreigners on this earth.  We can celebrate Sukkot with the hope of our future glory by building a sukkah.  As we feast in our ‘temporary dwelling’, we can identify with the children of Israel who lived in tents with the Mishkan of Yahweh in their midst.

Yeshua took on the tent of a human body to live with us. As the Messiah of Israel, he will soon return to Jerusalem as King to prepare the nations for the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.  When we  keep our eyes on the promises of God and the New Jerusalem we will truly understand the ‘season of our joy’ and the Feast of Tabernacles.

“Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress.  Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete” (Deuteronomy 16:13-15).

©2011 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive. 

Genesis 23:1-20 – Hebron and the West Bank

Genesis 23:1-20

“Sarah lived to be 127 years old; these were the years of Sarah’s life. Sarah died in Kiryat-Arba, also known as Hevron (Hebron), in the land of Kena’an (Canaan); and Avraham came to mourn Sarah and weep for her.  Then he got up from his dead one and said to the sons of Het.”

Het is the son of Canaan, the son of Ham, the son of Noah.

“I am a foreigner living as an alien with you; let me have a burial site with you, so that I can bury my dead wife.” The sons of Het answered Avraham,  “Listen to us, my lord. You are a prince of God among us, so choose any of our tombs to bury your dead — not one of us would refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”

Abraham was considered a prince among the people and the sons of Het were willing to give him land to bury his dead.  Abraham knew these people as he lived with them. He  did not accept the offer, but asked to buy the cave from Efron, the son of Tzochar so he would own a burial site for his family. 

“Avraham got up, bowed before the people of the land, the sons of Het, and spoke with them. “If it is your desire to help me bury my dead, then listen to me: ask ‘Efron the son of Tzochar to give me the cave of Makhpelah, which he owns, the one at the end of his field. He should sell it to me in your presence at its full value; then I will have a burial site of my own.”

Efron also offered to give the land for free to Abraham.  There are no Hittites today,  but the region today they would have come from would be western Turkey.

‘Efron the Hitti was sitting among the sons of Het, and he gave Avraham his answer in the presence of the sons of Het who belonged to the ruling council of the city:  “No, my lord, listen to me: I’m giving you the field, with its cave — I’m giving it to you. In the presence of my people I give it to you.”  Avraham bowed before the people of the land and spoke to ‘Efron in their hearing: “Please be good enough to listen to me. I will pay the price of the field; accept it from me, and I will bury my dead there.”

Efron, though he wants to give the land to Abraham, he mentions its value 400 shekels or ten pounds of silver as nothing between ‘friends.’  Abraham understood Efron’s meaning:  “I’ll give it to you as it is worth only 400 shekels.”   Abraham weighs out the money in the presence of Het.

“But ‘Efron answered Avraham, “My lord, listen to me. A plot of land worth 400 silver shekels — what is that between me and you? Just bury your dead.” Avraham got the point of what ‘Efron had said, so he weighed out for ‘Efron the amount of money he had specified in the presence of the sons of Het, 400 silver shekels of the weight accepted among merchants [ten pounds].”

When the transaction is complete, Abraham owns the plot of land in Hebron and is given the deed to the property.  

“Thus the field of ‘Efron in Makhpelah, which is by Mamre — the field, its cave and all the trees in and around it — were deeded to Avraham as his possession in the presence of the sons of Het who belonged to the ruling council of the city.”

There is a repetition of the event making it clear that in the front of Het, Abraham bought a cave in a field from Efron in the land of Canaan as a burial site for his wife.

“Then Avraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Makhpelah, by Mamre, also known as Hevron (Hebron), in the land of Kena‘an. The field and its cave had been purchased by Avraham from the sons of Het as a burial-site which would belong to him.”

Sarah buried in this cave along with Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.  Rachel was buried near Bethlehem.  This cave is now known as the Cave of the Patriarchs, a tourist attraction in Hebron. 

Hebron etymologically means ‘alliance’ and can also mean ‘friend’ as Abraham was a ‘friend of God.’  It also means ‘city of the Hebrews.’  Hebron is 12 miles south of Jerusalem and the largest city in the West Bank, the second largest Palestinian territory after Gaza.   Eighty percent of the city is controlled by Palestinians while twenty percent by Israel.    Historically, it was the last city to fall to the Muslims in the seventh century and is not mentioned in any of the Arab conquests.  The Caliphate established rule over Hebron and transformed the Byzantine church over Abraham’s ‘land’ into a mosque.  It remained in other nations’ possession until the Six-Day War in June 1967 when Israel regained complete control of Hebron along with other west bank land owned by Jordan   As part of a peace agreement, Israel annexed only a part of the land and returned the rest to Jordan.  David ben Gurion felt that there needed to be a Jewish settlement in Hebron as it was part of conquered territory and they had  ‘inalienable rights’ according to the Biblical deed bought by Abraham.   There is nothing written in the Koran that the burial ground for Abraham included his other wives and children nor that they obtained the land through victory in warfare.  This has created mixed feelings as some Jews and Arabs live peaceably with one one another in Hebron while others want the Jews out.   It was only the generosity of Israel to return 52% of the conquered land back to Jordan.

This is why Abraham bought the land and received the deed – so who owned the land would never be disputed.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Parashah 3: Lekh L’kah (Get yourself out)

Parashah 3: Genesis 12:1-17:27

“Now Adonai said to Avram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).  

Elohim comes to Abram and tells him to ‘get yourself out’ of his father’s house and go to a land that Elohim will show him.  Abram obeys the voice of Elohim and takes his wife Sarai, all of his possessions and his nephew, Lot.   

Hebrew Word Pictures

Avram (Exalted Father) – אברם – alef, bet, resh, mem

– the first family head mighty

Sarai (Mockery) – שרי – shin, resh, yod

the glory of the head, finished work

When he arrives at Shechem where the Canaanites live, Elohim tells him, “To your descendants I will give this land.”  The Hebrew root of Abram is av which means ‘father.’  Abram has no children and is not a father; yet he is promised to have many descendants.

He then travels to a hill west of Bethel (House of Elohim) and pitches his tent.  Ai (Heap of Ruins), a city of the Canaanites was east of him.  This ‘father’ who camps between the House of Elohim and a ‘heap of ruins’ will bring forth a spiritual house.   He built an altar and called on the name of Elohim.

The blessing at the beginning of this parashah is often quoted in regard to blessing or cursing Isra’el.  However, the blessing of Abram was not only for Isra’el, but for all nations.  This is an important promise because its fulfillment comes as the nations join Isra’el with faith in the ‘promised seed,’ Messiah Yeshua.

Abram had two brothers, Nachor and Haran.  Haran had a son named Lot, who went with Abram, and a daughter named Milkah.  Nachor married Milkah, his niece.  They have a son named Betuel.  Betuel has a daughter named Rebekkah.

Because of a famine, Abram travels through the Negev desert down to Egypt.  In Egypt,  Abram lies to protect himself and his beautiful Sarai from being taken by the king  causing her to commit adultery with the Pharaoh.  It is only after great plagues come upon Pharaoh that Abram admits his deception.  He is sent away by an angry Pharaoh along with Sarai and his property.

In the Negev, Abram becomes a wealthy man.  Lot also became wealthy and the land could not support them both.  Their herdsmen began fighting and Abram suggests they separate.  Lot looks out at the fertile plains south of the Jordan River and decides to make the Jordan valley his home.  He leaves Abram to settle the area around Sodom and Gomorrah. 

After Lot chooses his portion of land, Elohim speaks to Abram about the land around him.  He promises the land as far as Abram can see to the north, south, east and west to become the possession of his descendants.   Abram moves his tent and lives by the oaks of Mamre which is known as Hebron and is located in the West Bank. 

“Look all around you from where you are, to the north, the south, the east and the west.  All the land you see I will give to you and your descendants forever, and I will make your descendants numerous as the specks of dust on the earth – so that if a person can count the specks of dust on the earth, then your descendants can be counted.  Get up and walk through the length and breadth of the land, because I will give it to you” (Genesis 13:14-17).

King of Righteousness

A group of kings make war against Kedorlaomer, the King of Elam, in the Siddum Valley near the Dead Sea.  Kedorlaomer defeats all the of kings who rebelled against him including the Amalekites and the Emorites.  Eventually, the kings of Sodom and Gormorrah come out to fight against Kedorlaomer.   Many of their warriors fell into the clay pits in the Siddim Valley while the rest retreated to the Judean hills.  The victors took the possessions and food supplies of Sodom and Gomorrah along with Lot.

Kedorolaomer may be an Assyrian or Persian name coming from kudur meaning ‘servant’ and lagamar who was a goddess in the religious practices of Susa in Persia (Iran).  Siddim is thought to have been located on the southern end of the Dead Sea where bitumen deposits have been found that may have one time been the tar pits in which the armies of Sodom and Gomorrah fell. 

When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led his 318 trained men, and went in pursuit of Kedorlaomer as far north as Dan.  They divided forces and attacked Kedorlaomer pushing him all the way to Damascus.  Abram recovered all the goods and possessions and retrieved Lot and his family.  After returning from the battles, the king of Sodom met Abram in the King’s Valley.

Malki-Tzedek, King of Shalem brought out bread and wine.  He was a priest of El Elyon, God Most High.  He blessed Abram: “Blessed be Avram by El’Elyon, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be El ‘Elyon, who handed your enemies over to you.” Then Abram tithed” (Genesis 14:20-22).

In Hebrew, Malki-Tzedek means “King of Righteousness”  He is the king of Shalem which means ‘peace’ and is the root for Yerushalayim or Jerusalem.  He is a priest for El Elyon, God Most High.  This is the first time this title for Elohim is used. 

Malki-Tzedek brings out bread and wine.  The word ‘bread’ in this verse is the Hebrew lechem.  Though some may see an allusion to ‘communion’ in this event, the shared ‘leaven’ bread suggests otherwise.  ‘Communion’ has been removed from the Passover meal in which matzah or unleavened bread was eaten.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Bread or lechem – לחםlamed, chet, mem

– the shepherd protects the mighty

Wine or yayin – ייןyod, yod, noon

the double finished work of life

A more fitting allusion would be a Sabbath memorial.  Breaking bread and sharing wine is considered a time of fellowship and central to a traditional Jewish Sabbath.  The event could be taking place on the Sabbath, after the battles have been won, the enemy is defeated, and there is peace and rest – a vision of eternity.     

Not much is known about Malki-Tzedek except through Hebrews 7 which states that he had no beginning or end, no father or mother, no genealogy.  This is an allusion to his eternal existence.  Some suggest he may be a pre-incarnate Yeshua as Elohim can appear in any form He desires and may be revealing Himself as the King of Righteousness to Abram.   

Some suggest that Malki-Tzedek is Noah’s son, Shem, who was 100 years old when the flood destroyed the earth and who continued to live until he was 600 years of age.  His longevity was very uncommon as after the flood the lifespan of humans decreased. With such a long life, Shem would be the oldest man alive and appear to be without father or mother or genealogy as everything had been destroyed in the flood.  Shem inherited the land of Shalem and Malki-Tzedek is the king.  Abram, according to the call on his life,  would be next patriarch in line after Shem and the next priest of El Elyon.

Knowing HaShem through his father Noah, before, during and after the flood, Shem may have taken on a priestly role preaching the Noahide laws, the evils of sin, the pre-flood world and the blessings of righteousness.  Just as we have no grasp of that world or the  world to come, it is possible that the people of Shem’s generation could not grasp a world that existed before their own making Shem seem like a ‘god.’

Abram gave Malki-Tzedek one-tenth of everything he plundered.  This is the first instance of a tithe before the instructions at Mount Sinai.  It is written in Hebrews 7 that Levi, who was in Abram’s loins, actually tithed Malki-Tzedek.   The tithe was a portion of the harvest  given to the Levitical priests who had no land inheritance and ministered in the Tabernacle. With Abram’s tithe, it could be that Malki-Tzedek had no earthly land he called home an allusion to the coming Levitical priesthood. 

Covenant of Land

The word of Elohim comes to Abram in a vision:

“Don’t be afraid, Avram.  I am your protector; your reward will be very great” (Genesis 15:1).

Though he was a wealthy man, Abram was childless and had no one with whom to leave his wealth.  Elohim tells him that he will have an heir from his own body.  When Abram doesn’t believe him, Elohim tells him to look up at the sky and count the stars – if they can even be counted. Looking at the night sky and seeing the billions of stars, Abram believed Elohim’s promise and his faith was credited to him as righteousness.

Elohim tells Abram that He brought him up out of the land of the Chadeans in order to give the land around him as his possession and the possession of his descendants.   Abram asked Elohim how he would know this to be true.  Elohim tells him to bring a cow, a goat, a ram, a dove and a young pigeon.  Abram cut the animals in two and places the pieces opposite each other.  Birds of prey swooped down to eat the carcasses, but he drove them away. 

A deep sleep came upon Abram as the sun was about to set and a great darkness came over him.   Elohim tells Abram that his descendants would be foreigners in a land that is not theirs.  They would be held in slavery for 400 years until He would judge that nation.  Abram’s descendants would then leave that land with many possessions, but Abram would not see these events with his own eyes as he would sleep with his ancestors.  In the fourth generation, his descendants would return to the land of promise. 

A smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between the animal parts that had been placed on the ground.  That day Elohim made a covenant with Abram.  He promised to give him and his descendants the land that extended from the vadi of Egypt to the Euphrates River.  It would include all of the land where the Canaanites, the Kenites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Refaimites, the Emorites, the Girgasites and the Jebusites lived. 

The event with the animal parts and smoking pot was a Middle Eastern way to ‘cut a covenant.’  Usually, the two people making the covenant passed between the animal parts to establish the covenant;  however, Abram was asleep and Elohim passes through binding both sides of the covenant through Himself.   His Divine Presence is seen in the smoking fire pot and the flaming torch.

Hagar and Ishmael

Sarai gets tired of waiting for a child so she takes matters into her own hands.  She gives her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to Abram in order to have children through her.  Abram sleeps with Hagar and she conceives a son.  Once Hagar becomes pregnant, she treats Sarai with contempt.

“Sarai said to Avram, “This outrage being done to me is your fault! True, I gave my slave-girl to you to sleep with; but when she saw that she was pregnant, she began holding me in contempt. May Adonai decide who is right — I or you!” However, Avram answered Sarai, “Look, she’s your slave-girl. Deal with her as you think fit.” Then Sarai treated her so harshly that she ran away from her” (Genesis 16:5-6).

Hagar runs away into the desert and is found by an angel of Elohim.  The angel tells her that her descendants will increase so that it will be impossible to count them.  She is told she will have a son who will act like a ‘wild donkey of a man’ with his hand against everyone, living at odds with his brothers.  Hagar calls Elohim, El Ro’i meaning ‘the Elohim who sees’ because she had seen Elohim and remained alive.  The boy is born and named Ishmael. 

Because Elohim cannot change His covenant promise to Abraham, the descendants of Ishmael also become numerous.  Ishmael is not the son of promise, but a receiver of the blessing to the nations. The Ishmaelites are the modern-day Arabs and they still circumcise their children, not as a sign of faith, but as a sign of their patriarch, Abraham.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Hagar (Flight) – הגר – hey, gimel, resh

– behold the rising of the head

Ishmael (God Hears) – ישמהאל – yod, shin, mem, hey, alef, lamed

finished work consumes the mighty, revealing a strong leader

In Galatians 4:21-32 Sha’ul uses an allegory to explain the difference between the child of Abraham’s faith and the child of Abraham’s flesh.  The children of Abraham’s flesh are born according to the rules of natural childbearing.  Children of Abraham’s faith are born through the power of Elohim’s Spirit as evidence of Himfulfilling His promise to Abraham.

In Hebrews 12:18-22, the two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, are likened to the two covenants: the covenant given at Mount Sinai that is written on stony hearts and makes us slaves to Torah (Ishmael) and the covenant that comes from Mount Tzion that is written on our circumcised hearts and gives us freedom to walk by faith in Messiah Yeshua(Isaac).

Covenant of Nations

“I am El Shaddai [God Almighty]. Walk in my presence and be pure-hearted. I will make my covenant between me and you, and I will increase your numbers greatly.” Avram fell on his face, and God continued speaking with him: “As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Avram [exalted father], but your name will be Avraham [father of many], because I have made you the father of many nations. I will cause you to be very fruitful. I will make nations of you, kings will descend from you” (Genesis 17:1-6).

When Abram is 99 years old, Elohim appears to him and calls himself El Shaddai or “God Almighty.”  Shaddai comes from the Hebrew root word for ‘breast’ meaning that Shaddai is one who nourishes, comforts and blesses like a ‘bosom friend.’  El Shaddai repeats the covenant promise of land and changes Abram’s name to Abraham because he will become the ‘father of many nations.  He also changes Sarai’s name to Sarah.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Abraham (Father of Nations) or Avraham – אברהם – alef, bet, resh, hey, mem

the first family head revealed and mighty

Sarah (Princess) – שרה – shin, resh, hey

the glory of the head revealed

El Shaddai gives a ‘sign’ of the covenant to Abraham: circumcision.  Cutting the male foreskin became the ‘sign’ of Abraham’s faith in the promises of El Shaddai.   Circumcision was to be done when a male baby was eight days old.  Each time a baby boy was circumcised, his father would remember the covenant, the blessing and the promise given to Abraham.  Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised in the flesh.

“God said to Avraham, ‘As for you, you are to keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation. Here is my covenant, which you are to keep, between me and you, along with your descendants after you: every male among you is to be circumcised. You are to be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; this will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. Generation after generation, every male among you who is eight days old is to be circumcised, including slaves born within your household and those bought from a foreigner not descended from you’” (Genesis 17:9-12).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Covenant or b’rit – ברית – bet, resh, yod, tav

– family head finished work is the sign

Word or milah – מילה – mem, yod, lamed, hey

mighty finished work of the shepherd revealed

New or chadashah – חדשה – chet, dalet, shin, hey

– inner room (heart) of the pathway glory revealed

Flesh circumcision can become a heated debate when a follower of Yeshua decides to circumcise their baby boy.  According to some, circumcision of flesh becomes a denial of faith in Yeshua and requires keeping the ‘whole law.’  When El Shaddai gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision, it was the ‘sign’ of his circumcised heart of faith.  Anyone who becomes circumcised in the flesh to convert to Judaism is accountable to all the manmade traditions developed in Judaism.  Living a life of faith with a circumcision of heart shown by a ‘sign’ in the flesh and converting to Judaism are two very different things.   

Yeshua and Abraham

“Avraham, your father, was glad that he would see my day; then he saw it and was overjoyed.”

“Why, you’re not yet fifty years old,” the Judeans replied, “and you have seen Avraham?”

“Yeshua said to them, “Yes, indeed! Before Avraham came into being, I AM!. At this, they picked up stones to throw at him; but Yeshua was hidden and left the Temple grounds” (John 8:56-59).

Haftarah (Readings from the Prophets)

Isaiah 40:27-41:16

B’rit Chadashah (New Testament Readings)

Acts 7:1-8

Romans 4:3-4

Galatians 3:6

Colossians 2:11-15

James 2:21-23

Midrash Lech Lecha: The New Circumcision

The Hebrew words for ‘New Covenant’ are B’rit Chadashah or ‘new circumcision.’  Discuss the ‘new circumcision’ as described in Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:24-26 and Romans 2:28-29).

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article.  For a hard copy of this Torah portion or the complete cycle, please purchase Open My Eyes, Wonders of Torah.

The Land of Promise to Abraham

This was written for a very sweet Islamic girl named Lena.  Thank you for asking me, “Do your writings say the land belongs to Israel?”

Hebrew Scriptures

First, I use only the Hebrew Scriptures because they are the most reliable of the ancient writings.  Often times people say, well, over the centuries men have changed them and so we don’t know what is true and what is not.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  The Hebrew Scriptures were hidden in 70 A.D.  in some caves near the Dead Sea.  No one knew they were there so no one could change what was written.  In 1948, they were found by an shepherd boy in what is now known as the West Bank.  They are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.  When compared to the manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures of today, they are identical.   This means that what exists today in the Holy Bible is authentic and has not been changed by anyone.

Even before the Dead Sea Scrolls were put in clay jars in a cave, the Greeks began in 300 B.C. to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into their language.  These writings are known as the Septuagint and they, too, have been compared to the Dead Sea Scrolls and no important differences have been found.

Some people claim that the Jews rewrote the Torah to contradict others’ religious beliefs and books, but this cannot be true as proved by the Dead Sea Scrolls.   If the Jews had changed anything, it would have been found in more modern writings.   If there is a writing or another book that claims to be authentic, it needed to be written before A.D. 70. or compared to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

For example, the Jehovah Witnesses say they use the Bible.  However, their Bible was translated in the 1800s and has many differences from the Hebrew Scriptures.    I know this for a fact because I’ve looked up Scriptures to find they have been deleted or changed.  These changes and contradictions from the Hebrew Scriptures mean that their holy book is wrong.  Consequently, they view God, His redemption and His people wrongly.  Another example is the King James Version of the Bible written in 1611.    Many Christians won’t use any other translation.    However, King James was a tyrant and the reason many Christians left England and became known as the Pilgrims in North America.  These Christians wanted to flee King James’ translation of the Bible because he used the translation to control the people.  The are many contradictions in the King James translation when compared to the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Another example is the Koran.  It was written between 653 and 656 A.D. a long time after the Dead Sea Scrolls were buried and hidden.  Just like the Jehovah Witnesses and the King James Bible, it, too, like every other prophetical writing should be compared to the Dead Sea Scrolls to verify and authenticate what it teaches.  If it doesn’t agree, then the Koran is flawed and not the Hebrew Scriptures.

There are warnings in the Holy Scriptures about adding to or taking away from the Words or prophecies of God.  These warnings are for everyone: Jew and non-Jew, Israel, and non-Israel, Jehovah Witnesses, Church of England and Islam.   Unfortunately, men love to bring glory to themselves and want power and control over people.  So, they change the Hebrew Scriptures to say what they want them to say in order that they are followed and not Yahweh Elohim – God Almighty.

Everyone has to choose what words of God they will accept, but I am going to use the Hebrew Scriptures because they are the most ancient and proven by the Dead Sea Scrolls to be authentic to explain the Land and the people of Israel.

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6).

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

Abraham

In Genesis (Bereshit) 12:1-3 Abraham is told to leave his country and go to the land that God (El) wanted to show him.  In this ‘calling out’  from the land of Ur, Abraham is promised to be made into a great nation; he will be blessed and all families on the earth will also be blessed.

“Now Adonai said to Abram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Abraham obeys – a sign of his great faith – and travels toward the Promised Land.  He has his nephew Lot with him and they realize the land they are in is not big enough for both of their families and livestock.  Abraham allows Lot to decide which land he wants.    Lot chooses the plains to the east of the Jordan River and Abraham stays in Canaan.  We know that Lot eventually moves to the cities of  Sodom and Gomorrah.  Those cities are destroyed for their sin of homosexuality.

In Genesis 13:14-18, after Lot chooses the best and most fertile land, God tells Abraham to look to the north, south, east and west as this is the land God is giving him.  It is known as the ‘promised land.’

“Adonai said to Abram, after Lot had moved away from him, “Look all around you from where you are, to the north, the south, the east and the west. All the land you see I will give to you and your descendants forever,and I will make your descendants as numerous as the specks of dust on the earth — so that if a person can count the specks of dust on the earth, then your descendants can be counted.  Get up and walk through the length and breadth of the land, because I will give it to you.” Abram moved his tent and came to live by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron. There he built an altar to Adonai.”

Now we come to Genesis chapter 15.  There are several key verses in this chapter the explain Abraham’s history and the land of promise.

Verse 7 gives the land to Abraham to possess — Then he said to him, “I am Adonai, who brought you out from Ur-Kasdim to give you this land as your possession.”

El Shaddai (God Almighty) goes on to say that Abraham’s descendants would become slaves (as they were in Egypt) and then  in the fourth generation, they would return to this same land – the land of promise – Canaan.  This is something repeatedly seen in the Scriptures.  The Israelites, no matter what happens to them, they always return to the Land promised to Abraham.

Verse 16 – But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not complete.”

Though there were other people living in the promised land, they did not own it.  Only God owns land and He says that Abraham’s descendants will possess it.  From God’s point of view, just because someone occupies land does not mean they ‘own’ it.  This is because God is the creator of heaven and earth and everything in the earth is His.  If we think we ‘own’ the land, then we deny God as the Creator.  Because Yahweh is the Creator, He can give land to anyone He chooses.  Thus, we have the land promised to Abraham as his possession.

Verses 18-21 – These are the verses that give the covenant boundaries of the promised land.  Though I tend to believe the Israeli flag is a prayer shawl, the other explanation is also valid.   Abraham was given the land between the Nile River and the Euphrates.  This is not a modern-day Zionist threat, this is the actual land boundaries given to Abraham and is a prophecy with a promise.

“On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites,Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

Today, this words might read from the river in Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates –Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt!  Though the world would hate this truth and blame Israel for stealing land when they rightfully posses, (even through wars when they give it back) it’s all land given to them by covenant promised contract with Abraham.

Isaac

Genesis chapter 16 records the birth of Ishmael.  Though Sarah was Abraham’s wife, Ishmael became the son of her maid, Hagar.   Several years after Ishmael’s birth Abram’s name was changed by God to Abraham.  The name Abraham means ‘father of many nations.‘  It was at this time the covenant of circumcision was given to Abraham as a  ‘sign’ of his faith.’  Ishmael, along with all the other males in Abraham’s family were circumcised.

Genesis chapter 18 records three men coming to visit Abraham.  It is at this time that God promises Abraham a son from his wife, Sarah.    They are both so old in years, that only through faith can Isaac be conceived. Their bodies no longer could procreate a child.  Genesis chapter 21 records the birth of Isaac.

This is when the sibling rivalry begins.  Isaac is the son promised by God through Sarah, Abraham’s wife, while Ishmael was from another woman.  I believe that Abraham loved both of his sons, but because of problems that developed between the child, Isaac, and the young man, Ishmael, Abraham had to send Hagar and Ishmael away.   Yet, Yahweh Elohim does not neglect Ishmael.   Why?  Because Abraham was called the ‘father of many nations’.  In fact, while Hagar and Ishmael were dying of thirst in the desert, God comes to them and promises Hagar that even Ishmael would become a great nation.   He provides a well for them so they have water.    They settle in the Desert of Paran which is considered to be the modern Sinai desert.

“God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

In Genesis 22, Abraham’s faith is tested.  This is where he takes his son Isaac to Mt. Moriah (the mount where the Temple was eventually built by King Solomon).   It is on this mountain that Abraham is asked to offer his son as a sacrifice.  Abraham has great faith in God and trusts that either God will ‘provide himself a sacrifice’ or ‘raise his son from the dead.’  Why?  Because Isaac is the son of a promise.  The account continues that a ram is sacrificed instead of Isaac.  The lamb becomes a substitution for the life of Isaac.

In Genesis 26 the land promise is given to Isaac.  The promise had nothing to do with Isaac, but with the faith of Abraham, his father.  Again, Isaac will have many descendants just as his father was promised.

“The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live.   Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.  I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspringall nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.”

Jacob

Isaac marries Rebekkah and they have two sons, Jacob and Esau.  These two also have sibling rivalry and are separated.  Esau became the Edomites.  Today this nation of people have assimilated into the Arab nations.  This is an historical fact as there are no Edomites today, but they settled in what is known today as Jordan.

In Genesis 28:13-14, Jacob is in the wilderness because of the situation between he and Esau.  Jacob has a dream in which there is a ladder reaching to the heavens.  From the top of the ladder El Shaddai  speaks to Jacob and says that he will give him the land on which he is sleeping.  Jacob names the place BeitEl – House of God.   This place was about 12 miles (19 km) north of Jerusalem, west of Jericho and the Jordan River.  Archaeological findings have the site of BeitEl with the ruins of Beitin, a small village south of Shiloh.

“There above itstood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”

Israel

In Genesis 35:9-15 Jacob returns from Haran in Mesopotamia and an angel comes to him and blesses him.  The blessing includes a change of name – Yisrael.

“After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,God appeared to him again and blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Yisrael.” So he named him Yisrael.

And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.”  Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.

Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. This is the place where God had talked with him – Bethel.”

Jacob had 12 sons.  One of the sons was named Y’hudah.  This is where the word “Jew” or “Jewish” comes from.  The name Y’hudah means ‘praiser of God”.   Over the centuries the Israelites became known as Jews.  Thus, the land promised to Abraham is to be possessed by the Israelites.

Today

As we look today at the problems in the Middle East with Israel and the Arab nations, this is what I see and how I understand it.

Abraham was promised to be the father of  ‘many nations.’  Through Ishmael, there are over 400 million Arabs and they live in many lands.  These are the many ‘nations‘ represented by the name Abraham – ‘father of nations’.     The promise to Ishamel has been fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled.

Abraham was also promised land and a lot of land – from the Nile to the Euphrates River.   The PROMISE of this land did not go to Ishmael, but to Isaac and then to Jacob who became known as Yisrael. Today we know the Israelites as the Jewish people.  In reality Israel is way more than just the descendants of Judah, but the descendants of all of the Tribes of Israel  (the 12 sons),  but today these people are scattered all over the world and have assimilated into other peoples. Someday soon, there is a promise that God will gather all of these children of Jacob/Israel together in the Promised Land.   This will not be man’s doing, but God’s work.

Now, let’s look at the Jewish people.  In 2010, there were 5,703,000 Jewish people living in Israel.  Compared to 400 million Arabs, this is nothing.  This isn’t even the population of the city of Cairo which has 9,120,350.  Deuteronomy 7:7 (one of the books of Moses) says that God didn’t choose the Israelites because they were GREAT in number, but because they WERE SMALL.

“For you are a people set apart as holy for Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure. Adonai didn’t set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people — on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples. Rather, it was because Adonai loved you, and because he wanted to keep the oath which he had sworn to your ancestors, that Adonai brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from a life of slavery under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.From this you can know that Adonai your God is indeed God, the faithful God, who keeps his covenant and extends grace to those who love him and observe his commands, to a thousand generations. But he repays those who hate him to their face and destroys them. He will not be slow to deal with someone who hates him; he will repay him to his face.”

God (Yahweh) gave Israel the Promised Land so they would have a place to live among the many nations of the world that would always be bigger than they were and fighting against them because they are a holy people and a people loved by Elohim.  Unfortunately, the sibling rivalry continues, and Ishmael and Isaac are still fighting over a really tiny piece of land.

The Real Battle

Could it be that the land really isn’t the problem, but it’s really a desire to rid the world of a group of people because of a promise?  It was from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah, that the promise of salvation would come to the world.  This salvation comes through Yeshua.  Without an Israel, Yeshua could not come the first time nor can come the second time.  He was to be born in BeitLechem and he is to return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.   Throughout the history of the Jewish people, from their slavery in Egypt until the Holocaust in Germany, the world just wants to rid themselves of these people.  Why is that?  Why is it they have had to fight just to stay alive? Could it be that it’s a spiritual battle and not really a physical land battle?  Could it still be a hard-hearted sibling rivalry that needs redemption from the only redeemer, Yeshua?

You, my friend,  live in the Land of Israel.  You say it is beautiful.  You say you have freedom there and are treated as an equal citizen.  Yet there are many who hate the Jewish people and rejoice when they are murdered in their own streets and on their own buses.  This confuses me.  Why does the life of a small nation of people create such anger and hatred.  Why does the death of the Jewish people cause rejoicing.  It is not only sick, it is sinful and against God’s will for Abraham’s promise.

Israel,  for all of time, has had to defend herself.  This is nothing new and it will continue until all nations of the world come against her to destroy her.  Even today, only 9 out of 188 nations stood against Palestine becoming a nation.  That’s the world against Israel.  That’s the world against a land covenant given to Israel through Abraham because no one believes in the Hebrew Scriptures and the promises of  God.  They mock Him and destroy His chosen people.

The Scriptures say ‘He who blesses Abraham will be blessed and he who curses him will be cursed.”  I believe the leaders of the world are walking on very dangerous ground and some very terrible things will begin to happen as the world continues to hate and curse Israel.  There are many Biblical and historical accounts of nations that came against Israel and the Jewish people.  They suffered serious consequences.  Most, if not all, of the nations no longer exist.  Many of the modern-day nations like the United States are falling apart because we do not stand with Israel.

To Answer Your Question

Was the land of Israel given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Jewish people?  Yes.  Should there be boundaries that are bigger than what Israel is today?  Yes.  Will politicians and world leaders solve the problem?  No.  Men are sinful, hate God, want power, and covet something they can never own, only possess.    The battle isn’t really with Israel and the Jewish people, it’s with the Creator of the Universe.  Mankind, in all his pride and greed, is waging war with the Creator.  It can only turn out bad for mankind.

Will the situation ever be resolved so there is everlasting peace.  Yes.  I believe the situation will only be resolved when Yeshua returns to the Mount of Olives.   At this moment everyone who pierced his hands and feet will mourn.  He will enter Jerusalem and set up His Kingdom rule.   I also believe that when the time of the end comes and all nations come against Israel, everyone will see the miraculous Hand of Yahweh deliver His people.

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