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Monday, January 14 2013

Abraham's Journey: When Will He Arrive?

Abraham was born in the area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, in what is today southern Iraq. While the region itself was prosperous and beautiful, humanity had again (just as they did before the Flood) turned it into "Babylon" - from an ancient Semitic (a linguistic family that includes Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic; see also The Syrian Tongue Of Jesus) word that means confusion. It was from there that the LORD had Abram, later renamed as Abraham, depart to a land that was foreign to him - and would remain so even as Abraham lived the remainder of his life there. The blessing was for the future.

"12:1 Now the LORD [i.e. Jesus Christ; see The Kingdom Of The LORD God] had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:1-3 KJV)

The journey was done in stages. The family group stopped in Haran, in Syria (where eleven of the Israelite patriarchs, including Judah, were born years later; see The Syrian Marriage Wells and A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria), where some remained, while Abraham and his much-smaller group continued on to the land of Canaan. Abraham made his way, north to south, through the entire length of what would much later be known as the land of Israel i.e. named after Abraham's grandson Jacob, who the LORD renamed as Israel (see A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel). Abraham never lived in "Israel."

Abram Leaving Ur

"12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?]; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

12:6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Canaanites?]. 12:7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

12:8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel [see The God Of Bethel], and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. 12:9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south [i.e. the Negev; see The Negev Of Israel]." (Genesis 12:4-9 KJV)

Abraham settled in the south, or Negev (Negev is the Hebrew word for south) of Israel. When a famine struck the already very dry area, Abraham went to nearby Egypt, in the well-watered Nile Delta region (as the Israelites themselves did years later, where they remained for four hundred years; see A Biography Of Jacob: Israel In Egypt). Abraham prospered in Egypt, and returned to the land of Canaan as a very wealthy man.

"12:10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there [see also Abraham, Isaac And Jacob In Egypt]; for the famine was grievous in the land." (Genesis 12:10 KJV)

"13:1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle [see The Herds Of Abraham, Isaac And Jacob], in silver, and in gold. 13:3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 13:4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD." (Genesis 13:1-4 KJV)

Their wealth in flocks and herds created a competition for grazing area problem for Abraham and Lot, so they amicably parted company. Lot chose the "Babylon" area of Sodom, while Abraham settled at Hebron.

"13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 13:11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east [see Lot's Choice; also Why Did Lot's Wife Look Back?]: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 13:12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13:13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly [see A Biography Of Abraham: The Battles Of Sodom].

13:14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 13:15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever [see The Covenant With Abraham's Seed]. 13:16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 13:17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

13:18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron [see A Biography Of Abraham: Mamre in Hebron], and built there an altar unto the LORD." (Genesis 13:10-18 KJV)

Abraham lived the remainder of his life at Hebron, in the land of Canaan. When he died, he was buried in the same tomb that he had purchased for Sarah when she died. The tomb became a family tomb in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their wives Sarah, Rebekah and Leah are entombed together. The only land that Abraham ever owned in the land of Canaan was his grave.

"25:7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. 25:8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost [see Giving Up The Ghost], and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. 25:9 And his sons Isaac [see A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac] and Ishmael [see A Biography Of Abraham: Hagar And Ishmael] buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; 25:10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife [see A Biography Of Abraham: Sarah]. 25:11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi." (Genesis 25:7-11 KJV)

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth"

Abraham understood the true meaning of faith: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report."

Abraham's Journey

"11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?], so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain [see also How Did Adam And Eve Sin Differently?], by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death [see What Happened To Enoch?]; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet [see also As In The Days Of Noah], moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Hebrews 11:1-7 KJV)

Abraham's journey was a matter of going to a new land and living the remainder of his life waiting for the promise to him to be fulfilled: "By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."

"11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob [see Where Is Your Tabernacle?], the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God [see also The Messiah's Teachings About Gates].

11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable [see As The Sand That Is On The Sea Shore]." (Genesis 11:8-12 KJV)

Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob/Israel, "all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."

"11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly [see Repent, For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand]: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:13-16 KJV)

"When ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God"

Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac is one of the most famous incidents of the Bible. Many have wondered, what was Abraham thinking? There is however no need to wonder; the Bible tells us what Abraham was thinking. Abraham had faith in the resurrection.

"11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." (Hebrews 11:17-19 KJV)

Abraham was unique in many ways, but his understanding of the Gospel was a common factor to all of the true people of the LORD - ancient or present-day.

The Camp Of Abraham

"11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph [see Jacob's Blessing Of Ephraim And Manasseh and A Biography Of Jacob: Blessings And Prophecies]; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

11:22 By faith Joseph [see A Biography Of Jacob: A Coat Of Many Colors], when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

11:23 By faith Moses [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Moses], when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.

11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter [see The Meeting Of Moses And Aaron]; 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Passover], and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Judges]; of David also, and Samuel [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Samuel], and of the prophets [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Prophets]: 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth [see Why Does The LORD Permit Persecution?].

11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." (Hebrews 11:20-40 KJV)

"Old Testament" Abraham understood the true Gospel much better than many Christian-professing people do today. Abraham well-understood what "born again" actually means, that it is a future event (see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?). We know from the Scriptures that Abraham will be in the Kingdom of God, while others, unless they repent of their man-made, self-worshipping religions, will not, for "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out."

"13:22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved?

And he said unto them, 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

13:26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity [see Will Jesus Christ Obey Your Christian Religion?].

13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 13:29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God [see The Church In The Kingdom Of God and The Church: Mission Accomplished]. 13:30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last." (Luke 13:22-30 KJV)

Fact Finder: What does "pilgrim" actually mean?
See The Pilgrims


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This Day In History, January 14

1236: Henry III married Eleanor of Provence.

1526: Francis I surrendered claims to Burgundy, Italy, and Flanders.

1529: Spanish reformer Juan de Valdes, 29, published his "Dialogue on Christian Doctrine," which paved the way in Spain for Protestant ideas. His treatise was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition, and Valdes was forced to flee Spain, never to return.

1539: Spain annexed Cuba.

1601: Roman Catholic authorities in Rome burned Hebrew books (see also Translation Of Translations).

1604: The Hampton Court Conference began under King James I (the King James Bible is named after him) to address Puritan demands for doctrinal changes in the Church of England.

1699: Massachusetts held a day of fasting for wrongly persecuting "witches."

1742: English astronomer Edmond Halley died at age 86. He was the first to accurately predict the return of a comet. It is now named after him - Halley's Comet.

1797: In the Battle of Rivoli in Italy, the French under Napoleon defeated an Austrian attempt to relieve Mantua. 3,500 Austrian troops were killed.

1814: The Treaty of Kiel transferred Norway from the king of Denmark to the king of Sweden.

1837: Francois, the Marquis de Barbe-Marbois, died at age 92. The French statesman negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with the U.S. in 1803.

1858: Italian revolutionary Felice Orsini threw bombs at Napoleon III in Paris in an assassination attempt; several people were killed but Emperor Napoleon and Empress Eugenie were unharmed.

1878: The first private connection by telephone in Great Britain was made on the Isle of Wight when Queen Victoria spoke to Thomas Biddulph.

1893: Pope Leo XIII appointed Archbishop Francesco Satolli as the Vatican's first ambassador to the U.S.

1898: Charles Dodgson died at age 65. Although the British scholar was a lecturer in mathematics at Oxford University, and was a pioneer photographer, he is remembered, under the pen name Lewis Carroll, as the author of Alice in Wonderland.

1943: Churchill, Roosevelt and De Gaulle met in Casablanca to agree on a strategy for concluding the Second World War and to demand the unconditional surrender from the Germany.

1953: Marshal Tito was elected the first president of the Republic of Yugoslavia.

1969: The Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 was launched, followed the next day by Soyuz 5. They achieved the first docking of 2 manned spacecraft in Earth orbit.

1991: Three Palestinian terrorist chiefs, including Abu Iyad, were assassinated in Tunis.





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