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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:
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."
"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.
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)
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].
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."
"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.
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].
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.
"11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
"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?
Fact Finder: What does "pilgrim" actually mean?
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.