Seven Men Named Before Birth #5

Friday, August 6, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

As we have seen now, in each of these situations, man’s sinful flesh is at work but God’s faithfulness overcomes it. Abraham (and especially) Sarah schemed to have a child their way (through Hagar) instead of God’s way (through Sarah). Then, Hagar was punished because of the ensuing domestic conflict; regardless, God blessed Abraham’s child through Hagar, Ishmael, for the LORD “heard” (took notice) of her dire predicament.

When joyous Abraham and skeptical Sarah finally did have a son, Isaac was appropriately named because of the “laughter.” The Abrahamic Covenant now had an heir. Although King David had illicit relations with Bathsheba, and that resulting child died, the LORD was faithful in giving them another son, Solomon, whose alternate name Jedidiah meant “beloved of JEHOVAH.” It was through this boy that God would achieve the Davidic Covenant: a son of David would reign over Israel forever. King Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom was a pagan idolater; he caused the 10 northern tribes to stumble in heathenism. A son of David, King Josiah, destroyed Jeroboam’s religious system and instituted spirituality “founded of JEHOVAH.”

Though idolatrous Israel deserved her Babylonian Captivity, the LORD used Cyrus King of Persia to “possess the furnace” (overthrow Babylon), thereby freeing the Jews and letting them return to the Promised Land. Father God sent John the Baptist to announce the entrance of His Son: He had not forgotten His covenants with Israel, but would “favor” them according to His grace and fulfill those promises despite the nation’s rank unbelief. Finally, Jesus Christ Himself took upon human flesh, to shed His blood and become “JEHOVAH-Saviour”—first and foremost of Israel, but ultimately for the whole world!

One final note worthy of our consideration. Looking at the list another way, we can read the following message: “Being heard of God results in laughter, JEHOVAH has beloved and founded, the furnace/oppressor is possessed/conquered, for JEHOVAH is gracious and Saviour.” These are certainly descriptive of Jesus Christ’s ministry—what He will do especially for Israel.

Seven Men Named Before Birth #2

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

Hagar, Sarah’s slave girl, really had no choice in the matter of serving as her mistress’ surrogate. Abraham fathered a child by her. When animosity arose between the two women, Abraham evicted pregnant Hagar, after which time God informed her it was His will that the unborn child be named “Ishmael” (Hebrew, “God hears”); God has heard Hagar’s situation and pities her and her boy (Genesis 16:11). By the time of chapter 17, Abraham and Sarah are now 13 years older. Sarah, aged 90, is still barren. Upon learning God will give him a son through Sarah, 99-year-old Abraham falls on his face and laughs—rejoicing not scoffing (verse 17). As verse 19 relays to us, God directs Abraham to call this son “Isaac” (Hebrew, “laughter”), the beginning of the nation Israel.

Over 1,000 years later, King David reigns over Israel. In 2 Samuel chapter 11, he has that infamous affair with a married woman, Bathsheba, and arranges her husband’s murder to cover up the resultant pregnancy. David marries Bathsheba. The LORD, in chapter 12, sends the Prophet Nathan to condemn David for his wickedness: furthermore, the king learns his newborn baby will die, which he does. David and Bathsheba subsequently have another child, Solomon, “and the LORD loved him” (verse 24). Verse 25 tells us God had already chosen a name: “Jedediah” (Hebrew, “beloved of JEHOVAH”).

After King Solomon’s death, with the kingdoms of Israel (north) and Judah (south) divided, his servant (Jeroboam) and his son (Rehoboam) head internal civil wars (1 Kings chapters 11–13). While both pagan idolaters, Jeroboam is the worse; he establishes heathen religion in those northern 10 tribes. In chapter 13, while King Jeroboam is engaged in idolatry, God’s prophet warns him: a descendant of David will be born, “Josiah” (Hebrew, “founded of JEHOVAH”), and this man will bring extensive religious reform in Israel (verses 1-3). Some 350 years later, King Josiah invades the northern kingdom and destroys Jeroboam’s shrines (2 Kings 23:15-20).

Now, just three men remain on our list….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #10

Monday, January 18, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Exactly 12 spies—representing Israel’s 12 tribes—were sent to scout Canaan (Numbers 13:1-25). Centuries earlier, God had promised that land to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. However, since that original promise, Israel had been in Egyptian bondage. The LORD faithfully delivered her from Egypt, and now the Jews are headed into the Promised Land!

After 40 days, the spies returned to Moses and Israel: “[31] But the men that went up with him [Caleb] said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. [32] And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. [33] And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

Ten out of the 12 spies contradicted the LORD, claiming Israel could not defeat the Gentiles in Canaan. Therefore, the LORD spoke in chapter 14: “[33] And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. [34] After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. [35] I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.”

Israel’s sin found her out, and fractured her in twain….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the significance of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt?

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #9

Sunday, January 17, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

In Genesis 12:1-3, the LORD God isolated one man, Abram, promising to make of him a great nation (Israel). After many years of growing old and still being childless, Abram wondered how a nation of people would descend from him. By the time of chapter 16, he has been waiting a decade for God to fulfill His promise (Abrahamic Covenant). He is still without a son! Thus, Sarai, Abram’s wife, suggests Abram take her slave girl, Hagar, and use her as a surrogate.

Notice: “[1] Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. [2] And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai…. [15] And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. [16] And Abram was fourscore and six [that is, 86] years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”

Move to chapter 17. God informs Abram, now 99 years old: “[2] And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly… [19] And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” Several years later, in chapter 21, verses 9-21, a nasty conflict erupts between Ishmael and Isaac, further dividing their mothers Hagar and Sarah. It causes Abraham such pain. The work of his flesh (son Ishmael—Law) was not God’s promised son (Isaac—Grace). His family permanently splits, resulting in the endless Jewish–Muslim–Palestinian–Arab conflict with which we are all familiar even now. Abraham’s sin found him out and fractured his people in twain….

Throwing Them Out! #4

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying (Mark 5:40 KJV).

Why did Jesus throw these people out?

Jairus’ child, his “one only daughter,” was 12 years old (Mark 5:42; Luke 8:42). Any skilled student of Scripture will immediately recall 12 in the Bible is Israel’s number. Remember, did not Jacob have 12 sons who became the nation Israel? Were not those 12 men the fathers and heads of the 12 tribes of Israel? Does not Israel have 12 Apostles—one to reign over each tribe in the ages to come? Yes! Yes! Yes!

“And he [the LORD God] gave him [Abraham] the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs (Acts 7:8). After dying Jacob blessed his 12 sons, the Bible says, “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them” (Genesis 49:28). “And Jesus said unto them [the 12 Apostles], Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging [ruling] the twelve tribes of Israel(Matthew 19:28).

Jairus’ daughter is in the process of dying. God’s Son is en route to heal her, but a delay causes Him to be “too late” and, tragically, she passes away! Here is national Israel, spiritually and functionally dead. God’s daughter is expired! The Lord Jesus comes to the house, and, entering the room, sees and hears the grievers. Today’s Scripture again, “And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.” Jesus argues, paraphrased, “The girl’s condition is not permanent. While her spirit has left her body, this is temporary, like a sleeping state. She will live again!” Lacking faith, however, His audience finds this comical. “Surely, she is hopelessly dead, never coming back!” Upon their chuckling, Jesus drives them out. They will not see Israel’s resurrection….

The War with Amalek! #4

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

The Amalekites were the first Gentiles to fight Israel after they had passed through the Red Sea. Read today’s Scripture in context once more: “[5] And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. [6] Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. [7] And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not? [8] Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.” It is important to note that this battle did not initiate until after the water ran.

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul provides commentary: “[1] Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; [2] And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; [3] And did all eat the same spiritual meat; [4] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians chapter 10).

While Israel literally passed through the Red Sea, and actually drank literal water from a literal rock, spiritual truths are being communicated as well. The Bible says the smitten Rock was Jesus Christ. According to Isaiah 53:4, He was “smitten of God” on Calvary’s cross. Moses striking the rock was a picture of Christ being crucified 1,500 years later. As physical water flowed from the rock, sustaining physical life, so spiritual water flowed from Christ the Rock on the cross, thereby releasing spiritual life. With the flow of spiritual life—and notice it comes first—a war subsequently rages. Now, the victor and the loser….

The War with Amalek! #3

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

The LORD God had delivered Israel from Egyptian slavery back in Exodus chapter 14. He had brought them miraculously through the Red Sea, in which He drowned Pharaoh and his armies. Israel had left the “old life” behind. No more were they servants to sin, Satan, and false religion. East of the Red Sea, they burst into song, the Song of Moses.

Read from chapter 15: “[16] Fear and dread shall fall upon them [the Gentiles]; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. [17] Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. [18] The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” Coming out of the Red Sea, the Israelites knew their purpose. God had “purchased” or redeemed them. The blood of the Passover lamb had been shed (chapter 12). They had “died” to Egyptian bondage. Now, they were alive, in a new region, and bound for the Promised Land. What great joy!

At the close of chapter 15, the Jews needed water, and God healed bitter water so as to make it drinkable for them. They were hungry, so He provided them with manna (bread) and quail in chapter 16. With chapter 17 opening, they complained about thirst again: “[5] And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. [6] Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”

The rock indeed brought forth water, but a bitter fight ensued as well….

The War with Amalek! #2

Monday, June 3, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Scripture first mentions the man “Amalek” in Genesis 36:12: “And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife.” Amalek was Esau’s grandson, but who was Esau?

Turn back to chapter 25: “[19] And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac: [20] And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. [21] And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. [22] And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. [23] And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

“[24] And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. [25] And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. [26] And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.”

Esau was Jacob’s older twin brother—and both were Abraham’s grandsons. Even in the womb, it was evident they would be rivals. Read Genesis 25:37-34 and Hebrews 12:16-17. Esau was an unbeliever; he did not trust the one true God. Jacob was a believer (see Hebrews 11:21). As noted in Genesis 25:23, two nations descended from their loins. Esau was the forefather of the Edomites (Genesis chapter 36). Jacob, of course, fathered 12 sons who ultimately became the 12 tribes of Israel (Genesis chapters 29–30,35).

Therefore, when the Amalekites attacked the Israelites in today’s Scripture, it was the culmination of a centuries-old spiritual battle among blood relatives….

Wise or Foolish? #2

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:…. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…” (Matthew 7:24,26 KJV).

Dear friends, are we wise—or foolish?

Today’s Scripture is certainly works-oriented—“doeth them” and “doeth them not.” It is in perfect accordance with Israel’s works program (see James 2:14-26). In that respect, it is quite different from what God tells us in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Howbeit, we would do well to note one common theme. No matter the dispensation, it is always wise to listen to God’s Word, believe it, and obey it. It is always foolish to ignore it, doubt it, and defy it.

As today, so it was in time past. When Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry, there was gross spiritual ignorance. The nation Israel was so far removed from God’s Word that they were unable to spot His Son when He showed up in their midst! Christ’s earthly ministry was a diligent endeavor to lead the Jews back to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These precious souls had drifted away from pure religion and held to false religion. God’s words had been set aside for man’s opinions. Thus, Jesus asked Nicodemus, “Art thou a master [teacher, educator] of Israel, and knowest not these things?” (John 3:10). Even Israel’s religious leaders were clueless to God’s words!!

With every sermon preached, and every miracle performed, Christ was loosening Satan’s grip on Israel. Yet, the vast majority preferred bondage. They wanted to serve sin—it was either that or serve the God of creation (and that they refused)!! Throughout Christ’s earthly ministry, the unbelievers became more apparent, as did the believers. Of course, those unsaved Jews grow more belligerent—yea, bloodthirsty (leading to Christ’s crucifixion). Doctrine had already divided, but now Christ’s sermons had widened the chasm.

In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus warns of an impending storm (Matthew 7:25,27). A test is coming upon Israel, and the wise men and the foolish men will be separated for all to see….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How can Jesus Christ be a priest if He is of the non-priestly tribe of Judah?

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #3

Friday, July 20, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

Fast-forward over 400 years after Abraham. His seed through Isaac—the nation Israel—is in bondage to Egypt. Israel is helpless: she cannot rescue herself, and must depend on God’s power to deliver her with mighty signs and wonders (Exodus chapters 1-13). The culmination is God’s parting of the Red Sea to allow Israel to escape Pharaoh and his army (chapter 14). In chapters 15 through 18, God graciously blesses Israel with His provisions. He has done so much to make them His people. Will they rest in this grace?

Notice Exodus chapter 19: “[3] And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] Ye have seen what I [God] did unto the Egyptians, and how I [God] bare you on eagles’ wings, and [I God] brought you unto myself. [5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

How tragic! They have not learned the lesson that their father Abraham had centuries earlier. Instead of letting God work to fulfill His promises (namely, the Abrahamic Covenant—He will work to make them His people), their sin nature has deceived them into thinking they can perform to get the blessing. They believe they can make themselves God’s nation. Grace has been tossed aside, and thus begins the strict, cruel reign of the Law! Sinful Israel is doomed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Matthew 25:31-46 a plan for our salvation unto eternal life?