Bible Study

Genesis part IX: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

In case you missed it:

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

I wonder if I’m moving at a snail’s pace with Genesis for I’m only on the 13th chapter, but timing is everything and rushing won’t make sense for then I won’t enjoy studying His Word. I trust that everyone had a great week and welcome back to Bible study. 

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God renews the promise to Abram

Scripture in focus: Genesis 13

Abram, Sarai, and Lot come out of Egypt and heads “into the south” which is the land of promise (13:1). Abram was also very rich in temporal things (13:2). This great example shows that having wealth is not a sin, but the love of wealth is. Also, thanks to the Pharoah, Abram’s riches was increased. However, Abram heads right back where he started (13:3-4). I took note of two significant things here: (i) There was no need for Abram to go down into Egypt for God would’ve provided his needs during the drought if only he had relied on God and (ii) Abram realized that he had sinned and had to go back to find God, seek forgiveness and begin again. 13:5-7 saw conflict creeping in among Abram and Lot’s herdsmen. In 12:1, God commanded Abram to leave his family behind when he came to Canaan, but Abram bought his nephew along. Lot was a grown man now and he had acquired much wealth as his uncle that the land which they shared couldn’t contain it. It is also important to note that the conflict started when Abram got right with God. Whenever we get right with God, that’s when the devil deals deceitfully with us.

The strife had to be resolved for Abram wanted peace (13:8) and the only logical reasoning was Lot moving and establishing his own dwelling. Abram generously made an offer to Lot (13:9) in which Lot will choose which part of the land he wanted and Abram will be content with to take what Lot did not want. A fine example of selfless love. Abram looked out for the interest of others and not only his own (Philippians 2:4). Also, Abram learned from his past mistake and knew that he could trust God to provide for him. However, Lot’s eyes were set on the material abundance and beautiful lushness of the plain of Jordan (13:10-11) that he did not care how the atmosphere would spiritually affect his family. Instead of asking Abram for help or praying about it, he was led by the sight of his eyes. Later on, we come to see how his decision ruins his family.

Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom (13:12) and he later dwells there becoming a leader of a sinful city (19:1). The inhabitants of Sodom were exceedingly sinful before the Lord (13:13). With Lot gone, God renews the promise to Abram and his descendants concerning the land (13:14-15). He also reminds Abram of the promise to give Abram many descendants (13:16). Abram walks through the land God gave to him (13:17) and eventually came to dwell in Mamre (a large grove of trees owned by Mamre the Amorite as we’ll see in 14:13) and built an altar as he was committed to worshipping the Lord (13:18). 

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The battle of 4 kings against 5

Scripture in focus: Genesis 14

14:1-10 sees the four kings of the cities in the region of Sodom and Gomorrah rebel against the Confederation of five kings of nations ruling over them (blueletterbible.org). Five cities of the plain revolted and Chedorlaomer (king of Elam) with three allies were against them (14:1). The five kings ruled over a single town and its neighborhood (14:2). Note that the name of the king of Bela which is Zoar was not given. Maybe it was due to the fact that Zoar (little) was insignificant. The royal heads came together in the vale of Siddim (14:3). The five kings served Chedorlaomer for 12 years and they were probably enslaved by him so they made the decision to rebel in the 13th year (14:4). In the 14th year, Chedorlaomer and his allies came to quell the revolt (14:5-6). They passed the country of the Amalekites (En-mishpat, which is Kadesh), but being victorious in their original pursuits, they came back to En-mishpat and slew the Amalekites (14:7). 

We now come to the climax of the battle from 14:3: the five kings led by the king of Sodom joined battle with the 4 in Siddim (14:8-9). The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, fell and perished into the slimepits while the other kings fled to the mountain (14:10). The invaders raided Sodom and Gomorrah taking all they could put their grabby hands on (14:11), but it becomes personal for Abram when they took his nephew Lot (14:12). Lot was taken captive for he was also dwelling among the wicked people. However, a survivor escaped and located Abram to tell him the bad that had befallen Lot (14:13). Here, we see the term ‘Hebrew’ being used for the first time. Immediately taking action, Abram puts his on his warrior mode, assembled 318 servants capable of fighting and pursued the kidnappers unto the city of Dan (14:14). Abram leads his army to victory over the 5 kings using his military wisdom (14:15). He brings Lot back and all of his possessions (14:16). Unfortunately, Lot didn’t heed the warning and went back to dwell in Sodom.

The king of Sodom was delighted with Abram defeating his enemies and came to greet him (14:17). Abram meets Melchizedek the priest of the God Most High (14:18). Melchizedek blesses Abram (14:19) and Abram paid tithes (14:20) which would’ve been one-tenth of the spoils (Hebrews 7:4). Abram refuses to take the spoils from the battle so as not to be obligated to the king of Sodom (14:21-24). After all, it was God who won the battle for him.

Additional Notes/Recap

^ I love the meaning of Mamre (vision) and Hebron (communion). Abram is walking in God’s vision and being in communion with Him. 

^ Amalek was the first nation (Numbers 24:20).

^ Slimepits were said to be asphalt later on.

^ Melchizedek was a king and a priest of God. He was the king of Salem (the original Jerusalem) and his name means “king of righteousness”. He was a king-priest who typifies the true King-Priest (Jesus Christ) later to come into the world to save sinners. The bread and wine he bought Abram also typify the bread and wine at the Passover. 

^ The significance of the number 2000: Melchizedek made his appearance about 2000 years after Adam was created. Approximately 2000 years after Melchizedek appeared, baby Jesus was born. And Jesus will return 2000 years after his manifestation as our Savior (bible-studys.org).

^ The vale of Siddim and Salt Sea are the same as the Dead Sea. 

Image result for Dead Sea 

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Devotion 💙

Who was Melchizedek?

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Question of the moment! 

Was he an earthly person? An angelic being? Jesus Christ Himself?

The Bible is open for interpretation, but there are also secret things that God does not want us to know hence the reason why they aren’t revealed unto us. Today, I want to talk about Melchizedek. When I came across the name a few years ago in the Bible, I did not bother to dwell on it. However, in rereading the Bible a couple of times (this is the only Book that I reread whenever I reach the end), I found this Melchizedek character to be intriguing. In reading about him, I’ve come across many people saying that he and Jesus Christ are one and the same and whenever the name is brought up, I tend to throw that out there to see how others may approach the subject. 

The conclusion I’ve reached: it tends to confuse many people (especially Christians) because they’ve failed to consult their Bible instead trusting Google as their spiritual guide.

Last Sabbath, I had a fascinating conversation with Margaret and T.R. Noble about Melchizedek. I did not go into deep explanation because I know I would’ve been writing this post for today.   

Let’s get into it.

Dissecting Melchizedek

I first met this mysterious character in Genesis during his encounter with Abraham and he was introduced as the King of Salem. 

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. (Genesis 14:18-20)

Why give a stranger you’ve just met a tithe (a tenth) of the items you’ve gathered? By doing this, Abraham indicates that he recognized Melchizedek as a priest who ranked higher spiritually than he. 

I then met him again in Hebrews and here some light is shed on this intriguing character:

Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. (Hebrews 7:3)

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; (Hebrews 7:1-2)

In reading those passages, we learn that Melchizedek is like unto the Son of God, priest of the Most High God, and his name means King of Righteousness. I repeat. King of Righteousness. Jesus Christ is referred to the King of Righteousness, BUT not because a name bears the identical meaning to another makes the person one and the same. For example, my name is Diana meaning ‘heavenly’ or ‘divine’. I certainly ain’t heavenly or divine nor am I a goddess (In Acts 19:24-41, Diana or Artemis is the goddess of the Ephesians).

Some would argue that Jesus must have been the person who met Abraham, given that the only interaction between God and man has been through Jesus. They’re forgetting the angels. It was Angel Gabriel who delivered the message to Mary on God’s behalf.

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Comparisons: Melchizedek and Jesus Christ

It would be considered a blasphemy to apply the “King of Righteousness” title to any human being. Only a Divine Being would bear this title. Melchizedek was not just anyone. He was a priest and a king simultaneously and his days are without end just as Christ. His administration was continual, just as Christ who serves continually as our priest. 

Now, let’s go back to Hebrews 7:3. In this verse, we see that he was “made like unto the Son of God”. Keyword: like/likeliness. This word tells us that they’re not the same in identity. I don’t know Greek or Hebrew otherwise I could’ve provided the word for likeliness, but it plainly tells us that the first resembled the second.

Yes, I know, they can be one and the same, but it can be vividly seen in the Bible that they aren’t. I reference Psalm 110. In this Psalm, we read (and SEE!) where God addresses David’s “Lord” (Jesus) in the second person (The Lord said unto my Lord) and when he gets to Melchizedek, he is referenced in the third person (Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek). Also read Matthew 22:42-44 in connection with this Psalm.

Melchizedek was a priest of the Most High God.

As I said in the beginning of this post, there are some secret things that God does not want us to know, but never be afraid to search the Bible because His Word is final. The Bible is fascinating and even if you don’t understand it, go to God in prayer and ask Him to open your eyes and heart while reading His Word.

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So, pray and consult your Bible at all times. You can also talk to your Pastor or the Elder of the church, your Christian friend and hold group discussions. And please check out the wonderful T.R. Noble’s in depth post of Melchizedek here: Who Is Melchizedek

NOTE: This post was supposed to have gotten out since yesterday, but due to some technical difficulties, I didn’t get to schedule it on time.