In part three we saw where Abram was instructed to separate from his homeland, father, and relatives, and THEN to head out for a geographical location that was to be later made known to him. Only to the extent that Abram obeyed God could he (or we) go any further with the plan that God had in mind for each one of us, as individuals. Abram did not separate from his father or relatives upon departing Ur. He relocated in Haran that had the same pagan-worship environment as Ur. It was not until the death of Abram's father in Haran that Abraham was able to move forward in the plan of God.
The Message Of The Stars (Psalms 19:1/Romans 10:18), is a “visual aid” in which God portrayed the Gospel Message to the ancient peoples via selected constellations. Satan not only led the world at large away from being able to see this, but developed and promoted a perverted usage of the stars. Such perversions and usage can be found in many of the Pagan (false) religions of the world (Psalms 96:5) in which various heavenly bodies (the sun, the moon, the planets) became the object(s) of worship.
Many of the ancient Jews and modern day Christians choose to engage in such activities as horoscopes, etc.. It became such an issue in the days of King Saul that involvement with such things was made a capital offense.
Satan did not and does not have the power to alter the assigned paths of the celestial bodies that form the constellations, but he did and does have the power to distract our attention from the Message of the Stars and to provide an alternative and evil use of the stars through the false religions of the world. Following the Tower of Babel, the false gods and the false religions took on different names with the introduction of different languages. The concept of human beings, living and dead, becoming equal to the various moons gods were planted, took root, and spread among the nations and cultures, as well.
Satan, primarily through the work of Cush (Noah’s grandson and Ham’s son) and Cush’s son Nimrod in the third and fourth generation in the line of Noah, established an alternative use of interpreting the stellar universe, making many of the celestial bodies (planets, stars, moons) the objects of worship that the peoples of the ancient world would worship in order to please the various gods that these celestial bodies represented. Noah and at least the house (family/descendants) of Shem remained faithful to the God of the Bible.
Cush and his descendants chose to reject the true God and chose the Romans 1: 8-32 paths the majority of the human race has chosen since before and after the Flood.
Many of these “gods” were and are known among pagan cultures as the moon gods, with Allah eventually being elevated to be the primary “moon god” by the time of Mohammad in the 8th century AD.
Abram, later to be renamed Abraham, was approximately 50 years old and living in Ur when he was called by God to depart and head for what we now refer to as the Promised Land. Canonized Scripture does not reveal why it was that God chose Abram, but as we will see, there are historical sources outside of Scripture that offer information concerning the fifty years of Abram’s life that preceded the Genesis calling of God.
Ur, at that time, was one of the main centers where the Pagan worship of the moons gods was prevalent.
There was an ancient writing, now known as The Book of Jasher (Jashar) that is a source outside of canonized Scripture. While it was not accepted as Scripture by many, it was cited twice in Canonized Scripture (Joshua 10:13/2Sam. 1:18) as being a credible reference source of historical information. This source offers the following information concerning the life of Abram, prior to him receiving the call from God to depart Ur.
A word of caution is appropriate here, as the Book of Jasher was not accepted by all as inspired Scripture. Sources claim there are as many as five different versions of this Book of Jasher, with at least one of them being suspected of being deliberately altered. Any teachings (past,present, future) that comes from sources outside of Scripture that contradict canonized Scripture must be rejected as having been the product of Man.
But does that mean that we are to “throw the “baby” (useful information) out with the “wash-water” (erroneous information)?
No, but it does require that if and when any source of information outside of Scripture is contrary to what Scripture has to say, we side with Scripture.
In the case of what the Book of Jasher (Jashar) offers concerning the life of Abram, there is nothing that contradicts what we have in Scripture, but offers details and information that were not recorded in Scripture. Historical accounts of Man are not always reliable, as history is usually written by the "winners," presenting themselves in the best possible light.
The first mention of Abram in Canonized Scripture, prior to him being called by God, is in Gen. 11: 26. There we learn that Abram was the son of Terah and had a brother named Haran who later became the father of Lot.
Such writings as the Book of Jasher (Jashar), like the secular works of the historian Josephus, can be of a great practical assistance when applying the much needed isagogic (historical) perspective to the accurate interpretation of what is revealed in Scripture.
An advancing disciple needs only to have the spiritual maturity to be able to discern fact from fallacy in non-Biblical sources to benefit by them. Such material can be hazardous to believers that do not first have a clear understanding of what Scripture has to say.
The Book of Jasher records much information concerning the life of Abram that led up to the incident in Ur recorded in Scripture, and can shed light on the question of why it was Abram that the plan of God focused on in that era.
For what it’s worth, at least one of versions of the Book of Jasher (Jashar) contends that when Abram was born, the astrologers of that day that had the ear of the reigning king of Ur, informed the king that according to their observation and interpretation of the recent stellar activity, a rival (Abram) to his throne had been born.
Note the similarity of the events that took place at the First Advent that motivated Herod to destroy his suspected rival (the Lord Jesus Christ). It was on the basis of such a report that Herod ordered the slaughter of all children under the age of 2 in the vicinity of Bethlehem. Such similarities between Old and New Testament events are frequently found in Canonized Scripture.
According to the Book of Jasher (Jashar), a substitute was brought to the king and was executed, deceiving the king to believe that (Abram) his suspected rival, had been eliminated.
Fifty years later, this issue would resurface again after Abram returned to the house of his father in Ur
This fifty year factor is worth noting. If Abram was fifty years old when he was called and departed Ur, and he was seventy-five years old when he eventually departed Haran (), it means that his detour to, and delay in, Haran consumed twenty five years before he finally separated (as he was told to do) from his father and the Pagan environment. Twenty five years is a long time to be stuck in neutral!
According to the Book of Jasher (Jashar), when Abram fled Ur the first time, he was initially hidden out in a cave and eventually was taken to the house of Noah and Shem, where he, lived for thirty nine years. We can conclude that it was there that Abram received the spiritual edification of Noah and Shem, who were believers and faithful to the Lord.
During this period of human history, the development of the moon god religions and the false worship and practices that went along with them were spreading like wild fire throughout the known world. The introduction and promoting of these false religions was the primary focus of the angelic conflict, with the devil securing widespread victory over the majority of the human race that were adopting these religious alternatives being promoted by the devil. Note that New Testament Scripture (Rev. 12: 9) speak of the devil as being one who deceives the whole world.
Never-the-less, in each generation of Man, God always has a remnant of people who will preserve and promote the truth of the Word of God. Such was the case in house of Noah and his son, Shem, where Abram went. Fellowship with world makes one an enemy of God. Fellowship with God makes one an enemy of the devil (James 4: 4). In every dispensation, the people of faith in the one true God of the Bible become the targets of Satanic attack (Eph. 6: 16) in the ongoing Angelic Conflict, while the followers of all the false religion are blessed and promoted by Satan (Luke 4:6).
The natural tendency of Fallen Man is to be hostile (Romans 8: 7) towards God and the things of the God of the Bible, while being receptive to and to adopt one of the many “religious” alternatives that Satan promotes in the name of religion. Here in the Church Age, the various "Christian religions" (an oxymoron) are the devil's alternatives to Biblical Christianity. Like an successful counterfeit operation, Christian religions are designed to appear to be the real thing.
The tendency to be hostile towards God and the things of God while being very vulnerable to the devil's alternatives is outlined in Romans 1: 18-32. The devil has an alternative plan for the plan that God has ordained for each and every dispensation, including the dispensation of the Church Age in which WE are living! This tendency is what sets the stage for the many (majority) vs. the few (minority) principle of Matt. 7: 13, 14 to manifest itself.
While it is the desire of God that all men be saved (1Tim. 2: 4), such verses as Matt. 7: 13,14 and Rev. 20: 15 clearly teach that this will NOT be the case!
Behind the false religions of the world, is the lie that we all worship the same god, but by a different name and by different rituals. Another false teaching is that because God is a God of love and mercy, He will not send the souls He loves into the lake of fire. Both concepts find a home in the realm of human reasoning, but contradict what Scripture (John 14: 6/John 3: 18/Rev. 20: 15, etc.) has to say.
Any teaching that denies the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, or the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ is ANTICHRIST. Antichrists have been in existence from the very beginning of the Church Age (). The obvious antichrists are the ones that deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, or promote the Psalms 96 religions of the world, endorsing other deities. The harder-to-detect antichrists are the ones who claim to speak for the Lord Jesus Christ, but in fact, promotes other means to obtain or to retain salvation (John 3: 5, 7, 16, 18/John 14:6.
Unless it is a prayer acknowledging the Person and the atoning Work of the Lord Jesus Christ (), prayer is NOT the means of salvation. No "religious" ritual performed the hands of a religious priest can replace the regenerating (Titus 3: 5) and sealing (Eph. 4: 30) work that God the Holy Spirit performs at the moment one is born again. One can never be any more or any less "saved" that he/she becomes at the moment he/she is born again.
God holds each soul accountable (Romans 1:20) to the extent that each soul chooses to respond to the Eccl. 3:11, inherent knowledge that God places in every soul He creates, and then to the extent that He has made Himself known to Man (and each soul) during the course of the various dispensations.
Here in the Church Age, we have the full disclosure of God found in the Gospel Message. Just as much as believing in the Gospel Message assures one of a home in Heaven, rejecting the Gospel Message equally assures one of an eternity in what the Bible calls the lake of fire!
According to Scripture (Eccl. 3: 11/Romans 8:20), there is no soul that has any excuse before God!
According to the Book of Jashar (Jasher), Abram, after spending decades (39 years) in the house of Noah and Shem, Abram returned to the house of his father and got involved in an incident in which he (Abram) chopped up the idols of worship in Ur. This would be consistent with the level of spiritual maturity he had achieved in the thirty nine years that he spent in the house of Noah and Shem before returning to the house of his father in Ur.
Upon being brought to the king’s court to answer for this idol-desecrating event, Abram was identified as being the “rival” that the king believed he had executed decades before. At this time, according to the Book of JASHER (sometimes spelled Jashar), the finger of blame for the prior deception 39 years prior was pointed towards Abram’s brother Haran, the father of Lot. As a result, Haran and Abram were sentenced to death in the king’s “furnace”.
Haran (Abram’s brother and the father of Lot) perished in the furnace, but Abram was delivered by God from harm in the midst of the fire. Note the similarity here and the Scriptural account in Daniel in which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were also delivered in a fiery-furnace by God.
The king, perceiving Abram to be under the protection of his God, released him, possibly in fear of divine retribution if any further action was taken against Abram.
In time, Abram once again become a suspected rival of the king and was designated for elimination. It was at that time that God instructed Abram to leave Ur.
Regardless of what credibility one places on the Jasher account, Canonized Scripture reveals that by not separating himself from his father and relatives, Abram was falling short of the specific instructions he had received from the Lord (Gen. 12:1).
Abram’s choice (if it was actually his choice) to leave Ur and to go to Haran was a decision that obviously favored his father and his father’s desire to continue in his pagan worship of the moon gods. Genesis 11:31 reveals that it was Abram’s father who t-o-o-k Abram and his family (including Lot) to Haran, finally departing Ur. This raises the obvious question of what (or who) finally got Abram to depart Ur. Was it Abram's choice, or was it his father's decision that God the plan of God in motion? God can use the decisions of pagans (Exodus 7: 3/John 19: 16) and well as His own followers to accomplish His plans.
Whenever we drag our heels long enough, God will use the free-will choices of other people to accomplish in our lives what we do not choose to address on our own. If necessary, God has a "whale" waiting for us, if that is what it takes to accomplish His will (Jonah 1: 17).
Did Abram choose to leave Ur in order to primarily fulfill the plan of the Lord, as the “Sunday School” image of “Father” Abraham suggests, or was this simply the logical thing to do in light of the hostile political environment that wanted him dead that finally got Abram moving?
Either way, it is safe to conclude that Abram was taking into consideration his relationship with his father and family when he left Ur and relocated in Haran.
The pitfall and evil of favoring the desires of parents, spouse, children, or SELF over one’s calling in the post salvation life of discipleship was addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 14: 26).
"If anyone comes to Me (is born again), and does not hate (love less) his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14: 26)."
The Lord Jesus Christ was NOT saying that one would no longer be saved, but that the wrong set of priorities disqualifies one from executing the life of discipleship. God does not reward work that is not done (1Cor. 3: 15).
Haran like Ur, was a major center of pagan worship of the moon gods. Leaving the Pagan environment and influence of Ur, only to relocate in Haran, was NOT what God had in mind. Falling short of what God requires will NOT advance us any further in our post salvation spiritual life.
Like a person dealing with the negative the influence of alcohol, it will do one little good to leave one bar, only to enter the next one down the street. So far, Abram has fallen way short of fulfilling the totality of the instructions he received from the Lord while living in Ur.
It is one thing to make great, sincere, well intended, heartfelt, declarations of faith (Luke 22: 33, 34), but it can be horse of a different color when it comes to seeing it through when put to the test. When a decision is consistent with the plan of God, it will inevitably encounter opposition from the devil and testing from God. Satan’s objective of the spiritual combat in such cases is to have the believer become self-deceived into thinking that the absence of adversity and presence of prosperity is a sign of God’s approval, when in fact earthly prosperity can be coming from the hand of the devil (Luke 4:6).
The “bottom line” in determining the source of one’s blessings and/or prosperity is to ask oneself whose plan it is that is being promoted. Is it God’s plan, our plan, or the devil’s plan that is moving forward as a result of the choices we make.
One cannot simultaneously serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). The throne of our life is NOT a two-seater! We can choose to place God, or the devil, or ourselves on the throne (in control) of our lives. Note I said "or" and not "and."
The advancing disciple will be brought to a point in time when he/she will be called on to identify and to execute the individual plan that God has in mind for him/her as an i-n-d-i-v-i-d-u-a-l believer )1Cor. 12). Going along with the flow will no longer satisfy the spiritual appetite that genuine discipleship will generate in the soul of an advancing believer. Sad to say, but the majority of Heaven-bound born again believers never reach or maintain this level of spiritual maturity, but fall into the non-productive category of "Church-going" believers (Mark 4: 18, 19 NASB). Many such believers will never identify, let alone execute, the individual plan that God has in mind for them.
"...these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful (Mark 4: 18, 19 NASB)."
Abram got our of Ur, but no doubt Satan was right there to minimize the damage by doing all that he could to keep Abram from advancing any further along in the plan of God. Abram was a long way from fathering Isaac and reaching the Promised Land! He had not separated from his father or from the Pagan culture; he had only changed geographical locations!
If the information in the Book of Jaspar was correct, and Abram was 75 years old when he finally left Haran as Scripture tells us, it would not be until twenty five years passed before he moved along in the plan of God!
The quickest way to get relief from demonic pressure that comes from spiritual combat is to stop advancing in the plan of God. This may bring about a temporary form of relief, but in time it will invite divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6) and need to deal with all the negative consequences of the poor decisions we make while living outside of the known plan of God.
True discipleship involves suffering (Phil. 1: 29). An advancing disciple will often suffer opposition from the devil, his Eph. 6: 12 forces of evil, family and friends (Luke 14: 26), and ungodly political forces. The advancing disciple will face opposition an persecution from religious authorities WITHIN the Church. and from the promoters of Man-made religion. The advancing disciple will face divine discipline God when he/she sins. The advancing disciple is subject to adversity (Jonah 1: 15) if he/she abandons the call that he/she has received from God.
If one is going to suffer, better that he suffers for doing what is right (1Peter 3: 17).
To the extent that God allows, the devil and the Ephesians 6:12 forces of evil will find a way to impede any forward progress in the spiritual life of anyone who steps out in an act of faith along the path that God calls him/her.
These counter-actions can come in the form of adversity or what appear to be blessings of opportunity resulting in temporal prosperity. There is no indication that Abram suffered any intense discipline while in Haran, but he gained much earthly wealth.
The devil will provide you with all the adversity that God allows and/or all “blessings” (Luke 4:6) you can handle, if either one will get and keep you off the path that God has ordained for your life and God’s glory. It does not matter to the devil which tactic (adversity or blessings) is used, as long as his desired end-result is achieved. As long as Abram was in Haran and not moving forward in the plan of God, the devil had him right where he wanted him.
The prosperity of the wicked has always been a thorn in the side of people of faith (Psalms 73).
I often wondered who knew (or cared) about the calling that Abram had received before leaving Ur, or if anyone brought up the subject to Abram during his twenty-five year lay-over in Haran.
There is ALWAYS spiritual combat and activity taking place all around us each and every day in the invisible spiritual world.
This daily spiritual combat is not of the Hollywood variety portrayed in the modern day horror films, but is manifested in all the sources of negative influence that are intended to distract and/or to deceive us from seeing and/or acting upon the will of God for each day. Rather any given born again believer realizes it or not, every day they take a step closer to or drift further away from identifying and/or executing the plan that God has in mind.
Spiritual combat took place in the Garden of Eden and throughout all of human history. In the Garden, it was (overtly) no more than conversation, but oh the result! More times than we would care to concede, the devil wins these rounds of combat when dealing with human beings.
The incoming missiles of spiritual combat are designed to distract us from perceiving the will of God for the day at hand, diminishing the significance of the impact that each day has in determining the course of our lives. The devil, better than most believers, knows the wisdom of taking on the battles of the spiritual life one day at a time.
These “missiles” are launched out of the mouths and through the actions of people in our personal periphery and via modern day channels of media. The more spiritually mature we become, the easier it becomes to detect the diabolical agenda behind the missiles that are launched towards us every day.
Satan’s daily strategy is to reinforce existing distractions and to introduce new ones when the recipient is most vulnerable.
These distractions can come in the form of adversity or blessings, as long as the diabolical objective behind them is achieved.
Satan is a veteran in the realm of spiritual combat and is well aware of what buttons to press and when to press them for maximum effect.
Like trying to place a frog in water, it would squirm and fight for its life if the water was a-l-r-e-a-d-y boiling. But if the same frog were placed in water, but at a comfortable temperature, and the heat were turned up v-e-r-y gradually, the same frog might just sit there until it is eventually overcome.
For the most part, the devil works the same way. If we had the spiritual maturity to see the boiling water coming, we would not go there, but if it initially appeared to offer some form of comfort or pleasure, we might enter into it, only to be consumed by it over time.
Likewise, the plan of God does not involve either an uplifting “mountain top” or a challenging “deep valley” experience every day. Most of our days are experienced somewhere in the middle, with a blend of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, etc..
Seeking some experiential high each day can cause one to disregard the little things take place all around us each day. But like single bricks that make up a large wall, each day (brick) contributes to what we become over a period of time.
When taken as a whole, it is the accumulation of the events of each day that contributes greatly to one’s progression or regression in the Master Plan of God. There will be milestones and red-letter days along the way, but the post salvation plan of God for each one of us will literally take the rest of the time we have here on Earth to complete.
Unlike God, most of us have no idea when either the moment or the circumstances that bring about our earthly departure will present themselves.
When we read Biblical accounts, we often fail to appreciate the amount of time that passed during and/or between the activities recorded in one chapter and/or verse and the next. The prehistoric events that took place in the Angelic between the original creation recorded in Genesis 1: 1 and the devastation recorded in Genesis 1: 2 are classic examples of this principle.
Likewise, each day along the way to the next mountaintop or valley event is another step forward or backwards along or in retreat from the path that God has ordained for each one of us.
Abrams detour to or stay in Haran was an obvious step backwards in the plan of God. Abram would not and did not go any further in the plan of God until he left Haran.
Satan had every reason to encourage Abram to stay right where he was.
There are NO days off, rest areas, or neutral zones along the spiritual highway. One is either progressing or regressing at any given time.
The more frequent and intense the missiles of spiritual warfare that the advancing disciple experiences, the closer he/she is to arriving at the next objective in the plan that God has in mind.
Satan does not waste munitions on targets that pose no threat to his strongholds.
Accordingly, when there are periods of time in which we as a group or we as an individual believer experience no incoming missiles, one should check with the Navigator (2Cor.13: 5) to make sure we have not drifted from our appointed course.
The a-b-s-e-n-c-e of incoming missiles and/or the p-r-e-s-e-n-c-e of blessings of prosperity can very well be the devil’s means of keeping one right where the devil wants him/her to be. Humanly speaking, why would Abram want to leave Haran as long as he could enjoy the fellowship of family and his earthy prosperity was greatly increasing?
Disciples are not called to experience the (Phil. 4:7) peace that surpasses all understanding by trying to avoid or escape from the reoccurring pressure of spiritual combat. Disciples are called to experience that peace while he/she is in the midst of the worst that Satan and the Ephesians 6:12 forces of evil are allowed to throw at us!
In the Church Age, it is after salvation that the devil and his Ephesians 6:12 forces of evil go to work trying to dissuade the believer from c-o-n-t-i-n-u-i-n-g (John 8: 30, 31) in the Word. To continue means to take in a fresh supply every day and APPLY it to the events of what most others will call every day life.
The devil knows that as long as there are any doubts concerning the integrity of one’s salvation, the believer’s focus will be on retaining what cannot be lost instead of advancing in the post salvation calling of God.
Concluding that Abram was born again while living in the house of Noah and Shem, salvation was not the issue when he received his marching orders from God in Ur. The issue by then was discipleship.
In Abram’s time here on Earth, there had not yet been a single page of what we would later identify as canonized Scripture composed, but there was the Message of the Stars that was known to believers after the Fall.
Abram could not “continue in the written Word (John 8:31), as we are instructed to do (John 8: 31) here in the Church Age, but he did need to keep focused on the Gospel as it was revealed to him through oral teachings that were passed down from prior generations. Among these sources of edification, many scholars would include the Message of the Stars (Psalms 19: 1-4/ Romans 10).
If the historical information in the Book of Jasar (Jaser) is accurate, Abram would have received much of his spiritual edification during the 39 years in the house of Noah and Shem, before returning to the house of his father in Ur.
"The heavens (constellations) are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no (audible)speech, nor are there (audible) words; their voice is not heard. Their line (path) has gone out through (over) all the Earth, and their (unspoken) utterances (message) to the end of the world (Psalms 19: 1-4 NASB /Romans 10: 18 italics mine).
The following is a brief outline of past and FUTURE events that those who desire to know what the Message of the Stars involve.
Virgo: The coming and contribution of the Virgin Mary concerning the manifestation of our Lord’s humanity.
Libra: Sin must be paid for. Man, being spiritually incapable of atoning for sin, needed a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Scorpio: Sin results in spiritual, physical, and temporal death.
Sagittarius: Demonism – the activity of evil beings in the spiritual realm.
Capricorn: Pre-Flood corruption of the Earth.
Aquarius: Noah’s Flood
Pisces: God’s Remnant
Gemini: Hyper-static Union
Cancer: Gathering of the redeemed
Leo Establishment of The King (Kingdom)
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to Romans, cited Psalm 19, affirming that the overall plan of God had been made known to the ancient peoples (Romans 10: 18 NASB)."
"But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? ( A question, followed by Paul's answer...) "Their voice has gone out into all the Earth, and their words to the ends of the world (Romans 10: 18)."
The wise men of the East used the information they extracted from the stellar universe to locate the Lord Jesus Christ at His birth. But just like virtually everything else that God established for good, the devil was undoubtedly was/is behind the evil practices of using the stars in the development of such things as planetary and stellar positions and horoscopes to foretell the future.
With the coming forth of the Written Word of God, "wise men" will no longer use such means when seeking future guidance, as such things are offensive to God (Isa. 42: 8) in light of the fact that we now have His one and only assured source (The Bible) of spiritual edification. Remember the fate of King Saul when he turned to such things seeking guidance.
Scripture does not always inform of us everything that we may w-a-n-t to know (Deut. 29: 29), but has told us everything that we need to know.
According to the Book of Jashar (Jasher), Abram was believed to be a rival for the King of Ur. When a false substitute was presented and executed, the deceived king believed that his rival had been eliminated. Abram fled Ur and winded up spending the next 39 years in the house of Noah and Shem.Gen. 11: 27 lists Abram, the son of Terah, a descendant of Shem, one of the descendants of Noah and would explain why it would be to Noah's house that Abram would find shelter.
After the 39 years passed, Abram returned to the house of his father in Ur. Upon his return, he got involved in the destruction of a pagan idol, contributing to his immediate need to leave, once again.
The Jasher (Jashar) account also raises the question of rather or not Abram's departure was purely of his own initiative in response to his calling from God, or was he "taken" away by his father.
Sometimes we retain the Sunday School image of many Biblical characters that we received as children. For example, if we were raised in a Christian environment, most of us, as children, heard of Moses and his leading of the Hebrews through the Red Sea. But what many of us were not told that he fled the country 40 years before as a fugitive to avoid being held accountable for the murder of an Egyptian. Most of were told of David the shepherd boy, who slew the giant, and later became one of the greatest kings of Israel. But what most of us were not told (as children) of David the adulterer who had the husband of the woman he impregnated killed.
Hebrews list Abram (later named Abraham) as being among the Biblical heroes known for great faith, but some of the things that Abraham did reveals his fallen (human) side, as well. Like Peter, we can all speak of having great faith and commitment to the Lord (Luke 22: 33), but then, by our words or actions, we deny having any association with Him, at all (Matt. 10: 33).
Rather he was taken or left Ur of his own initiative we do not know, but we do know that he did not fully obey God in the process. Abram, at that time, did NOT separate from his father or his relatives, and the place that he went to upon departing was just a much under the influence of pagan worship as was Ur.
Partial obedience is also partial disobedience.
Disobedience will always impede the forward progress of anyone's post salvation spiritual life. When Abram did leave (or was taken from) Ur , he did NOT separate himself from his father, his relatives, and went (or was taken to) Haran which was just as much a Pagan environment, as was Ur! It was not until Arbam's father's death that Abram left Haran and moved forward with the plan of God.
Satan was fully aware of what the divine objectives were that Abram was being called to fulfill, and undoubtedly developed a strategy in an attempt to prevent them from taking place. Now that Abram was once again on his way to the Promised Land, he would even more so be the focus of attention in this ongoing Angelic Conflict.
A common mistake that born again believers make is to choose an area of service or activity in which he/she desires to serve God, and then seeks His approval. It is God who decided when we (our souls) were to be created and placed in the body of His choosing that was reproduced by our natural parents (John 3:6). It was God who determined the which dispensation of human history each one of us was to be a part of, and the number of days we were/are to remain on Earth. It is God who determined the individual (1Cor. 12: 18) role that each one of us would play in the Master Plan of God.
The Divine Decree is an account that was authored by God in eternity past, p-r -i-o-r the creation of Man that documents all of the thoughts, actions, and choices that each one of us would make in the course of our appointed time span, here on Earth. Only God, with such omniscience could allow for the exercise of free will, and yet still accomplish all that He has ordained to take place in each dispensation (period of time).
Even though God knew of every decision that each one of us has made, is making, and will make while here on Earth , we are still held accountable as it is we who choose to make the decisions we make when the time comes.
Learning what the individual (1Cor. 12: 18 ) role that God has in mind for any individual born again believer is a major part in the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship. Once given the details of God’s individual plan for us, there are NO acceptable alternatives.
This was true of Abram (later named Abraham) and it is true of each one of us. Obedience requires that we learn what it is that we are to, where it is that we are to do it, how it is that we are to it, and when. Partial obedience is partial disobedience.
The Book of Jasher, offers the following historical background information of Abram’s life, prior to him being called from Ur when he was around 50 years old.
When Abram was born, the astrologers of his day informed the king of Ur that they observed activity in the stars that identified Abram as being a rival to the throne. A similar environment took place at the First Advent, resulting in the slaughter of many children and babies under the age of 2 in Bethlehem in a attempt to eliminate a rival of King Herod.
When ordered to present Abram (for execution), the King of Ur was deceived when another child was substituted and executed while Abram went into hiding. The King of Ur believed that his rival has been eliminated. According to the Book of Jashar (Jasher), Abram was hidden in a cave, but was later relocated and spent thirty nine years in the house of Noah and Shem, learning of God and the things of God. While most of the world had gone the way of the false religions (Psalms 96), the family line of Noah and Shem remained true to the Lord. It appears that at some point during these years that Abram came to know the Lord as a result of believing in the teaching that he received in the house of Noah and Shem. His personal commitment to the Lord was evidenced by his actions destroying the Pagan idol in Ur when he returned to Ur, 39 years later.
When Abram was around fifty years old, he returned to the house of his father in Ur and opposed the all the pagan worship that his father and the society there entertained, going as far as carving up the idols of the pagan moon gods. Abram was called to account for his actions, and while in the king’s court, Abram was identified by the king’s wise men as being the one that the king thought he eliminated as a rival decades before.
Abram’s father placed the blame of the 39 year old deception on Haran (Lot’s father). All of this resulted in Abram and his brother, Haran (Lot’s father), being sentenced to death in the king’s furnace. Abram was miraculously protected from the flames, but Haran, (Lot’s father), perished.
Perceiving that the hand of God had preserved Abram while in the furnace, the king chose to spare Abram from further attempts to kill him.
Later on, however, Abram was once again identified as a rival and a threat to the throne and orders were issued to arrest and execute him.
It appears that it was in this historical environment that God spoke to Abram and announced his plan to have Abram separate from his father and relatives, to leave Ur, and to go to a land that was later to be made known to him. As in the case of many believers, God only reveals the specifics of His plan for our individual lives in stages and at a pace that is consistent with the our obedience to what He has a-l-r-e-a-d-y given us to do.
There is the “perfect” will of God for Abram’s life (and ours) that would have been or be manifested if he (and we) had made or make all the right choices along the way. The only ONE to have ever done so was the Lord Jesus Christ. As for Abram (and the rest of us) his (and our) post salvation spiritual life consists of all the choices (good and wrong) that we choose to make. God, being aware of all the good and the wrong choices we make, factored all of this in when He authored the Divine Decree BEFORE the creation of the world. God ultimate will, consisting of all that desires or allows to take place, will be done, with or without our individual collaboration.
God will not violate our free will by forcing us to do what He asks of us, but will use the free will choices of others to accomplish what He desires when we choose to drag our heels.
With the exception of the incarnated Lord Jesus Christ, no being (angelic or human), that has ever been given free will has ever completely fulfilled the potential of what the perfect plan of God for their lives might have produced. This does not prevent the Master Plan of God from manifesting itself. There is a part of the Master Plan of God that addresses the souls that choose not to participate (John 3: 5, 7, 16, 18/Phil 12: 5/1Cor. 3: 15/Rev. 20: 15). Yes, the Master Plan of God has Heaven in store for some, and Hell (the lake of fire) for others. Among those in Heaven, there will be some who have rewards and privileges that others will forfeit.
God’s army of disciples is an all-volunteer outfit. By enlisting, the believer chooses to have the yoke of the Lord placed on him/her. The proverbial yoke of the Lord is light and easy (Matthew 11:30) p-r-o-v-i-d-i-n-g (Hebrews 12:6) those who bear it does not lag behind, try to jump forward, or attempt to take a detour from the path and the pace that God has in mind for each one of us.
Participating in the life of discipleship does not increase the integrity of the salvation that a born again believer has already received. Never-the-less, there ARE rewards and privileges that are stored away in Heaven for the veterans of spiritual combat. Spiritual combat and discipleship go hand in hand.
In the secular military, the individual soldier does not get to choose what battles he will and will not take part. The same principle applies for those who desire to become a spiritual warrior in the army of God. In the service of the Lord, disciples are under the yoke (harness) of Christ that controls the location, direction and pace of their post salvation spiritual life. Once again, we can see the importance of learning the what, the where, the how, and the when parts of the plan that God has in mind for us.
A born again believer can never separate him/herself or be separated from Christ (Romans 8: 35-38) as far as his/her SALVATION (going to Heaven) is concerned, but we can (and often do) choose to cast off the yoke of discipleship and replace His plan for ours. When God is in control of our thoughts and actions, the yoke is on. When WE are in control of our thoughts and actions, the yoke is off!
In the eyes of God, the entire human race on the Earth is divided into one of two spiritual categories. One is either spiritually dead, or he/she is spiritually alive.
As of the Church Age, one becomes spiritually alive (if and) when he/she has been born again (John 3: 5, 7).
In the eyes of God, those who are spiritually alive (born again) are divided into one of two sub-groups.
A born again believer is either (#1) executing the type of post salvation spiritual life that God designed for the Church Age; (#2) is engaged in one or more of the alternative plans, usually consisting of a combination of various religious traditions of men (Mathew 15: 9) and the production of human good, neither of which have any spiritual significance.
When a Church Age believer chooses not to identify or to execute the individual plan that God has for him/her, he/she chosen not to execute in the type of post salvation spiritual life outlined in Scripture. While in this mode, the believer will do (or not do) things that he/she "feels" is an acceptable alternative.
The production of human good is one of the most popular alternatives. There is a time and a place for human good in the life of a practicing believer (James 2: 15, 16), but human good (wood, hay, straw - 1 Cor. 3) is no substitute for the production of divine good (silver, gold, precious stones-1Cor. 3) that is called for in the life of an advancing disciple.
Human good is anything of earthly value that Man can do for himself or others with the human abilities, resources, and opportunities that he has. Divine good is what God (John 15: 5) produces through Spirit-filled believers that results in either the salvation of an unbeliever, or the spiritual edification and advancement of a believer. Church Age believers should involve themselves in such things as the feeding and clothing of the poor and social justice here on Earth, but should not overlook the greater needs (salvation/edification) of the same soul that is going to live on throughout all of eternity.
Matt. 6: 33 teach that IF one gets his/her spiritual life together, then ALL of his EARTHLY needs (not wants) will be added to him.
Religious authority, with the full endorsement of the devil, offer all kinds of such "religious" alternatives. Human good and religious activity are things that are endorsed by the devil because Satan's world benefits by all the human good that Man produces, and because he knows of the insignificance of the participating in the religous "traditions of men (Matt. 15: 9)."
Having great appeal to fallen nature in Man, human good and religious activity can so easily take the place of the divine good that God has given to His Church (Matt. 28: 19, 20) to accomplish, and the for the divine good that God has given to each individual believer (1Cor. 12). For many who claim to Christians, it is much easier to hand a hungry man a plate of food to feed his body, than it is to hand the same man the Gospel Message or an edifying principle of Scripture.
The "Church" did NOT exist in the days of Abram, but as in the case of all dispensations, the "people" of God consisted of individuals or groups of individuals that chose to believe in the God of the Bible, to the extent that He had revealed Himself and His plans to them.
Abram’s relationship with and devotion to the Lord, upon returning to his father’s house in Ur, was evidenced by Abram’s destruction of the pagan idols. Rather or not the Message in the Stars was a part of Abram edification during the 39 years he spent in the house of Moses and Shem, could be debated. It is worth noting, however, that some teach that when God instructed Abram to "count" the stars (Gen. 15: 5), He did not mean for Abram to try to number them (1,2, 3, etc.), but to take an account of what the message that the stars had to say. If this was so, then God was making reference to the "Message of Stars," when God revealed to him (Abram) the individual part that he (Abram) was to play in the fulfillment of the Gospel Message that the stars had been telling Man for generations.
If Abram previously had knowledge of the “Message of the Stars” (The Gospel), the Gen. 15: 5 encounter was a reminder of what the long term plan of God involved. This set the stage for God to reveal to Abram the part that he (Abram) was to play in its execution.
What Abram (and many of us) had to learn is that God will NOT always reveal to us either the details or the next step in His plan until he accomplished the part of the mission that he (or we) have presently been assigned. Until he accomplished what the plan called for “today” (separating from father, relatives, and leaving the land of Ur) there would be no “tomorrow” (entering into the Promised Land).
Prior to the Fall, Adam and the woman did not need to develop faith in the identity and the existence of God, as their fellowship with God was already a daily, experiential reality. Adam's work, here on Earth, was to tend to the garden (Gen. 2: 15) with the HELP of the woman, later named Eve.
Prior to the Fall, there was only ONE commandment (Gen. 2: 17) that required their full attention and obedience. The devil was well aware of this, and it was on this point that he would focus his attack (Gen. 3).
But after the Fall, all of the generations of Man that followed needed and needs to identify who the one true God is, and what it is that they must do to be saved. Throughout the course of human history, fallen Man with the full endorsement of the devil, have engineered all kinds of false gods and religions (Psalms 96: 5) as far as the identity of the one True God, and what one must to receive the earthly and eternal blessings from the one true God.
God's plan of salvation was in the mind of God before the creation of the world (and Man), but it was not until after the Fall that God revealed to Adam, Eve, and their offspring, His plan of salvation.
God revealed His plan of salvation, in stages, through His spoken and written Word. God first spoke His Word to Man in the Garden of Eden. Around 1500 BC, what would become the Written Word of God began to be composed by Moses. In the earliest writings, Moses spoke of the One (who we now know as the Lord Jesus Christ), as did many of the prophets throughout the dispensation of the Old Testament. God's plan of salvation was completed through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, as recorded in what we now know as New Testament Scripture. Some of God's future plans for the human race has also been recorded in both Old and New Testament Scripture.
The Gospel Message, that was revealed in the stellar constellations, however, was established when God created the heavens and the Earth, long before Man was created (Genesis 1). The "beginning" of the "In the beginning" phrase of Genesis 1: 1, was NOT the "beginning" of eternity past. Eternity, like the eternal God of the Bible, has always existed, exists now, and will forever exist. The "beginning" spoken of in Gen. 1: 1 was the starting point of involving events that would later have to do with Man that did not yet exist.
One of the ways that God revealed His to Man was through the Message of the Stars that was revealed and remains to be seen in the night skies (Romans 10:18/ Psalms 19:1). These stars were set in place during the creation of the physical universe, but prior to the Fall, there was no need for Man to be able to discern the message therein.
These selected constellations graphically portray and outline God’s plan of salvation (or condemnation) of the souls of the human race. This stellar message begins with the coming of the Virgin Mary (symbolized by the constellation Virgo) and ends with the reigning king (symbolized via the constellation Leo) in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eve perceived the involvement and the purpose of God in the births of her offspring (Gen. 4: 1, 25). Moses records that it was after these births that Man began to call upon (acknowledge) the name (sovereignty/ authority) of God. The earliest generations of Man were edified by the preceding generations through "oral teachings" of the previous generation, and as some believe, through the Message of the Stars (Psalms 19: 1/Romans).
It would appear that Abel understood the oral teachings and the message of the stars, evidenced by the foreshadowing animal sacrifice of animal blood that he offered to God (Gen. 4: 4). This blood sacrifice was symbolic of the Sacrificial Lamb of God the Lord Jesus Christ) and His atoning work through the shedding of His blood, that was to come. His brother Cain, apparently did not understand the significance of the blood, as the offering he made was bloodless (Gen. 4: 3). God accepted the symbolic blood offering of Abel, and rejected the blood-less offering of Cain. The rejection of Cain's offering and the acceptance of Abel's, was the motivation for what would soon become the first recorded homicide in human history. People have been killing people over "religious" differences ever since!
There IS the need to pay attention to the d-e-t-a-i-l-s when God speaks. Sincerity, good intentions, and rote rituals, in of themselves, does NOT make one's chosen means of worship acceptable (Matt. 15: 9).
Individuals of each dispensation are born again by believing in the existence of the God of the Bible and in His plan of salvation, to the extent that it was made available to them. It would not be, for instance, until just before the First Advent took place that the name (Jesus) of the coming Savior was announced, but many, many other details had been revealed throughout the course of the Old Testament dispensation, as the plan of God unfolded.
One source I read reported that Jesus fulfilled 100 Old Testament prophesies during the course of His time here on Earth. But the majority of the Jews of His day failed to recognize this, even though they were read in the synagogues on a week basis (Acts 13:27/Acts 15:21).
The seed (Genesis 3:15), as it was correctly understood by Eve, would come in human form, as it did at the First Advent. What Eve did not know was how much time was to pass before this event would take place. Her comments at the birth of Seth, speaks of there being an appointed seed (in Adam’s line) to fulfill the prophetic words of Gen.3:15.
The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were symbolic and looked forward to, the coming and the sacrifice of Lamb of God in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The elements of Lord’s Supper, aka Communion, are symbolic of and look backwards (in time) to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and forward to the His return.
The devil well-understood the significance of the message that God inscribed in the stellar universe, and would later pervert the use of the stars, in which the various celestial bodies would be worshiped directly or as symbolic icons of the various false gods that the world's (Psalms 96) religious people follow and that devil endorses.
It was from an environment of Pagan worship that Abram was called when he was living in Ur. In fact, Ur became one of the centers in which the moon gods were worshiped.
During the course of the various dispensations of the human race, God has used different means of communication through which He makes the means of salvation known to ANYONE and EVERYONE who truly desires to learn of it (Jer. 29:13) with ALL his/her heart.
The devil as also worked long and hard to distract the individual and collective souls of all the generations of Man from seeking God with all their hearts. For many who claim to Christians, the only time that God might have their undivided attention is during an hour of worship, once a week. One out of 168 hrs. a week give the devil a very broad target to strike.
The devil has had considerable success, as the narrow road that leads to eternal life is only found by the minority of the souls of each generation (Matthew 7:14).
Scripture (Matthew 7:13, 14) documents; secular history and statistics concur; and even a passive observation of the world and the Christian Community will confirm that even though God’s perfect will desires a different outcome (2Pet. 3: 9), only a minority of each generation of Man will never be saved, and that only a minority of those saved will choose to enter into and remain in discipleship!
We (the human race) are NOT all going to Heaven (Rev. 20: 15), and not everyone in Heaven is going to be rewarded (1Cor 3: 15). No one comes to the Father, but through (faith in-John 3: 18) Me (John 14: 6). One must (not an option) be born again (John 3: 5, 7). All born again believers are assured of a home in Heaven, but God will not reward born again believers for divine good that was not produced (1Cor. 3: 12-15).
It's time for many to start paying attention to details! The details of God’s plan of salvation were made clearer and clearer as God released further details of His plan throughout the course of human history, with the complete and final details being documented in the Gospels and were further elaborated on in the epistles of the New Testament.
The Magi of the First Advent were among the ancient peoples who could still, at that time, make legitimate usage of the constellations. The same stars and constellations are still there, but for the most part, the fact that God (Psalms 19:1/Romans 10:18) used them to declare His plan of salvation during ancient times has been largely “shelved” through the efforts of Satan and the Ephesians 6:12 forces of evil.
Perhaps this shelving was not such a bad idea, as divination (foretelling the future) via the stars has opened the door to many form of evil.
There are many so-called Christians who read their horoscopes daily, but do not daily read their Bibles. As a result, there are many so-called Christians who are very superstitious, who need to hear the truth that would set them free from such ungodly fear and practices.
I do not dispute the presence and the power (Exodus 7: 22/Matt. 24: 24) that the devil and/or his forces of evil may be allowed (Job 1: 6-22/Matt.24: 24/Mark 5: 3, 4/Luke 22: 31/Luke 4: 6) to use, but divination (foretelling the future) is an area of spirituality that the edified believer of the Church Age will not involve him/herself (Isaiah 8: 19).
It was the last act that contributed to Saul losing his life, the lives of his sons, and his kingdom. There is an ongoing debate rather or not the spiritual being was in fact the spirit of Samuel or a counterfeit in the form of a demon, but either way, the issue God had with Saul is that he went there to consult the seer in the first place.
The line/voice spoken of by Paul (Romans 10:18) is speaking of the path on which the relevant celestial bodies can be seen in the night skies at various times of the year, that appear along the same path that the sun appears to take across the sky each day, depending one’s geographical location. It is Paul's position that God has made (and will make) the Gospel Message known to anyone, anywhere, who truly desires to learn of it, leaving no one with an excuse. God has always made His plan, through one means or another, available to anyone who desires to learn of it.
When the time (3rd to 4th generation after Noah) came for the devil to counter attack the plan of God through the introduction of false deities, Satan engineered and promoted an included an accompanying, but perverted, use of the stars as a central part of the “moon” god religion.
Instead of acknowledging the message of salvation, portrayed in the constellations, this distorted use of the stars became the means by which the followers of pagan religions would attempt to use as a source of divination and guidance in their day to day lives.
Note that to the extent that God allows, Satan did and remains to have the ability to perform overt actions (Exodus 7:11) to promote his agenda. It was the misapplication of this principle through which the Lord’s enemies came to the blasphemous conclusion, attributing His miracles to the power of Beelzebul (Luke 11: 15). When convenient, the devil will use "miraculous" activity to generate credibility to messages promoted by those who do his bidding. But as in the case of Luke 11: 15, he will also use the miraculous activity of God AGAINST those who ARE doing the work of Lord.
There are times when it is beyond our personal ability to be certain of the source of miraculous activity taking place in our day and age, but we DO have the ability to examine the content of the messages that accompany such activity for their consistency or inconsistency with Scripture.
It is not be out of character for the devil to use his power to perform acts that would appear to lend credibility to the false use of the stars.
As in the case of EVERY means of revelation that God has ever deployed, the devil has manufactured a perverted form of it, with just enough “credibility” and reinforcement to have it appear to be legitimate. Like ANY form of counterfeiting, the fake must appear to be authentic if the intended deception is going to work. The devil is a master in the art of deception.
In the secular world, those who deal with currency are NOT trained to detect counterfeit money by keeping up with endless and ongoing versions of counterfeit money, but by being able to confirm the real thing. Edified believers of the Church Age (Acts 17:11) can do the same to protect themselves from false doctrine. Having a personal knowledge of what the Bible actually DOES have to say is what empowers one with the ability to spot a false gospel message and false doctrines.
Needless to say, the devil has continued to offer his alternative counterfeits for each one of these means of communication that God has ordained.
God provided His message verbally to Adam. Satan provided his alternative to the woman (Eve).
God created the constellations and a message within them. Satan provided a false use of the Zodiac. God provided prophets. Satan provided false prophets. God provided the Bible. Satan distorts it, adds to it, rejects or ignores it, and endorses ALL other writings that contradict it.
For the Church Age, God provided apostles, pastor- teachers, and evangelists. Satan provides false apostles and a host of positions with functions that God NEVER gave to ANY man.
Modern day technology has greatly enabled evangelists and pastor teachers, but this same technology is also being used by Satan and the Ephesians 6:12 forces of evil to counterattack any forward progress that the permissive will of God will allow in the realm of spiritual warfare in the Angelic Conflict. It is NOT the technology that is inherently good or evil, it is how its users put it to use.
Human souls are accountable to the extent that God reveals Himself to each one, beginning with the Eccl. 3:11 knowledge of eternity, that He places in every soul that He creates. There is not ONE soul that is not given this Eccl. 3:11 knowledge from God. If that should be the only information that any given soul ever receives, then it will be on the basis of that soul's response to that knowledge, that such a soul is saved (2Sam. 12:23).
The full revelation of God, as it pertains to salvation, comes with the presentation of the true Gospel Message. New Testament Scripture could not make it any clearer that believing in a presentation of the Gospel Message is what saves, and that a rejection (disbelieving) of the Gospel Message is what condemns (John 3: 18).
"Church" is only ONE of many places where a soul might hear a presentation of the Gospel Message. One can be saved ANYWHERE and by ANY MEANS that God the Holy Spirit chooses to have the Gospel Message presented. I say "might" because there are many local assemblies that seldom actually do so. Instead, they promote the religious "traditions of men ()," as the means to either obtain, regain, or retain an earthly and heavenly relationship with God.
There is a difference between "reading from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)." and preaching the Gospel Message that can be encapsulated in just a few verses (John 3: 5, 7, 16, 18)." There are many so-called Christians who hear the readings from the Gospels on a weekly basis while attending what they consider Church to be, who have NEVER had the actual Gospel Message explained to them.
Other than being ONE of many places that a soul might be presented with the Gospel Message, "going to Church" is a post (after) salvation activity. Church Age, born again believers do NOT "go to Church" to retain salvation. They gather together to celebrate the Lord's Super (Communion) and to be taught the Word of God.
The "Church" on Earth that God designed does NOT consist of buildings with tangible altars and officiating priests. Such things w-e-r-e (past tense) among the things of God during the Old Testament dispensation. The "temple" of God during the Church Age is the physical body (1Cor. 3: 16) of each Spirit-indwelt, born again believer. The last altar (of atoning sacrifice) that God acknowledged was the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. The last sacrifice (for salvation) was the bleeding humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The purpose of celebrating the Lord's Supper (Communion) is to bring into r-e-m-e-m-b-r-a-n-c-e (1Cor. 11, 24, 25) the Person and the finished Work of the Lord Jesus Christ that HE accomplished on the cross; not to reproduce it at the hands of a religious priest.
In the Church Age, where (Matt. 18: 20), or in what type (if any) of structure, that the Church on earth that God designed "gathers together (Heb. 10: 25 NASB)" for such things as to engage in corporate worship is of NO spiritual significance (Math. 18: 20). Some of the more elegant cathedrals of the ancient world, and some of the modern day worship centers with all the bells and whistles of technology are no more than monuments to the religious traditions of men (Matt. 15: 9) that have evolved WITHIN the Christian Community.
Abram believed in what information that he had received from or about God. All indications are that Abram's father never did. It was the religious beliefs of Abram's father, and Abram's failure to separate himself from his father (as instructed), that put the put the plan that God had in revealed to Abram on hold. The Book of Jaser (Jasar) tells us that Abram and his father left Ur when Abram was around 50 years old and went to Haran. We can conclude that it was not God who authorized this stop, as Haran provided the same pagan environment as Ur, as both were centers where the worship of the moon gods was prevalent. This stop did not fulfill the separation instructions that Abram had been given.
There are times when the call of God on someone’s life will involve either staying or going into an ungodly environment in order to evangelize the souls there, but this was not the calling of Abram. Abram was being called to separate himself from the pagan worship environment of his father. This scenario is the classic example of the consequences of prioritizing family relations over one's relationship with God. This principle is taught in New Testament Scripture (Luke 14: 26), as well. Scripture tells us us that Abram was around 75 years old (25 years later) when Abram finally left Haran and literally "moved on" with the plan of God.
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The “moon gods” is a category of many false deities that originated during the 3rd and 4th generation after the flood.
Many such religions have a corresponding celestial body (sun, moon, planet or stars) or a natural image (man, beast, fish, bird, or a combination thereof) that plays a primary role in beliefs and corresponding practices that have evolved in the realm of the Psalms 96 religions of the world.
Whenever the devil promotes one or more of his "alternatives," he often will use something that God has already made use of in the spiritual realm. It should be of no surprise then to see that the inclusion of celestial bodies (suns, moon, stars, planets) was the devil's response to the "Message of the Stars" that revealed the Gospel Message.
The veneration of these celestial bodies that symbolically represent or personify the false gods and goddesses became the focus of worship in many of the ancient religions of the world (Psalms 96: 5). Such religious practice(s) and evolution is the end result of the Romans 1: 8-32 course of action that the m-a-j-o-r-i-t-y (Matt. 7: 13, 14) of souls within each generation of fallen Man has chosen to take.
Cultural and familial expectations are primary weapons that the devil will use to maintain the continuation and the promotion of false religion, as departing from one's familial or cultural "religious" beliefs and practices will result in personal rejection, isolation, and persecution. In some areas of the devil's world, such choices can result in physical death.
Satan is most pleased where and when he can ally himself with the political and governmental authorities that promote and/or enforce principles of atheism or one or more of the false religions of the world.
Parents, family, and government can be the "trump card" in the hands either God or the devil when it comes to promoting truth or falsehood in the spiritual realm.
The origins of such false religions go as far back as the second and third generations of the descendants of Noah following the flood, evidenced by the activities as such persons as Cush and Nimrod. In some cases, such personalities in the ancient world were deified (in their own minds or in the minds of those who followed them) either during or after their time here on Earth.
While independent of each other as nations, religious groups are united through common religious beliefs. The use and the abuse of such influence have a history within the Christian Community, as in the case of the Holy Roman Empire, and outside of the Christian Community, as in the case of the 7th and 8th “beasts” in the Book of Revelation.
At the time of the tower of Babel, there were already some 360 moon “gods” or “goddesses” (false idols) being worshiped throughout the pagan world.
With the different languages and geographical locations entering the human environment, these “gods” and “goddesses” were given different names and images as the independent nations and their separate religious systems developed with the full endorsement of Satan.
In the course of the development of these false deities, many of them created intermediate gods or goddesses being promoted as having specific areas of power, knowledge, or influence, and were promoted as affording followers the opportunity to gain favor through which one could secure the pleasure and blessings of the primary moon god.
The concept of venerating physical objects (statues/ shrines) and gaining favor with God through prayers offered to and/or through deceased human intercessors would later infiltrate a large portion of the Christian Community under the influence of the Holy Roman Empire.
Intercessory prayer is an activity that can be substantiated in Scripture, but in ALL such cases, the prayers were/are addressed to God the Father. The one's communicating to God the Father through prayer consisted and consists of human believers who are ALIVE here on the Earth; the Lord Jesus Christ; and God the Holy Spirit.
Scripture teach that All prayers of Church Age believers are to be addressed to God the Father (Matt. 6: 9); in the name (authority given by) of the Lord Jesus Christ; and in the enabling power (John 15: 5) of God the Holy Spirit. God will share the glory that is due Him with NO ONE (Isa. 42: 8). See the Doctrine of Prayer .
There is NOTHING that one needs to go to "another" source to receive, if what is to be received is in fact a part of God's plan (Phil. 4: 19). Going to another means to secure what God had promised Abram was what brought about the birth of Ishmael and all the resulting adversity.
God is NOT the only provider of earthly prosperity (Luke 4: 6), but there is a price to be paid if we get what we want from the wrong source (Mark 8: 36).
Abram was greatly prospering during his time in Haran, but he was going nowhere in the plan of God.
At the time that God called Abram, the worship of the moon gods had been well established, and Ur, from where Abram was known as a major center for their worship. Allah, in time, would be elevated to the position of the primary moon god. This type of worship goes as far back as the worship of multiple moon gods that were in place at the time of Abram’s call.
Acknowledging (via prayer or worship) any of the false gods (Psalms 96: 5) is NOT praying to or worshiping the God of the Bible, as some would have us believe. We are NOT all praying to or worshiping the same God/god, but by a different name or different means.
When the devil promotes a lie, he usually includes enough half-truths to make the concepts acceptable to ones he targets to deceive. When he told the woman (later named Eve) that as a result of eating the fruit she would know good and evil (Gen. 3: 5) it was, in itself, a truthful statement (Gen. 3: 10, 11), but what he did not tell what the other half in that it was also be act of disobedience for which she would deeply regret.
The fact that there is only ONE true God is the half-truth that the devil uses to promote this false doctrine that we are all praying to or worshiping the same God. The half-lie is that one is praying to the God of Bible when addressing a prayer to a false deity by another name. The truth is that there IS only one God. The lie is that one is praying to the one God, regardless of Who/who one believes that one true God to be. Praying to or otherwise worshiping the false gods of the world (Psalms 96: 5) has a-l-w-a-y-s been an abomination (Luke 16: 15) in the eye of the God of the Bible (Acts 5: 25/Hosea 13).
As of the Church Age, one cannot do anything in the spiritual realm until he/she is born again by making a personal confession of faith (Matt. 16: 16) in the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14: 6).
Believers who lived in the dispensation of the Old Testament had not been given such things as the name of the Savior, but were clearly told that a Savior would be sent to them in human form. Each soul in the different dispensations were held accountable to believe in the extent of God's plan that had been make known to them.
Abram later named Abraham, begot a son (Ishmael) through his wife's handmaid (Hagar). Abram desired that Ishmael be the one through whose family line that the Savior would come, but this plan was rejected by God (Gen. 17: 5, 6).
The descendants of Ishmael would be among the chief adversaries of the nation of Israel, a religious and political struggle that would remain throughout the course of Israeli history, and that would play a major role in the fulfillment of end time prophecy and the timing of the Second Advent (Return) of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God made it clear to Abram (now named Abraham) that it would be his son Issac through whom the Savior would come, even though he (Abraham) and his barren wife by this time were passed the age of natural reproduction (Gen. 17: 17). Adding more fuel to the fire, was the facts that (#1) Ishmael was Abraham's oldest son (via Hagar); (#2) that Ishmael had been circumcised (Acts 17: 23), receiving the overt symbol of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 17: 11) concerning the Promised Land; and (#3) that Ishmael was Abraham's personal preference () to be the heir through whom the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ would come (Gen. 17: 5, 6).
Some of the more outstanding Biblical characters in Scripture (Adam (Gen. 2: 17), Abraham (Gen. 17: 16), Moses (Exodus 4: 10), Peter (Matt. 16: 21, 22), Paul (2Cor. 12: 8) had problems accepting the details of what God clearly had revealed to them. Many proposed and or engaged in some alternate plan. Even the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 22: 42) prayed that if it were possible, that there be another way to accomplish God's plan for the salvation of the world!
Most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, face these same issues from time to time.
As of the time Abram was called by God in Ur (Gen 15:6), he was a believer in the true God of the Bible. But being born again does NOT mean that one is going to identify and promptly execute the individual plan that God has in mind for him/her.
In the case of Abram, he had no problem identifying with the plan (Gen. 15: 6), but was not in any rush to execute it, and did not always go about in the way that God had in mind.
Instead of waiting for God to provide His chosen one (Isaac) to be born, Abram and Sarah's alternate plan to provide an heir (Ishmael) brought a lot of stress and conflict into the house of Abram/Abraham.
As we just noted, some of its impact will still be going on right up to and through the "end times" of world history. Hatred and competition between the Jews (the descendants of Issac) and the Arab descendants of Abraham (descendants of Ishmael) go back to this time. Hatred for Israel's chief ally (the USA) is a bi-product of this same political/religious struggle.
Failure to place God, and or the things of God above and beyond conflicting familial considerations disqualifies a born again believer from advancing in discipleship. Note that the “hate” spoken of in Luke 14:26 does not mean that God wants us to have negative feelings towards family members, but that IF and when we are given the choice of favoring one to the displeasure of the other, a disciple is called to choose for God and/or the things of God.
The plan of God would not and did not continue until after the death of Aram’s father, as Abram did not leave Haran or its pagan environment until after his father died.
Instead of viewing the human servants of God as portrayed in what I call the “Sunday School” image, Scripture reveals the faults and failures of these great men and woman of God.
From Adam on down, God reveals the human frailty in each one of God’s servants. Adam chose a personal relationship over his relationship with God. Noah was a drunkard. Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer, who arranged for the death of the man whose wife David had impregnated. Peter denied that he even knew the Lord. The record goes on and on. Pointing out the frailty of many of the Lord's servants is not to condone the negative choices or behaviors that other servants of God made or got involved in, but should be a source of encouragement to each one of us and dissuade us from placing unrealistic expectations on self or others. James 2: 10 places all of us in the same stinking, sinking, boat of sin! If failure disqualified us from getting back on track and moving forward in the plan of God, our post salvation spiritual life would be short-lived.
The Lord Jesus Christ, however, did not have that option. One sin, and His capacity as the sinless Lamb of God would have been destroyed, and His mission destroyed. If what He did was accomplished in the capacity of His divine nature, it would have been a "walk in the park" since He, in His deity could not be tempted and could not fail. It was because He did what He did in the capacity of His humanity, that could have (but did not) fail that should establish in us a greater appreciation for what He accomplished.
I believe that His humanity was most demonstrated by what took place in the Garden just prior to His arrest. There, He prayed, that if it were His Father's will, that there be another way for Him to achieve His mission other than the ordeal of the impending cross.
I believe our Lord's prayer in the Garden was two-fold. It was not the cross itself, as this was the reason that He had come to the world. I believer that #1 it was His human concern of the ability of His humanity to endure the process long enough for Him to fulfill its divine purpose of atonement on the cross. I believe that #2 it was His concern over the impending separation from God the Father a that He, in His humanity, would experience during the last three hours (of six) that He encounter on the cross, as the sin debt of the entire human race, past, present, and future, was poured out upon Him. As we all know, He immediately accepted the unrecorded "NO" answer to His prayer requests, as He did not delay, but moved forward in the plan of God hesitation.
Being tempted is NOT a sin. It is what we choose to do (nor choose not to do) when we are tempted is what determines personal victory or defeat. With the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ, we all make many wrong choices, adopt independent/alternative plans, and/or drag our feet in taking the next step in either identifying or executing the individual plan that God has is mind for us. This is reflected in the content of our prayer life, often times focused on what WE want and not what GOD wants.
Here in the Church Age, God's plan for each and every one us to (#1) to be born again (John 3: 5, 7), and (#2) to identify and to execute the individual part (1Cor. 12) in God's Master Plan, as we (as individuals) continue to grow in the k-n-o-w-l-e-d-g-e (2Pet. 3: 18) of God. Obtaining and a-p-p-l-y-i-n-g the knowledge of God is what discipleship is all about. God inspired (2Tim. 3: 16) the human authors of New Testament Scripture to make use of the Greek language. It important, therefore, to refer to the original languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic) when interpreting and applying Scripture. The Greek word that has been translated into the English word "disciple" is m-a-t-h-e-t-e-s. A m-a-t-h-e-t-e-s is a technical student of the Word of God. Discipleship is initially for the spiritual edification of a born again believer, but with the long term objective of serving as one of God's ambassadors in whatever walk of life or location that he/she find ourselves. Making disciples (students of the Word of God) was and remains to be the internal (inside) mission that our Lord gave to the Church that He designed. Proclaiming the Gospel Message is the external (outside) mission that our Lord gave to the Church that He designed (Matt. 28: 19, 20).
We will return to the details of the Angelic Conflict taking place in the Church Age further along in this study.
Even the results of our negative or independent choices will eventually be used by God to set the stage for the next phase, as God works ALL things for good for those who are called for HIS purposes.
Abram acquired great wealth and prosperity during his stay in Haran.
Since it was in the best interests of Satan for Abram to remain in Haran, it can be reasonably concluded that the earthly prosperity that Abram acquired there came with the full approval, if not via the hand, of the devil. Satan is always more than willing to bless anyone or anything that will take an advancing disciple away from moving forward in the plan of God (Luke 4: 6). Satan had good reasons to encourage Abram to remain in Haran, if this would encourage him not to proceed any further, geographically or figuratively, in the plan of God.
When Abram had left Ur, he had NOT been given the exact location, only that he was to separate from his family and the pagan culture in the land of Ur. He moved (or was taken) from Ur, but he did not separate himself from his relatives, nor did he separate himself from the Pagan culture by "setting up camp." It was not until after Abram was separated from his father via his father's death that Abram chose to move, separating himself from the Pagan culture in Haran. It was not until he did so that God that God revealed to Abram the exact location (Canaan) of where what we now know as The Holy Land was to be. Much more information ( concerning the births and the roles of Isaac, Jacob (late named Israel) was still to be received, and the many "detours" and "alternate plans" of Abram still had to be addressed.
In Genesis 12:7 (NASB) we read, “To your (Abram’s) descendants I (God) will give this (Canaanite) land.”
Did God just spin a globe around in the "Situation Room" of Heaven and randomly select the Land of Canaan as being the Promised Land?
No! This was in response to a curse that the descendants of Ham would receive as a result of the curse that Noah placed on them following the incident documented in Gen. 9:25, 26.
Whenever the specifics of the plan of God are revealed, Satan and the Ephesians 6: 12 forces of evil adjust the focus point of the spiritual combat to counter-attack or impede it's progress. To disregard the significance of the spiritual combat that takes place each and every DAY in the dispensation and
generation in which God has placed us is a tremendous achievement of the devil. The devil promotes all kinds of distractions and alternatives to what the plan of God is calling us to do! These distractions and/or alternatives can come in the form of either adversity overt prosperity. While many of these distractions may appear to be a good idea at the time, the end result is NOT what God had in mind.
As a general rule, these "blessings" and "adversities" are what make up the ups and downs, twists and turns of what those without spiritual discernment would call everyday life. Those with spiritual discernment can (or will eventually) see where the hand of God or the hand of the devil was behind them.
he historical record of Scripture has been preserved for us so that we can be edified as to what the plan of God is and what phase of it that we presently are engaged. We are presently in the dispensation of the Church Age, and primarily called to participate in the Great Commission that was given to the Church that God designed. The Christian Community of our day is replete with alternative churches, claiming to represent Christ, but are the creation of Man. These alternative churches have alternative teachings (2Tim. 4: 1) and alternative agendas (Matt. 24: 11).
The same pitfalls that believers of the past generations and dispensations faced, are the same ones that we have faced, are facing, and will face until our time or departure or the Rapture takes place! In the spiritual realm, there is n-o-t-h-i-n-g new (Eccl. 1: 9).
"That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1: 9 NABS)."
God, in one way or another, has made Himself and His ways known to Man to each generation. Some have believed. Many (Math. 7: 13) have not. Some have walked with God. Many have not. Some will be saved (John 3:16, 18), many (Rev. 20: 15) will not. Some born again believers will identify and execute the plan of God, many will not. At the end of the day, there are only two roads through life, and BOTH of them, at the appointed times, both roads will bring all souls to the throne room of God (Romans 8: 1). From there, those who have been saved will enter the kingdom of Heaven Romans8: 1), those who have not been saved (John 3: 18) will be cast into what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15). Among those in Heaven, there will be those who receive rewards and privileges, and there will be those who will forfeit them (1Cor. 3: 12-15/Rev. 2/Rev. 3).
Scripture records that Abram eventually continued on in his journey to Bethel and was headed for the Negev (southern part of the land). Then, a famine brought Abram to the land of Egypt.
A (human) plot to deceive the status of Sarai (as Abram’s wife) was entertained, as Abram feared that he would be murdered by the Egyptians in order for them to have Sarai and all of his temporal possessions. Satan undoubtedly reasoned that as long and Abram and Sarai were kept apart, there could not be any heir produced that could fulfill God’s plan.
The title of Pharaoh does NOT refer to only one person of ancient history, but to the one person who was the ruler of the Egyptian empire at any given time. Pharaoh, having taken Sarai (later renamed Sarah) into his house, gave Abram much wealth. However, before anything came of it, Pharaoh was stricken with plagues. When the deception of Sarai’s true (marital) status was learned of, Pharaoh, in fear of further consequences, had
Abram and Sarai escorted out of the land of Egypt, taking the acquired wealth obtained there with them.
Abram retraced his path back to the Negev and then to Bethel where he had formerly set up camp.
Lot, who was still traveling along with Abram, had also obtained much personal wealth. As a result there were not enough natural resources in the immediate area to sustain the large herds of both Abram and Lot. Abram gave Lot the choice, and as a result, Lot separated from Abram and headed for the Jordan Valley. Abram settled in Canaan.
Once again, we can see the principle of full obedience taking place BEFORE progress in the plan of God takes place. Abram had taken Lot, his nephew, with him when he left Ur, in an act of non-compliance with the specific instructions to separate from his relatives. It was not until Abram and Lot separated that God revealed to Abram additional details concerning the land of Canaan and its relationship to the Promised Land.
In Gen. 13: 14-17 (NASB) we read, “The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you (Abram) are, northward and southward, and eastward, and westward (14); for all the land which you see, I (God) will give it to you and to your descendants forever (15).
Israel (descendants of Issac (the promised son of Abraham and Sarah), and not Ishmael) the son of Abram and Hagar, would possess and occupy portions of this land on and off throughout their national history, but the “forever” (meaning without interruption) part would not start to be fulfilled until AFTER the "days of the Gentiles" are completed. The days of the Gentiles began around 70 AD when Israel lost its status as an independent nation. It would not be until 1948 AD that the stage was set for the days of the Gentiles to end in 1948 with the re-establishment of Israel as an independent nation, and was finalized in 1967, when Jerusalem was no longer under Gentile control.
The end of the days of the Gentiles was also the start of the END TIMES referred to in BOTH the Old Testament (Book of Daniel) and the New Testament Gospels, epistles, and Book of Revelation.
The presence of the Jews, especially in the status of a nation, would be opposed by many groups for a variety of reasons, and its destruction (as a nation) and a people has been the underlying and ultimate objective of its political, social, economic, and religious enemies throughout the course of secular history.
The removal of the Jews, as a people and as a nation, has been and will continue to be the reason that there will NEVER be a lasting peace in this area of world, and will be what will ultimately bring on the Battle of Armageddon.
There are political, temporal, and religious reasons behind anti-Semitism, but ALL point to elimination of Israel as being a primary objective for resolving these ancient issues. Satan supports ANY political, social, economic, and religious institution or activity that would desire to
either impede or to destroy the Jews as both a people and a nation.
Satan has his own reasons (Rev. 20:10) for NOT wanting to see END TIME prophecies fulfilled, and understands all too well the role that the Jews have to play in them. For this reason, the devil promotes any and d all grievances that Israel’s enemies have.
The long-term Islamic agenda, clearly announced by the more radical groups among Islamic peoples is to place the entire world under the rule of Allah and to rule it under the precepts of the Koran. In order for the global rule of Allah to take place, the similar, but different, claims of both Orthodox Jews and Christians (Rev. 20: 6) of a kingdom that was/is to rule the world while headquartered in Jerusalem had/has to be addressed.
There had been premature attempts (The Christian Crusades) on the part of "Christians" to secure Jerusalem by armed forces supported by the Holy Roman Empire, offering "eternal life" to all the warriors who would participate. These Crusades, however, were not in keeping with the timing of the plan of God. The end result is what takes place anytime "alternate" plans are substituted for what God has in mind.
The presence and/or influence of Jews and Christians in the Holy (Promised Land) is especially offensive to the Islamic peoples. The elimination of the Jews, Christians, and Christian influence in the Holy Land is clearly on the top of the "things to do" list among the Islamic faith.
Accordingly, in their eyes, there is an moral “justification” for the death and destruction of any individual or nation that would act in a favorable manner towards the Jews as either a people or a nation.
In time, ANY nation or religious group (including Christians) that does not willingly submit to the global rule of Allah would inevitably become the mortal enemy of Islamic goal of global reign, but the immediate focus in on any nation or coalition of nations that takes sides with Israel.
Israel was re-established as a nation in 1948. In 1967, Israel regained political control of Jerusalem, bringing the days of the Gentiles to an end, and ushered in the END TIMES.
This re-establishment of Israel (as a nation) was in fulfillment of end time prophecy, bringing to the forefront of current events land and religious disputes in the Middle East that will inevitably bring Man to the Battle of Armageddon and the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, events that many believe will take place in the the VERY near future. We will examine the activity of the Angelic Conflict during the end times when we reach that point in our study.
After the separation of Abram (Abraham) and Lot, Lot was taken prisoner as a war refugee and relieved of his possessions as spoils of war in a war that broke out in the geographical area where he had settled. When word of Lot’s situation reached Abram, Abram mustered his men, rescued Lot and recovered his possessions.
Abram apparently had concerns as to what these kings and peoples may do in retaliation for their defeat and loss of the possessions that Abram recovered upon rescuing Lot.
History records that the result of one conflict is what sets the stage for the next. The ironic part is how enemies in one war become allies in the next.
God (Genesis 15:1) reassured Abram that he had nothing to fear, as God was and would continue to be his source of protection (Gen.15: 1). After being reassured that the Lord would continue to be Abram’s protector, Abram raised the issue of his heir.
According to custom, if Abram failed to produce a biological son, then Eliezer of Damascus was the one who was in line to be the earthly heir of Abram. As we now know, Abram would father a son (Ishmael) via his wife's hand maiden (Hagar), and would father a son (Issac) with his wife Sarah.
The Lord, however, reassured Abram that he would have many descendants. Here (Genesis 15:5), the Lord used the uncounted number of the stars as an illustration of how many descendants would have. The descendants being spoken of here were to be descendants of Issac, who would in God's timing, come from his (Abram's) loins (natural body). These innumerable descendants would also, in God's timing, include the “spiritual” family of God, who in the course of time, would come to believe in the Savior depicted in the Message Of The Stars. Via his son Ishmael, Abraham would have many biological descendants that, in time, would form the many Arab nations ().
The descendants of Ishmael dispute their exclusion and maintain their claim and entitlement to the Promised Land, being the descendants of Abram/Abraham, as well. The followers of Islam reject the teaching of Gen. 17: 16, that identifies (Issac) as being t-h-e future descendant of Abram/Abraham, and the role that he (Issac) was to play in the plan of God.
In a similar way, many of the Orthodox Jews of Jesus' day would reject the Lord Jesus Christ and the role the He he was to play in the plan of God. There are times in one's spiritual life that one chooses to believe or to disbelieve what God has said, and either reap the blessings or the consequences of those decisions. Either He said it or He did not. If He said it, it IS the truth.
Abram believed the Gen. 17 oral message from God, and his belief was counted as righteousness. Abram had already established a personal relationship with God. His being counted as righteous was in reference to his belief in the
The Lord, at that time, revealed further details concerning the land in which the descendants of the heir (Isaac) were going to inherit. However, this event would not take place immediately, as God also revealed that before entering into the land, the descendants of Issac (then referred to as Hebrews) were going to be enslaved in another land (Egypt) for 400 years.
God's timing for the removal of the existing inhabitants (the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephams, Amorites, Caanites, Girgashites and the Jebusites) living within the land of Canaan had not come as of yet. This would not take place until after 400 years of slavery in Egypt.
When the time did come, the Kenite, Kenizzite, Kadmonite, Hittite, Perizzite, Repham, Amorite, Caanite, Girgashite and the Jebusite peoples were to be conquered and their land seized as a promised inheritance from God (Genesis : 18-21).
New Testament Scripture reiterates that the rise, fall, and extent of ANY nation or empire is in the hands of God (Acts 17: 26). All such rising and falling is in keeping with the Master Plan of God, bringing human history and human enviroment as we know it be, to its final destination.
"And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the Earth, having determined their appointed times and boundaries of the habitation (Acts 17: 26 NASB)."
These determinations took place in the mind of God BEFORE the creation of the world when God authored the Divine Decree.
Land entitlement has been an issue in this part of the world since ancient times, but it was and will be the religious differences that will be what motivates the 8th beast of Revelation to attempt to oust the nation of Israel from its land in the End times.
Our Lord taught that wars and rumors of wars must take place (Matthew 24:6), as it is by such means that God has chosen to set the stage for the unfolding of the plan of God.
Contrary to human viewpoint, the rise, the fall, and boundaries of all nations are in accordance to the will and master plan of God (Acts 17:26), manifested by all that God directs or allows to take place in the course of world history. Many wars and rumors of wars have been the result of the spiritual combat that has been taking place in the minds of men and woman, good and evil, who have been in secular positions of authority (Romans 13:1) over the course of secular history.
God does not violate the free will of these individuals, but being aware of what decisions and actions they are going to choose to take, factors this knowledge into the writing of the Divine Decree.
Satan, and the Ephesians 6:12 forces of evil, to the extent that God allows in the course of the Angelic Conflict, has influenced both secular and religious world leaders to engage in wars and campaigns with the objective of impeding the plan of God concerning the Jews and the Church.
Despite well intended efforts to secure world peace, every day of world history brings us one day closer to Armageddon.
Ten years passed since Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and still there was no “promised” heir. Abram, upon taking the advice of Sarai, his wife, Abram brought about a natural descendant (Ishmael) with the surrogate services of his wife’s handmaid, Hagar. Failing to wait for the promises of God to manifest themselves, believers often engage in activities that are contrary to the timing and the plan of God, and bring on much adversity in the process.
At that time, and in the End Times, the devil made and will make use of what Abram did to generate much adversity and controversy in both the political and religious realm.
God provided for the much despised Hagar (Genesis 16:9), and granted certain earthly blessings for Ishmael (Genesis 17:-20), but God totally rejected Ishmael as being the means through which the humanity of the Savior would come (Gen. 17:19), fulfilling the plan of salvation as portrayed in the Message Of The Stars that had been revealed to Abram.
Thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael (Gen. 16:16/Gen. 17:1), the Lord appeared to Abram and announced it was nearing the time for the birth of the promised heir (Issac, even though Abram and Sarai were both passed the natural ability to produce children without divine intervention.
Following the establishment of the Abrahamic Covenent, God renamed Abram, giving his the name of Abraham. Although ALL of the male members (including Ishmael) of Abram's household received the overt mark of the covenant (circumcision), it was to be through the family line of the descendants of Abraham's son Isaac that the nation of Israel, and the humanity of the Savior would come.
End of Part Four