Richard Dawkins – Debating The Morality of the Old Testament


Richard Dawkins has described the God of the Old Testament as (among other things) a „capriciously malevolent bully”. The world’s best known atheist joins Justin Brierley to discuss the morality of the Old Testament in light of the Bible TV series airing in the UK on Channel 5. Rabbi Josh Levy and Christian lecturer Chris Sinkinson discuss with Dawkins whether the events of the Old Testament are historical and how to interpret the so-called „terror” passages. What about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, or of Abraham nearly sacrificing Isaac?

For an MP3 of this show: click here. –  VIDEO by officialpremiertv· See more at:

Genesis vs. Revelation – Chuck Missler

Interesting contrast from Chuck Missler’s commentary on the book of Genesis. VIDEO by Koinonia House

Genesis                                     Revelation

  • Earth Created                           Earth passed away
  • Sun to govern day                  No need for sun
  • Darkness He called night-    No night there
  • Waters He called seas            No more sea
  • A river for earth’s blessing    A river for New Earth
  • Earth’s government mentioned – Earth’s judgment
  • Man made in God’s image    Man headed by Satan’s image
  • Entrance of sin                          End of sin
  • Curse pronounced                  No more curse
  • Death entered                          No more death
  • Man driven out of Eden        Man restored
  • Tree of life guarded                 Right to the tree of life
  • Sorrow & suffering enter       No more sorrow
  • Nimrod founds Babylon        Babylon falls
  • God’s flood to destroy evil generation – Satan’s flood to destroy the elect generation
  • A bow: God’s promise(9:13)  A bow for remembrance (4:3;10:1)
  • A confederation vs/ Abraham’s people – A confederation vs. Abraham’s seed
  • A bride for Abraham’s son    A bride for Abraham’s seed
  • Marriage of the first Adam   Marriage of the last Adam
  • Man’s dominion ceased & Satan’s begun – Satan’s domain ended and man’s restored

One integrated design from Genesis to Revelation. The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.

Matt Chandler – Marveling at the Majesty of God

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 7.01.48 PMBeing in 2013 is such a gift from God is we have all this history to look back on and to marvel that God has just consistently has done exactly what He said He would do. In Genesis 12, we know our Bibles, the world is fallen, it is broken. I mean, the very fabric of what God created now torn asunder. Death, disease, the world has grown dark, and in the middle of it God calls a man named Abram. And in Genesis chapter 12:1 we read: „Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So now, we’ve got this faint whisper of a promise, that all that has gone wrong will be made right. That God is calling Abram from Kush. The first Jew is an Iraqi, let that mingle around in your head a bit. God calls Abram and says: Through you, I am going to create a people and through that people I’m going to bless all people on earth. So that, from the very beginning, the promise is that what God is up to is global. It is making right what has gone wrong and then at the testing of Abraham, in Genesis 22, he puts his son Isaac on the altar, and then we read in Genesis 22:15-18:

 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possessthe gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” So there we have it, once again God’s plan, through Abraham, in the founding of the covenant community of faith is that the nations would be glad, the nations would be blessed, and that all that went wrong would be set right in this plan of God’s.

And throughout the Old Testament we see this repeatedly, God’s heart for the nations, on Mt. Sinai when the Lord told Moses, this is in Exodus 19:5-6  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me akingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” 

So what’s gonna be the role of Israel when it comes to the rest of the world? We will serve as priests, we will be the ones that herald the good news of what God is going to do, of what God is going to accomplish at the crossing of the Jordan river- Joshua 4:24 God crosses Israel into the promised land. And He did this that all the peoples of the world might know. At the founding of the Temple, in 1 Kings 8:43 we read „so that all the peoples of the earth might know your name”. Just a cursory reading of the Psalms would have the Psalmist repeatedly saying „the nations, and the great glorious day of the Lord, perpetually painting this picture of the nations gathering around God to make much of God.”

And again, even in the prophets, we see this confirmed yet again, one of my favorites, in Isaiah 45:44 „Turn to me and besaved, you ends of the earth„. And then, we have the incarnation: God in the flesh dwells among us, and He does not deviate off of His plan to redeem and rescue from the nations. In John chapter 10:15-16 „Just as the Father knows Me, and  I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep, I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice„.  So there will be one flock and one shepherd. So, Jesus does not deviate off this Old Testament  declaration that the nations will be glad, that the nations will worship our God, that there is, when it’s all said and done, one group of people that God is drawing unto Himself- sons of God, adopted sons of God. So, you have sons of Adam and sons of Christ, and so Christ is not deviating off of this declaration.

In fact, even in Matthew 28:18-20, if you go up to verse 16, you find some hope for you, if you tend to struggle and wrestle with doubts, because the Bible says upon that mountain they worshipped Him, but some doubted. I’ve always marveled at that. You have the resurrection with Christ ascending into glory , and there are those even on the hill, at that time saying, „I don’t know, just not quite sure”. But what we read, starting in verse 18 is „And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Now „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  You can just stop right there, because whatever comes next is happening. So now, at this point, it doesn’t matter what is coming next. It doesn’t matter what He says, what the command is, what He’s gonna order for us to do, it’s happening. Why? Because „All authority”. Where? Everywhere. Has been given to whom? „Me,” Christ says and then the command, „19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Remember what the disciples do, they gather in the upper room, they’re praying and waiting for the helper to come? And in Acts chapter 2, the Helper comes and now we’ve got ourselves a completely different ballgame than what we watched with the disciples when they were following Christ. In fact, if you’re really paying attention, the only one who really kind of nails who Jesus is in the Gospels is the demons. Everyone else kind of gets it wrong.

What’s the word on the street? Who do people say that I am? Well, some say that you’re John the Baptist, others say that you’re Elijah. But who do you say that I am. Only Peter gets it right. And the demons cry out „I know who you are, the Holy One of God. You have come to destroy us before the appointed time.” I mean, no dualism in the New Testament when it comes to kingdoms and conflict. No arguments with Christ. No demons say „Make me”. Just ferocious, God besot powerful declaration. When the Holy Spirit falls at Pentecost, Peter stands up and gives the most unseeker friendly sermon in the history of Christianity. And thousands are added to our numbers that day. And we see the Gospel begin to grow, but at this point it’s predominantly, if not entirely a Jewish faith, and then we get Acts chapter 10 & 11, Cornelius of the Italian cohort, a man who has rejected Roman paganism, believes there is one God, not quite sure who that one God is. He’s praying, giving alms, taking care of the poor and he is visited by an angel with very detailed instructions. Simon the tanner in Jaffa, another Simon Peter staying at his house saying, „Go get ‘em and bring him to you”. Simultaneously, around that same time Peter is up on the roof: „Kill, eat,” Peter’s not gonna be fooled again, „Not gonna get me this time. I would never touch that stuff”. „Wrong answer again, Peter”. Can it be unclean if I made it? Kill and eat.

And so, about that time there’s a knock at the door and the soldiers from the Italian cohort grab Peter and bring him to Cornelius where they have, what I believe to be, one of the most awkward exchanges that you find in the Scriptures, where Peter then shows up at Cornelius’s house  and then reminds Cornelius that a Jew shouldn’t even be in this house because he is a Gentile. Cornelius  unpacks why he sent for Peter, „Look, I was praying, angels showed up…” Then Peter says, „This can only be about one thing”. In that moment, Peter shares the Gospel with Cornelius’s household and they believe, they’re filled with the Holy Spirit, they speak in tongues, they’re baptized. In fact, Peter’s got a little inner turmoil here. „What should we do?” They baptize Cornelius  and his household and Peter runs back to report . And the church does what it usually does. It gathers together to vote whether God’s allowed to save the Gentiles. So they get together and they talk about, „Can God do what He just did?” Peter testifies, „All I did was share the Gospel, this one’s not on me”. And then, really, from that moment on, starting in Acts 15 you begin to watch the promise. And here’s what I’m saying, 2013 is such a sweet year to be  in because starting in Acts 15, you have Paul and Barnabas separate and go in different directions and it just takes off.

Acts 15 is the Council at Jerusalem, 42 A.D. Mark goes to Egypt and  49 A.D. Paul heads to Turkey. In 51 A.D. Paul heads to Greece, in 52 A.D. the apostle Thomas heads to India. In 54 A.D. Paul heads on his third missionary journey. In 174 A.D., the first Christians are reported in Austria. In 280, the first rural churches emerge in Northern Italy. Now this is significant because Christianity in the first century was predominantly an urban religion. It wasn’t out in the rural areas, and so it wasn’t really until 280 A.D. that we began to see rural churches emerging. Stark says that by 350 A.D., 31.7 million people, roughly 53% of the Roman empire confessed Christ as Lord. So there’s a lot of debate as to who made Christianity? Did Constantine make Christianity or did Christianity make Constantine? In 432 A.D. Patrick heads to Ireland. In 596 A.D. Gregory the Great sends Augustine and a team of missionaries to what is now England to reintroduce the Gospel. The missionaries resettle in Canterbury, and within a year baptize 10,000. In 635 A.D., the first Christian missionaries arrive in China. 740 A.D., Irish monks reach Iceland. In 900 A.D. missionaries reach Norway. By 1200 A.D. the Bible is now available in 22 different languages and in 1498 the first Christians are reported in Kenya. In 1554  there are 1500 converts to Christianity  in what is now known as Thailand. In 1630 an attempt is made  in the El Paso, Texas area  to establish a mission among the Mason Indians. In 1743 David Brainerd starts missions to the North American Indians. In 1845 the Southern Baptist Convention Missionary Organization is founded. In 1853 a group of at least 17 people immigrated to America, accompanied by a group of Danish Baptists, arriving in New York, and later settling in Chicago. On March 5th, 1853 F.O.Nielsen planted the first American Baptist Church in Minneapolis, which was the first church to be planted in the territory of Minnesota, before it became a state in 1858 on this side of the Mississippi River. In 1871, 22 Swedish Christians, who branched off from the First American Baptist Church in Minneapolis  planted the first Swedish Baptist Church known today as Bethlehem Baptist Church. The reason for this new church plant was to take the Gospel to a rapidly growing number of Swedish immigrants in Minneapolis. (Chandler goes through the succession of churches that leads up to Bethlehem)(17:00)

You and me, friend, God had us in mind when He pulled Abram aside and said, „I’m gonna fix this”.  And really, at every place along the way, according to Ephesians 1, according to Romans 8, God was coming to rescue me and you. And we are caught up in something so much bigger than most of us can get our heads around and all over the world today, what I just did was such a cursory sad attempt at a linear attacking of our history, but I find it to be marvelous, even in its smallness. In fact, if present trends continue, by 2025 there will be 633 million Christians in Africa, 640 million in South America, and 460 million in Asia. This is what you and I are caught up in, this is our history. This is what’s happening right now, on this day, all over the world. Men and women have gathered, they have preached the Scriptures, they have taken holy communion and they have rejoiced in the God of their salvation. And our family is much bigger than this, and God is at work and He is moving and He is saving. There’s no such thing as a closed country, anybody picking up on this- there’s a lot of Iranian pastors being arrested this year? Seems like God’s doing some pretty good work in a country that doesn’t have any work.

And yet, still, so much to do. You see, you and I, we find our lives playing out in what the reformers call the narrow space, what we call the already, but not yet. See, the prophet Isaiah speaks of this day that’s coming for you and me, friend, where the desert blooms with roses. Where the mountaintops produce sweet wine. Where the wolf will lay down with the lamb and they will dine together. And then, the clarity on that, the next verse is ‘and the lion will chew hay like the oxen.’ And the apostle Paul says these weak frail bodies of ours will be replaced. That what is perishable will be imperishable, we’ll be raised in honor and you get this picture from the word of God of a renewed world with renewed bodies, reigning and ruling alongside the king of glory, having no ceiling on our worship. See, there have been times when I have heard the Word of God proclaimed, we begun to sing to God and I have felt all my emotions hindered, I felt like I hit a ceiling, that either my legs got tired or my voice couldn’t get loud enough. I felt like I was gonna explode, and in my heart I couldn’t be contained, in this gangly body God gave me. And Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 God’s gonna fix that for me. And God’s gonna fix that for you. And there’ll be a day, unfettered with the constraints of this mortal body. We will make much of Jesus together.

But today, we’re in the space between, today we’re in the space ‘already, but not yet’. So you exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things, for the joy of all peoples, through Jesus Christ.

D A Carson – What Scripture plainly says about hell

d a carsonJesus praises the faith of the centurion. A Roman, without all of the background of what we now call the Old Testament and Scripture. „Truly, I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But, the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside into the darkness, where there will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth.” Now, He says this, after having said, just a few verses earlier at the end of the sermon on the mount that He has the authority to determine who enters the consummated kingdom and who does not. He is the one that will say, „Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” And He is the one who grants entrance. And now He says, „On the last day, there will be many people there who will exhibit the same faith this centurion exhibited,” even though this centurion is not an Israelite, he’s a gentile, part of the overlord party. But, he has this faith is Jesus that is so transparently submissive to the authority of God in this God man, that he understands that when God speaks, Jesus speaks. It’s the same faith of an Abraham, who heard the voice of God and went out, not knowing where he was going. And thus, in the consummated kingdom, such people will gather around Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They will be part of this consummated glory, where elsewhere it is described as resurrection existence in the new heaven and the new earth- the home of righteousness.

And, meanwhile, many who have had the privilege of being part of that old covenant heritage, with all of its revelation and its sacrificial system, and its Godly prophets, and its wisdom literature, many who are absorbed into the kind of religiosity that really does not bow to the authority of Jesus, they will be cast out, we are told- where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is not popular today to talk about hell. Indeed, many Christians are trying to find ways of interpreting the Scripture in such a way that ‘hell becomes a little less embarrassing’: …maybe it doesn’t go on forever… maybe God’s love is so sweeping that somehow, eventually, everybody in hell will repent and hell will be emptied out.And God’s love will win.

Many, many voices like this are heard. It sounds so gentle, and so loving, but, it is very hard to square such notions with what Jesus Himself says. Most of the most startling metaphors for hell are first voiced in the Scripture by the Lord Jesus Himself. He is the one here, who speaks of outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Revelation 14 and Revelation 20 speak of hell as a place of ongoing terror. I think that one of the reasons why people will not face what Scripture plainly says is because we have talked ourselves into thinking that perhaps, that perhaps we should recognize that our sins can’t be eternal sins, or infinite sins. Our sins are finite, we’re finite people, who commit only finite sins, so, why should we be punished infinitely? And, if that’s the case, we must have some other explanation for infinite punishment. But, that presupposes that once we get to hell we all want to repent and we don’t want to sin anymore. But, I have ransacked Scripture and I cannot, for the life of me, find a single place anywhere in Scripture that suggests there’s a word of repentance in hell.

Even in the account of the rich man and Lazarus- he doesn’t want to be there. But, he lifts his eyes up, being in torment, the Scripture says, and somehow sees Abraham and Lazarus a far distance off. What do you think he will say? „Oh, Lazarus, did I get that one wrong? I am so sorry, would you forgive me please? I really did abuse you. I didn’t show any generosity, compassion. I left you ill and broken, and poor outside my gate, even though I was filthy rich. I really am very sorry. I do want to repent, I am so sorry.” Is that what he says?  No, what he says is, „Father Abraham,” playing the race card, „Father Abraham, why don’t you send Lazarus to dip his finger in some water, so that he can bring it to me?” Lazarus is still the ‘Joe’ boy, he’s still the menial. He doesn’t even address him. He’s gonna pull strings and get father Abraham… There’s not a hint of repentance anywhere. Hell is not filled with people who are deeply repentant and wanting to get out. It’s filled with broken rebels who still want to justify themselves and think of them selves as at the center of the universe for all of eternity- sinning and being punished, sinning and being punished, world without end. At the end of that conversation with Abraham, the rich man is actually contradicting Abraham, „No, father Abraham, your interpretation of things is wrong. Let me correct your theology.” This man, even in hell thinks he’s got a superior theology to Abraham in heaven. It’s unbelievable.

And, the person who is exclusively, finally responsible for making the decisions about who goes to heaven and who does not, and on what ground is Jesus Himself. The authority of Jesus is great comfort to the eyes of faith and a great terror to the merely religious.

Listen to other recent messages by Don Carson at the  Gospel Coalition:

  1. When The Bible Is Silent
  2. When the Bible Is Silent Q&A
  3. Lessons from French Canadian Revivals
  4. Lessons from the French Canadian Revival Q&A
  5. The Implications of Complementarianism
  6. The Implications of Complementarianism Q&A
  7. Our Exalted Identity in a Holy Church
  8. Teach Us to Pray
  9. Our Exalted Relationship with Each Other

The Bible tells us that people who end up in hell do not repent

The Parable of Lazarus and the rich man

Luke 16:19-31

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham,have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

via Christian Post

People who end up in hell do not repent, from what the Bible tells us, said respected New Testament scholar Don Arthur (D.A.) Carson on Sunday at The Gospel Coalition National Women’s Conference in Orlando.

Carson, who is co-founder of The Gospel Coalition along with Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, said that as far as he can see in the Bible, „there is no hint anywhere that people in hell genuinely repent.”

Pointing to the well-known parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, Carson, who is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., noted that in the story the rich man dies and from hell he looks up and sees Lazarus and Abraham. But instead of admitting that he was wrong to treat Lazarus poorly while they were alive, the rich man continues to boss him around.

„Wouldn’t you expect him (rich man) to say, ‘Oh Lazarus, did I get that one wrong. I am so sorry. Would you please forgive me?'” Carson posed. „But he doesn’t even address him. He was a nobody in the days of his flesh. The rich man doesn’t deal with nobodies, he goes straight to the top.”

Paraphrasing verse 24, the theologian recalls the rich man saying, „‘Father Abraham, tell Lazarus to go dip his finger into water and bring something to cool my tongue. It’s pretty hot here.’

„Where is the repentance in that? He still thinks he is the center of the universe! He is still going to order Lazarus around! There is no brokenness, there is no contrition, there is no shame!

Moreover, the rich man argues theologically with Abraham, „‘No Father Abraham you got that one wrong. If someone rose from the dead that would really make a difference, don’t you see?’

„Hell is not filled with people who are deeply sorry for their sins,” Carson stated. „It is filled with people who for all eternity still shake their puny fist in the face of God almighty in an endless existence of evil, and corruption, and shame, and the wrath of God.”

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Unusual Music (12) Andrew Peterson – Holy is the Lord

What is unusual about this song? The story behind it: Abraham obeys God without understanding why God is asking him to sacrifice his own son, in Genesis 22:2 „Then God said, “Take your son , your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you. ” . Romans 4:3″What does the Scripture say? „Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” May God empower us to obey Him, even when we don’t fully understand our circumstances.
Lyrics from

Wake up little Isaac
And rub your tired eyes
Go and kiss your mama
We’ll be gone a little while
Come and walk beside me
Come and hold your papa’s hand
I go to make an altar
And to offer up my lamb

I waited on the Lord
And in a waking dream He came
Riding on a wind across the sand
He spoke my name
“Here I am”, I whispered
And I waited in the dark
The answer was a sword
That came down hard upon my heart

Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Lord, help me I don’t know the way

So take me to the mountain
I will follow where You lead
There I’ll lay the body
Of the boy You gave to me
And even though You take him
Still I ever will obey
But Maker of this mountain, please
Make another way

Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Lord, help me I don’t know the way

Uploaded by  2006

Covenants, Kings and the Promised Land (video)

DVD available at Barnes & Noble (click on photo) (Volumes 1 &2)

(DVD at Barnes & NoblesAmazon):


In a style all his own, Dave Stotts–host and editor of Drive Thru History–speeds through the ancient world of the Bible, giving you a fast-paced encounter with the people, places, and events that have shaped our world and the Christian faith. Recommended family entertainment by The Dove Foundation, Stotts’ Drive Thru History series includes on-location explorations, plus loads of animations and narration that’s definitely ‘outside the classroom.’ From the ruins of Jericho, to the valley of Jezreel where God defeated the Midianites through Gideon, you will travel on a visually exciting journey through the land of the Bible, revealing the history and culture behind the stories of Scripture. The video also includes a PDF for each episode containing discussion questions designed for groups and families. Conquest, Canaanites, and the Holy City includes: Episode 1: Arrival in Jerusalem,2-min. History of Israel, conquest sites, Jericho, and Hazor Episode 2: Samaria, Shechem, and Shiloh Episode 3: Jezreel, Meggido, and Tel Dan

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Loran Livingston – Why do righteous people experience illness and suffering? And what of –> word of faith?

Thanks to Cornel Ilioi who first noted Pastor Livinston’s sermons and thus recommended him to us. Loran Livingston is Pastor of Central Church of God in Charlotte, North Carolina. Link to Loran Livingston podcast here.

Pastor Loran Livingstone, These are Sermon notes from the April 1,2012 Sunday morning message. You can view it here or listen to audio,  or you can click here if that page no longer displays this sermon.

Text: James 5:10-11

My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

„The end intended by the Lord”. You see, in your life right now the Lord has an intended, planned end. As you read the Book of Job, you see that what God had in store for Job at the end was more than a man could express or comprehend. So, here we stand today, blessed by the reading of the oldest book in the Bible, Job and God decided with the very first book to deal with persecution, loss, sickness, discouragement. That’s the first thing God said to us, pen on paper in Scripture: That you will suffer, but, God has an intended end and that end is better than you can imagine.

I would imagine that if you have never read the entire Book of Job you have heard about it. You’ve heard about the patience of Job. You’ve heard about his losses. I guess what I cannot really grasp, this righteous man, and the Bible says he was. He’s even mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah with Noah and Daniel as 3 of God’s choices of righteous, obedient servants. So, here’s a righteous man; there’s none like him in the entire world, the Bible said, God even said that, who is losing everything he had. Amazingly, he survives- without a Bible, without spiritual friends to pray with, without a church to attend, without christian music playing in the background. He had nothing. But, the grace of God brought him through it.

The thoughtfulness, the mercy, the grace of God intended for a man to come out of an indescribable tragedy or series of tragedies with a thankful heart and a stronger faith. Now, of course you know how people are. These 3 companions of Job said, „Job, the bottom line is we think we understand God and we know that God doesn’t punish people for nothing. There must be some sin in your life.

May I say to you that if you ever go through something, there will be those who will say, „They’re getting payback because God is a just God.” You better hope that He is a long suffering and just God. „God would not afflict the sinless,” they said, because they had a limited understanding of God Himself. Now, one of the Scriptures that I use so often is this, „His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts.” You cannot figure God out. I don’t care how much of the Word you have memorized, you cannot comprehend, nor will you ever be able to figure God’s ways. And so, it behooves all of us to be careful when we pass a judgement on somebody that is going through something, because our time is coming. Right?

Let me say that in a different way. We would do well to leave the reasons for one’s suffering up to God and not to think that because we are Scripture-holics that we can go to a certain category of suffering and say, „That’s why they’re going through this… payback has come!” Even Jesus said one day, Son of God… raised the dead… and this is what He said in John 5:30 „I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is righteous, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent Me„. He said, „As I hear, I judge”. Hear what? There is a voice from heaven. There’s God’s voice, the Father’s voice. He wasn’t saying, „As I hear people…give their opinion, I make a judgement”. No, no. This voice that He heard, came from above. And He said: When I listen to that voice, my judgement is righteous. You can’t just look at circumstances in a person’s life and conclude why things are happening. That is why we are taught to pray without ceasing and to seek the face of the Lord because the Holy Spirit speaks to us. I believe He impresses us with things.

If God’s people, instead of coming up to someone whose heart is broken, whose life is all to pieces and telling them, „Is there any sin in your life?….” Now, I have to be honest with you. That would truly aggravate me. And you can call it… well we gotta cover all the bases… Well, are you kidding me? „Well, is there any sin in your life?” „Of course there is, you … person!”  „No, no, no Pastor, I mean known sin”.  Well, how can you not know a sin? How can you be doing something that violates God and not know it? The Holy Spirit is the one that tells you what to do and what not to do. „Is there any sin in your life?” „Brother, you better be careful, you’re moving into some territory of authority that you are not capable of handling.” „Is there any sin? God does not judge people who are sinless.”

I have to be very honest with you. I have grown in the Lord over the years and I have changed some of the things that I used to thing were right. You know, we’re still very guilty in the church of not knowing how to handle somebody else’s problems, so we try to make it a spiritual thing and be done with it. Somebody says, „I went to the doctor today and I found out that I have a spot on my lung. Since we don’t know what to do with that, or what to say, we say, „Oh that’s the devil and I rebuke the…, just grab my hand and we go into a tirade and we rebuke the devil and cast him out. And he will not have authority in this situation and you will live and not die!”  And of course, that’s just a way of saying, „Ooh, I don’t know how to handle this, so I’ll throw it over in the spiritual camp and I will divest myself of any personal responsibility and just give it to Jesus”.

God’s sovereignty

And, a lot of times we speak against and tirade against something that God Himself has allowed. Ooh, now I know exactly where to go with this. You know, you need to be very careful (in) how you handle those kinds of things. Please remember, the devil can do nothing without God’s permission. „Well, the devil has attacked my family. You all pray that God will make him stop.” He (the devil) couldn’t have attacked your family if God had not given him permission to do so. Now, I didn’t expect to get a rousing response to all of that because we still want to live in that place of denial where God wouldn’t allow us to suffer. Suffering only comes from the enemy. Well, it doesn’t, ladies and gentlemen.

So all of these super spiritual faith-word, faith filled tirades against a circumstance in someone’s life do not serve for the better at all. What we should be saying is, „Let’s pray about this together. Let me hold you up in prayer. I don’t know the source of this. I  don’t know the end of this, neither do you. But, if we stay before God  and let God bring it to the intended end, you will see that the Lord is very gracious and  merciful in your life.  Instead of trying to erase pain and remove discomfort, we ought to be diving in the middle of it and saying: God is sovereign. God  is doing a work.  This is the work of the Lord. We will not speak against it . We will receive it by faith and we will do  what God has called us to do and that is- worship, praise and pray. I lift up holy hands to a God I cannot understand, but trust and I will say: You are Lord, You are God  and You are sovereign and I will serve You no matter what comes my way! „. Don’t make quick judgements about someone’s suffering, not even yours. 

I think that enough time has passed, that the Lord will allow me to deal with this again. Every time we have a problem come our way, we immediately think of what we did in the past and now it has come to bite us in our life. Every time discomfort or tragedy, or pain or bad reports come our way, our immediate action is to say, „I knew it. Here it comes. It was 39 years ago, but I knew that sooner or later I have to pay for it. And, the Bible teaches us, our Lord taught us: You can’t even judge your own condition or the problem you’re going through, you don’t even comprehend. This is the Lord’s work. So, not only are we warned not to judge why someone else is suffering, but we’re told not to judge our own suffering because God is in control of our lives.

If He’s in control of my life, it means that the point where He forgave me cleansed me. I am no longer held accountable for what I did, when the bloof of Jesus covered it and I was forgiven of it. I don’t care if you had 30 abortions, I don’t care if you killed a dozen people, I just don’t care. If the blood of Jesus has been applied to your life, if you’ve asked for forgiveness, if by faith you’ve received Him, it’s all erased. It’s all forgotten. It’s all thrown into the sea of God’s forgetfulness and don’t let the devil… much more than that, don’t let yourself always be dredging up what God forgave and trying to figure out why you’re suffering now.

You are suffering now because God loves you. You are suffering because God has an intended end for your life. You are suffering because where you are now is just not good enough for where God wants you to be. You are suffering because you are going to see the mercy of the Lord. You will suffer so you will see the faithfulness of God. You are suffering so when everybody else has been shooed into a corner and doesn’t have anything else to say, the Lord will have the last word and He will say: „I bought you and I keep you and I’m taking you all the way to heaven.

Word of faith theological crisis

At some point in your life, you’re gonna have a theological crisis. Oh, my Lord, the roads are strewn with Word of Faith people who said: This won’t happen and we won’t receive that and I will live and that won’t…  Well, there’s just a whole pile of them laying back there and they’re all stunned saying, „What happened? We thought we knew. We used our authority”. But they had a theological crisis. What they thought about the Bible did not measure up with the sovereignty of the Lord.

Abraham’s theological crisis

There was Abraham. God says to Him, not through Scriptures now, there was no Bible. He speaks to him. „Was it audibly pastor?” „I really don’t know. I know He spoke to him. That’s all that needs to be said”. And He told him, „Kill your son”. And, immediately Abraham had a theological crisis because God said to Noah, many, many years before that, when they came off the ark, „Whoever kills, must be killed”. That’s capital punishment. „Whoever takes the life of a man, his life must be taken, also.”  Now, here’s God telling this man of faith, „Kill your son”. I call that a theological crisis. I call that a conflict of what you’ve heard and known with what you are now hearing from God. How would you resolve that? You have to cause it’s in the Bible. What would you do with that? There’s nothing you can do except say,” Abraham trusted what God said and knew that at some point the theological crisis would work itself out and God never contradicts Himself, but He does things in a process that makes Him look like He contradicts Himself. And if you dwell on that you will confuse yourself and get defeated. But, if you will let  God be God and finish what He starts, you will glory in the Lord”.

Joseph’s theological crisis

How about Joseph? Now, you talk about a theological crisis? His great grandfather was Abraham. Now, after Abraham saw the goodness of the Lord and went through his and got it all worked out, he taught his grandson and his great grandson these kinds of things: If you honor and obey God, God will honor and bless you. So, here’s Joseph (thinking): I already know how God works.I’ve been taught well. My ancestors, my forefather, my great granddaddy… if anybody should know, great granddaddy Abraham should know, about great faith and trust in God… If you honor and obey God, God will bless you. And He did, and Joseph went to prison. What are you going to say about that? He honored God, he obeyed God, he ran from sin, he ran from adultery, he ran from everything that was displeasing to God and ended up in prison. Now, brother, when you’re lying in a jail cell after you’ve done the right thing and you’ve done all the good things and you are in a jail cell, separated from your family and nobody knows where you are and you don’t know if you’re gonna live till the sun comes up, I call that a theological crisis.

But, the Lord had an intended end. The Lord was in jail with him. The Lord sat with him, with His arm around him when he was confused, trying to figure it out. The Lord was there listening when Joseph said, „I did the right thing! I did everything I was supposed to do! How did I end up here?!” And the Lord sat there and listened to him and the Lord showed him later that if you’ll just wait patiently, if you’ll have faith in God, you’ll end up in a bigger, better place than you thought you would.

It doesn’t stop there. You talk about a theological crisis? Some of you are going through it right now, cause you had it all fixed, biblically. Didn’t you? You were taught well by very unscriptural people. You were taught well by people who knew the religion, who knew the dogma. You know I hate … Should I say this Lord? You know, it’s just between me and God.

I spoke recently at a place and when I left someone grabbed my hand and said, „Wow! You sound like a Reformed Pastor today!” Well, of course that means that you sound like a calvinist. I wanted to say, „That’s what you heard? You heard something that verifies your dogma and doctrine? You didn’t hear me talking about Jesus? Shame on you if you are that way; if when you hear a Gospel message you think, „Uha, I know that doctrine, that’s Calvin. Oh, I know that doctrine, that’s arminianism.” You need help!  Because the whole point of the Holy Spirit working in us is to get us out of that denominational junk and get us into a walk by faith Jesus.

The theological crisis of the 12 disciples

You talk about a crisis. Here are these 12 disciples. Jesus says to the people, „Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you don’t belong to me.” The Bible says, many of His disciples went away. Then He turned to His and said, „Are you going too?” Well, now here’s the theological crisis: Drink blood? From the earliest days of the Old Testament, Jews were taught- Don’t drink it. Even in the New Testament they were taught- Don’t drink blood and above everything- Don’t eat human flesh. That’s cannibalism. So, they had this instilled in them that you don’t touch, you don’t drink blood, you don’t eat anything that’s strangled and Jesus turns around and messes everything up and says, „If you’re gonna follow me, you’re gonna have to drink my blood. You gotta eat my flesh.

Theological crisis. Peter says, „Are you kidding us, Lord? People are leaving. The whole ministry’s just died. Jesus said, „What about you? Are you leaving too?” and Peter spoke up and said, „Where would we go? You alone have the words of eternal life?” Notice what he didn’t say, ” Where would we go cause You can walk on water? Where would we go, You raise the dead. Where would we go, you’re a miracle worker.  Where would we go, you’re the man.” But he said, „Where would we go, because you are the only one that can give us words. Speak to us! Give us a voice and lead us into eternal life and that’s how we ought to be living today.”

With the knowledge of the Holy Scripture, we ought to be walking by faith and listening to the Holy Spirit even when our faith seems to be coming apart and our lives seem to contradict what we’ve learned. We have to be able to live on the words of eternal life cause God’s not finished yet. The intended end has not arrived, as yet.

Here’s another theological crisis. Job was so conscientious. Do you know that the Bible says he didn’t lust, he didn’t lie, he didn’t steal, he treated his servants right, he did not worship false gods, he didn’t commit adultery, he didn’t do anything wrong and every day he got up and offered a sacrifice unto God on behalf of his children and then one day a tornado came and blew the house down and killed all his children. Theological crisis. I did everything I was supposed to do and then this happens? Yeah, because God’s intended end was not yet. I just wanna tell you that if you are in that dilemma, if you’ll just hang on, it will all work out and you will find out God was telling the truth all the time.

Here’s what I learned in my own life and my theology has changed. If you would have seen me 30 years ago, when I had thicker, darker, longer hair, man I looked like a Pentecostal evangelist of God. And I had preached sermons on joy: The reason you don’t have it is because you don’t claim it. And the reason you don’t have it is because you just decided not to have it. WOW it’s joy, you can live every day with joy! Joy, joy, joy unspeakable and full of glory. I feel joy up in here. Joy, joy, joy. People can have joy if they want it!

Nope, there have been lots of time when I have not had joy. LOTS OF TIMES. I could not find a trace of spirituality or joy in my life. And you gotta live long enough, and thank God He lets us live long enough, cause there’s nothing more dangerous than a young preacher who’s never been through a crisis, who’s never had to bury a family member, who’s never had to go through cancer, who hasn’t seen babies die… But, you get to a point in your life where you say honestly, before God that you don’t have joy. I ain’t having fun. And what about those bold statements like, „God doesn’t want you to be sick?” I now believe, today, that God uses physical infirmity to mature me. I’ve known too many sick saints who won more people to Jesus on a hospital bed. Sick saints, broke saints, discouraged saints, heartbroken saints that won more people to Jesus and encouraged more brothers and sisters than many of us who haven’t been through it. Oh, I believe it now! Because God is sovereign and God will take whatever He desires and sees necessary and do it in your life, not only to work out the self confidence, but the arrogance of your faith, but to be able to build up the brotherhood and edify the church.

Oh, I used to say, „And nothing, shall by any means harm you. You can take up serpents and you can drink any deadly thing and I shall speak with new tongues, but I especially like that one „and nothing shall by any means hurt you”. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been hurt a lot. God’s people hurt. Do you understand me? There’s pain in the body of Christ. There’s pain in the saintliest of homes. There’s pain and agony where every member of the house is filled with the Holy Spirit and living by faith. There’s pain. When Shannon was giving prayer request and that brother from our church who lost 5 family members, do you think he’s having fun? Do you think he has joy? Do you think he’s not hurt?

Ladies and gentlemen, there comes a time when you have to take your theology and drop it the way Moses dropped the tablets of the law and realize that’s not just for you to carry around and give pat answers about everything that happens in life. No, you are to hear form God. The Spirit of the Lord can speak to you and when He does, He will coincide and affirm this written word, and when God finishes, you will see that the intended end He designed was the most marvelous thing. And you had to go through the loss and through the pain to get there. That’s why God taught us to praise Him for everything. In everything give thanks because God is taking us to an intended end.

James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

When you get to the end and you thought you couldn’t make it, you find out that it was God’s compassion and God’s mercy that kept you, that will keep you. That’s the intended end of the Lord.

I want to end with this: When you’re in that… well, there sits Tony right there, Hazel had her first chemo treatment on Thursday. Now that’s a praying woman. Kind, compassionate… she’s laying in the house… surgery, chemo, may lose her hair. Tell me: Why?  What’s going on? Why wouldn’t God have done that when she was 28, so she could live a long time and tell about it? Because only God knows His ways and He has an intended end for Hazel and for you and for you sir. I see you, Ron. I pray for you every night before I go to bed. I know you’re fighting this cancer thing, but I want you to know. I want you to hear it today and I want you to hear it in the house of God: God has an intended end. This is not punishment, this is a blessing from the Lord, so you can find out how merciful and compassionate God really is.

I want to close with this because we have instructions about what we should do while we are going through this. 1 Peter 4:19 „Therefore, let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator„.  Did you hear me? It’s the will of God… meaning, „I don’t care what I’m going through Lord, I am yours and you’re mine. I don’t have an answer, I don’t have any strength, I don’t know what to do next, but I’m yours and you’re mine. I commit my soul to You. You have me, you got me, take all of me. I’m not gonna back up, I’m not gonna quit. I’m not gonna second guess myself. I’m committed to letting you keep me „. And I’m gonna do it by „doing good” (1 Peter 4:19) I may feel bad, but, I’m gonna do good. I’m just gonna do the right thing. I’m gonna do good things. I’m gonna bless people. I’m gonna serve people. I’m gonna serve the Lord.  I’m gonna keep it up. I will not quit. As to a faithful Creator. Creator? Yup, he-s the one that put you together, designed you, numbered your days, gives you life and breath. He created me! I’m the workmanship of His hands. So what He created, He’s not gonna destroy. I’m a new creation in Christ Jesus and He is faithful. Faithful Creator. What does that mean? If He loved me enough to create me, in Christ Jesus, He will be faithful enough to finish what He started. He’ll take me to the intended end.

Israel – what does it mean for Christians? Documentar cu istoria Israelului incepind de la Avraam (4 1/2 hrs)

A journey through time in the land of israel – 4 1/2 hour video filmed in Israel goes through Israel’s history from the time of Abraham to the end times. VIDEOS by Chuttex

Part 1

Part 2

The Story of Jacob (2) the Father of Israel) Genesis 25-33

Click here to read Genesis 25-33, the Biblical account of the life of Jacob.

some excerpts taken from D.A.Carson’s ‘For the Love of God” Volume I:

by D.A Carson

Genesis 27 is in many ways a pathetic, grubby account. Earlier Esau had despised his birthright (25:34); now Jacob swindles him out of it. In this Jacob is guided by his mother Rebekah, who thus shows favoritism among her children and disloyalty to her husband. Esau throws a tantrum and takes no responsibility for his actions at all. indeed, he nurses his bitterness and plots the assassination of his brother. The family that constitutes the promised line is not doing very well.

Yet those who read the passage in the flow of the entire book remember that God himself had told Rebekah, before the twin brothers were born, that the older will serve the younger (25:23) Perhaps

Jacob blessed instead of Esau

that is one of the reasons she acted as she did: apparently she felt that God needed a little help in keeping his prediction, even immoral help. Yet behind these grubby and evil actions God is mysteriously working out his purposes to bring the promised line to the end he has determined. Certainly God could have arranged to have Jacob born first, if that was the man He wanted to carry on the line. Instead, Esau is born first, but Jacob is chosen, as if to say that the line is important, but God’s sovereign, intervening choosing is more important than mere human seniority, than mere primogeniture.

The name „Bethel” means House of God. The event that gave rise to the name (Gen. 28) was a mixed bag. There is Jacob, scurrying across the miles to the home of his uncle Laban. Ostensibly he is looking for a godly wife–but the previous chapter makes clear that he wishes to escape being assassinated by his own brother in the wake of his own tawdry act of betrayal and deceit. Judging by the requests he makes to God, he is in danger of having too little food and inadequate clothing, and he is already missing his own family (28:20-21)Yet here God meets him in a dream so vivid that Jacob declares,”How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven” (28:17).

For his part, God reiterates the substance of the Abrahamic Covenant to this grandson of Abraham. The vision of the ladder opens up the prospect of access to God, of God’s immediate contact with a man who up to this point seems more driven by expedience than principle. God promises that his descendants will multiply and be given this land. The ulrimate expansion is also repeated: „All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring” (28:14). Even at the personal level, Jacob will not be abandoned, for God declares, „I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back over to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you” (28:15).

Awakened from his dream, Jacob erects an altar and calls the place Bethel. But in large measure he is still wheeler-dealer. He utters a vow: If God will do this and that and the other, if I get all that I want and I hope for out of this deal, „then the Lord will be my God” (28:20-21).

And God does not strike him down! The story moves on: God does all that he promised, and more. All of Jacob’s conditions are met. One of the great themes of Scripture is how God meets us where we are: in our insecurities, in our conditional obedience, in our mixture of faith and doubt, in our fusion of awe and self interest, in our understanding and foolishness. God does not disclose Himself only to the greatest and most stalwart, but to us, at our Bethel, the house of God.

When I was a child in Sunday School, I learned the names of the twelve tribes of Israel by singing a simple chorus: „These are the names of Jacob’s sons:/Gad and Asher and Simeon,/Reuben, Issachar, Levi,/Judah, Dan and Naphtali-/Twelve in all, but never a twin–/Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin.”

But many more years passed before I grasped how important are the twelve tribes in the Bible’s storyline. Many of the dynamics of the rest of  Genesis turn on their relationships. The organization of the nation of Israel depends on setting aside one tribe, the Levites, as priests. From another son, Judah, springs the Davidic dynasty that leads to the Messiah. Over the centuries, the tribe of Joseph would be divided into Ephraim and Manasseh; in substantial mesaure, Benjamin would merge with Judah. By the last  book in the Bible, Revelation, the twelve tribes of the old covenant constitute the counterpoint to the twelve apostles of the new covenant: this twelve by twelve matrix (i.e. 144, in the symbolism of this apocalyptic literature) embraces in principle the whole people of God.

Jacob meets Rachel by Raphael 1518

But, what tawdry beginnings they have in Genesis 30. The deceit of Laban in Genesis 29, which resulted in Jacob’s marrying both Leah and Rachel, now issues in one of the most unhealthy instances of sibling rivalry in holy Scripture. Each of these women from this family is so eager to outshine the other that she gives her handmaid to her husband rather than allow the other to get ahead in the race to bear children. So self-centered and impetuous are the relationships that another time Rachel is prepared to sell her husband’s sex time to her sister Leah for a few mandrakes. Polygamy has taken hold, and with it a mess of distorted relationships.

From these painful and frankly dysfunctional family relationships spring eleven sons and one daughter (the birth of the last son, Benjamin, is reported in chap. 35). Here are the origins of the twelve tribes of Israel, the foundations of the Israelite nation. Their origins are not worse than those of others; they are merely typical. But already it is becoming clear that God does not deal with this family because they are consistently a cut above other families. No, he uses them to keep his covenantal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He graciously perseveres with them to bring about his grand, redemptive purposes. The tawdry family dynamics cannot possibly prevent the universe’s  sovereign from keeping his covenantal vows.

In Genesis 32 Jacob is returning home  and he is still frightened half to death of his brother…Jacob left the tents of his parents a single man, taking almost nothing with him, while here he returns home a rich, married man with many children.

But the deepest differences between the two journeys are reflected in Jacob’s changed attitude toward God. On the outbound trip, Jacob takes no initiative in matters divine. He simply goes to sleep (Gen 28). It is God who intervenes with a remarkable vision of a ladder reaching up to heaven. When Jacob awakens, he acknowledges that what he experienced was some sort of visitation from God (28:16-17), but his response is to barter with God: if God will grant him security, safety, prosperity, and ultimately a happy return home, Jacob for his part will acknowledge God and offer him a tithe.

Now it is rather different. True, God again takes the initiative: Jacob meets angelic messengers (32:1-2). Jacob decides to act prudently. He sends some of his people ahead to announce to Esau that his brother is returning. This spawns devastating news: Esau is coming to meet him, but with 400 men.

On the one hand, Jacob sets in motion a carefully orchestrated plan: successive waves of gifts for his brother are sent ahead, with each of the messengers carefully instructed to speak to Esau with the utmost courtesy and respect. On the other hand, Jacob admits that matters are out of his control. Bartering is gone; in „great fear and distress” (32:7) Jacob takes action, and then prays, begging for help. He reminds God of his covenantal promises, he pleads his own unworthiness, he acknowledges how many undeserved blessings he has received, he confesses his own terror (32:9-12). And then, in the darkest hours, he wrestles with this strange manifestation of God himself (32:22-30).

Twenty years or so have passed since Jacob’s outward-bound journey. Some people learn nothing in twenty years. Jacob has learned humility, tenacity, godly fear, reliance upon God’s covenantal promises, and how to pray. None of this means he is so paralyzed by fear that he does nothing but retreat into prayer. Rather, it means he does what he can, while believing utterly that salvation is of the Lord. By the time the sun rises, he may walk with a limp, but he is a stronger and better man.

Jacob’s story with his 12 children, who are the 12 tribes of Israel continues through Joseph. You can read Joseph’s story here (in English-including maps of Joseph’s journey when sold into slavery by his brothers) and you can read an English illustration of Joseph, the  foreshadow to the Savior here; also read a Romanian article (excerpt from book by Iosif Ton- Ce l-a tinut pe Iosif curat, aflat atit de departe de casa? Part 1 & 2). Lastly you can view the story of Joseph and his brothers in a film (English with Romanian subtitles)

The epilogue:

One of the most difficult things to grasp is that the God of the Bible is both personal–interacting with other persons–and transcendent (i.e. above space andtime–the domain in which all our personal interactions with God take place).As the transcendent Sovereign, he rules over everything without exception, as the personal Creator, he interacts in personal ways with those who bear his image, disclosing himself to be not only personal but flawlessly good. How to put those elements together is finally beyond us, however frequentlythey are frequently assumed in Scripture.

When Jacob hears that Joseph is alive, he offers sacrifices to God, who graciously discloses himself to Jacob, once again: „I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes” (Gen 46:3-4).

The book of Genesis makes it clear that Jacob knew that God’s covenant with Abraham included the promise that the land where they were now settled would one day be given to him and his descendants. That is why Jacob needed the direct disclosure from God to induce him to leave the land. Jacob was reassured on three fronts: (a) God would make his descendants multiply into a „great nation” during their sojourn in Egypt, (b) God would eventually bring them out of Egypt, (c) at the personal level, Jacob is comforted to learn that his long-lost son Joseph will attend his father’s death.

All of this provides personal comfort. It also discloses something of the mysteries of God’s providential sovereignty, for readers of the Pentateuch know that this sojourn in Egypt will issue in slavery, that God will then be said to „hear” the cries of his people, that in the course of time he will raise up Moses, who will be God’s agent in the ten plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, the granting of the Sinai covenant and the giving of the law, the wilderness wanderings, and the (re)entry into the Promised Land. The sovereign God who brings Joseph down to Egypt to prepare the way for this small community of seventy persons has a lot of complex plans in store. These are designed to bring his people to the next stage of redemptive history, and finally to teach them that God’s words are more important than food (Deut 8).

One can no more detach God’s sovereign transcendence from his personhood or vice versa, than one can safely detach one wing from an airplane and still expect it to fly.

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