Scripture Portion of Week 3: Lech Lecha

Genesis 12:1-17:27

Abraham had enough faith to leave his homeland and go into exile as a foreigner in a foreign land, even though he didn’t know where he was going (12:2). He had faith that Yehovah would give him descendants, and this faith made him righteous (15:6). However, he later doubted that God would give his descendants the land of Canaan (15:8) and asked for a sign (15:9). This shows us that faith pleases God, even though it may not be complete or perfect faith.

Abraham knew God’s name as twice in this portion he called on the name of Yehovah (12:8; 13:4). In casual dialogue with Melchizedek and the king of Sodom, he makes a point to use the proper name of God so that there is no confusion about in whom he trusts. Melchizedek blessed Abraham “by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth” (14:19), while Abraham stated, “to Yehovah, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth” (14:22).

God confirmed His promise of the land to Abraham by making a unilateral contract. God made a blood covenant with Abraham while he slept (15:17). This is explained later as an everlasting covenant (17:7). The borders of the Promised Land given to Israel are from the Nile to the Euphrates (15:18) and everywhere Abraham walked (13:17). As Israel has not yet possessed these borders, it is likely that this remains an unfulfilled prophecy, and that we can expect the Kingdom of God in the last days to fill this land.

Isaiah 40:27-41:16

Isaiah gave a prophecy of comfort to Israel. Israel had already suffered losses due to Assyrian aggression, and further losses to captivity were imminent. Isaiah described the last days when a way will be prepared for Yehovah’s kingdom (40:3). At that time, God will protect His people (40:11), and Jerusalem will preach the gospel of the Kingdom to all nations (40:9).

Yehovah stated that He is the first and the last (41:4).

Matthew 1:1-17

About Jonathan Lankford

Jonathan has a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in Bible with a concentration in missions and intercultural communication. He also earned his Master's in Business Quality Management (MBQPM) and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master's in Education (MEd) focusing on Administration. He has been an educator since 2007, teaching English and humanities in Vietnamese universities. He currently holds the position of Associate Registrar at Tan Tao University, Vietnam.
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6 Responses to Scripture Portion of Week 3: Lech Lecha

  1. tben says:

    Hi Jon

    Indeed Abraham journey of faith was moving between having strong faith and feeling weak. Each time he constructed an altar. It is a testament to his renewed faith.

    God promise to give the land to Abraham in Gen 15:18) was fulfilld by David at the end of his reign (2 Samuel 8-12; 1 Chron 18-20). That is why when that is done God made a covenant with David. Therefore it is not a unfulfilled prophecy.

    This kingdom was destroyed when Israel forsake their covenant with God and God sent the babylonians to judge them. Even though later on the temple is rebuilt, and worship is restored. There was never a physical kingdom of Israel anymore. They were a colony of the Persian empre, greek empire. Though they got some self rule during the Hamonean period. Israel never really become a real sovereign state until after WW2

    While the Jews think that this mark the fulfillment of the prophecy and the comming of Messiah. They were approaching the prophecies with the scriptues to be unfuliflled and the messiah had not come.

    Christians need to understand that the prophecied Messiah spoken by the prophet had already come. Jesus said that the kingdom of God is at hand. On the last passover meal of the OT, also known as the last supper he said “for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” (Lk 22:18) . After his death, ressurection and the comming of the Holy Spirit, he establihsed that kingdom of God.

    This is the reason why whenever the apostles talk of the restored kingdom of David they reference it to the kingdom established by Jesus (the church). Acts 15:16-17 records of them qouting Amos 9:11-12, the rebuilt fallen tent of David as the chruch of Christ. They do not interprete the prophecy in the same way as the Jews today.

    I believe also that the patriach knew YHWH as El Shadddai (God almighty) .
    “I am the Lord. I appeared to
    Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,
    as God Almighty, but by My name
    Lord. I was not known to them. (Ex 6:2-3)

    The only reason why YHWH appeared in the Genesis was because that book was compiled by Moses during the wideness year after the events in Exodus. Moses wanted Israel to understand that the God who appeared to their forefathers is YHWH, so he made reference to it as he wrote Genesis.

    Interestingly, The name Shaddai (Hebrew: שַׁדַּי) is often used in parallel to El later in the Book of Job.

    Babylonian Talmud claim that it was God who narrated it to Moses. But I am keeping my mind open. I believe that God revealed Genesis to him, but I can only find out if God narrated it by asking Moses directly in heaven.

    Like

    • Regarding the Kingdom of God:
      In Acts 15:16-17, the apostles quote Amos 9:11-12 to support the Gentiles coming to God, just as Peter in Acts 2 quoted Joel 2 to support the coming of God’s Spirit. However, Joel 2 was not completely fulfilled because the end of the world did not come at that time as Joel described. In the same, Amos has not been completely fulfilled because the kingdom of God is not reigning over the earth from Jerusalem with the Messiah from David’s lineage. I believe the Scriptures literally instead of allegorically, so this is the conclusion I come to. I believe it all has to be fulfilled, not in part and not figuratively.

      See this booklet for all of the references to the future Kingdom of God: https://jonathansdocs.com/2016/10/29/jerusalem-is-the-eternal-capital-of-gods-future-kingdom/

      Regarding Yehovah’s name:
      1. When Moses recorded that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob literally called on the name of Yehovah, I believe it. If I question this, then I must assume that Moses was intentionally deceitful.
      2. Abraham used the name of Yehovah often, in conjunction with Elohim, showing that Moses did not replace Elohim with Yehovah, but that both Yehovah and Elohim were used simultaneously. See Genesis 21:33, “Abraham… called on the name of Yehovah, the everlasting Elohim.”
      3. Regarding Exodus 6:2-3, this will be read in future portions in a few weeks. At that time, I intend to bring a detailed look. Regardless of this fact, if we assume that God did not reveal the name Yehovah until Moses, we still need to understand that in Exodus 3, he says that Yehovah is his name forever for all generations. And in Isaiah 43, he says that Yehovah is his name, there was no god before him, and there will be no god after him.

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      • tben says:

        Hi Jon

        There are a difference in your approach to look at these prophecies. You are looking for a direct literal fulfilment. And my approach is very much different. I read them and compare them base on the work of Jesus and the church he had commissioned.

        When I see the holy Spirit been given to the people, I know that the great and awesome day of God is coming through Joel. Likewise when I see gentiles calling on the name of the Lord. I know the fallen tent of David had been rebuilt. I read these prophecies as a whole together and compared these prophecies against what was taught by Jesus. If they all match than it is a fulfilment, whether I like it or not.

        Perhaps there are some portion that I do not understand how it is fulfilled. Just because I do not understand doesn’t made it unfulfilled. It is my inability to understand, and it should not be the reason to believe that God did not fulfil it. For God had the absolute authority to fulfil them in whatever way he wills.

        Case For Literal fulfilment :
        Today, the Jews believe in the literal fulfilment because they did not see the Messiah as Jesus. They fought hard to retake the temple mount, hoping to create the 3rd temple to usher in the era of the Messiah. For you, you are expecting the temple to be there, because you believe that the fall feast are not fulfilled by God. Therefore there is a necessity for the temple to be build and for Christians to keep the fall feast within it.

        But if you could understand the sacrifice of Jesus and how it fulfil all the requirement of the Mosaic Law, if you can see the fact that the spirit of God no longer dwells in a temple, but in the heart of men. And you can see God choosing to save Gentiles and Jews regardless of them keeping with the Law of Moses. Then You will read those prophecies with a different light, different from the Jews and even different from the perspective of the unfulfilled fall feast.

        If you can understand and appreciate what Jesus meant when he say his kingdom is not of this world. When you read the Old Testament Prophecies about Jerusalem, you will not link it to a physical city anymore. For you have now read It together with the teaching of Jesus.

        Of course it is your right to expect God to fulfil it in the manner that you expected. But just because you expect it doesn’t mean God need to fulfil it the way you expect. I would not dare to accuse God or Moses or the prophets for being intentionally deceitful. For their work is to record down what the Lord says and it is for us in the end time to read it in the right perspective. My right perspective is not based on my own view, but it is based according to hat the Holy Spirit move the apostles before me. All the points I am making are based on the points they shared.

        Regarding Patriach’s Knowledge of Gods Name

        There is no doubt in my side that God said those words to Moses. The Patriarchs indeed called God El Shaddai. That was because God did not reveal the name to them. This is a direct testimony of God when he introduced himself to Moses. Of course I can choose to say that God was kidding when he said that to Moses. But I think I will rather call Moses “Intentionally deceitful” than to call God a liar as he had already revealed his name to the Patriarchs and yet tell Moses they did not know his name.

        Even if I believe it, I do not think that Moses was being intentionally deceitful, for it he choose to write YHWH onto Genesis , he did it out of faithfulness to God. God testified of his faithfulness before Aaron and Miriam.

        Moses will not have been present to witness the sons of Seth calling on to the name of YHWH. Nor is he present when he saw Abraham sacrificing Isaac and calling the Altar YHWH-Jireh. If he recorded all these events. It is likely that God narrated to him. Of course, our dear biblical scholars are also seeking to discredit Moses authorship of Genesis. They seem to be able to find fault with almost anything and everything on earth.

        To regard Moses as a “Intentionally deceitful” character opens up a new world of possibilities. For It is also Moses who said that the name of God is YHWH. He is also the one who had written the details for the spring feast and fall feast which many still choose to hold on today. . The sad news is that they may be following the teaching of a potentially deceitful person.

        But I choose to believe the words of God, the faithfulness of Moses who recorded it down. So I will believe God when he say that the Patriarchs do not know his name, that is good enough for me.

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      • Kingdom of God after Acts 2:
        – After Acts 2, the Kingdom of God being a future event is referenced in Acts 14:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Corinthians 15:50, Galatians 5:21, 2 Thessalonians 1:5.
        – After Acts 2, the gospel is defined as the kingdom of God with Jesus as Christ (anointed king) of the kingdom in Acts 8:12, Acts 28:31.
        – The fundamental difference between the Old Testament gospel and the New Testament gospel is that in the New Testament, the Messiah is named. Other than that, it seems to be the same: a future event, capital in a new Jerusalem on earth, everlasting peace.

        A few years ago, I didn’t know how important this belief of the kingdom of God was; but now, I realize that if someone doesn’t believe in the literal still future Kingdom of God, then he/she is more likely to view the Old Testament commandments and prophecies as allegorical stories or principles for living that can selectively be applied, rather than literal instructions for repentance and obedience. The Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses), Latter Day Saints (Mormons), and several other denominations claim to be the unique Kingdom of God on earth and interpret Biblical prophecy in various metaphorical ways – none of them actually agreeing with each other.

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      • tben says:

        HI Jon

        Thank you for sharing the verses. These verses did got me thinking

        About the Kingdom Of God:
        Inheriting The kingdom of God is the future event. That is what Acts 14:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Corinthians 15:50, Galatians 5:21, 2 Thessalonians 1:5.was talking about.
        It is something that I believe that is a future event as Inheriting the kingdom of God marks the end of our journey of faith when we are in heaven.

        But the kingdom of God is an entire process. It is more than what those verses on top. Before you can inherit that Kingdom, you need to believe in the gospel. That is why you see the verses Acts 8:12, Acts 28:31 talking about . Everything that we share, baptism, foot washing, holy communion, Sabbath and Holy Spirit are all part of this new covenant that one need to keep. We keep them in the same spirit as how you would passionately keep your OT feast. We keep them simply because they are instruction of Jesus that modern Christians tend to selectively ignore.

        Just because you did all the above does not guaranty that you can inherit the Kingdom of God. You need to uphold the moral standards of the OT (the ten commandments) and the standards you ought to keep them should be higher. Murder, Adultery all begins in the heart. Anyone who breaks that covenant they sign with Jesus will not be able to inherit that kingdom of God in the future. Meaning to say, you can be one who have undergone all the sacraments as instructed by Jesus, you may even be able to speak in tongues and keep the Sabbath. The moment you wilfully breaks the basic moral code of the OT. You still will wait for judgement from God.

        From my experience. The main reason why many Christian view the “Old Testament commandments and prophecies as allegorical stories or principles for living that can selectively be applied” is because they themselves had started to selectively belief and listen to the NT in the beginning. Their incorrect view of the gospel is dangerous, for they think that its once save, always save regardless of what you do. If they already had a incorrect view of the gospel, how can they have a correct view of the commandments?

        I think by now you should know my stand about The Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses), Latter Day Saints (Mormons), and several other denominations ,,, So I shall stop it here.

        Fundamental Difference Between OT and NT
        The real difference between OT and NT are
        1. There is no forgiveness of sins in the OT. The sin are merely atoned. Even the tabernacle that is erected is made unclean by the sins of the people. That is why we need the day of atonement to cleanse the temple (cleanse here is literally to take the sin and send it away. ) People who kept the OT died in their sins, there was no hope eternal life. That is why you do not read much about life after death in the OT.

        2. There is separation from God in the OT, no one can ever come into Gods presence. The first day God came into his tabernacle, 2 of his priest were killed. From then on the presence of God is hidden away from people. God wanted to live among his people, but everyone is terrified of him and are unable to deal with him. That is why they need to appoint Moses to speak on their behalf to God as they have no courage to draw near to him.

        Keepers of the OT can only view Gods glory in the distance, and they only see the terror from God. Only a small number of elders, Levites could draw near to God at the foot of Sinai. Out of which only Moses can come directly into his presence and talk to him face to faith.

        That is why God promise that he will send another Prophet just like Moses, if anyone were to disobey him (Jesus) , God will judge them. I shared that verse many times with you. I am not repeating them here this time.

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  2. tben says:

    There is also something i would like to share with you

    I did read See all of the references to the future Kingdom of God: https://jonathansdocs.com/2016/10/29/jerusalem-is-the-eternal-capital-of-gods-future-kingdom/

    All the verses there are common verses that we use to encourage the church. We view the church as that Jerusalem. We too acknowledge that the church had its weakness and it is far from the state that God prophesied in the prophets. For we are full of human weakness and far from glorious.

    Instead of calling those unfulfilled prophecies. We read them with faith knowing that God will help us achieve it to that stage. Even though we are weak and full of weakness, we have a God who is faithful and will not allow his word to fail. We will succeed not because we are strong, but we will succeed because God is faithful.

    That is why when I read those verses. I could still relate them to the church. I regarded many of them as a ongoing fulfilment and that process started after Christ had sacrificed himself.

    Like

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