Bless His Holy Name

Bless the Lord O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. Psalm 103:1.

In Exodus, the Lord gives Moses a new name to identify Himself to the elders of Israel. He is told to inform them that YHVH, the God of your Fathers has sent you. Then He adds, this is my name forever and my remembrance unto all generations. Exodus 3:16.

The name of remembrance is used to call on the Lord, especially for deliverance from enemies. Furthermore, to show that this name is a new revelation, the Lord tells Moses:

And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name YHVH was I not known to them. Exodus 6:3.

Yet this Holy Name of God manages to be inserted by scribes into narratives found in the book of Genesis 141 times. Since that time, there has existed much controversy over the use of this name. Rabbis teach that use of the Name should be avoided completely for fear of using the name in vain. Out of consideration for this concern, most English translations render YHVH simply as The Lord.

This point of contention was dealt with by the Lord Jesus Christ in a most innovative way. When Jesus spoke of God, He routinely referred to Him as “The Father”. He taught His disciples to pray: “Our Father”. Jesus Christ also identified himself as the Son of God, and was accused of blasphemy and was ultimately crucified on this charge. The apostle Paul encourages us to be just as intimate with the Father, teaching us:

 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15.

While Paul teaches us to be set free from a spirit of slavery and address God as Daddy, it is fear itself that has lead many to avoid the name of remembrance given to Moses. As mentioned, the name is avoided in most English translations by using The Lord.

The English translation used by many Messianic Jews is called the Tree of Life Version of the Old and New Testaments. This translation has gone full circle and replaced The Lord with Adonai. Adonai is derived from the word Adon, which is lord in a common form. For example, Sarai addressed Abram as “my Lord”, Rebekah addresses Abraham’s head servant the same way when he comes seeking a wife for Isaac.

Adonai is in fact sanctified, being used only in reference to The Lord, but it is not the Holy Name of remembrance given to Moses in Exodus 3. You will need a concordance to know when Adonai is actually used in the original text and when it is substituting for YHVH.  In the Tree of Life Version (TLV), Psalm 103:1 becomes:

Bless Adonai, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless His holy Name.

For anyone who has been taught the English language, this statement implies that the holy Name of God is Adonai. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as the substitution has been made for YHVH. Through a series of mental gymnastics, the holy Name of God has been replaced by a Hebrew word that is derived from the common word Adon, for my Lord. This is drinking the wine of astonishment! Psalm 60:3.

Adonai spoke to Aaron saying:  “Do not drink wine or fermented drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, so that you do not die. This is to be a statute forever throughout your generations.  You are to make a distinction between the holy and the common and between the unclean and the clean. Lev. 10:9&10.

They will teach My people the difference between the holy and the common and explain to them the difference between the unclean and the clean. Ezekiel 44:23.

Now here is where translation becomes a bit ludicrous. Here is Psalm 135:1 in the TLV:

Halleluyah! Praise the Name of Adonai.
Give praise, O servants of Adonai

First of all, Adonai does not appear in this verse. More importantly the Hebrew halal Yah is found and translated Halleluyah. This expression is used frequently in the Psalms and is often simply translated Praise the Lord. Yah is a contracted form of YHVH and used 41 times in the Old Testament. Typically it is also translated “the Lord” beginning with Exodus 15:

The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation:

Tree of Life substitutes:

Adonai is my strength and song,
and He has become my salvation.

So Adonai replaces Yah in most verses, with the exception of when it is preceded by halal. I suppose Halleladonai would be pretty awkward, and Halleluyah is one of the most familiar expressions in all of Christianity. Of course, so is Praise the Lord!

The question being asked then, is it appropriate for the original text to be mistranslated  to satisfy a tradition of men. What would Yeshua say?

Then Yeshua said, “Woe to you Torah lawyers as well, for you weigh the people down with burdens hard to carry… Luke 11:46.

The apostle Paul teaches that Messiah came to take down the wall of separation between Jew and gentile. Woe to anyone that tries to maintain that wall for the sake of a tradition. We have a better name, a name above all names. His name is Yeshua and He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Son of God.

The one who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he will never leave it. And on him I will write the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My own new Name.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities.”  Revelations 3:12, 13.

Trumpets of Assembly and The Shout of a King

In Numbers 10:2 the trumpets are said to be used for the calling of the edah, or witnesses. Keep in mind that this originally referred to all of the people, even as the priesthood. However the people proved themselves to be unmanageable and in Numbers 11, Moses brings his complaint before God and expresses his preference to by killed rather than continue with a burden that is too heavy for him. (Numbers 11: 11-15). In verse 16, the Lord instructs Moses to gather unto Him seventy men at the tent of meeting, to have a portion of the spirit on Moses placed on them to bear the burden for the people. The calling of the edah is not every one of the children of Israel, but those who were chosen from among the congregation. 

Numbers 10:3 states; and when they shall blow with them all the witnesses shall assemble themselves to you at the entrance of the tent of meeting. This is not all the children of Israel as most translations interpret the meaning.

 When Moses speaks to the Lord concerning the people complaining about their diet, the Lord says He will provide flesh for them for a whole month until it comes out of their nostrils and it becomes loathsome unto you. Moses responds: “the people are 600,000 soldiers (plus women, children and the elders) and what can be gathered to suffice them?” By this estimation, over two million people would have to gather at the entrance to the tabernacle upon hearing trumpets. Numbers 11:18-23.

Then in verse 4 the captains (nasee) of thousands are called upon the signal of one trumpet blown. The Hebrew word nasee is also translated prince, ruler and chief. It means one who has been elevated or promoted, but also to bear up, such as a burden. In the kingdom of God, rulers are raised up to bear responsibility. When princes in Israel and Judah became like pagans and lived a life of privilege, the nation was undermined. Jesus spoke in regard to John the Baptist: “men in soft apparel dwell in king’s palaces.”

The two trumpet signal calling the witnesses would be in regard to matters of the Law, for they received the anointing to function as judges. The second assembly would pertain to administrative and military affairs and would require the captains of thousands to be in attendance. These are the calling of the assemblies for which the trumpets were to be used. The second function is for the journeying of the camps.

In Numbers 9:17-23 is a description of how the entire camp began and ended every leg of their journey. The movement of the camp was always at the command of the Lord as expressed by the cloud upon the tent of meeting. They kept the charge of the Lord at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses. The hand of Moses is established by trumpet signals described in chapter 10:5&6.

Within these instructions is found another important word for study. The word is translated alarm, blast, and signal, and is blown to initiate the movements of the camp. The Hebrew teruwah is the great shout that brought down the walls of Jericho, that caused the earth to ring when the ark of the testimony was brought out in battle, and when David and his house brought forth the ark into the city of David, which is Mount Zion.

Even more important than to shout is what is shouted, for a people to shout out in harmony is to magnify the Lord. This cannot be attained if everyone shouts out whatever seems right in his own mind.

 Blessed are the people who know the teruwah (joyful sound)! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. Psalm 89:15.

Numbers 23:21 prophesies over the Lord’s people “the shout of the King is among them!” The Lord has given us a name to call upon Him as a remembrance for all generations (See The Name of Remembrance). Blessed are the people who know the name of remembrance to shout with the sound (voice) of the trumpet (shofar).

 When the jubilee trumpet sounds the voice of shophar, shout a great teruwah, and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend. Joshua 6:5.

The voice of shophar is first introduced in Exodus 19:16, and describes the herald of the Lord’s presence on Mount Sinai. This blast of sound is said to draw near the ones whose heart seeks the Lord. Most of the people withdrew at the presence of the Lord, but the opposite is what was expected. Moses was instructed to set boundaries around the mount, for whosoever touched the border of the mount must be put to death.

Now the just shall live by faith, but if any draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Hebrews 10:38 & 39. And again,

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. For they could not endure what was commanded “and if a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.” And so terrifying was the sight Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of justified men made perfect.  Hebrews 12:18-23.

The voice of shophar is not restricted to being produced by a trumpet or ram’s horn. In Isaiah 58:1 the Lord declares: Cry aloud, spare not, and lift up your voice like a trumpet (lift up the voice of shophar), and show my people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins. They claim to delight in “drawing near” to God by fasting and afflicting their souls.

The voice of shophar is the Spirit of the Messiah or Christ. Jesus said:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour shall come, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. John 5:25. And again:

Marvel not at this, for an hour shall come when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and those that have done good shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but those that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.  John 5:27 & 28.

Psalm 47 says God ascends upon the teruwah and the voice of shophar.

Shout unto God with the voice of triumph! The voice of triumph is the shout of the King. The jubilee of reconciliation and drawing near to God, the proclamation of liberty!

 

The Trumpets of Memorial and Remembrance

In Numbers chapter 10, Moses receives instructions to manufacture two pure silver trumpets for general use of calling an assembly and for the movements of the camp. These two trumpets are for the exclusive use of the sons of Aaron, and are distinctive from the more familiar ram’s horn. When the nation engages an enemy that is oppressing them, the trumpets are blown to be remembered (zakar) before the Lord God for deliverance. And at times of observance, the trumpets are blown over sacrifices and offerings for a memorial (zikrown) before God, Numbers 10:9 & 10. This use of the word memorial is consistent with the previous study.

The calling of the assembly mentioned in verse two and discussed in verses three and four warrant a closer look. The calling of assemblies at the tent of meeting were appointments with the Lord for chosen men and the nature of that calling is prophetic to the church. Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, and the law and the prophets foreshadow God’s plan for the body of Christ. The original intention for the people of Israel is presented by God in Exodus 19:4-6.

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

This covenant plan is transferred to the body of Christ, in 1 Peter 2:9:

 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

In fact, the Lord modified his intentions on occasion during the wilderness trek in response to the obedience of some and the disobedience of others. A kingdom of priests became a tribe of priests under Aaron and his direct line, and his tribe Levi. We see this again in Numbers 11:16 &17, when the Lord establishes a special class of men by removing a portion of the anointing on Moses and placing this upon seventy chosen men.

Beginning in Genesis 32, after Jacob wrestles all night with an angel of God, he is given the name Israel.  In verse 32, his descendants are first referred to as the children of Israel. Then in Exodus 12:3, a new term is introduced: the congregation of Israel. The Hebrew word is edah and is derived from the word ad which means witness and is itself derived from ud, meaning to testify. Thus congregation in this sense is better understood as witnesses. Keep in mind that at the time this reference is introduced, the children of Israel have just witnessed God’s judgments upon Egypt and the Lord is implementing the first Passover in preparation for the exodus.

We also find in Exodus the common expression tabernacle of the congregation. However, a different word is employed here, yet it also is translated congregation in the King James. The Hebrew mo-ad means an appointed or set time, thus the better translation is tent of meeting used in most other translations. Thus in  Numbers 10:10, trumpets are used at appointed times that they may be established as a memorial.

Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God:am the LORD your God.

The trumpets are used to sound an alarm in time of war:

And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.

In Numbers 10:2 the trumpets are said to be used for the calling of the edah, or witnesses. Keep in mind that this originally referred to all of the people, even as the priesthood. However the people proved themselves to be unmanageable and in Numbers 11, Moses brings his complaint before God and expresses his preference to by killed rather than continue with a burden that is too heavy for him. (Numbers 11: 11-15). In verse 16, the Lord instructs Moses to gather unto Him seventy men at the tent of meeting, to have a portion of the spirit on Moses placed on them to bear the burden for the people. When this takes place in verse 25, they begin to testify prophetically without ceasing. The calling of the edah is not every one of the children of Israel, but those who were chosen from among the called, for many are called but few are chosen. 

Therefore brethren be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things, you will never fall.  2 Peter 1:10.

 

Unleavened Bread of Sincerity and Truth

Jesus told the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is their doctrines. The Lord regularly spoke against the traditions of men displacing God’s word as their memorials. This people draw near unto me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, but in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the ordinances of man. Matthew 15:8; Is 29:13.

If talk of firstborn sons, unleavened bread and the Torah given to Moses as the Memorials we maintain before God strikes you as odd, your “bread” may have been leavened by the doctrines of men. Much of Paul’s teaching in regards to the Law has been greatly misconstrued. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, “the law of commandments contained in ordinances”…this expression in the Greek nomos entole en dogma refers to the place given to commentary. Dogma in English comes directly from the Greek dogma and refers to the opinion of “experts”. Someone is dogmatic when they are devoted to the teachings of a preferred teacher, preacher or guru.

Therefore let us keep the feast not with old leaven neither with leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Co 5:8.

Paul gave this testimony of himself at Jerusalem in Acts 22:3,” I am verily a man who is a Jew born in Tarsus in Cilicia yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers,” This manner of the law of the fathers went way beyond the study of the law and the prophets, but was thorough in considering the commentaries of experts, known as sages who often interpreted passages in contrary ways.  

Paul is even more direct in writing; blotting out the “handwriting” of ordinances (dogma), which was against us (as a testimony to the doctrines of men), which was contrary to us and took it out of the way, nailing it to His stake. Colossians 2:15.  This is only evident when we are circumcised by the circumcision of Christ (without hands, in the Spirit not the flesh). That you be not spoiled by the philosophy and tradition of men, which is vain deceit (and conceit), and worldly principles (degrees) which are perishing. Colossians chapter 2 (essential!).

When Paul wrote in Romans 8:3; for what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; the issue is clearly the weakness of the flesh, not the inadequacy of the Law. This was preceded by these key verses in Romans chapter 7. Wherefore the Law is holy and the commandment holy and just and good. Verse 12. For we know that the Law is spiritual but I am carnal, sold under sin. Verse 14. For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man. Verse 22. But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Verse 23. I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I serve the Law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Verse 25.    In neglecting a correct understanding of Romans 7, many believe that when Paul wrote in Romans 8:2 for the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death; that he is somehow referring to the law of Moses! Our carnal man must die for us to fulfill the good and perfect and acceptable Will of God, as expressed by His Torah. Do we then make void the Law through faith? God Forbid! Yea, we establish the Law! Romans 3:31.

For our rejoicing  is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God we have had our conversation in the world. 2 Co 1:12.

For we are not as many which corrupt the Word of God, but as of sincerity but as of God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. 2 Co 2:17.

Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Joshua 24:14.

 

The Memorial of Passover for the strangers and servants

The Lord gave Moses and Aaron further instructions in regard to strangers and servants desiring to keep the Passover, that all the males must be circumcised. This is why circumcision was such a hot topic in the early church discussion in regards to expectations placed upon gentile believers. Paul resolved the issue in Romans chapter 2:28 & 29: for he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God. Note the clear symmetry between the two verses right up to in the spirit and not in the letter. But then Paul adds this final clarification; whose praise is not of men, but of God. When our heart is circumcised, we can say like Paul:

For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Gal 1:10.

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men but God, which tries our hearts. 1 Th 2:4.

Some translations change this to “God, who tries our hearts”. Granted, He certainly does do this, but the point Paul is making is that the test of a circumcised heart is to put ourselves to this question, am I pleasing men or God. This is the issue which tries our hearts.

Twice Paul makes an interesting statement in 1 Co 1:31 and 2 Co 10:17, “let them that glory, glory in the Lord.” The statement suggests that he is quoting a verse from the Old Testament. In actuality, let them that glory, glory in the Lord is a paraphrase of a passage from the prophet Jeremiah. Paul is not so much attempting to teach a lesson here, but to stir up their minds by way of remembrance. By mentioning this he is calling to mind something he no doubt taught on extensively while in Corinth. Why do I say this?  Paul’s stay in Corinth is chronicled in Acts chapter 18, and verse 4 says that he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. Then he receives from the Lord in a vision by night “be not afraid but speak and hold not thy peace, for I am with you and no man shall set on you to hurt you, for I have much people in this city.” Vs. 9 & 10. And then verse 11 tells us that he continued there for 18 months, teaching the Word of God among them.

Now imagine next Sunday you go to church and your Pastor informs you that a visiting teacher anointed by God will be on hand to minister the word. Oh, and that minister happens to be Paul, or perhaps someone else with the same anointing. Eighteen months later he says, “It’s been a blessed time but the Lord is sending me on my way”. Do you think you might have learned a bit. So let’s look at the text from Jeremiah that Paul would have been teaching from to apply this paraphrase he uses “to glory in the Lord.”

Thus saith the Lord, let not the wise glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich glory in his riches: but let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23 & 24.

Now let’s jump back over to 1 Corinthians chapter 1:26-29; for you see your calling brethren how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world and things which are despised God has chosen, yes and the things which are not to bring to naught things that are; that no flesh shall glory in His presence.

Try to set aside the obvious inference that the church is made up of foolish, weak, base and despised members and hear the echo of Jeremiah 9 in this passage. So what was Paul teaching on by using Jeremiah 9 as his text? Let’s continue through the final two verses:

Behold, the days come says the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised, Egypt and Judah and Edom and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.

In the time of Jeremiah, all the people of Israel had become blind to God’s Word. For Paul wrote in 2 Co 3:15-17; even unto this day when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it (the heart) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

The blindness of the uncircumcised heart is a paramount issue. For the Lord has set a day when the veil will be lifted from the hearts of Israel.

This will be an opportunity to look at the first of the mysteries of God Paul speaks about in 1 Co 4:1 & 2; let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.

In order to be a faithful steward, a man must know what these mysteries are to which Paul speaks.

For I would not brethren that you should be ignorant of this mystery, less you should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. Romans 11:25.

As we will soon see, the sanctification of the firstborn males directly impacts this timeline of the fullness of the Gentiles. This coincides with a statement made by Jesus in his end times discourse of Luke 21:24, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

We will speak clearly to the general assembly and church of the firstborn.

The Memorial of Passover for the witnesses of Israel

In Exodus 12, the Lord designates the month of departing from Egypt a beginning of months for the witnesses of Israel (v.3), and implements an annual observance of the Passover and Feast of Unleavened bread. Verse 14 says: and this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. The feast commemorates the night before the exodus when all the first born males of Egypt, both man and beast, were slain; but the children of Israel were passed over, because of the blood of the lamb on the doorposts and lintels.

This feast as a memorial is vital, for the commandment connects this event in the history of Israel with the first of three testimonies from the Word of God concerning their first patriarch Abraham. In Genesis 18 just prior to the judgment of Sodom the Lord says this in verse 19: for I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do judgment and righteousness; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him. Notice that Cornelius in Acts 10 received the same positive review, as a man who not only looked to his own salvation, but his family and household.

Returning to the Lord’s instruction for the Passover in Exodus 12: and it shall come to pass, when your children shall ask you, what mean you by this service? That you shall say, it is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed their heads and worshiped (verses 26 & 27).

The Hebrew word zakar-to remember, that provides the root for both memorial and remembrance, includes the aspect of  passing on all things vital, be it worldly wisdom or divine instructions. This is particularly emphasized for parental instructions to children. This includes the need for elders and leaders of the church to pass on the full gospel apostolic instructions. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy; “the things that you have heard of me by many witnesses, the same commit you to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Tim 2:2. In short, the apostolic teachings  exist as a Memorial for the church.

And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. Exodus 12:29. God’s most severe judgment against Egypt results in Pharaoh acquiescing to Moses and Aaron, and the Exodus begins with urgency. It was a night to be much observed unto the Lord of all the children of Israel in their generations. Ex 12:42.

I mentioned previously of three testimonies of the Lord concerning Abraham. Before going further let us quickly look at the other two. After revealing His intentions concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham then steps up and acts as an intercessor on behalf of any possible innocents who will die in the destruction. He dares to ask “shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:25).  He concludes his intercession by requesting that the cities be spared if ten righteous are found but only one found deliverance. After concluding the matter of Sodom and Gomorrah in chapter 19, we then find Abraham in the land of Gerar in chapter 20. Sarah has been taken away by the king Abimelech, but before anything happens between him and Sarah God visits the king in a night’s dream.

Abimelech pleads innocence and asks the Lord, will you slay a righteous nation? Sensing that he has put all of his people in jeopardy. God informs the king that it was His doing that prevented any sin from occurring, and advises him to restore his wife to Abraham. God then makes this second testimony concerning Abraham: “For he is a prophet and he shall pray for you and you shall live.” Gen. 20:7. This is the first time the Hebrew word nabi-for prophet occurs in scripture and is applied to Abraham, because he stepped into the gap on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah. The first principle of the Old Testament prophet is to be an intercessor. I have never had anyone give the right answer when asked who was the first prophet in the Bible, although one friend of mine said it was Adam, because he named all the animals! I had to give him credit for suggesting a clever answer, even if it wasn’t quite right.

The third God-given testimony concerning Abraham is spoken to his son Isaac in Genesis 26. The Lord tells Isaac that He intends to perform the oath which He swore unto Abraham, saying “because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (v. 5). Isn’t it amazing that five centuries before Moses is given the Law, God claims that there was a man who had fulfilled them! Abraham was truly a friend of God. We should also include the words of the angel who stayed Abraham’s hand from slaying Isaac on Moriah, saying “now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me. Genesis 22:12. God then swore an oath by Himself to fulfill all His promises made to Abraham.  

Praise be to God that He gave His only begotten Son for our Salvation! 

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