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Posts Tagged ‘Abraham’

The Dome of the Rock/Wikipedia

Tradition. When you start poking at someone’s traditions you are asking for a fight now aren’t you.  Lots of folks have an open mind, until you question something they have always been told. And then they begin to raise their voices as the lava starts boiling. Tradition is way stronger than truth. If they have heard it all their life or if it is something they want to believe, then it is a fact and there’s no argument that will make a dent in their perception. This is too bad. Truth is something you can build on and add to. It is a foundation that’s not going to crumble or give way. Conversely, an untruth is flawed in its essence and can not stand. It might last, a while, sometimes a long while. But in the end, the facts are going to show themselves. The Bible says there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed. See Luke 8:17.

The Rock Under the Dome

Today a conflict rages in Israel over the acreage that comprises the Temple Mount. Muslims hold that their prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from that site; Christians claim not only is it the place God tested Abraham’s obedience to him by asking him to sacrifice his son, but that it is also the location of Solomon’s temple. Actual proof of any of this is non-existent. It is all based on tradition. Now, some tradition is true; some is not. Most truth can be supported by evidence. Where is the evidence to verify either of these claims?

I had a Christian tell me the evidence was in the Bible. She said King David bought the threshing floor on Mt. Moriah and his son Solomon built the temple there. Well, I am one of those die hard Christians that believe every word of the Bible. At one time I didn’t, but by now I have seen the evidence. I am convinced it is all true, every word.

But, I am not convinced the Temple Mount is the location of the threshing floor King David bought from the Jesusite King Araunuah. I have examined some evidence that speaks contrary to this tradition. The facts do not support the popular beliefs that hold the Temple Mount sacred.

As far as the name “Moriah” is concerned, let me say that in my own lifetime and experience I have more than once seen a prominent place name moved from one site to another. People do it every day.  See my article entitled Whatever Happened To Whetstone Gap? The Whetstone Ridge and its attendant gap was so called for the numerous small, smooth, rectangular stones scattered upon its surface and dug up from its soils. But never mind that. A land developer liked the picturesque sound of the name and so he lifted it from its rightful location and moved it some miles up the road where he was building houses. And there it is to this day. You see it emblazoned on a long green sign: Whetstone Gap Road. It’s on the map, the GPS. Now the little whetstones on the Whetstone Ridge have no recognition, having been relegated to obscurity. Their identity lost, they lie scattered and unappreciated on a mountain called Quebec, in a community also called Quebec, which mountain and community by the way, have nothing to do with the original Quebec, which is more than a thousand miles away, in Canada. Do you get my drift?

Rembrandt Painting: Abraham and Isaac

This is precisely what has happened at Moriah. God said to Abraham: Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:2) The mountain was in the land of Moriah. In the same way Quebec Mountain is one of several mountains in the community of Quebec. The Bible does not give a name of a particular mountain. It is simply a mountain in the land of Moriah. Today the Temple Mount is named Moriah. But it has not always been so. Nor is there a shred of evidence that Abraham ever set foot upon it.  We don’t even know for sure the land of Moriah is the land at Jerusalem. The Samaritans believed Mt. Gerizim at Shechem was the the mountain of Abraham’s testing.

And where are the ruins of the temple? They have never been found. And rightly so. Think about it. Did not Jesus say of the temple and its attendant buildings that there would not be one stone left upon another? Most of the massive wall that surrounds the Temple Mount was built by Herod, who also rebuilt the Jewish temple. Only small sections of this wall were damaged during the siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The wall is intact, including that portion known today as the Wailing Wall, which is held to be the only extant remains of the temple. I can understand how Jews can believe the Wailing Wall to be a true remnant of their temple, for most Jews doubt the divinity of Jesus and would give no credence to his prophecies. But how many Christian preachers, not to mention lay people, have made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the privilege of praying at the Wailing Wall, never mind the explicit words of our Lord as recorded in the first three books of the New Testament? Here it is from Matthew: As Jesus left the temple and was walking away, His disciples came up to him to point out its buildings. “Do you see all these things,” He replied.  “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be toppled.”…(Matthew 24:1-2) Did Jesus miss it? Or what?

When we get to heaven and we still want to know, we can find out for sure. Meanwhile, we need to let the evidence speak, and silence the voice of tradition, or at least take it with a grain of salt until we can be sure.

This time we have been discussing what is not. Next time we will look at some exciting and fascinating facts: things that are, that almost shout for recognition.

 

 

 

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Excavated ruins at Ur (in modern Iraq) believed to be the birthplace of Abraham

Moses is given credit for authoring the first five books of the Old Testament. These books cover the history of the Hebrew people, spanning from their earliest ancestor Adam, down through their experiences as slaves in Egypt, their exodus from Goshen, and their wanderings during the 40 years before they entered Canaan, the promised land. In actuality, the Hebrews as a people originate with Abraham. God called Abraham who was living in Ur of the Chaldees and told him to leave his home and to go where he (God) would send him. Abraham obeyed, taking his household and leaving his father and relatives behind. God led him from place to place, and during his wanderings Abraham received the promise from God that his posterity would become a great nation, and that through him all families of the earth would be blessed.

Abraham and his wife had no children and the wife was past the age of childbearing, so this was surely hard to believe, but Abraham had faith. He trusted God implicitly. His wife lacked the faith that her husband had. She knew she couldn’t have a child at her age, so she thought, “Well, I’ll just give my servant woman to my husband to have a son, and I’ll take her son for my own, and that way the plan of God can proceed.” This type of polygamous arrangement was common in those times; Abraham agreed; the servant woman did indeed bear a child, a son named Ishmael. The Muslims are descendants of Abraham and this servant woman. If that is shocking to you, look it up. It is a fact that Muslims claim descent from Abraham through Ishmael.

Eventually an entourage from heaven visited Abraham and Sara, and told them God’s promise was about to be fulfilled; they were going to have the son God had promised long ago. Sara, ever the skeptic, laughed at the idea. However, within a year Sara herself bore Isaac. Fast forward, and Isaac has two sons, twins: Esau, the firstborn and Jacob, the usurper.

Though Esau, being first, would normally have inherited at his father’s death the best of his father’s goods and his deathbed blessings, which carried tremendous import for good, Esau obtained neither. This was partly his fault, for in a rash moment he had earlier granted his birthright to his brother Jacob. It was partly Jacob’s doing since shortly before his father’s death, he disguised himself as Esau and tricked his blind and aged father into pronouncing upon him the blessing reserved for the firstborn.

Jacob eventually got it right, and God prospered him. He had twelve sons. One of these was Joseph whose eleven brothers for jealousy sold into slavery and then led their father to believe a wild animal had killed him. Joseph rose from slavery to become prime minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. During a time of famine, when there was no food in the land, Jacob sent some of his sons to Egypt to buy grain. There to their surprise they found Joseph and were reunited with him, who had already forgiven them. Due to the famine, Jacob and his entire household, flocks, goods, and everything relocated to the land of Goshen in Egypt. Because of Joseph’s high position they were treated very well by the Egyptians.

For four hundred years the sons of Jacob lived in Egypt. The favor they had known gradually eroded away as new rulers took their places. Time came when Joseph was forgotten, and the Hebrews began to be hated. They eventually became slaves and were treated very harshly by the Egyptians who apparently believed subjugation was the preventive for insurrection. The Egyptians felt threatened by the Hebrews, for they had multiplied to be a vast horde of individuals.

Moses and the Burning Bush–by Gebhard Fugel

 

The plight of the Hebrews did not go unnoticed by God. He brought up one of their own, Moses, to be their deliverer. Moses had been adopted by the Egyptians as an infant and raised in Pharaoh’s palace.  But he knew who he was, and eventually he took the side of his people. He killed an Egyptian who was abusing a Hebrew, and for that was forced to flee Egypt. He ended up in the land of Midian where he lived until he was eighty years old. He was out on the mountain tending sheep when God appeared to him by fire, in a bush that blazed but was not consumed.  There God commissioned the aging Moses to go down to Egypt and to tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go!”

Moses and his brother Aaron went to Egypt as God directed and petitioned Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go free, but Pharaoh was not of a mind to do so. Over a period of time Moses continued to press Pharaoh for his people’s freedom, but repeatedly Pharaoh stubbornly rejected his pleas. In retaliation God struck the Egyptians with plagues ten times. The afflictions, increasing in intensity from first to tenth,  began when God had Aaron to raise his staff over the Nile River, turning it to blood for a week. The next was a plague of frogs which came up out of the river and overran the country. The women even found them in their bread bowls! Pharaoh was so distressed by the frogs that he begged Moses to send them away and promised to let the Hebrews go. The frogs had no sooner gone than Pharaoh changed his mind, as he was to do in several succeeding instances.

Lice, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, all were endured by the Egyptians while their Hebrew neighbors in Goshen were not affected. After the ninth plague, which consisted of three days of intense darkness in Egypt Pharaoh told Moses that if the Hebrews left behind their cattle, they could go. Moses refused to negotiate. It was now that God purposed to deal with the Egyptians with a heavy hand. The tenth and final plague would be the death of the firstborn of both people and cattle. This time the Hebrews had to do something to prevent the Lord from killing the firstborn in their households. An unblemished lamb was to be killed and its blood applied to the doorpost and lintel of each house, its flesh roasted and eaten and its bones and any uneaten portions burned in the fire. The blood on the doorposts was the sign for the Lord to pass over that house so the firstborn within would be spared. Here is the origin of the Jewish Passover.

The night of the tenth plague a great wailing was heard in Egypt as the firstborn in every Egyptian family had died. It has been suggested that perhaps some of the Egyptians escaped the tenth and final plague by following the instructions God had given the Hebrews. They certainly had seen the hand of God move nine times already and had noticed the Hebrews had not suffered from the plagues. Just a thought, someone else’s, that I am repeating.

During the night of the Lord’s pass over Pharaoh sent for Moses and told him to take his people and “Go!” This time he meant it, for the Egyptians now feared for their lives. Before the Hebrews departed the Egyptians gave them valuable articles of silver, gold, and clothing.

Route of the Exodus

The route of the exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt has been a controversial subject in the past because the route suggested by many scholars just did not match up with the Biblical narrative. Today, more than ever before, we are finding that the Biblical narrative, not just in the case of the exodus, but in every case, is accurate, and it is our perception that needs to be adjusted. We need just a bit more information, a little archaeological discovery, and the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. For an accurate description of the route the Hebrews took to the Red Sea crossing check out the fairly recent discoveries of Ron Wyatt. The evidence uncovered by Mr. Wyatt is astonishing and proves the Biblical narrative beyond doubt. Here is a map from the website: arkdiscovery.com where you can get additional information. This is Part One of what I expect will be a two part article.

 

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