Jesus Through the Bible – The LORD is Peace

“And there came an Angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto Him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? But now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” Judges 6:11-14 (KJV)

There are many times throughout the Old Testament the Angel of the LORD is mentioned.  For the conclusion, my own, as well as many scholars of Scripture this individual is not an angel, of the LORD’S  creation, but He is in fact a physical manifestation of the very Son of God, Jesus Christ, in His pre-incarnate form.

In the Judges the Israelites were under constant torment from surrounding enemies.  One phrase which is used, and is the last verse of this book is;  “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes”  Judges 21:25.  There was no king, and so God appointed to them judges to rule and protect them.  Gideon was to be one of these Judges.

How can we know that the Angel of the LORD was in fact deity?  How can we know that this Angel of the LORD is a manifestation of Jesus Christ before He is physically born?  First look at the sacrifice of Gideon.  He offers it to the LORD (vv. 19-21), and the Angel of the LORD touches it with the end of His staff, and fire rose out of the rock, and He departed.  Second, Gideon felt that since he had see the Angel of the LORD, or the LORD Himself, that he would perish (v. 22).  Third,  it is the LORD who speaks to him, and assures Gideon that he will not die, and declares, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” (v. 23).

In worship Gideon builds and altar and calls it “The LORD is peace”.  The only peace that can be found in this world is through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus in Genesis (4)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.

Revelation 19:10b  We have been Looking For Jesus in Genesis. This time we are going to see His appearance in two situations of two different people. The first is to Hagar. Some may ask, “You mean Hagar saw Jesus?” My answer will follow. The other one, of course, would be Abraham. That would not surprise us so much. Would it?

The appearance to Hagar takes place following the conception of Ishmael. Genesis 16. If you will remember the story Sarah became a little impatient waiting on God to fulfill His promise of a son to Abraham, so she offers her husband her servant as a wife to have a child. When Hagar conceives she really wants to “Rub it in” with Sarah. It almost seems that Sarah mistreats Hagar, maybe even to the point of beating her, and that drives her away. Hagar had basically become quite arrogant toward Sarah, and you can hardly blame Sarah for her behavior, yet you can see the weakness and danger of more than one wife.

When Hagar fled, she probably thought for her life, an

“Angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water…” (v. 7).

This is what has been termed a “Pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ”. It certainly seems to me to be Jesus before He ever became flesh and blood human. This person is certainly more than an angel of God. He speaks in verse ten saying,

“I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” (v. 10).

No angel could say that. It must of necessity be Jesus Christ the Living Word.

Hagar is believed by many to be the mother of the Arabian people, the Muslim people. If you will notice the words of Jesus to Hagar they are ones of comfort, encouragement, yet, rebuke as well. She has flaunted her pregnancy toward Sarah. She is told by the Lord to return to Sarah, “And submit thyself under her hands.” (Genesis 16:9). Hagar is given a promise for her child which would be born to her. In chapter 17 God promises Abraham that He will bless Ishmael in verse 20.

“…Twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

Why would Jesus reveal Himself to Hagar. Because he cared for her and the nation which would come from her and Abraham’s union. Maybe in seeing this we can start to hope that maybe there is some hope for the people of Hagar. Only as they turn to the Lord Jesus with all their hearts.

The second appearance of Jesus we see comes as Abraham is at his “Tent door in the heat of the day”. He sees three men approaching. Genesis 18. He runs to meet them. I get the impression that Abraham knew who they were before He jumped up and ran to them. He bowed down before them and verse 3 says,

“…My Lord, if now I have found favor in Thy sight, pass not away, I pray Thee, from Thy servant.”

Abraham offers the “Men” refreshment and food. It is quite clear that one of these “Men” is the Lord Himself. Remember how the Lord reveals Himself in the Old Testament? When He is seen in a physical form, it must be the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. How would Abraham recognize God in physical form. He knows Him personally. When you know the Lord you know His appearing and appearance. You know His voice.

It was at this time that the Lord renewed His promise to Abraham, and this time Sarah heard the promise made even to her. They were going to have a son in their old age (Abraham was at this time 99 years of age and Sarah was 89), and is it any wonder that Sarah laughed. Thinking, “How can this be?”, and yet, hearing the Lord speak to them with the promise. It came from the Lord Himself, in Person, and physical form.

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”(v.14).

This was a word directly from the Lord, not from angels, not in a dream, but from the very mouth of the Lord Jesus.

“The men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.” (v. 16).

The “men” headed toward Sodom on a mission of judgment. The Lord decides since Abraham is His friend, that He will reveal why the others are headed toward Sodom. In this passage of the chapter we see Abraham become an intercessor pleading for the cities of the plain. He asked the Lord to spare the city if there are only 10 righteous people in it. The Lord says He will. We know that there were not 10 righteous people in the cities, but God still dragged Abraham’s nephew Lot, Lot’s wife, and two daughters from the city before they were destroyed.

The compassion and faithfulness of the Lord is seen through out all of Scripture. We see the manifestation of Jesus in physical form even before He became flesh and dwelt among men. We see Him to be holy, righteous, All-knowing, All-powerful, All-present, and Unchanging. He is the God of mercy, love and grace.

Wondrous Act of the LORD

“So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the Angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. But the Angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that He was an Angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would He have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.” Judges 13:19-23 (KJV)

Manoah had been prepared to offer a sacrifice unto a mere human messenger; but in verses 15-16 the LORD corrects Manoah, and directs him to offer the sacrifice unto Jehovah. When he does the offering is accepted.

This is a Theophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ appearing as the Angel of the LORD.

This appearance is to tell Manoah and his wife of the coming conception and birth of their son Samson. He was to be dedicated to the LORD; refraining from the fruit of the vine, wines, and from any unclean foods, and his hair was to grow long. Samson was to be a Nazarite under a vow to the LORD.

Up to this point of their encounter with the Angel of the LORD they had only viewed him as a “Man of God”, when they offered to make an offering the Angel of the LORD says to them, “You must offer it to the LORD” (13:16). Where we are told in these verses that the “Angel of the LORD did wondrously” it would seem that that would mean He received the offering; approving it by fire. Then ascending up in the flame Himself. Thus Manoah’s and his wife’s falling on their faces to the ground in an act of worship

Manoah fears death after the LORD’S acceptance of their offering; yet his wife assures him that should not be the case. Manoah’s fear shows that he saw this Angel of the LORD as an appearance of God.

The Lord has appeared to mankind in the person of His Son Jesus to die for our sins, be buried, and rise bodily from the grave; putting away our sins for all eternity. Truly the LORD has done Wondrously.

When the Enemy is not Driven Out

“And an Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break My covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed My voice. Why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the Angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.” Judges 2:1-5 (KJV)

“Bochim” means weeping, thus the title. When you read these verses you see the reason for their weeping.  When the “Angel of the LORD” makes an appearance with a message such as this, then, we should know that we need to be weeping.

The “Angel of the LORD” is most likely a theophany. A pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. He was, He is, and He always will be (Revelation 1:4, 8, 18).  That is why He would be speaking authoritatively the word of God. The Israelites had violated the word of God in disobedience (Exodus 23:32), and now they were beginning to suffer the consequences for it.

The above verse says “I will never break My covenant with you”, thus the disobedience of the people is their own judgment. The failure to drive out the enemy would be a snare to them. It is so with the follower of Jesus Christ today as well. This is cause for weeping.

The prophet Jeremiah tell us of this too (Jeremiah 2:19). Paul the apostle tells us,

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galations 6:7

When the unredeemed are living their own lives, their own way they reap the harvest of what they have sown. When the redeemed turn from walking with God, disobey His word, we too will reap the harvest of what we have sown. Disobedience reaps thorns, sorrows, and snares.

It is a time for weeping. Weeping over our disobedience; our sin.

The Keeper, Protector, and Comforter

“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in Him. But if thou shalt indeed obey His voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For Mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and He shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” Exodus 23:20-25 (KJV)

Within the Scriptures there are many appearances of the Angel of the LORD.  One of them is in the above verses.  Though called “an Angel” in verse 20; God calls Him “Mine Angel” in verse 23, and He has the same authority, and power as GOD Himself.  He is to be obeyed.  He is to be worshipped.  He is to be heard.  He is also the One who blesses the people, and takes away sickness.

Who is this Angel?  Just an angel given the power to speak for Jehovah?  No!  He is the Son of God.  He is the living Presence of God in the camp.  It could be that He is the pillar of the cloud by day, and pillar of fire by night.  He is always present with them

In most cases where “Angel of the LORD” is mentioned in the Bible many Christians agree that it is a reference to the preincarnate Son of God Jesus Christ.

Notice if you will, before I close for today, how verse 20 says, “…To bring thee into the place I have prepared for you” and then Jesus’ words in John 14 “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  (John 14:2-3)

Living in the Presence

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:21-22 (KJV)

The LORD had just worked out the deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.  Now He gives them the assurance of His presence, and His abiding with them with a pillar.  By day it was a Pillar of cloud; by night a Pillar of fire.  He would lead them by day and by night.

How did the Moses and the children of Israel know where to go?  God was leading them with His powerful presence.

This Pillar was associated with the “Angel of the LORD” and with when Moses spoke with the LORD (Exodus 33:9-11).  The Pillar was to stand between the Israelites and the Egyptians later before they would cross the Red Sea.  He was their Guide and Protector.  Notice too, that “He took not away the Pillar…”  He is the Living Presence.

For the Christian  that Pillar is the presence of GOD within every follower of Jesus Christ.  He is that Cloud by day, and Fire by night.  He is our Comforter, our Conviction, our Direction and Guide every moment of the day and the night (John 16:7-11).  The Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ in you to lead and guide you to become like Jesus in living.  That is the desire of every born again believer; to be like Jesus: loving the Father, doing the Father’s will, glorifying the Father, doing the work of the Father.

Living in the Presence of the LORD begins by following His Son Jesus Christ.

GOD of the Present

GOD of the Present

 

Exodus 3:1-22

We are told in the New Testament, by Jesus, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32; Mark 12:26). He is not only Lord of all that is past, He is GOD of the present. He is Onmipresent, and that means everywhere; past, present and future.

1. HE Makes a Personal Appearance (vv. 1-6).

A. The “angel of the LORD” is understood by many to be an preincarnate appearance of Jesus. (v. 2).

B. He will be seen as Holy, and calls holy actions on His people’s lives as well. (v. 5).

C. Many of today’s professing Christians have become like the world rather than separate from it.

 

2. HE is Compassionate Toward His People (vv. 7-10).

A. Psalm 78:38

B. Luke 15:20

 

3. HE Will Reveal Himself to His People (vv. 11-18).

A. Jesus, in His humanity is the bodily revelation and representation of God to the world (Colossians 2:9; Heb. 1:1-3).

 

4. HE Will Show Himself Strong (vv. 19-22; 2 Chronicles 16:9).

The Renewed Covenant

Abraham’s faith is really amazing.  He believes God to within inches of taking the life of his son Isaac.  We must not overlook, though, the faith of Isaac; the trust he places in his father, and in God.  The two, father and son have gone that journey up the mountain which the LORD told Abraham of, and they have gone alone.

The man of faith built the altar, tied the hands and feet of his son, laid him on the wood, then took the knife to slay his only promised son.  His hand is stayed by the angel of the LORD; and the LORD speaks to Abraham:

“And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.” Genesis 22:15-19 (KJV)

The “angel of the LORD” speaks as being the LORD Himself.  “By Myself have I sworn…”.  The beginning covenant is renewed.  His son has been restored to him, and totally given to the LORD at the same time.  He gave up what he could not keep to gain what he could never lose.  This “angel of the LORD” is most certainly, again, the preincarnate manifestation of the Living Word of God; the Son of God who would become flesh and dwell among us.  He spoke as God, for God, because He is God.  This was no created being who was speaking; this was God speaking.  This was God who spoke with authority.  It was God who made, and renews the covenant with Abraham.

It is sad to see that in our day many nations are turning against Israel, the people who have been given this covenant.  In the end it will mean certain judgment upon any and all nations who will not be a blessing to Israel.  All the nations have been blessed through Israel.

It is through Israel that we have the written word of God; from Genesis through the Revelation these have been written and preserved by the people of Israel; their priests, prophets, kings, fishermen, with the exception of maybe one; and that is the doctor Luke who penned down the Gospel of Luke, and the book of  “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” or “Acts”.  We have also received from Israel the One who has done more for Israel and the nations of the world than all the men and women who have ever lived; and done more for every individual who has ever lived – He is Jesus.

The final verse of our text for today tells us that only Abraham returned to the servants who were left while Abraham and Isaac went to the mountain top alone.  Where is Isaac?  There is another picture given us here by the silence, and the absence of Isaac in the text.  He is not mentioned, nor seen again until chapter 24.  There Isaac is mentioned as father Abraham and his servant prepare to find a bride for him.

The picture given is of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ from the grave, ascended to glory in the  presence of His Father, while the Father and the Servant who glorifies our Lord, seeks for Him a bride.  Isaac is not seen again in the text until Genesis 24:62-67, and it is when Rebekah is brought to him to be his bride.

The Father  and the Holy Spirit are working today in the absence of our Lord Jesus preparing a Bride for our Savior, the Son of the Living God.  While He is absent from us in body, we; those of us who know Him; have the promise of His soon appearing to claim His chosen Bride.  We are daily being prepared to appear before Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Substitute

Isaac, son of Abraham, the only promised son of Abraham was an obedient, trusting son.  He went all the way with his father to the place “afar off” to a mountain which the LORD showed him.  The faith of Abraham has been seen since Genesis 12, and he has been faithful to God.

Faithful to God does not mean there has not been some times of failure, disobedience or sin; it does mean that in all his faults he always trusted the LORD;  he always returned to God.  Those of us who are Christians are called to a faithful life, a life of faithfulness, and that does not mean there won’t be times we do not fail or fall into sin; it does mean we won’t stay there.

Our study today will include verse 10 once again:

“And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” Genesis 22:10-14 (KJV)

Abraham, believing God would keep His promise of making a great nation through Isaac continues with an obedient act to the LORD God, takes the knife to slay his son, and then hears the “angel of the LORD” call his name.  It seems that the “angel of the LORD” stops the hand of Abraham from its downward motion.  It does not seem too far to say that the LORD stopped Abraham’s hand from slaying Isaac.

There are some things in this event that we must consider.  First of all, Isaac was not a worthy sacrifice (Psalm 14:2-3; Romans 3:10, 23).  He was human, with the uncleanness of sin, as we all are.  No sinful human being can pay the sacrifice for their sins, nor anyone else’s.  Secondly, God has actually forbidden mankind from offering human sacrifice.  Human sacrifice was the practice of the people whom Abraham left in Ur of the Chaldees, and the practice of the people in the land of Canaan, and God’s people are forbidden to practice the evil of the Canaanites.

It seems that we have sacrifice of children in the USA, and in other nations of the world.  We see no value in the unborn so in the past 36 years we have sacrificed 48,000,000 (48 million) unborns to the gods of pleasure and convenience.  Their blood cries out to the thrice  holy God, and condemns the people of the nations who have practiced this unholy act.  The blood of even these is insufficient to atone for the sins of those who committed the acts of treachery and murder.  The unborn children that have been treasonized by their mothers cry out against them, and the “doctors” who have committed treachery against the medical profession.

Abraham’s hand is stayed by our LORD from carrying out the sacrifice showing himself faithful to God.  Abraham turns and sees a Ram caught by his horns in a bush.  Now, how many times would that happen.  On a hill top far away from any other flocks of sheep, God provides a substitute for Isaac.  We are all in need of a Substitute for our sins; a Substitute who will take our place.  If we were to die for our own sins that would mean an eternity apart from God, because our death does not suffice the take away our sin; it also does not provide for us eternal life; but eternal death, apart from God; suffering eternally for our sins.  That is what we deserve.

As the Ram was the substitute for Isaac, so our Substitute is the Lamb of God.  The Ram whose power was yielded to His Father, and was willing to subject Himself to the evil hands of men, be the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind, offering forgiveness to all who will call on His name.

There is forgiveness to all the women who have killed their unborn children, and to the “doctors” who have committed the treacherous acts against the children, the mothers, and the medical profession by their acts of abortion.  Jesus Christ is our Substitute for our sins.  He died on the cross to take away our sins, cleanse us from sin, to be the atonement for our sin, to be the one who took upon Himself the wrath of His own Father, having become sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“Jehovah-jireh” our God has provided well for us through His Son Jesus.  “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).  Be saved, be cleansed of all your sin through faith in Jesus Christ; our Substitute; today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Work of Intercession

The Work of Intercession

“And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.” Genesis 18:23-33 (KJV)

The word “Intercession” means, according to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY, “1: MEDIATION 2: Prayer or petition in favor of another.” The word is not used in these verses of our text, and according to some hermeneutical professionals we are not allowed to use it in the discussion of the text either. That may be a bit of an overstatement, but it can get quite picky with some folks at times.

When Abraham heard of the condition of Sodom and in particular Lot, His nephew, he began to petition the Lord concerning the city. That was the place where Lot had chosen. Remember Lot had lifted up his own eyes and determined the place he wanted by its richness, and the way it appeared to be already blessed; but he did not determine by the conditions of the hearts of the people who lived there. There are many professing Christians of our day who see what they think is a “Mission field”, they may have their heart truly on seeing the conversion of the people, but they can, if not very careful find themselves in a situation similar to Lot’s. They had best be very strong in the Word of God and faith of Christ, and guard their own hearts concerning the teachings and beliefs of the group of people to whom they are witnessing. Too many times “Christians” have turned away from their faith in acceptance of the beliefs of others. No, they may not accept the belief of that group, but they begin thinking that they are okay with God, they believe something. In doing that they have turned from the faith of God.

Whatever Lot’s motive for going to Sodom, and the cities of the plain, he had soon lost sight of the situation. Lot would have been in a desperate situation were it not for the grace of God. Nowhere in our text does Abraham even mention Lot, or his family. It is for the people. The Intercessor begins pleading for the people, believing in the righteousness of God, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” That is really where true intercessory prayer begins; ie., with God. It is He who is offended by wickedness. It is He who will deal with the wicked. It is God who must be approached, petitioned, and given requests from the heart. It should also be done for His name sake. In Abraham’s prayer/petition he addresses the righteousness of God. The Intercessor is not as concerned for the outcome of the wicked as he is the outcome of the appearance of God’s righteousness. Too much prayer is done in the name of the one praying – that meaning; give me what I want- and when we pray in His name we pray as He wants and directs.

Intercessory Prayer is best defined as To plead with God in behalf of others. Even to provide a wall between God’s judgment and the lost, the sick, the backsliden, etc. In Ezekiel 22:30 we read, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30 (KJV). Intercessory Prayer can be seen as the power of God at work in His child, and a release of that power in the one for whom intercession is given.

When Abraham prayed for Sodom he received more than what he asked for. It was by the sheer mercy and grace of God, that Lot, and his two daughters were delivered (See Genesis 19:15-29). It seems that in Abraham’s prayer at the beginning he may have thought in the time Lot had been in the valley, with the people, having developed a name for himself, that there might just be more than the family. Sadly, there were not, and Abraham gets all the way down to the number of ten, stops, and the LORD says, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” We know there were not ten righteous people living in Sodom. In our eyes we would not even have called Lot righteous, nor his daughters. It is by the mercy and grace of God that Lot and his daughters were saved. The city was not spared, but Lot was; after being forced to leave.

It could be asked, What is the purpose of intercession? To that we would find the answer throughout the pages of Scripture; to be; to exalt the justice and righteousness of God in the intercessor. This first of all shows us that the heart of Abraham was set firmly on God, and not on having his own way. The highest act of prayer is to depend upon the will of God being done, and that was at the heart of Abraham’s prayer. Another thing concerning the purpose of intercession is to plead God’s mercy in behalf of others (vv. 24-32) and in James 5:13-20 we see prayer being offered for things such as sickness, forgiveness, afflictions, calling for the elders to pray, and even praying for rain or no rain. One other purpose for intercession would be to know and receive the will of God concerning unholy practices. The Word of God tells us to avoid the unholy, but sometimes there may be some things that are not really clear; so we must seek for guidance. Most likely if you must pray to find out it is probably not good or right.

There are results we receive from intercessory prayer. The first one is the intercessor will accept God’s will for how it turns out. The heart of the intercessor will be at rest with God. The Lord’s “Place” and the intercessor’s “Place” is much the same “Place”. People are saved and God’s justice, righteousness, and holiness is fulfilled and done. The intercessor will have and put greater trust in the Lord.

There is really no great secret in being an Intercessor for others. The secret is revealed in the pages of God’s Word, and they are seen in these verses of our text. First, to know God, and to be known by God (v. 19); Abraham was known by God and he knew God, ie., he had a personal relationship with Him. To know God means we know His heart, His thoughts, His righteousness, His holiness, His justice, and we don’t want to do anything to offend these. To be known by God is the best. When He knows you He will never cast you out of His presence. He knows you as His own. Secondly, to know His secrets (v. 17), and in John 15:13-15 we read, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”; and in Amos 3:7 it is written, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”; and in Psalm 25:14 the Psalmist has written, ” The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.”. A third matter of being an intercessor is you have a burden to share (v. 23), and you are caring for what the will of the Lord is concerning others, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV). Last of all; but this list is not exhaustive; is the intercessor is of humble spirit. Always humble before the Lord, never seeking their own, always jealous for the Lord’s will, and not that of the flesh (v. 27). The truly humble are lifting up the name of the Lord, and never notice their own humility. It is of a genuine heart and pure motive.

You will notice in the final verse of our text, “And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.” This shows us the LORD was pleased with His time with Abraham, and Abraham was content to leave the outcome in the LORD’s hands. When we cannot sleep at night because of fear for the one we pray, it is because we have not gained peace in the matter. We have not trusted it to the LORD’s hands and will. It is quite possible that we fear our desire and will is not going to be done. That was not true of Abraham or God in this case. Nor, should it ever be in ours.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Abraham, Prophet and Priest

Abraham, Prophet and Priest

The LORD had come to visit Abraham and Sarah and to reassure them of the fulfillment of the promise, and that promise was a son. It seems quite likely that Sarah’s faith was improved, strengthened by the appearance of the LORD.

When the LORD’s visit had come to an end they began to journey away from Abraham’s camp, and Abraham went with them for a distance. When the LORD comes and puts in a personal visit with you, shares the promise, and renews it who wouldn’t want to go on with Him? As they go walking the LORD contemplates sharing with Abraham something further that He is about to do. He shares it with Abraham. From this part of God’s visit we learn much about intercessory prayer.

“And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 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 justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Genesis 18:16-19 (KJV).

It would not be wrong to call Abraham a prophet. I am not sure there is anywhere in Scripture which calls him “Prophet”, but we know that he walked with God, even though there is no specific verse which tells us that. He is doing it right here in verse 16. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 (KJV). We also have the Lord revealing secret things to Abraham which would place him in the category of a prophet. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 (KJV). Is the LORD not here revealing a very secret thing to His friend Abraham? We must answer in the affirmative. According to the word of the LORD spoken above, He is giving to the descendants of Abraham and his children, that, “they shall keep the way of the LORD…” They are being given the oracles of God at this point. It is being given, and was given to them to do justice and judgment, and they were the people whom God used to born the Messiah, our Lord and Savior, into this world.

Prophets for the most part are messengers of God; warning God’s people, and in a lot of cases even the heathen of the coming wrath of God. In Abraham’s case he is not given the opportunity of being a prophet with a message to warn people, but he is given a message to pray for the people. It is especially a message to pray for Lot and his family, because they are living in the cities which are about to be destroyed.

We see in these the LORD’s confidence in Abraham being faithful to become what God has told him that he will become. God even says here (v.19), “I know him”. What a endowment of praise and encouragement that is to hear the LORD say of His friend, “I know him”. If the LORD knew Abraham, we have an assurance that He can know us too. Does the LORD know you? There is coming a day of judgment which we read of from the mouth of our Lord Jesus Himself, and He says, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity” That is not the words I desire to hear from His lips. That is not the desire I have to hear from His lips for any of my friends, family or any of those who might be seen as my enemies. I do not desire to hear that from His lips for debtors or creditors. The best and sweetest phrase I want to hear on that day is, “Enter into thy reward, thou good and faithful servant”. And, that for all who will hear and follow Jesus.

“And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.” Genesis 18:20-22 (KJV).

It was the LORD who had came to Abraham, visited with him, ate with him, and had wonderful fellowship with him. He has now sovereignly determined to reveal to Abraham what He is about to do. It is in verse 20 that the LORD speaks, and reveals to him what He is planning to do. We can know from the testimony of Scripture that God already knows the spiritual and moral condition of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is indeed, a very merciful thing for God to come down and appear to men. Three “men” had come and appeared to Abraham, and one he recognized as the LORD. The other two were inevitably angels. The LORD has remained behind to speak with Abraham, and reveal to him what He is about to do in the cities where Lot; his nephew and family are living.

By what we have in these three verses it seems that there is a “cry” from evil. Does evil have a voice, a cry? It must. According to Strong’s

H2201 = za‛aq ze‛a^qa^hzah’-ak, zeh-aw-kaw’ (Feminine): from H2199; a shriek or outcry: – cry (-ing).”

 

No one rejoices when evil rules a land, a city, a home, or a family. And the person who is practicing evil, has no form of joy or peace. It is their way of ‘Thumbing their nose’ at God, His Word, His Son, and His people. There is a cry from evil. Even evil hearts sooner or later will cry for justice, and they shall have it. Surely we can hear the cries of evil in our Country of the USA. Surely the scent of the blood shed in homes, cities, States, and our Nation is a putrid scent to all decent, law abiding people. Or, are we so, “law abiding”, that we don’t smell the scent, because we think we are a nation which has been built solely on man made laws? That is a stench in the nostrils of Holy God.

We as the people of God ought never forget that evil is “grievous” in the sight and sound of almighty God. With him there is no little immorality. It is all vile in His sight, and it cannot dwell in His presence. Apart from the grace of God no fallen man can dwell in His presence, unless, the price of sin, ie., the sin-debt has been paid in full. God owes no accountability to the devil. He is not accountable to the devil. God’s Word is not answerable to the devil. The sin-debt is owed to God; He is the One who is the offended party.

When evil people are in authority people mourn. In the Proverbs we find the wisdom of Solomon saying, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34 (KJV). And we also find more wisdom from this wisest of men, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” Prov 29:2 (KJV). The cry of wickedness was horrific to the ears of holy God. The cry of wickedness is still horrific in the ears of God. They should be horrific to the ears of every child of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Taking a Measure

This week’s being the celebration of Israel’s 60th Anniversary, as a recognized nation among the United Nations, this is a fitting reminder of God’s hand on the nation that will one day rise up as the one, to whom all nations will go.  God’s richest blessings on Israel, and may they hear and receive their Messiah Jesus.

Taking a Measure

In the book of Daniel the false king Belshazzar saw “handwriting on the wall”. It was interpreted by Daniel as meaning, “You have been weighed in the balances and found lacking”. Belshazzar had blasphemed the LORD God by desecrating the articles of the LORD’s Jerusalem temple.

Some could look at this measuring line and possibly see a means of judgment, but when you look at the context of the message it is not of judgment, but a word of future glory for the city.

Hear the Word of the Lord through Zechariah the prophet:

“Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he said to me, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.’” Zechariah 2:1-2 (NKJV).

According to some this man, the surveyor, could be the Angel of the LORD, which in most scholar’s understanding means, that this “Angel of the LORD” is a manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ (pre-incarnate). The measuring is evidence of the Lord’s heart for the city of Jerusalem and the people of the city.

Just ask any builder; any responsible, accurate, careful builder will take measurements before they begin the actual building process. It would be quite foolish to measure as this gives us the picture, without an intent and purpose for building. It is sure evidence that God’s plan; and it is plan A, for He has no plan B; is to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, its temple, and recall His people – the Hebrews to this glorious place. It will see a glory even greater than that of Solomon; because a greater than Solomon is here (Matthew 12:42).

The city and the temple which God has designed for the reign of His Son will be the most glorious of cities and temples. Nothing will compare to it.

Who is the man with the measuring line? It would appear to be the pre-incarnate Christ giving hope, guidance, and assurance to the prophet and his people. We are not given the dimensions, but we can know that it will be practically immeasurable.

Surely this must be a word telling us of the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jealous for Jerusalem

JEALOUS FOR JERUSALEM

“And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.” Zechariah 1:13-17 (KJV)

While there are numerous people who are telling us that the days of Israel, the days of Jerusalem being blessed by God are over; the Word of God declares their greatest days are just ahead. How close that may be we do not know. We do believe they are approaching quickly.

With a little consideration I have come to the conclusion that verse 12 belongs with these five verses. “Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which Thou hast had indignation these three score and ten years.” In every case where the phrase where “angel of the LORD” is used in Old Testament Scriptures it is a reference to a Christophany, or pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ. We will look at this a little more in depth in the commentary following.

Providing that “angel of the LORD” is indeed a Christophany it would fit into the description of the ministry of Jesus Christ following His resurrection and ascension into Heaven. In verse 12 of our text He is pleading with the Father for mercy upon Jerusalem, and the other cities of Judah. Certainly this is fitting with the intercession which we are told of in Hebrews 7:25 – “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” The “three score and ten years” were the years of judgment that they had spent in captivity in Babylon and the land was left desolate. He is our advocate with the Father as I wrote of earlier.

The LORD of hosts who happens to be the Father spoke with “good words” unto the Son, and they were also “comfortable words”. The intercession of the Son always persuades the Father, and He promises good for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. Just what did the LORD of hosts say? We are told that in verses 14 – 17. It should be noted that even in the Old Testament the people of God – Jerusalem and the cities – had an advocate with the Father; who plead for mercy for them. It also should be noted that we get our message through the Lord Jesus. Apart from the cross of Jesus we have no message.

The LORD of hosts has said, “I am jealous for Jerusalem and Zion…”. That explains the reason for the seventy years previously mentioned. When His people forsake Him He will set about to judge their departure, their hypocrisies, their sins. He always judges with the full intent of bringing them back into His grace and fellowship. We are also told that He is “displeased” with the ease of the pagan heathen who have conquered, devoured and taken into captivity His people. He was displeased with the behavior of Judah, Jerusalem, and the cities. Do you not suppose that though we have the names of the cities named He is referring to the occupants of those cities? Cities are made up of people. When Abraham was asking mercy for the “cities of the plain” (Genesis 13:12; 18:23-33), was he not pleading for mercy for the people; especially of Lot? I believe that to be so. The Lord does acknowledge that the heathen who are at the east were His aid for the affliction of His people.

God always desires His people to be at peace with Him, and as long as we are He protects us, keeps us, holds us, even will keep us healthy; but when we turn from Him and begin worshipping other things; those walls of protection, provision, and power come tumbling down. When those walls are down the enemy comes in, devours and captures us, and for God this is as an affliction to lure us into returning to Him. There are times, as well when God Himself will allow His people to be tested, as in the case of Job, in order to strengthen our faith, and in the end He will bless us. Am I saying what some of Job’s friends said concerning Job. They accused him of being unrighteous, therefore he was being judged by God, and all he had to do was repent. My summation of this kind of situation is the one who is going through these trials will know. They will know whether this is judgment for a sin or sins they have committed or if it is a trial from God. The latter one may not be realized until the trial is over, and maybe not until eternity with Jesus. None of us have the right, nor the authority to tell another individual Christian, “What you are experiencing is the judgment of God for sin in your life”, especially if we do not know of any sin in their life that may be the cause of the judgment. When we have known a fellow Christian’s life; when we have seen them live faithfully for the Lord, and they begin to experience hardships, sicknesses, financial ruin and collapse our summation of the matter should be that this is a test of God, and we should let them know that we will be there to help them in any way we possibly can; and that we will be praying for them. We do need to remember that as with the people of Judah so with Christians of today; God will do whatever it takes to make us holy.

God says, “I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem”. Jerusalem is the city of God. It is the place where mercy and grace has been displayed to the world, by the death of God’s own Son, for our sins. The MacArthur Study Bible note for verses 16 and 17 state, “Not only would the temple be rebuilt which at that time had only foundations (cf. Hag. 2:18), but the city itself would again expand due to the prosperity (cf.Is.40:9,10). The wall was completed 75 years later. God would again comfort Jerusalem (cf.Is.40:1,2; 51:3, 12), and would again choose it as the place of His earthly throne (cf. Ps. 132:13). This will be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom of Messiah (cf. Rev. 20). Given the fact tht the returning Jews lost sight of their priorities (cf. Hag. 1:1-12), this message reaffirmed God’s plan. It should be noted that the millennial kingdom will provide the presence of God in Jerusalem (Ezek. 48:35), a glorious temple (Ezek.40-48), a rebuilt Jerusalem (Jer. 31:38-40), the nations punished (Matt. 25:31-46), the prosperity of Judah’s cities (Is. 60:4-9) the blessedness of the people (Zech. 9:17), and the comfort of Zion (Is.14:1).” MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, NKJV, p.1340.

According to Scripture it is apparent that God will not fail in His promises and dealings with His Old Testament people. He will bring them to Christ Jesus their Messiah. “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins'” Romans 11:25-27 (NKJV).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Man and the Horses

THE MAN AND THE HORSES

“Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?” Zechariah 1:7-12 (KJV)

It seems that my view of these horses and the man among the myrtles is going to be a bit contrary to those who I would give the greater credit for their many more years of learning than myself. However, here is what I am seeing in Zechariah’s vision. An angel is speaking to the prophet, thus Zechariah calls him, “my lord”, as opposed to the “LORD” of verse seven and the following verses where Jehovah/YaHWeH is represented in the text. It does not seem clear to me that the Angel of the LORD is the one who has been riding on the “Red horse”.

It seems more clear that the rider on the “Red horse” is being held at bay by the man standing in the myrtles. Zechariah’s question as to ‘What are these?’, and the angel who was with him means to give him understanding. The man standing among the myrtles, does not seem to be on horseback, as do the others, and gives the answer, “These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth”. The walking ‘to and fro through the earth’ seems to me to be a clue as to their identity. This same phrase is used in the book of Job 1:7 and Job 2:2 where this is used speaking of the devil and the “sons of God”. There are similar horses mentioned in Revelation 6:1-8, and it has been said by some that the white horse rider of the Revelation is Christ, if He is seen as having already come the second time, or that He is visible only in His Church and that the Church will be victorious on the earth.

The myrtle tree is a lowly tree, and grows in the lowlands; the valleys, and hollows of the country. They could represent the lowliness of the nation of Israel. Here is the study note for “among the myrtle trees in the hollow. Myrtle trees wer associated with booth-making at the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev.23:33-44; Neh. 8:15) and with messianic blessing (cf. Is. 41:19; 55:13), and thereby possibly speak of restoration and blessing. Their location in the hollow has been thought to refer to a low place where such shrubs would flourish. Because of the lowliness (these shrubs would never exceed 8:ft. in height)commonness, fragrance (from white blossoms), and abundance in flourishing places, it is best to see these as representing Israel, God’s people. They are the lowly and yet enriched people. Their lowliness in thehollow could also refer to Israel’s current humiliation.” MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, p.1340.

In the vision the prophet would be seeing that the devil had been a disciplining tool of God during the seventy years of judgment upon Judah. The red horse would be a symbol of blood shed; much blood has been shed during the battles and dispersion of the Hebrew people. The angel of the LORD is probably the Lord Jesus as a theophany – preincarnate manifestation. He is the One standing among the “myrtle trees”, but I do not notice Him on any of the horses.

These horseman could have been walking “to and fro throughout the earth” for the purpose of destruction of the Hebrews who had all been taken captive with the exception of a small remnant which Jeremiah followed into Egypt. With the rest of the earth at rest the angel of the LORD pleads with the LORD of hosts for mercy on all Judah, and mercy on Jerusalem since there has been seventy years of judgment.

It is not the horsemen who plead mercy. It is the angel of the LORD who pleads for mercy for all Judah and the city of Jerusalem. “…We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” 1 John 2:1; and “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (NKJV), and while He pleads with His Father He holds the demon legions at bay. The Lord Jesus is the reason for mercy upon the whole world, and for grace for all who will call upon His name. It is because of the mercy of God that His wrath has not fallen on us all.

Jesus Christ is returning one day on a white horse, and that is according to the Revelation of Jesus Christ chapter 19:11-16; and at that point and time will deal with those who “dwell upon the earth”, ie., those whose hearts are on material things, have refused the Lord, His Word and His messengers, and believe that humanity has the answer for all that ills the earth. He will rule with a rod of iron, and there will be no wars, and the earth will have plenty after His restoration.

It is by the cross of Jesus that He entered that spiritual darkness, experiences the wrath of the Father, pays our sin debt, and defeats the devil and his demons. In which He also pleads mercy for His brethren who have endured seventy years of judgment starting in Babylon then on to Ahasuerus, and to Cyrus who gave the first authorization for the rebuilding of the temple.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Meeting God in Person

Meeting God in Person

“And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.” Genesis 16:7-16 (KJV)

Remembering now that Hagar had received some harsh, and unkind treatment from Sarai, she has fled from her husband and mistress. We must remember some things about Hagar too. She had become “Highminded” against Sarai; though not specifically charged, it is definitely implied by the phrase, “despised in her eyes” (v.5). Sarai was her master wife, the ruler of the household. Now notice who appears to Hagar after she has fled from the Abrahams.

The Angel of the LORD is the one who finds Hagar by a fountain of water. The Angel of the LORD is believed to be a manifestation of the pre-incarnate Christ. This angel is never mentioned in Scripture following the incarnation of Christ in Bethlehem. This shows us that the LORD is indeed concerned with the people of all races, and countries, and that He is involved in the affairs of humanity. The LORD cared for Hagar and went to her.

Notice how the LORD addresses Hagar; He calls her “Sarai’s maid”, reminding her that she has attachments, and obligations, and that she is still a servant to Sarai. The question asked by the LORD is not one seeking information, but rather one seeking repentance. What is Hagar’s need for repentance? She has been rebellious, and proud concerning Sarai; and sought a higher place than what she was allotted by God. She was a servant girl, nothing more. The first born son of promise was to be from Abram and Sarai; not Abram and Hagar.

The LORD’s word to Hagar is, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” She is not to exude an attitude of arrogance or supremacy over Sarai, but be an obedient servant girl. God gives her a promise, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly…”, and the promise did not stop there. Hagar is told that she is with child, that she would bear a son, and call his name Ishmael. The promise is one that has not only been fulfilled but makes history practically everyday. It is seriously believed that Ishmael is the father of the Arabic people. This is mostly a people who are also followers of Mohammed who is the founder of the Muslim religion. They fulfill the discription in God’s “promise” to Hagar. “He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren”. In the naming of her son Ishmael she would always look at her son and remember the day she heard from the LORD.

Hagar then names the place where she has met God in person “You Are the God Who Sees” (Beer Lahai Roi). This is the same place (24:62) where Isaac, the promised son, would be waiting, years later for his bride; which the servant of Abraham had gone to find.

What did Hagar do upon meeting the LORD and hearing His voice? She honored Him with a great name. She returned to her mistress, and we must believe that she returned in a submissive manner. This experience for Hagar was a blessed experience. It is a privilege, an honor, a blessing, and grace that any one can meet God. All can meet God, however, by the person of Jesus Christ. This Angel of the LORD was He before He ever became man, and walked among us.

God shows His mercy every day. Some may wonder “How?”, and that is really simple to explain. If He indeed did create all things, and He did. If He does indeed still involve Himself in the affairs of this world, and He does. Then, surely He holds the power to stop your breathing, and the beating of your heart with only a word. That is His mercy displayed. His grace was displayed as His Son Jesus hanged between earth and heaven, and all of heaven’s wrath was poured onto the Son in our behalf. The life given by Himself, that we might live with Him eternally. Have you met God personally?

-by Tim A. Blankenship

LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS (4)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.

Revelation 19:10bWe have been Looking For Jesus in Genesis. This time we are going to see His appearance in two situations of two different people. The first is to Hagar. Some may ask, “You mean Hagar saw Jesus?” My answer will follow. The other one, of course, would be Abraham. That would not surprise us so much. Would it?

The appearance to Hagar takes place following the conception of Ishmael. Genesis 16. If you will remember the story Sarah became a little impatient waiting on God to fulfill His promise of a son to Abraham, so she offers her husband her servant as a wife to have a child. When Hagar conceives she really wants to “Rub it in” with Sarah. It almost seems that Sarah mistreats Hagar, maybe even to the point of beating her, and that drives her away. Hagar had basically become quite arrogant toward Sarah, and you can hardly blame Sarah for her behavior, yet you can see the weakness and danger of more than one wife.

When Hagar fled, she probably thought for her life, an “Angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water…” (v. 7). This is what has been termed a “Pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ”. It certainly seems to me to be Jesus before He ever became flesh and blood human. This person is certainly more than an angel of God. He speaks in verse ten saying, “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” (v. 10). No angel could say that. It must of necessity be Jesus Christ the Living Word.

Hagar is believed by many to be the mother of the Arabian people, the muslim people. If you will notice the words of Jesus to Hagar they are ones of comfort, encouragement, yet, rebuke as well. She has flaunted her pregnancy toward Sarah. She is told by the Lord to return to Sarah, “And submit thyself under her hands.” (Genesis 16:9). Hagar is given a promise for her child which would be born to her. In chapter 17 God promises Abraham that He will bless Ishmael in verse 20. “…Twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

Why would Jesus reveal Himself to Hagar. Because he cared for her and the nation which would come from her and Abraham’s union. Maybe in seeing this we can stop to hope that maybe there is some hope for the people of Hagar. Only as they turn to the Lord Jesus with all their hearts.

The second appearance of Jesus we see comes as Abraham is at his “Tent door in the heat of the day”. He sees three men approaching. Genesis 18. He runs to meet them. I get the impression that Abraham knew who they were before He jumped up and ran to them. He bowed down before them and verse 3 says, “…My Lord, if now I have found favor in Thy sight, pass not away, I pray Thee, from Thy servant.” Abraham offers the “Men” refreshment and food. It is quite clear that one of these “Men” is the Lord Himself. Remember how the Lord reveals Himself in the Old Testament? When He is seen in a physical form, it must be the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. How would Abraham recognize God in physical form. He knows Him personally. When you know the Lord you know His appearing and appearance. You know His voice.

It was at this time that the Lord renewed His promise to Abraham, and this time Sarah heard the promise made even to her. They were going to have a son in their old age (Abraham was at this time 99 years of age and Sarah was 89), and is it any wonder that Sarah laughed. Thinking, “How can this be?”, and yet, hearing the Lord speak to them with the promise. It came from the Lord Himself, in Person, and physical form. “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”(v.14). This was a word directly from the Lord, not from angels, not in a dream, but from the very mouth of the Lord Jesus.

“The men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.” (v. 16). The “men” headed toward Sodom on a mission of judgment. The Lord decides since Abraham is His friend, that He will reveal why the others are headed toward Sodom. In this passage of the chapter we see Abraham become an intercessor pleading for the cities of the plain. He ask the Lord to spare the city if there are only 10 righteous people in it. The Lord says He will. We know that there were not 10 righteous people in the cities, but God still dragged Abraham’s nephew Lot, Lot’s wife, and two daughters from the city before they were destroyed.

The compassion and faithfulness of the Lord is seen through out all of Scripture. We see the manifestation of Jesus in physical form even before He became flesh and dwelt among men. We see Him to be holy, righteous, All-knowing, All-powerful, All-present, and unchanging. He is the God of mercy, love and grace.