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There Is No Partiality With God (Part Three)

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)
Texts:  Malachi 1:1-3; Roman 9:8-13  

Introduction  

In Part Two, I introduced this title and defined partiality. God is not partial; His sovereignty, as I had argued in the previous Journals, is not partiality.  In this Journal, I will begin with  some Scriptural proof of God’s impartiality.

Scriptural Proof of God’s Impartiality

Now, let’s examine Scriptures that prove God’s impartiality. Paul’s letter to the Church of Rome tells us that, “For God does not show favoritism” (literally, partiality). (Rom 2:11) In his letter to the Church of Colossae, Paul declares, “For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done and there is no partiality [with God]” (Col 3:25). To the church of Ephesus, Paul assures the slave owner, “Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality [Gk. prosopolempsia] with him” (Eph 6:9). In Romans 10:12 Paul notes, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” The Apostle Paul says, “And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me” (Gal 2:6). The Prophet Jeremiah said, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh— [this include the house of Jacob]” (Jer 9:25). The Apostle testifies about the impartiality of Christ, thus, “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's  deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile” (1 Pe 1:17). Because of who God is, there is no flaw in His sovereignty.

God’s Sovereignty

One of the biblical truths that is confusing to some is God has a choice to do what He wills. The texts Malachi 1: 1-3 and Rom 9: 8-13 have dual meanings. As I had mentioned, these texts reaffirmed God’s election in Genesis 25: 22-23 and the word “hate” focused on Esau’s sin of rejecting God’s sovereignty and election in His redemptive plan for man. In his Commentary, Micah-Malachi (Vol. 32), Dr. R. L. Smith observes, “This   certainly is election language. ‘Loved’ means chosen and ‘hated’ means not chosen. But also there is probably an overtone of bitterness here directed at Edom. Edom’s origin is traced to Esau who was the older twin brother of Jacob.[1]’”Many scholars point at the covenant language in these texts, but fail to recognize the dual meanings: Esau’s sin of rejecting God’s sovereignty, which led to his constant fight and hatred against Jacob emphasized by the word “hate” is not mentioned by most commentators.  

To continued 


[1] R. L. Smith.  Micah-Malachi (Vol.  32)




There Is No Partiality With God (Part Two)

Posted on July 7, 2014 at 1:41 PM Comments comments (0)
Texts:  Malachi 1:1-3; Roman 9:8-13

Introduction

In Part One, I discussed in the introduction that God is not partial.  However, in God’s election, Esau was not selected.  The word “hate” was used in Malachi’s prophecy (Mal 1: 1-3) at this time in direct reference to Esau’s rejection of God's sovereignty and had persistently fought against Jacob in revenge. God’s election for His redemptive purpose is not partiality.

God does what He pleases. In addressing God’s election  in Roman 9: 8-13,  Paul compares the election of the Gentiles to faith in Christ to that of the election of Jacob instead of Esau before they were born (Gen 25:22-23).  Paul argues that no one can question God; He does what He wills. This special act of God is called sovereignty.

The  objective of this Journal is to prove that God is impartial in dealing with His people. It points to the true meaning of the texts, and is also supported by appropriate Scripture references.  God does not think the way we think, for His ways and thoughts are above our understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9).  He is not confined to our culture. God by-passed the birthright, which is honored in many cultures, including the Jewish people, for His redemptive plan.

There are two major points to be considered under this topic. Part I defines partiality, sovereignty, and presents Scriptures to prove the impartiality of God.  Part II focuses on the fact that the Gentiles’ selection was part of God’s redemptive plan. Let’s begin with the definition of partiality.  

I.   God is Not Partial 

Partiality Defined

First, God is not partial.  The Greek orator, Demosthenes believes that true knowledge starts with a definition. The question that comes to mind is, what is partiality?  The Greek word for partiality is prosopolempsia. It is an inclination to favor one group or person over the other, or views or opinions over alternatives. Usually this refers to respect of one person over the other. There are several Hebrew words that translate partiality: e.g., Masso, Nasa, etc. The Answer.com online dictionary defines it as: “The state of being partial; favorable prejudice or bias; and a special fondness; a predilection.”

To be continued.




There Is No Partiality With God (Part I)

Posted on June 12, 2014 at 3:09 PM Comments comments (196)
Texts: Malachi 1: 1-3; Roman 9: 8-13

Introduction

One of the major debates about God is whether He is partial.  In my introduction of the topic (“Is there any partiality in God? What does He mean by “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated,”), the first issue I want to address is, there is no partiality with God.  What is cleared in the texts is God’s election and sovereignty. The term election use here is not in the Calvinistic position because God calls both Edom and Judah to repentance.  Calvinism believes that God predestined some to salvation and others to eternal separation from God.

In Roman 9: 8-13, Paul compares the election of the Gentiles to faith in Christ to that of the election of Jacob instead of Esau while they were not born. Paul argues that no one can question God, He does what pleases Him. This special act of God is called sovereignty.

The issue here is in Malachi 1: 1-3 when the prophet reaffirmed Jacob’s election and Esau rejection initiated in Genesis 25: 22-23 with a strong emphasis: “Esau I hated.” What many commentators have not seen in this covenant language is the parallelism embedded in this text. “Parallelism generally refers to the repetition of content by using the same or a similar construction, but using different words that have similar or related meanings.” 

In God’s election, Esau was not selected, but the word “hate” was used at this time in direct reference to Esau’s rejection of God's sovereignty and had persistently fought against Jacob in revenge. God’s election for His redemptive purpose is not partiality.

The objectives of this teaching are to

  • prove scripturally that God is not partial;
  • know the definition of election and sovereignty;      
  • understand Paul’s position regarding election and sovereignty;     
  • prove that the word “hate” used in Malachi has a double meaning in God’s covenant language;  
  • know that God’s election is based on divine grace, not human merit.


To be continued.


Bratcher, R. G., &  Nida, E. A.  A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 191.





Is There Any Partiality With God? What Does God Mean By “Jacob I Loved and Esau I Hated?”(Part Three)

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 6:32 PM Comments comments (0)
Texts: Malachi 1:1-3; Romans 9:10-13

 I'll conclude the introduction of this controversial topic in this section.  Part III focuses on the objectives and the summary of each major topic. 

The objectives of this study are to 

  • understand and believe the true meaning of “hate” used against Esau;        
  • prove the geographical locations of the descendants of Jacob and Esau today;
  • understand the continual rivalry between  the descendants of Esau and Jacob to this day;
  • know the connection between Esau and  the peoples of Spain, Italy, Rome, and the Germans of Central Europe;
  • trace the descendants of Haman, in the book of Esther, who wanted to massacre the Jews, and a connection to Adolf Hitler, who massacred the six million Jews;
  • prove that America, Northwestern Europe, Scandinavia, France, the British Isles, Ireland, and Denmark are descendants of Jacob;
  • affirm that America's conquering of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and the delivering of Texas from Mexico has biblical and prophetical significance;
  • prove the eschatological (end-time) facts concerning Jacob and Esau.

Here is the summary of the major topics proposed for this study:

1:  No Partiality with God.  This sub-topic proves that God is impartial. It points to the true meaning of the texts and is supported by appropriate Scripture references to substantiate my claim.  God is sovereign; that is, He does what He pleases. He is not confined to our culture. On many occasions, God by-passed the birthright honor among His people in election for His redemptive plan.

 II:  God Hates Sin and Not Sinner. In this study, I’ll focus on the objection of those who think that God hated Esau as a person. I argue extensively that God also loved Esau but hated his sin of rejecting God’s election and sovereignty. However, God’s election does not necessarily imply a curse upon the person rejected. God elected Isaac in His redemptive plan and rejected Ishmael, the first born of Abraham from Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid. God said to Abraham that Ishmael would be a great nation (Gen 17: 20). This implies blessings. We can deduce from this to conclude that the election of Jacob instead of Esau does not mean Esau was cursed on the face of this earth. The Bible reveals God’s blessings on Jacob and Esau (Gen 25: 23; 33: 9; 36: 1ff), and He also punished them for the sins they committed. The key blessing of Jacob was his election initiated in Genesis 25: 22-23. The Prophet Malachi, in his covenant language, reaffirmed the rejection of Esau and the selection of Jacob.

 III:  The Geographical Locations of Jacob and Esau Today. This topic traces the location of Jacob and Esau. A careful study of the rivalry between them to this day.  The eschatological (end-time) facts about this family will be discussed. There are great insights in this major controversial topic: What does God mean by “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated?” My desire is to prove that God’s election is not partiality. Other scholars believe that the texts indicate God’s hatred for Esau as a person.  Consider this question again before casting your vote in this debate: “If God hates sinners, then why did Christ lay down his life for sinners on the Cross of Cavalry?”

To be continued.



Is There Any Partiality With God? What Does God Mean By “Jacob I Loved and Esau I Hated?” (Part Two)

Posted on May 22, 2014 at 9:47 AM Comments comments (115)
Texts Malachi 1: 1-3; Romans  9: 13


Introduction   


In Part I of the introduction, I began with the introduction of Malachi 1: 1-3, Romans 9: 13, two among the many difficult texts in the Bible. These texts raise a question about God’s partiality.  Part II is the continuation of the introduction.

Malachi 1: 1-3 and Romans 9: 13 give birth to the ongoing debate within Protestantism regarding salvation among Calvinism, Lutherianism, and Armenianism.  It is not my intention to address all the theological positions regarding salvation of these denominations.  My focus is on “election”.  In fact, at the time of Malachi’s prophecy, around 430 BC, there was nothing like the “isms” above.  All these theological debates developed during the Reformation with the posting of Luther’s 95 theses, which were mainly intended for academic disputation on October 31, 1517 AD.[1] In the election debate, Calvinism believes in an unconditional election to salvation with those outside the elect foreordained to damnation (double-predestination). Lutheranism holds to unconditional predestination to salvation for the elect.  On the other aisle of the salvation controversy is Armeniansim, which teaches that election is conditional in view of foreseen faith or unbelief.[2]

This debate is huge in Protestantism and each group had produced volumes to prove its position. This makes the understanding of salvation too complicated. This major theological debate within Christianity has no winner to this day. I believe the ongoing controversy was not the original intent of the minor Prophet Malachi. My desire in this Journal is not to discuss every position, but rather, to prove that the strong word hate used in this context reaffirmed God’s election of Jacob, the rejection of Esau mentioned in Genesis 25: 22-23, and purposely rejected Esau’s sin for God’s election and sovereignty. Because of the importance of this controversy, I will address this topic from biblical, historical, and prophetical perspectives. The key issue that I want to address is, “Does the word, ‘hate’ used in the case of Esau imply God’s hatred of Esau as a person or is He referring to Esau’s sinful behavior against His sovereignty?” 

I believe, after a careful examination of the texts, God also loved Esau but hated his sin of rejecting God’s sovereignty for the election of his brother Jacob. This Journal series will prove why. The texts, that we are studying, refer directly to God’s election of Israel, and the Gentiles respectively. And there is no partiality in God’s election. God does what He pleases (sovereignty). The Apostle Paul argued that man is in the hand of God just as the clay is in the Potter’s hand.  The will of God in everything is perfect. Therefore, God’s choice in by-passing the birthright, in the case of Esau and many others, as we will study in this Journal series, is impartial. What many commentators have not seen in this covenant language is the parallelism embedded in this text. “Parallelism generally refers to the repetition of content by using the same or a similar construction, but using different words that have similar or related meanings.”

The truth that is found in Scripture is that Jacob and Esau were blessed. Esau’s descendants were the Edomites, a kingdom that was very powerful then. Jacob was also blessed, his descendants became Israel and the family line of the Messiah. They committed sins and God punished them impartially.  The question that we need to ask ourselves as we study this topic is, If God hates sinners then why did He lay down His life for sinners? 

To be continued. 



[1]E. Fahlbusch &  G.W. Bromiley.  In The encyclopedia of Christianity (Grand Rapids, Mich.;  Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans;  Brill.,2005).




Is There Any Partiality With God? What Does God Mean By "Jacob I Loved and Esau I Hated?" (Part One)

Posted on May 2, 2014 at 8:56 AM Comments comments (0)

Texts:  Mal 1:1-3; Rom 9: 10-13

Introduction

Researching and praying to understand difficult texts in the Bible has helped to increase my faith and walk with God. I got saved in 1962, and I began to read through the Bible yearly from 1980.  There were many texts I could not understand. Following are just a few:

  • Where did Cain get his wife?
  • What was the mark God placed on Cain for his safety?
  • Why must the God of love order the massacring of certain people along with innocent children?
  • Why must God allow the Israelites into slavery for 400-plus years into Egypt, and in exile, several times?
  • Is it realistic that God became a man?

This Journal is intended to clarify the misunderstanding of the above texts because, though we have faith in Christ, understanding difficult texts of God’s Word will help to increase our faith and walk with Jesus Christ daily.  I’ll begin with two of the difficult texts. My faith in Christ became stronger as I studied and got the answers to my questions through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Following the conviction of Saint Anselm of Canterbury who (also influenced Saint Augustine of Hippo) said, “I do not understand in order that I might believe, but I believe in order that I might understand.”[1] I also accepted Jesus Christ by faith with the heart to understand. This position is opposed by Peter Abelard, a scholastic philosopher and theologian, who believes that “… doubt leads to inquiry, which leads to truth. [Therefore,] nothing is believed unless it is first understood.”[2] (“I understand in order to believe”.―Peter Abelard.) However, Hebrews 11:1 nails it: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain for what we do not see.”

The texts (Malachi 1: 1-3; Romans 9:13) raise a question about God’s partiality.  I believe that these texts are one of the difficult texts in the Bible.  If God loves Jacob and hates Esau, this suggests partiality in our human understanding. I understand that this is one of the controversial issues in the Scripture―one of the battle grounds for theologians and commentators. Theological terms like election and sovereignty are found in part of the texts. 

Another major debate engulfed in these texts is whether God hates Esau as a person, or, was God reaffirming His election of Jacob initiated in Genesis 25: 22-23? I believe that the covenant language used by Malachi was embedded with a parallelism in reaffirming (1) Esau’s rejection in God’s redemptive plan and (2) the related word hate refers particularly to Esau’s sin.  Esau did not only sin in his constant fight against his brother Jacob, but he directly sinned against God for His election and sovereignty. For Esau, God was wrong in by-passing the birthright in selecting his younger brother! Hence, he continued to revenge in every way to destroy Jacob and his descendants.

To be continued


[1] D. S. Hogg & Peter Abelard. The dictionary of historical theology. T. A. Hart, Ed. (Carlisle, Cumbria, U.K.: Paternoster Press., 2000) 1079-1142.
[2] D. S. Hogg & Peter Abelard 1079-1142.



The Calvary Dilemma (Part Two)

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 12:00 PM Comments comments (1)
Texts Isaiah 52: 7-10; 53: 1-12

Introduction

God the Son laying down His life on the Cross of Calvary is a dilemma for the unbelievers.  Even some so-called Christians question this too. The Prophet Isaiah declares, “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Calvary predictions are so amazing that few will believe him (Is 53: 1-2). 

In the background study of Easter  sent out last week, I argued that there would be no Easter if there had not been a fall in the Garden of Eden, and since the perfectness of God’s creation was tainted by the fall, therefore creation takes on a redemptive trend.  Isaiah 52:7-10; 53: 1ff. contains the prophet’s message describing the suffering of Christ with a graphic details of the crucifixion of the Messiah nearly 800 years before it actually occurred. The Prophet presented pivotal points about the Messiah’s death: (1) His suffering, (2) His obedience to God’s will, and (3) the result of His obedience.

First, Isaiah predicted the suffering of the Messiah for the sins of man.  Isaiah 52: 14 states that the Messiah would be beaten, bloody, and disfigured.

  • He was despised and rejected by  Israel’s leaders (53:3).
  • The Messiah would be brutalized on earth (53” 5-6, 8-9).
  • Christ would have had unfair trials ( 53:8).
  • He was to be wounded, beaten, and bruised for our sins (53: 5-6).
  • He would be buried with the wicked (53:9).

Second, Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be obedient to God’s will in His suffering. “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Is 53:7).  The Apostle John attested to this when he saw Jesus walking toward him, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29)

Third, Isaiah also predicted the result of Christ’s obedience.  In verses 10b-12, the Prophet said that the Messiah’s death would assure spiritual life for many, and that the Christ would be resurrected to enjoy the fruits of His sacrifice.  Verse 12 reads, “Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.  For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

I am aware of the scholarly debates on these texts.  Some scholars think that the suffering servant is Israel and her future exaltation.  Other had argued that the texts were in direct reference to the Prophet Isaiah own suffering and redemption. But in a careful study of the texts, the most important truth is that the servant would have trouble with his ministry in Israel (Is 49:4).  He would be abhorred and despised (Is 49:7); he would be beaten and mocked (Is 50: 6-7). And that in the midst of his suffering, this particular servant will not be discouraged or give up (Is 42:4).  He would bring forth justice and salvation to Israel and other nations by being a light and a covenant to them. The servant would establish justice for all the nations but suffer opposition and physical abuse before his eventual vindication and exaltation. This servant, I believe, is Jesus Christ.  

Conclusion

Reflecting on this mystery of God becoming man, experienced pain to redeem His creation, Isaiah a wonderful question, “Who has believe [this report?”] (53:1-2). Do you believe in the finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary?  Isaiah was right by saying that few people will accept this message. It does not make since to the natural man that God became man, suffered, and laid down His life for sinners. – This is a dilemma to the ungodly and Good News to the Christians.   


Happy Resurrection/Easter!

The Background for Easter/Resurrection (Part One)

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 3:02 PM Comments comments (189)

Text: Genesis 3:15

As we prepare for the Easter/Resurrection celebration this month, I would like to share with you the background of this unique occasion.  What are your thoughts about Easter? What is the importance of Christ's death on the Cross of Calvary for you and me?  Easter is a true story of redemption. The question that one may ask is, “Redeeming whom?”  The death of Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise of redemption for His creation – including man from the power of sin.

This Journal intends to summarize the background of the Resurrection/Easter thus:  (1) God’s Creation of all things, (2) the fall of man, and (3) God’s promised of redemption for His creation. 

First, God’s creation was good.  The Bible tells us a beautiful true account of creation in Genesis.  Genesis Chapters 1-2 say God created all things – 1: 1 states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Among God’s wonderful creation were: light, day, night, heaven, earth, etc. and most importantly man was created in God’s image (1:27).  God blessed Adam to be fruitful and multiply and to have dominion over His creation (1:28). And God pronounced that all He had created was good (1: 31).

In Chapter 2, God prepared a beautiful home for Adam called, the Garden of Eden, and provided all that he needed for his sustenance (Gn 2: 8ff).  However, he was not allowed to eat the fruit of one tree: “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gn 2:17).

In Genesis 2, God also said that it was not good for a man be alone, he needed a helper (2:18).  He put Adam in a deep sleep, and took one of his ribs and made his wife, Eve.  Adam said with excitement, “This is now bone my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man” (Gn 2: 23). Adam, Eve, and all of God’s creation live happily before God until man disobeyed Him.

Second, the fall of man. There was a dramatic shift in Chapter 3 when Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit. This disaster began with the serpent’s deception of Eve: “You will not surely die.  For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gn 3:4). The antecedent of the fall caused them to cover themselves with leaves and went into hiding when God came to visit with them in the Garden of Eden.  God asked them whether they had eaten the forbidden fruit. In response, Adam blamed it on his wife, and Eve also blamed it on the serpent (Gn 3:8-13).

Third, God cursed the disobedience of the people and the serpent.  God’s punishment is embedded in His victory.  For the purpose of this topic, I will focus on the curse on the serpent and the woman. Genesis 3:15 reads, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” This is the first Gospel in Genesis.  The very woman who was deceived would bring forth the deliverer! Consequently, God drove them from the Garden  and placed a flaming sword, at the east of the garden, which turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life (Gn 3: 24). As I had mentioned, in the curse between the woman and serpent, a promise of redemption was embedded through the Seed of the woman. This Seed is Jesus Christ. From this background, I shall, in my next Journal, focus on the prophecies concerning Christ’s death. There would be no Easter/Resurrection if there has not been a fall in the Garden of Eden.

Happy Resurrection/Easter!

To be continued.







The First Great Commission in Genesis (Part Three)

Posted on September 22, 2013 at 7:41 PM Comments comments (0)
Text: Genesis 12: 1-3, “The Lord  had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you.’”

In Part Two of The First Great Commission in Genesis, I discussed that Abraham’s call to greatness in the sight of God was not done overnight.   He went through developmental stages in his walk with God.  The final major point on this topic is controversial. Biblical scholars have disagreed on the transition of Genesis 12: 3a.  This Journal will present the various views, and conclude with my thoughts about this debate.  We have already studied the first point in Part One: the Messianic seed-bearers (as promised in Genesis 3:15), and Part Two: Abram grew in his blessing.  The third and final major point to be discussed is the blessing of the world through Abraham.

3.   The blessing of the World through Abraham

There is a scholarly debate regarding the translation difficulties in Genesis 12:3a.  The Hebrew text could be interpreted in either of two ways:[1]

“First, God could be promising that Abraham will be a blessing to the nations by going out and testifying to them.  His message was about the true God, who has revealed Himself to him.  In this case, Abraham’s leaving and blessing the nations with the true knowledge of God would be for missionary and evangelistic purposes.

“Second, the alternative interpretation takes Genesis 12: 3a in a reflexive manner; it means that the people would bless themselves by believing and imitating Abraham’s faith and example.  If this reflexive view is the right translation as Vos and others believe, then the passage speaks of the effect in the lives of the people who are impacted by Abraham’s life and faith.  I hold to the former interpretation―that God sent Abraham to bless the nations by making His name known to the whole world.

“Another bigger picture of the debate in Genesis 12: 3 among evangelicals and other Christians, is whether or not the Jews in the Old Testament were universally called to be missionaries.  My position is God elected the Jews to be His witnessing people in an informal sense.  In this way, the whole world might come to know the true God.  One cannot conclude (though I know some do) that every Jew in the Old Testament was called to be a missionary in a formal sense.  Many of the Jews, however, were called to be missionaries in the formal sense of being called to bring God’s Word to the nations, e.g. Jonah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Amos. A corollary of this position is that it is unbiblical to claim that every Christian is called to be a missionary in the formal sense of the world.  However, every Christian, by virtue of his faith in Christ, is expected to be a faithful steward of the Gospel.  He is to bear witness to Jesus Christ everywhere.”

Scholarly debate, within the body of Christ, is not new.  It helps us to understand that only the Holy Spirit can help us to know God and understand His Word. 



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[1] R. Zarwulugbo Liberty. Growing Missionaries Biblically: A Fresh Look at Missions in an African Context (Bloomington, IN.: iUniverse, Inc., 2012) 64-65.



The First Great Commission in Genesis (Part Two)

Posted on July 26, 2013 at 11:08 PM Comments comments (0)
Text: Genesis 12: 1-3, “The Lord  had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing, I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you.’”             
 

In Part One of the The First Great Commission in Genesis, I discussed that the Great Commission began with the call of Abraham.  He was commissioned to make God’s name known to all men. In that Journal I proved the Messianic lineage of the seed-bearers (as was promised in Genesis 3:15).  It commenced with God’s choice in selecting Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, and the genealogy that began with Abraham to Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:1-17. Three major points were advanced: (1) the Messianic seed-bearers, (2) Abraham grew in his blessing, and (3) the blessing of the world through Abraham.  I talked about point one in Part One. Details of this discussion are in my book Growing Missionaries Biblically, click here.  You can get it on Amazon  with a good discount. This week’s Journal will focus on the second point.
 
2.  Abraham grew in his blessing

At the heart of God’s mission is His desire to be known throughout His creation. Abraham was commissioned with this Good News!  To do justice to the above text, let’s examine the five “I will make you” phrases. Two of them, “I will make you a great nation and I will make your name great” are linked to the future aspect at the time of the promise. 
 
The Hebrew word translated as “great” is gadól. It denotes something very big, or that which expands. Also, the verb, ‘sh (to make) has the idea of doing, preparing, manufacturing, putting into effect, etc. The concept of making or re-creating is embedded in this text. The second Hebrew word translated “great” has the same root as gadol but with a slightly different meaning. Note the promise, “I will make your name great.” The Hebrew word for great here is agaddela(h). It is a verb, piel, active, cohortative, common, and is first- person singular. It means growing up as in developmental stages.  This promise was achieved through a growing process.  Abraham grew in his great name and in his walk with God. His call to be a blessing, i.e. to evangelize the world, includes “leaving” his old country behind. This also signifies his spiritual rebirth into a new re-creative era. The new creation typically began with Abraham and shall end with Jesus Christ. The same God, who created this present universe, has begun His work of re-creation; it shall be finalized in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ with a new heaven and a new earth.

Some think that the call of God equals maturity in the faith and ministry.  This is not true. Therefore, we are training men and women in seminaries and are mentoring some by experienced pastors or laymen who are men of God. Abraham, father of the faith, grew in his greatness; he experienced obstacles in his journey just as we do in ours.  In spite of his dark days in his calling, he was faithful.  What God requires is faithfulness to your calling. 

To be continued.
 
 
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