HOW EASY it is to rationalize bad behavior by claiming it’s for a good cause! And how often have we seen sin in the Church covered up because it would supposedly hamper its ability to do good works in God’s name. This week, we see a classic example as Rebekah conspires with Jacob to deceive Isaac and confirm the blessing that God had promised to Jacob before his birth.
We also look at Esau, who only seemed to value his birthright when he realized it was attached to great wealth; Laban’s deception of the deceiver, Jacob; the pain and loneliness of Leah; and Jacob’s life-changing experience at Bethel.
“Jacob’s Ladder”, his dream of angels ascending and descending to and from heaven, has inspired many unbiblical pursuits. For example, many Dominionist teachers in the New Apostolic Reformation, a hypercharismatic form of Protestant Christianity, teach that we are to open portals through specific prayers and spiritual disciplines. While there may be specific portals to other dimensions, nowhere in scripture are we told that we should access or open them. In fact, God’s commands against consulting mediums or necromancers seem to be a pretty clear warning not to do so!
Let us be clear: Jesus made it clear that he is the only portal to heaven through which the faithful should pass, especially in John 1:51.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (ESV)
We also discuss the stone Jacob set up at Bethel, which is (allegedly) the Stone of Scone, or the Stone of Destiny, a granite block on which the kings and queens of Scotland and England have been crowned since the early 5th century.
THE PROMISE of God to Abraham was fulfilled through Isaac and Jacob. That is made clear in the chapters we studied this week, Genesis 23 through 26.
This week, we look at the death of Sarah, the faithfulness of the servant of Abraham (possibly Eliezer of Damascus) who traveled more than 500 miles on camelback to Aram-Naharaim to find a wife for Isaac. We examine the place and the people where Abraham purchased land for a burial tomb, Esau’s disposition of his birthright, and another example of the anxieties those chosen by God to bring forth His plans as Isaac repeats the lie of his father, calling his wife his “sister” while living in the land of Abimelech, the king of Gerar.
Click to enlarge – map by Logos Bible Software
The map at left shows the routes traveled by Abraham (we subscribe to the Northern Route theory, marked in red), his servant, and Jacob as they traveled to and from Abraham’s ancestral homeland in what is today southeastern Turkey.
WE’VE GOT the fire, we’ve got the wood, and we’ve got the Lamb!
This week, we continue in the book of Genesis with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the departure of Hagar and Ishmael, Abraham’s sojourn in the land of the Philistines, and the test of Abraham on Mount Moriah.
We also dig a little deeper into the nature of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Was it simply inhospitality, as some suggest? We think not. The epistle of Jude is clear; Sodom and Gomorrah, like the angels of Genesis 6, were punished for sexual sin–possibly something more than homosexuality, which has existed in all cultures and for thousands of years. Is it possible that the men of Sodom knew that Lot’s guests were angels, and that they hoped, through forbidden practices, to somehow obtain divine favors?