July 31, 2014 ©Homer Kizer
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Israel at War
The modern nation-state of Israel, formed in 1948 from world guilt over the Holocaust, stands alone as a postage stamp size bulwark of Western values in a sea of Islamic fundamentalism, in which Israel’s persecutors have somehow become victims of Zionism. Justification for both the Jewish nation-state’s existence and for Muslim opposition to the nation-state go back to Abram, who was told,
On that day [YHWH] made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites." (Gen 15:18–21)
The dispute between Arab and Israeli over who is the legitimate offspring of Abram [Abraham after aspiration was added to his name] is not as straight forward as either side advertises; for the Apostle Paul claimed that the Promise made to Abram was not for many offspring, but for one:
To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, "And to offsprings," referring to many, but referring to one, "And to your offspring," who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. (Gal 3:15–18)
By Paul’s reading of the Promise, Judaism is not the heir apparent of the Promise made to Abram that his seed—offspring that came from his loins—would be his inheritors; for to logically follow Paul’s argument, the Promise made to Abram wasn’t for a physical inheritance incorporating the Levant, an inheritance extending from the mouth of the Nile to the mouth of the Euphrates River as the Promise would seem to be, but was for the inheritance of righteousness based on belief of God, with this righteousness leading to life outside of this physical world, thereby producing ownership of the entirety of this world. Not ownership as in possessing a deed granted by a governing entity, but ownership as in being the governing entity that reigns over the mental landscape of all living creatures.
Backing up, the land of Egypt and the great river of Egypt represent Sin, the third beast [the leopard with four wings] of Daniel chapter seven as well as the third horseman of the Apocalypse. The land of the upper Euphrates and upper Tigris Rivers represents Death, the fourth beast of Daniel seven and the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse. Thus the Promise to Abram, according to Paul’s reading was for Abram’s offspring to inherit what had been the domains of Life [the Promised Land], Sin [Egypt], and Death [Assyria], thereby negating Sin through obedience and healing all who suffer from Death. But this makes for a contorted reading of the Promise that has, for Paul, Christ Jesus being both the promised seed of Abraham as well as the spiritual reality of Abraham.
A plain reading of the Promise would have Abram’s offspring being as the stars of heaven—
After these things the word of [YHWH] came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord [YHWH], what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of [YHWH] came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (Gen 15:1–5)
Thus, Paul’s reading of the Promise is problematic, not that it isn’t correct. It is, however, not a literal or a physical reading. It can only be an allegorical reading; for there are many more stars in the night sky than one star.
Part of what the Lord referenced when He took Abram outside to show him the sky was Egyptian ideology holding that pharaohs after death would become stars, living on as stars for as long as their bodies existed here on earth, the justification of mummification. Thus, in telling Abram that his seed would be as stars, the Lord told Abraham that his seed would be kings/pharaohs with immortality. So the reference could (and did) pertain to number, but the reference also pertained to the destiny of his seed … Paul actually jumped a logic step, and made Christ Jesus the reality of Abraham, not simply the offspring of Abraham: “And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal3:29). You, the disciple, now are in the position of Isaac, the point Paul reinforces when he writes,
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, "Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband." Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. But what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman." So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. (Gal 4:21–31 emphasis added)
In Paul’s reading of the Promise made to Abraham, the one offspring that is Christ Jesus is also the spiritual reality of Abraham … it is at this level where the Christological debates of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Centuries broke down; for God is for Paul as Abraham was for Paul. “God” is both God and the Son of God, which makes theological sense considering that Adam and Eve are one flesh. But for the person unable to enter the allegory because the person insists upon a literal reading of Scripture, Paul makes no sense. Israel isn’t of Hagar, but of Sarah. The inheritance isn’t through Abraham, but through Sarah who bore Isaac. The inheritance continues in the next generation not through Esau, whom Isaac loved, but through Jacob whom Rebekah loved. Thus, the inheritance of the Promise made to Abraham is matrilineal, first through birth by the mother then through the one his mother loved, with Christ Jesus being an “Eve” spirit, a live-giving spirit [pneuma] (1 Cor 15:45).
Selection is by the woman, the helpmate, which agrees with all judgment being given to the Son (John 5:22), who went from being in a side-by-side relationship with the God [ton Theon] as seen in the Tetragrammaton YHWH to being in a vertical relationship as represented by that of Father and eldest Son, which then frees the former Helpmate [Yah] now eldest Son to marry a Bride and bring into the divine relationship many sons of God. Hence Paul wrote,
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified. (Rom 8:28–30 emphasis added)
For Paul, there was one God, one Father, one Son, one spirit, but many sons who called God Father. From this mess Paul left Christianity, men of much lesser theological understanding crafted two ideologies that live to this day: Trinitarian Christianity and Arian Christianity. Neither ideology is of God. Actually, both deny glory to God. And both have in the past made war against the other, and both in the near future will again make war against the other. Today, however, they have common enemies: human secularism and Islamic fundamentalism.
Abraham would have a matrilineal physical heir [Isaac] and seven other sons, one by Hagar [Ishmael] and six by Keturah: “Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah” (Gen 25:2). So even at the physical level, how Paul reads the Promise is problematic, again, not that Paul’s reading is wrong. Paul’s reading requires the auditor to move from being physically minded to being spiritually minded, not something all that easy when Scripture would have Paul’s reading wrong for many physical reasons.
The conflict over the land of Palestine goes back to the children of Abraham by concubines, Hagar and Keturah. For according to the rights of the primogenitor—inheritance by the oldest son—Ishmael should have been the heir of Abram to whom the Promise went, not Isaac. Likewise, the Promise coming through Isaac should have gone to Esau, not to Jacob, who through deceitful means secured the birthrights of Esau.
The story of Esau and Jacob overlies the story of Ishmael and Isaac; for Esau was “hated” by the Lord from before birth, when Esau had done neither good nor bad to justify the Lord disrespecting Esau, a hairy man who apparently reminded the Lord of Adam when He drove this first unbeliever from the Garden. Esau’s hairiness is now somehow related to Ishmael being born of a concubine whom Abraham should never have entered … by Adam eating forbidden fruit, Adam entered into unbelief of the Lord in a manner suggestive of Abraham entering into Hagar, not for love of Hagar but to secure an heir as if God was not capable of performing what He promised. Abraham really didn’t believe God even though he had his belief counted to him as righteousness; Abraham apparently thought that he had to help God out—he could have gotten an heir from Hagar or from whomever was Hagar’s predecessor at any time prior to the giving of the Promise.
Now, with this as background to the Israeli/Islamic/Christian conflict that threatens world stability, it is time to address the story of Ishmael’s disinheritance that is neither logically presented in Genesis, nor truthfully presented. Compare the following three long citations,
Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, "Behold now, [YHWH] has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her." And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, "May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May [YHWH] judge between you and me!" But Abram said to Sarai, "Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please." Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. The angel of [YHWH] found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai." The angel of [YHWH] said to her, "Return to your mistress and submit to her." The angel of [YHWH] also said to her, "I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude." And the angel of [YHWH] said to her, "Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because [YHWH] has listened to your affliction. He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen." So she called the name of [YHWH] who spoke to her, "You are a God of seeing," for she said, "Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me." [Hagar saw the Lord.] Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered. And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram. (Gen 16:1—16 emphasis added)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old [YHWH] appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly." Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God." And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant." And God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her." Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, "Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before you!" God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year." (Gen 17:1–21 emphasis and double emphasis added)
[YHWH] visited Sarah as He had said, and [YHWH] did to Sarah as He had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me." And she said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age." And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac." And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, "Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring." So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. [How old is Ishmael? At least fourteen, but probably nineteen. He is not a small child, but a man.] Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, "Let me not look on the death of the child." And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation." [Who is the mother able to lift up and hold her nineteen year old son as if he were an infant?] Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. [It isn’t believable that as a teenager or as a young man, Ishmael wasn’t able to get water for his mother.] And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. (Gen 21:1–20 emphasis and double emphasis added)
Someone has seriously tampered with Scripture, misplacing at least verses 14 through 20 of chapter 21, moving the story of Hagar and her infant child from where it would logically fit at or near the end of chapter 16 to nearly 20 years later; for a child was not weaned until he or she was about five years old, not one or two years old. But even assuming that Isaac had been weaned at two, Ishmael would still have been 16, far too old to stay where his mother placed him to die. He was a capable, circumcised young man, trained by his father in the ways of men.
Understanding that the story of Hagar cannot be true as it is recorded in Scripture—it physically cannot be so—and that Ishmael was the primogenitor, that because of Sarah Ishmael was not allowed to inherit from Abraham but received his inheritance directly from God, the basis for Muslim—primarily descendants of Hagar and Keturah—resentment against Israel, the principle descendant of Jacob who “robbed” Esau (many of whose descendants are also Muslim) of his inheritance.
Who would tamper with the story of Ishmael and Hagar his mother? Did Hagar, once before Ishmael was born and once shortly after Ishmael was born flee from Sarah, her mistress? This would seem to be the case. But by what the Lord told Solomon about appearing to him twice having significance, the Lord appearing to Hagar twice would also have significance, establishing the matter about which both appearances relate.
For certain the story of Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis chapter 21 is not factual: did the Lord make a nation from Ishmael because he was Abraham’s son? Yes, but not a physical nation—a spiritual nation, Islam. For the inheritance that came through Isaac and Jacob doesn’t reside today with rabbinical Judaism, but with Christendom, the nation of Israel that is to be circumcised of heart.
Using Paul’s reasoning and argument, the Lord doesn’t tell Abraham when he was told to send Ishmael away that the Lord would make from Ishmael many nations, but would make from Ishmael one nation [a nation], not the nation through which Abraham’s heirs would come [Christians, according to Paul], but a nation like the nation through which Abraham’s heirs would come, a spiritual nation, whose existence will come to represent why a person should believe God and then wait until God fulfills what He said He would do.
There are many Christian pastors and pundits in America who support the nation-state of Israel with their dollars and their prayers that go unanswered: they are merely doing what Abraham did when he went into Hagar to secure for himself an heir. They are attempting to secure for themselves a place in heaven, and inheritance of eternal life doesn’t work this way.
There is much that needs to be said about Islam and the mass conversion of Islam to endtime Arian Christianity following the Second Passover liberation of Israel, including addressing the question of whether Gabriel really appeared to Mohammad. But first, more needs to be said about the shortcomings of greater Christendom. So the subject of the military conflict in the Middle East will have to wait, other than condemning the neophyte barbarism of beheading opponents: what does beheading one’s enemy prove, that you know how to sharpen your knife? You who would behead your enemy are as the Iroquois were who killed, roasted and ate their Illinois enemies, leaving their heads on stakes. You are unclean, defiled by your hands. Cut them off. They are offensive. You do not want to appear before God as you are; for presently, the second death [the lake of fire] awaits your arrival. And the second death will not have to wait long.
"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
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