Monday, April 27, 2015

Genesis 14:16-24 Melchizedek, King of Salem

And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.

Here we have the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar coming northward to meet up with Abram's victorious entourage. As a reminder, the map below shows the approximate locations of these cities, located south of the Dead Sea, in the valley of Siddium.

They traveled to the Valley of Shaveh, just outside of Jerusalem, to meet with them.

As a side note, Absalam erected a monument, in this valley, during his reign. The historian, Josephus, wrote that it was still there at the time of Y'shua. If this is correct, then the Valley of Shaveh is the Kidron Valley, just the east of modern day Jerusalem. Otherwise, it could be the valley, just to the south of Jersusalem, as seen in the following map.

Abraham & Melchizedek met outside of ancient Jerusalem. This map of ancient Jerusalem depicts a possible meeting place.

I find it very intriguing that the meeting could have been in modern day Kidron Valley, which is directly between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, where Y'shua ascended into heaven.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

After the return of Abram, the first king, to meet him, is Melchizedek king of Salem. We already have established that the Spirit of God has gone to great lengths to develop a word picture or model of salvation, within his Word, in order that we can stand back and see his Plan of Salvation, from Beginning to End. This is no different.

Here, out of the blue, we have this king Melchizedek arrive on the scene. If you look at the scriptures, this guy has no beginning or history. He appears here. David writes, concerning the Messiah,  in Psalms 110:4 and is not heard of, again, until Paul writes about him in the book of Hebrews, where he makes the following astonishing claim.

Let's take a quick look at his name. Melchizedek means King of Righteousness. In the this verse, he is King of Salem, which means Peace. He is also the priest of the El Elyon, the most high God. Could he an appearance of the real King of Righteousness, the King of Peace and Priest of the Most High God?

Well, it is known, in the Middle East, that a person of a greater statute gives blessings, while a person of a lessor statute gives tithes. In this verse, we see the King of Righteousness, the King of Peace, the Priest of the Most High God, give blessings to Abram, while Abram gives tithes back to Melchizedek. During this transaction, the lesser would bow or kneel to the greater.

What in the world is going on here? How can Abram, our Patriarch, be involved in having a gentile king give Most High Godly blessings to a Jewish Patriarch, while the same Jewish Patriarch give tithes back to the gentile king, with Abram on his knees. This is unheard of and is very shocking to a Jew. In the Jewish mind, there has to be something else going on here, and in fact, there is.

First of all, Abram would not have submitted himself to any gentile king. He allowed this to occur because he recognized Melchizedek as who he actually was or represented, the Word of God. I believe that this is one of two incidences that Y'shua referred to when he said, "Abraham saw my day and rejoiced in it."  Abram saw the Most High God, that day, when he look into the eyes of Melchizedek, in the same way that the apostles saw God in the eyes of the Messiah, or Moses saw God in the flaming bush.

David wrote, in his Psalm, that the Messiah, would be the same representation, of God, that Melchizedek was that day, in front of Abram. Paul put it all together when he wrote of Melchizedek, in the book of Hebrews. Was Mechizedek an Old Testament appearance of Y'shua? In the flesh, no, but in the Spirit, yes, because God's Spirit is the power behind his son, the Messiah, all the prophets, etc. Paul reveals to us that Melchizedek had no beginning or end, just like Y'shua, that Melchizedek and Abram had bread and wine, pointing to communion or the Lord Supper and Melchizedek was a priest of the most high God, modeling that a future Y'shua would fulfilled the Levitical priest-hood and established a renewed and everlasting covenant.

Finally, I love the last thing Melchizedek says, "And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand." This is a promise that you and I can take to the bank and deposit it for future assurances. Regardless of what happens in our lives, God will ultimately deliver our enemies into our hands.

Now, where Melchizedek, blessed the Most High God for the victory, in the following verse, we have the King of Sodom, try to pay homage to Abram. Notice Abram's response. He is basically saying, "Talk to the hand." :-)

And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

Abram makes a proclamation that as for Abram, and his descendants, it is by God that we are made rich, not by this world. Amen!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Genesis 14:13-16 You Just Don't Mess With The Big Dog On The Block!

And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.

First of all, Abram means Glorious Father and even though he has not been renamed by God as Abraham, which means Father of Many, Abram was indeed, at the present time, the Father or leader of a very large family.

He was widely known as a Hebrew, which means, One from Beyond. He dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which means, Place of Fatness, Abundance or, most importantly, Strength.

Surviving the previous battle, came an Amorite to Abram. Amorites were the people of east Canaan and beyond the Jordan. He was a brother of Eshcol, a leader of the people around Hebron, and  brother of Aner, the chief of the Amorites. Both the Amorites and the people around Hebron were in allegiance with Abraham. They had a treaty that held each other responsible for the protection of each other.

Let's now take a step back and see what Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations has step into. Even though they had been taxing or extorting Sodom and the surrounding area for years, they failed to see that if they got into a fight with them, they would be taking on the whole surrounding region, including the one that is blessed by the Most High God, Yahweh. Ooops!

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

What is not widely known, is the fact that, that since he left the Ur of the Chaldees, Abram's family had grown into a pretty large contingent, especially since he could easily muster up 318 trained servants. Notice that Abram and his army pursued the enemy, not his neighbors.

Another thing strikes me as I read this. Abram had an armory where he stored and easily access enough weapons to arm his people. At least I was always under the illusion that Abram and his family was a small wandering group of people just trying to survive. In fact, Abram's family was indeed very large. Some estimates are around 1000 to 5000 people at this time. Most military experts state that a standing army of .1% of the population is needed for national security. This would put Abram's family at approximately 3180 people.

They pursued the invading army that took Lot, Abram's nephew, to Dan. The problem with this is the fact that a city, named Dan, did not exist at this time. Dan is the contemporary name for the ancient city of Laish. Dan appearing here in Genesis 14 have prompted some scholars to question the authorship of Genesis. However, Y'shua validated Moses as the author of Genesis many places in the B'rit Hadashah, the New Covenant or New Testament. Most likely the reason Dan appears here is that there was a scribe attempting to to make the passage more clear because Laish was not known to his contemporary readers of the Torah.

And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.

I love this. Not only did Abram have an good sized army, they were quite versed in strategic warfare with a hint of gorilla warfare.  He divided his army and attacked the enemy from two fronts, at night, without night vision equipment. Talk about training. No run of the mill, ragtag, assembly of servants could do this efficiently.

They attacked them at Dan, Laish. The enemy attempted to retreat towards Damacus and Abram and pursued them to Hobah, just east of Damascus and dealt them a significant blow. Either Abram's army killed them all or delivered a major heavy blow because they never came back. Locations of this battle can be seen in the maps below. The first map shows the cities involved in this battle. The second is a local topological map of Dan, Hobah and Damascus.

And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Abram got back everything that was important. Nothing was lost in the battle. That's how   G-d works. Even though we have scars from our daily battles, nothing important is lost.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Genesis 14:8-12 A Good Old Fashion Butt Whoopin'

And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;

With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.

Here we have the four ruling Mesopotamian kings coming down to meet the five rebellious kings of the Jordanian plain, in the battle of the Valley of Siddim. The valley of Siddim is the valley in which the Dead Sea resides and by the text, the battle most likely occurred on the southwest side of the Dead Sea.

And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.

Soon after the battle began, it was obvious that the Jordanian kings were overmatched. The Mesopotamian kings outsmarted the ring leaders of the rebellion and cause the armies of Sodom and Gomorrah to retreat into the slimepits of the area, while the others were allow to flee to the mountains. This was a great feat since this was the home turf of the Jordanians.

And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.

As spoils of war and their rightful reward, the Kings of Mesopotamia, took the riches and the food stores of Sodom and Gomorrah. I also believe that if they took only what was rightfully theirs, we probably wouldn't have heard anything about this battle. However....

And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

... they took Lot, the nephew of Abram. In the next blog entry, we will discuss how this is a great example of  "You Don't mess with the Big Dog on the Block."