It is Near

Abraham's 7 insights

July 05, 2023 Owen Kindig Season 1 Episode 3
Abraham's 7 insights
It is Near
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It is Near
Abraham's 7 insights
Jul 05, 2023 Season 1 Episode 3
Owen Kindig

Who wants to live in a tent? Millions don't have a choice. But Abraham did and today we'll find out why. Something permanent is coming ... and it is near. This wide-ranging episode looks at migrants, including the recent ship full of them who were lost at sea. We turn to Abraham for seven insights about what is important, and what the future holds. 
Then our journey takes us to the subject of the kind of faithfulness that Abraham modeled. The a definition of this elusive way of thinking may surprise you. And to trace the footsteps of God, hidden in plain sight, we meditate on tragedies that have haunted the Jewish people across the centuries -- and yet simultaneously provide reassurance of the destiny of joys and blessings that await them -- and all of us.

It is Near focuses on the alarming and the hopeful; the frightful and the forgotten; the blinding glare of giant problems, and the dark secrets that lurk even more menacingly in the shadows of global trends. "Amazing Grace" may have taught our hearts to fear, but for most Christians and non-Christians alike, divine grace as commonly conceptualized does not those fears relieve. It is Near will be informative, accessible, comforting, and challenging to every thinking person. It will call Christians to account and provide a breath of fresh air for secularists who, for once, would like to hear a conciliatory and intellectually honest message from a thoughtful Christian voice. Owen Kindig of Sitka, Alaska is your host, and is responsible for the content.

"Even the bad news is good news."

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Who wants to live in a tent? Millions don't have a choice. But Abraham did and today we'll find out why. Something permanent is coming ... and it is near. This wide-ranging episode looks at migrants, including the recent ship full of them who were lost at sea. We turn to Abraham for seven insights about what is important, and what the future holds. 
Then our journey takes us to the subject of the kind of faithfulness that Abraham modeled. The a definition of this elusive way of thinking may surprise you. And to trace the footsteps of God, hidden in plain sight, we meditate on tragedies that have haunted the Jewish people across the centuries -- and yet simultaneously provide reassurance of the destiny of joys and blessings that await them -- and all of us.

It is Near focuses on the alarming and the hopeful; the frightful and the forgotten; the blinding glare of giant problems, and the dark secrets that lurk even more menacingly in the shadows of global trends. "Amazing Grace" may have taught our hearts to fear, but for most Christians and non-Christians alike, divine grace as commonly conceptualized does not those fears relieve. It is Near will be informative, accessible, comforting, and challenging to every thinking person. It will call Christians to account and provide a breath of fresh air for secularists who, for once, would like to hear a conciliatory and intellectually honest message from a thoughtful Christian voice. Owen Kindig of Sitka, Alaska is your host, and is responsible for the content.

"Even the bad news is good news."

Owen Kindig:

DO YOU LIVE IN A TENT? Welcome to it is near. Do you live in a tent? Tents are definitely not where most of us want to live. We crave stability and strength, and windows and insulation. But if you are a homeowner, you know that that cute house and just the setting you want can be frightfully limiting. The best roofs will leak, the best plans won't have foreseen a parent who needs a place to stay. Or kids who aren't quite ready to move on. Or a divorce that renders it unaffordable. Or a new job that makes us feel like we need to move or climate change that drives us from that lovely wooded mountainside or climate change that might push us back from the seashore, or flatten our house in a tornado or a hurricane. According to Oxfam 20 million people are currently being made homeless each year by climate disasters. By 2050, that number could reach well over on billion --- one or two out of every 10 people. So while we don't think of ourselves as living in a tent, most of us here in the United States, the reality of changing world conditions might cause us to rethink our own self image. Maybe over time, we will start viewing with more sympathy, and more empathy. People who are seeking asylum or shelter or a new start in a place where they are not climate emergencies, threatening them every day. Right now a good portion of the American people think that one of our greatest national emergencies is the threat of migrants trying to find a place to live here in the United States. But if you were a migrant, who was forced out by either social unrest or climate change, maybe you'd have a different idea. So let's think about what migrants are going through for a moment. There are many reasons why migrants leave. If you're a woman in Afghanistan, you're probably thinking about leaving. If you're a farmer in Syria, you've already left the farm, and have been dodging war for years. If you're from the Horn of Africa, you're probably already in a new place. A few years back, I met a lot of people from the Horn of Africa, living in St. Cloud, Minnesota, which thankfully was a town that welcomed them. They needed a fresh start. They appreciated a fresh start. And they contribute to the communities and the schools and the economy that they live in. Millions and millions of people are now living in tents, if they can find any place to live, or they're crowding into boats, trying to make it across the Mediterranean Sea to a place where they hope they can start fresh. Greece, Italy, Germany, France, England. So this week, we had two very interesting, contrasting experiences of fairy where migrants were preyed upon looking for a way to escape the poverty and the uncertainty that was nipping at their heels and adventurers who paid a large amount of money to explore the wreck of the Titanic, all where people lost at sea. Many of us were glued to our phones and computers during the hectic hours when there was hope held out that the adventurers on the Titan would be found alive. We imagine them inside that submersible tapping on the walls and watching the oxygen level drop across 96 hours. It was gripping. And for many of us our hearts were in our throat hoping that something would happen and it would be a Hollywood miracle. Not so many of us were alerted to or consumed with observing what happened to the migrants, but it was a much more significant disaster. 700 people perhaps died in that experience, even though there were ships standing by that could have helped them. One ship that did come by to help created another view of the contrast in these human experiences. It was a luxury yacht, and it took 100 people out of the water, but they got there just a few minutes too late to help another 600 who drowned in the same waters during the night. So many people have noticed the unevenness of of the human experience. For the wealthy, it was a matter of choice, a risky adventure taken on to extend their experience level and see something that few get to see the sight of a tragedy that happened over 100 years ago. But for the other people, they were trying to escape the tragedies in their own lives. It was a existential threat that they faced. And they died trusting, unscrupulous people to get them there in a boat that was not nearly adequate to take them to safety. And the fact is that governments in Europe, no less than the United States finds it very difficult politically to accept poor people at their southern border. It's a challenge that few want to take in. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT NEW PEOPLE (FOREIGNERS, MIGRANTS OR REFUGEES)?

Let's pause for a moment and ask ourselves what does the Bible say about our attitude towards people who do not come from our own nation? In Leviticus 19:

33 It says, "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God."

The Hebrew word translated stranger or Sojourner is the word ger: Strong's number 1616. It means alien, or foreigner, or immigrant or stranger. Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon says it's a temporary dweller, a newcomer, as opposed to somebody who was home born. And the commentator says that the Ger is to share in Sabbath rest, to have "like obligations with Israel. Only very rarely are any distinctions to be made in the obligations. They are to share in the food, in the future success." They are to be treated with kindness. Oppression is prohibited in the verse we just read. And the same kind of care is also commanded for poor brothers, you know, people who are whom born, who are poor, to be treated, in the same way:

kindly. The word occurs 92 times. And the bottom line command is, "Thy shall be loved, with equal love that we give to ourselves; we are to love them as ourselves." Of course, Jesus told one of his most famous parables about this very issue, when he used the Samaritan, in contrast to the religious people of the Jewish culture. And the Samaritan in Jesus' story, of course, spent money and time and care and planning to take care of a stranger who came through, who was injured by robbers. So that is a call that was given not only to the Jews in ancient Israel, but also by Jesus and the apostles to all Christians. All Christians were commanded to show love and care and interest in strangers. Aliens, sojourners, visitors, migrants. One of my favorite verses along this line is the one in Hebrews 13, verses one and two, where it says that we are to "Let brotherly love" (that is, love among the brethren, the Christians in our circle). ... we are to make sure that it continues; that it's an ongoing thing. "Let brotherly love continue". And the word that he uses there is Philadelphia -- love of brothers -- and then he says, "but do not overlook strangers". He takes the word Phileo, which means love, and he hyphenate it with strangers, Xenoi in Greek X-E-N-O-I. meaning "stranger". So the writer of Hebrews says, Yes, you should have love for your brethren. But don't forget, don't neglect. Phile-Xeneas -- love of strangers, love of immigrants, love of migrants. Well, here we are. The United States and Western Europe are all descendants of Christian theocracies. And the United States never had a theocracy, but it has been distinguished in past years for having a very high level of personal philanthropy and generosity throughout the culture. But it seems to be changing, doesn't it? And now, what we're finding is an almost preoccupation with eliminating support for immigrants -- migrants. The funny thing about out it is that our economy is so overheated that we need workers and we can't find workers. And here are these immigrants and strangers who are eager to work. And in fact, they're eager to do jobs that most of us would not work at, we would not take those kinds of jobs because they don't pay as well, or they're very hard to do. There's a lot of drudgery involved. And there's lots of people willing to take up those jobs and benefit our culture. But please hear me on this. I'm not advocating a political policy. I'm not saying that we need to make a political statement or vote a certain way, or whatever. I think Christians are way better off if they just try to help everybody that they meet, and be kind to everyone we meet and don't get into political arguments with anyone that we meet. The issue is not politics, the issue is character on the part of Christians, and the humanity that we show towards other people who don't come from our country, or our clan, or our race. What I'm angling toward is this. Abraham is the example. Abraham was promised the land that we now called Israel, which is named after Abraham's grandson. And he was promised that land and he never inherited so much as to set his foot on. He even paid cash for the grave plot that he buried Sarah, his wife in. Abraham never inherited the land. And so when we look at the contrast and behavior between Abraham and Lot, Abraham lived as a nomad, and Lot lived as a resident of a city. Let's not [as Christians] live like residents of a city. Let's follow Abraham's example. And if we do follow Abraham's example, we will have a sympathetic attitude towards all of the players in this drama that's unfolding. We will have sympathy for those who feel like their lands and their privileges are being usurped. And we will have sympathy towards those, especially, who feel like they have nowhere to go and they need a place. And if we have more prosperity and more opportunities, we should be willing to share with them as they sojourn with us. The issue I'm talking about is Christian character. And the idea of looking forward to a new set of circumstances, which this whole podcast is about the thesis that IT IS NEAR -- the circumstances are about to change! WHY DID ABRAHAM LIVE IN TENTS? Notice how the writer of Hebrews talks about Abraham. He says in the 11th chapter, starting in verse eight, he says, "By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out not knowing where he was going. By faith, he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise." Okay, so, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all lived in tents made from the skins of the animals that they grazed. And then he asks, why would they do this? He says, because he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. That's the key idea. He was looking forward to a city with foundations that would be built by God. What's this talking about? To really appreciate the contribution that Abraham made to the world's understanding the past, the future, God, the meaning of the Bible, and the destiny of the human race, we need to see seven things. WHAT ARE THE SEVEN RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES ABRAHAM SAW AND LIVED? The first is that Abraham came along at a time when the human race had crossed a divide away from believing in the true God. For 1000s of years up until Abraham, there were always a few people who knew who the true God was. It was passed down as part of the family. Adam knew, of course; he recorded his conversations with God and those records came down to us in the Book of Genesis. There was always a living person who could pass that information along. Abel was killed but then Seth was born and Adam passed the tradition of knowing who God was along to Seth, and it passed down through each of the patriarchs and their wives, until we reached Noah. And then Noah's son Shem carried it on. Abraham comes a few generations after Shem and his own father and older brothers had by that point, departed away from worship of the true God into idolatry. They lived in Ur of the Chaldees, known to be a bastion of Moon worship. And Abraham is almost like the last vestige of belief in God. And for some reason, Abraham listened and responded to God when God reached out to him, and offered to prepare him for a role in bringing a blessing to the human race. And so the entire message of the Bible hinges on the idea that Abraham believed in a single god who was the creator of all things -- invisible -- and focused on principles of conduct, that transcend time and space. Worship of the one true God, that's the most important part of what Abraham has given to us. The second was that Abraham recognized and organized his life of faith around the promised land, the land that God said He would prepare for Abraham and his children. So there's a single location that is at stake, the faith of Abraham is rooted in the belief in a specific part of the Earth, region of the earth, that is central to the delivery of divine blessings to the entire world of mankind.

The third thing about Abraham's faith system was that he understood that it was all about something permanent. That's what the text we just read in Hebrews says:

he saw a city whose builder and maker was God, a city with foundations that was permanent. And here, we're not talking about the literal city so much as we're talking about a city as a repository of civilization, of relationships between intelligent beings, who have the ability to talk and sing, and relate and communicate and love -- a permanent "city with foundations," permanent cultural civilization with foundations. Fourth, Abraham was committed to and sought justice. He was always wanting to make sure that things were equitable. And just and he even questioned God on His revealed plan to destroy the city of Sodom. He wanted to make sure that God was not going to do something that would be injurious and unjust to people who lived there. The Fifth Aspect of Abraham's faith that I think is extremely important is that it includes a resurrection. We'll discuss that a little bit later in today's episode. But the idea of a resurrection, which was first hinted at, in Genesis, chapter three, verse 15, the notion that the human race will be restored by a deliverer. That was something that Abraham believed and went to his grave trusting. The sixth thing is that the role of Abraham and his children, the thing that they aspired to, and that they counted on was that they would be a blessing to others. So they were not in it for any tangible temporary benefit. They were in it to be a future blessing to the entire world, all the families of the earth. That's what God promised he would do through Abraham and his offspring. And the seventh thing is character. Abraham was about character and obedience to principles of righteousness. So he believed and lived the idea that he was accountable to principles that were unseen, invisible, but yet important. And he held himself to a high standard, he held his children to a high standard. And he expected that even when the blessings came to everyone else through his children, that the rest of the world would also embrace those high standards of goodness, kindness, love, mercy, justice. Those are the seven things about Abraham as a founder of religious principles, which I think are vital to understanding what Abraham meant to us and why what he believed is important.(1) Worship of one true God, invisible.(2)A focus on the promised land as the center and kind of "birthplace" of human redemption and government.(3) A permanent establishment -- something that would emerge out of the mist of time into a permanent, unending Kingdom, government, "city with foundations".(4) the principles of love and justice are the core operating guideposts of that civilization,(5) the fact of resurrection -- that is the restoration from death -- a solution to human problems that will go beyond death and will restore character and opportunity to the entire human race,(6) the blessing of all the families of Earth is number six, and that, of course, includes resurrection, but much more than resurrection. It includes the instruction and the teaching of how to live with this new life that's been granted. And because it's a future blessing that the family is all about, it is a forswearing of temporary benefit. Becoming a peddler of religious ideas. Abraham always was a giver, he was not drawing a salary because of his faith.(7) And finally, number seven, that all of the beneficiaries of this whole program, those who bless and those who are blessed, have the same standards and commitments to righteousness, joy, peace, long suffering, patience, kindness, justice, and love. Each of them, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel and Leah. Each of them had the ability to see that there was going to be something that was more important than the trappings of the existence that they had at that time. What was that? What was that ability? Well, I think we can call it faith. WHAT IS FAITH?

That's really what faith is. So let's jump a few verses earlier in the 11th chapter, and see how the writer of Hebrews defines faith. Reading from the ESV version, one of my favorites:

"Now, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, For by it the people have old received their commendation." Okay. He defines faith as something that you are certain about -- are convinced of -- that is unseen. Does that mean it's a conviction you arrive at through blindness or through wishful thinking? No, not at all. "By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." Okay, now we have a problem. We just read in the first verse, that faith is something that deals with what's unseen. And now in verse three, it seems to be saying that it's through faith, which has just been defined as the ability to come to conclusions about things that are unseeable. He says, "By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the word of God." Well, okay, the word of God, that's unseeable, that's something we just hear or we read, or, you know, there's some sort of communication that happens. And that gives us insight. But why is it referring to the universe, which is something that's very seeable, I mean, we right now, especially, are living in the best time in human history, to see -- actually see -- the origins of the universe? What's going on here? WHAT IS FAITH, REALLY? Well, the fact is that it's a bad translation. This is not talking about the universe. It's talking about eons or aions. That's the word -- eons. The eons, the ages. Young's Literal Translation says "the ages", The Literal Standard Version says, "the ages". The New Heart English Bible says, "the ages". All three of these translations do not use the word "created" either. They all say they have been prepared, "prepared by a saying of God". All three, say "by faith, we understand the ages to have been prepared by God's word". What does that mean?

I'm going to give you a few other translations. One of the best translations for studying to get a rigorous, sometimes not so easy to follow, rendering of complicated Greek logic that you often see in the New Testament, is the Rotherham -- J. B. Rotherham Translation. [Entitled the Emphasized Bible]. Here's how Rotherham renders this" "First, by faith we understand the ages to have been fitted together by declaration of God." By faith, we understand the ages to have been fitted together by declaration of God -- "to the end that not out of things appearing, should that which is seen have come into existence." That's Rotherham. One nice thing about his translation is he gives a list in his appendix at the end of the book. Some of the words that he finds are commonly mistranslated or sloppily translated, and he gives a paragraph or so on each of those words and why he rendered them as he did. And in the case of Age, here's what he says -- I'll read just a part of it. "To trace the biblical development of the ages is to gain a point from which many far reaching observations may be made:

"The first thing to note is that the idea of an age is one of comparatively slow growth. The biblical parent of the Greek Aion is the Hebrew Olam and the root conception of olam is "concealed duration", Concealed duration is naturally unknown and unbounded. ..."The second thing to observe is that duration does not fall into ages until it acquires character -- and there is a transition of the times from one character into another. Only by degrees can a period round itself off into a golden age or an age of barbarism. ..."The third thing to notice is that ages may be so modified by local conditions as to vary with country and sphere so that the ages in different lands may be far from simultaneous. Agolden age may not be worldwide, a barbaric period might not afflict all lands at once. In fine, ages may overlap, and interlace and interchange. And the result may be one of them with utmost complexity, calling for the most thoughtful and guarded discrimination...." Okay, that's probably too much. And now I want to read another translation. Now, this is a diaglott translation by a guy named Wilson. And it's a pretty good translation,

I find it helpful in many cases. This is how he translates the passage:

"In faith, we perceive that the ages have been so thoroughly adjusted by God's command, that not from things then manifest, the things now seen, have come to pass." Let me read that again. "In faith, we perceive that the ages have been so thoroughly adjusted by God's command that not from things then manifest, the things now seen, have come to pass." He's saying that the writer of Hebrews is not talking about things that you can see, he's talking about things you can't see. He's talking about the causes of events in world history, the influences that cause wars and depressions and movements of people to arise and to come forth. It's saying that the ages that happened in human history are adjusted, they're fit together, they dovetail. Now, I'm going to be going through a whole lot of actual time prophecies over the next few weeks and months. And I think you're going to be amazed at how all of these different events in human history that are described in the prophecies of the Bible, how amazingly human history has actually been fit together, packed together, adjusted, so that there are time periods and all sorts of amazing connections. And I'm going to give you an example, in a few minutes, that talks about just one aspect of this in the history of the Jewish people. We'll come to that in a moment. But first, I want to finish this statement of reflection on the idea that Abraham was a man of faith. And that faith for us, as with him, reflects an ability to see something unseen. In normal events that are unfolding, that we can't really see when they happen, or why they happen when they happen. We just don't know why these things are happening. And yet they are. Faith is the ability to say this must be God's will. Because God has promised that things are going to work out as he has said they're going to work out. In a sense, the entire purpose of this podcast is to deal with this very issue. WHAT IS NEAR? RESURRECTION AND THE END OF DEATH??? I'm coming to you with the notion that the thing that has never once been altered -- the thing that has never been visibly interrupted for all of human history (Aside from the resurrection of Jesus), -- there is no record that the human race has escaped death. And yet, here I am, I believe I'm sane!", and my kids might not agree, but I believe I am sane! And I am telling you that within a few decades, we're going to see death stop. And within a few decades or perhaps centuries after that, we're going to start seeing a general resurrection of the dead until all human beings who have ever lived are back on this planet. Now, that is really radical and crazy sounding. Why am I saying things like this? Well, that's what this whole podcast is about. I will give you the why. And I'll give you the evidence as I see it, but I can't give it to you all at once. So right now, I'm just focusing on one little thing. And that is, what did Abraham look for? What was he expecting? Was he expecting a resurrection? And yes, we read the verse in Hebrews 11, that when he was, let's jump back to that verse again. "By faith, Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up (that is to death). He's offering up to death, "his only son, of whom it was said, through Isaac shall your offspring be named, He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back". In other words, if God says to kill him, and he's ready to do it, it's as though he was he's already accepted his death, and he's got the knife in his hand, he's ready to do it. And God says, No, stop, don't do it. That to Abraham felt like a resurrection. But it's much more than that. The statement that the writer of Hebrews is giving us there is that Abraham believed in a resurrection, He had faith in a resurrection, based on the promises and the experience that he had with God. Okay, so what we have in the case of a person like Abraham, is that we have an obstacle. We realize that we cannot overcome the obstacle by ourselves. And the question is, what does an authority that I trust, say about that obstacle? Does it say that death can be overcome? Does it say that you're not going to inherit the land now, but years from now, centuries from now, after you have died, you will inherit the land? That is what faith amounted to. in Abraham's case, it was also what happened in Sarah's case. We read, "By faith [in verse 11]. By faith, Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised, therefore, from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants, as many as the stars of heaven, and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore." So there, in that example, DO WE HAVE ANY WORDS FROM GOD? Sarah had an obstacle, her own body, and she disbelieved [the words God had earlier promised Abraham -- that she would have a baby after menopause].. She even laughed when the angel said that she was going to have a baby in a year. And the reality was that it wasn't until the angel repeated the promise to her and to Abraham, that she started to actually believe it.

And the argument of the writer here, Paul, I believe, his argument is that when she started to believe it is when it happened. There's an obstacle. And there's a question:

"Do I have the clear word? Do I have clearly articulated evidence spoken to me? Or written down that I can read? That says, an authority I trust, namely, the God of the universe, the Creator of all things? He has said certain things are going to happen. And my decision is, do I believe it or not? And in the case of Abraham and Sarah, and others, they believed it. Now, what about people who don't believe it? Well, Christians have a habit of insulting people who can't believe don't believe or refuse to believe whatever you want to call it. Why? Why should they do that? You know, in the Proverbs it says, The hearing ear and the seeing eye. God has made both of them." Faith is spoken of as a gift. {That gift is receiving a message that we are convinced was a word from God himself.] Jesus said, No man can come to me (that is, in faith and in obedience.) unless the Father who sent Me draws him." It's only for people whose eyes are opened that they catch a whiff of something that's beyond their ken. If they look at something and they say, "Wait a minute. There's something to this, I need to pursue this". It's like, it's like Moses coming around the bend, and there's a burning bush, and it's not being consumed. He's got to get closer, and figure out why this is happening. Because it shouldn't. This is weird. It shouldn't be happening. He's seen bushes burn 100 times in the desert. And when they're burning, they don't burn for long, they just burn right up. And here's this bush that's just burning and burning, and it's doesn't it's not being consumed. "It's just a bush. Why is it still burning?" So he approaches to find out. And that's when he has a conversation with God.

Okay, so Moses was spoken to by God, that's why Moses believed. We might be able to say that Moses ought to have believed! I mean, after all, he had a miracle done in his face, right? And in fact, when God tells Moses that he's been chosen, and Moses gives him 10 reasons why he shouldn't have been chosen, finally, God expresses exasperation with Moses:

"Why are you refusing to listen to me here? I'm telling you, that you are my man. And I want you to go back to Egypt and, and lead these people out of Egyptian bondage!" Okay, so I think I've beaten this, this particular horse enough, and I don't think it's going to get up and walk away now. And by the way, those explosions you might be hearing in the background, this is I'm recording this on the third of July, it's the evening of the Fourth of July. So there's some people out having some fun tonight. Okay. The point I wanted to summarize and get through here was that Abraham had faith because God started slow and easy, took him through step by step. And eventually Abraham had such confidence that God was really there working with him, and that he really was going to be chosen to be the father of many nations, and that those nations would be a blessing to the world, and that all the world would be blessed as a result, and that blessing would include a resurrection of the dead. All of that was the process of faith that developed inside of Abraham, and he became then what's called "the father of the faithful." SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE CRITICAL OF PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE FAITH?

And just because Abraham was the father of the faithful, my second point is, that does not mean that people who do not have faith now need to be pulverized by Christians, who point fingers at them and tell them they better shape up or ship out -- that Gods going to be impatient with them. God is very patient, God is playing a long game. We can be certain that if God wants to convert the world, as he says He will one day -- in several places in the Old Testament, especially Jeremiah 31:31. [See also Zephaniah 3:

8-9 where he promises to "devour the whole earth with the fire of his jealousy", and then turn to the people a pure language, that ALL may call upon him to serve him with one consent."] When he's good and ready to overcome doubts, there won't be any problems at all overcoming doubts. Because the kinds of things that were very obvious to people, (some people, not all people,) but some people in Jewish days in Jesus time, you know, a few thousand people, perhaps, he healed. And if you were one of the people [who were healed] or your neighbor was, your friend, your son,, your daughter, your mother, who was healed, then you were likely, but not guaranteed to believe in Jesus. But then there were other people who just heard about it, didn't really see it, or they saw it once. And it didn't convince them. Faith is something that is a gift, and it's a blessing. And I'm thankful that I was given a window into faith and into a walk with God, way back when I was 17 years old, and now it's over 50 years later. And I'm still excited about what I've learned. And I'm sharing what I've learned with you. But I am not expecting you if you are not a believer, I'm not here to try. This is not an apologetics study. This is a exploration of what God is trying to say to Christians, which I believe involves some material that they have not been focused on up till now. And what God is saying to the world at large, and what the events of the world are teaching, or will eventually teach the world. And right now, a lot of people are really paying attention to a lot of the messages that God is giving. They're paying good attention. And it's the Christians who are not paying attention to the messages that God is giving. How many Christians are denying that climate change is a reality, for example? How many Christians think that it's their responsibility to help protect and preserve the planet? I think most people who are non Christian, are becoming more and more aroused about the necessity of taking care of this planet. It's the only place we have, the only place that can support our life. [And Christians should be noticing that God promises that in Messiah's kingdom, as it starts, he will "destroy those who destroy the Earth."] How many Christians are recognizing that the way to solve human problems is not through violence and oppression? Okay? [Careful, Christians, about your emphasis on "2nd amendment rights."] Christians have been comfortable with violence and oppression for much of their history. It's time for Christians to rethink that idea. HOW CAN WE SEE GOD'S HAND IN HISTORY? Okay. Now we're gonna go on to a different angle on this. We've said that Abraham was the father of the faithful. And that faith, in a nutshell is believing that the promises of God have an impact on human history, we often don't see the impact. But looking back, we can often see that God has fulfilled a promise in these events that have transpired. So let's look at the way God has been engaged with the children of Abraham throughout the course of events that they've lived through. All down through the time God has dealt with them. From the time of Abraham, to the present time.... Moses dies on the cusp of entering the Promised Land and Joshua, his right hand man, takes over. Following the guidance of Moses, he sends spies into the land, because they are under the firm belief and conviction that God has promised that land to them. Ten of them reported that this was impossible. "The people [of Canaan] are strong and big, and we cannot win these battles." And two of them, Joshua and Caleb, said, "Yeah, with God's help, we can do this." Okay, so the Bible records the day that happened. And it turns out that the day that the spies gave their report, was on the ninth day of the fifth month, which was the month of Ab. We call it August, it's generally towards the beginning of August, late July, early August. It's a lunar cycle, the ninth day of the fifth lunar cycle of the year -- the month of Ab or Av.

That false report by the spies who looked in the land of Canaan, and said, "We can't win this," ... that happened on the ninth of Av, then in the course of time, they started allowing the idolatry of the people of the land to influence their worship. And gradually they began to worship the gods of the people who they were trying to displace. [God said through the prophets]:

"If you allow yourself to live along with the people of the land, you're going to fail in the project that I've given to you to do to be obedient, and to be a nation of kings and priests." And sure enough, that's what happened. And so God because of their unfaithfulness raised up a nation to punish them, and to take them into captivity, and that nation was Babylon. And when Babylon comes in, under the King Nebuchadnezzar, the first thing they do is they set fire to the city, and then burn down the temple where they were worshiping God. And the day that they did that was the ninth day of the fifth month, the ninth of Av, and in a few hundred more years, the same thing happened again. The Romans came in and imposed their rule over Jerusalem, and before long the Jews were in open rebellion against the Romans and the Romans came in and destroyed the city again. And this time they destroyed the temple that was built first by Nehemiah and Ezra when they came back from Babylon and then that was taken over by the Romans and King Herod built an amazing new, magnificent temple just before Jesus arrived on the scene, and that Roman-built temple was what the Romans destroyed in 70 AD. [CE] And guess what day it happened on? It happened on the ninth day of the fifth month, the ninth of Av. Again and again, there's been this echo in history, that a certain lunar day is when events come together to hurt and damage the Jewish people. Again, and again and again. In a way, it's almost like saying, "Every time that you suffer, I'm controlling it."

The Master of the Universe, the El Shaddai, the Almighty:

the Almighty is showing his ability to make and keep promises that He has made to a Jewish people who he complains throughout the prophets, throughout the law, "You're not faithful to me. And when you're not, I'm going to punish you." WHAT DOES THE NINTH OF AB SHOW US? And yet, every time he does, he does it on the same day of the year, as a way of showing that he has the power to guide them and teach them what he wants them to learn. The ninth of Av came into play again in 135 AD when another revolt took place, and Bar Kokhba rebelled against Rome. In 135. The Romans killed 500,000 Jewish civilians. That was on the fourth of August, 135 [AD or CE] which is the ninth of Av. And then the Roman commander plowed the site of the temple in Jerusalem. [that same day -- the ninth of Av]. There have been so many other calamities that have happened on that date. The Jews were expelled from England on the 18th of July, which was the ninth of Av in 1290. The Jews were expelled from France on the 22nd of July of 1306, which was the 10th of Av. The Jews were expelled from Spain on the 31st of July, 1492, which was the seventh of Av, and the last boatload full of Jewish people who were being expelled from Spain left on the ninth of that year, 1492. And guess what happened the next day? Columbus set sail for the New World. Germany entered World War One on the first of August, 1914. Again, the ninth of Av. And on the second of August, 1941, which was the night of Av, Heinrich Himmler was formally given approval for the Final Solution, the document that decreed that all the Jews of Europe would be murdered. So we can date the most substantive part of the Holocaust to the ninth of Av. The 23rd of July in 1942, which was the Ninth of Av, the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka began. And as recently as 2005, Jewish people removed their own settlement. In a new twist, the secular government of Israel forcibly withdrew the Jewish settlement [8000 to 9000 Jewish settlers] from Gaza. That too, occurred on the ninth of Av in 2005. Let's pause here and we'll pick up at this point in Episode Four. Thanks for listening to It is Near.

Do you live in a tent?
What does the Bible say about immigrants?
Why did Abraham live in tents?
What seven things did Abraham teach by his example?
What is biblical Faith?
What is faith, Really?
What is near? Resurrection and the end of death!
Do we have access to any words from God?
Should Christians be critical of people who do not have faith?
How can we see God's hand in history?
What does the Ninth of Av show us?