Religion, Theology and Self-Improvement Sundays: What Is Prophecy? Part V
This week we take a look at a viewpoint of Genesis Chapter 15 vs.13-14, one of the most important predictions in all of Judaism and Christianity and even Islam.
Here is a take on those verses and those involved in the prediction. It comes from the book Jews, God and History by Max Dimont.
...about the year 2000, when a new and restless Semitic tribe, the Assyrians, lean and hungry, began to challenge the soft and rich of the Babylonians, a man named Terah took his son Abraham, Abraham’s wife Sarah, and his grandson Lot, the nephew of Abraham, and emigrated from the cosmopolitan city of Ur in Babylonia.
Who were they – Terah, Abraham, Sarah, Lot? History does not know and the Bible does not identify them beyond tracing Terah’s genealogy to Shem, one of the three sons of Noah. Was Terah a Babylonian? What language did he speak? What was his occupation? Certainly not a sheepherder, living as he did in one of the most sophisticated cities of that age.
All of these questions the Bible leaves unanswered. But by the act of crossing the River Euphrates, Terah and his family group become the first people in the Bible identified as Ivriim, of which the English version is “Hebrews’, the people “who crossed over,” the people “from the other side of the river.”
The wanderings of Terah and his small group took them six hundred miles northwest from Ur to the land of Haran, in the southern part of what is now Turkey. Here Terah, who had left Ur at no one’s prompting, dies. Here Abraham has a strange experience. It is here that he meets the Lord God “Jehovah” for the first time.
...At this encounter between Abraham and God, it is God who proposes a covenant to the patriarch, who is now seventy-five years old. If Abraham will follow the commandments of God, then He, in His turn, will make the descendants of Abraham his Chosen People and place them under His protection. We must note here that God does not say that shall be better – merely that they shall exist as a separate and distinct entity and be His people. How this is to be brought about is not revealed. God at this time stipulates only one commandment, and makes only one promise. The commandment is that all males of His Chosen People must be circumcised on the eighth day after birth, or, if converted into the faith, then circumcised upon conversion. The promise is the land of Canaan.
Did this really happen?
We will continue to look at Dumont’s crucial final question next week.
Sunday, June 18, 2000