Friday, September 2, 2016

Life of Peter in The Gospel of Matthew

Introduction


Jesus had twelve disciples and Peter was the disciple who was the most prominent one of all the disciples. In Matthew’s Gospel, Peter is listed as the first disciple who was called by Jesus. In all references to Jesus’s disciples, Peter is always given the first position.

Jesus's call of Peter


After John had been put in prison, Jesus continues with the message “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him. (Matthew 4:18-20). This tells us that as soon as Peter was called he immediately followed Jesus, together with his brother Andrew. This shows us that Peter was a man of immediate action and never a procrastinator. Peter was a professional fishermen and Jesus called him into something totally new to him and without any hesitation he readily followed Jesus.

Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-Law


The next event where Peter is specifically named in the Book of Matthew is when Jesus healed Peter’s Mother-in-Law. Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. (Matthew 8:14-15). This tells us that Peter was married and that he had a family there. His mother-in-law seems to have been a part of Peter’s household. As soon as Jesus touched her hand the fever left her and immediately she took on the role of the hostess of the house and served Jesus and all others that were in Peter’s house. It is also possible that Jesus might have stayed in Peter’s house from time to time during his ministry through that region.

First of Twelve Apostles


Again when the 12 Apostles are listed in the Book of Matthew we see that Peter is listed as the first Apostle. And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him (Matthew 10:1-4). Jesus had two Simons among his 12 disciples and we are told here that the first disciple was Simon, who is also called Peter.

Peter attempts to walk on Water



Peter was always quick to act and when he saw Jesus was walking on water he too wanted to follow his master and walk on water. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (Matthew 14:25-32). When all the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water all of them were afraid thinking it was a ghost. Then Jesus assured them that he was Jesus and not a ghost. Seeing Jesus walking on the water faith developed within Peter that like Jesus he too could also walk on water. When Jesus gave Peter the command to come to Jesus on the water Peter got out of the boat and started to go towards Jesus on the water. He was not able to completely walk towards Jesus, because he saw the boisterous wind and became afraid and began to sink and Jesus had to stretch out his hand and save Peter.

Peter recognizes that Jesus is the Christ


Peter was the first disciple to recognize that Jesus is the Christ. When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. (Matthew 16:13-20). When Jesus asked the disciples about who he was, Peter who had been with Jesus for so many months now knew that Jesus was not an ordinary person and there was something extraordinary about him. He, by the discernment of the Holy Spirit perceived that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus rebukes Peter


The disciples thought that the Messiah would come to rule with Power and Authority. Hence Peter was expecting Jesus to rule with Power and Authority. From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:21-23) Since Peter was expecting Jesus to rule, when Jesus said that that he had to go to Jerusalem to suffer many things it appeared to Peter Jesus was not carrying out the ministry which he thought that the messiah would do. Hence he was trying to correct Jesus. Then Jesus had to rebuke Peter that he was not thinking the way that Jesus was thinking and that he had to change his thinking to think the way Jesus was thinking.

Peter witnessed Jesus Transfiguration


After Peter had recognized that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus now takes Peter, James and John to show them his divine nature. Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. (Matthew 17:1-8) When Peter witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus and the true nature of Jesus he was overwhelmed and he really did not know what to say. He recognized that Moses and Elijah were with Jesus and he wanted them to be permanently with hence suggested that they build tabernacles for them.

Peter pays Temple Tax of Jesus


When Temple Tax collectors approached Peter about the Temple Tax of Jesus, Jesus showed how Peter should pay the Temple Tax for both of them. When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.” (Matthew 17:24-27) The conversation that Jesus had with Peter tells us Jesus was of the household and only strangers had to pay tax. After having clarified that in God’s eye he did not have to pay the Temple Tax nevertheless paid it so as not to offend the Temple Authorities. He shows Peter how to obtain the coin needed to pay for the Temple Tax of both Jesus and Peter.

Jesus’s prediction of Peter’s denial


Jesus predicted that all disciples will leave him the night of his arrest and that Peter will deny him three times. Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples. (Matthew 26:31-35) Peter thought that he was not weak as Jesus had told him and thought that he will be firmly with Jesus, even if some other disciples left Jesus.

Peter’s denial of Jesus


After Jesus was arrested Peter followed him from a distance to see what would happen to Jesus. Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:69-75) Only when Peter had denied Jesus three times he realized what Jesus has had earlier predicted. Now he knew his weakness and that broke him to know that he did not stand with his master at this time.

Lessons that can be learnt


  • Peter was always quick to react and sometimes it was not the best response.
  • Peter was very quick to say that he would not deny Jesus, but he could not fulfil that promise. So it is better not to make statements impulsively and later realize that we will not be able to do it.
  • Similarly, Peter was quick to jump into the water with Jesus to walk with Jesus. But in the water he lost the focus of Jesus and started to see the water and waves around him. We too should not look at the circumstances surrounding us and continue to look at Jesus so that we will be able to overcome the circumstance.

About this Post


This post is adapted from the Term Paper that I submitted to World Video Bible School as a part of my study of Matthew Course.

You can read about the Sin of Murmuring in Numbers from the earlier course of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy

You can read about The God I believe in here .

If you like my blogs please visit https://www.facebook.com/fjpandiaraj and like that page to be notified of my future posts in Facebook. You can also find links to my older posts there.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sin of Murmuring in Numbers

Introduction


The children of Israel were not happy with Moses and Aaron leading them to the Promised Land from Egypt. They constantly kept murmuring and complaining that they preferred the old life of slavery, compared to their experience in the wilderness, which would lead them to a life of freedom in the Promised Land of Israel.

What happened


The children of Israel were slaves in Egypt and were made to work hard for long hours for about 400 years. Hence they knew nothing about any other form of living and kept looking back to that familiar form of living and complained and murmured when things were different. Not having known freedom, they did know about why it was good, hence did not look forward to it.

Here are some of the instances recorded in the Book of Numbers where the children of Israel committed the sin of murmuring and complaining.
  • Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” (Numbers 11:4-6)
  • Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and the anger of the Lord was greatly aroused; Moses also was displeased. (Numbers 11:10)
  • But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Numbers 13:31-14:3)
  • Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report of the land, those very men who brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord (Numbers 14:36-37)
  • Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” (Numbers 21:4-5)

Why Murmuring



The above image is taken from here.

In Numbers 11:5 the children of Israel say that they “ate freely in Egypt”. It is possible that the Egyptians took care of providing the slaves prepared food so that the slaves did not have to worry about preparing food and would work long hours as the Egyptians wanted them to work. So except for food they did not know about any other pleasant things of life that God had freely provided.

In the Wilderness God had miraculously provided Manna every day and they could not see the miraculous provision of God and only craved for the food that they had been familiar with in Egypt. So instead of looking forward to a life of freedom in the Promised Land of Israel flowing with Milk and Honey they were looking back to a life of slavery in Egypt. They called the miracle daily provision of Manna by God as “worthless bread”.

They were slaves in Egypt and did not know what true freedom is like. So they were not prepared to take the land provided to them by God and thought of themselves as grasshoppers and the inhabitants of the land as giants and hence gave the children of Israel a bad report. The report of 10 spies discouraged more than 600,000 able bodied males above the age of 20 from going forward and owning the land that God had given them.

Application to our day


To us Egypt represents the World. So we should not focus on following and doing the things of the World. Just as the children of Israel were called to the Promised Land of freedom we should seek to do things that are in accordance with God’s way for our life and be liberated from being bound to the things of the World.

Lessons we can learn


Some of the lessons we can learn from the murmuring of children of Israel
  • We should not constantly complain because God is displeased with complaining.
  • We should not yield to intense craving.
  • We should not look back into the past but look forward to the ways that God leads us into.

About this Post


This post is adapted from the Term Paper that I submitted to World Video Bible School as a part of my study of Leviticus-Numbers-Deuteronomy Course.

You can read about the Life of Moses in Exodus from the earlier course of Exodus.

You can read about The God I believe in here.

If you like my blogs please visit https://www.facebook.com/fjpandiaraj and like that page to be notified of my future posts in Facebook. You can also find links to my older posts there.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Life of Moses in Exodus


Introduction


The book of Exodus is the second book in the Bible. Moses is the central figure in the accounts described in this book. This book was written by Moses around 1400 BC and he was also an eyewitness to almost all the accounts described in this book.

Birth and Life in Egypt


Moses was born in the tribe of Levi when the children of Israel were in captivity at Egypt. Amram and Jochebed were his parents. Miriam and Aaron were his siblings. Moses was born at a time when there was a command from the king of Egypt to his people regarding the children of Israel saying “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.” (Exodus 1:22). By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command (Hebrews 11:23)

When Jochebed could no longer hide the child, she made an ark of bulrushes and water-proofed it by coating it with asphalt and pitch and placed the child in it and laid the ark in the reeds by the river bank. She left his sister to watch what would happen to the child. When Pharaoh’s daughter came to take bath in the river, she saw the ark and asked her maidens to fetch it. When she opened the ark, she saw the weeping Hebrew baby and had compassion on it. The child’s sister came forward and asked Pharaoh’s daughter if she should fetch a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for her. When Pharaoh’s daughter asked her to go, she went and got the child’s mother Jochebed. Pharaoh’s daughter gave the child to her and asked her to nurse the child for her and promised wages for it. When the child grew Jochebed brought him back to the Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.” (Exodus 2:10). Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. (Acts 7:21-22). The daughters of Pharaoh were independent and ruled their own houses and had their own rules for their houses. Because of which Moses, even though a Hebrew son, required by the then Egyptian law to be cast into the river, could grow safely in the protected house of Pharaoh’s daughter.

Flight from Egypt


Even though Moses grew up as Pharaoh’s daughter’s son, he knew from the time that Jochebed nursed him, that he was not an Egyptian prince but that he was a Hebrew child. By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24-26)

God placed the right desires in Moses’ heart. Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. (Acts 7:23). And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. (Exodus 2:11-12). The anger within Moses arose against an Egyptian beating a Hebrew because he perceived it as an unrighteous act and made Moses to take the law into his own hands and act on it. He carefully looked around and saw that there was no one was around and in a premeditated manner murdered the Egyptian. Moses mistakenly thought that this was the way by which he would take the leadership to deliver the children of Israel from the Egyptians. For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand (Acts 7:25). The Hebrews did not see this act of Moses as that of a deliverer and exposed the murderous act of Moses to Egyptian authorities. When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian (Exodus 2:15). By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11:27). All the preparation of last 40 years of Moses life now seemed to have come to nothing as he went into hiding.

Life in Midian


Fleeing from Egypt Moses went and dwelt far away in Midian. Midianites were possibly the descendants of Midian, the son that Keturah bore to Abraham (Genesis 25:1-2). Jethro was the priest of Midian and had some knowledge of the God of Abraham. This is the reason that God led Moses to Jethro. Moses was content to live with Jethro and to shepherd his flocks. Later Moses married Zipporah, one of the seven daughters of Jethro. Zipporah bore Moses two sons and Moses named his sons Gershom and Eliezer.

God’s call to Moses


And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. (Acts 7:30). God said to Moses “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.” (Acts 7:34). But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). In the 40 years that Moses was in Midian, Moses had gone from prominence to obscurity and had mellowed down. Hence he was not enthusiastic in being the deliverer of the children of Israel and wanted God to send someone else. Earlier Moses had only heard about the God of his father and the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now for the first time he had a personal experience with the God of the children of Israel.

Moses in Egypt


After God’s call Moses returned to Egypt to deliver the children of Israel from Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart hence he would not let the children of Israel, who were a great slave force, used in building Egypt cities should be released so easily. So God dealt with Pharaoh and Egypt with a heavy hand that eventually Pharaoh let the children of Israel leave Egypt. God brought the following 10 plagues upon Egypt because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart through Moses and Aaron.
  • Waters become blood
  • Frogs
  • Lice
  • Flies
  • Livestock Diseased
  • Boils
  • Hail
  • Locusts
  • Darkness
  • Death of the firstborn
By means of these plagues the God of Israel passed judgement on the gods of Egypt by bringing judgement on the people who worshipped the gods of Egypt. This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. (Acts 7:35-36).

From Egypt to Sinai


Before the Hebrews left Egypt, God gave them the Passover regulations which was to be observed by the children of Israel when they would reach the promised land. When Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 13:17-18). The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people. (Exodus 13:21-22). By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. (Hebrews 11:29). In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. (Exodus 19:1).

Moses with God in Mount Sinai



At mount Sinai, where God had met Moses first time, God gave the law to the children of Israel. The 10 commandments that Moses received first from God at Mount Sinai are:
  • I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before me
  • You shall not make for yourself any carved image bow down to them nor serve them
  • You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
  • Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy
  • Honor your father and mother
  • You shall not murder
  • You shall not commit adultery
  • You shall not steal
  • You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
  • You shall not covet
In addition to these 10 commandments God also gave Moses secondary laws. This secondary laws of God were concerning:
  • The Law of the Altar
  • The Law Concerning Servants
  • The Law Concerning Violence
  • Animal Control Laws
  • Responsibility for Property
  • Moral and Ceremonial Principles
  • Justice for All
  • The Law of Sabbaths
  • Three Annual Feasts
In Mount Sinai God also showed Moses the plans for the Tabernacle. God gave detailed instructions of the various items of the Tabernacle and the procedures to be followed concerning the following:
  • Offerings for the Sanctuary
  • The Ark of the Testimony
  • The Table for the Showbread
  • The Gold Lampstand
  • The Tabernacle
  • The Altar of Burnt Offering
  • The Court of The Tabernacle
  • The Care of The Lampstand
  • Garments for the Priesthood
  • The Ephod
  • The Breastplate
  • Other Priestly Garments
  • Consecration of Aaron and his Sons
  • Daily Offerings
  • Altar of Incense
  • Ransom Money
  • Bronze Laver
  • Holy Anointing Oil
  • Incense
  • Sabbath Law
The children of Israel donated all the material needed for the Tabernacle. God had anointed artisans with special talents to make all the articles needed for the Tabernacle. According to God’s plan Moses oversaw all the work of making the Tabernacle and getting it to function.

Lessons learnt from the Life of Moses


  • Moses was chosen by God to lead the children of Israel into the promised land. Moses however did not wait for God’s time and hastened things by murdering an Egyptian who beat a Hebrew and God had to keep Moses in Midian for 40 years before he was ready to do God’s plan. We should wait on God’s time for our call and not enter into it at wrong time.
  • When God dealt with Pharaoh in Egypt Moses did all that God instructed him to do repeatedly. Every time God told Moses to do something, with patience he went about doing it. Once Moses knew God’s purpose he obeyed God in everything he did. We too should obey God in doing all that he has revealed for us to do.
  • Many times Moses pleaded with God for the mercy of the people of Israel. He always sought God to lead the children of Israel on their movement from Egypt. We too should seek God’s leading in all our plans.

About this post


This post is adapted from the Term Paper that I submitted to World Video Bible School as a part of my study of Exodus Course. You can read about the Life of Abraham from the earlier course of Genesis.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Life of Abraham

Introduction


In the Bible Abraham is an important Patriarch. The three major monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam have written accounts about Abraham. The Hebrew Bible, from which Jesus Christ often quote, is exactly the same Bible as the Christian Old Testament, though with the books organized little differently. The narrative about Abraham is found in the first book of the Old Testament called Genesis. Genesis deals with beginnings, like the creation of the world, the beginning of life, the beginning of mankind, the introduction of sin and death, the promise of redemption through Jesus Christ, the beginning of languages, the beginning of nations etc. The Bible describes accounts about real men and women who had real communications and dealings with real God and does not deal with activities of imaginary heroes. Genesis was written by Moses around 1400 BC and covers a period of about 2500 years of history. Major portion of Genesis deals with the life and times of 4 Patriarchs, i.e. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. In this post we will examine the life of Abraham and his interaction with God in the book of Genesis. From the various historical information and accounts that we have before us, it is estimated that Abraham was born roughly around 2000 years before Christ.

Family from Mesopotamia


Abraham, whose birth name was Abram, was born to his father Terah in Ur of the Chaldeans, located in Mesopotamia, which was in modern-day Iraq. Abram had two brothers named Nahor and Haran. Haran had a son named Lot. Haran died before his father in his native land, Ur of the Chaldeans. Abram married Sarai and Nahor married Milcah, the daughter of Haran. Sarai was barren and she had no child. Terah took Abram, Lot, and Sarai and left Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan. On the way they settled down at Haran. Terah died while they were in Haran.

God’s call to Abram


While Abram was in Ur of the Chaldeans, God called him the first time to come out of Ur of the Chaldeans to inherit the land of Canaan (Gen 15:7). The God of glory appeared to Abram in Mesopotamia and said ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you’ (Acts 7:3).

God had said to Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family, And from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Gen 12:1). Abram knew the direction that they had been going, but did not know the place in which he would finally be. God had given a seven-fold blessing to Abram for obedience (Gen 12:2-3).
  • I will make you a great nation
  • I will bless you
  • I will make your name great
  • You shall be a blessing
  • I will bless those who bless you
  • I will curse him who curses you
  • In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed

Abram by faith obeyed God’s command by departing from his native land as God had spoken to him. Lot too went with Abram. Abram departed from Haran with Sarai, Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered and the people whom they had acquired in Haran to go to the land of Canaan. Now Abram was 75 years old and in his middle age it is certainly a challenge for him to leave his comfort zone behind and take the leap of faith and move over to a new place, new culture and re-establish himself. It is his faith alone that makes it possible for him to make this move.

Wandering in the land of Canaan


Though God called Abram into the land of Canaan, he did not settle permanently in any specific place in the land of Canaan. He lived in tents and kept moving from place to place. The first place that he pitched his tent was Shechem in the Oak tree plains of Mamre and lived there with the Canaanites. He built an altar to God in every place that he stayed in the land of Canaan including Shechem. Next he moved to the mountain region and stayed in the mountain with Bethel to the East and Ai to the West. From there he kept travelling into the desert region in the South. From there he went to Egypt to survive the famine that was then in the land of Canaan. From Egypt through the south desert region he returned back to the mountain between Bethel and Ai. Here Abram and Lot separated because the land could not support both their livestock together with the Canaanites and Perizzites then living there. After Lot separated from him, Abram moved once again to the plains of Mamre in Hebron.



It seems that Abram never stayed in any one place for very long time. It could be because of the large livestock that he had to move from place to place to provide for the livestock. In this process he seems to have gone all over the land of Canaan that God had promised to him and his descendants forever.

God’s expanded land promise to Abram


God continued to communicate with Abram in the land of Canaan throughout his wanderings. In the plain of Mamre God appeared to Abram and promised “To your descendants I will give this land.”(Gen 12:7). Earlier the scope of God’s land promise to Abram seemed to be limited to Abram alone. Now that promised is expanded to include his descendants.

After Lot had separated, God said to Abram “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” (Gen 13:14-17). Now the promise of further expanded. The earlier promises did not say what the size of land would be. Now all the land that he could view from the mountaintop is promised to Abram and to his descendants and the period is expanded to be forever. The promise is also expanded to say that his descendants will be very large and a large land would be needed to contain such a large number of descendants. God’s command to walk in the land through its length and breadth could also be reason why Abram widely traveled through the land of Canaan.

God made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.” (Gen 15:18-20). This covenant specified the extend of the land and the people who were living in that land of Canaan then. As long as Abram lived he had not acquired any property in the land of Canaan, except for the burial place to bury his dead in the field of Machpelah in Hebron.

Abraham’s heir


Abram’s wife Sarai was barren and she had no child. God had promised to Abram “One who will come from your own body shall be your heir Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. So shall your descendants be.” (Gen 15:4-5). Even after Abram had lived in the land of Canaan for 10 years he still had no heir. So Sarai gave her Egyptian maid Hagar as wife to Abram and Hagar bore his son Ishmael when Abram was 86 years old.

When Abram was 99 years old God appeared to him and said "You shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Gen 17:4-8).

God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and 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 child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. (Gen 17:9-13).

God further said “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” (Gen 17:15-16).

Abraham circumcised all the members of his household as a sign of the covenant with God. Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised. Ishmael was 13 years when he was circumcised.

As God had promised, In her old age Sarah conceived and gave birth to a son and called him Isaac. Abraham circumcised Isaac on the eighth day as a sign of the covenant. Abraham was 100 year old when Isaac was born.

God tests Abraham’s faith


God told Abraham “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Gen 22:2). God had earlier promised Abraham that his promise would be fulfilled by the son born to Abraham and Sarah. Here God was asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac born to Sarah as a burnt offering.

Abraham believed God and thought that even if Isaac was sacrificed God would be able to raise up Isaac again as many promises that God had made to Abraham had to be fulfilled through Isaac. So early next morning he left for the land of Moriah with Isaac, two young men with donkeys and split wood for sacrifice. When they neared the site of sacrifice he left the men behind with the donkeys and made Isaac carry the wood.

At the site, Abraham made an altar and arranged the wood. Then he tied Isaac to the altar and raised up his knife to kill Isaac. From heaven angel of God called Abraham to stop killing Isaac. By this Abraham confirmed to God that he feared and obeyed God since he did not withhold his only son from God.

God confirmed his blessings on Abraham further by saying “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Gen 22:16-18).

Death and burial of Sarah and Abraham


When Sarah was 127 years old she died in Hebron, in the land of Canaan. To bury Sarah Abraham bought the cave at Machpelah in Mamre for 400 pieces of Silver. Here Abraham buried Sarah.

Abraham lived a very good and a long life and died in his old age of 175 years. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried Abraham in the cave of Machpelah where Sarah was buried.

Lessons learnt from Abraham’s Life


  • Abraham had a close relationship with God and he obeyed all that God required of him. He also taught his family all that he learnt from God.
  • Circumcised all the male members of his house as soon as he made the covenant with God
  • When God called Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, he did not hesitate and believed that even if Isaac died God would raise him up because of the promises that God had given to Abraham about Isaac.
  • He cared for the lives of people in Sodom and Gomorrah that negotiated with God from 50 righteous to 10 righteous people to stop him from destroying the cities.

About this Post


This post is adapted from the Term Paper that I submitted to World Video Bible School as a part of my study of Genesis Course. I joined this Online Bible School as a Formal Student on 18th May 2016. It took me almost one month to complete the Genesis Course. As a part of this course I had to study the Book of Genesis and two other books The Global Flood of Noah, and Creation Compromises and complete 4 exams and one Term Paper. This is the first course that I have completed. I have got to work on 44 more courses to study all the books of the Bible.

This course by World Video Bible School is free to register. Auditing Students can only watch the Online Videos and do not have access to the course notes and additional online books. The Informal Students can take the courses in any order they please and would have access to course notes and have to take examinations to receive Completion Certificate. The Formal Students will have to follow the prescribed order of courses.

I also found from YouTube the Online Videos by Great Commission Bible Institute. This Play List has more than 250 Videos of 2015 Class Sessions chronologically arranged to cover all the books of the Bible. I watched relevant GCBI Videos to gain additional teaching in addition to WVBS teaching. Both the teachings put together gives a wider understanding of the books of the Bible. You too can watch these video teachings of the Bible and be blessed.

You can read about the God that I believe in from my earlier blog The GOD I believe in.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Niece Gloria

I want to write a few words about my niece, Gloria, in this blog; but I have no clear thoughts as to what should I write about her.

Gloria lived for a little more than 22 years and I never knew who she was or what was she like on the inside. I only saw her body grow from that of a baby to that of a woman. Her mind remained locked in some far remote babyhood.

Gloria was born on the Indian Independence Day of 1992, but she never experienced any independence in her life. Some time in her early babyhood her brain was damaged due to Congenital Hydrocephalus. So she had no mental growth since then and had to be cared for her whole life like a baby by her parents. Only the constant attention and the love of the parents sustained her.

Suddenly she passed away on the early morning of 20th November. I could not be present at the funeral held on the same day in Mumbai. The family had arranged for a prayer meeting in memory of Gloria on 23rd and I was present in it. Normally in any memorial prayer meetings, tributes are paid by couple of people who knew the loved one well. In this case there were no customary tributes as there was no one who knew Gloria really well except for the parents. That left some sort of void in the inner me and this blog is an attempt to fill that void for my personal satisfaction.

In all our places of public activities we only see those that are healthy and active around us. I am aware of others like Gloria who could never go out of their houses. There is a section of people in every society that cannot take part in the ordinary day to day activities of the society around them. Quite often we are not aware of such people in society who need constant care and cannot fully be part of the society.

As a Bible believing Christian my thoughts go back to the period of the Bible when Jesus Christ lived in the flesh on this Earth and healed everyone who came to Him. And the number of people who came to Him for healing were in multitudes. In spite of all the advances in Medical Care and Insurance etc. there is always a section of society that cannot participate in the main stream activities of the society. The healing power of Jesus Christ is even now relevant as it was then.

I know there are many who have prayed for the healing of Gloria. Even I have prayed from time to time for Gloria's healing. I believe that the real Gloria is spiritually alive and that she is much more aware of herself now than during her time here on Earth.

The Bible in Isaiah 57:1-2  says
1-2 Meanwhile, right-living people die
    and no one gives them a thought.
God-fearing people are carted off
    and no one even notices.
The right-living people are out of their misery,
    they’re finally at rest.
They lived well and with dignity
    and now they’re finally at peace.

These verses bring me an assurance that now Gloria is out of her misery, is at rest and at peace.

This is the testimony that someone gave about Gloria to her mother. "Gloria is now in God's presence and is glorifying God".  I say Amen to that because she is now alive and active in that part of the world where she is. Glory be to God for the life of Gloria!



Monday, May 19, 2014

Basic lessons from The Bible for the Aam Aadmi Party

Aam Aadmi Party's Gamble


In February I wrote a blog about how the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal, had gambled away the Delhi Government for greater gains in a newly elected term. It is still too early to say about the results of this gamble.

AAP in National Elections


One of the reasons for the AAP to abandon the Delhi Government was to focus on the national elections without being tied down to administer the Delhi Government. Now the results are out and the AAP has got 4 seats out of the 434 seats it contested for in the national elections.

Count Your Costs


One thought in my mind is that AAP basically started doing things without counting its costs as advised by Jesus in the Bible. In Luke 14:28-30 The Bible says:

28-30 “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’

This teaching expressed in The Bible 2000 years ago very clearly reflects in what has happened to AAP. Because AAP did not count its costs today there are many who poke fun at AAP. The AAP possibly has laid a foundation, but they are going to take much longer time and more resources to get the 100 plus seats that they were expecting initially in this election. Certainly AAP started some thing in the national election that it could not finish.

Judge Your Strength


Just because Arvind Kejriwal managed to defeat the former Chief Minister in the Delhi Assembly elections, the AAP leaders thought that they can repeat the performance in national elections. In Luke 14:31-32 The Bible says:

31-32 “Can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?

AAP leaders Kumar Viswas and Arvind Kejriwal competed directly against leaders of two other national parties. Kumar Viswas came 4th and got only 2.92% of the votes, while the winner got 46.72%. The AAP mobilized all its national resources just for Arvind Kejriwal and he got only 20.3% of the votes, while the winner got 56.37%. The AAP leaders clearly did not judge their strengths and weaknesses of fighting national elections.


David and Goliath


I have seen some comparisons where AAP is referred to as young David fighting the giant Goliath described in The Bible. You can read The Bible incident in 1 Samuel 17. In The Bible event Goliath throws the challenge and David fights the challenge because it was against the God of Israel. What we have seen is the weak AAP throwing challenge to the established political parties and losing because they had no unseen support like the God of Israel in The Bible event.



You can read more about this God of The Bible that I believe in from an earlier blog of mine, "The GOD I believe in".

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I am learning about Diabetes - It is dangerous

Why this blog?


In a recent blog I mentioned about my elevated blood sugar level and about the reversibility of Diabetes. In another blog I mentioned about how health can be improved by changing our food. I have been spending many hours since then on the Internet reading and watching YouTube videos to understand more about Diabetes and its relationship to food. I am writing this blog post for my reference and for others who may like to know the significant truths that I am learning about Diabetes. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: ..."

Reverse Diabetes or die 10 years early


One important truth that I learnt about Diabetes is that if you follow the standard Diabetes medical routine your life expectancy is reduced by about 10 years. Check Diabetes Life Expectancy and many other such sites. This truth was brought close home during the last week of February when my brother-in-law Stephen, who was only 64, passed away due to a stroke. Another brother-in-law Ranjit passed away in August 2010, when he was only 60, due to the complications caused by Diabetes. To those who claim that Diabetes is hereditary and it is in the genes, I like to state that Stephen and Ranjit's mother passed away when she was 70 and their father when he was 87. The urban food habits of our generation are destroying our lives fast and it is not allowing us to live even as long as our parents had lived. What makes Diabetes appear hereditary is that we acquire our food habits often from our parents and it is our faulty modern urban food habits that are responsible for onset of Diabetes. Both Stephen and Ranjit were born in urban Delhi and lived all their life in urban Delhi. Stephen, for some years lived away from Delhi, but again in environments where food habits were that of urban cities.


Why Diabetes kills?


Even though I have been studying about Diabetes for some weeks now, only some days ago, I learnt the real truth about the damage that Diabetes causes. Most of the material on Diabetes talk about blood sugar level, insulin etc. and do not give the real reason for the damage that elevated blood sugar level causes.

The Bible in Leviticus 17:11 states that "For the life of the flesh is in the blood ..." Various urban medical conditions like Diabetes, Heart attacks, Strokes, Hypertension etc. have to do with abnormal blood flow in the body and often start with elevated blood sugar.

When blood glucose level rises, pancreas will release insulin for the body cells to remove glucose by binding it to insulin from the blood stream and turn it into energy in the cell mitochondria. In case of a diabetic the body cells have excess fat in the cells that block the glucose removal process. So the glucose and insulin continue to build up in the blood stream. The high glucose concentration damages tiny capillaries. Since capillaries are throughout the body, damage takes place all over the body. This is how elevated blood sugar causes damage to the body. Since capillary damages cannot be felt, someone may have elevated blood sugar for years and may not know about it. Check the link capillaries and diabetes. Also check this Complications of Diabetes link which says that even nerve damage can take place throughout the body. Physical activity increases the glucose removal from the blood stream.

This image of the capillary is taken from http://clinicalscienceblogcatherine.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/capillary.jpg

I think even the above description is very simplified and the human body being very complex must have many other effects due to insulin resistance, the primary cause of Type 2 Diabetes.


Reversing Diabetes


Diabetes is basically a life style disease and it does not have any other causes like germs etc. Hence it is possible to reverse diabetes by reversing some of the earlier life style decisions that led to diabetes. I have found 4 doctors whose practice of reversing diabetes very useful. They are Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. John A McDougall, Dr. Neal Bernard and Dr. Don Colbert. Some of these doctors over a period of years have successfully reversed diabetes in thousands of patients. All the reversal is largely brought about by changing the diet of their patients. Each of these doctors follow slightly different diet plan for their patients. Based upon their recommendations I am trying to follow a Vegan diet plan and have already found complete improvement in Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and some improvement with blood sugar level. I am now trying to eliminate the medicine for blood sugar level control completely. The only problem is that the doctor I consult (a diabetic himself) does not believe that diabetes is reversible and can only be controlled with medicine.


Natural sweetener Stevia


There are lot of artificial sweeteners that many diabetics use in place of sugar with their tea or coffee. What I have read about these artificial sweeteners are not good. Which searching through the Internet I stumbled upon a natural sweetener called Stevia. I even found that there is a company in Noida that packages this natural sweetener in form of tablets which are convenient to use with tea or coffee. Additional details can be found from their website.