Part 23, ABRAHAM'S TEMPTATION AND DEPARTURE

We do not know what happened to Lot other than he fathered the babies of his 2 daughters which grew up to found the nations of Moab and Ammon who would turn out to be Israel's enemies. The Bible is also silent as to what happened to Lot's daughters.

(Gen. 20:1) We do know Abraham journeyed from Hebron toward the south country and dwelled between Kadesh (sanctuary, a place in the desert, a wilderness) and Shur (a desert east of Egypt) and sojourned (to turn aside, shrink in fear, to gather for hostilities as afraid, to be a guest) in Gerar (a rolling country, a Philistine city). (Gen. 26:1) Abimelech was the king of the Philistines. (Gen 20:2-18) The fundamentals of the experience of Abraham, Sarah and Pharaoh were repeated with Abimelech because:

Once again Abraham didn't believe God would take care of him, he lied to protect himself, let another man take Sarah, God put a curse on the Philistines, rescued Sarah without harm, Abimelech gave Abraham great riches, reproved them of their sin, told them to live where they wanted to in his kingdom and he was glad to see them go.

It hurt Abraham much worse to fail God this time than it had with Pharaoh and it took him a while to finally understand the reason, he loved God much more than he had before, he actually felt like (James 2:23) he was God's friend (Greek word- philos which means to be fond of, an associate, to be kindly affectioned) and he had the sinking feeling he had failed his Friend with whom he was in covenant.

This part about Nimrod is not in the Holy Bible. The information was obtained from an ancient rabbinical writing called a Midrash. The Midrash simply gave the facts and the people involved but not the story. Archaeological excavations, ancient historical records on clay tablets and on carved stones provided other information. Where this story coincides with or parallels scripture the scripture is given.

Satan had aided Nimrod all he could to establish a quasi-religious, false god worshipping Babylonian system in the Chaldees. The soldier who informed Nimrod of Chedorlaomer's defeat by Abram had also told him Abram had accomplished the impossible with 318 trained servants. The soldier never mentioned the Almighty Lord God because Nimrod was his god. Nimrod was never shy about settling old scores and protecting his kingdom.

The Yazidis could attest to that because Nimrod had gone back to destroy and scatter them after his defeat at their hands (Part 18). His astrologers had informed him Abram, born of Terah, would destroy his kingdom (Part 15). Nimrod, the hunter, understood only one thing; destroy what threatened him before it could destroy him. It was the way he lived, thought and breathed, and that was how he had united the kingdoms in the Chaldees.

Neither man, Abram nor Nimrod, knew the far reaching results of their actions thousands of years after each man died was when (Rev. 17:1-18) the quasi-religious system Nimrod had founded and Satan controlled would grow into what God called a (V.1) great whore (V. 2 & 18) controlling world finances, business enterprise, politics, various religions including parts of the church, entertainment and war making resources that God named Babylon the Great.

The seed of Abraham, (Rev. 17:14 keyword: overcome) the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, the Lord of lords, the King of kings would overcome Babylon the Great as was prophesied (Gen. 3:15) at the beginning in the Garden of Eden.

"Nimrod, 10 to 1, 10 to 1, make it 10 to 1." "I think I'll make the odds 10 to 1. Abram has 318 trained servants to fight his war and he fights right along with them so that's 319. He must have used some new type of strategy or trickery." Nimrod gathered a force of 3,190 of the most loyal, bravest, strongest, toughest, smartest, most battle hardened, very best veteran soldiers he had.

Within that force were 6 of the most intelligent, best battle tacticians, most loyal, bravest, most battle hardened, most experienced veteran captains he had ever commanded. It was a formidable war machine in any situation or circumstance.

They were a magnificent sight as they left the huge walled city of Babylon located 53 miles south of where a city named Baghdad, Iraq would be built in the far future. Nimrod, the huge hunter/warrior/king/god of Babylon led the procession riding his huge pale stallion. The streets were lined with cheering, frenzied well-wishers and bands of musicians thumping out martial music. Behind him his 6 lieutenants rode abreast in all their splendor of armor, weapons and gallant banners of victories past.

Behind them were 398 ranks of 8 soldiers abreast, each marching one rank behind the other in a seeming unending line of the best soldiers Babylon could produce. Behind them came the teamsters, herders, cooks and etc. with the long supply train of wagons, carts, oxen, camels, horses, mules, donkeys and sheep and goats for fresh food. Satan was extremely proud of his army and his servant Nimrod. Yes, he virulently hated every one of them but they were his.

On his pale stallion proud Nimrod passed between the guardians of the Ishtar gate, a huge, truculent, stone bull on one side and a huge, snarling, stone lion on the other. Then he passed between the guardians of the city, a stylized, terrifying, stone dragon on each side. They were Satan's favorites. At the far crest of a line of small hills Nimrod looked back at his mighty city. Nimrod scarcely noticed that the tail of his column was just now leaving Babylon.

Nimrod was looking at what he considered one of his greatest achievements. He was especially proud of the huge, normally busy seaport he had built on the Euphrates River that made Babylon a trading hub between the far reaching inland kingdoms and the kingdoms around the shores of what would be named the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. He was proud of the richness of his walled city that covered 1,600 acres. It was Satan's favorite city in the whole world.

Nimrod could see no end for his wonderful city of Babylon nor could he ever imagine his own life would end. He was Nimrod! He would be chagrined had he known, after his death, his great physical kingdom would be conquered many times by people like the Hittites, the Assyrians, and the Persians. His face would have turned bright red and he would have been overcome with rage had he known a king named Nebuchadnezzar would rebuild a new Babylon on the wasted ruins of Nimrod's Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar's wall would encompass 2,200 acres and he would build one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, for his Persian concubine so it would remind her of her home in Persia. No, Nimrod could never imagine a world that did not bow to him; he was Nimrod!

Shem walked out the East Gate of Salem in the predawn darkness to watch the dawning of the day. He loved to watch the sunrise in the eastern sky. At the exact instant the sun chinned itself on top of the far mountains Melchizedek appeared. (John 8:12 keywords: I am the light of the world) As he bowed to the ground Shem could not help but wonder; "Its as if Melchizedek is the light of the world."

Shem worshipped Melchizedek and; (John 20:28 keywords: my Lord and my God) "My Lord and my God thou wouldest greatly honor me if thou wouldest dine in my house this day's morning." Melchizedek touched Shem's head and spoke softly; (John 21:12-13 keywords: come and dine) "This day we shall take bread together at thine table and I shall feed thee."

(John 2:5) Shem was surprised when Melchizedek quietly ordered Shem's servants to prepare their morning meal and Shem was somehow filled with a gladness that Melchizedek had taken over his house. (John 6:32-33 keywords: giveth life then V.35 keywords: I am the bread of life) Their food came, Melchizedek ordered them to set it on the table and retire.

Melchizedek blessed the food and made special mention of the bread, quietly broke the bread and handed Shem a large portion and again He laid His hand upon Shem's head; "Shem, I bring thee the bread of life, take, eat, it shall sustain thee through thy trial." Shem looked into Melchizedek's eyes, he saw an ancient wisdom in their depths and suddenly he felt more loved than he'd ever felt in his life. Shem had the distinct feeling some secret ceremony had been performed and he had been part of a ritual he did not understand.

Of course Shem didn't know what electricity was at that time in history but had he known he would have used it in his description because: When he bit into the bread a jolt of something went through him! He looked with surprise into Melchizedek's kind eyes; "Eat Shem, it shall sustain thee." Suddenly Shem felt as if he were starving and it was all he could do to maintain good manners and not wolf the bread down.

They ate in silence and when Shem swallowed the last mouthful it was the first time in his life he felt exactly full, not too much, not too little, exactly right. He was so filled with strength, energy and health he felt he might start vibrating because of some strange power. It was that exact moment a frightened servant came with urgent news. "Master, an army is at thine gate!"

(Gen. 2:7) Satan had long ago seen Melchizedek in Eden (at the end of Part 1) and Satan had fled from Salem when Melchizedec arrived. Now he whispered, then screamed, then cursed at Nimrod to stay away from Salem because he knew who was there but Nimrod paid no attention to Satan's shrieks of warning and Satan, the real king of Babylon, fled. Is this a prophesy of (Isa. 14:1-14 esp. V.4 & 12) which is a prophesy of (Rev. 17:1-5)? Of course not, its fiction. Maybe!

Melchizedek waited in the gate while Shem stepped a few paces beyond and stared at the impressive array of armed and armored soldiers spread in the sunlight there before the walls of Salem. At their head sat Nimrod, large, forbidding and terrible, on the back of a huge pale horse. (Gen. 10:6-8) "Greetings Nimrod, grandson of my brother Ham." Nimrod slid lithely to the ground and stood tall and menacing in his warrior's regalia. "Why hast thou ridden so far from thine home Nimrod?"

Nimrod radiated a dangerous, eager ferocity when he answered; "I've come to kill Abram." "Abram is no longer Abram, my Almighty Lord God changed his name to Abraham." "HAH! Father of a multitude! I hope he has been busy for he shall father no more brats." "Abraham, hath fathered no son but he will, my Lord God hath decreed it to be so."

Nimrod's face reddened, his eyes went mad with fury and his words were like driven nails coming at Shem; "I spit on thy Almighty Lord God! May He live in a dunghill! I am a god, I have decreed that Abraham will die, my blade is thirsty for his blood and his seed shalt die within him!"

Had Nimrod noticed the utter and absolute coldness emanating from Melchizedec's flashing eyes he might have abandoned his folly. We will never know because Nimrod never noticed. (Ezek. 43:1-9 & 44:1-3 keywords: gate that looketh toward the east) Shem gritted out; "Nimrod of Babylon, this day thou shall die in thine own blood here in the dirt before the east gate, (Rev. 20:7-9 keywords: beloved city) the Messiah's gate of Jerusalem. Servant, bring me my sword!" Nimrod took several steps toward Shem, unsheathed his own sword and; "Old man, this day shall thy moldy old bones bleach under yon sun."

NOTE: (Luke 19:35-48 esp. V.37 keywords: mount of Olives) The mount of olives directly faces the East Gate of Jerusalem and from that mount Jesus made his triumphant entry through the East Gate into Jerusalem, cleansed the temple and taught there daily. The Jewish temple sat directly in front of the East Gate and when a person entered that gate the temple was the first thing seen. Ancient Rabbinical writings and Jewish tradition states Messiah shall enter the East Gate and He did.

SO: (Ezek. 44:2 keywords: this gate shall be shut) In 1541 the Muslim Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, of the Ottoman Empire, sealed the East Gate and planted a cemetery in front of it so no Jew would enter there. Christian literature refers to it as the Golden Gate, Jews used to pray for mercy there and they called it the Gate of Mercy. Archaeologists recently found what they think is the original East Gate buried under the present, walled up East Gate.

Until his dying day Shem would always deny using the words Messiah's gate of Jerusalem. Those who heard him always swore he did say those exact words and Shem would hotly reply; "How could I have said them, I don't know what Messiah's gate of Jerusalem means and you don't either." The only things they could agree on were their walled town's name was not Jerusalem, it was Salem and Salem's gate was not Messiah's Gate, it was the east gate. At least in their time it was called the east gate of Salem.

Then, man against man, sword against sword, blood kin against blood kin, Shem and Nimrod fought there in the rapidly bloodying dust of Canaan, just outside of Salem, in front of the eastern gate. Shem launched an attack that culminated in a wicked thrust at Nimrod's heart. Nimrod parried the blow and whirled his blade in a vicious ark meant to remove Shem's head.

Shem dropped to his left hand and his body was almost parallel with the ground as the sword swished above him, he moved his feet in a run of an astonishing suppleness considering he was on his side, supporting himself and pivoting on his left hand as he ran in a partial circle and slashed Nimrod's mighty thigh. It was a bloody but not disabling wound and both men were surprised.

Nimrod had never seen such a move and Shem couldn't believe he had been strong enough and flexible enough to accomplish it and then use his feet in tiny steps to whirl into a rising to his feet, where he crouched, alert and weaving his body to confuse Nimrod, with his sword at the ready.

Had there been any there who were old enough to have seen Nimrod fight the bull (Part 12) they would have instantly drawn the parallel how much this fight was like that one except in this fight Nimrod was the huge well-muscled bull and Shem was like a matador. Nobody had ever seen a man Shem's age move like he did, as a matter of fact they had never seen a young man move like Shem did either (John 6:35) but when one has eaten the Bread of Life from heaven (Titus 2:14) it turns one into a peculiar person.

Nimrod strove mightily to cut Shem limb from limb, to cut out his heart and spit on it but it was as if his sword chased a flitting hummingbird. But this hummingbird had a stinger and, when he could, Shem slashed Nimrod here and there as they fought. Nimrod was too strong and too quick for Shem to land a deadly sword stroke so he struck when he could to make Nimrod bleed. "I'll wear him down!"

Nimrod was strong and tough, quick and willing but he had an awful, sinking sensation he was trying to cut his own sword's shadow, then he got lucky. They came together in a whirl of thrust and parry. As Shem was spinning away the point of Nimrod's sword punched a shallow wound into Shem's side and Nimrod groaned in disappointment; (John 19:34) "If I'd had a spear I could have gotten it into his body cavity and killed him. My sword was too short!" They came to grips holding each other's sword arms.

The observers were astonished; Nimrod stood head and shoulders above Shem. His huge arms and hands were much longer and larger and rippled with mighty power yet Shem held his own with the larger, stronger man! (John 19:2-5) Nimrod head butted Shem and he staggered backward with several bleeding wounds around Shem's hairline on his forehead from the projections on Nimrod's helmet but Shem held on with a terrible tenacity and dragged Nimrod with him.

(Psa. 22:16 & Luke 24:39-40 keywords in both: hands and feet) As they pushed, pivoted, strove, struggled and staggered Nimrod's forearm guards raked Shem's hands and tore spike-like puncture wounds into them. Shem grimaced in pain when Nimrod stomped Shem's feet with his soldier's boots and the iron brads made wounds like nail holes. They separated and circled, bloody, wounded and gasping for air.

Finally Shem battered at Nimrod's guard, feinted to draw Nimrod's sword one way, then drove his sword through the opening in Nimrod's guard and violently buried his sword into Nimrod's huge chest so hard the point exited his back. Nimrod stood transfixed, looking down at Shem's hand holding the sword hilt, a weakness claimed him and he was barely able to raise his head. His dying eyes looked into Shem's and he saw no victory in them, just a sadness. Shem rapidly withdrew his blade and stepped back.

Nimrod gagged out a gout of blood that drooled down over his chin and joined that pumping from his chest, he fell, quivered and jerked in his death throes, dying in his own blood just as Shem had said he would. Then the darkness enveloped Nimrod, awful spiritual talons clutched him and for the first time in his life Nimrod was terribly afraid. (Rev. 19:16-20) The king of Babylon who wanted to be a god had died just outside the East Gate at a walled city named Salem and his god, Satan, took him. Was this fight a prophesy of (Rev. 17:3-14)? Of course not, its fiction. Maybe.

Shem's energy depletion was complete, he was suffering extreme blood loss, he barely clung to life as he sagged to his knees in the bloody, torn dust beside his fallen enemy and whispered; "I'm dying!" Every cell in his body was screaming desperately for more oxygen, he drew great, gasping breaths but he couldn't feel the air drawn into his raw, burning lungs. He was covered with smeared sweat, dirt and blood; "I'm dying!" Both hands held to his sword hilt, its point was driven into the earth, (1Cor. 1:18) it looked like a cross and he leaned upon it from his kneeling position.

Blood poured in scarlet streams and smeared stains from his head, side, hands and feet! He lowered his head, closed his eyes and fought bitterly for more air, he totally collapsed against his cross and then Shem knew nothing. His servants rushed to him and tenderly lifted him up; "I think he's dead!" and they gently carried his limp, bloody body back into Salem to Shem's house.

Melchizedek shooed the servants away and ministered unto Shem's wounds himself. As life came back to him Shem swam upward through the blur, became aware of the light, gained his vision, his brain started working; "I feel a touching." and he saw Melchizedek washing the smeared blood, sweat and dirt from his body. The bleeding had stopped! Melchizedek raised His head from His work of renewing and looked into Shem's eyes.

(Isa. 53:3 keywords: despised, rejected, man of sorrows, acquainted with grief) Shem was stuck dumb by the ancient, tragic, lonely, grief stricken expression in Melchizedek's melancholy eyes and Shem could not help but cry out; "I love thee my Lord and my God". Melchizedek's eyes grew warm and tender, the lonely look was gone and He spoke softly; "I know thou doest, My friend, and likewise love I thee.

On the morrow when thou awakenest thy wounds shall be healed (John 20:24-25) but the scars in thy hands, thy feet, thy side and thy head will remain." Melchizedek left that morning and the residents of Salem felt a beautiful goodness had departed with Him. Was Shem's wounds and return to life a prophesy of (Luke 24:1-8)? What about (Ezek. 37:1-14)? Of course not, its fiction. Maybe.

Nimrod's army had no leader and thus no cause. They loaded Nimrod's huge body into a wagon and they started toward Sodom to obtain salt but from a notch in the ridgeline of the Hebron Hills they saw the utter devastation of the Plain of Jordan, their jaws dropped and they stared until someone spoke softly; "Sodom and Gomorrah are gone". Satan joined them after they turned back north, stopped at the northern end of the Dead Sea and started packing Nimrod's body in salt; "Our Queen Mother of Heaven, Semiramis, and her son Enshakushanna will want to bury him in Babylon."

Satan was already studying the lieutenants for a new leader! We both know why their great goddess had to bury her great god husband just like any other earthly widow don't we? Just 2 people with an inflated view of themselves. The plain of Jordan was beyond the 46 mile length of the Dead Sea yet they could smell the stink of burnt brimstone on the wind. They sullenly retreated on toward Babylon. Satan was sullen too, he hadn't found another Nimrod.

(Gen. 20:1-18) After Abraham's spectacular failure in the land of the Philistines he repented. He hated himself; "Oh Lord God Almighty, I have failed thee once again in that I failed to stay in Canaan as thou told me to do. I went unto the Philistine land and was afraid. There I once more failed to trust thee that thou would protect me and give me a son and I lied to Abimelech, the Philistine king."

"Oh Lord God, once more thou exposed me for what I am, yet out of thy goodness and mercy thou hast enriched me and blessed me. I am ashamed as I kneel before thee, I am sorry I have caused such a great distance between thee and me and I ask thee to forgive me. Amen." No, it's not in the Bible. But have you ever had to say that kind of prayer? Yeah, me to.

(Gen. 21:1-8) Abraham reclined on the sleeping robes in their tent. Sarah was performing her evening bath and Abraham was amazed at how beautiful she was in the glow of their oil lamps; "Its no wonder Abimelech was so taken with her, even at her age she's so very beautiful." He felt a surging pressure within him but he knew her well of sex had gone dry. She slowly dried and the lamp behind her showed her in full profile. It almost appeared as if she was tempting him and Abraham suddenly felt like he did on their wedding night.

They snuggled together in their robes and simply felt the oneness of themselves. Finally she whispered; "I think the Lord God Almighty has visited me as He promised. (Gen. 18:10) My time of the month (menstrual cycle) has returned. I did not believe it possible at my age then I remembered when Melchizedek was talking to you outside the tent door (Gen. 18:14) and he said; "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" I was afraid to mention it until I was sure. My time of the month was finished 12 days ago and I am due again in 16 days if my old schedule is still followed. As HE said, my well of life is once more flowing."

(Gen. 21:1-2) Her breath on his neck was warm and her voice was throaty with passion; "I want you Abraham." She did not have to say it twice. The next 2 weeks were as when they were first married and one of Abraham's male servants wondered if they were ill because they spent so much time in their tent. The female servants rolled their eyes at each other, giggled and whispered among themselves. They had not missed the rosy glow of Sarah's cheeks nor the way Abraham's eyes had lovingly followed her every move the few times they were outside the tent. Satan hadn't found a leader and now this; "I hate Abraham!"

Abraham was overjoyed when Sarah informed him she was with child. He loved Ishmael but this child was with Sarah, his wife! (Gen. 17:19) Abraham spent many hours in the following months with his head or hands on Sarah's ever growing belly as he felt the surging life movements of his rapidly growing promised son.

In their abounding joy neither of them noticed Hagar's worried eyes in her still face. When the child was born they named him Isaac (laughter) just as the Lord God had instructed, for truly He had made them laugh in their old age, Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90. They were glad to serve a God who conquers impossibilities. Satan spiritually screamed; "I hate Isaac".

(Gen. 21:7) Sarah had been amazed when her 90 year old breasts had started filling with milk and she was delighted she had an abundant, ever flowing supply after Isaac's birth. She could not help but whisper a prayer of joyous praise; "Truly it is as thou hast said; "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" truly oh Lord God Almighty thou hast blessed me abundantly and I thank thee with all of my heart."

(Gen. 17:12) Sarah knew man's part of the covenant must be fulfilled but that was Abraham's business. Her business was being a mother. (Gen. 17:12 then 21:4) Just as the Lord God Almighty had directed, Abraham circumcised Isaac on the 8th day. Sarah looked on with sympathetic eyes when Abraham grimly cut off Isaac's foreskin while Isaac screamed bloody murder. After the holy ordinance was completed, she held the squalling baby and her only consolation was; "Well, he has good, strong lungs!" "I hate Isaac more than Abraham."

On the day of Isaac's weaning Abraham made a great feast (banquet) and, of course, just when everything was going so good, trouble raised its serpent's head. (Gen. 17:25) Ishmael was 13 when he was circumcised and thus he was 14 when Isaac was born. Isaac was weaned around the age of 2 so Ishmael must have about 16 when he mocked little Isaac.

(Gen. 21:9-10 keyword: heir) Obviously Ishmael was mocking Isaac because he was Abraham's oldest son and would be his heir. (Gen. 21:11-12 keyword: grievous) Obviously Abraham loved Ishmael so much God had to take a hand and point out to Abraham that God's covenant was with Isaac. At best Abraham was losing sight of the covenant purpose, at worst he already had!

(Gen. 21:8-21) Little Isaac was sitting in the dirt, minding his own business, playing with a toy; the banquet preparations meant nothing to him. Ishmael walked up and squatted in front of Isaac. Isaac was just old enough to start finding heroes and tough Ishmael was his favorite, Isaac's whole face lit up with joy as he laughed and clapped his little hands together.

Ishmael's face was cold and unfriendly, his laughter was cruel and mean and his words were cold and hateful when he started mocking (laugh in scorn or derision, make sport of) Isaac; "I'm the eldest son of Abraham, I'm his heir and you'll be my servant."

Little Isaac's hands froze in midair, his ready smile vanished and he started to pucker. He didn't have the words to describe it but he emotionally sensed cold hostility and cruel meanness from one whom he admired and loved. Isaac's pucker grew, tears started from his eyes and Sarah was on Ishmael like an avenging fury.

Ishmael had made the worst mistake of his life because Sarah had been watching and listening. Sarah slapped Ishmael on the head so hard he fell backward. As he scrambled away Sarah kicked at him and her miss added to her fury. Isaac was screaming by this time and Sarah turned toward Abraham and went over him like a mad tomcat does a frisky pup. Satan turned spiritual cartwheels through the tents, he loves conflict.

Paraphrased: "You get this trash outta here now and forever. Wake up old man, have you forgotten the covenant? Ishmael can't be the heir, he's illegitimate by a slave. He ain't gonna be no heir with MY son." She whirled, scooped up the squalling baby and started to flounce away. Abraham was red as a beet; "How dare she talk to me like that right in front of everybody, she needs a lesson in manners!" hot words filled his throat and he started stomping after her. Satan suddenly ran away.

THEN GOD ENTERED THE FREY! Suddenly Abraham stopped as if he had banged into an invisible wall, his face drained of color and he seemed to be straining to listen. After a while the revelers were astonished when Abraham, white as a sheet, put his head down and started walking rapidly toward his tent. He hurried because he didn't want them to see his starting tears; "I'll believe and I'll obey the Almighty Lord God this time if it kills me!"

Abraham's feast was ruined. Being prudent people the servants quietly ate the food, drank the wine, cleaned up the mess and went to their tents. There had been no music, no laughter, no dancing and no loud voices. Hagar and Ishmael left very early the next morning and Satan joined them just after they left.

(Gen. 21:22-34 esp. V.33 keywords: planted a grove) Abraham and Abimelech went into a covenant over water access rights and another part had been added to the standard Hebrew covenant process.

(Gen. 20:7) Abraham was the first man God called a prophet (an inspired man, to speak by inspiration) who speaks prophesies (a prediction, which is the future foretold). But where are Abraham's prophesies? Obviously (Gen. 12:1-4) when he told his family why they were leaving Haran, (Gen. 12:8) why he moved east of Bethel, (Gen. 13:18) why he moved to the plain of Mamre, (Gen. 15:1-21 & 17:1-27) and he obviously told his people the purpose (the why of) of the covenant process and what it meant.

(Gen. 21:5) Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. (Gen.25:26) Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob and Esau were born. (Gen. 25:8) Abraham was 175 years old when he died so he had 75 years with Isaac and 15 years with Jacob to tell them all about (his why) God's covenant with him and their purpose (their why) in founding a race of people. All the above are what God told only Abraham and he foretold the future to his people.

In the process of time: (Gen. 22:1-18 esp. V.1 keyword: tempt) The time had come for God to tempt (to test, to prove, to try) Abraham. Abraham was sitting peacefully under his shade tree relaxing in the twilighting evening. His servants had finished their busy day farming, herding and their work about their scattered tent city.

Abraham was content that Eliezer had turned out to be such a dependable chief servant of Abraham's house and an overseer of his servants. Suddenly God's voice sounded and Abraham was surprised because it had never been this way before, just a voice, but Abraham knew it was God and Abraham quickly answered; "Behold (see), here I am."

(V.2) "And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." and God was gone. What would you have thought? What would you have done? Invisible, Satan screamed; "He's going to kill your son!"

Surely it must have been as if someone had driven a razor sharp knife into Abraham's own heart. A picture of the act formed in his imagination and Abraham almost vomited. There was no explanation, no coaxing, no promises, nothing, just the terse voice of God telling Abraham to destroy the very reason he was living. Abraham shook himself as if awakening from a trance, realized it had gotten full dark and he went into his tent.

Abraham felt like he would faint. He looked at Sarah, asleep under their robes. Even though his mind was in a turmoil he thought about his beautiful Sarah; "She seems to be sleeping more nowadays, is it her age? Let's see, she's 110 now because Isaac is 20 years old---Isaac! Isaac! ISAAC! "He's gonna kill your son!"

In this time of emotional turmoil he needed Sarah's closeness but he would not awaken her. He quietly slid under the robes and gently snuggled his back up against her warmth. As if subconsciously sensing his need Sarah rolled over toward him. She laid one of her long, lovely legs across his legs, bent her knee and drew them closer together. She stuck her hand under his arm, pushed her arm through, bent her elbow and pulled Abraham's back to her warm, generous bosom with her hand and forearm.

"I hate that woman more than any other!" Abraham could feel her warm breath against his neck and he was comforted, thinking; "I've disobeyed my Lord God before and gotten into trouble every time, each time He rescued me and even enriched me in the process." Satan ground his spiritual teeth in frustration, redoubled his efforts to bore into Abraham's thoughts and tried to give Sarah a nightmare but he couldn't penetrate Sarah's serene sleep.

Abraham felt his face grow red with humiliation at the remembrance of his failures and yet his heart grew glad because of God's mercy, kindness and blessing; "Isaac is my son of promise from my Lord God who gave him to me, by rights what the Lord God hath given He can take away." "God's cruel, He'll give you something then turn around and take it right back." And the savage pain of loss tore through Abraham; "My Lord God would not take Isaac from me by my own bloody hand, would He?"

"Yes He would! Yes He would!" He lay there thinking about Isaac for a long time, a seemingly endless reel of memory pictures of every part of Isaac's life from birth until now; "Is this possibly some sort of test?" Satan ground away at Abraham's thought process by casting doubt and doing his level best to deceive him; "Its not a test! Its not a test, God's gonna make you murder your own son!" Abraham thought they were his own thoughts.

(1Cor. 2:9) Abraham was engaged in the age old struggle God's people always have in fighting through Satan's deceptions, suggestions and lies (Matt. 14:21-32) and their own weak faith and doubt based on fear in trying to understand God's ways. Abraham didn't have a Bible and he had never seen the clay tablets.

He had no more and no less than any of us do, all he had and all any of us have is what God has said. Abraham reached a decision; "I will not disobey my Almighty Lord God anymore. If it tears out my heart I will obey Him. I believe my Almighty Lord God will provide the sacrifice but if He does not I will still obey him!"

Furiously Satan bored in again but he was suddenly cast out of Abraham's presence; "Oh no, not Him!" and Satan was barred from Abraham's presence; "Let Abraham make up his own mind." Invisible, but sitting there on Abraham's bed the Almighty God was filled with love for His Friend, Abraham, His tender, spiritual heart was glad almost to tears and He placed His spiritual hand on Abraham's soul. And Abraham slept, at peace with his decision. Satan and his influence were all over the world except this one place, it was the one place he wanted to be more than any other and he was furious.

Abraham had made the same decision three men of his bloodline progeny would make more than 1,250 years into the future; (Dan. 3:4-28 esp. V.8 Jews V.17-18 & 24,25,27) (V.17-18) "If it be so our God is able to deliver us---But if not we will not serve thy gods nor worship the golden image---." (V.24,25,27) The ropes burned off them, their hair was not singed, their clothes were as they were, nor was the smell of the fire on them.

(Gen. 22:3-19 paraphrased) In the early morning dawning Abraham clave (cut, tore apart) the wood to burn the sacrifice and followed the invisible finger of God northeast. The 3rd day they came in sight of the mountain range that would be known as the Zion mountain range in the far future (Part 1 mount Moriah). (Gen. 22: V.2 keyword: mountain, V.8 keywords: God will provide himself a lamb & V.14 keywords: In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen) and Abraham headed directly toward mount Moriah which would be such a focal point of holy events down through Israel's history.

It was a prophesy that will be discussed in (Part 26). Abraham loaded the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac's back, left the 2 servants with the saddled ass at the bottom of the hill, took the clay pot containing the fire in one hand, his knife in the other and started up the hill with Isaac; "My father?" "What, my son?" "We've got the fire and the wood but where's the lamb to be sacrificed." "God will provide a lamb for the burnt offering." and they went on up.

They came to the exact spot where it had to happen; "This is it son." Isaac dropped the heavy, heavy load of wood and watched his father build an altar, Abraham laid the wood in order, (Isa. 53:7) bound the silent, unresisting Isaac, laid him on the wood with iron resolve, his heart pounding, his tears flowing, Abraham stretched high the glittering blade that would kill his precious son Isaac.

At the exact instant Abraham tightened his muscles to drive the blade into Isaac's tender flesh the angel (messenger) of the Lord spoke to him from heaven; "Abraham, Abraham!" Wonderful relief must surely have blazed through Abraham; "Here am I."

(Gen. 22:12) "And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know thou fearest (reverence, fearful) God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."

(Gen. 22:13-14) "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: (the Lord will provide) as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen."<--Abraham and Isaac had already finished their burnt offering of the ram so something similar was going to happen in the same place sometime in the future. Is this a prophesy? (Psa. 22:1-31 & Isa. 52:14-15 thru 53:12) It sure is! (Rev. 5:5-6) The Lamb is Jesus.

(Gen. 22:16-18) Abram was amazed when the Almighty Lord God swore an oath by Himself (Heb. 6:13-14) because He could swear by none greater than Himself that this covenant would be fulfilled because Abraham had not withheld his son, his only son from God. It was an ironclad guarantee (Gen 22:18) that; "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."

(Gen. 23:1-20) Tragedy struck Abraham down when he was 137 years old. His beautiful Sarah died and although Abraham was rich and God had promised him Canaan land Abraham did not own a square inch of land in Canaan or anywhere else in the world. Abraham well understood Canaan was to be given to his bloodline progeny through the covenant. When Sarah died Ephron the Hittite offered to give Abraham the field of Machpelah in Hebron where a cave was located in the fold of the hill but Abraham insisted on paying and bought it from Ephron. And there he buried his beautiful, beautiful Sarah.

(Gen. 25:1-6) Later, Abraham took a much younger wife, it felt right that they live in a new tent and she bore him 6 more sons. (Gen. 24:1-66) When Abraham was old he arranged for his eldest servant to go to his brother Nahor's city and to let God arrange the selection of a wife for Isaac. (Gen. 24:67) In all the years since Sarah's death Abraham had kept Sarah's tent in a pristine condition just like it had been when she had died. After Isaac married Rebekah, it somehow felt right when Abraham gave Sarah's tent and possessions to Isaac and his new bride.

(25:1-8 esp. V.8 gathered to his people) When Abraham was 175 years old and had lived to a good old age full of years one night after Abraham went to sleep Melchizedec came to visit and Abraham went away with his Friend.<-- refer to (Acts 7:55-59). As so many times happens when a parent dies, tragedy reunites a family and (Gen. 25:9-10) the brothers Isaac and Ishmael were reunited and they buried their much loved father there in the cave of Machpelah with his beautiful, beautiful wife Sarah, (Luke 16:22) but they were already together in another place.

Writer's Note: Abraham is obviously one of the greatest men in the Bible. God's Covenant with Abraham and the prophesy that unfolded from Abraham's willingness to obey God and offer up his son Isaac as a burnt offering showed God Abraham was worthy of their covenant. These 2 events heralded the Jewish race of people from which came Jesus Christ who, through His death, burial, resurrection, ascension into heaven and return as the Holy Spirit, ushered in the New Spiritual Grace Covenant through which the Christian Church was founded. Please see Parts 24, 25, 26 and 27 to explore the depths of the New Spiritual Grace Covenant. You will be surprised.

Maybe, by the handed down stories, Abraham knew Satan, the devil, was an illegitimate god (Isa. 14:12-14) because Isaiah had not yet written his book of prophesy. Abraham could not have known an illegitimate prophet would found an illegitimate religion based on Abraham's illegitimate son Ishmael as their blood kin tie to Abraham.

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