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Iran Fires Rockets Into Golan Heights From Syria

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Iran Fires Rockets Into Golan Heights From Syria

From NY Times:

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JERUSALEM — Iranian forces in Syria fired about 20 rockets into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights early Thursday, targeting forward positions of the Israeli military, according to a military spokesman.

The spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, said Israel had responded to the attack but did not provide details. If confirmed, this would be the first rocket attack carried out directly by Iran, rather than by one of its proxies, against Israel.

Colonel Conricus said that several of the rockets had been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. He said that he was not aware of any casualties and that damage to Israeli facilities was low.

(more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/09/world/middleeast/israel-iran-attack.html

Edited by Sojourner414

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    • By omharris
      I introduced a section within my first post in this series, as one of the most unbelievable scenarios you could read. In that section you have Rebekah and Jacob pulling off the deception of a lifetime, as Isaac is tricked into believing that Jacob was Esau merely by strapping a piece of sheepskin on Jacob's arm. I have to ask, have you ever seen sheep? They exceed the hair of man about 100 to one.
      While most would have run for their lives but not Jacob; and, I cannot give you any good reason why? As you see in Genesis 28:6-7, Isaac, after the deception, has instructed Jacob not to take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. After hearing this Jacob leaves toward Haran in order to comply and his mother goes with him. What just happened?
      Watch what Esau does.
      Genesis 28:6-7 NASB Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan," 7) and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram.
      This is the first time I noticed this aspect of the story. Note how it says, “and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram.” When you think about the reality of the situation and how furious Isaac should have been at Rebekah, then it makes all the sense in the world for her to with Jacob. Besides that, she may need to make the introductions and marriage arrangements for this favorite of sons.
      Esau, on the other hand, seeing how irritated his mother became about the women he married, (This is the same mother who deceived Isaac his father, and helped to cheat him out of his rightful inheritance,) went out and found himself a few more.
      Genesis 28:8-9 NASB So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac; 9) and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth.
      This next section focuses entirely on a dream that Jacob had.
      Indeed, it was a very vivid dream, in a manner similar to the dream that Abram had, it was as close to reality as you can come. You have to wonder how much understanding Jacob had about God, or where he got that understanding. The only thing we see is Isaac praying to the Lord in chapter 25. Isaac, being the son of Abraham, I can understand how and where he learned of the Lord, but the apparent influence on Jacob is not seen.
      Genesis 25:21-23 NASB Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22) But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23) The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger."
      Jacob's Dream - Genesis 28:10-22
      But first Jacob has to kneel before his father, apparently at his father's demand.
      Genesis 28:1 NASB So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.
      This is the second time Jacob has been blessed, however, Isaac is well aware of the deceitful methods that were used on him. Without going any farther, I already see a prime example of the nature and character of God, as Isaac overlooks the “sin” and bestows a purposeful blessing upon Jacob.
      Blessed is the Hebrew word bāraḵ: A verb meaning to bless, kneel, salute, or greet. The verb derives from the noun knee and perhaps suggests the bending of the knee in blessing.
      Would we expect to see Isaac kneeling before Jacob at this point?
      Not a chance, so it is Jacob, this time with intention, kneeling before his father.
      Do you think it is possible that Isaac could bring some punishment upon this son?
      No, and again, this is an example of God's grace, as we too, caught in our sins, deserved punishment, but what happened? The Son Jesus took all punishment on our behalf.
      I am well aware that I have no key character, in this scenario, that takes the punishment for Jacob. What I do see, is Jacob suffering abuse, at not only the hand of Laban but his own sons when we get to them.
      Pay attention to what Isaac tells Jacob.
      Perspective: The flood has come and gone, and, with it, should have been the giants and the evil and violence that were associated not just with them, but people in general. And, secondly, this has taken place before Moses and prior to the law.
      Is that what happened?
      Not exactly, for men still had the right to choose how they would live, and the giants returned. Genesis 6:4 tells us that afterward, they showed up again. After what? The flood.
      “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4 NASB
      Two pieces of evidence for giants after the flood comes from Numbers 13:33 and 2Samuel 21:16, both of which speak of giants still permeating the land. Canaan was one of those places and we learn of it when Israel sent 12 men to spy out the Land of Canaan.
      “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.”
      Do a word search and the first place Canaan shows up is in Genesis 9.
      Genesis 9:18-27 NASB Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. 19) These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. 20) Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. 21) He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. 22) Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23) But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father's nakedness. 24) When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. 25) So he said, "Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers." 26) He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. 27) "May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant."
      Notice how Canaan is pointed out as the son of Ham; this is not a favorable distinction.
      Genesis 28:2 NASB "Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother's brother.
      The town of Bethuel gained it's origins in a man, as was the case with every city.
      Genesis 22:20-23 NASB Now it came about after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, "Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21) Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22) and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel." 23) Bethuel became the father of Rebekah; these eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother.
      So here is your ancestry moment, It was told, Abraham:
      Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor
      Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22) and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel."
      Kemuel produces a son Aram. Note the similarities to Paddan-aram!
      The son to be born to Nahor is Bethuel.
      Bethuel became the father of Rebekah
      Rebekah is the wife of Isaac, the mother of Esau and Jacob. This also means that Bethuel became the father of Laban.
      Jacob, still kneeling before his father Isaac, receives all these instructions and blessings; as though what he stole was not enough.
      Genesis 28:3-5 NASB "May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4) "May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham." 5) Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
      “ May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples.”
      “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.”
      What were the blessings of Abraham?
      Genesis 12:1-3 NASB Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; 2) And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
      Genesis 17:6-8 NASB "I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. 7) "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8) "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."
        I will make you a great nation
      I will bless you
      and make your name great
      I will bless those that bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.
      In you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.
      I will make you exceedingly fruitful
      and I will make nations of you
      kings will come forth from you
      I will establish my covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you … for an everlasting covenant.
      Be a God to you and to your descendants.
      And, I will give you and your descendants … all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.
      So, tell me, is this what you say to someone who has just deceived you? And yet, this is exactly what Isaac just did. “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.”
      Genesis 28:10-11 NASB Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11) He came to a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.
      Haran, isn't that the place where Abram was and God told him to go to a land that He would show him? Yes, it is. But it is also the place where so many things will take place, and now Jacob is going there to find himself a wife. Fortunately, Jacob has his mommy with him to make the introductions; although we are not told that, it works for the moment.
      Genesis 11:26-31 NASB Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. 27) Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. 28) Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29) Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30) Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31) Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there.
      Note this: “Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there.
      It seems God has His hands in everything, doesn't it?
      “He came to a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set;”
      Genesis 28:19 NASB He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz.
      “And he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.”
      Genesis 28:18-22 NASB So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19) He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20) Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21) and I return to my father's house in safety, then the LORD will be my God. 22) "This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You."
      God's house? This statement is immensely significant, and so is this, “and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
      Without any motivation of “law,” Jacob has made a commitment to tithe.
       
    • By omharris
      What is it that makes us decide to trust and believe, not just God, but people?
      Everything we do as followers of Christ is wrapped around faith, the essence of trust and belief. However, there is added disincentive in the story of Rahab in that these two men who may have entered her house under false pretenses, have now enlightened her that they are spies; that her life is now in danger from the spies and the guards of Jericho. They point out that her only reasonable choice is to hide them, and she does.
      For us, there is a sudden awareness that her faith in this unknown god and her desire to be rescued by Him has become challenged. What does this added incentive do to your belief system?
      Ponder once again what Rahab tells the two Israeli spies.
      Joshua 2:9-10 NASB and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10) "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
      At first, it is deeply personal as she says, “ I know that the LORD has given you the land and that the terror of you has fallen on us,” This paragraph has belief and fear written all over it. While I, Rahab, know that the Almighty has his hand on you, there is a profound and genuine concern on the part of the entire city for their safety, lives, and mine as well.
      Joshua 2:11 NASB "When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
      Does fear promote belief? I know it does not work for me. I may, under duress, comply out of concern for the safety of my family and myself, but I will never come to admire and possibly love you, as Rahab did.
      The reality is that God's most significant impact on our faith is through signs. The idea that God is okay with that, comes from the verse where she recaps the two notable stories of which the people Jericho were aware. “We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.”
      It is rapidly becoming evident that Rahab is a smart woman. You don't last long in such a business without the skills of a spy yourself, and she, therefore, strikes a bargain.
      Joshua 2:12-13 NASB "Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's household, and give me a pledge of truth, 13) and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death."
      The men hear her out and respond with the words she needs to hear.
      Joshua 2:14 NASB So the men said to her, "Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you."
      Having received a promise of protection, and trusting their word, she provides them with a way of escape. I am going to do something peculiar here, and verse 15 last because I cannot see any practicality to her shouting additional instructions to the men as they rappel down the wall from her window.
      Joshua 2:15-21 NASB 16) She said to them, "Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way." 17) The men said to her, "We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18) unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father's household. 19) "It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20) "But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear."
      15) Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall so that she was living on the wall.
      21) She said, "According to your words, so be it." So she sent them away, and they departed, and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
      The bargaining is completed. Rahab lets them out through a window and uses the same scarlet cord to signal Israel's troops that hers is a safe house.
      Suddenly it occurs to me. While the scarlet color may have been associated with her profession, it now represented that scarlet blood that saves us all. Few realize what took place. Consider also the tremendous significance, as Jesus was three days and nights in death, so to the scarlet rope hung from that window. Our redemption through Jesus was signaled all throughout this book we call the Bible, and today, I saw it.
      What would have happened had the townsfolk of Jericho saw that cord suddenly hanging there? With the armed militia out chasing the spies, did the town now feel safe? I doubt it. The city may have gone on lock-down. How did this rope go unnoticed? That can only be God.
      Did Rahab and her family demonstrate a strong faith in this God of Israel, and were therefore saved?
      We don't know any of that. Rahab took a chance and pitched her case, knowing full well that they could turn against her. If what she says is true, then the people within Jericho comprehend the threat that Israel poses. Finding out that two Israeli spies have infiltrated the city just raises the threat level exponentially. The result of the increased threat level is that the family, which may have treated her as an outcast, hurriedly gathered survival supplies and joined Rahab in her home.
      Joshua 2:23-24 NASB Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. 24) They said to Joshua, "Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us."
      Safely back at camp, they related all that had happened. What a story. Oh, and by-the-way Joshua, there is one more thing you might find interesting - “Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.” At least that is what Rahab told us.
      Melted – is the Hebrew word moog, meaning to melt; literally (to soften, flow down, disappear), or figuratively (to fear, faint).
      Since this is a character study on Rahab, I am going to bypass much of the detail involved in the attack on Jericho. It is admittedly fascinating to learn how Jericho's walls fell. Having seen pictures of the archaeological digs at Jericho, it becomes apparent that they went straight down into the ground. Except for one spot, that portion that Rahab lived in. Joshua 6:20
      The NASB states that the wall fell flat. What does that mean? The Hebrew word is taḥaṯ: A preposition meaning under, beneath; in place of. It indicates a position below or underneath some other reference point.” Word Study Dictionary.
      While the word flat is indeed an option, how do you explain under, beneath or a position below, especially when the passage goes on to say that every man walked straight ahead?
      We don't return to Jericho in the book of Joshua until chapter six. In the meantime, circumcisions have been performed, and Israel has passed through the Jordan on dry land, just as they did the Red Sea. This time they placed a large mound of stones to commemorate God's goodness and what a coincidence that a large mound of stones has been located in the Sea of Galilee.
      I suppose the obvious thing to consider here, is that much time has passed and that scarlet cord is probably still hanging out that window.
      Joshua 6:21-23 NASB They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man, and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. 22) Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the harlot's house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her." 23) So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.
      How befitting that the young men who made the agreement should go and gather Rahab and her family.
      “Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.”
      Albert Barnes commentary states, “These words literally “made to rest outside the camp of Israel” - indicate that being still in their paganism, they were separated from the camp of the Lord. This was only for a time. They desired, and eventually obtained, admission to the covenant of the chosen people of God.”
      Another instance where we have no details. We know nothing about paganism, but it is probably safe to assume. Since Rahab seems to have a faith in this God she knows little about, we shall see her come to understanding and acceptance.
      Joshua 6:25 NASB However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
      And everyone lived happily ever after, well, I would hope so. Sadly we live in reality, but there are three other passages I want you to see.
      In spelling out the Jewish heritage of Jesus, the gospel of Matthew includes Rahab.
      Matthew 1:5 NASB Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.
      Boaz, if you remember, owned the land in which Ruth had been directed to work by Naomi, her mother in law. Boaz buys the right to marry Ruth, and they produced a child named Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse, the father of David.
      Rahab is found in Hebrews 11 because of her faith.
      Hebrews 11:31 NASB By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
      And lastly, as an example of how faith works, we have the writings of James.
      James 2:24-25 NASB You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25) In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
      Understanding the ramifications, Rahab accepted the spies, protected them, and sent them safely on their way. So, Rahab then becomes an example for us, of faith and how it works.
    • By omharris
      This was part of a series of character studies that I recently posted online.
      My interest in Rahab started long ago, as I heard the stories, but rarely ever read the story for myself. If you follow my posts, then you would know that I have gone through some dark times. I suspect that the sentence, "train up a child in the way that they should go" played a role in this freedom and understanding that I now have, for I knew that I needed to plant my heart and mind firmly in God's word. Sadly, when I started doing that, I found myself bored and confused; it was difficult to focus, and I kept hearing this voice in my head, saying, I have read this before. Anguished by this lack of motivation I talked bluntly and plainly to God about the situation, and I asked Him to make Himself real to me. I don't remember when my attitude changed, but it was shortly after that prayer. Soon after, I found myself seeing these Bible characters as real, with flesh and blood. Things quickly changed and I could see them struggle just you and I do.
      Rahab was one of those characters. It has been several years since I last looked at Rahab, but my interest resurfaced recently as our men's group watched and listened to Francis Chan teach on the book of James, a book that references Rahab and her faith.
      Look at what James had to say about the dear lady.
      James 2:25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
      As typical with men, there is the subtle laughter as they try to adjust their thinking to accept the fact God would use someone like a whore. I cannot remember the question asked, but I immediately began talking about this amazing woman and what she did. I then asked, how would I know any of those things, because I read through the Bible; that, and I have studied these characters multiple times as they are integrated into our lives as believers, at every turn.
      This story of Rahab, like most everything else in scripture, has a background, and for us, that background comes primarily from the camp of Israel. So let's quickly look at that.
      Moses has died, and the leadership role is now being passed to Joshua.
      The entire first chapter of Joshua is essentially a directive to be strong, but there is an astounding statement that seems to make them invincible.
      Joshua 1:3 CJB I am giving you every place you will step on with the sole of your foot, as I said to Moshe (Moses).
      The connotation is, in battle. Consider how they, through the ten spies, step on the land of Canaan. Did they completely take the land God spoke of? No, and yet, in the long run, God's word is still valid, for the ground has been given to Israel. (Still today, there is bitter disagreement and fighting over this.)
      Chapter one ends with a uniform agreement on the part of Israel's fighting forces.
      Joshua 1:17-18 NASB "Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18) "Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous."
      I am not sure how to perceive this. Would the fighting men kill anyone that resisted one of Joshua's directives? The next plan we see is this,
      Joshua 1:10-11 NASB Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11) "Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, 'Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.'"
      I always assumed that Jericho was one of the first cities Israel conquered, however, when you look at a map which indicates the traditional path that Israel took into the promise land. The chart shows them traversing north along the Eastern side of the Jordan and then crossing above the Sea of Galilee and then dropping down south on the Western side of the Jordan, into Jericho.
      As a visual learner, I now have the placement of Jericho square in my thinking, and it is the next stop.
      Joshua 2:1 NASB Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab and lodged there.
      This ugly tale is where we first meet Rahab. Without a doubt, our introduction leaves something to be desired, as she is a harlot. What are the problems with this introduction? We immediately start assigning personality traits, personal habits, and a lack of intelligence and integrity; all of which are things we cannot discern as yet.
      Let's start dissecting this.
      “then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho.”
      Jericho was not the only thing on their list. The more they moved through the land, the greater their chances of being seen. The idea that Jericho was the top of Joshua's list was evident.
      Secretly is the Hebrew word cheresh, and can also mean silently.
      Webster's dictionary tells us that secretly is defined as: Privately; privily; not openly; without the knowledge of others.
      “So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab,”
      You are a stranger, in a strange land, and, you may not speak or read the same language, yet, you come into the house of a harlot. Think about that for a moment. I brought this up before the men that morning. A short time later, one of the men pushed his electronic pad at me. On it, was an etching found in stone, in front of a building that had been dug out of the ashes of Pompeii. It was overtly sexual and easily identifiable. It required no additional explanation, and the implications could easily mean a house of whoredoms.
      Working from the premise that we have no other information to build this story on, there is NOTHING in scripture that defines how the spies would have known this.
      If we lack documented, historical information, then all we have is conjecture, and sadly, inference opens the door to Rahab pandering these new men in town. Taking this debauchery one step further; what is there that explains why the two spies were going into her house? I want to believe that they were above self-indulgence, but it cannot be ruled out.
      You should be thinking along the same lines as I am, about now. While finding a friendly voice in a strange place might be considered a Godsend, the spies still need to investigate, and this would allow them to move about freely for a short time. Quickly, they explained the grave nature of their business and how quickly they could kill her. But then, they are trying to gain an ally and temporary safety.
      “and lodged there.”
      Lodge is Hebrew word shâkab and means to lie down (for rest, sexual connection, decease or any other purpose.)
      The intent is not to pass on more twisted thinking, but to make a point. We have sterilized God's word to the point that we cannot see that these were people, with frailties, just as we all have. If you follow the scriptural text, you will not see judgment coming from God about their actions. However far this went is none of our business, but in our quick judgments and condemnations, we dispatch people, like Judas Iscariot, to hell, while condoning the actions of these men. After all, it was war.
      Joshua 2:2 MKJV And the king of Jericho was told about it, saying, Behold, men from the sons of Israel came in here tonight, to search out the country.
      Apparently, someone had seen them and knew where they came from. What was even worse, is that the Israelis had been seen going into Rahab's house on the wall.
      Joshua 2:3 MKJV And the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, Bring out the men that have come to you, those who have entered into your house. For they have come to search out all the country.
      The king has sent messengers, probably armed guards, willing to kill. The demand is to bring out the men that come to you. Okay, here is where things get a little confused.
      Joshua 2:4 CJB However, the woman, after taking the two men and hiding them, replied, "Yes, the men did come to me; but I didn't know where they had come from.
      Think about what just happened. Messengers, capable of killing you, demand that you bring out the men that came into the home.
      You want me to believe that the guards just stood outside and waited for her to return?
      But what if she was aware that this entourage was coming, would she hide them before they started knocking?
      So, she, knowing that they want these men, hides them and lies about where they are. Her statement, “ Yes, the men did come to me; but I didn't know where they had come from.” To some degree this statement was right It wasn't long before they revealed their mission to her. Consider how she with minimal information, made a life-changing decision to believe the Israeli spies.
      She continues the deception.
      Joshua 2:5 CJB “The men left around the time when they shut the gate, when it was dark. Where they went I don't know; but if you chase after them quickly, you will overtake them.”
      The Israelis were still in the house.
      Joshua 2:6 CJB Actually she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them under some stalks of flax she had spread out there.
      Does it make sense that they would merely take her word, No, or why else would she hide them under the flax?
      Joshua 2:7 CJB The men pursued them all the way to the fords at the Yarden; as soon as the pursuit party had left, the gate was shut.
      Not finding them, the king's messengers go in pursuit.
      Joshua 2:8 CJB The two men had not yet lain down when she returned to the roof.
      As we wandered through the book section at our local warehouse store, I looked at a devotional journal that focused on women of the Bible. Rahab was listed, as she should be, but the author's version of the story was what we come to expect when tradition rules our thinking; as it conflicted with what the Bible says.
      How easy it is to twist a story.
      Joshua 2:9-11 NASB and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10) "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11) "When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
      Without this information, we could never adequately understand what transpired that made her heart turn toward the God of Israel.
      What did she tell us?
      I know that the LORD has given you the land.
      This statement is a verbal demonstration of her acceptance.
      That the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.
      We see terminology like this all throughout the Bible. And yet, when you read the biblical stories, you come to find that in reality it means quite a few. The number is significant enough to be on the alert for spies.
      For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt.
      Consider how many, choose to dispute or deny, the Red Sea crossing. Here is this woman, whom many would disregard, spelling out a common understanding and belief about Israel's passage through the Red Sea, on dry land.
      What you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, Sihon, and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
      And lastly, the most impactful statement of all of them.
      When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
      When it comes to making a confession of who God is in your life, this would be it. Having written recently about Jonah, one of the things we learn of, is that Jonah was a sign. Can you see that God's guidance and actions have been signs?
      Many of you are aware of Rahab already. You may also be mindful that she becomes an integral aspect of the lineage of Jesus, our King.
      In spite of ugly titles or your bad reputation, the God who knows the beginning from the end will find a way to draw you into the kingdom. You could not convince me that this woman did not have a changed heart; a change we like to call salvation. Soon, the action will get more intense as Israel, following God's directions, marches around the wall. This amazing woman will continue to play a miraculous role.
    • By theworthyapprentice
      I have been reading the Old Testament recently and I keep coming across passages in the Bible which seem to indicate that God has not forgotten his people(The physical seed of Abraham).  Most major Christian denominations(Catholic and Orthodox for example) think that the Church has replaced Israel and that the Jews are no longer God's chosen people and that we are now God's chosen people.  Now while it is true that we are God's spiritual chosen people, no doubt, it appears that the Jews are still God's physical chosen people.  Now while this doesn't mean that the Jews are saved, it does appear that he has not forgotten his covenant with them.  Many Christians like to say that the reason they are no longer God's chosen people is because they rejected Christ.  But just because the Jews rejected Christ doesn't mean God has broken his covenant with them.  All throughout the Old Testament the Israelites disobey God and yet God never broke his covenant with them. Romans 11 explicitly says that God has not cast off Israel.  In fact, it appears God said he would never cast off Israel, no matter what.
      Jeremiah 31:35-37
      35 Thus says the LORD,
      who gives the sun for light by day
          and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
      who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
          the LORD of hosts is his name:
      36 “If this fixed order departs
          from before me, declares the LORD,
      then shall the offspring of Israel cease
          from being a nation before me forever.”

      37 Thus says the LORD:
      “If the heavens above can be measured,
          and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
      then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
          for all that they have done,"
      declares the LORD.

      Which seems to mean it cannot happen.  Also, people cannot say "Zionists misapply verses" or "Israel always refers to the church."  I don't know how you can misapply Ezekiel 38 or say it's referring to the church.  It even gives directions in reference to the nation of Israel on where some of these nations will come from.  It also says that in the latter days that God will destroy the nations that come against Israel and even gives us indications on who these nations are.
      Ezekiel 38
      1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3 and say, Thus says the LORD God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4 And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords. 5 Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togarmah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes—many peoples are with you.

      7 “Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. 8 After many days you will be mustered. In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them. 9 You will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you.

      10 “Thus says the LORD God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme 11 and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ 12 to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth.13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its leaders will say to you, ‘Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to seize great spoil?’

      14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the LORD God: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it? 15 You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. 16 You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

      17 “Thus says the LORD God: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them?18 But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the LORD God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. 19 For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the LORD God. Every man's sword will be against his brother. 22 With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur.23 So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.
       
      So as we can see here it appears that God has not broken his covenant with the physical children of Abraham.  The most interesting thing about Ezekiel 38 is that it lists the nations that will come against Israel in the last days-Gog, Persia, Cush, Put, and then there are other people or nations described.  We can figure out who these nations are through various means but I'll only be discussing Persia, Cush, and Put.  Persia is the most obvious one.  Now realize that the Persian Empire was pretty big and was made up of many modern day nations.  I'll put a map of it below.  The modern nations that made up the former Persian Empire were Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. We can see all of the nations that made up the former Persian Empire have something in common.  They all despise Israel.  This is mostly because all of these nations are Islamic, a religion that doesn't shine too much light on the Jews.  Next we have Cush and Put.  We can conclude from many sources (like Josephus and many other sources) that the land of Cush is what is what is now Ethiopia and North and South Sudan and the land of Put is the modern day area of Libya.  These areas are also very Islamic.  But anyway, tell me what you think.
       

    • By SamirQuraishi

      By the moment in the north of Syria in the vicinity of Afrin, the Turkish army is carrying out a large-scale military operation mockingly called the 'Olive Branch'. About a hundred warplanes and hundreds of tanks and howitzers bring fire and death to civilians in the Kurdish community. There are already thousands of dead people. Who is guilty of unleashing this genocide? The answer only seems to be obvious. Indeed, the slaughter was unleashed by the Islamist maniac Erdogan who embodies the centuries-old dream of the Ottomans to destroy the Kurdish nation. But Erdogan, despite demonstrating to the world his excessive ambition, is really just a puppet of much more powerful forces. This bloody dog was unleashed by the hand of the true, but hidden enemy of the Kurds. To clearly understand from whom the Kurdish people should only wait for meanness and evil, remember what happened to our brothers in Iraq.
      By the fall of 2017, Iraqi Kurdistan had the broadest autonomy. The de facto independent state, which was about to become the core of the Kurdish association in the future, had its own flag, anthem, Constitution, code of local laws, parliament, president, government, and judicial bodies. Its own police, special services, armed forces (the peshmerga brigades), the education and health care systems operated in the country. That is, Kurdish autonomy pursued not only an independent domestic policy, but also as any sovereign state - foreign economic and foreign policy activity.
      Everything changed almost overnight. The visionary, provident and prudent President Masoud Barzani, after several phone calls from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, believed in Washington's official support, and made a strategic miscalculation by organizing a September 25, 2017 referendum on independence. The attempt provoked by the US State Department to transfer de facto independence into de jure status turned into a catastrophe. The central government of Iraq announced the closure of both international airports in the Kurdish autonomy (in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah). Baghdad and Ankara completely closed their airspace for flights in the direction of Iraqi Kurdistan, and the autonomy was in total blockade. On October 16, 2017, the Iraqi army and Shia militia took Kirkuk and the surrounding area, that is, the oil fields, which were the economic base for the development of the Kurdish region. Thus, having believed in American support, Barzani, who'd made a titanic effort to unite the Kurdish tribes and establish control over the areas of oil production, not only lost all his political influence and authority, but also put his people on the brink of survival. In his televised address on October 29, 2017, Masoud Barzani sharply criticized the position of the United States. In particular, he noted that the American armament delivered to the Iraqi army was used against the Kurds. But who cares?
      There is a version according to which Tillerson's provocation was not the embodiment of Washington's deceitful policy, but a personal adventure aimed at personal enrichment. Rex Tillerson owns 2.6 million shares of ExxonMobil. That's the very oil company, which in 2011 signed preliminary contracts with the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan, but faced an ultimatum to Baghdad, and withdrew from the project, losing a very profitable source. Now, nothing prevents ExxonMobil's businessmen from snatching a share of Kurdish oil (by unfastening the ruling Shiite mafia in Baghdad), and T-Rex Tillerson to increase the value of his stake.
      However, recent events in Syria clearly demonstrate that the personal wealth of the Secretary of State does not in any way negate the existence of a global insidious plan of the American political elite regarding the Kurds. After all, it was the loudly announced intention of their 'main ally' - the US to form, arm and train the Kurdish corps on Syrian territory and served as a convenient casus belli for Turkey. Does it not look familiar?
      The capture of Afrina by Turkish thugs will lead to the fact that the most secure and educated Kurdish community of Syria, residing in Aleppo (up to 300 thousand people), is completely cut off from the ethnic core. This is a consistent, well-planned genocide. We do not know all the details of Washington's geopolitical plan, but it is obvious that the Kurds have no place in it.
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