Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 3
BABEL: FALSE GODS
GENESIS 9:1 – 12:1-3
Once again we’re ready to pick up where we left off and if you’ll turn with me back to Genesis chapter 11 we want to touch on a couple of things that we didn’t get time for in the last half-hour. And that is back to the Tower of Babel, and some of the things that are still with us today. Many of us don’t even realize that that’s where they originated because they have been part of our custom now. For example, I guess all of you are acquainted with the Easter egg hunt at Easter. And the Easter bunny, Santa Claus at Christmas, the Christmas tree, well where did all these things originate? Every one of them goes back to the Tower of Babel!
Because you see, as they instituted pagan worship, in consort with the Tower of Babel, the first thing Semiramis introduced, as I mentioned last time, was the idea that her son Tamar was a son of god. Well, just like we’re seeing today. We’re coming full circle. And the more you understand Genesis, the more you can see what’s taking place today. They weren’t satisfied with just the male god-figure, so what did they have to introduce? The female goddess. And so the very core of what later became the mythologies of Rome and Greece and Egypt and Babylon was centered on a female goddess.
Now, that’s all right as far as it goes, but it doesn’t stop there. Along with the worship then of the female goddess and their various names, Venus of course is one and oh, I’m forgetting a couple of the others. Those are escaping me. Yeah, Diana of the Ephesians. You know them. Well, anyway associated with that naturally followed then the fertility rites. Sexuality. And I’ve told my classes for years and all you have to do is just go back into some good encyclopedias you can check me out – associated with pagan worship, the ancient temples such as one you just mentioned, Diana of the Ephesians and these various other temples in the worship of female goddesses were just nothing but glorified houses of prostitution, but in the name of “religion” because that all went hand in hand with this pagan worship.
So now with the fertility rites of course, they went right back to nature and as we have just experienced in the beauty and I think this is one of the most beautiful spring times we’ve had in a long time, but as you approach springtime and the spring equinox, March 21-22, what do we see popping up all around us? Well, new life. And new life of course speaks of fertility, and so they put all this together then as they formed their fertility rites around the worship centered on the spring equinox, March 21 and 22.
Now again, Satan was becoming the great counterfeiter because whether he knew it before hand or whether it just came out accidentally, I don’t know, but nevertheless, also associated with the spring equinox would be our celebration of Easter. Now our Easter is timed according to the Passover of Israel in the Old Testament and all of Israel’s feasts and her time keeping was based on the moon phases. Either the new moon, or the full moon or what have you. And so way back here then, they instituted these fertility rites in association with the spring equinox and thereby came then the rabbit associated with our Easter and the Easter egg associated supposedly indicative of new life. But remember its pagan in its origin.
Well the same way with many of our customs of Christmas. That of course, is close to the first day of winter, the winter solstice as we call it, December 21 and 22 where again the ancient pagans went through their various rituals in their worship and so they instituted for example the worship of the evergreen tree because it alone was still showing signs of life when everything else was dead. And then the ancient Europeans actually began a worship of the evergreen tree, all coming out of these pagan systems and they also had in Europe what they called the Yule log – the burning of the Yule log. And so all these things, oh I’m just passing it on, just for sake of information, go back to the Tower of Babel.
And you see, as Christianity then, back in the early days in the first and second and third century of Christianity, a lot of these pagan people were coming into the “church.” And I put that in quotes. Now if they came into the “church” without having a genuine salvation experience, “by believing that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again,” and they merely came in to enjoy the worship service, it wasn’t very long until these people would begin to say what? “Well, you know we ought to add a little color, this is getting kind of monotonous. We ought to do this and we ought to do that.” And so they would introduce some of their pagan practices into the “church” and the “church” accommodated it and now here we are 1900 years later and we just take all these things for granted. But I want people to know, where do they come from? They have no place in our present day church.
Now I’m not telling people throw away their Christmas tree. We have one, and I don’t tell people, “Well now spoil Christmas and tell your kids there’s no such thing as Santa Claus.” Maybe I should, but I’ll tell you what, anytime I see Santa Claus going down the aisle of a church, I won’t go back because Santa Claus does not belong in a local church! That is a symbol of paganism! It’s a symbol of the commercial world and we should never intermix them. Now like I said, I’m not telling people to take away the fun of Santa Claus as long as you don’t associate it with the birth of Christ. Because I don’t think Christ was even born on December 25th.
I read one theory, and that’s all it is because nobody really knows, but we know He couldn’t have been born in the wintertime because the shepherds don’t stay out in the fields in Judea in December. It’s too cold. But I kind of think in my own line of thinking that April 1st would be more likely and again I just pass this out in speculation. I can’t prove this from Scripture and I hope to always tell you that when I say something that isn’t Biblical. But, I prefer to think that Christ was more likely born on April 1st than any other time.
Now I was reading the other night and this gentleman had speculated that He was born in September and that the time period of December 25th was more than likely the conception of Mary by the Holy Spirit, which would bring Christ’s birth then up to September. He may be right. But personally I think April 1st and I’ll tell you why. I think Adam was created and brought on the scene April 1st. God stipulated to the nation of Israel that April is to be the first month of the year to them. And so everything in Israel’s calendar back in Biblical times began with April 1st. I think that Christ was probably resurrected on an April 1st. Now I say – I think. I can’t prove any of this.
But I think there are a lot of things that are associated in God’s timetable with this first day of the first month of the Biblical year, the month of April and then again I think to kind of put the frosting on the cake, Satan comes back and he adulterates that very day, the first of April with what we now call what? April Fool’s or All Fool’s Day, which again came out of the occultic practices and certainly not from Scripture.
Now that’s just a little aside. Now let’s move on. We’re here in Genesis chapter 11 and verse 9 is where we closed last week that the place was called Babel because it was a place of confusion.
“…and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of the earth.” And I told you last week that the word scatter here in the English is too mild. I read one commentary on it; he said the word should have been “splattered.” He actually just threw them out of that part of the world but whatever, we want to realize that God was rather forceful in seeing to it that these peoples of the earth now scattered abroad and from thence, from the Tower of Babel, they migrate within their genealogic line of either Ham, Shem or Japheth.
And you remember a couple of weeks ago, I pointed out that primarily we have the offspring of Ham ending up here along the Mediterranean. We have the offspring of Shem out here in the area of ancient Babylon, because this is where Abraham is going to originate. And this is now then the main area of the Semitic people, the Arabs and the Israelites. And then the offspring of Japheth migrated on up into western Russia and on up in to Europe, Scandinavia, Great Britain and the northern shores of the Mediterranean. And so all the people of the earth are now coming from the three sons of Noah.
Now as we come over to verse 10 in chapter 11, we keep moving on. We’re going to be introduced to the generations of Shem. And again, I’m not going to take it all word for word because we’ve covered a little bit of it back there in chapter 10, but the important name now in chapter 11 and in the line of Shem, is in verse 22:
“And Serug lives thirty years, and he begat Nahor:…”
“And Nahor lived nine and twenty years and he begat Terah:”
“And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram,…”
And we know from Scripture that Abram’s name was changed by God to Abraham. Now we’re getting close to that chapter that I said a week or two ago was the benchmark of almost all the Old Testament, the call of Abraham. So if you can get these names straight, that Nahor was the father of Terah, Terah was the father of Abraham, as well as his brother Haran. And they are living down here on the Euphrates River, down here in the ancient city of Ur.
Now it’s interesting that most of your Bible maps and I’m not going to argue with them, but I’ve had people come up after class and say, “Well now Les, this map shows Ur on the west side of the Euphrates and you said it was on the east side.” And I said, “Well, that’s what the mapmakers say but I always have to go by what the Book says.” And they’ll look at me quizzically and they say, “Well what do you mean?”
Well let’s turn to Joshua, and look at that for a moment. Turn all the way to the last chapter, which is chapter 24. Joshua chapter 24 and just drop right in to verse 1 and 2. Now this of course, is taking place many, many years later. Israel is now in the land of promise, having been led there under Joshua after Moses passed off the scene.
“And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and their judges, and their officers; and they presented themselves before God. 2. And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers (or we would say your forefathers) dwelt on the other side of the (now the King James uses the word) flood…” But all your newer translations that I’ve seen use what word? “River.” Now read it that way.
“…your forefathers dwelt on the other side of the river…” Now the other side of the river is the east side. Because Joshua is not on the east side of Euphrates and speaking of west of the river but speaking from the land of Israel, he said, our forefathers came from the other side of the river. That’d be the east side. That would have to put Ur over here. But nevertheless, it’s a technicality, because as you’ve been watching the Middle East events you’ll realize that down in this very corner of what was Kuwait, I think, was seemingly according to your maps, the ancient city of Ur. But whatever – that’s the territory that Abraham comes out of.
“…Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the river in old times, even Terah, the father of Abraham, the father of Nahor: (underline that last portion) and they served (what?) other gods.” What were they? Idolaters!
Now we’ve come about 200 years again from the Tower of Babel to this call of Abraham.
Now let’s come back if you will to chapter 11. About 200 years from Noah coming out of the Ark, until they’re gathered at the Tower of Babel. Then about another 200 years from the Tower of Babel to this call of Abraham and now we’re at 2000 BC as near as we can tell chronologically. We’ve come 2000 years from Adam to Abraham and there’s 2000 years left from Abraham to the time of Christ. All right, verse 27 then, still in chapter 11 where it says:
“Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat (or was the father of) Abram,…” Now we’re going to use that term first for a while, instead of Abraham. We’re going to call him Abram because the Bible does, but it’s the same man who will be called Abraham.
“Terah begat Abram, Nahor and Haran: (three sons) and Haran was the father of Lot.” (Who of course came with Abraham and Sarah to the Promised Land.)
“Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.” So one of the brothers died before they move from Ur further to the northwest.
“Abram and Nahor took them wives; the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai;…” And again I’m going to use the pronunciation as it’s spelled, her name also will be changed later on to Sarah. But here she’s still called Sarai.
“…and the name of Nahor’s wife, was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and the father of Iscah. 30. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, (in other words, the nephew of Abram) and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with him from Ur of the Chaldees, to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran, and dwelt there. 32. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.” Now again geographically, as they left Ur they came up to an area northeast of present day Canaan. In fact, it’d be an area somewhere north of Damascus. Now again this isn’t all scale remember. But, Damascus, Syria the present day city and up north of that was the community that we know in Scripture as Haran. And as they migrated from Ur to Haran it was here that God put the stop on them until Terah dies. Now there’s a reason for it and I think you should already catch what it was. What was Terah? He was an idolater. He worshiped other gods.
Now in order to pick up the prompting of this family moving out of their home ground we have to go to chapter 12 verse 1. And all you have to do is watch the verb tense.
“Now the LORD had said (so chapter 12 verse 1 is taking us back to chapter 11, see?) to Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, and unto a land that I will show thee.” But from the verses that we just read in chapter 11, Abram didn’t just say Sarah, the LORD God has told me to leave, let’s just say goodbye to father and our relatives and let’s move out. But rather, I can’t prove this from Scripture but again I like to just kind of imagine how this took place. We know that the people of the Orient are tight knit when it comes to family, even today. You go into China and the family in spite of what the Communists have tried to do, is still a tight knit unit.
Also the Middle Easterners have been nomadic, from day one. They didn’t really set their roots down like we think of it in Western culture. And they would move from place to place with their flocks and their herds. So I like to think that after God, however He did it, I don’t know, but when God spoke to Abram and said, now get thee away from your father’s house and Abram the obedient son went in and said, “Father we’re going to leave.” What do you suppose old father Terah said? “Well, son that’s no problem, we’ll go with you. I mean after all we can pick up our tents and we can move.” And I don’t think Abram had the wherewithal to say “Dad, I can’t take you.” And so he says, “Well all right.”
But, it wasn’t in God’s will that Terah go with Abram, so what does God do? Well, he lets them migrate and He brings them on up to Haran up there into what is modern day Syria and there God put the brakes on and He waits until Terah dies and then after Terah has died, now Abram comes down into the land of Canaan. Got that picture?
All right, now let’s go on if you will to verse 2 and 3. Now what I like to have you do, is somehow, anyway you see fit, understand that verses 2 and 3 are what we call the Abrahamic Covenant. Now you can either put a circle around them, underline them or put it out on your margin – this is the Abrahamic Covenant.
Now, if you’ll remember a week or two ago, I explained that a covenant was always from God to man and that it’s unbreakable. It’s irrevocable. And now God makes a covenant with this man Abram. He is now what? Eighty some years old, ninety? And Sarah is only a few years younger. And they’ve never had a child. And now look what God says, in verse 2 and 3:
“I will make of thee (of Abram) a great (what’s the word?) nation, (now don’t lose the impact of these individual words I will!) and I will bless thee, and I will make thy name great; Thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and I’ll curse him that curseth thee: (and then the all-encompassing promise is) and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Now as Bible believers we have to get a good understanding of what God really said.
I was encouraged sometime ago when the Daily Oklahoman interviewed our own Senator Nichols and Senator Nichols, a devout Roman Catholic, said in his interview that even though his own church did not see things as he did, yet he had to stand on the Biblical premise that the nation or the people that will bless Israel, will be blessed of God and he says, I have to believe the Bible.
And so, I’ve been encouraged that the Senator has got his Bible straight. I was reading again just before we left this morning that at the prayer breakfast in Washington, back in January, that would have been the one, that war went so fast you can’t remember whether it was in the hundred hours or just before but anyhow they had a great prayer breakfast in Washington DC in which there were multitudes of our government leaders and it was again to make the stand that we as America are the friends of Israel. And they made it plain in their various addresses at that meeting that the nation that stands with Israel is going to be in the very blessings of God.
And we certainly saw that accomplished in this last little episode where everything just went like clockwork, because after all we were protecting God’s covenant people. And so never lose sight of this promise to Abraham, that He would make them a great nation and that He would bless the man individually and we know that he was. He would make his name great. Archaeologists are now finding bills of sale and everything else with Abraham’s name on it. The man is still world renowned, many, many thousand years later. So indeed, his name is great.
But the best parts of this covenant are in verse 3, two of them. “I will bless him that blesseth thee, I will curse him that curseth thee (and then the last is that) in thee (through this man Abram) God would bring a blessing upon the whole human race.”
Now of course, what did God have in mind? Redemption! Salvation! Salvation would come to the whole human race through the nation of Israel. We’ve got a couple of minutes left, turn with me if you will, to the book of Romans where Paul is writing to the Gentile congregation at Rome and so I call this Gentile ground scripturally, but in Romans chapter 3, and let’s drop right down to verse 1 and 2.
“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there in circumcision? (Or being a Jew? Now verse 2 the answer to the question.) 2. Much, every way: (of course they had an advantage) chiefly because unto them were committed (what?) the oracles (or the Word) of God.” Every word in this Book comes through the nation of Israel. Some would maintain that Luke was a Gentile, and I prefer to think that if he was anything we might have been a half-Gentile, but I think he was still primarily a Jew. Every word of this Book has come to us from the Jewish people. And never lose sight of it.
If we had time and you can do it in your own leisure. You go into Romans chapter 11 where Paul says, that by their fall (that is through the fall of Israel, when they rejected their Messiah) what did it prompt? God sending salvation to the nations of the world without Israel, but Paul is quick to point out in that chapter, God hasn’t set aside Israel forever. Israel has been set aside only temporarily. They are still in His eternal program.