Balaam’s Second Prophecy

King Balak has responded to the cries of his people. They were “sick with dread” because of Israel (Numbers 22:3). He comes up with a brilliant plan to defeat this seemingly unstoppable nation. Recognizing his inferior position, Balak realizes to gain the upper hand, Israel must be cursed. He employs Balaam, the best known diviner of the time, to call down the curse upon the warrior nation. Balaam opens his mouth to curse Israel but a blessing comes out instead. Numbers 23:13-26 records King Balak’s second demand for a curse against Israel and the end result. ...

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Not a Nickname

We’ve been exploring Jacob’s name change to Israel. Last time we discovered the meaning of the name Jacob. According to The exhaustive dictionary of Bible names (Smith, Stelman, and Judson Cornwall.) Jacob (ja’-cub) = He will supplant; he that supplants; he that follows after; a heeler; one who trips up; takes hold by the land; supplanter; a detainer. According to dictionary.com supplant is defined, to take the place of (another), as through force, scheming, strategy, or the like. Jacob got his name mere minutes after being born as recorded in Genesis  25:2...

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Not a Nickname – Part Two

God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. In this series of articles we are considering the significance of that name change. I would venture to say that when we hear the name Israel, we immediately think of a tiny little nation with a population of roughly eight and a half million people, just barely bigger than New Jersey, in the middle east. Israel was however, the name of a man before it became the name of a nation. When we encounter the word Israel in the Bible we have the luxury of context indicating man or nation as we read. Genesis 25  Isaac was forty years ...

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Not a Nickname (Part One)

I originally intended to write a series on the four prophetic blessings of Balaam. I’m still planning to, but this will prove to be an important detour in that plan. In my previous post titled "BALAAM’S FIRST PROPHECY - THE CONCLUSION", I said the following. Ok, what? Dust of Jacob? With this phrase Balaam is telling his audience that the nation is descended from one person, a man named Jacob. He paints the picture of a walking man leaving a trail of dust behind him. With this figure of speech Balaam declares that the posterity of a single man is incalculable. ...

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Balaam’s First Prophecy – the Conclusion

Last time we looked at the first two verses in Balaam’s prophecy. Here’s the whole thing again. Numbers 23:7-10 And he took up his oracle and said: “Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram, From the mountains of the east. ‘Come, curse Jacob for me, And come, denounce Israel!’ “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced? For from the top of the rocks I see him, And from the hills I behold him; There! A people dwelling alone, Not reckoning itself among the nations. “Who can ...

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Balaam’s First Prophecy

Many, if not most of us, are familiar with the story of Balaam in the Old Testament. Maybe we don’t remember the man’s name, but we certainly remember hearing about his talking donkey. But like all familiar Biblical stories, there are significant details we fail to recall. The sensational is easy to recall - it tends to demand our attention. I want to ignore the sensational talking donkey in this story, and instead consider the first recorded prophecy of Balaam. Let me get you up to speed. God, via a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, is leading the ...

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The House of Peter and Andrew

In my previous post, “Translation Decisions” I talked about the house where the paralytic man was healed. According to the gospel account (Mark 2:4), the man’s friends could not get him past the crowd to Jesus, so they broke up the roof and lowered him down. In the last paragraph of that post I asked the following questions. So either way, “at home” or “in the house” Jesus had return to a place He had previously stayed. Can we know the specific house? Is the house significant? What else might have occurred in this house during Jesus’ ...

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I Am

Textual Context Leading up to the verse I want to examine today, Jesus has been engaged in conversation with the religious leaders and scholars among the Jews. The conversation morphed into a discussion of their genealogy. They claimed to be descendants of Abraham, which they believed gave them standing with God. Jesus pointed out to them, that though they were indeed in Abraham’s lineage, their spiritual father was actually the devil, not Abraham, and certainly not God. “I Am” Claims Made by Jesus One way Jesus demonstrated His deity throughout the ...

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Qodesh

In the New King James translation of the Bible the word “Holy” appears 669 times in 598 verses. I’m sure we all have a sense for what the word means. But I wonder if we would benefit from looking up the actual source language words used in the Bible? The first time the word holy (in the form Holiness) shows up is in the book of Exodus. Here’s the context. The children of Israel were just rescued by God from the Egyptian army. God parted the Red sea, giving the nation an escape from their pursuers. Exodus 14:31 (NKJV) says, 31 Thus Israel saw the great ...

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Israel In Review

My wife and I went to Israel with twenty one other people recently. I viewed it as an educational pilgrimage and not a vacation. Why do I tell you it was a pilgrimage instead of a vacation? I suppose it’s because I’m trying to communicate my expectations. On a vacation I expect to relax, maybe visit family and do something fun. But since I viewed it as an educational pilgrimage, I had two expectations. One, I expected to learn something. And two, even though I couldn’t have told you exactly what, I went to Israel expecting to experience something deeply meaning...

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