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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Common Misused Passages of the Bible - Genesis 12:1-3

Abram Journeying into the Land of Canaan (engr...
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How many times have you heard, "God will bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who curse Israel?" Plenty, right? Most particularly whenever someone is referring to protecting modern Israel. There's a problem with that particular phrase. It's not found in the Bible. The correct phrase is found in Genesis 12:1-3...

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
(Genesis 12:1-3 ESV)
I suppose one could make a case that this could refer to Israel, but it really doesn't. In context, it's directly referring to Abraham. Even examining the original language of what you means in this passage doesn't help, as there is not indication that it's even you all. It just seems to be God saying, "I'm going to bless you, Abraham and curse those who curse you, Abraham."  Christians in the West seem to have this love affair with modern Israel in which they'll twist any scripture passage to their idea of who Israel is. I've had people argue with me that what I quoted in the first paragraph is what the Bible says, even after the Bible has proven them wrong. Do they really want to argue with King James?

That being said...

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
(Romans 9:6-18 ESV)

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