I find it interesting how so many people, imperfect and sinful as we all are, want to set themselves up as critics of the Bible; or more specifically, the God of the Bible. It reminds me of when the Prophet Jeremiah was sent down to the potter’s house to receive a Word from the Lord concerning the impending captivity of the House of Israel. The Lord said to the Prophet: O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. [Jeremiah 18:6] The Apostle Paul alluded to this scene in Romans 9: On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? [Romans 9:20, 21 NASB]
The point is, God is Sovereign. God, the Creator, acts on a level higher and separate from His Creation. He can do whatever He wants to do, without giving any explanation whatsoever to you or me. Until we can trust Him at that level, to know exactly what He is doing at all times, and that all that the Lord does is right, all the time; we really are not walking and living by faith. Where am I going with all of this? I am getting us back to where we left off last time.
You will recall that we were talking about the incident recorded in Genesis 9 where Noah, who became a farmer after the Flood, planted a vineyard; and in the process of time, became drunk from the fruit of the wine. Whether this was intentional or occurred due to lack of experience, is really immaterial. The Bible tells us that Noah in his inebriated state laid naked inside his tent. Noah’s youngest son, Ham, the father of Canaan; “saw” the nakedness of his father, and went to get his brothers Shem and Japheth, so they could also make fun of their drunken father. It is likely that some sort of lewd act of a homosexual nature was done by Ham’s son Canaan to Noah as he lay naked in his tent. Why do we say this? Look at verse 24:
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. [Genesis 9:24] Some commentators have suggested that the reason Noah “knew” what had been done unto him, was the fact that he was covered with a blanket. However, it doesn’t seem plausible, in my opinion, that this was the case. It seems something much more serious occurred here. Beginning with Verse 25 going through verse 27, Noah gives a prophetic utterance concerning his sons and their ancestry. This is an Old Testament example of the spiritual gift of the Word of Wisdom in operation. Notice what he says concerning Canaan:
And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.[Gen. 9:25] The curse was not pronounced upon Ham, but on his son, Canaan. Apparently Canaan had a greater role in that which had been done to Noah than Ham had. God declared prophetically through Noah that the descendants of Canaan were cursed. What was the curse? Some commentators have suggested, given the fact that the natural inhabitants of the continent of Africa were descendants of Canaan, that the Canaanite curse was dark skin. This notion, frankly, is so ridiculous it doesn’t even bear mentioning. I only do so because this notion has been suggested in times past, and is still held by many. The coloration of the skin, the pigment that is in the epidermis of the human family, comes about as the result of sunlight from the outside not sin on the inside.
To repeat, the curse was and is not dark or black skin. The Bible does not teach it. God never said it. It is therefore unfair to both the black man and to God to suggest otherwise. After all, the first two great civilizations, both the Egyptian and the Babylonian civilizations, were both Hamitic. Keep in mind also that Moses, who recorded these events in the book of Genesis by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, probably read this passage shortly before the Israelites first had to battle the Canaanites. In essence it established the historic legitimacy of Israel’s later conquest of the Canaanites. Here also, Moses gives the theological basis for the conquest of Canaan. Because of the sin of Canaan, Canaan and his descendants, specifically the early inhabitants of the land later promised to Abraham in Genesis 10:15 – 20, were cursed and were to be totally destroyed with none left alive. [See Deut. 20:17]
Bible critics like Richard Dawkins and the so-called “new atheists” charge God with genocide in the matter of the command to utterly destroy the Canaanites. Was this an act of divine genocide? Certainly not. A closer look at the horror of the Canaanites sinfulness, which was exhibited in rampant idolatry, incest, adultery, child sacrifice, homosexuality, and bestiality; reveals this was not genocide, but rather capital punishment. After all, the Old Testament unequivocally commands that those who do any one of these things deserves to die. Also, God made it clear in His conversation with Abraham regarding the Canaanite cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that He knows who would or would not repent, and in the case of those cities, not one person would heed the warning and even Lot’s family had to be forcibly pulled away from the coming destruction. In Leviticus 18 God then warns Israel that if they commit similar sins that the land would similarly “vomit” them out. Later when Israel disobeys God and allows the Canaanites to continue to live among them, the corrupted and seductive power of Canaanite sin results in the Canaanization of Israel. Subsequently, God sent prophets to warn Israel of their coming destruction, but they didn’t repent and God said that they became “like Sodom to me” and He visited destruction on Israel for committing the same sins. This again reveals that God’s motive isn’t genocide, but capital punishment. That we commit similar sins today renders us incapable of appropriate moral outrage against these sins and thus we accuse God of “genocide” to justify our own sinfulness.
Ham’s descendants were relegated to a role of servitude. Shem was to father a chosen race with a special relationship to God. Jesus Christ descended, after the flesh, from the line of Shem. The name Japheth means “enlargement” so that God’s statement concerning him was actually a play on words. His descendants were to encompass the globe. Noah’s three sons replenished the Earth. For more on the settlement of Noah’s sons and the Nations that descended from them see: http://www.bible-truth.org/GEN10.HTM .
No study concerning the Dispensation of Human Government would be complete without discussing one of the most “colorful” individuals in it. I speak of Nimrod, the one whom the Bible describes as, “A mighty hunter.” Nimrod was, interestingly enough, a descendant of Ham. He sought to build a world empire:
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.[Gen. 10:8 – 10] Archaeologists have identified Nimrod with Bacchus, Tammuz, and Adonis. Semiramis, the wife of Nimrod, has been linked to the nature goddess Rhea, Cybele, Aphrodite of Greece, and Venus of Rome. The fame of her beauty still lives in the ancient history.
We could say that false, man-made religion was “born” during the Dispensation of Human Government. Nimrod became the first leader of human apostasy and open rebellion against God since Lucifer. It is important to understand that all religious systems of idolatry and pagan mythology have an underlying character that points to their common origin in Babylon and to Nimrod its first ruler. Nimrod was thought to be a noble friend of society because of his great hunting abilities. He slew many of the wild beasts that threatened lives and built walls to further protect the cities. After the flood the people had a holy fear of God, but Nimrod was instrumental in tearing down this trust and diverting their attention away from God, to himself.
There is an interesting translation note concerning what the Bible says about Nimrod. The King James Version translates Genesis 10:9, He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. This would imply that Nimrod was a mighty hunter in the presence of the LORD. That is is not the thought however in the Hebrew text. First, the name Nimrod itself is from a Hebrew root meaning, “We will revolt.” In his very name it seems he was destined to seek to build a world Empire, revolting against the very Word and Will of Jehovah. Secondly, the word translated, before; the Hebrew, paniym (pronounced paw-neem), really should be, “in the FACE of the LORD.” The thought is, even though Nimrod was cognizant of the LORD, He rebelled and led a revolt against the Lord, in opposition to Him, right in His very face! In fact, the thought in the Hebrew is that Nimrod was not only a hunter of game, but was a hunter of the very souls of men!
Nimrod died a very gruesome, violent death. He was torn to pieces by a wild boar, and after his death was deified by the people. His wife, Semiramis, blasphemously proclaimed that her husband had been the promised seed of Genesis 3:15 and that his death had been a voluntary sacrifice for the people! The “Mystery of iniquity” was at work even back then! The worship of Nimrod, under various names, developed into the mystery religions of Babylon. All knowledge was monopolized by the priesthood, which had various levels, the highest being the chief priest, or Pontifex Maximus.
Because the Chaldeans believed in reincarnation, it was later accepted that Nimrod had reappeared as the supernaturally born son of his widow! It was not long before the worship of Nimrod had been replaced by the worship of the mother and the child. This continued as Isis and Horus in Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros in Greece, Venus and Cupid in Italy, and culminated in the Roman veneration of the Virgin Mary and her son. Whereas Semiramis had been called “the queen of heaven,” Mary became known as “the mother of God!” Many of the so-called Christian festivals such as Lady Day, Easter, and Lent began in the religious system of Babylon, along with other modern rituals such as the rosary, the order of monks and nuns, holy water, and purgatorial purification after death.
Nimrod, whose name again means, “We will revolt” or, “The rebel,” actually foreshadowed the coming Antichrist in many of his actions. Nimrod sought to create a world confederacy that would rebel against God and His ways. The Antichrist also will strive to rule the world and bring its kingdoms into rebellion against God. Nimrod failed in his mission as will the Antichrist. Nimrod made his headquarters in Babylon, the place from which the Antichrist will rule for the first three and one-half years of his reign. Nimrod founded the religious systems of Babylon, with which the Antichrist will be associated in the Last Days.
Well, we have given you much to digest this time. Next time, Lord willing, we will pick up with the building of the Tower of Babel and the interesting implications of that. Plan to join us if you can.