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Strength in Weakness

Hello again!

Yesterday we finished up with Hebrews, so now we’re going to take a leap back in the books of the Bible, to the Gospels, to look at the two (Matthew and Luke) that we didn’t read before. – This is what God gave me today in His word:

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, (Matthew 1:1-5)

Well, this is quite an interesting way to open up a book. What could we possibly learn from a string of names, like this one here? — Well let’s take a closer look at them:

Jesus is the son of David the adulterous, of Jacob the deceiver, of Judah, who was also adulterous, and of Ruth, the Moabite. Not exactly the most impressive heritage ever. – Though, granted, He was also the son of  God almighty… – So, why did God chose people such as these to be the ancestors of the Savior of the World? Wouldn’t it have been better for Him to choose the best of the best?

Well, no, in fact, it would not have been better. God uses weakness to show His glory for fully. When Jesus died on a cross, it seemed like He was defeated, rather than victorious. Yet that was how God chose to save the entire World, and because of it, His power is shown even more clearly (i.e. He has power to use even a cross). God also used those specific people, to give us hope. – He used even them; He used even a cross, so, in spite of our weaknesses and failings, perhaps He’ll use even us.

The point is this: yes, we’re weak, and yes we have failings, but so did Jacob, and look where he ended up. So, rather than worry about what we don’t have; whether it’s courage, ambition, or something else entirely, let’s focus on what God can do. – Use even us to spread His word.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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Looking to Christ

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Now, notice the very first thing the author says here: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,” Now, the identity of the “witnesses” he’s referring to are fairly obvious; their the people who he talked of in the previous chapter. i.e. Samson, Abram/Abraham, Jacob, and the rest. We can see this by the authors use of “therefore”: when-ever we see a “therefore”, we’re to see what it’s there for, and in this particular case, it’s to point us back to the previous chapter, where the author talks about the afore-mentioned.

But, the next part of that sentence may seem a bit confusing: “let us also lay aside every weight,” Are our memories of their stories supposed to somehow compel us to set aside “every weight” (every “weight”, meaning everything which slows us down from running towards Christ. i.e., sin)? Well, something like that, actually. Their faith should encourage our faith; should encourage us to do as Abram did, and leave behind our sin and run to Christ (or in Abram’s case, leave behind part of his family, and follow God’s directions).

You could summarize all those verses something like this: we’re to lay aside our sin because of Jesus (so that we can run to Him). We’re to run to Jesus (you run towards where-ever you’re looking). We’re to look to Jesus, and we’re to consider Jesus, and in so doing, we’ll not “grow weary or fainthearted.” The author makes it quite clear that in everything we do, we’re to be focusing on Christ. – He’s what let’s us run the metaphorical race of life.

The point being this: we should be looking towards, and “considering” Christ in everything we do, and in so doing we’ll draw, it could even be said that we’ll  run, closer to God, and the closer we grow to God, the more He’ll show Himself to us; the more we’ll have to consider of Him.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Bridging the Gap

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:49-51)

And indeed, Nathaniel did see that; if Jesus says you’ll see something, you will see it. Yet, when? When did he see angels ascending and descending on “the son of man” (i.e. Jesus)? Well, before we talk about that, let’s look at what it is Jesus is referring to in the Old Testament, when he talks about Heaven being opened, and angels ascending and descending on Himself.

10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it[c] stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. (Genesis 28:10-13a)

God was standing on top of the ladder, and man was on the bottom of it. Between the two was a gap, a gap that no human could hope to ever get past. Yet, then came a “ladder”, called, “the son of man”. Jesus is telling Nathaniel here that He will become the ladder in Jacob’s dream. So then, with that understanding, we ask again, when did this happen? It happened with the ladder, bridging the gap between Heaven and Earth, was created: at the cross, when Jesus died. (And yes, Nathaniel was witness to Jesus’ death).

I wonder, what other passages refer to Jesus? Does Moses, when he stretched out his hands, and the water parted for the Israelites; there-by saving them from their foe? Is it pointing forward to Jesus, when in the beginning, God brought the World up from deep water, and made it flourish with life, through the “word”? Everywhere we see Jesus pointed forward to, in the Old Testament! Merely look at Jonah, who was tossed over a ship in order to save the sailors on-board. Or look at Joseph, who was sold into slavery, “for the salvation of many lives.”

Jesus, in calling Himself the Jacob’s ladder, has, in essence, given us the power to see Him in every passage we come across in the Old Testament! If you don’t believe me, simply look at Paul, and how he does this very thing:

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:7-8)

Note where Paul quotes the Old Testament here. The passage he’s changing, while quoting, is Psalm 68:18. This is what that passage actually says:

When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious–that you, O LORD God, might dwell there. (Psalm 68:18)

Paul changes the verse in order for it to picture Christ. Now, this doesn’t mean we should go and proceed to Spiritualize away every single passage in the Old Testament. Every passage in the Old Testament does indeed point forward to Christ (my family and I are finding this out, as we’re going through the entire Old Testament together in a Bible study), but that doesn’t mean that’s the Old Testament’s only purpose. It also provides real, historical facts about what happened. However, in those facts, we can see God’s hints towards the Gospel.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

P.S. If you want to read more about this concept, read this post too: https://goldenbible.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/transquotation/

 

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Transquotation: Genesis 49:8

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. (Genesis 49:8)

Transquotation:

Praise to God, Jesus has put His hand on the necks of His enemies! He has overcome, He has conquered! Let us worship Him! Let us, now called “His brothers, sons of God” worship Him!

Explanation of the transquote:

Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of the promise that Jacob makes to Judah here: “Your brothers will praise you.” Just to give you a little reminder here, we are sons and daughters of God now; thus we’re brothers and sisters of Jesus. Thus, so long as we praise Jesus (which is something we should be doing all the time, ‘whether we eat or drink, we should do all to the glory of God’), we’re fulfilling Jacob’s blessing.

“Your hand will be on the necks of your enemies;” Through the piercing of Jesus’ hands (and feet, and heart), He destroyed His enemies; and saved us. — He has conquered! He has shown His dominance over His opponent, and has gained dominion over Satan and all He owns. I’d dare to say that’s He’s “put His hand on Satan’s neck”, wouldn’t you?

Now that we’ve explained the transquote, let’s verify it with the New Testament, and with its context:

New Testament confirmation:

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15)

Context confirmation:

Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? (Genesis 49:9)

Jesus is the fulfillment of this blessing Jacob gave to Judah as well, as we can clearly see in this verse:

5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, (D)the Lion (E)of the tribe of Judah,(F)the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transquotation: Genesis 46:1-3

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here am I.” Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. (Genesis 46:1-3)

Transquotation:

Jesus died for us! He has made a way for us to at last talk openly with God, and to receive answers from Him! In this way, He has promised to free us from the bondage of slavery to sin, and He has promised to continue making us pure, sanctifying us.

Explanation of the transquote:

Let’s look at the verses we just looked at in a different way real quick:

First there came a sacrifice, offered by Israel. Then God “talked” to Israel through visions, and told Him that He would “make into a great nation.” In our case, the sacrifice was Jesus, and the promises God gives us aren’t to make us into a great physical nation (per se), but a great Spiritual one. But aside from that, the general idea is still there (I believe). i.e. That Jesus saved us, and through that we are given a “promise”.

In the case of Israel, that promise was singular in nature and was that God would make him into a great nation. On the other hand, God has given us (i.e. His children) hundreds of promises in His word, all of which He promises to fulfill (if not, per se, in the exact time frame, or way we expect Him to fulfill them). So, though there’s a difference in the number and type of promise/s, the idea remains. Which is that, through a sacrifice being made, God “talks” to us, – in some way or other, in the case of Israel that way was through visions. For us, it’s usually, at least in my experience, through God’s word; the Bible – followed by (a) promise/s being made.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s confirm that transquote with the New Testament, and context:

New Testament confirmation:

13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

   And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  (Revelation 7:13-14)

Context confirmation:

I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.” (Genesis 46:4)

Here we see God ‘promising to be with Israel’. Likewise, God promises, among other things, to be with us in the world. — This supports the transquote by strengthening the connection, in this passage, between us and Israel (formerly known as Jacob).

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transquotation: Genesis 38:29-30

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” (Genesis 38:15-16)

But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called Perez. Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah. (Genesis 38:29-30)

Transquotation:

We sinned; we fell short of the glory of God. And through that sin came a breach between us and God. Yet then came grace! Then came a rising of the light and a receding of darkness when Jesus saved us by dying for us on the cross!

Explanation of the transquote:

I’ll say this as bluntly as possible: you have sinned, I have sinned, your neighbor has sinned, your best friend has sinned, and the person who lives on the other side of the world from you has, you guessed it, sinned. Ever since Adam and Eve fell all people have sinned; all have become separated from God. It’s a simple and sad fact of life… And then came the “rising of the light.” Through the same sin that sent us running from God and God running from our vile evilness, came Jesus. Because we were sinful, God became merciful. He sent his one and only son down to Earth to take our sin upon His shoulders and die for us. And so, what Satan intended for Evil, God used for good; the good of us now being able to have a personal relationship with Him. Before, God was an imposing force who we needed to appease, now He’s our friend, or confident, the one we run to when we’re scared. Now He’s Abba, Father, and all-mighty, all-powerful, God.

Now the cries of, “What a breach you have made between yourself and God!” have turned to shouts of, “Praise God that He has seen fit to send His son to repair the breach!”

You may have already guessed this by now, but here are the meanings of the names of the two sons which Tamar and Judah had:

Perez: A Breach

Zerah: Rising of Light

New Testament confirmation:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Context confirmation:

About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” (Genesis 38:24)

Through our sin we were to be burned (in Hell). That’s one comparison. Another would be that neither of us ended up actually getting burned; though, granted, for very different reasons… — This supports the transquote by supporting the connection between us and Tamar.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transquotation: Genesis 37: 18; 23-24; 26-28; 31-32

Hello again!

The first verse is after Jacob has sent his son Joseph to check up on His brothers. — This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. (Genesis 37:18)

So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colors that he wore. And they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. (Genesis 37:23-24)

Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt. (Genesis 37:26-28)

Then they took Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.” (Genesis 37:31-32)

Transquote:

And when we saw Jesus, even while He was a way off, we conspired against Him, to kill Him, because we knew He was loved by the Father while we were facing destruction. Taking Him, we crucified Him, and by His blood the Father’s wrath was appeased; we faced no punishment.

Explanation of the transquote:

Lets, real quick, combine all four verses to form a story:

First, they “saw Him from afar,” then they conspired to kill Him. Then He was stripped of His glory and went down into a “pit.” In fact, more than that, He was treated as a slave. Then the remaining sons returned to Jacob with a blood stained robe and showed it to him; and because of the blood on the robe, Jacob knew His son was dead, and though that, their selling Joseph into slavery wasn’t punished… I would like to point your attention now to a couple of a verses:

But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. (Matthew 12:14)

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)

14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:14-15)

8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:8-10)

Jesus was worth ten shekels of silver more than Joseph, aside from that, there’s pretty much no difference – aside from the time, number of people involved, perfection or lack thereof of certain persons, names of certain persons involved, and the heritage of certain persons involved. i.e. Jesus was the son of God, Joseph was the son of Jacob, etc.. -. They both descended into a “pit” (Hell) and they both saved people. Granted, the way they both saved people from punishment is very different, as is the number of people they saved… But the general idea is in place.

Praise God that Jesus took away our punishment; and that now we are being sanctified, becoming more like Jesus, until at last when we die and live in our glorified bodies with God!

Now then, as with every transquote before it, let’s confirm it both New Testament-wise and Contextually:

New Testament confirmation:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

Context confirmation:

And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” (Genesis 37:33)

OK, so there are some differences between the reactions of the two fathers, but the outcome is the same; a lot of kids (children of God) get off the hook. More than that though, a lot of kids get new Spirits and new desires something which, granted, we don’t see happening with Joseph’s brothers. But, that’s to be expected, this is only a foreshadow of things to come. — This supports the transquote by strengthening the connection between Jesus and Joseph, and between, to a lesser extent, Jacob and God.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transquotation: Genesis 35:1-2

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. (Genesis 35:1-2)

Transquotation:

We are allowed into the House of God because of the sacrifice made for us; because of Jesus’ death for us. And now God, while we are still on the Earth, sanctifies us.

Explanation of the transquote:

Because of a sacrifice Jacob was supposed to make, they (Jacob and crew) were to go to Bethel; meaning “House of God.” It’s true, granted, that they were supposed to go to the House of God to offer the sacrifice (as compared to us, who are only going to the Heaven/the House of God because Jesus has already died for us) there is a similarity between the two.

Next, Jacob ordered everyone to get rid of their gods. Or, in other words: after they learned of the sacrifice, they were to get rid of all their false gods. Yes, again, in their case the “learned of it” meant they were to go and offer the sacrifice, as compared to us who are purified because of the sacrifice, there is once again a similarity.

New testament confirmation:

 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Context confirmation:

Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears. Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree that was near Shechem. (Genesis 35:3-4)

As already said, purification comes through the knowing of the sacrifice. — This supports the transquote by strengthening the connection between the two sacrifices; the one Jacob and crew were to offer here, and Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice of Himself.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transquotation: Genesis 34:26-27

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house and went away. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. (Genesis 34:26-27)

Transquotation:

Jesus came and destroyed Satan; making a public spectacle of him, and freed us from His ‘defiling’ kingdom.

Explanation of the transquote:

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15)

Jesus disarmed and destroyed, and so did Jacob’s sons. If you look a little ways before the verses I quoted, you’ll see Jacob’s sons making a, fake-agreement with Hamor and son (the same son who raped Dinah, Jacob’s daughter) that if all the males in Shechem would be circumcised, they would inter-marry (the Israelites with the Shechemites… Or maybe the Shechetites, or the Shechevites, I’m not really sure to be honest). So that’s exactly what the people of Shechem did. So, on the third day when the people were, and I quote, “sore,” Jacob’s sons came in and destroyed/looted them. — Or, to put all that much more simply: the disarmed and destroyed.

To rephrase the transquote: we had no hope, we were trapped in Satan’s kingdom with no way, or, for that matter, desire to escape; we were willing captives. But then Christ broke in and set us free by the cross; triumphing over Satan and making a public spectacle of him and his powers and authorities.

New Testament confirmation:

In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. (Mark 3:27)

Guess what? Jesus is a strong man.

Context confirmation:

On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. (Genesis 34:25)

I don’t know about you, but I love this verse. On the third day Jacob’s sons came in and destroyed the enemy, saving the one held captive! How much clearer can you get, pray tell? — Jesus rose again on the third day after He had been crucified; thus conquering death and saving us! This, if you couldn’t tell, supports the transquote by strengthening the connection between Jacob’s sons and Jesus.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transname: Genesis 33:17-20

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

But Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth. And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan-aram, and he camped before the city. And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, he bought for a hundred pieces of money the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent. There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel. (Genesis 33:17-20)

Transname:

At first we found rest and refreshment in ‘the wisdom of the world’; we drank all the saltwater the world offered us. We turned our backs to God and continued on our path to death. Yet then Jesus was elevated on a cross; becoming an (elevated-)ransom for us all. And now we call Him our God; the God of Israel.

Explanation of the transname:

First of all let me, in you would, explain that last part of about God being our God/the God of Israel: no, I’m not an Israelite by birth, but every child of God is a son of Abraham and thus technically are Israelites:

6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham (K)because they are his offspring, but (L)“Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but (M)the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: (N)“About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Romans 9:6-9)

With that out-of-the-way… Here are what the names mean (in order):

Succoth: Boothes (booths were place of refreshment.)

Shechem: Back (or sometimes, “Shoulder”)

Paddan-aram: Elevated Ransom or Plain of Aram (under the circumstances, the first one seemed to be more right)

El-Elohe-Israel: The God of Israel

New Testament confirmation:

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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