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Righteous people

God told Abraham that he was going to judge Sodom for its sins.  Lot, Abraham’s nephew, lived in Sodom and this fact prompted Abraham to intercede for the city.

Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 

And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

. . . . .

Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.”

He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”  (Genesis 18:23-26,32)

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Meeting Melchizedek

Abraham’s nephew Lot separated himself from Abraham and went to live in Sodom.  His decision soon got him in trouble. Genesis 14:1-16 describes how a coalition of kings led by Chedorlaomer overcame Sodom and its allies and took as prisoners the people of those cities, including Lot.  When Abraham heard of this he called out his followers and rescued Lot and the other captives.

After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).  (Genesis 14:17)

But before the king of Sodom met him he encountered Melchizedek.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
    who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.  (Genesis 14:18-20)

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Your only son

God tested Abraham.

God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
Genesis 22:1-3

Abraham obeyed but God stopped him from carrying out the sacrifice.

Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.
Genesis 22:10-13

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The sons of Abraham

Moses was a descendant of Abraham.  He gave the world the Torah, which he said was based on revelations given to him by God.  Judaism is based on the teachings contained in this book.

Muhammad was a descendant of Abraham.  He gave the world the Koran, which he said was based on revelations given to him by God.  Islam is based on the teachings contained in this book.

The similarities between these two aren’t just a coincidence.

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The Euthyphro dilemma

Plato wrote of a conversation between Socrates and a man named Euthyphro in which this question was raised: Does God command us to do things because they are good or are they good because God commands them?   Many people feel that either answer creates a problem.  If God commands us to do things because they are good that implies that there is a standard of goodness independent of God to which he must conform.  If the things God commands are good because he commands them then good and evil exist only because of God’s arbitrary decision to call certain thing good and others evil.  This problem is known as the Euthyphro dilemma.

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Genealogies

The Bible contains many genealogies.  They can be  very boring and when I read through the Bible I often skim over them without studying them in detail but they do shed light on one very controversial issue regarding the interpretation of the Bible.

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Sacrificing Ishmael

Everyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Most don’t realize that before this Abraham had been commanded to sacrifice his other son, Ishmael.

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Lazarus and the rich man – parable or actual event?

In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus and describes how they lived in this life and what their circumstances were after they died. Read the rest of this entry

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