Genesis 12.3 Blessing and Cursing

Jerusalem of Gold

Genesis 12.3 Blessing and Cursing

Genesis 12 verse 3 is one of the most well-known verses of the Bible, especially among worldwide friends who pray for Israel and the Jewish people.


In the N.I.V. it reads:  "I will bless those who bless you,     and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth  will be blessed through you."


And the  King James version, which is usually  closer to the original Hebrew, reads very similar: "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."


But both of these translations are not exactly what the Word of God says in the original Hebrew.  I was amazed at what I found, when the LORD took me to look deeply at the Hebrew verbs in this verse. This verse is  not just central, crucial and pivotal to world history but to our individual lives as believers.  Truly understanding the Word of God here is crucial, precisely because we in the church could actually incur a curse, according to the LORD's Word, if we do not fully understand what His Hebrew says.  And the LORD doesn't want that. But He also doesn't want the "church" to hurt His Jewish people, His treasured possession. Would I stand by and watch one of my children hurting the other? No. Because I love, I would teach, warn, then impose consequences in the hope of drawing each back to unity in love with each other.


So, the verb for "bless" in verse 3 is the same throughout and is the word "baruch."  Even this word, though, has a deeper beauty in the Hebrew, in the "lashon kodesh" (the Holy Tongue).  Baruch means: to bless, to kneel down, give praise, give thanks, extol, to speak of the excellence of someone, be blessed and this can mean to speak words invoking divine favour.


That is more than the word "bless" brings to mind in the English.  We literally bless the LORD's heart whenever we "kneel down" before Him "to give thanks", especially in the secret place of our time with Him, as this is pure and not for the approval or notice of others.


However, the verb the LORD uses for "curse" is NOT the same Hebrew word throughout verse 3, even though it is translated both times as simply "curse." 


"I will curse him that curseth thee."  The LORD here is talking to Abraham (verse 1) and referring to Abraham's descendants, to whom the LORD will give the Land of Israel and make into a "great nation."  So, it is clear that this refers to the Jewish people and to the Land of Israel.


The LORD  God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob's cursing  is a straightforward cursing. The word in the Hebrew is "arar". It means: to curse, be under a curse, to bring a curse.  There are a few words for curse in the Biblical Hebrew, the most well-known being a word pronounced "alah." 


But the word the LORD uses to measure the human action in this pivotal verse is in no way related to the word He uses for His action.  It is the word "qalal".


So, this verse in Hebrew actually reads:  I will "baruch"  those who "baruch" you, and whoever "qalals" you, I will "arar."


So, my prayer is that the church, and all who profess to be Christian, will  ask  the LORD Yeshua, "What does the word qalal mean?"  because it is incredibly  clear from the Hebrew that the LORD is setting a different standard than we might believe, if we were to only read this verse in English.   If we struggle with the Biblical truth that the LORD curses, due to sustained unholy actions, we need to humbly understand that justice is an inherent pulse of love.  Also,  in the  order of the verse above, the LORD's blessing is His dynamic  eager action, but His cursing is a responsive reaction, to someone who took the initiative to curse those He loves. 


Someone who professes to be a Christian, so someone who is invoking the name of the Jewish Messiah as their LORD and Saviour (whether they see Him as Jewish or not)  might say, "I don't actively curse the Jewish people, or the Land of Israel as a democratic Jewish state, so that's O.K."


But "qalal" means this:  to disdain, to treat as trivial, to cause to recede, grow smaller, to be vile, to humble or treat with contempt, to shake, to bring into contempt, to despise, to make light of, or to treat as insignificant.


Wow!  How many professing Christians treat the Jewish people and the LORD's promise of the Land of Israel to the descendents of Abraham as any of the above things?  How many churches never teach on the promises of the LORD to the Jewish people relating to the Land of Israel? And how can such a church possibly show Messiah to the Jewish people? My spirit feels the Holy fear of the LORD, mixed with His Love for his body of Christ.  He wants us to know what His Word says, not what the world, or an increasingly apostate church that loves its own comfort and social acceptance, may teach: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding" (Proverbs/Mishlei Shlomo 9:10)


It is completely safe to assume the B.D.S. movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) falls into this definition of how not to treat the Jewish people and the LORD's Biblical promise of the Land of Israel to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yet, on a recent fact-finding trip to Israel, I met with the Director of N.G.O. Monitor in Jerusalem. He said, "93% of one of the anti-Israel B.D.S. organisation's funding comes from churches." This is heart-breaking, not only for Israel but also for the churches because, when held up to the Word of God, they are not in the position they may imagine before the LORD God.


I have sadly experienced people in churches and ministries despising the blessings of God on the Jewish people and belittling Jewish faith and beliefs drawn straight from the Word of God, such as the Feasts. I once over-heard a professing Christian worship leader make a  foul joke to their friends about the unsuspecting Jewish members of a family present. It took my breath away and broke my heart. I stood behind that group of professing Christians as they chuckled, not knowing someone stood behind them, someone with Jewish heritage, and felt as if I had been hit in the stomach, both for myself and my Jewish friends present. I have heard many, many Christians in churches and, even professing Christian leaders of National Movements, say they know, "Nothing about Israel" or "We don't do the Israel thing." They are not actively "cursing" but they are "treating as insignificant" and "making light of" the LORD's own words in His Holy Bible. He promised the Land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If we as believers in Yeshua stand so strong to defend His promises to ourselves for protection and blessing, do we stand equally strong to defend His promises to His Jewish people?


What causes the church not to do this? Is it lack of Biblical knowledge, in this age of following personalities rather than the God of the Bible through His Word? Is it fear?  Is it selfishness?  Is it jealousy and a secret despising of the Jew? Is it poor teaching and innocent misunderstanding?  Only the LORD knows what is in each individual heart.  But if we have been working in this area, to bring love and unity between Jew and Gentile, and to show the Jewishness of the Messiah, I feel it is important to humbly measure ourselves only against the LORD's word and let Him speak to our hearts. Because, even then, we can be doing works that look right, but let's humbly keep ourselves in check: "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." (Philippians 2.3)  I love His word "vainglory" because it finds us out!  Even in our work for Him, the power and purity of His word brings us back down onto our knees, to ask Him to make in us a pure bride, deep in the hidden places and motivations of our heart.


But, to me, this dichotomy in the church is like standing looking at a chasm of belief, a deep fissure of inconsistency to His Word.  Because in the second half of this pivotal verse, the LORD says, "And through you all nations will be blessed."  If a professing Christian doesn't love their fellow Jewish brothers and sisters, it is like watching someone sawing off the very branch they are sitting on from the trunk  the supporting tree. The LORD in His Mercy will supernaturally  hold the two together, hoping for a season of repentance. But eventually, if the professing Christian refuses to obey the Words of the Bible and practises the opposite, the branch will tragically fall.  Not necessarily into disbelief but into a pseudo-christianity that sounds very similar but lacks the power of the LORD through the cross. It will become selfish, ignorant and/or disobedient to the LORD's word; a politically correct, worldly, socially acceptable "super-church."  But woefully  deceived.  To boycott Israel is self-defeating because, if we are in Yeshua, we are called "citizens of Israel." So, it is like a professing Christian throwing away their very own passport and saying, "I want all the blessings of a Saviour, without respecting His Word as the LORD."  If He is not your LORD, then is He really your Saviour?    Here is what the LORD says in the New Testament:


 

"Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands), remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.  Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." (Ephesians 2.11-22)


Here are just some of the Jewish inventions that bless all nations, from useful to amazing;


All Intel Pentium and Celeron computer processor chips from personal computers (desktops, laptops and notebooks), anti-virus and firewall protection, mobile phones, texting, all outgoing emails (the algorithm code that’s used today for sending e-mails was made by an Israeli at the Ben-Gurion University in 1980),  4G devices, voice-mail systems, watching videos on the Internet (the platform used to upload them may be from AOL an Israeli company), e-books, electric cars, cherry tomatoes (developed in Israel!), most modern day honey (Israel has developed solutions to the worldwide problem of bee-colony collapse), agricultural products from the following areas use water irrigation and agricultural technology provided directly from Israel - Africa, China, India, Indonesia (a Muslim country), Nepal and many others, Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals is the largest generic drugs company in the world and will have manufactured many of your medicines. 


The list continues with ground-breaking: Cancer treatment (Israeli scientists have been working at the forefront of oncology for decades), AIDS and HIV treatment (researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute and Hebrew University developed/improved AZT and Hypericin-based drugs; they have also developed a treatment that destroys HIV-infected cells without damaging healthy ones), Diabetes treatment (Insulin injecting devices were developed by Israeli scientists), Multiple Sclerosis treatment (Copaxone, one of the most efficient medicines and the only non-interferon agent was developed in Israel by Teva, as was Laquinimod) Parkinson’s treatment (Israel pioneered a brain pacemaker to stop tremors), pioneering oxygen treatment for Fibromyalgia, early detection devices for people with a family history of heart disease and arteriosclerosis, Epileptic fit treatment (the Israeli discovery of the underlying mutant gene and the bracelet that sends out an alert when a person goes into seizure), Israeli implants that arrest Macular Degeneration disease, Liver disease treatment (Israeli-developed antibody immunotherapy treatments), Myeloma treatment drugs, Sleep apnoea (breakthrough Israeli device for diagnosis), Dyslexics reading system (Israeli Internet-based system), new safer non-steroid creams for skin allergies, the Weizmann Institute’s patented methods of treatment for any incident of stroke, head trauma or onset of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, M.S., epilepsy, glaucoma or brain tumour, the new plastic from Israel that disables microorganisms to avoid infection in surgeries, Israeli surgical lasers, Pillcam (the new tiny internal medical cameras ensuring safe colonoscopy and gastro investigation), the artificial heart (the first artificial heart transplant took place in Israel), Israel’s revolutionary new methods allow kidney donors from other blood groups, (the only database for matching potential Arab donors of bone-marrow is in Israel), spinal implants, Israeli-developed heart pulse generator, all heart stents, many vaccines have been developed in Israel, (the Polio vaccine was created by a Jewish doctor), the only radiation-free system of X-ray, the revolutionary new Israeli bandage that saved the life of Arizona senator Gabriella Giffords after she was shot in the head, the Babysense system protecting babies and infants from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the Epilady or epilator (two Israelis invented this hair removal device!), Israeli developed dental scanners; plus just a few recent country-specific blessings....


  • Japan (As well as rescue teams, Israel supplied Geiger counters and Israeli thermal imaging cameras are monitoring the reactor cores – Mar 2011)
  • Ghana (has been receiving technological aid from Israel since 2006; Israel is now providing neonatal units to save many of the 4,800 babies that die each year – Mar 2011)
  • New Zealand (Israel sent several rescue teams, temporary shelters and water purification systems following the Christchurch earthquake in Feb 2011)
  • Vietnam, whose milk industry is being totally transformed using high-yield Israeli cows (Feb 2011)
  • Uganda (Israeli solar-powered refrigerators were provided to store vaccines used to eliminate an outbreak of Polio from the country in Jan 2011)
  • Kenya (Israel’s Agency for International Development built a state-of-the-art Emergency Room in a hospital serving 6 million Kenyans in Jan 2011)
  • The Maldives (although non-Islamic worship is banned here, Israeli eye-doctors performed free operations for citizens in Dec 2010)
  • Romania (Israeli doctors treated babies following fire at a neonatal unit – Sep 2010)
  • Cameroon (Ophthalmologists from Haifa restored vision to patients and trained local medical teams in these procedures – Aug 2010)
  • The Congo (Israel were the first burn specialists on the scene following the oil tanker fire disaster in July 2010)
  • Angola (mines cleared by Israeli technology – July 2010)
  • Mississippi (bio-remediation technique used to clean up after oil spills was developed in Israel)
  • Haiti (Israel set-up the largest field hospital to treat victims of the 2010 earthquake, the hurricane and the cholera outbreaks and provided vital assistance for over a year)
  • Sri Lanka (Israel conducted a massive airlift with food, 50 medical staff and rescue teams only 48 hours after the Tsunami in Dec 2004)
  • India (Israel sent a fully-equipped field hospital following Gujarat earthquake in Feb 2001)
  • El Salvador (Israel relief aid following earthquake in 2001)
  • Georgia (Israel contributed food and seeds for farmers following severe drought in 2001)
  • Turkey (Israel relief aid following earthquake in 2000)
  • Mozambique ((Israel  relief aid following floods in 2000)
  • Colombia (Israel sent medical aid and food following earthquake in 1999)
  • Venezuela (President Chavez has forgotten Israel’s aid following floods of 1999)
  • Central America (Israel sent emergency medical aid teams and equipment to help victims of Hurricane Mitch in 1998)
  • Pakistan (2005) and Peru (2007) both accepted aid from Israeli NGOs following earthquake disasters.
  • Peru’s hydro-electric power plants are also being built and run by an Israeli company.
  • Rwanda, Mexico, Chad, Sudan (Darfur) and Malawi all have received humanitarian aid from Israel, including medical assistance from Israel’s NGO IsraAID.

 


Einstein, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Steven Spielberg, Paul Simon, William Shatner (Captain Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (Dr. Spock), 22% of all Nobel Laureates (when Jews only make up 0.2% of the world's population) and most famously of all, Yeshua the Messiah of the World!


If the LORD didn't get it wrong when He said, "Through you all nations will be blessed" then He isn't wrong when He says, "and him that curseth you (belittles, demeans, treats as insignificant) I will curse."


We've had amazing fun here and haven't even touched on the many, many multitudes of Jewish people who have blessed the world simply by walking around in their communities and friends, with a deep love of the LORD's Hebrew Scriptures in their hearts and minds, with their love of blessing humanity. There is a central Jewish belief called "Tikkun Olam." It means "to heal or repair the world" and comes from a deep Biblical understanding of the God-given Jewish responsibility in Genesis 12.3; that the LORD blessed us, put something of the mystery of His Glory in us, to bless others. Hitler and the Nazis, after all, put to death millions of people who had memorized Hebrew Scriptures in their heads and hearts.


But, I went into detail here to show how illogical and truly "unfair" and "unbalanced" it is to not to bless the Jewish people, when they have so blessed, and are continuing to bless, the nations, our families and our friends daily lives, as well as our own.


I have also been called to write this piece to urgently call us all to question and listen to the LORD, to ask if there is anything we are doing, and as importantly NOT DOING, that is in contradiction to His Word, as regards His Jewish people and the existence and survival of Israel. Or are we listening to people who, although professing Christians, are disparaging or undermining the LORD's words in Genesis 12:3?


But we can always take heart in the LORD's mercy. He says through His Word that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John/Yonatan 1.9) If you would like, please click on these links for more on Repenting and Making Amends.  As He promises His Jewish people, so He promises all people, "Return to the stronghold, you prisoners with hope! This day I declare to you that I will grant you double reparation." (Zechariah 9.12)  In Messiah, we are always glorious prisoners of hope!


In these times of rapidly rising anti-Semitism, are we on the right side of the LORD's Word?  Israel may soon have to protect her own people by taking out Iran's nuclear facilities because today it looks as if the Obama administration has just mustered the 34 Congressional Democratic votes they need to push through the horrific "Iran Deal." May the LORD have mercy on America. And when Israel acts unilaterally to destroy those nuclear facilities, I believe the world will show a dramatic and swift turning against the Jewish State. Anti-Semitism will rise just as quickly and vehemently as it does during every Israel defensive war. Will the church fall further away from defending her Jewish brothers and sisters? And will the true Christian Bride rise higher in loving her Jewish brothers and sisters, even at cost to herself and her "church reputation"?


Are we resolutely prepared in our hearts to be the Ruth-church? To say to the Jewish people, as Ruth did, "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:  Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." (Ruth 1.16-17)  Today, are we, as  Christian followers of Yeshua, ready to face persecution and the brutal force of anti-Semitism in the same way the Righteous among the Nations faced life and death decisions, during the Holocaust, when they protected the Jewish people against the insanity of anti-Semitism? May the LORD Himself give us grace to do so.


The majority of the people I call my close friends are believers and followers of Jesus/Yeshua, who move in the same rhythms as the Jewish people. They are deeply aware of the LORD's feasts, His Biblical timings throughout the year are painfully mindful of contradictions between the modern apostate church and the Biblical call to bring the gospel "first to the Jew, then the Gentile" (Romans 1:16).  It is hard to feel "blessed" by a church group who have no idea which feast day is happening on a day they have arranged something entirely at odds and when they find out, pay the LORD's Biblical feasts no attention. There is a historic feature  in the Greek/Hellenistic/Roman approach to religion and it is always to build on top of, not in unity and harmony with, that which preceded it. And yet His Word says,


"And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree,

were grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

boast not against the branches.

But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee."

(Romans 11:17-18)

 


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:

a good understanding have all they that do His commandments:

His praise endureth for ever.

(Psalm/Tehillim 111:10)


If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love;

even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.

These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you,

and that your joy might be full.

This is My commandment,

That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Greater love hath no man than this,

that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

(John/Yonatan 15.10-14)



NB: If you would like to discover more of the original Hebrew, I recommend The Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (published by Green). You do not need to be able to read Hebrew to quickly learn more of the LORD's heart and draw closer to the mind of Christ.  This is because each line has the direct English translation underneath the Hebrew. To show how much clearer it is, Genesis 12.3 reads: "And I will bless those who bless you, and curse the one despising you." This is immediately so much closer to the Hebrew understanding than many English translations.


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