What the Bible says about
(From Forerunner Commentary)
We witness the closing stages of Noah's comments today. Canaan, broadly the peoples of Africa, is in the process of being marginalized by world powers. God has indeed "enlarged" the population, prestige, and power of Japheth, the Asian nations collectively, especially in the last hundred years or so. Japheth's general and widespread "blooming" is one of the most obvious and important trends today.
What is not so obvious, however, is the role of Shem in bringing about this growth. Nevertheless, the fact is incontrovertible: God has used (and is using) Shemitic civilization to transform Japheth into a great people. Japheth is coming to "dwell in the tents of Shem"—in those cultural fixtures originated by Americans and Europeans. This widespread realignment of cultural bearings, from traditional Oriental to postindustrial Occidental, often comes with reservation—and with a good deal of adaptation as well. Nevertheless, it has come about:
» The Japanese Emperor wears Western-style clothes. His people, isolated from the Occident for centuries, have today thoroughly accepted the institution of capitalism, "a peculiar creation of Western culture." The Japanese people have come to feel quite at home "in the tents [and tenets] of Shem."
» India may lack an emperor but not Shem's tents. India is the world's largest democracy. Just like capitalism, democracy, as we will see shortly, is a Shemitic invention. In the 1830s, an Englishman, Lord Macaulay, formulated a civil and criminal legal code still used in India today. Macaulay believed that Britain's aim in ruling India should be the creation of "a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste and intellect." To an extent, Britain succeeded.
» As is evident to all, China is moving into Shem's tents as well, slowly adopting a market economy. While no one can say for sure, there will probably be more of Shem in China's future.
One writer offers remarkable insight into these tents. He does not refer to Shem, but to his descendent, Abraham. The Abrahamic
world emerged from the triad of religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—that trace their roots in the Biblical patriarch and spawned the great secular ideologies of scientific empiricism, liberal democracy, and Marxism. Unlike the Buddhist and Hindu worldviews, the Abrahamic perspective sees nature as reducible to predictable laws and history as a process with a meaningful beginning, middle, and end. The Muslim, the Marxist, the democrat, the Baconian scientist, the Christian, and the Jew all share this fundamentally similar outlook on life.
Because the Western perspective focuses on the sibling rivalries between Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Jefferson, Bacon, and Marx, it too often overlooks the extraordinary spread of Abrahamism out of its native Middle East into nearly every corner of the world. Virtually every human culture that has encountered Abrahamic ideology has adopted it sooner or later. Asia is no exception. In the last 100 years, each major Asian state has embraced at least one Abrahamic faith. Consequently, every Asian society is today engaged in a fundamental effort to reconcile its increasingly Abrahamic outlook with its native culture. (Walter Mead, "The End of Asia? Redefining a Changing Continent," Foreign Affairs, November/December 2000, p. 156. Emphasis added).
The commentator concludes:
In fact, the twenty-first century may well be remembered more for the end of Asia than for its rise. On the one hand, the universal solvents of capitalism and Abrahamic ideology will continue to sow deep social and cultural changes among the peoples of geographical Asia, steadily reducing, transforming, and remixing—although probably never finally eliminating—the last traces of pre-Abrahamic culture.
The point, of course, is not that Asia is "ending" as a power structure. Rather, Asia is buying into Occidental thought at the cost of her traditional, Oriental culture.
Globalism (Part Two): The Tents of Shem
Abraham is the father of the faithful. He is a type of God the Father; Isaac was a type of the Son, Jesus Christ. Humanly, he is the head of the family—of those who are loved by God, who love God, and are obedient to Him.
Abraham is the patriarch. He is the leader and elder. He is the primary example among men. Considering the way God speaks about him, there has been nobody on earth as great as Abraham, except for Jesus Christ. What an example we have here!
If we are Christ's, we are Abraham's seed and no other's (Galatians 3:29). Because we are Abraham's children, we are heirs according to the promise.
In Abraham, we are looking at one of the prime examples in all of mankind. In Genesis 26:5, the promise is repeated to Isaac, and God says to him, "Because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." That covers everything, does it not? Consider this in reference to Genesis 18. This is God speaking:
Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him [meaning "by experience I know him"], that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken to him. (Genesis 18:18-19)
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part Nineteen)
Under the New Covenant, the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant are valid, and Abraham is our spiritual father, as it were. He is the model of the family, with whom God first made the covenant, and he obeyed God's voice (Genesis 26:5). He kept the commandments and the laws, and Abraham's children are going to do the same thing! Otherwise, they will not really be his children.
Paul is not doing away with the law! He is simply saying that the law cannot justify us. We see here, by God's own witness, that Abraham lived up to the terms of the covenant. Because he did, it was passed on to Isaac for him to do as his father had done.
The problem of transgressions in the Old Covenant was not resolved until the promised Seed, Christ, came. He lived perfectly, qualifying to be the payment for sin, and at the same time, He confirmed the promises that were made unto Abraham—and they were made absolutely and eternally binding. God then proposed the New Covenant that He had previously shown in prophecy (Jeremiah 31). God has presented it to all of mankind—not just to Abraham's physical descendants.
It is not circumcision that makes one a part of this covenant. Rather, it is circumcision of the heart! The sign is repentance and faith in the sacrifice of the promised Seed, Jesus Christ. The receipt of the Holy Spirit is the seal; it authenticates what has occurred. It completes the making of the New Covenant with the individuals whom God calls.
Nowhere does God say that the laws that define sin are done away. On the contrary, the One who made the New Covenant possible said that not one jot or tittle would pass from the law until all was fulfilled (Matthew 5:18).
God's moral and spiritual laws have been from eternity, and an agreement between Him and mere man is not going to do away with them. God Himself would have to pass from existence for that to occur. In addition, the loving intent of those laws as they apply to human relationships is still valid.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part Twenty-Seven)
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