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
Very early, Lot is associated directly with what the scholars call the "holy line," which came through the Flood via Shem. Adam's life overlapped Methuselah's by 243 years. Starting at the beginning, Adam, we jump to Methuselah, and Adam still lived another 243 years. Methuselah lived right up to the Flood; he probably died in it. However, during his last 98 years, Shem was alive. Shem, then, was a direct connection, along with his father Noah, from Adam and Seth through the Flood.
Shem lived for another 500 years after the birth of Arphaxad, who came when Shem was 100 years old. Shem lived to the ripe old age of 600 years. During the last 150 years of his life, Abraham was alive. Now we have direct connections from Adam to Methuselah to Shem to Abraham. There were 150 years that Shem could relate things directly to Abraham that took place even before the Flood. All of that experience, all of that personal history, could be passed on directly to Abraham, who was the uncle of Lot.
Lot's father, Haran, died, and Abram became Lot's adopted father, his guardian. But do not think that Lot was young. Even if Lot was only 25 years younger than Abram (and he might have been even closer to his age), when they left his own land and went to Caanan, Lot was already 50 years old, and he, too, had lived in close proximity to Shem. So the righteous Shem could pass on the history and the purpose of God directly to Abraham and Lot.
Moses was a couple of generations removed, yet his faith was far greater than was Lot's, who lived during those times. In Lot, we are not dealing with someone with no background and without access to learning the things of God directly from His righteous servants.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 3)
Find more Bible verses about Shem:
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