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Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight, is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 14 and we are reading the first two verses of the chapter in Genesis 14:1-2:
And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
I will stop reading there. We have come to the point in the study of the Book of Genesis where God is temporarily breaking off from a discussion of Abram and his sojourn in the land of Canaan and God is describing a battle that took place thousands of years ago. What is significant about this battle is that Lot will be taken captive and Abram will enlist some of his servants and some others and they will go to battle. It is a very interesting historical event that God has recorded for us. Certainly, given the nature of man, there would have been numerous battles. There would have been numerous city states battling against other city states, but we are not given information about other battles. The Lord selected this particular battle and we wonder what is so important about this battle for God to record it in the Bible and inform His people about it. That is one of the questions we will have in the back of our minds as we read about it.
Again, it said in Genesis 14:1:
And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
These kings were on the same side and we would call them allies. They are warring with the city states that are mentioned in Genesis 14:2:
That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
Verse 1 describes four kings and verse 2 describes five kings they are fighting against. We know we are correct concerning the number of kings because it says in Genesis 14:8-9:
And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim; With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
That is exactly what we had counted in verses 1 and 2. The Lord very carefully tells us the name of each king and the name of the city or state that king ruled over. Before we can move on with our study, the names of the kings are not very helpful in revealing a spiritual truth or information about them. The first king listed was Amraphel and it is a word that Strong’s concordance does not identify and it is not related to another word (that I could see). The second king, Arioch, is from a word that may relate to a “lion.” It is possible, but it may not be. The third king, Chedorlaomer, is also unknown. The fourth king is Tidal and Strong’s relates it to the idea of “fear.” It gives a word that it believes “Tidal” is derived from, but when we look at that word it does not seem to be a derivative of the same word, so I do not think that “Tidal” means “fear,” but Strong’s Concordance does, so I will mention it, but I do not think there is any evidence of it. So, we are not going to be helped through the names of these kings, except for Arioch (because it is used elsewhere).
So, let us move on and look at the places they are kings over: “Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.” This is more helpful because we see some of the locations used elsewhere in the Bible. For instance, Shinar is found in the Book of Daniel. In fact, most of these names will lead us to the Book of Daniel. It says in Daniel 1:1-2:
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, captured many of the Jews and took many treasures from Jerusalem and carried them into the land of Shinar to the house of his god, so Shinar is very much part of the kingdom of Babylon. It was a place where the house of the king’s god was located, so that would have been extremely important in that nation, so we could say that Shinar identifies with Babylon.
Let us look at the second individual, Arioch, king of Ellasar. We do not know the meaning of “Ellasar,” and I do not believe it is used elsewhere in the Bible. Again, we do not know what the name “Arioch” means, but it possibly could relate to a “lion.” The name “Arioch” is used elsewhere. It appears in Daniel 2:14-15:
Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
Although we do not know the meaning of the word “Arioch,” we see that a captain of high rank in the kingdom of Babylon had that name, so there is also some relationship to Babylon. We could say that “Arioch” is a Babylonian name because this captain of the guard had that name. So, again, “Shinar” is the place of the house of the god of Babylon and “Arioch” is a name that a Babylonian captain of the guard was known by.
What about Elam? Elam is a place mentioned more often in the Bible and it also leads us to the Book of Daniel. It says in Daniel 8:1-2:
In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
Shushan, the palace, was in the province of Elam. Shushan is later mentioned in the Book of Esther as the palace of King Ahasuerus. But here in Daniel 8, verse 1 it was in the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar, who was a Babylonian king and Shushan was the palace for the Babylonian king. Once again, we find that in the case of Amraphel king of Shinar, it identified with Babylon; in the case of Arioch king of Ellasar, the name “Arioch” identifies with the captain of a Babylonian captain of the guard; in the case of Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Elam was the place where Shushan the palace was and the location of King Belshazzar, the Babylonian king. Each one identifies with Babylon. Then the fourth and final king in verse 1 is Tidal, king of nations. Again, we do not understand what the name “Tidal” means, but it is highly significant that he is said to be “king of nations.” Why is that significant? It is because it is a title that belongs to God. It says in Jeremiah 10:6-7:
Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O JEHOVAH; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.
The Lord JEHOVAH is “King of nations.” And, yet, this man “Tidal” calls himself “king of nations.” There is nothing specific about what nations he is king over. He is apparently not the king of Shinar or these other nations mentioned, but he rules over some nations and he took the title “king of nations.” The Hebrew word for “nations” is “go-ee” and it is the same word for “Gentile.” It is the same word for “heathen.” We could read it this way: “Tidal, king of the heathen.” Does that help us in our attempt to spiritually identify him and these four kings? Yes, it does. Satan is the king of the heathen or the king of the unsaved people of the earth. He became their ruler through conquest back in the Garden of Eden when man disobeyed God and believed the lie; man became subservient to Satan. Satan became king of nations. At least, that is what he claimed in Luke, chapter 4 at the time of Jesus’ testing. It says in Luke 4:5-6:
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
He speaks of all the nations of the world and Satan said he could give them to Christ because they were given to him, as he said at the end of verse 6: “…for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” And it was delivered unto him to have dominion over man. Mankind had dominion over the world and when Satan conquered them, he had dominion over the world or everything man had ruled over, so “king of nations” is the perfect title to represent Satan. Not only that, but notice that there are four kings named. The first three had some link to Babylon and some relationship to a king of Babylon and the king of Babylon is a type and figure of Satan. It says in Isaiah 14:4-6:
That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! JEHOVAH hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.
This is referring to Satan. The context clearly shows it. He is typified by the king of Babylon and, yet, what God is saying about the king of Babylon has application to Satan. Satan is the one that ruled the nations in anger. By the way, that is the reason why in Revelation 19 where it speaks of the Day of Judgment (which began on May 21, 2011), it was also the day that Satan was put down from all official rule over the nations and over the churches. Satan was put down. He ruled the nations because all the nations of the world had been delivered unto him and he ruled them in anger. But then Christ took the kingdom and conquered him. It says in Revelation 19:15:
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Christ rules over everything Satan had previously ruled over and Satan had ruled the nations. From that point at the beginning of Judgment Day and up until the end of the world, the Lord Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron. We know that Satan has been put down and deposed. In an historical parable, the Book of Esther lays this out very well. Haman, a type of Satan, is the adversary and enemy and he was hanged on the seventeenth day of the second month of their calendar and then King Ahasuerus gives the house of Haman to Mordecai, a type of Christ. Then Mordecai rules over the house of Haman until all the enemies of the Jews were slain on that day and Purim was the day that had been selected by lot. There we have that same idea. On May 21, 2011, the “house of Satan” or the nations were taken from Satan. To prove that the nations have to do with the house, remember that Christ spoke the parable: “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” Christ bound Satan at the cross and spoiled his house through the centuries of the church age; that is, the Gospel went into the nations of the world and individuals became saved. The Word of God prospered and was established in the churches and congregations for 1,955 years. Satan’s house was plundered as the Gospel took individuals from among the nations. Haman’s house was given to Mordecai and, likewise, Christ presently rules over the nations of the world, as He is smiting them. It is not a rule designed for their good, but for their ultimate destruction. So, we see that Satan ruled the nations, like “Tidal, king of nations.”
Concerning the king of Babylon, we could also look at Jeremiah 25:11:
And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
This is what Genesis 14, verse 1 is directing our attention toward by using locations like Shinar and Elam and the name of one of the kings, Arioch. It is directing our attention to the Great Tribulation period, the time when Satan began to rule in an unparalleled way over the nations and over the corporate church. It was a glorious time for him and his kingdom of darkness. He was full of power and strength and he overcame the camp of the saints. Here, in Genesis 14, verse 1 the four kings are fighting against five and they are representative of the rule of Satan, especially during the Great Tribulation period.