Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight is study #7 of Genesis, chapter 18 and we are going to read Genesis 18:13-15:
And JEHOVAH said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for JEHOVAH? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
In our last study, we discussed the question that God asked. Why would God ask a question? It was done for our sakes to cause us to think about the question and the answer: “Is any thing too hard for JEHOVAH?”
We saw that the word translated as “hard” can also be translated as “wondrous” or “marvelous” or “miraculous” and it has to do with God’s mighty power as the Creator of the world. We went to passages in Job where we saw this word was translated as “marvelous” and “wonders.”
Let us go to one more passage. In Jeremiah, chapter 32 Jeremiah was commanded by God to purchase some land and it says in Jeremiah 32:16-19-30:
Now when I had delivered the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed unto JEHOVAH, saying, Ah Lord JEHOVAH! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, JEHOVAH of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men; and hast made thee a name, as at this day; And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror; And hast given them this land, which thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey; And they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law; they have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do: therefore thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them: Behold the mounts, they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest it. And thou hast said unto me, O Lord JEHOVAH, Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Then came the word of JEHOVAH unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am JEHOVAH, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? Therefore thus saith JEHOVAH; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it: And the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on this city, and burn it with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to anger. For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith JEHOVAH.
God goes on to describe the destruction of the city Jerusalem and the land of Judah at the hand of the Babylonians under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. All this was framed by the statement that “there is nothing too hard” for JEHOVAH. We wonder what this has to do with giving over the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar. Why would this be framed within the context of nothing being too hard for JEHOVAH? Again, this had to do with a piece of land being purchased for 17 shekels of silver and the number “17” represents heaven. So, God would tell Jeremiah that even though the land of Judah and the city Jerusalem would be given up to the enemy of the kingdom of heaven for destruction, there would be a return of the captivity. It says in Jeremiah 32:42-44:
For thus saith JEHOVAH; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith JEHOVAH.
This means that even though judgment would come upon the corporate church, as typified by Judah, by the hand of Satan, as typified by King Nebuchadnezzar, God was saying that we (the elect) can be sure there would be a return of the captivity. God commanded His people to “go into Babylon” or into the world at the time of the Great Tribulation after judgment had begun on the house of God. We would return to “Jerusalem,” but it would not be the earthly Jerusalem or the corporate church, but it would be the heavenly Jerusalem or “Jerusalem above.” Again, the number “17” points to heaven and, in this case, it pointed to the new heaven and new earth. Is this too hard for JEHOVAH? “Is any thing too hard for JEHOVAH?”
The word “thing” in Genesis 18 is the Hebrew word “debar.” It is the word for “word.” It is typically translated as “word,” “thing” or “matter.” Is any word too hard for God to perform? Is God not able to perform His own Word to do the things He has declared in the Bible? Has not God declared in His Word that there will be an end and a final destruction of the kingdom of this world, as typified by Babylon? There will the granting of the Promised Land to the seed of Abraham that are counted for the seed in the Lord Jesus Christ and we will return and enter into the land of Canaan. No – not the earthly land, but the new heaven and new earth that was represented by the land of Canaan. We will receive it for an everlasting possession and an eternal habitation for the blessed people of God whose sins have been forgiven by the grace of God through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ at the foundation of the world. This is what the Word of God has said and is any “word” too hard for JEHOVAH to do? Is it too hard for God?
In Jeremiah 32, the spiritual context is the Great Tribulation and it is a time when people might wonder if God has forgotten His people. After all, He judged those that carried the name of Christ but were not truly saved. Has God forgotten all His people, including those that are “true men and without guile” that have been born again in their hearts and are true Christians? No – God has not forgotten. That is why God caused Jeremiah to buy that piece of land for that price. It is to remind us that heaven is sure and to let us know that there is nothing too hard for Him. No Word He has spoken will fail to be done.
Let us continue in Genesis 18:16-22:
And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And JEHOVAH said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 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, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of JEHOVAH, to do justice and judgment; that JEHOVAH may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And JEHOVAH said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before JEHOVAH.
God is changing the scene in this appearance He has made in the form of three men to discuss the birth of Isaac in the appointed time in the next year. And now God is looking toward Sodom and His plan to visit it. This can only mean one thing and Abraham is quite aware of it. God will visit them for their sin because the cry of it has reached His ear. God, who knows all things, knew of the sinful condition of the cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities and He is going to visit them. If it is as He has heard, He will destroy them. It is a visit of judgment. It is a judgment upon these wicked cities, just like God came to visit the world in the days of Noah and found that the people of the world were doing violence constantly and were full of sin. In response, God destroyed the “first earth,” as the Bible calls it, with a flood. He brought judgment upon the world of Noah’s day. We are only in chapter 18 of the first Book of the Bible and God, once again, is going to visit cities that have overstepped the bounds of the Law of God. They had transgressed and God will destroy the cities of the plain. He is going to do this as an example and figure of what He would do at the end of time.
Keep in mind when this historical event is taking place. It is 13 years after the birth of Ishmael and 13 times God used the word “covenant” in Genesis 17. The number “13” identifies with the time of the end of the world. We read in Luke 17:26-30:
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Do you see how God ties the destruction of the flood with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? That is because they are both pictures of what would
come at the time of the end of the world in the end stage of earth’s history when God’s judgment would come upon the inhabitants of the earth. It started with judgment on all the unsaved within the churches and congregations and then it transitioned to judgment on all the unsaved of the nations.
We know these things because the Lord has opened up the Scriptures, has He not? He has opened up the Bible to reveal much truth, especially centered around the Biblical calendar of history where we have learned that judgment began at the house of God (the corporate church) in the year 1988, the 13,000th year of earth’s history and the beginning of the end. There was the 23-year Great Tribulation that followed until May 21, 2011 and then came the “second tribulation” and the judgment upon the nations of the world and this will continue to the very end. The Biblical evidence is mounting that points to the year 2033 A.D. as the end.
These are the things God has revealed to us. He has opened the Scriptures. God told Daniel, “Shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.” Over the last few decades of the Great Tribulation and into Judgment Day, God is revealing His judgment program and that is why it is so significant that after telling us about the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord Jesus said, “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” When something is “revealed,” it is no longer hidden. Back in Genesis 18, the word “hide” is used when God is asking a very important question. It says in Genesis 18:17:
And JEHOVAH said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
The context reveals that the thing God is about to do is to destroy Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and the cities of the plain. God knows everything that has ever been and everything that will ever be. That is why it is so unspeakably foolish to think that Jesus Christ does not know when the last day will be and when the end will come. Some people would acknowledge that Jesus knows “everything else,” if they have any understanding that Jesus Christ is Almighty God that knows the end from the beginning. They would say, “Yes, Jesus knows everything that happened in eternity past. We admit that.” They would say, “Yes, Jesus as Almighty God knows everything that will happen in eternity future. We admit that.” Then you ask them, “But you are saying that Jesus does not know when the end of the world will take place? Are you saying there is an ‘event’ that is hidden from His understanding?” Do they think that the Lord Jesus Christ is so dull in mind – even stupid – that He lacks understanding of that all-important last day of Judgment Day? He knows everything in eternity past and in eternity future and, yet, He does not know what is going to happen on that one day? If it were true that Jesus does not know of this day, it would be obvious to Him when the “day” was because it would be that one day that He knew nothing of. It is just an incredibly foolish thing for anyone to believe, if they claim believe to believe the Bible and to believe that Jesus is God, as the Bible declares and, yet, He does not intellectually know when the end will be. The Bible says, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” In Mark 13, it adds the phrase “neither the Son,” but that should force us to search what it means to “know” something. We have done this and we understand that this has nothing to do with intellectual knowledge, but it has to do with the experience of judgment that Christ had not yet experienced in going to the cross, which was a demonstration of His atoning work performed at the foundation of the world.
Again, God knows everything and the Bible is the revelation of God. It is the revelation of vast amounts of information that God knows and reveals to His people. Anyone can pick up a Bible and read it. They can read things that are historical or moral. If God explains a parable’s spiritual meaning, even unsaved people could have a basic understanding of it. An unsaved person can read the Bible. For example, they can read in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and they can gain knowledge. They can have true, factual knowledge of the creation of the world and who created it. But all the information on the surface is dwarfed by the abundance of information that is hidden beneath in the spiritual realm: “Christ spoke in parables, and without a parable he did not speak.” It is on that level that we have found that God has hidden time information regarding His program of “times and seasons” when He would bring judgment upon Israel of Old and upon Jesus Christ when He went to the cross and upon the churches and congregations at the end of the church age and upon the entire world. God declared the very Day of Judgment, which was hidden in His Word, the Bible.
We are finding much evidence in the Bible that God is revealing time information regarding the Tribulation/Judgment upon the world, which is directing us to the year 2033 A.D. There are untold amounts of information that are not apparent in a surface reading of the Bible – they are hidden. It is like gold and silver and precious stones and when people find these valuables, they rarely (if ever) find them lying on the surface, but they have to get out their “pickax and shovel” and dig deep for it. After much strenuous activity, there may be a “nugget of gold” or a “vein of silver” or the “precious metal” that is of great value. That is how God expects each student of the Bible to come to the Word of God – prepared to work: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We do not come to the Bible with literal digging tools, but we work as we compare Scripture with Scripture throughout the Bible. It can be very tedious. It requires diligence and carefulness, but God blesses our work in His Word, especially at the time of the end. As God said to Daniel, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.” The implication is that it would be unsealed at the time of the end.
So, God asked a question when the number “13” was in view. It was the year 2068 B.C. and 13 years since Ishmael had been born. It points to the end of the world and now God is going to speak of the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. And what do we find regarding the fallen corporate churches in Revelation 11? We know from much Biblical information that God began judgment on the churches in the 13,000th year of earth’s history. The fallen churches were the “two witnesses” that lay dead in the streets in the city that God likened, spiritually, to “Sodom and Egypt.” God brought up Sodom in the day when the Son of man was revealed.
Speaking of an abundance of Biblical information, we have touched on a subject wherein there is a great deal of information for us to discuss. We will talk about this in more detail when we get together in our next Bible study.