Vol. 5, No. 5
Since You Asked
~ Page 20 ~
Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld.
Brother Rushmore, I know you are extremely busy and I appreciate all you do! My question is this, I am hearing or reading more and more talk of people being encouraged to pray to Jesus. I recently spoke to a kind sincere brother who believes we are going around our mediator when we seek to pray directly to the Father and not Jesus. We discussed several passages and he continually refered to Stephens pray to Jesus in Acts 7. His point about a mediator and the definition of what a mediator does is valid yet other scripture clearly points to prayer being addressed to the Father. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. In Christ, Roy Williams
The New Testament, of course, must be the resource to which one appeals (exclusively) to furnish the appropriate biblical answer for every religious question (1 Peter 3:15). Resorting to the New Testament or Gospel under which everyone now living is amenable and by which we will be judged at the end of time (2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15) relies upon the once for all delivered faith (Jude 3, ASV), the truth that frees man from sin (John 8:32) or the saving Gospel (Romans 1:16). No other resource besides the New Testament can assure one relative to the choice he makes or ought to make in this life and what he therefore should believe, teach or do. There are at least two biblical points respecting the question whether one may or ought to pray to Jesus.
New Testament instruction or direct statements teach one to pray to God the Father. When our Lord's disciples asked him, "teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1), Jesus responded, "When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven..." (Luke 11:1; see also Matthew 6:6, 9; 7:11). That alone is sufficient biblical instruction to settle any question regarding to whom one ought to pray. General instruction regarding our communication to Deity and the relationship of Jesus Christ to the Father in those communications to Deity (i.e., address the Father through Christ) appears in Colossians 3:17: "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." The addressee of our prayers is the Father, which prayers are authorized to be prayed with the legitimate prospect of being received by the Father, based on our salvation, due to our relationship as Christians through the Christ. Anywhere one turns in the New Testament, biblical instruction says respecting the addressee of our prayers, "ask the Father in my name [Jesus Christ]" (John 16:23-24, 26; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).
The incident of the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7 where Stephen addressed Jesus Christ may not be a prayer at all. During our Lord's earthly ministry, it would hardly have been considered a prayer to Jesus each time someone spoke to him. Who would argue otherwise? In the context of Acts 7:55-60 the martyr Stephen is afforded the opportunity to peer into the very depths of heaven and to see Jesus Christ (Acts 7:55-56). Subsequently, Stephen spoke to Jesus whom he saw, saying:
"And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:59-60).
Therefore, primarily in view of biblical instruction to pray to the Father through Christ, it is safe to continue this long understood practice and avoid variances from this divinely sanctioned procedure in prayer. In addition, references to Stephen in Acts 7 are insufficient to dislodge the clear teaching of other New Testament passages respecting prayers to God through Jesus Christ, especially since the context of Acts 7:55-60 may not strictly speaking contain a prayer at all.
I have a few questions for you to answer me. If a christian husband and a father comes home from work and finds his home not in order physically and spiritually, Is he lacking God's knowledge? What about when his children and wife are not obedient. What happens to a man, if he is always busy doing dishes, washing clothes and his wife cannot be bothered. The man of the house has no outside interest, does not go to prayer and no fellowhip with other believers on a regular basis. This man's wife stays home and does not effectively discplines her children. Do you have any material that I can pass on to them. I have tried over 15 years to councel them. ~ Sarv Sohal
First, if over the "15 years" you have endeavored to 'counsel' the family mentioned, you have taught the biblical truths respecting how God intends the home to work, and they have not used your counsel appropriately, it is unlikely that the circumstances to which you refer will change regardless of what additional efforts or materials are expended upon them. Second, possessing freewill and having individual responsibility, humans can ignore if they choose instructions that are in their best interest; hence, the ultimate responsibility for any accountable soul's action is his own. However, we are pleased to address making the home work as God intended.
From near the dawn of mankind's habitation on planet earth, God designed complementary or mutually helping (but different) roles for the man and the woman. Woman was created to be a "help meet" for man (Genesis 1:18). God formed the first family when he brought Eve to Adam (Genesis 1:22). After Adam and Eve sinned, God definitively prescribed the relationship between the respective roles of women and men (Genesis 3:16-19). From that time and throughout Patriarchy (Adam to Moses), Judaism (Moses through Jesus Christ) and Christianity (from Christ through the present) the roles of women and men have been fixed by God (Proverbs 31:31; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 1 Peter 3:1-7). The following passage demonstrates God's will for making the home work, as it pertains to the woman, and the preceding citations and biblical references from Patriarchy through the present likewise teach.
"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:1-5).
The summary of various biblical references to making the home work the way God intended includes: (1) The man is primarily responsible (under ordinary circumstances) to support his family, and (2) the woman is primarily responsible (under ordinary circumstances) for rearing the children of the home and providing a hospitable place for her husband and their children. Whatever else either the man or the woman may pursue, they cannot ignore their primary, respective responsibilities without disobeying God and his Word. A man may help around the house while neither ignoring his primary responsibility nor displacing his wife's primary, God-given responsibility. A woman may help her husband or even help earn the living while neither ignoring her primary responsibility nor displacing her husband's primary, God-given responsibility.
For instance, when my wife and I both do things that ordinarily fall under my responsibility, she is my helper. When my wife and I both do things that ordinarily fall under her responsibility, I am her helper. There are also many things in making a home work that are shared responsibilities where a husband and a wife simply share those activities. Yet, the husband and father of the home is ultimately responsible for his home to God.
God intended the husband and father to provide for his home (1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:10) and rule his household (1 Timothy 3:5). God intended the wife and mother to provide the home environment for her husband and their children (Titus 2:5). God intended children in the home to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-4). The entire family is required to worship God at the appointed times (Hebrews 10:25). Christian fellowship should be sought (Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 2:17).
Abrahams hometown - Ur of the Caldeans - Is Ur located what is now Iraq? ~ Hubert Haider
The first biblical reference to Abraham's hometown of Ur of Chaldees appears in Genesis 11. Subsequent references occur in Genesis 15:7 and Nehemiah 9:7.
"Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran" (Genesis 11:27-32).
Anciently, there were several cities bearing the name "Ur" or similar names. Consequently, various locations have been suggested as the possible location of Abraham's hometown of Ur. For instance, besides southeastern modern-day Iraq, alternative northern and western sites for Abraham's Ur have been suggested to include locations in present-day Syria and Turkey.
One thing seems clear: There was more than one Ur. Places named Ur, or something linguistically close enough to it to be a candidate for Abrahamic Ur (such as Ura), have turned up in numerous ancient inscriptions -- at Ugarit (on the Mediterranean coast in modern Syria), at Nuzi (in northeastern Iraq), at Alalakh (in Turkey about a hundred miles north of Ugarit) and, most recently, in the extraordinary archive from Ebla (in northern Syria, east of Ugarit). The Ebla tablets include references to places called Ur, Ura and Urau. Unfortunately, none of these references can be located with precision, but the findspots of the tablets indicate the cities were most likely somewhere in central or northern Syria or southern Turkey -- relatively near Haran.1
Arguments are offered for each site suggested to be the location of Abraham's Ur. Yet, the southeastern location in Iraq remains the most frequently cited location of Abraham's Ur.
I believe the case for identifying the Ur (of the Chaldees) in Genesis 11:28, 31 (compare with Nehemiah 9:7) with Ur, now Tell el-Muqayyar, in southern Babylonia, remains strong, although the available information precludes certainty. ... A number of cuneiform texts mention several places named Ur, or something very like it, but most can be dismissed so far as Genesis is concerned: ...2
The key in the Book of Genesis that identifies the southeastern Iraqi Ur is the clarification following the city name of Ur -- "of the Chaldees." This distinguishes Abraham's Ur from every other city bearing the same name. Residents of Ur in Abraham's day did not attach the phrase "of the Chaldees" to their city name. The Chaldean people had not risen to power in that area by then, but did so about 1,000 years after the time of Abraham. However, Moses, who by inspiration wrote the Book of Genesis, stipulated which Ur was the hometown of the patriarch Abraham by associating Ur with the later kingdom of the Chaldees, by which his readers and later auditors of Genesis could distinguish among the several cities bearing the name, Ur. "Abraham migrated from Ur at the end of the third or beginning of the second millennium B.C. (i.e., just before or after 2000 B.C.)."3
The most generally-accepted theory at the present time is that Ur is to be identified with the modern Mugheir (or Mughayyar, "the pitchy") in Southern Babylonia, called Urumma, or Urima, and later Uru in the inscriptions. This borders on the district which in the 1 st millennium B.C. was called Chaldaea (Kaldu).4
Ur of the Chaldees was made famous and sparked a greater interest in archaeology through the protracted efforts of Leonard Woolley. "Between 1922 and 1934, Woolley directed 12 seasons of excavations at the site of ancient Ur (Tell el-Mukayyar) in southern Iraq on behalf of the loins Expedition of the British Museum and The University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania."5 Ur of the Chaldees is "[a] very ancient city in southern Babylon; identified with Tell Muqayyar, close to the right bank of the Euphrates, half-way between Baghdad and the Persian Gulf."6
It stood near the mouth of the Euphrates, on its western bank, and is represented by the mounds (of bricks cemented by bitumen) of el-Mugheir, i.e., "the bitumined," or "the town of bitumen," now 150 miles from the sea and some 6 miles from the Euphrates, a little above the point where it receives the Shat el-Hie, an affluent from the Tigris. It was formerly a maritime city, as the waters of the Persian Gulf reached thus far inland. Ur was the port of Babylonia, whence trade was carried on with the dwellers on the gulf, and with the distant countries of India, Ethiopia, and Egypt.7
"Abraham's native city customarily is located in southern Babylonia, not very far from the ancient city of Uruk to the NE and about 150 miles from the head of the Persian Gulf. Eridu is to the SW. Modern excavation of the site of Ur began in 1854 with J. E. Taylor. The city was then only a ruined site named the Mound of Bitumen (Arab. al muqayyar). In 1918 H. R. Hall resumed excavations. Sir Leonard Woolley conducted excavations from 1922 to 1934. The famous royal cemeteries, dating c. 2500 BC, yielded jewelry and art treasures of unbelievable beauty, particularly gorgeous head attire, personal jewels, and a golden tumbler and cup of Queen Puabi (formerly rendered Shubad). Several musical instruments and other beautifully crafted objects demonstrate that this city had achieved a high level of civilization 500 years before Abraham. The Heb. Bible is quite clear in its statements that Abraham's home was originally in Lower Mesopotamia in the city of Ur and that he emigrated to Haran and Upper Mesopotamia on his way to Canaan (Gen 11:28-31; 12:1-4; 15:7; Neh 9:7). Interestingly enough, Ur in connection with Abraham is referred to as "Ur of the Chaldeans." The qualifying phrase "of the Chaldeans" is not an anachronism, as many critics contend (cf. Jack Finegan, Light from the Ancient East, p. 57, n. 28). It is rather an instance of numerous archaic place names being defined by a later scribal gloss to make clear to a subsequent age where and what these places were when their history and locality had been forgotten. The Chaldeans came into southern Babylonia after 1000 BC. It was, of course, quite natural for the Hebrew scribe to define the then incomprehensible foreign name by a term intelligible to his own day. As a result of archaeological excavation, the city of Ur is now one of the best-known sites of southern Babylonia."8
There are several biblical sites that can be known with certainty (e.g., Jerusalem, Haran), but many other biblical sites are not as readily discernible in modern times, or so far cannot be identified. However, respecting "Ur of the Chaldees," despite some disagreement, the consensus of most resources today is that the Abraham's Ur is located near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, relatively close to the Persian Gulf. The short answer, then, to the question that was posed would be, "Yes, Ur of the Chaldees, Abraham's hometown, is in present-day Iraq."
1 Editor, H. S. (2002;2002). BAR 26:02 (March/April 2000). Electronic Edition. (Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society).
2 Editor, H. S. (2002;2002). BAR 27:03 (May/June 2001). Electronic Edition. (Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society).
3 Karleen, P. S. The handbook to Bible Study : With a guide to the Scofield study system. (New York: Oxford University Press) 1987.
4 International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft.
5 Editor, H. S. (2002;2002). BAR 10:05 (Sep/Oct 1984). Electronic Edition. (Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society).
6 Negev, A. The archaeological encyclopedia of the Holy Lands (New York: Prentice Hall) Electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996.
7 Easton, M. Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Electronic form by Logos Research Systems. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1996.
8 The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press) 1988.