The Story of "The Great Harlot" in the Bible

by Lambert Dolphin
Many themes weave themselves through the tapestry of scripture, "here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept." Because information about a given theme or subject is not found all in one book or chapter of the Bible it is easy to miss great principles of truth hidden away in the pages of Holy Writ.
One of the amazing themes of Scripture is the that of "the great harlot." This Biblical topic is not about ladies of the night, prostitutes, street walkers, or fallen women as such. Women in the Bible are found to run the full gamut from Jezebel to Deborah, from the lowest to the most virtuous. They receive no treatment different from that of men in the Bible who range from crooks, murderers and thieves to mighty men of valor. But sometimes the figure of an anonymous woman is used in Scripture as a type or symbol of the average ordinary believer. A good example of this usage is found in Romans 7:1-4:
"Do you not know, brethren---for I am speaking to those who know the law--- that the law is binding on a person only during his life? Thus a married woman (here the woman is typical of every believer) is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies she is discharged from the law concerning the husband. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband (typical of every believer's natural life in Adam, the first husband) dies she is free from that law, and if she marries another man (her second husband is Christ raised from the dead) she is not an adulteress. Likewise, my brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God."
In this illustration the "woman" is morally neutral in a sense. She has the bad fortune of being found married to the wrong man. If she flirts with a different man the Law of Moses is there to find her guilty of adultery---because she is bound by her marriage covenant to remain true to her first husband---for better or for worse. In this case her first husband is sin, sin inherited from Adam. Fortunately we are told that this woman's first husband dies, thereby setting her free to be married to another. Her second husband is Jesus Christ. Or to be more precise, Adam is her first husband, she comes into the world "married" to her own fallen nature, wed to sin. But on the cross, Jesus Christ took on Adam's sin. When Christ died, Adam died. This is because "He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Then Christ came back from the dead. The Second Adam could n ow become a fitting husband for this woman. The story has a happy ending. Paul intends this story as an illustration for all of us: we once were "married" to sin and could do nothing about it. Now we are "married" to Christ and set free. Thus in this story "woman" stands for the typical believer. Once married to sin, now married to Christ, any spiritual infidelity on our part to our new husband is spiritual adultery.
Thus James says to compromised Christians,
"You adulteresses. (feminine in Greek) Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Whoever is a friend of the world (system) makes himself an enemy of God."
When any follower of Christ, whether man or woman, is untrue to his or her Lord Jesus, that person is guilty of spiritual adultery.
The place to pick up the Biblical theme of the adulterous woman--who later becomes the great harlot---is in Genesis. The primeval garden is seen to be populated by one man and one women, and the animals. We learn that the garden is regularly visited by God who talks to, and evidently teaches, the man and his wife many things. The garden was soon also visited by the tempter, a deceiving angel of light, called Lucifer, or Satan. The story of Eve's temptation and fall, and then Adam's sin is familiar to most of us. The weight of responsibility for this tragedy was charged to Adam's account---he is the head of our race. "For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor." (1 Timothy 2:13-14)
It is possible for us to imagine a universe where Adam sinned first and then Eve, but in actual fact it was Eve who was deceived and Adam who followed---Adam sinned willfully and deliberately. The full force of the devil's solicitation to sin came to Adam through his God-given wife who he loved. Since she had sinned first when she brought the forbidden fruit to Adam, she was no longer in her heart a loving wife to her husband---inwardly she had become the first prostitute. She had committed spiritual adultery by breaking her own relationship with God and betraying her husband. Now she was the channel of his downfall also as Adam's seductress. God in fact indicts Adam afterwards as follows, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, `You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Adam's sin had permanent consequences. We were all "in Adam" at the time and we have all have inherited his faulty genes and self-centered disposition,
"Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned-- sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come, [i.e., the second Adam, Jesus]. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous. Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:12-21).
The passage above contrasts man's lost estate and hopeless situation "in Adam" with what happens to us when we are taken out of the First Adam and placed into the Second Adam at the moment we place our faith in Christ. Jesus Christ, the Last Adam, resisted all temptations successfully, and gave His life for His beloved Bride, the church thereby reversing the steps of the fall.
Eve (after she ate the forbidden fruit) is a type of the great harlot. She symbolizes the repeated patterns of sin in the internal life of every one of us. This is brought out in the New Testament by James, the brother of Jesus and pastor of the Christian community in First century Jerusalem. He says,
...each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full grown brings forth death. (James 1:14,15)
James shows that sin is like illicit intercourse. A seduction takes place, our yielding to sin conceives a child within us, as it were. The "child's" name is death. Death is the final result of sin in our lives, some time later--it can show up as boredom, loneliness, guilt, emptiness, frustration and despair.
Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
What some miss in reading Genesis Chapter Three is that God in grace restored Adam and Eve to fellowship with Himself, showing them in the process some of the consequences that would automatically follow their disobedience. (Genesis 3:8-20) We have just described Eve as a seductress and a harlot (a result of the fall). However as soon as she was called back to God, Eve was immediately fully redeemed and cleansed---as we all are when we come to Christ. Adam then called Eve by a new name, "the mother of all living." This is not a pejorative term at all. Eve, redeemed, is therefore a type of the church, the Bride of Christ.
Only 10% of Genesis is devoted to an account of the creation and early human (pre-flood) history, the narrative moves swiftly to Abraham and the patriarchs. It soon can be seen from the context that murder, prostitution, drunkenness and sexual perversion spread through human race swiftly after the fall, all springing from the same fountainhead of Adam's transgression in the garden.
Therefore the symbol of the great harlot is a fitting description of the bankrupt, spiritually prostituted state, of all of human beings since Adam. That is, the "great harlot" pictures the human race as seen by God, from an interior point of view.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it? "I the LORD search the mind and try the heart, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
Jesus said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man." (Mark 7:20-23)
The exception to this dismal view of mankind is the company of the "called out ones," the true church of God who, having been redeemed, take on the inner qualities of a virgin bride through the redemptive work of Christ.
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle of any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:25-33)
The figure of the harlot versus the virgin bride form a pair of opposites. The first symbol is that of lost humanity in Adam, the second of restored humanity in Christ.
Though the abstract theme of the "great harlot" is the subject of this discussion, scripture also does not hide the moral lapses of great men, like Judah who fell into adultery with a Canaanite woman. Shua (her name means "prosperity") seems to have been either a common harlot or a cult prostitute. The sons born of this union, Er and Onan---probably raised by their mother without much input from Judah---were both slain by the Lord for their wickedness (Genesis 38). It is instructive to follow the theme of prostitution and harlotry through the scriptures, starting with examples such as this.
Leviticus 21:14, which deals with the sanctity of the priesthood of Israel, teaches priests to "...take a wife in her virginity. A widow, or one divorced, or a woman who has been defiled, or a harlot, these he shall not marry; but he shall take to wife a virgin of his own people, that he may not profane his children among his people..."
The next reference in the Bible to a harlot occurs in Joshua. It was Rahab the harlot of Jericho who hid the spies of Israel (Joshua 6:17, 25; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25), thus saving herself and her family. One Jewish tradition has it that she married Joshua. A stronger probability is that she is the same Rahab who became the wife of Salmon, thus becoming part of the blood line leading to the Messiah, Jesus. Rahab's faith in God brought her into the "household of faith" as a redeemed woman in spite of her former compromised Canaanite life style. God has always justifies sinners by their faith in Him, and when this happens they are no longer what they once were but are new persons, new creations. Peter later wrote for the benefit of all sinners---spiritually speaking we have all "prostituted" ourselves in serving foreign gods:
"You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers..." (I Peter 1:18)
The symbolic imagery of the theme of the great harlot becomes clear in the opening chapters of the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is a father's advice to his young son. The son is admonished to seek Wisdom, "she is a tree of life to all who lay hold of her," (3:18). At the same time he is to avoid the seductive snares of the harlot. Clearly something more than a street prostitute is in view here, (though that is not excluded as a case in point). Avoid the great harlot and find the woman called Wisdom, Solomon tells his son.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, links the woman Wisdom to Jesus Christ---Christ is the wisdom of God. Therefore the harlot becomes a symbol in Proverbs for false wisdom. She stands for the world-system (kosmos) with all its allurements and attractions. The world system is one of the believer's life-long enemies, constantly enticing us away from whole-hearted love and devotion to God.
"Do not love the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (vainglory), is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (I John 1:15-17)
As an example of the imagery of the seductive harlot contrasted with the woman Wisdom, Proverbs 7 says,
"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live, keep my teachings as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablets of your heart. Say to Wisdom, 'you are my sister', and call insight your intimate friend; to preserve you from the loose woman, from the adventuress with her smooth words.
For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man without sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness. And lo, a woman meets him, dressed as a harlot, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward, her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. She seizes him and kisses him, and with impudent face she says to him: 'I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. I have decked my couch with coverings, colored spreads of Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.'
With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its entrails; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.
And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; for many a victim has she laid low; yea, all her slain are a mighty host. Her house is the way to Sheol (the grave), going down to the chambers of death." (Proverbs 7:1-27)
The harlot in Proverbs makes her appeal to the "young man without sense," that is, to the vulnerable, impressionable young person (the spiritually immature person) who has rejected the guidelines and counsel of his elders. The harlots appeal is "in the evening," so that what she suggests may be kept secret. She is "wily of heart," experienced in deceit, and she uses "much seductive speech" to erode his defenses. She charms the youth into ignoring his conscience and to be drawn by the attractions of "love" and pleasure. She also offers "understanding."
But you are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. (I Thessalonians 5:4-8)
The harlot as a personification of false wisdom, offers knowledge as well as wealth and power. The appeal of Satan to our first parents was that by partaking of the forbidden fruit they would gain knowledge of good and evil and thus become "like God." This great lie---which is called "the" Lie in scripture (for example, in 2 Thess. 2:11)---is the lie that man can be is own god and is the master of his own fate and destiny. Through this one basic lie have come not only atheism and secular humanism, but all the false religions and cults in the world today which keep portions of the truth but lead their followers into destruction through false teaching subtly introduced.
The Apostle Peter says that Christians are destined to become partakers of the divine nature---which means God-like to a degree even higher than that known by Adam before the fall. However true God-likeness comes only when the believer recognizes himself as a vessel or container and not as independent, self-sufficient ego capable of doing anything he pleases. In fact Jesus said, "Without me you can do nothing." Contrasting true wisdom with false, James says,
"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom that comes down from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, withouuncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James 3:13-18)
In this passage James draws a clear contrast between true wisdom coming from above and false wisdom, the counterfeit, coming from below. False wisdom makes her appeal to reason instead of revelation, to sight instead of faith. Her allurements are those of Egypt, (Egypt is a type of the world system). In spite of her outwardly attractive appearance and surroundings she is a murdering adulteress and has merely drawn one more of many to his destruction, "Her gates are the gates of death." Of course she is in reality the instrument of the one Jesus called "the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning." His aim is to twist, mar, divert and destroy men and women and he does so by "deceitful and crafty wiles." This is consistent with the admonition of John in his first epistle to "love not the world" since anyone who loves the world can not also love the Father, the two are mutually exclusive. Likewise Jesus spoke saying, "No man can serve two masters..."
The theme of the harlot is concentrated in the early chapters of Proverbs, but Proverbs 29:3 says, "He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but one who keeps company with harlots squanders his substance." Perhaps Jesus drew from this Proverb when he related the story of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32.
In regard to sins worse than prostitution, Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders in the Second Temple,
"Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him." (Matthew 21:31-32)
It is Isaiah who first identified the city of Jerusalem negatively by using the figure of a harlot to describe her,
"How the faithful city has become a harlot, she that was full of justice! Righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. Your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water. Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Every one loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not defend the fatherless, and the widows cause does not come to them." (Isaiah 1:21-23)
An amazing exposition on this same theme is found in Ezekiel 16. Quite clearly it applies to Jerusalem in her late-history moral condition. "Jerusalem" (as a type of the spirit of man) also shows us what the spirit of man is like when our relationship with God has been one of long-term spiritual infidelity to Him:
"Again the word of the LORD came to me (Ezekiel): 'Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite, and your mother was a Hittite. And as for your birth, on the day you were born your navel string was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor swathed with bands. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you; but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. And when I passed by you, and saw you weltering in your blood, I said to you in your blood, 'Live, and grow up like a plant of the field.' And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full maidenhood; your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare."
Although the Jews were blood descendants of Shem, not Canaan, the son of Ham, they had intermarried with the dwellers of the land instead of destroying them as God had ordered. Canaanite pagan values had insinuated themselves into Jewish culture. Ezekiel says that Jerusalem is to be likened to an unwanted child, left outside to the elements to die. Fortunately the Lord walked by and took pity on this abandoned baby, took her in and provided for her until she grew to be young woman. Then Yahweh clothed her in finery and ornaments. To give her an even better future He then "married" her. All these vivid pictures reveal how God treats us when He takes us, like abandoned pagan children, into his royal household.
"When I passed by you again and looked upon you, behold, you were at the age for love: and I spread my skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yea, I plighted my troth to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord GOD, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you, and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with leather, I swathed you with in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I decked you with ornaments, and put bracelets on your arms, and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose, and ear rings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head. Thus you were decked with gold and silver; and your raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and embroidered cloth; you ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful, and came to regal estate. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor which I had bestowed upon you, says the Lord GOD.
"But you trusted in your beauty, and played the harlot because of your reknown, and lavished your harlotries on any passerby. You took some of your garments, and made for yourselves gaily decorated shrines, and on them played the harlot; the like has never been, nor ever shall be. You also took your fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given to you, and made for yourself images of men, and with them played the harlot; and you took your embroidered garments to cover them, and set up my oil and my incense before them. Also my bread which I gave you - I fed you with fine flour and oil and honey - you set before them as a pleasing odor, says the Lord GOD. And you took your sons and daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them? And in all your abominations and your harlotries you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, weltering in your blood."
Enamored by her own beauty, the young woman turns from fidelity to her loving Husband Yahweh and begins to sleep with other men, and to abort her children for convenience's sake. She also "plays the harlot" with Egypt. (We are reminded of Solomon's' wrong behavior when he married the daughter of Pharaoh and other foreign women--1 Kings 11. These foreign women then "turned Solomon's heart away from serving God."
Jerusalem's lusts and passions caused her to turn to any man she could seduce, and she is described as "love sick" in spite of all her indulgences. Most whores charge their customers for their services. This one, God says, pays her clients instead!
"And after all your wickedness (woe, woe to you! says the Lord GOD), you built yourself a vaulted chamber, and made yourself a lofty place in every square; at the head of every street you built your lofty place and prostituted your beauty, offering yourself to any passer-by, and multiplying your harlotry. You also played the harlot with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, multiplying your harlotry, to provoke me to anger. Behold, therefore, I stretched out my hand against you, and diminished your allotted portion, and delivered you to the greed of your enemies, the daughters of the Philistines, who were ashamed of your lewd behavior. You played the harlot also with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; yea, you played the harlot with them, and still you were not satisfied. You multiplied your harlotry also with the trading land of Chaldea; and even with this you were not satisfied.
"How lovesick is your heart, says the Lord GOD, seeing you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot; building your vaulted chamber at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square. Yet you were not like a harlot, because you scorned hire. Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! Men give gifts to all harlots; but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side for your harlotries. So you were different from other women in your harlotries: none solicited you to play the harlot; and you gave hire, while no hire was given to you; therefore you were different.
"Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD: Thus says the Lord GOD, 'Because your shame was laid bare and your nakedness uncovered and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotries with your lovers, and because of all your idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them, therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers, with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and all those you loathed; I will gather them against you from every side, and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. And I will judge you as women who break wedlock and shed blood and are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. And I will give you into the hand of your lovers, and they shall throw down your vaulted chamber and break down your lofty places; they shall strip you of your clothes and take your fair jewels, and leave you naked and bare. They shall bring up a host against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords. And they shall burn your houses and execute judgments upon you in the sight of many women; I will make you stop playing the harlot, and you shall also give hire no more. So I will satisfy my fury upon you, and my jealousy shall depart from you: I will be calm, and will no more be angry. Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have enraged me with all these things; therefore, behold, I will requite your deeds upon your head, says the lord GOD."
Anyone who has read the history of Jerusalem will know that the "city of peace" has been more often violently destroyed than any other. Here the Lord, through Ezekiel, tells us why. Her lewd conduct had become worse than anything that was to be found in Samaria (Ahab's capital) or in Sodom. It is for this reason that John in the book of Revelation speaks of Jerusalem allegorically as "Sodom and Egypt" as he writes of her final days of violence before Messiah returns. Yet in spite of all her whoredoms and unfaithfulness to her true Lover and Husband, God will restore Jerusalem to Himself. He will not deal with her as she deserves, nor hold her to the strict demand of the Old Covenant, but lead her into the New where grace abounds all the more:
"Have you not committed lewdness in addition to all your abominations? Behold, every one who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you, 'Like mother, like daughter.' You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. And your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the South of you, is Sodom with her daughters. Yet you were not content to walk in their ways, or do according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. As I live, says the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and the needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them, when I saw it. Samaria has not committed half your sins; you have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations which you have committed. Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have made judgment favorable to your sisters; because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.
"I will restore their fortunes, both the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters, and I will restore your own fortunes in the midst of them, that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all that you have done, becoming a consolation to them. As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate; and you and your daughters shall return to your former estate. Was not your sister Sodom a byword in your mouth in the day of your pride, before your wickedness was uncovered? Now you have become like her an object of reproach for the daughters of Edom and all her neighbors, and for the daughters of the Philistines, those round about you who despise you. You bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, says the LORD. Yea, thus says the Lord GOD: I will deal with you as you have done, who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant. Then you will remember your ways, and be ashamed when I take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and give them to you as daughters, but not on account of the covenant with you. I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be confounded and never open your mouth again because of all your shame, when I forgive you all that you have done, says the Lord GOD.'"
In Ezekiel's time the literal city and its people are in mind. However Jerusalem is symbolic of the spirit of man, while Judah, and the Northern tribes, have a correspondence to soul and body respectively. Therefore we should bear in mind that the Old Testament history of Israel is also the story of Everyman.
Even though God found fault with Jerusalem---describing her as a whore during the time of Isaiah---Yahweh defended Jerusalem before Sennacherib's attack during the reign of Hezekiah. This is a beautiful example of justification by faith. God protects His own, even when they deserve differently:
"She despises you, she scorns you---the virgin daughter of Jerusalem; she wags her head behind you---the daughter of Jerusalem," (Isaiah 37:22)
Thus God justifies and defends his people even in their apostate condition, provided they turn to Him for help with whole heartedness. She who has been acting as an unfaithful wife is defended by God as his "virgin daughter."
Just as the figure of the harlot and the virgin are contrasting opposites, so the Bible also speaks of two contrasting cities: Babylon and New Jerusalem. The fact that man today is not yet ready to live in harmonious community in a city hearkens back to the first city built by Cain's son Enoch, and to Nimrod who founded Babylon after the flood.
God's city, the habitation of the redeemed, is reserved in waiting until the end of the present age because man has not learned how to live in a city of God. The latter city, New Jerusalem, is referred to in Galatians as "the mother of us all," that is, she is the true Eve of all believers, a symbol for the feminine within the Godhead---identified as Wisdom in Proverbs. Christ as the Last Adam takes a Bride in the New Testament, not one woman but a glorious church "without spot or wrinkle." It is the New Jerusalem that descends from above (at the close of the Bible), "like a bride adorned for her husband."
An important passage identifying ancient Babylon as the center of all religious error and hence spiritual prostitution of mankind, is Isaiah 47:
"Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones and grind meal, put off your veil, strip off your robe, uncover your legs, pass through the rivers. Your nakedness shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no man. Our Redeemer---the LORD of hosts is his name---is the Holy One of Israel. Sit in silence, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for you shall no more be called the mistress of kingdoms. I was angry with my people, I profaned my heritage; I gave them into your hand, you showed them no mercy; on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy. You said, 'I shall be mistress for ever,' so that you did not lay these things to heart or remember their end. "Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children': These two things shall come to you, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments. You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, 'No one sees me'; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, 'I am and there is no one besides me.' But evil shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing. Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed, perhaps you may inspire terror. You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons predict what shall befall you. Behold, they are like stubble, the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before! Such to you are those with whom you have labored, who have trafficked with you from your youth; they wander about each in his own direction; there is no one to save you."
This passage clearly brings out the fact that men will become "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God," that exalted ego power is blinding but universal---the harlot actually impersonates Yahweh the great "I AM" when she says, "I am and there is no other." Simply put, when men will not love God and be faithful to Him, their inner state becomes like that of a prostitute. Babylon, symbol of religious confusion, and the fountainhead for demonic pollution of mankind is a vivid example of this state of affairs. Also the harlot's influence is such that the poor are indeed oppressed by the rich---she is responsible for the terrible inequalities in our world: millions starving in Ethiopia and thousands living like kings in Silicon Valley. In spite of external beauty and splendor, the entire social system we call "civilization" is corrupt through and through. The harlot is said to deceive with her sorceries---it is worth noting that the Greek New Testament word translated as "sorceries" is pharmakeia, that is drugs in the bad sense (excess use of alcohol, the psychedelic drugs, tranquilizers, stimulants, etc.). The same Greek word "sorceries" is listed as one of the "works of the flesh" described in Galatians, consistent with the truth that inevitable results follow from not walking in the Spirit but in the flesh.
"Sin pays a wage, the wage is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Out of the false religious system Mystery Babylon the Great has come astrology, drug trafficking, murder, sexual immorality, the demonization of man, all forms of divination, corrupt philosophies and sciences, the pursuit of pleasure, the love of money. (Bible commentators have noted that all false religions can be traced back to ancient Babylon: Hinduism and related Eastern Pantheism, Egyptian polytheism, and apostate Christianity.) The deceptive power and influence of the "great harlot" is more than just Babylon the city---the prophet Nahum speaks of "the harlot" in describing the destruction of Ninevah. Nahum says that judgment came,
"...all for the countless harlotries of the harlot, graceful and of deadly charms, who betrays nations with her harlotries, and peoples with her charms. Behold, I am against you, says the LORD of hosts, and will lift up your skirts over your face; and I will let nations look on your nakedness and kingdoms on your shame. I will throw filth at you and treat you with contempt, and make you a gazing stock..." (Nahum 3:4-6)
In a very real way the great harlot somehow has the power to grant worldly wealth and splendor to all her followers, and she deceives the nations with her sorceries! We have only to think of the conduct of international affairs among the great powers of the modern world to realize they, too, have sold out to this same harlot. The figure of the great harlot is synonymous with the religion of the "Great Mother" and with many other ancient (and contemporary goddesses). Originally the worship of the great mother can be traced to the ancient Babylonian mystery religion, founded by Nimrod after the flood. (Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons is the standard reference on the subject). In ancient Babylon the ruling queen, Semiramis, was associated with her virgin-born son, Tammuz. Their joint adulation by men led to the cult of the mother and child familiar in our day as the Oedipus Complex of Freudian Psychology.
In the psychoanalytic work of the late Carl Jung, the archetype of the great mother was of central significance. Like most goddesses the great mother has positive as well as negative aspects. She is on the one hand seductress, temptress, sorceress, and destroyer; on the other hand she is the goddess of fertility and fecundity. She is Artemis, Aphrodite, Minerva, Venus, Isis and Shiva. As goddess of love she is behind all sorts of popular versions of love, romance and the royal road to happiness. She is often to be found to be the a ruling queen, like Jezebel, holding the reins and manipulating her consort husband as a puppet, and killing or castrating the young males in her court. She has real power and great wealth, and thus rewards with temporal blessings those who serve her. As her servant Jezebel did, the great harlot systematically seeks out and murders, when possible, the servants of God. Jezebel's sudden violent end (recorded in 2 Kings 9) is a good illustration of God's judgment of the harlot, the same kind of judgment as that depicted in Isaiah 47.
God's ability to quickly remove embedded evil from society, symbolized by the great harlot, is depicted vividly for us in Zechariah 5:5-11. In this vision the prophet saw a woman called "Wickedness" being taken by angels taken from Jerusalem back to her original shrine in Babylon:
"Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said to me, 'Lift your eyes, and see what this is that goes forth.' And I said, 'What is it?' He said, 'This is the ephah that goes forth.' And he said, 'This is their iniquity in all the land.' And behold, the leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the ephah! And he said, 'This is Wickedness.' And he thrust her back into the ephah, and thrust down the leaden weight upon its mouth. Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, two women (female angels?) coming forward! The wind was in their wings; they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between earth and heaven. Then I said to the angel who talked with me, 'Where are they taking the ephah?' He said to me, 'To the land of Shinar, to build a house for it; and when this is prepared, they will set the ephah down there on its base.'"
In his research, as discussed in a separate essay, psychologist Carl Jung discovered feminine qualities in the unconscious of a man and masculine qualities in the unconscious of women which he said were "archetypal," that is deeply powerful almost instinctive patterns of behavior. He called these unconscious collective feminine and masculine forces, "anima" and "animus," respectively. Some of what Jung discovered seems to be in harmony with scripture, though Jung was himself a modern day gnostic and seems never to have become a Christian. The unconscious force of the "negative anima," or "great harlot" can be seen to be especially operative within males. Thus all temptation to sin and all dethronements of the king comes from within. The attractions and enticements of the external world are by and large projections from within ourselves. David's fall into adultery with Bathsheba was no spur-of-the- moment fall, the "seductress" in his heart had been plying her wares to the King for a long time before his actual public fall came about.
Both the Bible and modern psychology have shown that what is on the surface in a man is buried in a woman and vice versa. For this reason a godly mother, a godly sister and a spiritual wife are great assets to a man---through them he can learn to recognize his own deceitful self and the treacherous traps of his own heart. Naturally men are especially vulnerable to women who are not godly, spiritual or wise!
Of course "man" is a generic term when used in scripture, men and women are equally sinful and equally fallen. The harlot is at work within a woman's unconscious as well as a man's. A woman has, furthermore, a special connectedness to the roots of the eternally feminine. The lives of Queen Jezebel and her daughter Athaliah are chilling examples of what happens to a woman who gives herself over fully to evil. Yet, the fall of man in the garden was not charged to Eve's account, it was Adam's fault as Paul brings out in Romans.
Another interesting fact about the harlot's workings, is described in Romans Chapter One. One of the results of sexual perversion (homosexuality) in a man (or woman) is that he (or she) "receives in his own person the recompense which is his due." This internal payoff from sexual "inversion" frequently shows up as an inner feminization in homosexuals which eventually surfaces to make plain the loss of real masculine virility and identity. In Lesbians the results are often a hardening of features and pseudo-masculine behavior with a loss of true femininity. Jung says the anima in a man is the gateway to the unconscious and to true creativity, so the man who loses his interior life and beauty before God, because of his immorality, has lost all that is of true and lasting value in life. Of course at any point in a person's life, God stands ready to buy us back and to heal. The Book of Hosea illustrates this beautifully and eloquently.
Jeremiah denounces the harlotry of Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 2:20, 3:1-8), which is also the theme of the entire book of Hosea. The book of Hosea can be read with great instruction not only to perceive the tragic story of the spiritual adultery of Israel, the wife of Yahweh, but also to see God's redemptive love at work. In the end, Hosea's adulterous wife is bought back from the slave market and restored from her degradation and her shame. During the ordeals of her adultery and estrangement from her husband, both lover and beloved equally share the anguish brought about by the unfaithful wife. It is always true that God grieves and suffers over us when we choose the path away from his loving grace and protection. Hosea is a book not only about God and Israel, but also draws from Hosea's own life story of an unfaithful wife.
The Old Testament clearly shows that not loving and following God is always identical with slavery to the great harlot. James in the New Testament confirms this when he says, "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4)
What God expects of us is summed up in the two great commandments, to love God with one's whole being, and one's neighbor as oneself, as I said early in our study together. Departure from this standard is where our spiritual adultery begins.
Why should the theme of the great harlot be so important in scripture while one can not find any parallel thread dealing specifically with fallen masculinity? It is true that the wild, rapacious "beasts" found in Daniel and Revelation are given for us to see how God views our "great" world leaders. The theme of the harlot seems to also represent concealed evil, the deceptive, treacherous side of human folly. This is illustrated in the parable Jesus told concerning leaven hidden in meal by a woman: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened." (Matthew 13:33)
Leaven, or yeast, is always and invariably a type of sin in scripture. Leaven works silently and permeates thoroughly. Only a small amount is required to "leaven the whole lump (of dough)." Thus, by the time history reaches its consummation in the return of Christ, evil will be found to have become thoroughly mixed with all elements of society spoiling it completely, as in the days before the Flood.
Although Christians do from time to time find themselves sinning deliberately and with full knowledge of what they are doing, it is also possible---and indeed common experience to be self-deceived, to "fall into the snare of the devil," and to be unaware of wrong motives before the fact. In the passage quoted at the beginning of this chapter, from James, (1:14,15), regarding the fact we are all "lured and enticed" by our own desires, the Greek words translated "lured and enticed" are applicable to hunting and fishing. The tempter is the one who attracts and entices, who draws us to give in to desires so that we stop depending on the indwelling Christ for everything. The blinding, treacherous, subtle side of sin is what is summed up for our understanding by the figure of the "great harlot."
In the case of Samson, (Judges 13-16) literal physical blindness as well as complete loss of power and open shame resulted from his repeated yielding to a persistent seductress. It was not one failure but a bad track record that brought him down so low. God used Samson in spite of himself. He was not the man he could have been by a large measure, and his sins have been made part of the public record in the Bible. In his death God used Samson one more time, but he died a pathetic and tragic person. He was blind and in the prison of his enemies being taunted and treated like a clown.
"Eve was deceived, but Adam was not deceived," Paul writes in Corinthians, to show the two step process by which sin entered the world and the patterns of temptation and failure which we in turn have inherited, and compounded. As can be seen in Genesis, the tempter begins by causing us to doubt in some small way what God has said, or he twists in some small way the intent of scripture. He appeals to sight, to pleasure and to the attractiveness of secret "religious" enlightenment. Then he works on our minds to provide us with rationalizations for wrong behavior.
It is the last book of the New Testament that gathers together all the major themes of the Bible into grand summaries. (For a detailed analysis of the following passage see The Dragon Lady, by Ray C. Stedman). And so it is that we find in the Apocalypse of John that "the great harlot" has becomeboth a woman and a city, just as God's great counterpart, the Bride of Christ is both a woman and a city (New Jerusalem):
"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me (John), 'Come, and I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who is seated upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the dwellers on earth have become drunk.' And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: 'Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations.' And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, 'Why marvel? I will tell you of the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition; and the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will marvel to behold the beast, because it was as is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven hills on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom are fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes he must remain only a little while.

William Blake, 1809

"As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to perdition. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind and give over their power and authority to the beast; they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of Lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.' And he said to me, 'The waters that you saw, where the harlot is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the harlot; they will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and giving over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman that you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth. 'This passage, in addition to describing the final state of the great harlot, also has to do with the final, revived state of the Old Roman Empire which includes Western Europe and the United States primarily. The harlot as the final apostate church rides like a queen in full cooperation with, indeed supported by, the state. Her downfall is described by reference to the sudden and complete destruction that came upon ancient Babylon.
"After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor. And he called out with a mighty voice, 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird; for all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness.' Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she herself has rendered, and repay her double for all her deeds; mix a double draft for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and played the wanton, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning. Since in her heart she says, 'A Queen I sit, I am no widow, mourning I shall never see,' so shall her plagues come in a single day, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she shall be burned with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.'
"And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and were wanton with her, will weep and mourn for her since no one buys their cargo any more, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls, fine line, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls. 'the fruit for which thy soul longed has gone from thee, and all thy dainties and thy splendor are lost to thee, never to be found again!' The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her will stand far off, in fear of torment, weeping and mourning aloud, 'Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, bedecked with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! In one hour all this wealth has been laid waste.' And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, 'What city was like the great city?' And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned crying out, 'Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! In one hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, O saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!'"
The great harlot is evidently closely associated with the world business and economic community in all its aspects. Society, science, culture and what is commonly called "modern civilization" are her handmaidens.
"Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea saying, 'So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more; and the sound of harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters, shall be heard in thee no more; and a craftsman of any craft shall be found in thee no more; and the sound of the millstone shall be heard in thee no more; and the light of a lamp shall shine in thee no more; and the voice of bridegroom shall be heard in thee no more; for thy merchants were the great men of the earth, and all nations were deceived by thy sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.'" (Revelation 17:1-18:24)
Murder and violence have filled the great city symbolized by by Babylon and by Rome as the center of world civilization. The outward show and pomp of mere religious profession has made the visible church an apostate body resembling not a bride but a prostitute---in league and cooperation with the state, with the political powers of the earth. The city with its beauty and opulence and permissiveness fosters the hedonistic pursuit of pleasures, especially sex. Great market places reach out to satiate all credit-card shoppers so that they continue to consume and acquire more treasures on earth at the expense of the permanent, and the eternal. Robes of royalty and queenly power decorate the harlot to show the self-exaltation of man, and the misuse of religion by a prostituted church. It is she is who is responsible for the murder "of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus". It is the harlot in league with world leaders who support an entire world economic order that is thoroughly corrupt: banking, finance, trade and merchandising; the legal professions and educational systems are included.
The end of the harlot will come in one day. Blind and unaware of her impending doom, it comes, in fact from the hands of her "customers" who "burn her flesh with fire."
Drawing from the many parallel themes concerning world commerce and trade figured by the Phoenicians, the king and prince of Tyre, the Apostle John saw ahead to a coming day when world civilization will crumble suddenly and fall in full view of the redeemed of God. Then he adds,
"After this I heard what seemed to be the mighty voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying, 'Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; he has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants.' Once more they cried, 'Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.'" (Revelation 19:1-3)
Because of a soaring volume of spam email, I've had to remove my email link from this page. Spammers, as you probably know, use web crawling software to automatically "harvest" email addresses from Internet sites like this one. To email me, use the email address below �but DELETE ALL OF THE SPACES. Thanks for understanding.
lambert @ ldolphin. org
Revised May 10, 1991, December 7, 1996.

New Testament Prophecy

PBC Forum Class Schedule Winter 2004-2005
Sundays 9:00-10:15 AM, New Building downstairs, 3505 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, California

Through the Clean Pages of the Bible

 # Date Title Scriptures Notes Audio mp3
 1 November 28The Rapture of the Church 1 Thess. 4, 2 Cor. 5, 1 Cor. 15 rapture.html rapture.mp3
 2 December 5 The Man of Sin Revealed 2 Thess 1-2 manofsin.html manofsin.mp3
 3 December 12 Olivet Discourse I Matthew 23
Matthew 24-25
 4 December 19 Olivet Discourse IIMatthew 24-25olivet02.html olivet02.mp3
 5 January 2  Olivet Discourse III Matthew 24-25 olivet03.html olivet03.mp3
 6 January 9 Olivet Discourse IIIMatthew 24-25olivet03.html olivet04.mp3
 7 January 16 Jesus as Judge of All  John 5 judge01.html judge01.mp3
 8 January 23 The Judgments of GodVarious  judge02.html judge02.mp3
 9 January 30 The Unveiling of the Lord Revelation 1 rev01.html rev01.mp3
 10February 6 The Seven Churches I  Revelation 2-3 rev02.html rev02.mp3
 11 February 13 The Seven Churches IIRevelation 2-3rev03.html rev03.mp3
 12 February 20 The Seven Churches IIIRevelation 2-3  rev04.html rev04.mp3
 13 February 27 The Seven Churches IV Revelation 2-3 rev04.html rev05.mp3
 14 March 6 The Title Deed Transferred Revelation 4-5 rev06.html rev06.mp3
 15 March 13 Glenn MillerThings I am Learning glenn01.pdf glenn01.mp3
 16 March 20 The Seven Seals:
The Four Riders of Judgment
  Revelation 6 rev07.html rev07.mp3
 - March 27 (Easter) no class -- -- --
17 April 3 The Gospel to Jew and Gentile:
The 144,000 and their harvest
Revelation 7 rev08.html rev08.mp3
 18 April 10 Seventh Seal:
The Seven Trumpets
 Revelation 8-9 rev09.html rev09.mp3
 19 April 17 Interlude I  Revelation 10-11 rev10.htmlrev10.mp3
20 April 24 War in Heaven Revelation 12-13
21 May 1Interlude IIRevelation 14-16rev12.html rev12.mp3 
 22  May 8  Seven Bowls of Wrath  Revelation 16rev13.html rev13.mp3
 22 May 15 The Dragon Lady:
Mystery Babylon
 Revelation 17-18rev14.html rev14.mp3 
23 May 22 The Return of the King Revelation 19-20  rev15.html rev15.mp3 
 24 May 29  Our Long Eternal FutureRevelation 21-22rev16.html rev16.mp3 
Charts by Bryce Self November 2006 

Previous Series I: The Book of Ezekiel,
Previous Series II: Daniel, Ezra, Haggai, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Esther, Malachi, the 400 silent years: 
This current series:
Cassette tapes of our classes are available in the bookstore, $3.00 each. If mailed, add $1.50 postage.
Resources: The DP Bookstore has the following books related to this series. You may wish to order in advance.
1. Thy Kingdom Come by Ron Graff and LD, Introduction to Bible Prophecy, (spiral), $15. Also on line, free,
2. Themes of Bible Prophecy, Ray Stedman, book, (spiral) $5.25, 7 messages. Also on line, free,
3. The Olivet Discourse, by Ray Stedman, book, "What on Earth is Happening" $10.25. Also on line , free,
4. The Thessalonian Letters, by Ray Stedman, book, "Waiting for the Second Coming" $8.25. Also on line, , free,
5. The Book of the Revelation, by Ray Stedman, book, "God's Final Word" $12.75. Also on line, free, at
 God is not impressed by our bravado, by our assertions that we have what it takes, by our attempts to face into the wind alone. Heaven does not help those who help themselves; heaven helps the helpless. Heaven helps the man who is crushed in spirit, who is brokenhearted, who is not counting on himself; heaven helps the one who is willing to expose his fears and be what he is--a weak, fragile vessel greatly in need of the power of God in his life. --Ray C. Stedman

(Revised 5/29/05)

The Table of Nations: Genesis Chapters 10-11

Genesis Chapters 10 and 11 constitute what is known as "The Table of Nations" in the Bible. The text is as follows,
These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth; sons were born to them after the flood. The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. From these the coastland peoples spread. These are the sons of Japheth in their lands, each with his own language, by their families, in their nations.
"Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren."
The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.
Cush became the father of Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD." The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria, and built Nineveh, Rehobothir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
The latter paragraph is the subject of a separate essay as all false religion in the world today can be traced back to Nimrod, the founder of Babylon (in what is today Iraq).
Egypt became the father of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (whence came the Philistines), and Caphtorim. Canaan became the father of Sidon his first-born, and Heth, and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon, in the direction of Gerar, as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.
These are the sons of Ham, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations.
"Blessed be the LORD God of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant."
To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, children were born. The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Arpachshad became the father of Shelah; and Shelah became the father of Eber. To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother's name was Joktan. Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the sons of Joktan. The territory in which they lived extended from Mesha in the direction of Sephar to the hill country of the east.
These are the sons of Shem, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations. These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations; and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood."
In Jewish tradition there were 70 original nations after the Flood, corresponding to the 70 names in this chapter. A strange passage in Deuteronomy says:
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men, he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God (bene elohim, LXX: "angels"). For the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage... (32:8-9)
The Rabbis relate this to Genesis 46:26-27,
All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own offspring, not including Jacob's sons' wives, were sixty-six persons in all; and the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two; all the persons of the house of Jacob, that came into Egypt, were seventy.
The idea here is that Israel's Messiah is to rule over all the nations of the world from Jerusalem during the coming Millennial kingdom Psalm 2, and Isaiah 60 for instance, show this:
Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, "I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill." I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, with trembling kiss his feet, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Arise, shine; for your light [Israel] has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in the arms. Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you, the rams of Nebai'oth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will glorify my glorious house. Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows? For the coastlands [far distant lands] shall wait for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your sons from far, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has glorified you. Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in my wrath I smote you, but in my favor I have had mercy on you. Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut; that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish... (Isaiah 60:1-12)
those nations shall be utterly laid waste.
Formal nations and their boundaries were established after the Flood in the Covenant with Noah. Before the Flood the earth was governed, evidently, by patriarchal family units. The above insights show up in Paul's sermon Mars Hill in Athens:
So Paul, standing in the middle of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for `In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, `For we are indeed his offspring.' Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:22-31)
For more on this topic, popular in Jewish tradition and Jewish mysticism, see The Seventy Nations and Languages, the Jewish Encyclopedia.
This information from Genesis 10 is tabulated below:

Genealogical Table of the Descendants of Noah

(Germany, Crimea, Cambria, Celts)
 | | Javan
(Ionians, Greeks)
||| Cush
|  Canaan Elam|Arphaxad | Aram
 | Magog
(Georgia, Scythians)
 ||||| || Phut
|   Asshur|  Lud |
 | Maidai
(Medes, Aryans, India) 
|  Tubal
(Babylon, Ninevah) 
| Sidon  | Salah|Hul 
(Germany, Saxons, Scandavia)
|(Resen) Ludim Heth
(Hittites, Cathay)
  || | Gether
(Thrace, Teutons)
Anamim  Jebusite  | Eber| Mash 
Lehabim   Amorite Peleg   Joktan 
 Naphtuhim  Gigashite | |  
        Sabtechah Pathrusim
 Hivite Reu  Almodad  
 | Sheleph  
       | Casluhim
(Sino-, China) 
  Serug  Hazarmaveth 
        Sheba|  Arvadite | Jorah  
         Dedan Philistim Temarite   Terah  Hadoram 
           Hamathite |  Uzal 
             Abram Diklah  
[Now the whole earth had one language and few words. And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, 'Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.' And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.' And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.' So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.]
These are the descendants of Shem. When Shem was a hundred years old, he became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood; and Shem lived after the birth of Arpachshad five hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. When Arpachshad had lived thirty-five years, he became the father of Shelah; and Arpachshad lived after the birth of Shelah four hundred and three years, and had other sons and daughters. When Shelah had lived thirty years, he became the father of Eber; and Shelah lived after the birth of Eber four hundred and three years, and had other sons and daughters. When Eber had lived thirty-four years, he became the father of Peleg; and Eber lived after the birth of Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and had other sons and daughters. When Peleg had lived thirty years, he became the father of Reu; and Peleg lived after the birth of Reu two hundred and nine years, and had other sons and daughters. When Reu had lived thirty-two years, he became the father of Serug; and Reu lived after the birth of Serug two hundred and seven years, and had other sons and daughters. When Serug had lived thirty years, he became the father of Nahor; and Serug lived after the birth of Nahor two hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. When Nahor had lived twenty-nine years, he became the father of Terah; and Nahor lived after the birth of Terah a hundred and nineteen years, and had other sons and daughters.
When Terah had lived seventy years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Now these are the descendants of Terah. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. And Abram and Nahor took 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 Iscah. Now Sarai was barren; she had no child. Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there. The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran."


Whenever I read these names, I think of the wretched state of the human race. Even though we have the most excellent gift of reason, we are nevertheless so overwhelmed by misfortunes that we are ignorant not only of our own origin and the lineal descent of our ancestors but even of God Himself, our Creator. Look into the historical accounts of all nations. If it were not for Moses alone, what would you know about the origin of man?...
Of this wretched state, that is, of our awful blindness, we are reminded by the passage before us, which gives us instruction about things that are unknown to the whole world. What do we have about the very best part of the second world besides words, not to mention the first one, which antedated the Flood? The Greeks wanted to have the account of their activities preserved, the Romans likewise; but how insignificant this is in comparison with the earlier times, concerning which Moses has drawn up a list of names in this passage, not of deeds!
Hence one must consider this chapter of Genesis a mirror in which to discern what we human beings are, namely, creatures so marred by sin that we have no knowledge of our own origin, not even of God Himself, our Creator, unless the Word of God reveals these sparks of divine light to us from afar. Then what is more futile than boasting of one's wisdom, riches, power, and other things that pass away completely?
Therefore we have reason to regard the Holy Bible highly and to consider it a most precious treasure. This very chapter, even though it is considered full of dead words, has in it the thread that is drawn from the first world to the middle and to the end of all things. From Adam the promise concerning Christ is passed on to Seth; from Seth to Noah; from Noah to Shem; and from Shem to this Eber, from whom the Hebrew nation received its name as the heir for whom the promise about the Christ was intended in preference to all other peoples of the whole world. This knowledge the Holy Scriptures reveal to us. Those who are without them live in error, uncertainty, and boundless ungodliness; for they have no knowledge about who they are and whence they came.
Martin Luther, Luther's Works, Vol. 2, pp. 207-209. (Quoted by James Montgomery Boice in his commentary on Genesis, Volume 1.)

Notes on Shem, Ham and Japheth by Ray C. Stedman

...this answers a very widespread distortion of this passage that has been accepted for many, many years which says that the curse fell on the Negro people. The mark of it was a black skin, and therefore they are destined to be servants among mankind. But the Canaanites, as far as we know, were not black-skinned people. The curse was wholly fulfilled in Joshua's day when these descendants of Canaan, morally perverted through this evil strain which had survived the flood and now breaks out again in human history, were left alive by Israel. Thus there was loosed in society an evil element which has spread throughout the entire race since, and breaks out in sexual perversions from place to place. This is the biblical explanation for these things.
There is, however, a grain of truth in applying this passage to the Negro people. Most powerful lies gain their power from having at least a modicum of truth about them. It is true that the colored peoples of the earth are descendants of Ham, Hamitic people. They come in varying shades: the yellow of the Chinese, the brown of the Indians, the black of the Africans, and even including some that are white-skinned. Now we must turn to the prophetic words uttered by Noah about his sons as to the destiny of their descendants.
He also said [notice how he deliberately sets this apart from what he said about Canaan], "Blessed by the Lord my God he Shem; and let Canaan he his slave. God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan he his slave..."
Here we have the three families of mankind. The family of Ham is represented by Canaan, although not limited to his descendants. In certain of the old versions, in these two verses referring to Canaan, the account reads, "Ham, the father of Canaan," which is probably the more accurate rendering. Now this is a most important passage. We can hardly overrate its importance in understanding the world of our day...
Notice that Shem is given religious primacy among mankind. The Semitic people, the descendants of Shem, were responsible under God to meet the spiritual needs of mankind. That is their role in humanity. It is most striking, isn't it, that the three great religions of earth, which can properly be called religions, all come from the Semitic family: Judaism, Mohammedanism, and Christianity. There is much distortion of truth in these, granted, but the sense of mission by the Semitic families of earth is very evident. This family includes the Jews, the Arabs, certain ancient peoples, as well as other modern groups.
Japheth was promised enlargement. The Japhethic people are, in general, the peoples of India and Europe, the Indo-European stock, with which any demographer is familiar. It is largely from this family that we Americans come. It is most interesting that history has recorded their geographical enlargement. The entire Western hemisphere of our globe is settled by Japhethic peoples, and the Indians (Hindus) are of the same stock. But there is much to suggest in history that the enlargement that is promised here to Japheth is also intellectual. Historically, all the great philosophers are Japhethic. The Greeks, who began modern philosophy, are descendants of Japheth, as we will see in the very next chapter, also the Hindus. The Greeks and the Hindus are the two truly great philosophic races of earth. Some of you may say, "Well, what about Confucius; he was a Hamite?" But Confucius was not a philosopher; he was a teacher of practical ethics. Anyone who studies him will realize how true this is.
There is a very astute Christian scholar, whose writings are privately distributed, who has been a great help to me in various fields of Bible study. His name is Dr. Arthur Custance, from Toronto, Ontario, to whom I am greatly indebted for some of these concepts. He takes the phrase, "let him [Japheth] dwell in the tents of Shem" as predictive of the Cross, when the spiritual guidance of humanity passed from the Jews to the Gentiles, i.e., to the Japhethic family. To Shem was given the primacy of religious teaching, but there comes a time when Japheth enters that field ("dwells in the tents of Shem"), and philosophy (which is essentially Japhethic) was married to theology. This has been the case since the dispersion of the Jews around the world.
There is much more we will say on this as we go on into chapter 10, but let me speak briefly about Ham. Ham is given the role of a servant in relation to both of these other families of earth. But, notice carefully, not a servant in the sense of enslavement. That role was limited to the descendants of Canaan. "A slave of slaves," is the Hebrew way of emphasizing, of intensifying a statement. Canaan was to be that, but not the rest of the sons of Ham. However, they were to fulfill a servant relationship, not in the sense of enslavement, but as the practical technicians of humanity. If you study ancient history and technological achievements which were in many ways the equal of, or superior of, much that we have today, were founded and carried to a high technological proficiency by Hamitic people. This is the role in history given by God to the descendants of Ham. The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Mayans, the Aztecs, all were Hamitic people. They were the great inventors of mankind. It may come as a shock to some, who boast in Aryan superiority and think of Americans as the most inventive people on the earth, to know that almost every basic invention can be traced to the Hamites, rather than to the Japhethites, which we represent. All that Japhethic people do is to develop the philosophy of science and apply technology, but the discovery of these are largely traceable to the Hamitic peoples of the earth.
Now, to bring this introduction of the subject to a conclusion, all of this is reflected most interestingly in the New Testament. We have for instance, the so-called Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), which are very similar to one another and quite different from the gospel of John. Yet Matthew, Mark, and Luke are not copies of one another but they represent differences of approach. It has often been pointed out that they are aimed at different types of people. The interesting thing is that when you inquire who these people are you find that they are Shem, Ham, and Japheth, in that order. Matthew is aimed at the Semitic people. It is the gospel for the Jews, above all others. Mark is clearly the gospel of the servant. This is stressed by Bible teachers whenever they teach Mark; his gospel is profoundly the presentation of the servant, the practical mind, the Hamitic mind. Luke is clearly aimed at the Greek, or the Japhethic mind.
It is also interesting that three groups are recorded in the New Testament as specifically coming to seek the Lord Jesus. They are: the shepherds, the Wise men, and the Greeks. Here you have again the order: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The shepherds were Israelites, Semitic. Most Bible scholars feel that the Magi, the Wise men from the East, were really not from the East (that was a general term) but from Arabia, and represent the Hamitic peoples. The Greeks are clearly Japhethites. So there again, always in the same order, we have Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Also, the gospel, was first preached in this order. In the book of Acts we are told that on the day of Pentecost Peter stood up and said, "Ye men of Israel," and addressed the gospel to them. Then in the next section we find Philip called to leave a revival in Samaria and go down to preach to a single individual in the desert, who is a Hamite, an Ethiopian, the treasurer of Ethiopia. Then, a little bit later on, Peter is sent to the Japhethites, preaching the gospel to Cornelius, a centurion of Rome.
Furthermore, all three of these groups are represented at the crucifixion. Each branch of mankind took part in the crucifixion. The moral responsibility for it fell upon the Jews. It is they who said, "His blood be upon us and. upon our children." The physical burden of bearing the cross fell upon a Hamite, Simon of Cyrene, a stranger in Jerusalem who was impressed into the task of bearing the cross for our Lord on the Via Dolorosa, Finally, as you know, executive responsibility for the crucifixion rested with the Romans, who gave the official order for the death of our Lord.
Now we shall see much more of this in chapter 10, but I think this is enough to show how accurately the Bible previews history, and how it deals realistically with these matters. There are often hidden in trace them, carry us into vast and exciting fields of discovery. we have looked at enough to confirm to us this fact: that the race, the whole race, is but the individual written large. There are three divisions of mankind, as there are three divisions in man, in you. To each of these divisions is given the responsibility for meeting one of the basic needs of man, spiritual, physical, and intellectual. In each one of us these same three divisions are found. We each have a capacity to worship; we each have a capacity to reason; and each has a capacity to create. These are the things that distinguish us from the animals. This is the image of God in man. Each of them needs to be held in perfect balance. The world is in a state of confusion, uncertainty and despair because the balance God intended has been left unfulfilled, so, in your individual life you are in a state of confusion, despair, frustration, weakness, or whatever it may be, because you have neglected to fulfill the three-fold capacities of your own nature. You can only do so as they are kept in perfect harmony, one with the other.
It is wrong to think of man as essentially spiritual. He is also intellectual and physical. It is wrong to think of him as being essentially physical, and to develop the athletic abilities to the neglect of the others; he is also spiritual and intellectual. The interesting thing is that in the Bible the intellectual is put last. If the order of scripture obtains for the individual as well as for the race, the order within us is also Shem, Ham, and Japheth. First the spiritual, then the physical, then the intellectual. In that order mankind finds its complete fulfillment. If we understand ourselves we will also understand the world around us. The glory of the gospel is that it addresses itself to mankind exactly on those terms. We find ourselves entering into fulfillment, into excitement, into a dramatic sense of being what we were intended to be, when we open our lives to God through Jesus Christ, making that our first priority; then developing the physical life, taking care of physical needs, physical demands; and through these two working together, developing the intellect to an understanding of ourselves..."

Notes on the Table of Nations by Ray C. Stedman

Chapter 10 of Genesis is a record of how mankind fanned out over all the earth, like spokes in a wheel, radiating from a center which both science and Scripture place in the Middle East. The Middle East has been called, "the cradle of civilization," or "the cradle of mankind." We are now dealing with the days immediately following the Flood, when the sons of Noah became the heads of three major divisions or families of mankind. In this chapter we learn how they spread throughout the earth. We have already studied the prophetic utterance of Noah concerning the contribution his three sons and their descendants would make to humanity.
We saw that to Shem was given the religious primacy of mankind. The Semitic peoples are responsible, under God, to develop the spiritual life of mankind. It is not surprising, therefore, that from the Semitic peoples have come the three major religions of earth: Judaism, Mohammedanism, and Christianity. To Ham was given the art of technical proficiency. The Hamitic people are the technicians of mankind, showing an amazing adaptability to the world in which they live. To Japheth was given intellectual enlargement, and the widest geographical distribution of the three families. History has long since confirmed abundantly this distribution of mankind, exactly as the Bible says...This is the kind of chapter that requires careful and exhaustive study, but I shall merely attempt a quick survey, pausing where Moses, the author of Genesis, also pauses to make comment on certain names that appear in this section. These are important comments and we need to understand why Scripture suddenly turns the spotlight upon certain individuals.
The division begins with Japheth and his descendants,
These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth; sons were born to them after the flood.
The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. From these the coastland peoples spread. These are the sons of Japheth in their lands, each with his own language, by their families, in their nations. {Gen 10:1-5 RSV}
This division of the chapter, centering on Japheth, is the shortest, yet to us in many ways it is the most important, because it is to this family of mankind that most of us belong. We are Japhethites and we find this of intense interest, although the Scripture spends the least time with it.
Those who study races and peoples are known as ethnologists, and one of the tools of ethnology is to trace the persistence of names through history. Some of these place names and names of individuals persist for a long time through the course of human events, and form a kind of peg or nail upon which we can hang certain important movements in history and by which we can trace certain developments. We can do this with many of the names in this passage. Letters may be transposed, endings added, prefixes taken away or added, but there is a basic root which persists for years and even centuries of the time, and these give us a way of tracing the spread of the peoples of earth.
The family of Japheth is essentially what we call the Aryans. Hitler made much of the Aryan race, claiming that the Germans were pure Aryans and the rest were mongrels. Of course, the Jews were of a completely different family. He was right about that, for the Jews are Semitic (from Shem) while the Aryans are from Japheth. But where Hitler made his mistake (and where many people today make a mistake) is to fail to differentiate between differences which exist between people and a supposed superiority. Because people are different is no sign that they are inferior or superior. This is one of the basic things we need to understand in studying the peoples of the earth.
Early in the history of the world, the Japhethites, or Aryans, split into two groups. One group settled in India and the other group in Europe. Together they form what is known as the "Indo-European" family of nations. Any ethnographer is familiar with these divisions, but they are the same basic stock. The next time you visit India you should realize that you are visiting your cousins in the same basic family. The interesting thing is that both of these divisions, the Indian and the European, trace their ancestry back to Japheth. This is not from the Bible, but from history:
The Greeks say that their ancestor was a man named Japetos, and you can see in that the resemblance to Japheth. They regarded him as not only the father of their race, but the father of all humanity. The Indians, on the other hand, have an account of the flood similar in many respects to the Biblical account. The name of their hero is not Noah, but Satyaurata, and he had three sons. The name of the oldest was Iyapeti (you can see Japheth in that, very easily), and the other two were Sharma, and C'harma (Shem and Ham). The interesting thing about the Indian account is that C'harma was cursed by his father because he laughed at him when he got drunk, a certain echo of the story we have in Genesis.
You see from this how this chapter is embedded in history. The Word of God is dealing with realistic matters when it traces these divisions.
We learn here that Japheth had seven sons, but only two of them are traced for us in any detail: The first son was Gomer. From this word, Gomer, by a process of elision and transposition of letters, there came the word, Gaul, or Gallic. These are the people, interestingly enough, to whom the New Testament Epistle to the Galatians is written. The Galatians were Gauls. Most of us have a Gallic or Celtic (or Keltic) ancestry, and the Gauls and Celts (or Kelts) were descendants of Gomer. They migrated to the north and settled in Spain, France and in Britain. From these Gauls come most of the early families of Western Europe and, consequently, of the Americas as well.
The oldest son of Gomer was Ashkenaz. He and his descendants first settled around the Black Sea and then moved north into a land which is called Ascenia, and which later became known as the Islands of Scandia, which we now know as Scandinavia. You can trace a direct link between Ashkenaz and Scandinavia. Another of the sons of Gomer was Riphath. Although we do not know too much about Riphath, we do know that he located in Central Europe, and some scholars feel that the word, Europe, itself comes from this name, Riphath. Another son is Togarmah. This name is easily traced. He was the ancestor of the present-day Turks and Armenians, who also migrated northward into Southern Germany. Certain scholars have felt that the word, Germany, derives from the word, Togarmah. If you drop the first syllable you have the basic root of Germany.
Two others of the sons of Japheth were Madai and Javan. These are easily recognizable in history: The Madai became the Medes, of the famous Medes and Persian Empire. Javan is unquestionably the ancestor of the Greeks. His name, Javan, is still found in Greece in the form of Ionia. The Ionic Sea and Ionian Peninsula all derive from this word Javan. His sons were Elishah, from which we get the Greek word, Helles (the Greeks are still called Hellenes), and Tarshish, whom most scholars associate with Spain; Kittim, which is the Island of Cyprus; and Dodanim, who settled around the Black Sea, and still finds a modern parallel in the word, the Dardanelles. These can all be traced by the geographical titles and place names they left behind.
Next is the family of Ham, which is the family gifted with technical proficiency. Because of the great adaptability of these people to primitive conditions, the Hamites became the great pioneers of mankind. All the early civilizations were Hamitic: the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Mayans, the Aztecs, the Sumerians. These were the people most able to adapt themselves to the conditions they found wherever they settled. We owe a great deal to the Hamitic nations. Later on, these lands were occupied by Japhethic nations, and at the present day the entire Western hemisphere is peopled by Japhethic rather than Hamitic nations, though it was once the other way around.
We shall take the family of Ham in two sections, briefly commenting on certain items:
The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. Cush became the father of Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord." The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria, and built Nineveh, RehobothIr, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. Egypt became the father of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (whence came the Philistines), and Caphtorim. {Gen 10:6-14 RSV}
The four sons of Ham are relatively easy to trace in history: Cush is associated with the peoples of Southern Arabia and Ethiopia. Ethiopians still trace their ancestry back to Cush. Egypt is self explanatory. Egypt (or Mizraim in Hebrew, an ancient name for Egypt) became the father of the Egyptian Empire, settling in the Nile Valley. Put is associated with Lydia, on the west of Egypt, in North Africa. Canaan centered largely in and around Palestine, though the Canaanites later became much more widespread, as this account tells us further on.
The account zooms in on an individual named Nimrod, who is called a great hunter. He is a rather mysterious figure, of great importance in ancient history. He is the founder, as we are told, of both Babylon and Nineveh, the two great cities of antiquity which ultimately became enemies of Israel. The prominent thing said about him here is that he was a mighty man, "a mighty hunter before the LORD." Now it was the work of kings in those ancient days to be hunters. This was a time when civilization was sparse and wild animals were a constant threat to the peoples. Kings, having nothing much else to do, organized hunting parties and acted as the protectors of their people by killing wild animals. Nimrod evidently gained a great reputation as such a hunter, but he was more than a hunter of wild animals. The Jewish Talmud helps us here, for it says that he was "a hunter of the souls of men." By the founding of Babylon and Nineveh we have a hint given of the nature of this man. We are told here that he was "the first mighty man on earth," i.e., after the Flood. That phrase, "mighty man," takes us back to Genesis 6 where, in that strange story of the invasion of the "sons of God" into the human race, there resulted a race of giants called Nephilim. We are told that, "these were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown." This was evidently a demonic invasion of the race, with sexual overtones, which brought into being a race of giants that were morally degraded. These also appear later on in the Canaanite tribes. We have found this suggestive line of thought running through the Scriptural account up to this point. It now suggests that Nimrod was one of these "mighty men," and therefore introduced a perverted, degraded form of religion into the world. It began at Babylon, spread to Nineveh, and can be traced in history as it subsequently spread throughout the whole of the earth. Thus, in this man Nimrod, we have the seed of idolatry and false religion coming in again after the Flood.
If you drop the first consonant of Nimrod's name and take the others -- M, R, D -- you will have the basic root of the god of Babylon, whose name was Marduk, and whom most scholars identify with Nimrod. In the Babylonian religion, Nimrod (or Marduk) held a unique place. His wife was Semiramis. (Some of you who have been at Cairo have stayed at the Semiramis Hotel, which is named after her.) Marduk and Semiramis were the ancient god and goddess of Babylon. They had a son whom Semiramis claimed was virgin-born, and they founded the mother and child cult. This was the central character of the religion of ancient Babylon, the worship of a mother and child, supposedly virgin born. You can see in this a clever attempt on the part of Satan to anticipate the genuine virgin birth and thus to cast disrepute upon the story when the Lord Jesus would later be born into history. This has been the effect of it.
This ancient Babylonian cult of the mother and child spread to other parts of the earth. You will find it in the Egyptian religion as Isis and Osiris. In Greece it is Venue and Adonis and in Hindu it is Ushas and Vishnu. The same cult prevails in various other localities. It appears in the Old Testament in Jeremiah, where the Israelites are warned against offering sacrifices to "the Queen of Heaven." This Queen of Heaven is Semiramis, the wife of Nimrod, the original mother of the mother and child cult. The cult has also crept into Christianity and forms the basis for the Mariolatry that has prevailed in Roman Catholic Church, where the Mother and Child are worshiped as joint redeemers.
If you would like to read more on this, there is a book by Alexander Hislop, a very authoritative writer in this field, called The Two Babylons. I am sure you will find it of great interest if you desire to pursue this further.
This idolatrous religion culminates at last in the Bible in the book of Revelation. You remember the "great harlot" that appears there whose name is "Mystery Babylon the Great," the originator of all the harlotries and false religions of earth. The essence of Babylonianism, as we understand from Scripture, is the attempt to gain earthly honor by means of religious authority. That is Babylonianism, and it has pervaded Christian churches, Hindu temples, Buddhist shrines, and Mohammedan mosques. Everywhere it is the element that marks falseness in religion, this attempt to gain earthly power and prestige by means of religious authority. That is Babylonianism. That is what Nimrod began and what God will ultimately destroy, as we read in the book of Revelation.
The land of Shinar, mentioned here, is also the land of Shunar or Shumar, from which we get the word, Sumeria, and the Sumerian civilization, with which scholars are familiar. The city of Resen was founded by people who later migrated into the north of Italy and began the great Etruscan Empire, which again is familiar to any who study ancient history. We also have here the countries that came from Egypt and are associated with it here, all of which are countries of North Africa.
One further note on this section: Note that the Philistines, which appear frequently elsewhere in the Old Testament, are linked with the Egyptians. This is significant, for Egypt in the Bible is always a picture of the world; the Philistines are a picture of the flesh in its religious aspect, religious flesh or Pharisaism, if you like. These are forever typified by these two nations. The second section of the sons of Ham centers on the descendants of Canaan,
Canaan became the father of Sidon his first-born, and Heth, and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. These are the cons of Ham, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations. {Gen 10:15-20 RSV}
In a previous message we saw that these constituted the Canaanite tribes which occupied the land of Palestine at the time of Abraham. They were a morally degraded people, and were that as a result of demonic invasion. That does not mean that every individual was demonically possessed, but there was considerable experience of this among these people. We must note certain individuals in this listing, but not all:
Sidon is mentioned as the first-born of Canaan. He founded the city by the same name, located near Tyre, on the coast of Phoenicia. Since there is no mention of Tyre here we can see how early this account is. Heth is the father of the Hittite nation. The Hittites were once regarded by archaeologists as a biblical blunder. Archaeologists said the Bible was absolutely wrong when it mentioned the Hittites, for there was no such people. But since that time, Hittite relics have been discovered in abundance, and scholars are now well aware of the great civilization that flourished under the Hittites. The Hebrew form of this word, Hittite, is Khettai and from this comes the word Cathay, which many of you will recognize as an ancient name for China. Certain of the Hittites migrated eastward and settled in China. Also, another name in this list, the Sinites, is linked with China. It derives from a presumed son of Canaan whose name was Sin. The Sinites migrated eastward until they came into Western China, where they founded the ancient Empire of China and gave their name to the land. There is a direct connection between the word China and the word Sinim, the biblical name for China. (I remember reading as a boy of the Sino-Japanese War, showing how the ancient name still persists.) They pushed eastward and toward the north over the land bridge into Alaska. The Sinites are the people who settled the Americas in prehistoric days and became the ancestors of the Eskimos and Indians who, to this very day, betray their Mongoloid ancestry.
Now the third family that is traced here is Shem:
To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder bother of Japheth, children were born. The sons of Shem: Elam Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. Arpachshad became the father of Shelah; and Shelah became the father of Eber. To Eber was born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother's name was Joktan. Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobah; all these were the sons of Joktan. The territory in which they lived extended from Mesha in the direction of Sephar to the hill country of the east. These are the sons of Shem, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations.
These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations; and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood. {Gen 10:21-32 RSV}
The noteworthy thing said here is that:
Shem was the father of the children of Eber. Actually, Eber was a great-grandson of Shem, but from Eber comes the word Hebrew. Abraham, who was really the founder of the Hebrew nation, was six generations beyond Eber. Yet Eber is of such note that Abraham is identified as an Eberite, or Hebrew.
Elam, the next son of Shem, is associated with Southern Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have now found that the earliest inhabitants of this area were Semites, not Hamites, as they once thought. Asshur is the one who gave his name to Assyria. The genealogy closes with Eber's two sons, Peleg and Joktan.
The tribes listed as from Joktan are all associated with Arabia. The boundaries of Mesha and Sephar given here are both within the Arabian Peninsula. Our main interest, however, centers on Peleg and this cryptic comment made about him, "in his days the earth was divided." What do you think that means?  Peleg in Hebrew, means "Division," but in Greek it means "Sea." We get our present English word archipelago from this: archi-pelagos, the first sea. The Greeks called the Aegean Sea "The Archipelago," the first sea, drawing the name from this man, Peleg.
There is some evidence to link this with the scientific theory of continental drift; the idea that once the continents were bound together in one great land mass, but sometime in the past they separated and began to drift apart until the Americas came to their present location, Australia slid down into the south, Antarctica still further south, and the continents assumed the present distribution of land mass on the earth. Some have suggested that this may have occurred as late as the days of Peleg, immediately following the Flood. Perhaps the great rift valleys of Africa and Asia had not yet formed, and, in Peleg's day, these drew apart so that the seas broke into this inner world and formed the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Dead Sea. This would be the formation of the first sea, from which we get the word archipelago.
There are many geologists, of course, who would raise questions about this, for they would say this is far too late in history for anything like that to have occurred. The account here is much too brief for us to be dogmatic about this, but it is very suggestive.
If this were the case, it may well have been that the American continent was still in view of Europe and Asia in those days, and that as it moved westward gradually disappeared from the horizon. This gave rise to the many myths and stories about a lost continent called Atlantis which disappeared beneath the Atlantic. There are many interesting threads here that we would love to follow.
Now we must come to the explanation of the title I have chosen for this sermon, God's Funnel.  A funnel is an instrument or device for narrowing a flow of liquid or powder from a wide expanse to a narrow one. That is what God is doing here in Genesis 10. Shem is put last of the sons of Noah because God is narrowing the flow of sacred history down to the Semitic races. Shem is the neck of the funnel. God is restricting the stream of humanity that he will deal with personally and directly down to one family group, the family of Shem. In Chapter 11, Verse 10 on to the end of the chapter, he takes this up again and narrows it still further to one man, Abraham. From there it begins to broaden out again to take in Abraham and all his descendants, both physical and spiritual. The rest of the Bible is all about the children of Abraham, physically and spiritually. Here we have then one of the most important links in understanding the Bible.
Why does God do this? He has been accused of showing favoritism in picking the people of Israel for his link with humanity. But it is not that. God is no respecter of persons, as we are told. He does this because it is necessary in view of the limitations of our minds, not of his. No one man can grasp the whole widespread, varied, world of mankind. We cannot do so even today. At election time we take polls to determine what people are thinking, because we cannot grasp or assimilate in any way what the entire mass of a people are thinking. We must take polls, samples. God is doing this with Israel. Israel becomes the sample nation, the sample people. Through the rest of the Bible, whatever is true of Israel is true of everyone; their story is our story -- your story and my story. Their stubborn rebellion is the same rebellion that we display, and their spiritual blessing under God is the same kind that we can expect if we open ourselves to respond to the grace of God. One fact comes drumming through all this otherwise dry genealogy: that is that God is seeking somehow to break through into our hearts and wills. He presses upon us in great historic sweeps and in the minor incidents that happen to each of us.
The great question we must raise in a service like this is:  Are you listening? Are you getting the message God wants you to get?
He writes it large upon the landscape of history, and also he writes it small in the incidents of your daily life. But in every case it is the same truth pressing through to us. God is essential to us. We cannot live without God. You cannot fulfill yourself, you cannot find yourself without him. He loves you, is seeking you, wants you, and is drawing you to himself. Forever this finds its confirmation in all of life around us. --from Ray C. Stedman, The Beginnings.

Notes on the Sons of Noah by Henry M. Morris

...Finally, it was the sin of Ham (not Canaan) that had served as the occasion for his father's curse, and it would have been inappropriate for Noah thus to single out only one of Ham's four sons as bearing the burden of the curse. Therefore, it seems necessary to understand this as a Hamitic, rather than Canaanitic, curse, with Canaan mentioned specifically in order to stress that the terms of the prophecy extended to all of Ham's sons, even his youngest. In the context of the immediate situation, it may also have been a reaction to Noah's hurt; that is, as Noah's youngest son had brought grief to his own heart, so he especially singled out Ham's youngest son in his prophecy. [I do not agree with Dr. Morris on this interpretation, LTD]
Assuming, however, that the curse did apply to the Hamitic peoples in general, what was its meaning and how has it been fulfilled? "A servant of servants shall he be to his brethren" can hardly mean "a slave of slaves," because such a situation has never occurred among the descendants of any of Ham's four sons, including Canaan. The descendants of Ham included the Sumerians, the Egyptians, the Ethiopians, and other great nations of the past; and there is a good possibility they include some of the great Asiatic nations of the present as well.
Unfortunately, there have been some interpreters who have applied the Hamitic curse specifically to the Negro peoples, using it to justify keeping the black man in economic servitude or even slavery. It is obvious, however, that the prophecy applies not only to black Africans but also to all other descendants of Ham (most of whom are not blacks), and no more of the Hamitic peoples have experienced such servitude during their history than the non-Hamitic peoples.
If "servant of servants" does not mean "lowest slave," then what does it mean? Although the word "servant" is used frequently in the Old Testament, this is the only place where "servant of servants" occurs. In the next two verses, Noah predicted that Canaan would be both "servant" to Shem and "servant" to Japheth. In other words, the nations descended from Ham would be servants not only to one other nation or one other group of nations, but to all other nations. This unique and worldwide "service" is probably in part what is meant by the superlative "servant of servants."
It might be objected, however, that the Hamitic nations have never been under worldwide subjugation to the Japhethic and Semitic nations (neither, for that matter, have the Canaanites alone). In answer to this objection, it may be noted that a servant is not necessarily a slave. In fact, the word is used much more often to refer to one who has the position of "steward," a very honorable position in a household, rather than to one who is a slave.
This, in fact, is the first mention of the word "servant" in the Bible and, as such, undoubtedly has special significance. In a sense, it may be prophetic of Christ, who was in the fullest degree made to be a servant of servants for all the world, bearing the curse for us (Philippians 2:6-8; Galatians 3:10, 13).
There is one other possibility, which does seem to fit all the facts of the case. If "servant" in this case means "steward," then the prediction becomes one of material service to mankind. Man in general is God's steward over the physical world and its processes, as well as its living creatures. Because of man's sin, the ground had already come under God's "curse" (Genesis 3:17); and man was from then on to develop and utilize its resources for the sustenance of life "in the sweat of his face." However, man still had the responsibility of subduing and exercising dominion over the earth and its creatures (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:6-9), a responsibility which demanded first of all that he seek to understand his dominion. This would require intellectual effort, research, knowledge, and everything that is involved in the term "science," as well as "philosophy."
The greatest of man's responsibilities, however, was to fill the earth, not only with physical descendants (Genesis 1:28; 9:1) but "with the knowledge of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14). He was to teach men to "call upon the name of the Lord" (Genesis 4:26), preserving and transmitting the promises of God until the coming of the world's Redeemer.
Mankind thus had three fundamental types of duties to perform as God's steward over the world: (1) spiritual receiving, preserving, and teaching the knowledge of the word of God; (2) intellectual expanding and teaching the knowledge of the world of God; and (3) physical providing the material means for man's bodily needs and comforts, thus enabling him to fulfill his intellectual and spiritual functions more effectively. These three duties correspond, in fact, to the tripartite nature of man: spirit, soul, and body.
Every person has, to some degree, all three capacities, but in each person one usually dominates. That is, some people are dominated by physical considerations, some by intellectual, some by spiritual. The same generalization applies to nations: some have historically been primarily motivated by religious considerations, some by philosophical and scientific thinking, others by materialistic (or so-called practical) pursuits.
It is therefore very significant that these first three progenitors of all modern nations were recognized by their father to have characteristics representing these three emphases. Shem was mainly motivated by spiritual considerations, Japheth by intellectual, and Ham by physical; and the same would be true (in a very general way, of course) of the nations descending from them, by reasons of both genetic inheritance and parental example.
Each was regarded as God's servant Shem in spiritual service and Japheth in intellectual service. Ham, responsible for physical service, was thus a "servant of servants," serving both Shem and Japheth, who were also servants. He would provide the physical means (food, clothing, shelter, weapons, machinery, transportation, technological inventions, and equipment of all kinds) which would enable his brothers to carry out their spiritual and mental responsibilities toward mankind and toward God. In this way, Ham also would be serving God.
Since, however, Ham would be concerned more directly than the others with the "ground which the Lord hath cursed" (Genesis 5:29), the great Curse would be felt more directly by him than by the others. In this sense, the Hamitic responsibility was itself a "curse," even though his duties were absolutely necessary for the accomplishment of God's purposes in mankind. This prediction by Noah was, of course, a Spirit-inspired prophecy (not an imprecation born of Noah's resentment), appropriate to the nature of Ham and his sons, and concerned, as it has shown itself to be, mainly with physical considerations.
Assuming...that we can identify fairly well the Semitic nations (Jews, Arabs, Syrians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, etc.) and the Japhethic nations (Indo-Europeans), then by process of elimination all others are Hamitic. The Hamites, in general, have been largely unconcerned with either science, philosophy, or theology, and have been occupied largely with material pursuits. They have often been great inventors and technologists, as well as hard laborers on farms and hard fighters in battle.
Descendants of Ham included the Egyptians and Sumerians, who founded the first two great empires of antiquity, as well as other great nations such as the Phoenicians, Hittites, and Canaanites. The modern African tribes and the Mongol tribes (including today the Chinese and Japanese), as well as the American Indians and the South Sea Islanders, are probably dominantly Hamitic in origin.
Among the many ways in which the Hamites have been the great "servants" of mankind are the following:
(I) They were the original explorers and settlers of practically all parts of the world, following the dispersion at Babel.
(2) They were the first cultivators of most of the basic food staples of the world, such as potatoes, corn, beans, cereals, and others, as well as the first ones to domesticate most animals.
(3) They developed most of the basic types of structural forms and building tools and materials.
(4) They were the first to develop most of the usual fabrics for clothing and the various sewing and weaving devices.
(5) They discovered and invented a wide variety of medicines and surgical practices and instruments.
(6) They invented most of the concepts of basic practical mathematics, as well as surveying and navigation.
(7) The machinery of commerce and trade money, banks, postal systems, and so forth was developed by them.
(8) They developed paper, ink, block printing, movable type, and other accouterments of writing and communication.
If one traces back far enough, he will find that practically every other basic device or system needed for man's physical sustenance or convenience originated with one of the Hamitic peoples! Truly they have been the "servants" of mankind in a most amazing way.
Yet the prophecy had an obverse side as well. The Hamites have usually been able to go only so far with their explorations and inventions, and no farther. The Japhethites and Semites have, sooner or later, taken over their territories and their inventions, and then developed and utilized them to their own advantage in accomplishing their own "service" to mankind. Sometimes the Hamites, especially the Negroes, have even become actual slaves to the others. Possessed of a genetic character concerned mainly with mundane, practical matters, they have often eventually been displaced by the intellectual and philosophical acumen of the Japhethites and the religious zeal of the Semites.
These very general and broad national and racial characteristics obviously admit of many exceptions on an individual genetic basis. Furthermore, it is obvious that the prophecy is a divine description of future facts, in no way needing the deliberate assistance of the Semites or Japhethites for its accomplishment. Neither Negroes nor any other Hamitic people is intended to be forcibly subjugated on the basis of this Noahic declaration. The prophecy would be fulfilled because of innate genetics and divine leading, not by virtue of any artificial constraints imposed by man.
Having predicted Ham's primary relationship to the cursed ground, along with his material responsibilities to mankind, Noah turned his attention to his next son, Shem. Not only by his action of filial respect, but apparently also by a character of life closely observed by his father, Shem had long indicated his love for the Lord God and his faith in God's promises.
Noah therefore knew that God's spiritual blessings would especially rest on Shem, and so exclaimed: "Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Shem!" Shem knew the Lord personally, in his covenant relationship, and so knew Him by the name Jehovah. This strongly implies, even though it is not explicitly stated, that it was through Shem that God's greatest blessing for mankind, the promised Seed of the woman, would eventually come into the world. Shem would not be prevented from transmitting God's spiritual blessings to mankind through future opposition by Canaan and the other sons of Ham, for indeed Canaan would be his "servant," helping him to accomplish it.
Finally coming to Japheth, Noah prophesied that Japheth would be "enlarged" and that the Hamites would also be of service to him in this function. Pathah, the Hebrew word used here, is not the usual word for "enlarged" and is so translated only in this one instance. It apparently does not refer to a geographical enlargement, for which the Hebrewrachab would have been suited (actually both Semites and Hamites have spread geographically as far as the Japhethites).
The word is usually translated "entice" or "persuade." However, in the particular form in which it occurs in this verse, it occurs only this once; and translators have been unanimous in rendering it "be enlarged." It is apparently derived from the word "to make open" (Hebrew pathach).
It seems most probable, putting all this together, that the thought here is one of mental enlargement. If one is "persuaded" or "enticed," his previous opinions have been altered, he has changed his mind, or "opened" his mind. Japheth was an open-minded man, and so would be his descendants. The Japhethites would be intellectually curious, explorers in the world of thought, as Ham would be in the physical realm and Shem in the spiritual.
Not only would Japheth be intellectually enlarged, but he would also "dwell in the tents of Shem." This is a common figure of speech meaning "have fellowship with him." Thus "dwell in the tents of wickedness" (Psalm 84:10) means "live in wickedness, out of fellowship with God." Japheth would not literally live in the same tents (same word as "tabernacles") with Shem, but he would come to share in Shem's inheritance that is, his spiritual blessings, which constituted the essence of Shem's inheritance as prophesied by Noah. Though Shem would be the means of mankind's receiving God's great spiritual promises, Japheth also would appropriate these blessings to himself by enjoying fellowship with Shem. As Shem and Japheth had unitedly shown respect to their father and their father's God, so they would unitedly worship "the' Lord God of Shem." The Hamites, on the other hand, by implication would not do so, but would presumably follow other gods of their own devising. Nevertheless, Ham's "service" would contribute to the purpose of the true God for all men.
Although Noah's threefold prophecy has been abundantly fulfilled in general and in principle throughout history, it surely allows for individual exceptions. That is, a particular descendant of Ham may be very spiritually minded and become a fruitful servant of the true God. A particular descendant of Japheth may be dull of mind while skilled in technological devices. A particular Semite may be an atheist.
In general, however, it has been true throughout history that the Semites have been dominated by religious motivations centered in monotheism (the Jews, the Moslems, the Zoroastrians, etc.). The Japhethites (especially the Greeks, Romans, and later the other Europeans and the Americans) have stressed science and philosophy in their development. The Hamites (Egyptians, Phoenicians, Sumerians, Orientals, Africans, etc.) have been the great pioneers that opened up the world to settlement, to cultivation, and to technology.
Each stream of nations has influenced the others, of course, and there has been much mixing of peoples from different tribes and nations; so there may well be many apparent exceptions to the general trends. But it is possible to discern these general trends, and they do follow the prophetic pattern outlined thousands of years ago by father Noah. The Semites have been predominant in theology, the Japhethites in science and philosophy, the Hamites in technology.
Note that these three streams of nations are not three "races." Though some have thought of the Semites, Japhethites, and Hamites as three races (say, the dusky, the white, and the black races or the Mongoloid, Caucasian, and Negroid), this is not what the Bible teaches, nor is it what modern anthropology and human genetics teach. There are dusky and black people found among all three groups of nations. The Bible does not use the word "race" nor does it acknowledge such a concept. The modern concept of "race" is based on evolutionary thinking. To the evolutionist, a race is a subspecies in the process of evolving into a new species, and this idea is the basis of modern racism..." --Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings, Creation-Life Publishes, San Diego, 1976.

Family Tree of the Patriarchs of Israel


(Genesis 11:27)
(by Hagar 16:15)
Isaac(by Sarah 21:3)
Seven others
(11:29, 31)


 by Leah
  by Rachel
by Bilhah
 by Zilpah
Judah Issachar Zebulan 



Mannesseh Benjamin


Noah lived 350 years after the flood and Shem 500 years. The date of the flood appears to be ~3600-3000 BC based on few gaps in the family tree leading from the First to the Second Adam. Barry Setterfield's Chronology places the Flood date as 3526 BC.
The confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel occurred not long after the flood, (~100 yrs). The world population at that time may only have been only 2000-10,000 persons (Henry Morris, Genesis). The nations then scattered from Babylon. Continents separated in the time of Peleg, about 150-530 yrs after the Flood. Possibly, the Ice age followed continental division.
*For a thorough analysis see A. C. Custance, Noah's Three Sons, Doorway Papers, Zondervan, 1975. Online.
THE MEANING OF THE CHRONOGENEALOGIES OF GENESIS 5 AND 11, and GENESIS 5 AND 11: CHRONOGENEALOGIES IN THE BIBLICAL HISTORY OF BEGINNINGS by Gerhard F. Hasel, late Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology, Andrews University.
Excellent article: The Table of Nations and the Origin of Nations by Tim Osterholm.
Lambert Dolphin