The Bible Answers Your Questions
Good News Magazine
February 1965
Volume: Vol XIV, No. 2
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The Bible Answers Your Questions
Good News Staff  

Why was Canaan so horribly cursed because Ham happened to see his father, Noah, unclothed? What was so evil about seeing "the nakedness" of his father?

   There was more than just "looking" involved in this tragic circumstance! Notice Genesis 9:24: "And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son HAD DONE UNTO HIM!"
   There was an illicit sexual act committed here. Noah was very drunken and did not realize what was occurring. In such a stupor, someone took advantage of Noah and committed an act of sodomy with him.
   It appears as though HAM were the one responsible. But the truth is HE WAS NOT! When we learn what Ham actually did and WHO was really responsible for the act of sodomy any problems with these verses clear up.
   Notice again, Genesis 9:24: "And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what HIS YOUNGER SON had done unto him." Ham was not Noah's younger son! He was his middle son. See Genesis 10:1. So whoever this was iii Verse 24, it clearly was not Ham.
   Ham merely looked on or "saw the nakedness" of Noah (Gen. 9:22). He did not DO anything to his father. Notice, he immediately told his brothers and they covered him.
   The difficulty is purely grammatical.
   First, let us notice Exodus 34:28. In this scripture we have a similar grammatical difficulty. It reads: "And he [Moses] was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments."
   Now, from the context it appears as though the "he wrote" refers to Moses! But from Deuteronomy 10:4 it is quite clear that GOD WROTE the Ten Commandments mentioned in Exodus 34:28.
   In other words, it is unclear as to whom the "he wrote" refers! This is the same problem we face in Genesis 9:24. Armed with this information, we can now solve the problem in Genesis.
   We read, picking up the account in Verse 22: "And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without... And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his {that is, HAM'S} younger son had DONE unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan...."
   First, notice how Canaan is mentioned twice in the account. The pronoun "his" properly refers to Ham's, not Noah's, son.
   But can we prove from Scripture that Canaan was really the "younger son" of Ham. The answer is found in Genesis 10:6: "And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, AND CANAAN."
   So Canaan was not punished for what Ham did. He was punished for his own sin!

"I'm confused about Luke 22:36. If Christians are not to fight, why did Christ tell those who had no sword to go and buy one?"

   The answer to this problem is found in Luke 22:37. "And he was numbered with the transgressors" (Isa. 53:12). The Fenton Translation has this as "Ranked among outlaws."
   In order for this prophecy to be fulfilled, it was necessary for Christ to be taken into custody as an ordinary thief and be treated as an ordinary criminal even though He Himself was not a transgressor (Luke 22:52). This is exactly what happened even to Christ. He was put to death as a common criminal (Mark 15:27-28).
   But how do the "two swords" make Christ appear as a criminal? Luke 22:38 says, "And he said unto them, It is enough." Commentators assume that Christ's words, "It is enough," mean that He wished to terminate the subject under discussion since two swords would not begin to provide the protection needed! and in so saying approved of the use of force.
   The two swords were not for protection but were only to give the Pharisees an excuse to consider Christ a criminal. The swords were enough to spread the report that He and His disciples were armed. Judas probably told this story when he betrayed Christ. Therefore, His captors came out with swords and staves (Luke 22:52).
   Christ NEVER INTENDED for the swords to be used. In fact, He FORBADE them to use the swords even in self-defense. Notice! When the mob laid hold on Him, the disciples asked Him: "Lord, shall we smite with the sword?" And immediately, impetuous Peter "smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear" (Luke 22:49-50; John 18:10-11). Jesus exclaimed: "Suffer ye thus far" [or better translated, 'no more of that'] and at that instant restored the man's ear completely.
   Christ then taught a great lesson for men of all times. He said: "PUT UP AGAIN thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Mat. 26:52).

In Romans 2:11, we read: "There is no respect of persons with God." Romans 9:13 says that God loved Jacob and hated Esau. Wasn't God being a respecter of persons?

   God loves the righteous man, but He hates the ways of the wicked. The wicked are an abomination in His sight (Prov. 15:9). Esau was a wicked man!
   We read in Genesis 26:34-35 how Esau brought grief to his parents by marrying two Canaanite women. He had done this in disobedience and disrespect toward his parents.
   In Genesis 25, we read the account of Esau selling his birthright. Esau treated it with contempt. He did not consider its importance as Verse 34 shows: "Esau despised his birthright." He sold it to Jacob for a bowl of lentils to satisfy his gnawing hunger.
   This is indicative of the character of Esau. In Hebrews 12:16, Esau is called a profane person. He was rejected of God. He could not receive the inheritance because he was UNWILLING TO CHANGE! As Verse 17 brings out, Esau "found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." His was not a truly repentant sorrow!
   "Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death" (II Cor. 7:10). Esau never really repented. His attitude remained foul. As a man thinks so is he! God hated Esau's rotten and evil attitude!
   But what about Jacob? Jacob had sinned. He had lied directly to his father, not once, but twice, in stealing Esau's blessing by trickery (Gen. 27:19, 24). But unlike Esau, he was willing to change.
   Jacob was obedient. He obeyed his parents when commanded not to marry a Canaanite (Gen. 28:6-7). In Genesis 28:20-21, Jacob vowed to obey God. He repented and was willing to obey God's Commandments. We read in Psalm 119:172 that "all thy commandments are righteousness." In God's sight, Jacob was a righteous man. As a result of this righteousness, Jacob will be in God's Kingdom (Luke 13:28).
   But Esau was unrighteous in God's sight. He was not keeping God's Commandments and refused to repent of his unrighteous ways. Esau's wickedness was an abomination in God's eyes.
   God is no respecter of persons. God says, "... to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and TREMBLETH AT MY WORD" (Isa. 66:2). God looks to and respects those who fear to disobey His Commandments.

In I Samuel 15:3, God commanded Saul to "go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." Why did God have to deal so harshly with these people?

   God says: "All that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God. Remember what AMALEK did unto thee {Israel) by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and wear)'; and he feared NOT God" (Deut. 25:16-18).
   Notice how harsh and unfair the AMALEKITES were.
   First, they waited until their enemy was so weak that it could barely stand up. Even then they attacked from behind, killing the laggers one by one. This is illustrative of the depraved character of the Amalekites.
   But why did God slay ALL of them? Surely there must have been some that were righteous. If so, why didn't God spare them?
   Let's take another example of Sodom and Gomorrah! Notice how God dealt with these people.
   "Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" asked Abraham of God concerning Sodom. "Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
   "And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, I will SPARE all the place for their sakes... Peradventure ten {righteous) shall be found there," asked Abraham. "And he [God] said, I will not destroy it for TEN'S sake" (Gen. 8:23-26, 32).
   The same principle applies to the Amalekites! God may have spared the Amalekites if there had been even TEN among them that were righteous. But there wasn't one innocent person among them! The WHOLE SOCIETY WAS DEGENERATE!
   But understand God's Plan!
   Are these people lost forever?
   No absolutely NOT!
   They will be resurrected to mortal flesh and given a chance to live under God's Government (Rev. 20:12). If they then repent of their evil acts and obey God they will be given eternal life as members of His Family. God put these people out of their misery' All the while realizing that He would resurrect them, and give them their first real chance for salvation.
   How merciful (Ps. 103:1-18) is God!

Many passages in the Psalms tell us we should "bless God." What does this mean? How can a man bless God?

   Almighty God rules the universe supreme! He owns everything which exists! Yet, YOU can bless God and bring Him pleasure, delight and joy!
   Here is HOW!
   If we examine the CONTEXT of the passages which instruct us to bless God, we find exactly what this term means. Notice Psalms 34:1: "I will bless the Lord at all times: his PRAISE shall continually be in my mouth."
   To bless God, therefore means to PRAISE HIM!
   But why do we praise God? Just because He tells us to? No! The true wholehearted praise God desires is the praise of sincere thankfulness and appreciation for all the blessings He first gives us! "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Ps. 103:2). God deserves the praise of every creature!
   "I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be PRAISED; and his greatness is unsearchable" (Ps. 145:13). The awesomeness and greatness of God is WORTHY of continual praise.
   Psalm 96 shows us that God is also blessed in SONG and WORSHIP, and by declaring His salvation to all the world. Psalm 100:4 shows that we bless God by coming before Him in worship, praise, and thanksgiving. In this way we acknowledge God as our Master, Ruler and Heavenly Father.
   This attitude of REVERENCE, FEAR and RESPECT for God and the laws He has given carries right over into our daily lives as we become living sacrifices for Him (Rom. 12:1). God wants us to be living Christian witnesses of the true way of abundant Christian living to others around us (Mat. 5:16). In this way we influence others and bear fruit which glorifies God (John 15:8).
   There is great JOY in heaven over every sinner who, seeing the GOOD EXAMPLE of true Christians, repents and begins on the way to salvation and membership in God's own personal family (Luke 15:10).
   God created humankind on this earth for an awesome and wonderful PURPOSE to ultimately become His sons (Rev. 21:7)! The greatest BLESSING you can give God is to FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE yield to God, overcome, qualify for salvation BECOME A SON OF GOD!

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Good News MagazineFebruary 1965Vol XIV, No. 2