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Against Hope

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick, Numbers 8:2.

The NIV in its never ending quest to quench the light of God says this of Numbers 8:2: “Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you set up the lamps, see that all seven light up the area in front of the lampstand.’”

Likewise the ESV in not being outdone in substituting man's wisdom against God's says: “Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.”

Think how stupid those two renderings are. Are the lamps only illuminating in front of the candlestick? Is it dark on the left and right and dark behind it?

The seven lamps here are not opposed to the candlestick as we often think of the word "against". They are next to it. Like most prepositions, "against" can have nuances of meaning. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again, Numbers 22:25.

The issue of the lamps giving light against the candlestick is instructive. The job of the lamps was to make the candlestick itself more visible. We normally think of a candlestick as being there to elevate the light of its lamps. No doubt that is happening here, but there is more. The candlestick is a picture of Jesus Christ. The seven lamps are a picture of the seven spirits of God which illuminate the person of Jesus Christ.

That is missing in modern versions. Isn't it amazing that in order to take a subtle slam against the deity of Jesus Christ pictured in the candlestick, the devil had to convince people writing something stupid that they were in actuality very smart?

What needs to be understood is that in your King James Bible and even in Late Modern English as spoken throughout the world, the word "against" often means "next to". Even when we see a verse such as 1st Peter 3:2, "against" can have a double meaning; For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. The face of the Lord is contrary to the evil, but it is also right up next to them.

Wise men can see that. The Philistines may have been evil but they were not stupid. As they looked at the destruction of their cities in 1st Samuel 5, they felt the face of God next to them and not for their good. So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there, 1st Samuel 5:11.

In my Christian life I have had the face of God against me. As plague after plague hit home in my life, I could look over my shoulder and clearly see that the face of God was right there bringing grievous chastisement.

Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

Hebrews 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

Hebrews 12:13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

I thank God that his face was against me and I thank God for a King James Bible by which I could so clearly see the working of God.

Why does the bible say that Abraham was against hope? For many years I puzzled over that verse. I pictured Abraham as some kind of an Archie Bunker contrarian who had declared himself to be against the idea of hope. I had a picture in my mind of Abraham saying something like, "Don't talk about hope to me. I'm against that kind of claptrap.".

By the grace of God he opened my eyes to the verse. Abraham was shoved against hope. He was crammed up against it. He had tried impregnating his servant girl, he had tried for many years to have a child with Sarah and now there was only one door left and he was crammed up against it. There was no other way out for him and he believed in it.

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be, Romans 10:18. He was against hope in the same way that Israel was crammed against the Red Sea with no other way out. The same God who opened the Red sea for Israel to cross over opened the womb of Sarah and brought Abraham's loins to life. Abraham had no other option than hope and he took it.

We can apply that in Romans 5:1-5.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

Romans 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

None of us like tribulations. The Apostle Paul learned to glory in them. Why? because a person who has experienced tribulations has learned that tribulations have an end. They have learned that the Lord is in the midst of them though he seems so far away at the time. They have learned that in patient waiting as Abraham waited, the Lord is there. That is what is called experience. Those who have that experience know what it is liked to be in a corner where the only doorway out is hope. Against hope, we can believe in hope. That door will open. It may not open to the room we want to be in, but it will open. Hope maketh not ashamed.

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3 Kommentare

24. Juni 2023

Romans 4:18 “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.”

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Lee K.
Lee K.
02. Juni 2023

Well put. The nuances found in the KJV just are lost in the "modern" versions. And it may not be done out of malice but ignorance. But either way, they 're gone.

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02. Juni 2023

Beautiful... may we all, always, believe in hope. Whether it seem afar off, or we be thrust against it, may Christ, our hope of glory, abound in our hearts. Thank you Pastor for this article.

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