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Last week we discussed the dispute about who has the rightful claim to the land of Palestine. From a biblical point of view, Abraham’s heir was Isaac, the brother of Ishmael. If at any time Isaac was unable to retain the land, it would then revert to Ishmael, who was second in line. Esau-Edom was third in line.
However, even prior to Abraham, there were the Canaanites in the land. What about them? Did they have a lawful claim to the land?
The story in Genesis 9:20-27 tells how Noah became drunk, and “Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father.” Most people assume that Noah took off his clothes and went to bed to sleep it off. However, the book of Jasher tells us that Ham and Canaan actually disrobed Noah and stole his garment.
Jasher explains further that Noah’s garment was the coat of skins that God had given to Adam after he sinned (Genesis 3:21). This garment had been passed down to the heirs as a symbol of authority to rule the earth. Noah received Adam’s garment, but it was later stolen by Ham and given to Canaan. Obviously, Canaan could not use it openly, because this would have exposed him as the thief. But Canaan later gave it to his son Cush, who passed it down to his son Nimrod.
When Nimrod put on the garment at the age of 40, he received power to rule the world and thereby established the kingdom of Babylon. It is clear that Nimrod had usurped authority over the earth and used it to enslave men. Noah was the real king of the earth, and he passed down this birthright to Shem, who was the builder of Jerusalem and who ruled under the title of Melchizedek, “King of Righteousness.”
Jasher calls him Adonizedek, “Lord of Righteousness.” Shem outlived Abraham, so although Abraham was the designated heir, the birthright actually bypassed him and went directly to Isaac. Whoever succeeded Shem as the king of Jerusalem adopted the same title, though he was not the legitimate heir of the birthright. Years later, when Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan, we see how “Adonizedek, king of Jerusalem” (Joshua 10:1) fought against Joshua.
It was in the days of Isaac that his twin sons, Jacob and Esau, had a dispute over the birthright. That is where we began our previous study, but the problem had its roots much earlier in the story of Ham and Canaan. Canaan was singled out as the recipient of Noah’s curse (Genesis 9:25), as if Noah discerned that he had been given the garment of authority.
In my book, Secrets of Time, I showed how Noah’s curse on Canaan put him and his descendants on Cursed Time (414 years). Cursed Time itself is a grace period. In this case, it gave Canaan time to fulfill the obligations and responsibilities that were inherent in authority to rule the earth. This, however, was modified, because Nimrod moved east and became a Babylonian. Hence, Nimrod became the primary king of the earth, while Canaan’s authority was limited to the land of Canaan (or Palestine).
Both Nimrod and Canaan were usurpers in their own right, because they refused to recognize the authority of the true heirs of the birthright—Isaac and Jacob-Israel.
The curse on Canaan was based on the fact that he wanted the authority without complying with the divine requirements of that authority. Authority and responsibility always go in equal measures. The responsibility of the birthright holder was to bring righteousness to the earth and to set the people free by the law of Jubilee. But all usurpers do so in order to enslave men, not to set them free.
Hence, the authority which Canaan usurped became a curse to him. Cursed Time comes in cycles of 414 years. After 414 years, Abimelech, the king of the Philistines (representing Canaan) made a covenant of peace with Isaac (Genesis 26:26-31). The Bible does not date this event, but the book of Jasher does. By this we know that this covenant of peace took place precisely 414 years after Noah cursed Canaan. This gave the Canaanites another cycle of 414 years in which to comply with the terms of divine authority. It ended the year that Joshua crossed the Jordan and began to bring judgment upon the kings of Canaan.
There are many lessons to be learned here. First of all, there is no evidence that the author of Jasher knew anything about Cursed Time. So it is remarkable that the book would date the covenant of peace, giving Canaan another cycle of Cursed Time.
Second, the Philistines were not actually Canaanites at all, and yet they were able to represent Canaan in making this covenant of peace. The Philistines were immigrants from Cyprus and were therefore descended from Japheth, not Ham. But because they lived in the land of Canaan, they were Canaanites from a legal standpoint.
The principle behind this is rooted in the biblical land laws. This opens up a whole new area of understanding that is too extensive to cover here. We will have to study this at a later time. Suffice to say that the sins of the people are attributed to the land itself. This is why repentance of the people will heal the land (2 Chronicles 7:14). Further, when there is an unsolved murder, the land itself becomes polluted and must be cleansed by blood (Deuteronomy 21:1-9). Under the New Covenant, we appeal to the blood of Jesus Christ.
When Canaan usurped the garment of authority, having the desire for power, it is not likely that he understood that this authority would become a curse to him. Only the designated heir of the promise could fulfill the responsibility of the birthright—and even then, only through the New Covenant. In fact, Jesus is the only One capable of fulfilling this responsibility, and by faith His body rules the earth under Him.
Noah’s curse ensured that Canaan would be given 2 x 414 years in which to fulfill the responsibility of bringing the land of Canaan into righteousness. They failed, of course, but the Israelites, nonetheless, had to wait until Canaan’s allotted time had ended. In other words, God’s decrees must be respected, and the true heirs must not become impatient.
The Promised Land (Canaan) was a type and shadow of the true Promised Land which Abraham sought as a stranger and pilgrim in the earth. Note also that God gave Abram the land of Canaan; but He gave Abraham a heavenly country. Ishmael was born to Abram (Genesis 16:15); Isaac was born to Abraham (Genesis 21:2, 3). The difference is the Hebrew letter hey, which is the breath of God—the Holy Spirit. Abraham could not beget Isaac until his name had been changed to indicate a change of heart/nature. Hence, there were two promises, the lesser given to the children of the flesh, and the greater given to those born of the Spirit.
When Joshua led Israel across the Jordan into Canaan, the time had come for Canaan to be judged for its failure to use divine authority to bring righteousness into the land. The Israelites appeared to be the true inheritors of the promise, but in the end, they too failed. God then cast them out of the land, in order to prepare the way for a better covenant that would succeed. This is the topic of the New Testament and the book of Hebrews in particular.
Canaan itself was also a prophetic type of the nations as a whole in our time. Here is where we see the connection between Canaan and Nimrod the Babylonian. Nimrod himself was descended from Ham, Canaan, and Cush. Babylonia was in Mesopotamia, the land between two rivers, whose inhabitants were either of Shem or of Japheth.
Joshua’s conquest of Canaan was done by the power of the sword, that Old Covenant weapon that brings only death and destruction. The greater Joshua/Yeshua conquers the world through the power of a spiritual sword, which is the word of God. This sword brings life, not death, for it is much sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).
Therefore, the lessons from Joshua must be modified under Jesus/Yeshua. We do not expect to see the world destroyed, as so many have thought. We expect to see Babylon fall intact and come under new and improved management under the children of Abraham whose goal is to be a blessing to all nations.