Dwelling in the Tents of Shem

The water of life that passed from Abel – through Noah’s son, Shem all the way to Jesus Christ. Abel without saying a word had prophesied clearly that the way back into the Garden of Eden, the way to life, was through the shedding of blood. The stream ended with the Lord Jesus Christ who provided the blood sacrifice necessary for eternal life. God’s Savior and God’s seed – the gospel – came through the God/man, Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:26). Another small part of Noah’s prophecy mentions his eldest son, Japheth. Noah said that God was going to enlarge Japheth and that Japheth would dwell in the tents of Shem (Gen. 9:27). Admittedly, this is nothing more than a glimpse, but what a glimpse this is. Japheth is called “Japheth, the elder” (Gen. 10:21). Ham is Noah’s youngest, and would make Shem the middle son (Gen. 9:24).

The enlargement of Japheth carried two meanings. Japheth would become large in number – numerous people would come from him. Japheth had seven sons marked as Gentile nations (Gen. 10:2-5). Japheth’s seven sons were – Gomer. Gomer began as the Cimmerians (later being identified with Germany), Magog (Russia), Madai (the Medes and Persians), Javan (Greece and Rome), Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras (Greece). Upon leaving the ark, Japheth’s family moved north of the fertile crescent (Mesopotamia) and settled north of the Mediterranean Sea in the area that we call Europe or the Endo-European nations.

It is my opinion that Japheth drove his first tent pegs right into the geographical middle of the Endo-European continent, specifically the country that has become known as Germany. This is made clear to me by the mention of Gomer, as Japheth’s first son. His family flourished and spread from there. It is understandable that there is much debate on which country is in fact, the center of Europe. Satellite imagery has come into play and the debate and research rages on. Germany still claims to be the geographical center of Europe today (Google it).

The second meaning of “enlarge” is that Japheth would also be very great in strength and power, meaning he would have the desire and the strength to conquer many other nations. From Japheth’s family came the mighty Roman Empire. Two hundred years before Christ, there were five powers in control of the world: Rome, Carthage, Syria, Greece, and Egypt. The Romans became the dominant power on the earth. SPQR (The People and Senate of Rome) made its mark all over the world for one thousand years. To the north they launched a campaign that went up through Spain, Italy, and Greece. They went all the way to the Danube and Rhine Rivers. They also claimed much of the Mediterranean world. God truly enlarged Japheth!

Noah’s prophecy also said that Japheth would “dwell in the tents of Shem.” This is prophet-speak for the fact that Japheth was going to profit from the spiritual influence of Shem and that Shem was going to profit from his interaction with Japheth. This spiritual influence has two strong meanings. Interestingly, the apostle Paul set the stage for this influence when he wrote; “When we were children we were in bondage under the elements of the world” (Gal. 4:4a). In much of the early ancient world,there was certainly no peace on earth. There was no law other than the law of the jungle. Crime was raging. People lived in constant fear of barbarians who would storm in, kill, rape, steal, and destroy – with little or no resistance. Trade between countries was not because of robbers and thieves. It was not safe to travel. Camel caravans would attempt to arm themselves with enough people to ward off an attack. But the Arab marauders, along with others, were constantly getting larger and canvasing the travel routes passing through the Middle East, robbing caravans and killing the traders. They would come with enough force to hit and then run to nearby caves hidden in the hills, shimmy up previously set ropes, and the pull the ropes up behind them, making capture impossible.

Travel was also made difficult because of the lack of roads. Roads were nonexistent. If travel was planned, one had to use trails that were always held hostage by mountains, rocks, trees, desert, and the weather. It was so bad there were occasions that even horses or mules could not go, much less wagons. And then there was the language barriers. People could not talk to one another. Communication was impossible.

Paul continued, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4). When was “the fulness of time”? This is one period when Japheth dwelling in the tents of Shem came into play. Javen, the fourth son of Japheth became the father of both the Greeks and the Romans (Gen. 10:3). God used the Romans to help get a young couple safely to Bethlehem. The Romans and SPQR provided laws that helped to bring peace on the earth. They produced an army to stifle the bandits that constantly harassed travelers. They provided small “ranger teams” to find caves where the bandits were hiding. They would go above the caves and let down ropes, shimmy down the ropes and clean out the crooks. Amazing! One after another, they brought them to justice. This soon began to take a toll on other wanna-be thugs. Slowly, peace on earth began to immerge and this would soon bring about “good will toward men.” More later! Blessings.