Abraham, My FriendThe Making of a Praying Man_31The Seed - Part 1As I promised we will now return to the narrative of Genesis 15. There is so much material in this chapter that it is easy to forget that the incidents that it records all took place within a 24 period. It is important, however, not to forget as there is a flow of revelation through this chapter that we ought not to disturb. First a reminder of the events; Abraham has made his choices as to the future source of his life and wellbeing;
I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, (Gen 14:22 KJV). Gods response to this is to promise Himself to Abraham; After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. (Gen 15:1 KJV). Abrahams thoughts immediately turn to the question of the future; And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. (Gen 15:3 KJV). If we were to give a title to the chapter perhaps it ought to be The Seed.We are able to time events easily; they begin in starlight. (15:5). It is in the starlight that
he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Gen 15:6 KJV) The subsequent events will pass through mid-day when the rising thermals lifted the vultures aloft (15:11), early evening, when the sun was going down and night again when extraordinary events will take place (15:17)Following the moment of Abrahams justifying faith, God reminds Abraham of His promise; And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. (Gen 15:7 KJV) Although God had not told Abraham this from the start, it had been in the heart of God. God has wonderful plans for us all, but He often doesnt tell us the details; for some of us it would be a distraction. It is better that Abraham should begin his journey because he obeyed rather than because of any blessing there might be at the end of it. Abraham then asks a significant question; whereby shall I know
? The word whereby in Hebrew is an all inclusive question mark it includes why, how, where, when? It is interesting to ask each of these questions separately and to think about the answers we might give. Gods answer is an instruction to prepare for a covenant ceremony.In Bible use the verb usually used for the creating of a covenant is the word to cut. It enshrines within it a fact almost forgotten in our modern usage, but captured in the letter to the Hebrews in Youngs Literal Translation; for where a covenant is , the death of the covenant-victim to come in is necessary, (Heb 9:16 YLT). Where there is a covenant, there must be, of necessity, the death of the covenant-victim. Of course if the covenant is a last will and testament then the covenant-maker must die for it to be enacted, but the Hebrews truth is wider than this and extends to all ancient covenants; without the death of the covenant-victim the covenant could not be established.In Bible times the pattern of cutting a covenant was well established. It was based on a self-imprecatory oath; (yes, I thought it was; I hear you say!) English children still use a self-imprecatory oath although they dont realise it. They emphasize a promise by saying 'cross my heart' or in the full version cross my heart and hope to die. It builds an if into the event. If I fail to keep my promise let this happen to me; It is an ancient pattern. Ancient biblical covenants were initiated in an avenue of death. The covenant-victims were slaughtered, and the parts separated into two line. The covenanting parties then met in this little valley of death and declared the conditions of their covenant. All the time the slaughtered animals provided the emphasis for their promises; if I fail to keep my promise let this happen to me. Sometimes these oaths can be observed in the scriptures by noticing unfinished sentences. There is one in Hebrews; For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Heb 4:3 KJV); as it stands if they shall enter into my rest sits strangely to our ears. Youngs Literal Translation alters the punctuation; for we do enter into the rest--we who did believe, as He said, `So I sware in My anger, If they shall enter into My rest--;' and yet the works were done from the foundation of the world, (Heb 4:3 YLT) This is God saying if I let them enter
the rest of the sentence does not need to be said. It is the equivalent of cross my heart
Abraham, then, is instructed to set the stage for the cutting of a covenant. The animals are slaughtered and the avenue of death is created; And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. (Gen 15:9-10 KJV). He would have seen this often and no doubt participated in many. He knew what would happen next; the two covenant makers would enter the avenue of death from either end, they would meet in the middle and seal their covenant. Abraham knew what would happen, but it didnt. The whole day passes and the other covenanting party does not arrive. At midday or later the vultures descend and Abraham beats them off. He waits, and waits, and waits
He did not fall asleep but a
when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. (Gen 15:12 KJV) and God began to speak about Abrahams Seed. The next four hundred years of his descendants history is sketched out for him, with the promise that although tragedy must first come
in the fourth generation they shall come hither again
(Gen 15:16 KJV). The avenue of death stands unused; one covenant partner is asleep, the Other has not appeared but has only spoken to Abraham. Abraham continues his deep sleep under the horror of great darkness. He will not be an active covenant partner in what follows but the passive witness of the cutting of a covenant which will set in motion earthly events which will change history and eternity. Abraham is not the first human being to experience this kind of deep sleep; And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. (Gen 2:21-22 KJV)Sleeping Abraham now witnesses one of the most mysterious events in the Bible; two phenomena pass between the slaughtered animals. In my imagination I see them approaching each other from opposite ends; a smoking furnace and a flaming torch. What is this that Abraham is witnessing? The smoking furnace is an emblem of God in all His holiness; the furnace smokes, our God is a consuming fire. The flaming torch is the Life that was the light of men, shining in the darkness. Father and Son walk together in the valley of death and seal their covenant; Abraham is witnessing Calvary. He sees no cross; it would have meant little to him, but the horror of a great darkness has fallen upon the earth and Abraham is witnessing it. This is not Abrahams covenant; he never did step into that avenue of death. This is an eternal covenant; sealed at the scene of the covenant-victims death. Eternity has broken through the thin skin of time and eternal events are being portrayed in his dreamless sleep. In real-time, as we call it, the covenant-victim would not die until April AD 30 but in real-time, as God calls it, He is
the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:8 KJV). God did indeed make a covenant with Abraham on that day, but this was not it. Abrahams name is not on this event as one of the covenanting parties, but as the witness.In Romans Paul seems to concentrate on Abrahams experience in the first half of Genesis 15; reckoned righteousness. But in Galatians the focus is different; Paul concentrates on the covenant of the second half of Genesis 15. This is most obvious in a few verses; Gal 3:16-19. In verse 16 Paul declares that these events had in focus not seeds as in the sense of Abrahams many descendent, but seed singular
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Gal 3:16 KJV) This speaks, if you follow the line of thought, of promises made by God to Christ. According to Paul the focus of the events that Abraham witnessed was Christ, the Seed. As he continues on this theme. Again the point comes through clearly in Youngs Literal Translation as Paul adds and this I say, A covenant confirmed before by God to Christ, the law, that came four hundred and thirty years after, doth not set aside, to make void the promise, (Gal 3:17 YLT). And, just in case we need further evidence, the theme is repeated; Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (Gal 3:19 KJV); Paul speaking of the seed, who should come, to whom the promise was made.But what was the promise that was made to the Seed? Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (Joh 16:13-15 KJV). It was a mystery enshrouded in an enigma to the disciples for the time being, but when the Spirit came Peter saw immediately all the implications; Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. (Act 2:33 KJV) and Paul wasnt far behind;Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:13-14 KJV). The Holy Spirit is the great executor of Christs Will and Testament. All that was agreed and witnessed is assured. Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (Tit 1:1-2 KJV). Did you ever ask this question? If this eternal life was promised before the world began to whom was the promise made?
This is not Abrahams covenant; he never did step into that avenue of death. This is an eternal covenant; sealed at the scene of the covenant-victims death. Eternity has broken through the thin skin of time and eternal events are being portrayed in his dreamless sleep. In real-time, as we call it, the covenant-victim would not die until April AD 30 but in real-time, as God calls it, He is
the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:8 KJV). God did indeed make a covenant with Abraham on that day, but this was not it. Abrahams name is not on this event as one of the covenanting parties, but as the witness.
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:13-14 KJV).
Did you ever ask this question? If this eternal life was promised before the world began to whom was the promise made?
Brother Ron, Are you saying in a sense that Abraham witnesses the Father's promise to the Son: "...You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" Hebrew 7:21
Abraham was passive in the sense that he did not physically walk that night. But he did participate, he experienced God because God chose to reveal Himself to Abraham. Salvation comes through revelation of "eternal life."
No. I was saying that Abraham was witnessing the making of a covenant that we call Calvary.
Is not the "covenant that we call Calvary," part of the work Jesus did serving in the priestly order of Melchizedec. For every priest has something to offer.
philologos wrote:Did you ever ask this question? If this eternal life was promised before the world began to whom was the promise made?
The bible mentions the fact that because of the joy set before him, Jesus endured. So I would say the promise was made to Jesus.
philologos wrote:The promise was given to Christ. He received Eternal Life for us as promised to Him. Now that Eternal Life is in Him, and not detachable.
From the context of the scripture he is talking about himself, so why would there be things that he would not be permitted to tell? And another speculatory question would be, what could he have told us that he was not permited to tell?