A Smoking Oven and a Burning Torch-no your biscuits aren’t burnt.

A Smoking Oven and a Burning Torch-no, your biscuits aren’t burnt.

God sets the stage for a “covenant cutting” ceremony, with Abram that was contemporary to his culture of the Near East. Biblical as well as major secular covenants were established in blood. In this episode Genesis 15:1-21 God gives Abram instructions on how to enter into His covenant.
The animals used in the sacrifice were cut in halves, and arranged in proper order opposite one another. The covenant parties then walked between the halves indicating that they were irrevocably bound together in blood.



In verse 12 we read, Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Abram was put to sleep to bring into focus who will enact the covenant.
During a most dramatic scene God humbled Himself to accept the role of the inferior party to this covenant. In the ancient Hittite suzerainty covenant, a puppet ruler, the inferior party, would walk between the bleeding parts of the split animals, taking an oath of loyalty to his superior:”May the gods do so to me (and more also) as I have done to these animals if I do not fulfill the terms of this covenant!”
Here the Lord voluntarily made Himself lower than Abram for the establishment of the covenant. This dramatic act speaks of the precious gift of His own Son, who condescended to die on a degrading cross for all humanity.
A smoking oven and a burning torch are also found in similar rituals in the Akkadian texts. Here they represent Yahweh who passed between those pieces. The lord was the promising party; God’s oath was unilateral, unconditional, with no requirements demanded of Abram as his part in this mighty covenant.
Hebrews 6:13 says, for when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, He sware by himself, (Gen.22:16,17) saying,”Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee” (Gen.22:16) and so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise (Heb.6:15).
For men verily swear by the greater: an oath for confirmation is to them and end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abuntly to show unto the hiers of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it with an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation , who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us(Heb. 6:18).
We have in God and in His expressed purpose to bless us in Christ grounds for confident expectation. The fulfillment of His promise to Abraham provides assurance that He is certain to perform what He promises.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chris
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 00:06:58

    I just looked up the term “blood” and found close to 400 references to it in the O.T. and close to 100 in the N.T. Where would we be without the blood my friend? Your post has brought to mind the great verses from Romans 5:

    “6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

    What a great and powerful God we know. Thanks for the reminder, Manny.


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