Friday, May 4, 2012

Genesis15: The Covenant with Abram & Salvation - Part 1

By Mark Hunnemann

If I got locked away in solitary confinement and was given only one text of scripture, Genesis 15 would be my choice. The Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, "Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great."....And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. The the Lord told him, "I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Caldeans to give you this land as your possession."

But Abram replied, "O Sovereign Lord, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?" The Lord told him, "Bring me a three-year old heifer, a three-year old female goat, a three-year old goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." So Abram presented all these to Him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side-by-side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away. As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him....After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. So the Lord made a covenant with Abram that day...(Gen.15 selected verses)

This text is pregnant with meaning. Let us look at a few wonderful facts, but these are not want I want to focus on. 1.In v1 Abram was told not to be afraid.Do you know what prohibition Jesus most frequently mentioned....what he most often told us not to do? "Do not be afraid.." Is that not both instructive and very comforting?. It is instructive in that our Lord would so often tells us not to be afraid. In taking on human flesh, He knew what we are subject to..yet without sin. I am of the opinion that fear is one of the most common and effective means by which the demonic gain a foothold in folks lives.Are you helping someone under demonic oppression? Then, you would be wise to search for areas in which they are tyrannized by fear. I am not saying that is the only cause, but I do think it is the most common denominator in the demonically oppressed.

What tenderness! "Perfect love casts out fear.." says John. The Lord does not want His blood bought sons and daughters to live in fear. "Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because he cares for you. ' 1 Peter 5:7 2..V6 the doctrine of justification by faith alone is spelled out. This is not just a New Covenant reality.... From the Fall onwards,  mankind has always been saved by grace, and not by adherence to some code of law..The most common notion of justification in the US is justification by death alone...all we have to do is die, and God (whose business is to forgive) will forgive everyone. This is demonic lie...and it drags the precious blood of the Lamb through dung.v.7 there is a saying, "How odd of God, to choose the Jews!" Yes, how "odd" of Him to choose anybody.V.7 the context is this: a pagan, idolatrous Abram is, by sovereign grace, plucked out of Ur and chosen to be saved. He, of course, is the head of God's chosen people. Spiritual pride is the worst sort of pride, because it assumes we have earned the right to be saved. Christian paranormalists (neologism, I reckon) should be exceptionally opposed to this notion, because we are attuned to the workings of Satan and his damned crew. You can pray for the devil's salvation until the cows come home, but it is not going to happen.His destiny is damnation. Jesus did not die for them; when they sinned, they were lost forever. We should have been damned forever, but God, in His rich mercy and grace, freely chose to save a people for Himself.(Eph.1:1F) How odd of God to choose you...and me.  Praise His blessed name! Question: in what ways do we presume our salvation?

Now picture this: God tells Abram to select several mature large animals, and then he is to cut them in half! Can you imagine how bloody that mess was?! Further, the Lord instructs Abram to line them up beside each other.The bottom halves of the animals would be lined up next to each other...a few feet space...and the top halves lined up next to each other--the idea being that there be enough room for a man to walk between the pieces. Pretty gross thus far; what is going on?

Here is the only text in the bible that describes it...Jeremiah 34:18,19 Because you have broken the terms of our covenant, I will cut you apart just as you have cut apart the calf when you walked between its halves to solemnize your vows. Yes, I will cut you apart, whether you are officials of Judah or Jerusalem, court officials, priest, or common people--for you have broken your oath.

Back then, instead of signing a written contract, they would make (literally, cut a covenant) a covenant between two parties. The way this covenant was ratified was by slicing animals in half, and each partner in the covenant had to walk between the bloodied pieces. As if to say, "I vow to keep my word regarding.(fill in the blank), and if I don't, then may I be ripped in half." Very graphic form of solemnizing a legal agreement! So, instead of writing a contract, they would cut a covenant. Two equal parties...each threatening self-destruction if they broke the terms of agreement.

Here is Part 2.