SIGN: GOD PASSED THROUGH
ABRAHAM TESTIFIED AND MANY LISTENED.
(GENESIS 12 – 17) (2000 BC)
1. Sand (12:1; 13:15; 15:7, 17-18).
A place; geographic and national.
2. Seed (12:2a; 15:5,13).
A people; a specific ethnic group.
3. Saint (12:2b,c; 15:6*).
A person. Abraham is a great example of faith. Compare John 8:56, Romans 4:1-25 and *Hebrews 11:8-22.
4. Scribe (12:2d; 17:27).
One among the prophets. These are the purveyors and preservers of God’s Word.
5. Saviour (12:3c; 17:6,21; 22:17d,18).
A Priest. This is the Messiah, Jesus (Galatians 3:13-16), who was promised to Abraham in a covenant which is greater than the Law. It is through this God/man that God’s blessings are universal. Proof it is for all is found in Acts 3:25-26.
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.
And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless… ?
And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, … he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
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.
And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
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, l 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.
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him.
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and thy shall afflict them four hundred years;
And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.
In that same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the River Euphrates. (Gen. 15:1-2a; 4a,c; 5-10; 12-15; 17-18)
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
And Abram fell on his face; And God talked with him, saying,
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. (Gen. 17:1-11; 19)
INTRODUCTION TO THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
The Scriptures given above are proof that the Lord God actually “cut” His covenant (entered into a formal treaty) with Abram by physically walking through the sacrifice that Abram provided (Gen. 15:1-18). Since God could swear by none higher He swore by Himself. Note also that because Abram “believed” (faith), the Lord God “counted it to him for righteousness” (v.6). [ Scholars note that the boundary, “river of Egypt refers to the Wadi el-Arish (not the Nile), to the Euphrates. Further, Israel has never possessed all this land which must await Christ’s reign as Messiah. ]
In the second passage above, the Lord God changed Abram’s name to Abraham (to indicate his new covenant role). He reviewed the basic covenant terms, ordered circumcision upon all males in Abraham’s house as the physical “token” (sign) to Abraham and his descendants, called this an “everlasting covenant” to be handed down to his son Isaac and to “his seed after him” (Gen. 17:1-19). Circumcision became a part of the Abrahamic Covenant and began as a personal sign seen only by a man’s parents and his wife.
THE COVENANT REITERATED
A reading of Genesis twelve through seventeen will reveal at least six times the Lord God reiterated and explained His purpose and plan to make a specific covenant with Abraham. God announced the terms repeatedly via His word, His visions, and His very presence. To study the specific terms the reader should look up the passages cited in the outline above. Review them in sequence: (1) Sand, (2) Seed, (3) Saint, (4) Scribe, (5) Saviour.
In Genesis Twelve the LORD previews all He will do for Abram and through Abraham. Thus God foreshadowed the Abrahamic Covenant when He revealed His promise to Abram (Gen. 12:1-3). God said (1) leave home, (2) for a land to be seen, (3) become a great nation, (4) get blessings, (5) gain a great name, (6) give blessings, (7) followers to be blessed, (8) enemies to be cursed, and finally, (9) because of Abraham all families on earth will be blessed. Abram’s first step in response to God’s call is to trust God and obey Him. This marks Abram’s conversion to the true God from the paganism of Ur.
THE PRIEST OF THE MOST HIGH GOD
The LORD appeared to Abraham on various occasions (Gen. 12:7;17:1). There is one time God appeared to Abraham that is explained in later Scripture. In Genesis 14:17-24 the word of God states that after a great victory Abraham met with Melchizedek who is described as “the priest of the most high God (v.18). Note that “priest” is singular, meaning one. Also note that this “priest” blessed Abram and Abram gave tithes to this “priest” also known as “king of Salem,” or peace. This passage records a personal visitation by God even as Abram testifies “… I have lifted up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth (v.22). This visitation refers to the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. [ A manifestation of God is a theophony and all theophonies are Christophonies. ]
Also note that Melchizedek “brought forth bread and wine” (Gen. 14:18) which is a picture of the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 26:26; Mk. 14_26; Lk. 22:15-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25). It is worthwhile to point out that Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56).
The only other mention of Melchizedek in the Old Testament is about 1,000 years later in a Messianic psalm by King David, “The LORD hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps.110:4). By definition “a priest forever” needs no successor priests. Jesus Christ is the mediator between man and God.
The author of Hebrews also ties the person of Melchizedek to the person of Jesus Christ and explains even more. Read these verses: Hebrews 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:1,10,11,15,17,21-27.
There are eight points which prove that Jesus and Melchizedek are one and the same person:
(1) There is only one priest in the order of Melchizedek (He. 7:21-24);
(2) This priest fulfills what the Levitical order only typifies (He. 7:11-17; 8:1-6);
(3) This priest is the King of Righteousness. Jesus is the King of Righteousness (He. 7:2,26; Rev. 19:13,16);
(4) This priest is the King of Peace. Jesus is the King of peace (He. 7:2; Eph. 2:14; 2 Thess. 3:16,18);
(5) This priest had no mother or father when he appeared in Genesis 14, no genealogical pedigree (He. 7:3);
(6) This priest possesses the attribute of eternity in both a retrospective as well as a prospective sense. Only God possesses this attribute and Jesus, as God, possesses this attribute (He. 7:3; Rev. 1:11,18);
(7) This priest is compared to the Son of God. Only God and be compared with God and Jesus is God (He. 7:3; Isa. 40:25; Phil. 2:6; Dan. 3:25);
(8) This priest has a “continual” priesthood. Only Jesus has this continual priesthood (He. 7:3,11,24; Ps. 110:4);
Therefore, Jesus is Melchizedek.
As a result of God’s relationship with Abraham it became appropriate in God’s plan that the everlasting Noachian covenant should be supplemented (not replaced) by God’s special covenant with a particular man who sired the chosen nation of Israel (Hebrews) through which the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15) would enter the world in due time to redeem lost mankind. (Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 5:1; Gal. 3:16; 1 Tim. 4:10; Tit. 2:10-14). It is here that God created His “chosen” people. The rest of us are “common.”
God’s promise to give Abram the land of Canaan was unconditional. It is a stretch to note that the only condition ever implied was that Abram must leave his ancestral homeland. Scripture indicates that he and his family along with his entourage did not hesitate, but obeyed God immediately.