Monday, February 18, 2019

The 7 Covenants: The Abrahamic Covenant Part 1

The Abrahamic Covenant
Gen 12:1-3, 7, 15:1-21

This is where it all begins for the three major religions of the world; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This is where we claim our origins begin. Judaism claims to stem from Abraham’s son through Sarah which was Yitzchak (Isaac), Christians claims to “spiritually” to come from Yitzchak, and Muslims claims to come from (spiritually and physically) Abraham’s son through Hagar which is Ishmael. Therefore, Abraham is the Father of us all. Hence, he is called, Avraham Avinu (Abraham our Father) and the “Father of our Faith”. We are all related through Abraham. The rest of the world is related through Noach and his three sons, Hamm, Shem, and Yefet (Japheth).

Here (12:1-3) is the famous verses that relates to how the world will be blessed by Abraham. How? Because through him comes the Torah (Moshe) and the Messiah, (the son of David) and hence the door one must go through to have sustainable and personal relationship with the one true God of Israel.

I truly believe ADONAI will protect His own. Just think of all the nations and wars that have recently plagued the Jewish people in modern history, let alone Biblical history. The defeat of the Nazi’s, the Six Day war, the Yom Kippur war, and on and on we can see that ADONAI defends and protects Israel against impossible odds, even when they may not be in complete obedience.

Abraham is considered the father of monotheism. When the world was going with the flow, he was swimming upstream.

Apocryphal and Psuedopigraphal literature give Abraham a Moses-like beginning. Claiming King Nimrod, whom Abram’s Father Terah was a court official, had a dream of a child threatening his kingdom and status as a god. His advisors and court soothsayers interpreted this to be Terah’s new born son Abram. So Nimrod told Terah to hand him over to be killed and Terah complied by deceitful means by giving Nimrod the infant of a household servant who was born the same time as Abram was, while Terah hid his child in a cave. While growing up in the cave it says that Abraham was miraculously given sustenance from the rocks. Surrounded by nature and the wilderness, via deductive reasoning, Abram eliminated “gods” one by one to discover who the One True God was. It couldn’t be the sun, clouds cover the sun. Couldn’t be the clouds, the wind drives them away… and so one by one the forces of nature were eliminated as candidates for the One and Only God. Abram concluded that there must be One All Powerful Being behind every force of nature that rules the entire universe.

Terah, Abram’s father ran a lucrative business making and selling idols. Once, when Terah left Abram to run the shop while he ran errands, Abram destroyed all the idols but the largest. He then put an axe in the idols hand. Upon his father’s return, his father went ballistic, asking what had happened. Abram said the largest idol became jealous of the other gods and destroyed them all. His father told Abram that he was ashamed to have such a liar for a son, because everyone knew idols cannot move or talk. So there was no way the large idol could have smashed the other idols. To which Abram replied by asking his father, if he knew such was true, why does he make, sell, and worship them if they are truly lifeless and powerless.

Later, before Abram’s call to leave Ur, Nimrod required all to bow down and worship idols, to which Abram refused and like the three Hebrews in Daniel, was promptly thrown into a fiery furnace and survived unscathed. Shortly after this event, Abram received his call that we read in Genesis 12:1-3

In all three Faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) Abraham is known for being the first monotheist and for being extremely hospitable to strangers, which all three faiths attempt to emulate.

Why Abram? Why did God choose Abraham? God had created other heavenly beings besides angels. They were His Divine Council Members, lesser elohim if you will, heavenly beings that had god like powers and abilities.

God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. – Psa. 82:1

When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. – Deut. 32:8-9

V.8 the Dead Sea Scrolls reads “the number of the sons of God

 After Babel, when mankind split into its 70 root nations, God designated a people group to a Divine Council Member to guide and manage and report back to Him. As Hellel (Lucifer) led an angelic rebellion that took 1/3 of the angels with him out of heaven, so too the Divine Council Members rebelled and made themselves gods over the nations. God wanted a people of His own through which to one day redeem all 70 nations lost in the rebellion of these fallen heavenly beings. And so, he chose Abram (for more details on the Divine Council, I highly recommend “The Unseen Realm” by Michael Heiser). And so, we have the Divine reason behind God’s call and unconditional Covenant with Abraham.

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. – Gen. 12:1-3

The first requirement of this Covenant was complete and total submission and obedience to extract himself from the pagan, polytheistic, people, land, influence, culture and family he was brought up in and set out to a place God would show him and make a nation from him, free from pagan indoctrination. If any of the apocryphal lore is true, Abram was already an odd ball in the eyes of his people and kin, so what did he have to lose by striking out on his own?

Verse 1, God first implies that He will give Abram land and in verse 2 He says that somehow, miraculously through a post-menopausal Sari (11:30, 17:15-16, 18:11-13) and an old and virtually sterile Abram (17:17, 18:13), He would make a nation of descendants out of him, and that he’d forever be immortalized and in turn his vast nation of descendants would end up blessing the world. Abraham and his descendants will divinely be blessed by God for the purpose of being a global blessing. This indeed happened because through Abraham’s line came the Redeemer and Savior of the world, Yeshua the Messiah (Matt. 1:1-17, 21-23). Verse 3 carries implications of divine blessing and protection. Favor for those who blesses and treats well Abraham and his descendants, and curses for those who mistreat them. Is it no coincidence that the allies of Israel are great, powerful and blessed nations?

Relating to verse 3, I penned my thoughts in a blog a few years back:

“Today at work I have been heavily thinking about the promise ADONAI gave to Avraham Avinu (Father Abraham).  He said in B’reshit (Genesis) “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you…”

Why have I been meditating on this verse so heavily today?  Well, because of an anti-Semite who is in charge of the department that I work in.
This lady speaks rude to me constantly. Demands, instead of asks.  She has spoken ill of me behind my back, according to at least two witnesses. She has been caught in many lies formulated to get her way, or to intimidate people, especially me.  She purposely gives me “grunt” jobs.  She is constantly nagging and harassing me over petty stuff, and even personal stuff which is none of her business. 
I went to the supervisor above her and he assured me my job is secure.  He knows me and has assured me that:  
·       I am a good worker who is on times,
·       meets his quota,
·       Is never rude or disrespectful to a superior,
·       causes no trouble. 
He said he knows I do my best to get along with her.  He knows the problem is her and not me.  He simply told me to do my job and let what she says go in one ear and out the other and that he would talk with her.
So I did exactly as he said.  I tried so hard to be as the Tzadik (the Righteous) Mordechai who was respectful, kept his peace, yet never sucked up to Wicked Haman.  As with Haman, this just ticked her off more.  And today, as the Scriptures puts it, “DUNG” hit the fan.  She accused me in an after work meeting of being rude and disrespectful to her. I stood my ground and defended myself. After the incident I immediately went to the supervisor above her and told him everything. He then told me I wouldn’t have to worry about her anymore, that I would be moved to a different department. HURRAY!!!
But I have been in constant prayer that I would not hate or harbor ill feelings toward this woman, instead that I would pity and pray for her. BECAUSE…
“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.”  It was today that I noticed that ever since I have been working in that department, and ever since she has been treating me the way she has, she has had one illness after another.  She has had to miss work and go to the doctor various times for various reasons. She has had numerous health problems.  She even has had some work site accidents resulting in minor injury. I do not want to rejoice in this fact because ADONAI said that if you do, He will turn on you for rejoicing at an enemy’s downfall.  So I am praying as Job did for her healing and deliverance.”

This Passage contains the bulk of the content of the Abrahamic Covenant.

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 the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but 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, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
10 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.
11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
13 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 they shall afflict them four hundred years;
14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
17 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.
18 In the 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:
19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. – Gen. 15:1-21

V. 9-11, 17-18a:
This odd and gruesome ritual, known as the Covenant between the Parts was also a common ancient form of making treaties and pacts. Two parties would take one or several sacrificial animals, split them in two and both parties walk a bloody path in the middle of the halved carcasses and take an oath that if either of them fail to keep the stipulations marked out in the covenant, may they end up as these animals. The catch here in this particular instance is, that only God obligated Himself to fulfill the stipulations of this Covenant, because only God, in the form of a flame passed between the parts as Abraham slept (15:12, 17-18a) and therefore didn’t participate by walking between the cloven animals himself; thus making it an unconditional Covenant.

Verse 1, The term “Word of the LORD” refers to a physical manifestation of God in a visible and or corporeal form, known in theological circles as a “Christophany.” The physical manifest presence of Yeshua (Christ) before He was born because He is called the Word of God (John 1:1-3).

When a King conquered a people, he would he would protect the vassal nation in exchange for their loyalty and obedience and here, God promises Abraham to be his “shield.” And for loyalty shown by the subjugated country, the king would reward them and God told Abraham the same by saying He would be his “exceeding great reward.”

In verses 2-4 Abraham is having a hard time believing God’s promise he gave, to make him a great nation (12:2) and reminds God of this, to which He responds by taking Abraham underneath the night sky, way before modern light pollution, and challenge him to count the myriad of countless stars, which Abraham knows he can’t. God then declares that so too, his descendants would be countless (v.5). Now Abraham decides to believe and here we have the first reference linking belief, trust and faith in God as an act of righteousness.

I would like to briefly explore a minor side trail to comment on what a great and generous man Abram must have been to illicit such loyalty from his servants. His right hand man, an adopted son of sorts, Eliezer of Damascus was to inherit all Abram had. You’d think he’d be jealous at the the birth of Ishmael and Isaac, seeing as it meant the possibility of him moving from servant to master came to an end. We see his fierce loyalty in his efforts to find Isaac suitable wife (Gen. 24).

Verse 7, God reminds Abram that He, specifically and not Baal, Dagon, Marduke, Molech, Kemosh, Ishtar or any other god is the one who called him in 12:1-3 and successfully brought him out and sustained him till this moment. God is defining Himself to Abram by His acts.

In verse 8 Abram asks for a token, a sign that the Covenantal promises, specifically a son, and thereby descendants, will come to pass and it is here (v.9-11) God initiates one of the commonly used forms of treaties; the Covenant between the Parts. Notice the animals listed in verse 9 are all the animals accepted and used in the later to come Levitical sacrificial system.

Verses 12-16 contains the prophetic history of his future descendants, the Children of Israel, which becomes fulfilled in the book of Exodus (Acts 7:6, Exd. 2:23-24, 12:36).

In Verse 17 the manifestation of God passing between the parts of the slain and split animals, therefore obligating Himself and Himself alone to carry out and fulfill the requirements of the Covenant, is a foreshadowing of the fire and cloud in which God would manifest Himself to the Children of Israel as He led them through the wilderness and as He gave them the Mosaic Covenant on Mount Sinai.

Verses 18-21 deals with the sealing of the Covenant and the promise of Land is reiterated and it is revealed the dimensions of the Land by naming who currently occupied them. These are the Canaanite nations who polluted themselves with the fallen angelic race, for the Rephaim are one of the Nephilim tribes of giants who were the human-angelic hybrids, whose purpose was to attempt to pollute the human genetic line so as to prevent Messiah from coming into the world. They were wiped out in the flood and attempted to make a comeback afterwards.

Many criticize God and the Children of Israel not just wiping out men but indiscriminately slaughtered “innocent” women and children as well. But the women and children were not so innocent, because the Canaanite nations cohabitated with the fallen angelic race reviving the Nephilim and polluting the human genome. So these women and children were not purely human. Other nations Israel had to fight, they only killed the warring men and did not harm the women and children.

God’s sign of the unconditional Covenant was the Covenant between the Parts, but Abraham was asked for a sign that he accepted the terms of the Covenant despite not having any obligations to fulfill and that perpetual covenantal toke to be shown by him and his descendants afterwards was circumcision.

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.
10 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.
11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
19 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.
20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.
24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.
27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him. – Gen. 17:1-21