Monday 25 June 2012

Covenant and Genesis 15 - Pastor Dave,Carlos Iggy Shelton and a question from me.

Cutting and Covenant: A Christological Look At The Abrahamic Covenant ~ Pastor Dave


Usually when we think of an agreement or contract we are thinking of two people making a pledge and a pact to honor an agreement. While there are elements of this notion within the Biblical word “covenant” it’s not an exact corollary. O. Palmer Robertson, in his classic work, defines the Biblical covenant as “a bond in blood sovereignly administered.” He adds:

When God enters into a covenantal relationship with men, he sovereignly institutes a life-and-death bond. A covenant is a bond in blood, or a bond of life and death, sovereignly administered. (The Christ of the Covenants, 4)
This is an important distinction to make. God is the one administering these covenants. While the covenants do speak of man’s responsibility, there’s no sense in which they are actually bilateral covenants. God is the one who is responsible for implementing and managing these covenants. Such news is startling when we consider the nature of “cutting a covenant” in ancient cultures. For in making these covenants God does not simply agree to keep His word, but He submits Himself to being killed if He doesn’t.  When we see, however, these covenants in light of Christ we are confronted with an even more startling picture: Christ both keeps God’s word and is killed.
The Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 15 serves as a great case study and example on this point. Abraham is an old man when God comes to make a promise to him of children. In fact Abraham is so old that the Apostle Paul says he is as good as dead (Romans 4:19). He had one foot in the grave and no children, yet God promises to give him exactly that. It will be all of God’s giving, in fact the very covenant sign of circumcision is a way of saying to an old man that his progeny would not come from his long since “dead” genitals, but from God’s grace. Certainly God calls Abraham to faith and obedience, but what we see in the actual covenant in Genesis 15 is that God is the only one committing to it. Abraham is asleep when the actual covenant is confirmed. “As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him” (Gen. 15:12). We read, then, in verses 17-20:
17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.  18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,  19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,  20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,  21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
God (portrayed as the smoking pot) passes alone through the cut pieces of the animal sacrifice. Walking through the cut pieces of the sacrifice was a custom among parties making a contract. It was a way of saying “may I end up like this sacrifice if I don’t keep my word” (see Jeremiah 34:18). Robertson writes:
By dividing animals and passing between the pieces, participants in a covenant pledge themselves to life and death. These actions established an oath of self-malediction. If they should break the commitment involved in the covenant, they were asking that their own bodies be torn in pieces just as the animals had been divided ceremonially. (130)
But note here that it is God alone who walks through the sacrifices. God alone commits to keep His word or be subject to destruction.

 God makes the commitment, God takes all the risk, and when we screw up God takes all the wrath. O, what great depths our God will go to to keep His word and to keep His people!

Of course the history of both Abraham’s descendants Israel in general is one of regular covenant unfaithfulness. They regular disobey God and break His covenants. God is always faithful, even where they are faithless (2 Tim. 2:13). God always keeps His word. In the New Testament we see Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s word to Abraham, and yet we also know that the story of Jesus’ faithfulness to God ends with His crucifixion. Jesus keeps God’s word, we have failed, and yet it is still He who is cut and sacrificed. But that, of course, is not how the covenants were supposed to operate.
It is those unfaithful to the covenant who are to be cut down. But Jesus steps in to be cut down for our sake. He who was faithful, who never did wrong, who was righteous, took our place. Jesus keeps the covenant and He also takes our punishment for failing to keep it. God makes the commitment, God takes all the risk, and when we screw up God takes all the wrath. O, what great depths our God will go to to keep His word and to keep His people!

Thoughts on the Abrahamic covenant by Carlos Iggy Shelton

Been a while since I did a blog post so I figured I submit this. This is from my class discussion at Regent University. The topic was our thoughts on the Abrahamic covenant. 
One highlight of the Abrahamic covenant is that it showed that while one of faith may sin, grace still abounds.  The example I refer to is the issue with Hagar and Ishmael. [1]  While Sara had a lapse of faith and Abram may have had other misplaced judgment, God not only blessed Abram, but gave grace and changed Abram’s name to Abraham and gave a greater promise. [2] Though, I somewhat smile that initially the covenant was one sided, later Abraham was told to circumcise himself and whole

One highlight of the Abrahamic covenant is that it showed that while one of faith may sin, grace still abounds.

household, which makes me cringe whenever I read it. [3] My smile is from wondering how connected the tie between circumcision and the issues with Hagar and Ishmael were.
The similarities between the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenant is the extension of grace and expansion of the initial covenant. Like with the Abrahamic covenant God extends grace to a people who did nothing but are descendants of Abraham. [4] God keeps his promise to Abraham as now the Hebrews are a great nation. [5]  The differences between the two covenants are that of community separation and individual separation to be holy unto God. As I recall from my past studies, both covenants were based on a type of contract. [6] Abram’s cutting of the carcass was a type of contract used at the time. Likewise the Mosaic covenant was based on ancient Near Eastern vassal treaties with some differences. [7] Again, the overall theme is God’s grace to both a person (Abraham) and a nation (the Hebrews). For me, this shows God’s overall worthiness to keep his word. This theme is displayed from Genesis after the fall and even to Cain after slaying Able. While man progressively steps further from God, his hands of grace reach more and more out to his beloved created image. This theme that fully is seen later in Christ Jesus fulfilling the covenant by not only His life and death, but his resurrection.
1.  1.     (Genesis 16 n.d.)
2.   2;    (Genesis 16; 17)
3.    3/  Ibid
4.   4.    (Genesis 17: 9-10)
5.    5.   (Exodus 2:25)
6.    6.   ( 2012)
7.    7.   (Hill 2009)
Citations Covenant, Symbolized by Divided Carcasses. 2012. (accessed 6 21, 2012).
"Genesis 16." (NIV)
"Genesis 17." (NIV)
"Exodus 2: 25." (NIV)
Hill, Andrew E and Walton, John H. A Survey of the Old Testament,. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.  

 An Interpolation ~ How much do Professors Know? Are they simply working backwards, revising history based on  what "appears to be so now" ?   Comment to Iggy's Blogpost.

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...I just don't know.
Know what?
Whether the carcass thing was related to other covenantal things at the time.
or ......Do the other inhabitants of earth indulge in covenantal stuff because it is a distortion of God's pattern with the first ever peoples?

Like the Jews not drinking milk in their coffee after a meal is a distortion of not boiling a kid animal in its mother's milk. Give a few hundred years and developing Coffee mate and bob's your uncle.

It's one of those chicken and egg questions.

I have noticed that people who study in college as you have just done, introduce these "carcass" type bits of knowledge with the assurance that because some college professors have consensually agreed it to be so, then it must be so. What's their authority? Sometimes they have some. But it's good to be objective enough to stand back and ask.

Sometimes it's good to think how God has worked in our lives and work backwards....

I mean , Abraham looked up at some stars...and God spoke to him.

perhaps the whole carcass sequence was just as Divine from start to finish.....
certainly I bet other people's doing similar practices never has a flaming pot flying in the air between the animal pieces....

not your average human practice to arrange there.

I'm busy reassessing everything.
As a good charismatic I spiritualised the whole Nephilim thing....and thought Derek Prince rather carnally minded to say that real fallen angels were having sex with human beings to produce large human beings....what became gods in our mythologies.

Turns out ALL the New Testament writers thought this and referred to the Book of Enoch more or less as a divine text. And all Jewish rabbis pretty much thought the same's only our modern revisionism that can't accept anything beyond a cornflakes packet.

Interesting I have noted how many of the civilisations that have alternate views from Greco-Roman ones, have already been slaughtered or drastically reduced like native Indians to a mere few thousand well contained folk.

Someone, unlike most professors of this period, who does know what he's on about is Bill Cooper in "After the Flood". Not many professors have spent 30 years trawling proof texts on records of genealogies. I can't think of many things more tedious. What he found,the world over, is that apart from only a few minor niggles....the genealogies from various people groups are incredibly concurrent.

Something that no Rothschild/Rockefeller induced professor would stand by...but then they haven't done the study and only believe the perpetual lies of everybody else.

Why is it that history only begins really with the Romans? Bill says there is more than we think on 1000BC - 0 AD.

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