Manifestations of God to Abram
Dr. Joe Temple

Words of Encouragement and Promises From God

Open your Bibles, please, to Genesis, chapter 15. We will read this chapter in its entirety, and we will go back and see what we can learn from it for our mutual benefit and blessing. We read from verse 1:

Genesis 15:

1After 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.
2And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
3And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4And, 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.
5And 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.
6And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
7And 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.
8And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
9And 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.
10And 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.
11And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
12And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
13And 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;
14And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
15And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
16But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
17And 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.
18In 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:
19The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
20And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
21And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

Keep in mind that the portion of the book at which we are looking now is dealing with the life of Abram. We reminded you when we began this study of the life of Abram that the life of Abram would be made up of seven manifestations of God, when God manifested himself to Abram in special, particular ways. This is one of those manifestations. If you are keeping in mind the manifestations at which we have looked thus far, you realize that God always manifested Himself when there was a real need for encouragement in the life of Abram.

This reminds us of the manner in which the believers in the New Testament were filled with the Holy Spirit. You will remember that the teaching of the truth regarding the Holy Spirit in the New Testament is related to one baptism and many fillings. The moment an individual comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, he is baptized into the Body of Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Then he is filled with the Holy Spirit and filled as many times as there is need. If you follow the filling of the Holy Spirit through the Acts of the Apostles, you will find that in moments of discouragement or in moments of great danger when individuals were at their wits' end, so-to-speak, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. In being filled with the Holy Spirit they gained that sustenance and strength that they needed in order to go on. I think there is a parallel between the manifestations of God to Abram and the filling of the Spirit in the New Testament.

As you glance at chapter 15 with me, you will notice that the first verse begins with After these things . In chapter 14 there is the story of the war between the four kings of the plains and the five kings of the plains. Abram was caught right in the middle of war, so-to-speak, because he felt led of God to rescue his nephew, Lot, who had been taken captive by the King of Elam. You will remember that Lot was rescued and returned to safety and security. The King of Elam was angry with Abram and said in so many words, “I will get you in due season.” Abram had hanging over his head the fear that this king, who was certainly more than a match for Abram, might well take everything he had.

Then you will remember that when Abram met the King of Sodom, the King of Sodom said, “Give me the people. You take all of the spoils for yourself.” Part of the spoils was part of the Promised Land that God had given to Abram. Abram said, “No, I am not going to take anything from you, because I do not want you or anyone else to say that he has made Abram rich. I want to give all the glory to God.”

So, humanly speaking, Abram turned down material riches. The Devil, of course, takes advantage of every opportunity he can to discourage and to disillusion the children of God. We have every reason to believe that the Devil slipped up beside Abram and said, “You had better watch out. The King of Elam is out to get you now. You have really played the fool in what you have done.” The Devil, I am sure, said to Abram, “You are so foolish. You could have had all of those goods, all of those possessions, all of that wealth, all for yourself. You should never have turned that down.” In this period of discouragement and despair (all of this suggested by the phrase, after these things ) we read in Genesis, chapter 15:

Genesis 15:

1…the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

What a great promise that is. Mark that in your Bibles, because it is not only for Abram. It is for you, too. “Here I am, Abram. I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

I might mention, since we have been pointing out the firsts in the book of Genesis…that is, the first time anything is mentioned…that this phrase which you find quite often in the Word of God, “The word of the Lord came,” is mentioned the first time here in the book of Genesis. This is the first time it is mentioned, and it is going to be mentioned many times in the Word of God. When you see it in your Bibles, it would behoove you to pause and study what comes after it, because it means that God is speaking in a very definite way: “The word of the Lord came.”

The Lord said, “Fear not, Abram.” Notice that phrase, “Fear not.” This is the first time it is mentioned in the Word of God…the first time God has condescended to meet the need of a human heart and to say, “Do not be afraid.” This is the first time it is mentioned. I refer to that because I would remind you that God is interested in your state of mind. He is interested in your attitude of heart. He does not want you to be fearful and afraid. “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

We said that this promise came from God because of the things that had transpired in chapter 14. When Abram was discouraged and distressed over the King of Elam, God said, “Do not worry, Abram. I am thy shield. No arrow that is launched from the King of Elam can reach you before it first comes through me. I will stand in front of you. I will be your shield, and if the arrow comes through Me, of course it is not going to have much of an edge left when it reaches you.”

What a comfort and a source of blessing for us to realize that we who are in Christ are safe from every attack of the enemy. The enemy has to get through Christ before he can get to us. You might remember that “I am thy shield.”

Abram Honors God by Asking in Faith

Then He said, “I am thy exceeding great reward.” Do you remember what we told you…the reason God said this? The King of Sodom had said, “Here it is, Abram, all these material blessings.” Abram turned them all down for the glory of God. It is as though God said to Abram, “Abram, I am not going to remain in your debt. You turned down all these things for Me, and I want you to know that I am going to be your exceeding great reward. There is not anything that I will not do for you.” I love what happened next. Abram was a very, very practical man. He did not just say, “Well, thank you, Lord,” and then go around saying, “God is going to do something for me someday.” I say this reverently: He put God on the spot. You will notice in verse 2:

Genesis 15:

2And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me…

“You say You are going to give me something. What are You going to give me, especially in view of the fact that You have not given me the child You promised me, and especially in view of the fact that the only heir I have is one born in my house, Eliezer by name, a servant. You talk about a reward. Well, Lord, what kind of reward are you going to give to me?”

God is especially pleased with that kind of faith. God is pleased with challenges like that. You will notice there is no rebuke for Abram. God did not say to Abram, “Don't talk to me like that. I told you I would bless you, and I will bless you by and by.” Notice what He did say in verse 4:

Genesis 15:

4And, 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.
5And 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.

Do you notice how God meets the challenge of our faith? I often wonder what would happen in our lives, individually, if we would be more like Abram…if we would take God at His word, literally, at that moment. You see, God did not rebuke him. He said, “Abram, I have got news for you. This servant of yours is not going to be your heir. The heir I promised you is going to come from your very loins. It is going to be flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone. It is going to be your heir.” This was the first time, though the promise was given in chapter 12, that God was as specific as to details as He was here. Then He took Abram out and said, “Look at the stars. Can you number them? If you cannot number the stars in this clear Syrian sky, you are not going to be able to number your seed, either, because your seed is going to be as the stars in the Heaven.”

This is an exceedingly important passage of Scripture because Abram's response to God's promise constitutes the text of the New Testament books. The Apostle Paul took this Old Testament verse (verse 6) and used it as a foundation for the truth He presented in two New Testament books, namely Romans and Galatians.

Abram Believed God and God Counted It to Him for Righteousness

Notice in verse 6:

Genesis 15:

6And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

God said, “Abram, your son will be born, and from your son will come a heritage as many as the stars in the sky. Abram did not question God. He believed in the Lord, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Here are some more firsts…the first time the words believe , counted , and righteousness are mentioned in the Scripture. Those are three great New Testament words that are used often in relation to God's plan for us, in relation to our salvation.

This word believe comes from a Hebrew word which means almost the same thing as amenso be it . It indicates that Abram agreed with the Lord. This verse of Scripture says literally that Abram amened the Lord. What a wonderful thing it is in our spiritual experience when we can amen the Lord. Sometimes it takes real faith to be able to do that, to be able to amen the Lord. It took real faith on Abram's part.

You will notice by and by that there was involved in Abram's faith not only faith in God's word, but faith in the resurrection from the dead. When Paul is commenting on this in Romans, chapter 4, he says, “Abraham considered not his own body, as good as dead, neither the deadness of Sarah's womb, but believed that God was able by the resurrection power of the Spirit of God to perform the miracle that would bring about His promise.” Will you look at verse 6 again:

Genesis 15:

6And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

This does not mean that his faith was accepted for righteousness, but it does mean that God met his faith and counted him righteous.

Turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 4, as we notice the commentary of the Holy Spirit on his passage of Scripture:

Romans 4:

17(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
18Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:
20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
23Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24But for us also,…

Will you pause long enough for us to notice those words. Isn't that a thrilling thought…that God recorded this incident at which we have been looking in chapter 15 of the book of Genesis? He recorded that incident for us. He had us in mind when He wrote it. He knew that it would be a blessing to us. He knew that it would be a source of great blessing and great strength, and so He recorded it in the Word. Notice verse 24:

Romans 4:

24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Do you notice the parallel? Abraham believed in the resurrection power of God in relation to the deadness of his own body and the deadness of the womb of his wife, and God counted it to him for righteousness. We believe in the resurrection power of God in relation to the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead.

It has been put this way, and it bears repeating: Abraham believed that God would send His Son as the Savior of the world. Remember, the promise related to the Lord Jesus Christ eventually. Abraham believed that God would send His Son, and we believe that God has sent His Son. That is where the comparison and the difference lie. Abraham was saved looking forward to the Cross, and we are saved looking backward to the Cross.

Some people say that Old Testament saints were saved in a different way from that in which the New Testament saints are saved. That is not true. Old Testament saints were saved by faith in the vicarious work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. We are saved the same way. Old Testament saints by faith believed God would send His Son to die on the Cross. We by faith do believe that God has sent His Son to die on the Cross.

Will you turn to the book of Galatians as I take the time to point out to you that portion of the book that is based on this chapter in the book of Genesis. Notice chapter 3:

Galatians 3:

1O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Notice now:

Galatians 3:

6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

You see, there is nothing new about the Gospel. We notice it in its very beginning in chapter 3 of the book of Genesis when God provided a covering for Adam and Eve. Then it is very explicitly presented in Genesis, chapter 15, in New Testament terms…faith, reckoning, and righteousness.

Will you now go back to chapter 15 of the book of Genesis, for Abram (we say this reverently) is not through with God yet. God said, “I am going to do what I said, Abram. I am going to be your exceeding great reward.” In chapter 15, verse 8, Abram said:

Genesis 15:

8And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it [the land]?

In verse 7 God has said, “I am the LORD that brought thee out of the Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit.” Abram said, “Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?”

We must learn to make distinctions in the Scripture. If you read this hurriedly, you might think that Abram's faith was failing, and that he was telling God he did not believe Him. But he was asking this question in the same spirit in which Mary asked the question when the angel came to her and told her she was going to be the mother of the Son of God. She said, “How shall this be? I know not a man.” She was not doubting it. She just said, “I want to know how this is going to come to pass.” The angel explained it to her. Abram is doing the same thing here. “Now, Lord,” he said, “You say I am going to inherit the land? You have told me that before. I want to know how I can be sure of that. I want to know how it is going to become a reality.”

Unconditional Covenant Between God and Abram

In this next paragraph we have a wonderful illustration of the condescension of God. Even back in this day, men were used to making covenants with one another. God said, “I will make a covenant with you. Then you will know for sure, and you will not need to be troubling yourself about how it is going to come about. I will make a covenant with you. Men are used to making covenants. I will make one with you.”

The manner in which men made covenants in those days was to take an animal, kill it, cut it exactly in half, and lay the parts side by side with a space between them. Then each party to the covenant would walk between the halves of the animal, and as they walked through the halves they would be pledging themselves to one another that each would keep his word.

God condescended to the level of human comprehension and said, “Let us make a covenant. We will make it just the way you are used to making covenants.” However, He did two things differently from the ordinary way.

First, there was a difference in the number of animals involved. Usually it was just one, but here there were five. We are going to anticipate ourselves a little because we do not discover this until we come to the end of the chapter: God was the only one who walked through the creatures of the sacrifice. Abram did not walk through. God did not want him to do so because He wanted Abram to know that the covenant would be kept no matter what Abram did. The keeping of the covenant was based on God's faithfulness, not upon Abram's. God walked through the creatures, as we shall see. In those respects, it is different.

The Animals

Look at verse 9:

Genesis 15:

9And 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.

Notice these five different animals…a heifer, a goat, a ram, and two fowls, a turtledove and a pigeon. I do not believe that anything is placed in the Word of God by accident. I believe there is a reason why there were five animals here, not three, four, or six. I would not profess that I know absolutely what the reason was, but I believe there was a reason. I believe there was a reason it was emphasized that the animals in question should be three years old…not one year, or two years, but three years old. I believe there was a reason for the kind of animals that God chose for Abram to take. Keep in mind that I am not going to tell you that I know absolutely and dogmatically the reason, but because I do believe there was a reason, I do not believe we do any violence to the teaching of the Word of God, nor do I believe we are dealing in things that are far-fetched if we try to ascertain the reason. I want to make a few suggestions to you for what they are worth.

The number five in the Word of God is the number of weakness. Sometime when you have time, notice all the 5th chapters in the New Testament. Almost without exception they deal with some human weakness. The number five has come to represent in Biblical numerology the number of weakness. I wonder if that is the reason five animals were chosen…that Abram might be impressed, or at least that we in our study of the Word might be impressed, with man's weakness. Everything we have noticed so far has been playing up Abram's weakness. If his child was to be born, it certainly was not going to be due to Abram's strength. He was too weak to do anything about it.

Why the requirement that all the animals were to be three years of age? The Bible suggests, particularly in the book of Leviticus, that these animals did not reach the maturity of their vigor, the maturity of their strength, until they had reached the age of three. They were mature, vigorous, and perfect, and perhaps the suggestion is that God wanted everything about this thing to be perfection. You see, Abram had to learn that. He tried to work this thing out in his own strength, and in trying to do that he wound up with Ishmael, who was a constant thorn in the flesh of Israel even down until today. That is the imperfection of man as contrasted with the perfection of God.

Why were these particular animals chosen? Well, later in the book of Leviticus when the animals were selected for the various sacrifices which were to typify the Lord Jesus Christ, each of these anmimals is mentioned with its significance. I would like for us to notice what the Word of God has to say as to the significance of these animals.

Will you turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of Hebrews, chapter 9. The reason I am asking you to turn there is that in this chapter there is a commentary on Old Testament sacrifices, and we have a very pointed statement here about the heifer. We can arrive at the meaning of the word heifer without reading a great many passages of Scripture by looking at chapter 9 of Hebrews. Notice verse 13:

Hebrews 9:

13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

If you followed the Scriptures related to the heifer in the Word of God, you would find that the simple statement Paul makes in his letter to the Hebrews is borne out. The heifer is that animal that provides for cleansing. I think that is the reason God told Abram to take a heifer. He wanted him to know that His covenant was going to be based upon some very definite spiritual truths, all of them culminating in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Will you turn, please, to the book of Leviticus and notice chapter 9. We will have a word here as to the reason God told Abram to take a she goat. Look at verse 15:

Leviticus 9:

15And he brought the people's offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first.

The heifer was for cleansing. The goat was for the bearing of sin. There cannot be any cleansing unless someone bears our sins…as the heifer and the goat. Then notice Leviticus, chapter 9, verse 4:

Leviticus 9:

4Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord; and a meat offering mingled with oil: for to day the Lord will appear unto you.

The ram was chosen because it is the peace offering. Cleansing, based upon a sin-bearer, provides peace for our hearts. Do you see how beautifully through type the story of the Gospel is being presented to us and how we see even in this passaage of Scripture what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us?

Will you turn, please, to the book of Leviticus, chapter 1, and notice verse 14:

Leviticus 1:

14And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the Lord be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.
15And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be wrung out at the side of the altar:
16And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes:
17And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: [notice now] it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.

The turtledoves and the pigeons were selected as a sweet savour offering which speaks of fellowship between a believer and God.

As I said, I will not be dogmatic and say to you that these are the reasons these various animals were selected, but I do not think we should ignore the fact that they were selected at another time for those purposes. The Bible has a wonderful unity of plan and thought and message, and the Gospel is proclaimed in every verse. Abram had the Gospel story preached to him through type just as we do.

The Unilateral Sealing of the Covenant by God

In Genesis, chapter 15, verse 12, in order that the message of God might get through to Abram, a deep sleep fell upon him…“a horror of great darkness fell upon him.” This means he slipped into a trance of physical unconsciousness, and God gave him a message. This becomes a prophetic message with seven distinct points to it. He said in verse 13, first of all, that the seed of Abram would be a stranger in the land that was not theirs and would serve them, which is a prophecy of the slavery of the children of Israel in the land of Egypt.

Think about it now. Before a Jew was ever born, God prophesied that the whole nation would be slaves in the land of Egypt, and He also gave the specific number of years of that slavery…four hundred years. It is an amazing thing how accurate the Word of God is. If you are familiar with the book of Exodus, you are probably saying, “Well, I believe the book of Exodus says they were afflicted 430 years, doesn't it?” No, it says they sojourned in the land 430 years. They were there thirty years receiving favorable treatment because Joseph was a friend of the Pharaoh. You remember that a Pharaoh arose who knew not Joseph, and then the affliction began. Do you see the accuracy of the Scriptures? We read in verse 14:

Genesis 15:

14And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: [God was going to visit judgment upon Egypt] and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

You know how they did. The night before they left, they borrowed things from their neighbors that they rightfully should have had for ages, and when they left they had greater substance than when they came in.

In verse 16, God prophesied to Abram that Abram would never dwell in the Promised Land as a permanent resident. He would travel up and down the land, but he would not settle there as a permanent resident.

Genesis 15:

15And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
16But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again:…

“You are going to live your life in peace, and you are going to die at a good old age, but you will not dwell permanently in the Promised Land. Your descendants, Abram, will come again into the land of Canaan in the fourth generation after Isaac.” Notice how accurate God is. He gives the reason for it:

Genesis 15:

16…for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

I want to pause long enough to emphasize this truth to you because to me it is a tremendous thing. How many times have you heard the so-called liberals or modernists talk about how unfair God was to kill out all the Canaanites and let the Israelites have the land of the Canaanites? “It is just not right for God to do that, to kill out one nation and let the Israelites have their land.” God said to Abram before a Jew was ever born, “Now I cannot let your descendants have the land of Canaan until the fourth generation.” Abram said, “But, God, why?” God replied, “Because the cup of the Amorites is not yet full.” That is, the Amorites have not yet sinned away their day of grace. “I know they are going to do it. They are going to forfeit their land because of the way they live, but I am not going to take it away from them until they do it.” You see, you cannot say that God was unfair. The Amorites sinned away their day of grace, and when God gave the land to the Israelites, He was not being unfair. He was simply permitting to come to pass the eternal laws for the operation of the world. In verse 17 we read:

Genesis 15:

17And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark,…

Remember how faithful Abram had been? He had prepared the animals just as God told him to do, and then he had stood there all day long with branches in his hands waving away the fowls of the air from the sacrifices. Do you think sometimes that God makes you wait before He speaks? Well, He kept Abram waiting all day as a test of faith. Then He let him go into a trance, and He gave him this message:

Genesis 15:

17And 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.

These two things, the smoking furnace and the burning lamp, were the symbols which God chose at this particular time to reveal His presence. They were not God. They were the symbols of His presence as in the wilderness wandering. He chose for the children of Israel a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He chose here a smoking furnace and a burning lamp. He passed through the pieces of the sacrifice saying, “I shall keep my word, Abram. You do not have anything to worry about.” From this time on, as we shall see, God changed Abram's name to Abraham which means father of many . Abram believed God meant what He said.

Perhaps you are wondering what is the significance of the smoking furnace and the burning lamp. I would like for you to turn with me, please, to the book of Isaiah, chapter 48, and notice how the smoking furnace became a symbol in the life of the nation of Israel from this time forth.

Isaiah 48:

10Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

The smoking furnace, passing through the parts of the animals indicated, then, the suffering which the children of Israel would have to endure, according to God's prophetic word.

Turn to the book of Isaiah, chapter 62, and notice verse 1:

Isaiah 62:

1For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.

Notice the last statement, a lamp that burneth . There you have it…the smoking furnace is speaking of affliction, and the burning lamp is speaking of deliverance. God kept His word to Abraham.


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