At church bible study last night, we were continuing our look at Jesus by seeing him through the Old Testament. I thought this would be more reminding me of things I already knew that penny dropping moments . .. but although I already understood some of the significance of Genesis 15 and God’s covenant with Abraham, there was a major penny dropping moment last night!
10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces
So, this is the making of the covenant in a way which was the norm in Abrams days. Some animals would be slaughtered and then both parties would pass through the animals that had been cut into two with the significance that if either party failed to fulfil their part they could expect to become like the animals.
What’s interesting here is verse 17. The original readers wouldn’t have had any problem with the rest of what’s going on here because it is the normal way in which things happen. But, it’s meant to be the two parties walking through the slaughtered animals . . but verse 17 says that it’s a smoking firepot and a blazing torch. Weird huh? Well, it is until you factor in that the sign of God and his presence in the Old Testament is fire! Here we have two signs of God, so in essence God is acting on behalf of both parties.
This is my penny dropping moment though . . . If God is passing through on behalf of both parties, then God is taking responsibilty for potential future failure on both sides! So although the covenant is between Abram and the LORD, it is the LORD and the LORD who are confirming it. Therefore it is the LORD himself who must suffer for future failure by Abram and his descendants. And how will Abram and his descendants fail . . .. by sinning, therefore the LORD will take the punishment for sin for Abram and his descendants! What a clear link to Jesus and the cross. It’s amazing to see that God has outlined his plan for salvation even in the making of the promise itself!
I knew that there were loads of foretelling of Jesus in the Old Testament, but I guess I thought I knew the main ones and that others that I didn’t know weren’t so exciting . . well clearly that’s not the case! The Old Testament is amazing and so crucial in our salvation story!
Praise God for the depth that the gospel runs to!