Situation Notes: The Pilgrims landed in America in 1620 and it has been 394 years to now, 11-11-14. Look at the progress and population growth Americans have experienced in 394 years. (Gen. 11:10-26 key: every even numbered scripture gives a number of years, add them together plus Abram's age, 99 years, and the total = 391 years) (Gen. 17:1) Abram was 99 years old and 391 years had passed since the flood. Imagine the possibility of the progress and population growth these Biblical people could have made in the 391 years since the flood!
Various archeological finds such as clay tablet records, rock carvings, graven images and etc. tell us covenants between nations, tribes, clans and families became common from the time various peoples started interacting with each other. Common sense tells us covenant is what bound together (Gen. 14:1) the 4 Mesopotamian-(Chaldean, Babylonian) kings, (Gen. 14:2) the 5 Canaanite-Sodom kings, (Gen. 14:5-7) the 7 Canaanite-Amorite kings, (Gen. 14:13) and covenant is how Abram was confederate with the 3 Canaanite-Amorite kings.
The ancient people understood that blood meant life. If a man or animal bled enough it died. Blood was life. The 2 leaders would cut their hand or arm, rub their bloody wounds together which mingled their blood and take the oath of whatever the covenant was about. The mingling of blood said; "We Are One Blood." Covenants were serious business.
The classic, traditional Hebrew covenant is not given as a 7 point list in the Bible (see the last part of Part 20). (Gen 17:7) God established His everlasting covenant with Abram and from that basis the classic, traditional, 7 step Hebrew covenant was developed by later generations as God's purpose for the Hebrew people unfolded. People of other nationalities (tribes, kingdoms, clans, families) sometimes assimilated parts of the Hebrew covenant into their own already in use covenant processes.
(Eccl. 1:9) "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."
MODERN COVENANTS ARE CALLED TREATIES
In modern times a treaty is a type of covenant. There is no mingling of blood; just pen, paper and the sworn word of some head of state. France, England and Poland had a mutual support treaty to help each other if they were invaded. Germany invaded Poland so France and England declared war on Germany. Germany then declared war on France and England. Germany had a non-aggression treaty with Russia. Germany and its allies (the axis powers) broke that treaty and invaded Russia. Of course Russia then declared war on Germany.
It was a European war for a while and America was neutral. Then Japan, one of Germany's treaty allies who was already at war with China and some British colonized countries in Asia, attacked America's Naval Base at Pearl Harbor. America declared war on Japan and, because of its treaty with Japan, Germany was forced to declare war on America. America then declared war on Germany.
Many other nations were dragged into the conflict and in World War 2 approximately 60-80 million people (depending on the source) were killed or died of disease or famine caused by the war. Ditto WW1 except 17 million people died. Treaties (covenants) are serious business. During those years Satan gleefully counted the dead and ecstatically fed on and incited a whole world seething with greed, racism, hatred, terror, anger, vengeance, and lust.
TO KNOW SATAN'S PERSONALITY
Personal experience: Far into the night a few weeks before God burdened and later inspired me to start writing this commentary, my wife was asleep in our bedroom, I was studying in the living room, nature called, I went down the hall to the guest bedroom and used the bathroom there. I came out of the bathroom, crossed the bedroom and was ready to step into the hall that leads back to the living room and I was suddenly assailed by a most horrible sense of pure, dark, oily, powerful, malignant, unadulterated evil right there beside me. I was instantly terrified and I was nearly overcome with a strange weakness, helplessness and fear.
I have never felt such dark, powerful, vitriolic, straining, eager, evil hatred directed toward me and I knew it was Satan as he truly is. Humanity with all its evil, lust, murder, torture, butchery and hatred does not know the meaning of the endlessness of eternal, pure, unbelievably cruel, evil hatred unless they have individually felt what I felt come at me that night.
The mixture of Satan's dark, unbelievable evil and his eager hatred of me was straining to unleash itself upon me and destroy me in some more than awful fashion; not to just kill me and leave me a corpse in my own house but to torture, mangle, strangle and tear at my body and my soul, ME, to tortured shreds with an awful ferocity that would last forever.
He didn't want to just kill me and be done with it. He wanted to, and was determined to, make me suffer endlessly. In combat I have endured the awful fear of incoming projectiles that would tear bloody holes through me or blow me apart but this terror went infinitely further than that. I was so scared I was frozen motionless in the timelessness of the absolute horror of total terror.
I am so sorry I have not the words to cause you to feel the threat, horror and terror I experienced that night. My skin crawled and my hair stood on end because I was so close to Satan and he terrified me beyond measure. I, a man grown, was helpless as a tiny bird, a sparrow, serpent charmed! The unimaginable reality of the engulfing essence of Satan's living, darkening, overwhelming magnitude of total malice, total hatred and total evil almost engulfed me in the horrifying quicksand of his dreadful personality. Satan is the Devil.
It was instant, I was there, I was trapped, there was no way out and I instinctively started screaming over and over; "Jesus, Jesus, oh God help me!" It was endless as I stiffly, cringing, clumsily, so painfully slowly tried to get away from that awful darkness by struggling to escape up the hall toward the living room. If I could have run I would have but I was so afraid my body felt almost paralyzed and I could only drag myself along; "Jesus, Jesus, oh God help me!" I finally made it to the couch and huddled there like a wounded animal shivering in horror and begging for help.
The presence of pure evil abated as Jesus drove Satan away but it was weeks before I felt comfortable going back down that hall in the night because I dreaded the possibility the experience would repeat itself. Since then I've never gone down that hall day or night, not even once, without thinking about what happened.
With my whole heart I wish all the lukewarm Christians, backslid Christians, idolaters, atheists, devil worshippers and sinners in the whole world would be exposed to the reality of Satan, the Devil, I felt that night. When they realized who is truly waiting for them, I know there would be a worldwide boom of church construction and they would flee in droves to Jesus and the salvation He offers.
Writer's Note: It is now about 2 months since I finished this entire segment and a certain thought has been nagging me about the above. My wife was asleep in our main bedroom with its open door just a few feet away. We have 2 dogs in the house and they too were just around the corner in a room with its door open. I did not rouse any of them during this episode so I have concluded when I was screaming; "Jesus, Jesus, oh God help me!" they were soundless screams due to my absolute terror because none of them were awakened!
(2Cor. 11:13-15) Satan is a chameleon because he cleverly portrays himself as an angel of light and he will verify your religion and its teachers are just fine (John 3:5-21 esp. V.14-19 & 1John 4:1-14) as long as it doesn't involve Jesus' mission as the Saviour. Satan, the devil, will not voluntarily expose his true nature because it would drive people away from him. Satan is a deceiver. Believe me, Satan is not the little, innocent, powerless, red imp the cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd intermittently battle in their cartoons.
Satan is not the comedic caricature portrayed by comedians to get a laugh; "The devil made me do it!" Nor is he some magnificent, shrouded in mystery god who is worthy of human worship. (John 8:44) Plain and simple; Satan, the devil, is a murderer and a liar, (2Cor. 4:4) he is the god of this world and he blinds people with his (Rev. 12:9) deception (1Pet. 5:8 keywords: adversary, roaring lion) that he is, in reality, humanity's greatest adversary (enemy) and he is like a roaring lion (a strong, fear inducing, active predator) seeking whom he may devour!
Why did God let me experience such an awful event? God knew He would not let Satan take me, but neither Satan nor I knew that! I believe God let Satan think my time on earth was over and that he could have me, Satan exposed his true self and I was powerless compared to him. Then God restrained Satan after I had experienced what God wanted me to understand. I believe God knew He would call, inspire, and enable me to write this commentary about Lucifer/Satan/the Devil and it makes sense that I should be introduced to the subject about which I would be writing. Example: Without that experience I could never have written about how Tubal-cain died (Part 10). End of Note.
REASON FOR MAKING A COVENANT
(Rom. 13:1) "For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained (to arrange in an orderly manner, to assign, to dispose, appoint, determine, set) of God." This scripture simplified says God has all power and He can do whatever He wants to do, exactly the way He desires to do it.
God chose to build for Himself (Rom. 8:13-17 also John 15:13-15 & James 2:23 keywords: friend) a loving, personal forever family of people who choose to accept His salvation and to prove themselves worthy to be a member of His forever family that will love and worship Him and they will forever share God's unimaginable delights with Him. Abram's Covenant is the method God chose to reveal how He was going to achieve His purpose.
I won't use very much scripture because this is a very brief sketch and if you so desire you can quickly use your Bible concordance to find what you feel you need to check. The only kind of love that really means anything is love based on the freedom of choice. If someone makes the free will choice to love you for who you are and commits himself to you that is perfect love. That's the kind of relationship God is building with individuals who will be members of His forever family.
SO: All humans and all angels have the freedom of choice. Lucifer, later named Satan, chose to tempt Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden. They chose to disobey God and were kicked out of the garden and they died just as God had told them they would. Their choice spiritually gave the keys of hell and death to Satan.
God's person, His soul, is composed of Holiness and Love. Holiness demands judgment (justice) and Love demands mercy (compassion). In the process of time God gave Abram a covenant of far reaching consequences (Gen. 12:3 keywords: all the families of the earth) that would encompass every human who would ever live and every nation that would ever exist.
The most important far reaching consequence was the birth of God's Son, Jesus Christ, within whom both God's holiness (judgment) and God's love (mercy) came together to show God's impartial fairness by presenting mankind, on an individual basis, the opportunity to choose between the God of love or Satan, the god of hatred, and to go be with the God/god of their choice in that God's/god's eternal home forever.
The keys to hell and death had to be taken away from Satan so God could complete His plan. Jesus was sent to take those keys but He had to do it in a secret way that will be revealed later. The method Jesus would use to offer the option of choice to every person who would ever live is also a secret hidden within the scripture that will be revealed later in a future article. The basic elements of God's plan are laid out in this HOLY COVENANT God gave to Abram.
COVENANT TIME FRAME
Don't forget (Gen. 12:4) Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. (Gen. 16:3) Abram had been in the land of Canaan 10 years when Sarai gave Hagar to him, 75+10=85, so Abram was 85 years old at that time (Gen. 14:1-3) and the first war between the Chaldean kings and the Canaanite kings just south of the Dead Sea took place.
(Gen. 14:4-5 & 15-16) Abram participated in the second war 14 years later, 85+14=99, when Abram was 99 years old. ALSO: (Gen. 16:3-4) Hagar conceived when Abram was 85 years old but she didn't bare Ishmael (Gen. 16:16) until Abram was 86 years old. (Gen.17:25) Ishmael was 13 years old when the covenant circumcision took place, 86+13=99, so (Gen. 17:1) Abram was also 99 years old when God made the covenant with him.
It is obvious the scripture construction, (Gen. Ch.16) with Hagar's story inserted between (Gen. Ch. 15 and Ch. 17 the covenant chapters), is to pinpoint (Gen. 17:1) Abram's age at 99 years old when God made the covenant and that the covenant process (Gen. Ch. 15 and Ch. 17) took place in an unbroken series of events.
(Gen. 15:1 needs 3 important words defined: word- to #1) commune, #2) message, #3) promise, #4) provision, #5) reason, #6) decree, #7) judgment); vision- to gaze at, perceive, to have a vision of, to behold, a prophesy, a window; fear- to revere, frighten, to be had in reverence).
After Abram's destruction of the 5 Chaldean kings, the rescue of Lot and meeting Melchizedec (Gen. 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." Obviously Abram was awake when he saw his vision and the voice frightened Abram. (Matt. 14:26-27) Compare this to when the disciples "cried out for fear" when they saw Jesus walking on the wave tossed sea and Jesus said; "be not afraid". Remember that one of the definitions of vision is a prophesy.
Abram must have rallied quickly (Gen. 15:2-3) because he asked the Lord God a question that must have troubled him for years (paraphrased) "I don't have any children, is Eliezer, the steward of my house, going to inherit what You promised me?" With that statement, for some unspoken reason, Abram left Ishmael and Lot out of his family lineage. Historically, Ishmael would become a patriarch of the Muslims and some sources even call him the father of the Arabs. (Gen. 19:33-38) Lot would father the Moabites and Ammonites.
(Gen. 17:7, 13 & 19 keyword in all 3: everlasting) Even today few people really understand God was initiating a continuing covenant, an everlasting covenant that would have 3 purposes and through these 3 purposes every nation and every person who ever lived would be affected.
(Gen. 15:4) "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 (torso, heart) shall be thine heir." (Gen. 2:22-24 keywords: one flesh & Gen. 11:29 keyword: wife) Abram immediately understood God was saying Abram & his wife, Sarai, were one flesh and Abram's heir (Isaac) would be Abram and Sarai's offspring because anyone else of Abram's bloodline, Ishmael or Lot, would be illegitimate in God's eyes.
3 PURPOSES OF THE COVENANT
#1) To Establish Israel. (Gen. 17:6-7 then 13 & 19 keyword: everlasting- defined: perpetual, something concealed, veiled, hidden) This everlasting covenant (compact made by passing between pieces of flesh, contract, confederacy) founded a race (a bloodline) of people whose national name would be Israel (Deut. 7:1-8 esp. V.7) and through that tiny nation God would show His everlasting power. Yes, Israel fell because of their own sin, (Ezek. 36:16-28) but God brought Israel back and Israel is right there in the Middle East at this time, 11-17-14, and Satan's people still want to destroy Israel.
(Gen. 26:1-6) God renewed this covenant with Abraham's son Isaac. (Gen. 28:11-19) God renewed this covenant with Abraham's grandson Jacob (Gen. 32:24-30) and renamed him Israel. In the future the nation of Israel would be named after Abram's grandson whose name God had changed from Jacob to Israel. (Rev. 20:8) The spiritual war between God and Satan would be physically fought between Israel and the other nations of the world.
#2) To Father Jesus. This everlasting covenant (Jer. 3:5-18 esp. V.14 keyword: married) was also a marriage covenant with Israel the nation. The holiness of God is so great this everlasting, continuing, generational covenant with Abram constituted an everlasting spiritual marriage to the coming nation of Israel (Luke 1:26-35 esp. V.35) because God's own Son would be born of an Israelite (Jewish) woman (a bloodline) (John 8:39-44 esp. V.41) and God refused to leave an opening for anyone to say His Son, Jesus Christ, was illegitimate!
#3) To Create The Church. (Eph. 1:3-5 key thought: before God made the foundation of the world God "predestinated" (knew He would create) a Church founded by Jesus in which mankind could return to a state of fellowship with God through the shed blood (a bloodline) of God's Son, Jesus) This everlasting covenant guaranteed there would be an institution called the Church. The spiritual war between God and Satan would be spiritually fought through the Church.
Obviously the vision came to Abram when he was in his tent because they went outside and it was night. (Gen. 15:5-6) "And he brought him forth abroad (outside, outdoors), and said, look now toward heaven, and tell (count) the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said to him, So shall thy seed (progeny) be."
Abram couldn't count the stars, he couldn't count what his progeny would be and he didn't know God was stating Abram's covenant seed (progeny, children, a bloodline) would found both (Heb. 11:8-9) THE NATION ISRAEL, physical progeny, (Gal. 1:2 keyword: churches and 3:6-9 esp. V. 7 keywords: children of Abraham) and THE CHURCH, spiritual progeny. "And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
Still the Voice talking: (Gen. 15:7-8) God told Abram; "I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur in the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it." And Abram asked right back; "Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?"
(Gen. 15:9-11) God gave Abram instructions to prepare the Blood Covenant sacrificial animals. (V.5) The process had started before daylight because they looked at the stars, day had come, Abram worked through the day preparing the sacrifice and (V.11) at times Abram had to fight and drive the buzzards away from his sacrifice.
Satan surely smiled while Abram fought his lonely, lonely battle against the ravenous scavengers! Surely that is a physical prophesy of the Church's spiritual battle with Satan through #1) his false prophets and teachers, #2) governmental interference based on whatever a particular government decides is the law of the land that hinders Christian societal influence such as America's half baked (raw) Political Correctness #3) and mankind's intrinsic, inherent, individual carnality. (V.11 keywords: drove them away) Abram did win his fight, Israel will win and the Church will win.
That day was ending into another night. (Gen. 15:12) "And when the sun was going down a deep sleep (trance, stun, dead sleep) fell (overwhelm) upon Abram; and, lo (behold), an horror (frightful, terror, fear) of great (old, insolent, mighty) darkness (misery, make dark, hide) fell upon him.
No intention is made to change the scripture or place a different meaning upon the above scripture but the above paragraph will be repeated here using the Hebrew definitions which will be underlined to help us determine what happened so we can better understand.
The day was ending into another night. (Gen. 15:12) And when the sun was going down a trance overwhelmed Abram and stunned him into a sleep-like state; and behold a frightful terror of fear of an old, insolent, mighty misery, made dark to hide it, overwhelmed him. Satan terrified Abram just like he did me!
(Gen. 15:12) The word insolent is very important because it reveals the evil nature of the personality who was behind what overwhelmed Abram. OLD: Lucifer led the angels in singing before creation so there is an oldness about him. God formed and molded Adam out of the dirt and Lucifer was jealous because pride (iniquity) was found in him and he INSOLENTLY engineered man's fall from grace (Part 1) and OVERWHELMED them.
(Job 1:9-11 & 2:4-5) Remember how insolently Satan spoke to God when he desired to destroy Job? God restrained Satan or he would have killed, OVERWHELMED, Job. Satan brought MIGHTY MISERY on Adam, Eve and Job and, according to scripture, HIDE, Job did not understand who caused his problems and Eve did not understand why the serpent caused their problems (Gen. 3:13) even though Eve said; "The serpent beguiled (deceived) me and I did eat".
SO: It is obvious God engineered a meeting between Satan and Abram to introduce Abram to the great enemy who would withstand Abram and his bloodline (Rev. 20:7-10) until God's finishes His great plan to build for Himself a loving, personal family of people who will be with him forever.
(Gen. 15:1 & 4 keyword: word) These 7 pertinent objectives in the definition of word tell the purpose of God's word in this covenant process: #1) commune, #2) message, #3) decree, #4) provision, #5) reason, #6) judgment, #7) promise).
God had introduced Abram to Satan, the great adversary, who would attempt to destroy Abram's progeny. (Gen. 15:13-16) As God communed with Abram He gave Abram this message. God decreed the race of people Abram and Sarai would produce (a bloodline) would be afflicted by being in slavery 400 years but God's provision would bring them out of bondage and the reason God would then pass judgment on that nation (Egypt) was because of what they had done to Abram's seed (progeny, posterity, Israel).
God promised Abram he would die in peace at a good old age and that Israel would come back to Canaan and once more He would judge a nation, the Amorites, by how they treated Israel. (Matt. 25:31-46) It was a prophesy that God would judge all the nations (Gen. 12:2-3) and bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. Remember from above? One of the words that define vision is prophesy.
(Gen. 15:9-10) When Abram had cut the covenant sacrifices he had placed the halves of the herd animals against each other in such a fashion there would be a bloody path between them with the undivided birds, one on each side, at the end of the bloody path. (Luke 3:22 keyword: dove) The turtledove which represents the Holy Spirit which cannot be divided on one side and a young pigeon on the other side which represents something brand new.
(Gen. 17:5) After the covenant Abram would be renamed Abraham and he would be a brand new man in covenant with God. (2Cor. 5:17 keyword: creature- definition creation) That also was a prophesy that, after the born again salvation event, a man would be a new creature (creation) a brand new man in NT grace covenant with God.
(Gen. 15:17) Definitions of the 5 words that describe the appearance of God: #1) smoking- smoke; #2) furnace- to glisten; #3) burning- flaming; #4) lamp- lightening; and #5) passed--> (John 5:24)--> to be approved, adopted. The Biblical number that denotes grace is 5. A covenant means cutting and is a compact made by passing between pieces of cut apart flesh, to select.
After the sun was down and darkness was full a smoking, glistening, flaming lamp of flickering lightening passed slowly and majestically between the cut apart pieces of meat and Abram had never seen anything like that in his life! After God had walked the bloody path Abram obviously didn't understand the covenant was only half finished. God must have let poor Abram rest that night because in this covenant Abram also had to give up something by cutting.
(Not in scripture, but, what would you have done?) In all of Abram's travels, trials and troubles he had never felt exactly like he did when God left. He was drenched with sweat, exhausted and emotionally drained. He was wound tight and he stretched out right there on the ground 'for just a minute' to try to relax and mentally digest all that had happened. Abram didn't know he had nodded off to sleep until he was awakened by the sun on his face.
His first thought; "I'm so thirsty I could drink water out of a goat path!" He slowly pushed himself up with his arms and creaked to a sitting position; "Whew, I'm stiff as a dried stick, I'm too old for this." then he remembered what had happened last night and sat wondering at the enormity of the event. He didn't wonder long, nature called and he hurried to the outdoor toilet, he carefully looked for spiders then sat down; "Ahhhhh."
(1Cor. 2:9 then Luke 16:22 keywords: Abraham's bosom which means paradise) Invisible but right there with Abram the Lord God looked at Abram affectionately with great love and tenderness thinking; "Abram, Abram, if you only knew what I have waiting for you."
Over there, as close as some hateful, invisible barrier would let him come, Satan milled around; "I hate Abram more than any man on earth, even more than Shem, I wish Abram would die! I'd like to cover him up with poisonous spiders and watch him scream himself to death!" and he strained with all he had to influence them but the spiders seemed to be sleeping today and Satan furiously ground his spiritual teeth in frustration; "I know God is somehow behind this but He isn't around, is He?" God smiled!
When he was finished, Abram made a beeline to the water skin in the shade of the porch and drank long; "Ahhhhh." Do you believe it? Of course you don't, its fiction. Maybe!
Abram turned away from the water skin and, for a few long seconds, he was shocked motionless because: (Gen. 17:1-3) "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 (diligently, by implication speedily)." then Abram fell on his face!
The Bible does not say in what form the Almighty God appeared to Abram but there are other scriptures where the same thing happened to other men and they contain descriptions of what those men saw and its effect on them (Dan. 8:17 keywords: fell on my face & V.27 keyword: fainted and Rev. 1:10-17 esp. V.17 keywords: I fell at his feet as dead).
(Gen. 17:3-9) Even though Abram (high father) was on his face God kept talking to him and repeating some of the things He had stated before, but this time God also did something different; He changed (Gen. 17:5) Abram's name to Abraham (Father of a Multitude). Biblical scholars tell us the addition of the letter h to Abram's name means (Ex. 6:2-3) God gave His secret, most holy name, JEHOVAH, to Abram. (Ex. 6:2-3 keyword: JEHOVAH) Abram didn't know what the H meant and did not find out because Abraham died long before God revealed His name to Moses.
(Psa. 68:4) Also, JAH is a shortened name of JEHOVAH that in no way diminishes God's supremacy and holiness. It is a Hebrew name of greatest respect in that God is so holy and sacred they felt unworthy to use His full name. Abram did know God had tied one of His promises to Abram's name because Abraham is defined as "Father of a Multitude". (Gen. 17:15) In this covenant God also changed Sarai's (my Princess) name to Sarah (mother of nations) and the same rule applied to her.
GOD'S COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM IS TWO COVENANTS IN ONE
(Gen. 17:7, 13 & 19 keyword: everlasting) The key to understanding covenant is in the definition of the word everlasting because it means 2 entities, a physical Israel and a spiritual Church. God said; "And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed in their generations for an everlasting (defined as: #1 eternal, always, perpetual and #2 concealed, to veil) covenant to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.
Everlasting: definition #1) (eternal, always, perpetual): (Gen.17:5 & 15 then 19) God changed Abram's name to Abraham and changed Sarai's name to Sarah and (V.19) identified Abraham and Sarah's seed, their promised son, Isaac, and God said He would continue this eternal, perpetual covenant with their legitimate son Isaac and his seed after him which would result in an everlasting covenant with the nation of ISRAEL (the name God gave Isaac's son Jacob) composed of individuals who are Abraham's physical seed.
This is important: (again: Gen 15:8-18 esp. V.9-10 keywords: each piece and esp. V.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." God walked this 'bloody path' between the pieces alone. God alone made this covenant and that designates that His covenant will happen regardless of men's actions.
When the law was given to Moses the making or breaking depended on man's (Israel, the Hebrews, Jews) actions, it was a conditional covenant. Paraphrased: "You meet these conditions and it will work." (Heb. 10:1-8 esp. V.3 & V.4 keywords: blood of bulls and goats) But it would be only a remembrance of sin.
(again: Gen 15:8-18 esp. V.9-10 keywords: each piece and esp. V.17) God's covenant with Abraham was an unconditional covenant; paraphrased: "This that I say will happen. There are no ifs, ands, or buts; it will happen regardless of men's actions." (Gen. 17:10) Abraham's circumcision would be A VISIBLE (flesh- physical) sign of his acceptance of God's covenant AND it is a visible physical sign the Jews have accepted God's covenant with them, a visible nation.
Everlasting: definition #2): (concealed and veiled): Concealed and veiled within God's covenant with Abraham (Abraham's physical seed) is the future everlasting (John 3:5-8 & Rom. 8:6-9 then 2Cor. 5:17-21) spiritual grace covenant with the CHURCH composed of individuals (Gal. 3:16-29 esp. V.29) who are Abraham's spiritual seed. (Heb. 10:9-19 esp. V.19 keywords: by the blood of Jesus) This spiritual grace 'blood' covenant is based on Jesus Christ's blood sacrifice (1Pet. 1:18-25 esp. V.18-20) which spiritually removes sin.
(Rom. 2:25-29 esp. V.29 keywords: circumcision is that of the heart) The circumcision of the concealed, veiled, spiritual covenant is AN INVISIBLE SPIRITUAL circumcision of the individual's heart (soul). (read-> Matt. 7:21-23 & Rom. 8:9) It is an invisible spiritual covenant that cannot be seen in souls of men. Just like God gave His blood covenant name to Abraham; Jesus Christ gives His grace covenant individual His name; it is Christian.
BUT CIRCUMCISION CAN BE MADE UNCIRCUMCISION
Hebrew/Jew- Moses' Law: (Josh. 5:3) Circumcision is to cut off the prepuce (foreskin) with a knife. (Gen. 17:11) "ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin;" Circumcise is the Hebrew word namal and means to physically cut off the front abruptly.
(Gen. 17:14) An uncircumcised Hebrew/Israelite/Jew is cut off from his people if he is not circumcised. According to the Law of Moses a Hebrew who has sinned can have a priest offer a blood sacrifice and have his sin covered. BUT a Hebrew can also go through the motions of obeying the law and can go too far into sin. (Rom. 2:21-25 esp. V.25 keywords: thy circumcision is made uncircumcision) If a Jew is a lawbreaker (Law of Moses) his physical circumcision is made spiritual uncircumcision. A Jew's service to God, whether for real or phony, is based on the individual Jew's values and desire to serve God.
(Luke 16:19-26 esp. V.25) Jesus made the above statement abundantly clear. (V.25) The rich man is identified as a Jew because Abraham called him "Son"; the Church had not been founded yet; so both Lazarus and the rich man were Jews and both had to have been circumcised. (V.21 keyword: desiring) Lazarus, in ill health, begged the rich man for the crumbs (leftovers) which fell from the rich man's table.
Obviously the rich man ignored Lazarus' plight. Both men died. Lazarus went to Abraham's bosom (paradise) and the rich man went to hell. The rich man's physical circumcision had become spiritual uncircumcision by his sin of compassionless, greedy, selfishness and he went to hell!
Church/Christian, Grace: (Rom. 2:29 & Col. 2:11) Circumcision of the heart made without hands. Circumcise is the Greek base word tomoteros and means 2 things: #1) a single stroke AND #2) repeated blows like hacking. This requires a much more complicated explanation.
(Luke 19:10 keywords: save, lost AND John 3:3-8 keywords: born again & Spirit then 1Pet. 1:22-23 keyword: word) When a lost person becomes saved they have experienced the born again event through the Holy Spirit according to the word of God and (2Cor. 5:17) "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
(John 14:18-26 esp. V.23 keywords: make our abode with thee AND Eph. 1:13-14 esp. V.13 keyword: sealed) The Holy Spirit will take up residence in that person's soul (Acts 2:47 keyword: church) and that person is considered to be a member of God's Church (Rom. 2:29) AND his circumcision is a spiritual circumcision of the heart (soul) which is #1) a single stroke that spiritually cuts away all your past sins and in God's eyes you are a brand new person just like Abraham was after God's covenant with him.
(John 14:26) The Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit), through God's word, helps an individual Christian get rid of soul sins like pride, stubbornness, greed, malice, anger & selfishness that cause physical sin in activities caused by lack of compassion, goodness, mercy, humility and etc. The Holy Spirit also teaches an individual Christian how to be a better and better Christian after salvation through personal Bible study, prayer, preaching and teaching.
(1John 1:7-10) If a Christian sins and confesses that sin he is cleansed by Jesus' blood and the sin is gone. #2) The circumcision of repeated blows like hacking is how the Holy spirit hacks away (repeated blows) at these sinful things in each Christian soul (personality, self) to continue God's (1Tim. 3:16-17) perfection process in each Christian life according to God's word. It is spiritual refining. (2Pet 3:18 & Eph. 4:14-16 keyword in both: grow) All Christians are a work in progress.
BUT (Heb. 6:4-6 keywords: If they shall fall away) If a Christian falls away (V.4) "it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gifts and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit), (V.5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come (saved), (V.6) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
SO, regardless of the naysayers, Christians can backslide to the point they cannot return to God (Rev. 19:5-9 esp. V.7 keywords: for the marriage of the Lamb is come) because, unlike God's marriage to Israel, (John 3:26-36 esp. V.29 keyword: bridegroom) Jesus, the bridegroom, is not yet married to His bride, the CHURCH, because He is in the process of selecting His bride on an individual person basis (Rom. 1:21-31 keyword: covenantbreakers; Rev. 3:5 keywords: blot out & V.16 keywords: spue thee out) and Jesus can reject whoever won't study the Bible to learn what God expects from a Christian and will not keep God's Christian standards after their salvation event.
(Rom. 1:31, Rev. 3:5 & V.16) The spiritual circumcision of these people had become spiritual uncircumcision.
(Matt. 13:18-23 esp. V.19, 20, 22 & 23 underlined keywords: received seed which the scripture says is the word in each of the 4 situations) Jesus made the above statement abundantly clear when He said these 4 types of Christians ALL received His word (were saved) but obviously (V.19, 20 & 22) these 3 types of Christians didn't love Jesus enough, according to their values, (V.19) to endure learning to be a Christian, (V.20) to endure tribulation and persecution that automatically comes with being a Christian (V.22) and to endure disconnecting themselves from the care of this world (pride leading to sin) and the lure of the deceitfulness of riches (pride in the accumulation of things).
These 3 types of individual's love for Jesus had waxed cold and they decided, according to their values, Jesus and His salvation just wasn't worth all that trouble. Jesus knew it would happen (Matt. 24:12-13) because He said; "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved."
(Matt. 13:23) The 4th type of Christians went right to work learning God's word and trying to be the best Christian he could be and he started bearing fruit (accomplishing what God wanted done). All Christians are a work in progress until we die. The Holy Spirit's work in Christians compares very well to Abram's refining process (Part 16).
GOD CONTINUED TALKING COVENANT TO ABRAHAM
(Gen 17:10-11) "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." Circumcise means to cut the foreskin off abruptly: (Gen. 15:10) The sacrifice had been divided by cutting between pieces of flesh and the circumcision blade would pass between two pieces of flesh when the foreskin is cut off.
(Gen. 17:12-15) God outlined the details of the circumcision covenant and, though she was not there, He renamed Sarai to Sarah. (Gen. 17:16-18) God stated Sarah would be a mother. The stress had simply been too much, Abraham fell on his face, laughed hysterically and thought to himself; (Gen. 17:17 & Rom. 4:19 two scriptures combined) My body is dead, how can I be a father to a child when I'm 100 years old. Sarah's womb is dead! Shall Sarah that bear a child when she is 90 years old? (V.18) Abraham got control of himself and managed to say; paraphrased- "To my way of thinking Ishmael is the one who'll live before thee."
I'm certainly glad God puts up with man's foolishness or I would have been cast away a long time ago and you would have too. I guess Abraham felt the same way when he realized he had actually laughed at what God had told him. (Gen.17:19-20) God simply repeated Himself and restated His promise that Sarah would indeed bear Abraham a son and instructed Abraham to name the child Isaac (Laughter). Then God said He had already blessed Ishmael, would make him fruitful, multiply him exceedingly and that Ishmael would beget 12 princes. BUT:
The last thing God said (Gen. 17:22) before He quit talking and went up from Abraham was; (Gen. 17:21) "But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year."