He recovered all the spoil, and returned south, considerably disturbed in mind, doubtless, on account of the danger of the times.
At this crisis, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, and comforted him with the assurance...
1 After these things the word of the Yahweh came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
Abram was now eighty-five years old, and he had no child. How then, could the promise made of God at Haran, and repeated at Sichem and Bethel be fulfilled, seeing that he was childless? He was even now an old man, and had concluded to make Eliezer of Damascus his heir; how then could the great, the exceeding great, reward be realized by him?
Prompted by these considerations, but in no wise distrusting God, Abram said...**
2 And Abram said, Adonai Yahweh, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
The reassurance of Yahweh that he should not fear, and that God was his shield and his exceeding great reward, does not seem to have assuaged his concern. In the vast scheme of things he suddenly felt alone, his faith tested. He saw the practical problems in relation to his age, and Sarai his wife, and his endless desert wanderings, and all these difficulties closed in on him.
God was his shield, his protector but what of the exceeding great reward?
"The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward." (Pv.11.18).
Abram cast around for solutions. *
4 And, behold, the word of the Yahweh 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.
This was a great draft upon the faith of an old man of upwards of fourscore, with a wife of seventy-five years of age. But it is testified of him, that "against hope he believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, saying, So shall thy seed be.
And not being weak in faith, he considered not his own body afterwards dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief: but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was also able to perform" (Rom. 4:18-21).**
5 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.
"against hope he believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, saying, So shall thy seed be. And not being weak in faith, he considered not his own body afterwards dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief: but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was also able to perform" (Rom. 4:18-21).
Such was the manner of Abram's faith, his mode of thinking upon the things reported to him in the word of the Lord, and his disposition in relation to them. So pleased was God with him, that
"He counted it to, him for righteousness."
Elpis Israel 2.2.
We can picture Abram emerging from his tent and gazing up into the vast vault of heaven and seeing the myriad stars against the blackness of the Middle East night. What a stupendous sight of the Milky Way, each one of those stars a symbol of Yahweh's power and glory of his endless dominions, each one a sun in itself: all the constellations, Orion and Pleaides, the bright star Arcturus (Job 9,9,10, 38.31,32, Amos 5.8).
It is said that there are a hundred billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone, and there are billions of galaxies, all held in their places by the laws of Yahweh, all in constant motion, wheels within wheels, testifying to the omnipotence and omniscience of Ail, possessor of the Heavens and Earth and the puny insignificance of man.
Of course Abram could only see, and number, a minute fraction of the stars of heaven, so that in reality he could not number them. Therefore he is being told that his seed would be a numberless multitude, or a
"great multitude which no man could number" (Rev.7.9),
who would constitute the immortal (palm bearing) multitude of the sealed sons of Israel, or multitudinous seed of Abram, who would be priests for ever (the Olahm) after the order of Melchizadek (Kings of righteousness) (Pslm 110.4).
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork."
Abram would have been totally cognisant of this awesome spectacle heavenly grandeur, and its significance giving silent witness to the plan and purpose of Yahweh to fill this earth with his glory and beautify this planet with a glorious and righteous seed, sprung from the loins of Abram (Mtt.l, Lk.3).*
6 And he believed in the Yahweh; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Such was the manner of Abram's faith, his mode of thinking upon the things reported to him in the word of the Lord, and his disposition in relation to them. So pleased was God with him, that "He counted it to, him for righteousness."
Abram, having first sought the kingdom of God in leaving his father's house to "seek the city, whose architect and builder is God," had now become the subject of the righteousness of God by faith, so that the Lord was now prepared to add all other things to him (Matt. 6:33). **
''And he believed in Yahweh; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
This is what we must do, believe what God says in his Word.
Here is a two way response between the faithful believer and Yahweh. The weak mortal man believes what God has promised, he believes the Promises, the plan and purpose of Yahweh with the earth, and is motivated by this through every day of his probation, to walk faithfully with full conviction in Yahweh.
On this basis God imputes or counts righteousness to that person (Rom 4.3-8, 20-25, Gal.3.6). This is the great hallmark of Abram's faith highlighted by the apostle Paul as the example for all true believers, Jew or Gentile. It stands out or shines forth like a beacon light in the darkness and corruption and idolatry of the world, one man's faith in Yahweh his God to be his shield and his exceeding great rewarder.
It is further taken up by the apostle when he defines faith
"Without faith-it is impossible to please God -. He that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him."
Yet the Lord says "When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find The, Faith?" What this implies?
If we have any other faith, then it is not worth a fig. That in spite of the wilderness trials, we are strangers and pilgrims in the earth, having no continuing city, but looking for one whose builder and maker is God Hb.11. This cannot be emphasised too much. That we are not gobbling up the world, but separate, and not compromising for the sake of ecclesial peace and harmony.*
Now, the name of God contains all the attributes of God.
When we know God's attributes we know His name and one of the attributes of His character or name is that He is a God of truth, that He cannot lie, that in Him is no darkness at all. Hence He has made this the test of men's allegiance and obedience and affection for Him. It is to believe what He says, and that is the highest honour we, as creatures, are able to develop in honouring God.
You know very well that if you had a particular friend, and he was to say, "I love you very dearly," and, when you told him anything, he were practically or verbally to say, "I do not believe a word you say," you would say, "How could you love me and treat me as a liar?"
So God, in effect, says to mankind, How could you love me when you do not believe a word I say? Here we have a man, Abraham, no matter what God promised him, he believed it; and because he treated God as a God of truth, therefore that confidence of Abraham was counted to him for righteousness.
Abraham first came to know what the promises were, then he believed them, and that became the basis on which God counted to Abraham his faith for righteousness. And that principle of justification by faith in the promises of God has been the principle of men's justification from the days of Abraham down to the present time.
It was not necessary for God to vary His principles of justifying men, because the Messiah was afterwards introduced, and a new development of God's power and principles. All who are justified on the like principles that Abraham was justified on, became the sons of Abraham by justification by faith, and therefore he is called the father of the faithful and the friend of God.
All those therefore that are justified on like principle with Abraham become the children of the father of the faithful, and they also become the friends of God, for, says Jesus,
"ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you."
Bro Thomas 1869 Address given in Stoke - printed The Christadelphian, Jan 1888
7 And he said unto him, I am Yahweh that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
He reminded him of the purpose for which He had brought him into the land of Canaan...
Abram had been in the country ten years. He had become well acquainted with the land, and he perceived that it was a noble and desirable inheritance.
When, therefore, the angel referred to the Lord's promise, Abram requested a sign, saying...**
8 And he said, Adonai Yahweh, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
Confirmation of the Covenant
9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of 3 years old, and a she goat of 3 years old, and a ram of 3 years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
This sacrifice was, representative of the qualities of the Christ, concerning whom confirmation was about to be made, attestative of Abram's and his Seed's possession of the land in the fulness of the times afterwards to be arranged.**
All those offerings would have been without spot or blemish, not the worst animals from the flocks and herds, but the best, showing Yahweh desires the best of our lives, and this is what Abram gave (not the fag end, and not sin's flesh dominated) (the heifer confirms the Christ would be sin's flesh yet without sin = without transgression, Hb.4.15*
The Truth above all is sacrificial, this is what Abram is being told. But more that this, Yahweh's plan was dependent on One who would be the perfect sacrifice, impossible for any other to accomplish.
That he would manifest the characteristics portrayed symbolically in the 5 elements of sacrifice: the heifer, the she goat, the ram (all of 3 Yrs old), and the turtle dove and young pigeon.'
In these are the elements of atonement and God manifestation. The element of the flesh, the sturdy independence, the productiveness or fruitfulness, the spirit, and the harmlessness in character, in summary God - likeness.*
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.
From the time of the sacrifice until the going down of the sun, Abram was engaged in watching the carcases, so as to keep off the birds of prey. **
Abram divided the sacrifices in twain, excepting the birds, but found he could not guard them from the predatory fowls. He collapsed in exhaustion at the eve of the day, when the sun went down. This showed that he himself would be unable to implement that sacrifice. That he would die before it could be fulfilled, and that it would only be fulfilled at his resurrection from the dead.*
12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
It is probable that the sacrifice was exposed about three hours ; at all events, "when even was come" and the sun was going down, Abram fell into a state of figurative death...**
Deep sleep and horror: Typical of Messiah's death
"Messiah the Prince," or High Priest, was "cut off," or covenanted, as the Spirit had revealed to Daniel. But before he died, he cried with a loud voice, in the words of Psal. 22:1, saying, Aili, Aili,
"My strength, my strength, why hast thou forsaken me!"
Before he had uttered this exclamation, the Holy Spirit, which had descended upon him from the Habitation of Light and Power, in the form of a dove, and rested upon him, from the time of his immersion in the Jordan, had been withdrawn. The Father-Spirit had evacuated the son of David's daughter, who is styled in the Songs of Zion, "the Handmaid of Yahweh" (Psal. 116:16).
The Son was, therefore, left without strength or power, and consequently without God. Still he was suspended to the tree a living man; a man crucified through weakness (2 Cor. 13:4), and dying of his own volition in obedience to God. But after the God-Power had forsaken him, and before he committed his life to the Father in breathing his last, there was an interval in which, after the example of Abraham at the typical confirmation of the covenant,
"a horror of great darkness fell upon him" (Gen. 15:12); "for there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour."
In this darkness he cried aloud; and drank the bitterness of gall and vinegar; and again cried with a loud voice; and the deep sleep fell upon him from which he did not awake until the early dawn of the third day.
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 400 years;
14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. [wealth]
I suppose the reader need hardly be informed that all this was literally accomplished. Jacob and his family, consisting of seventy persons, migrated into Egypt  years after the revelation was made to Abram.
When a king arose in Egypt who knew not Joseph, the saviour of the country under God, the Israelites were sorely oppressed till the end of four hundred years from Abram's deep sleep. After this four hundred years had expired, even thirty years after, God having judged the Egyptians, they left the country with great substance; and in the fourth generation re-entered the land of Canaan, as God had said. The iniquity of the Arnorites was then full [v16]; and Israelites, under Joshua, became the executioners of divine vengeance upon them.**
From the typical confirmation of the land-covenant to Abraham [v7-14], 430 years before the night of the Exodus from Egypt, to the antitypical confirmation of the same covenant in the crucifixion of Jesus (Gen. 15:7,8-18; Exod. 12:41,42; Matt. 26:26-29; Rom. 15:8; Gal. 3:16,17) -- there was an interval of 2187 years. In all this time, there was a peculiar people that had the mark or "token" of the Land-Covenant in their flesh.
This mark was placed there by circumcision.
While he was in this state [v12], the Lord revealed to Abram the fortunes of his descendants in the ensuing four hundred years, the judgment of the nation that should oppress them, their subsequent exodus from bondage with great wealth, his own peaceful death in a good old age, and the return of his descendants into the land of Canaan again.
... Jacob and his family, consisting of seventy persons, migrated into Egypt two hundred and fifty years after the revelation was made to Abram. When a king arose in Egypt who knew not Joseph, the saviour of the country under God, the Israelites were sorely oppressed till the end of four hundred years from Abram's deep sleep.
After this four hundred years had expired, even thirty years after, God having judged the Egyptians, they left the country with great substance; and in the fourth generation re-entered the land of Canaan, as God had said. The iniquity of the Arnorites was then full; and Israelites, under Joshua, became the executioners of divine vengeance upon them.
But God had said to Abram at Bethel, I will give THEE the land of Canaan FOR EVER, and in the answer to this question "whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?" here tells him that he should die and be buried in a good old age! Now the promise to Abram rests upon the veracity of God. If we attempt to interpret it by the history of the past, we are brought
to the conclusion that the promise to Abram has failed.
Stephen alludes to this apparent failure of the promise to Abram in his speech before the Sanhedrim in these words,
"God said to him come into the land which I will show thee. Then came he into this land in which ye dwell. And He gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: YET he promised that He would give it to him for a possession and to his Seed (T0 SPERMATI, in the singular, to one person called the Seed) after him when as yet he had no child" (Acts 7:5).
What shall we say then? Shall we dare to say that God hath lied to Abram; or, that He meant something else than what He promised?
Far be it from the writer or reader to insult God by any such insinuation; but rather let us say with the apostle in reference to this particular incident that "God cannot lie ;" that in promising to Abram an everlasting possession of the land of Canaan, and nevertheless, afterwards declaring that he should die and be buried, and his posterity be oppressed for four hundred years -- "He promised" to him a resurrection to "eternal life" before the arrangements of the times (PRO CHRONON AIONION, Tit. 1:2).
If Abram were sentenced to die, how could the promise of God concerning the land be fulfilled unless he were raised from the dead? And as he is to possess it for ever, when he is raised, he must be also made incorruptible and immortal to enable him to possess it everlastingly.
The promise of eternal life, then, consists in promising a mortal man and his Son possession of a terrestrial country for ever; and this promise to the two, becomes a promise to all who believe it, and are constituted one in them.
Elpis Israel 2.2.
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 <flame of fire> that passed between those pieces.
This was a sign which could not be mistaken. The animals he had slain, and watched and defended so long from the birds of prey [v11], were consumed by fire from heaven. By this he knew, and was assured, that he and his Seed, the Christ, should inherit the land for ever. But this was not all.
Elpis Israel 2.2.
The Spirit of Yahweh passes through the sacrifices and consumes them. This signifies a sealing or confirmation of the sacrificial Covenant between 2 parties (Jer.34.I8, Hb.l0.5-10), which therefore since it was sealed by the spirit of Yahweh could not be broken (Rom.15.8). It was an everlasting Covenant.*
18 In the same day Yahweh 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:
'... the boundaries of Paradise. He commences the line from the Mediterranean at the outlet of the Orontes, called "the entering in to Hamath," and passes on in a direct course of one hundred and thirty three miles to Berothah upon the Euphrates. This is marked out as the natural boundary on the north by the range of mountains, called Amanus, which, as a natural barrier, extends across the country from the Great Mediterranean sea to Berothah; to which the Euphrates is navigable from the Persian Gulf.
When Messiah is enthroned king of the land, and proceeds to take possession of it to its utmost limits, he will then say to his companions,
"Come with me from Lebanon, my Spouse, with me from Lebanon; look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lion's dens, from the mountains of the leopards" (Song 4:8).
Taking up their position upon that commanding border, the Sons of Zion may view the landscape of a goodly and glorious land, fragrant of rich odours, and flowing with milk and honey, outstretching eastward in all the length of Euphrates to the East Sea.
This is its border on the east. From the junction of the Euphrates with the Persian Gulf in lat. 30 deg., the frontier is drawn "from Tamar to Meribah of Kadesh, to the river towards the Great (or Mediterranean) Sea." This is the south border of Paradise; a line of over a thousand miles abutting upon the Nile, and thence to the sea; and affording free access to the Red Sea by the Elanitic Gulf. The boundary on the west "shall be the Great Sea from the border (south) till a man come over against (the entering in to) Hamath."
Thus we have an ample area; containing by estimation three hundred thousand square miles, for the length and "breadth of Immanuel's land," extending, as covenanted to Abraham and his Seed,
"from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates, for a possession in the Olahm" (Gen. 15:18).
Such is the territorial paradise or kingdom of the Deity; which all the prophets testify shall be inhabited by the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and their nobles, all of them Priests and Kings with Messiah pre-eminent in all things over all.
Now, if a map of the territorial area indicated in the covenant be examined, it will be seen that the broadest extent is "from sea to sea" as it is expressed in Scripture (Psalm 72:8; Zech. 9:10); that is, from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf; and its greatest length, from the rivers to the ends of the land;" or, from the Euphrates at its junction with the gulph, northward; and from the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, to the entrance into Hamath.
But, the frontiers of the territory were afterwards more particularly marked out at the time of the captivity in Babylon. The twelve tribes were then all in exile form the land and it was once more wholly possessed by the Gentiles, as it is now. They were powerless and prostrate under the heel of the oppressor, and with out hope of recovering the country by their own efforts. At this crisis, the Lord revealed to them the extent to which in after times they should repossess their country.
cp Ezek. 47:13-21, 48:28
...to meet the demands of the covenant it is indispensable that Jesus returns to Canaan, and that He raise Abraham from the dead. ..Hence, the second advent is as necessary as the first. The appearing in sinful flesh was necessary for the dedication of the covenant by the death of the substitutional testator; and the second appearing in the spiritual nature in power and great glory, for the administration of the will by the sole executor.
For it is manifest that the will cannot be administered except by one who is all powerful. Abraham Isaac, and Jacob, and all constitutionally in them, are legatees. The legacies bequeathed to them are eternal life, the land of Canaan, and "a city," or state,
" whose architect and builder is God."
Elpis Israel 2.2.
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 Gi
When Abram awoke, as the following day dawned, all the lands between Egypt and the Euphrates are promised to Abraham his seed (10 representative nations)- entire Middle East plus Gentile lands (Pslm 72, 59.13, 86.9,100; Dan.2 Dan.7, Rev.14)*
*Bro Richard Lister -
The Apocalyptic Messenger,