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The covenant with Abram

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posted on Aug, 29 2014 @ 05:04 PM
The making of the covenant with Abram comes in three stages (Genesis ch15).

The first stage is the all-embracing, full assurance; “Fear not- I am your shield.”
“Fear not” is a running theme in contacts with the Biblical God. Daniel hears it in one of his visions, and it’s heard again in the first vision of Revelation.
The implication here is “Fear nothing- trust me in all things”.
Abram will receive much, in consequence.

The second stage is the more specific promise of descendants.
Abram points out that he has no children to inherit anything he might get.
His legal heir at that moment would be one of his own slaves.
The word of the Lord comes in response, that Abram’s inheritance will go to his own son.
Then the Lord takes Abram outside and shows him the stars.
“You will have descendants as many as these”.
And Abram believes him.
There follows the remarkable statement that this was to be “reckoned”, or certified, as “righteousness”.
“Righteousness” means being in a right relationship with God.
It was Abram’s full trust in God which put him there, in that right relationship.
That was the point which Paul highlighted in this passage.

The third stage is the promise of the land, which brings in the formal rite of covenant.
When two parties make an agreement, the Hebrew phrase is that they “cut” a covenant.
The ritual seems to have been that a sacrificial animal was cut in half and laid upon the ground, in such a way that a gap was left between the two portions.
The parties to the agreement would then go between both halves of the animal, along this passage.
The meaning of the rite is explained to us in one of the prophecies given to Jeremiah;
“And the men who transgressed the covenant…which they made before me, I will make like the calf which they cut in two and passed between its parts” –Jeremiah ch34 v18
Even casual oaths can be expressed in the same way. As in Abner’s angry oath in 2 Samuel ch3 v9;
“God do so to Abner and more also if I do not…”
This habit must have been based on the normal oath which was taken when parties “cut a covenant”.
They would have passed through the middle of the animal, in order to identify themselves with it, and they would have declared “May God treat me in the same way as this (and more also) if I do not keep this agreement”.

That’s the pattern of the covenant rite in this chapter.
Abram takes three animals (heifer, she-goat and ram), cuts them in half and lays them upon the ground, each half opposite the other.
Also he lays out, but does not divide, a turtle-dove and a young pigeon. Perhaps one bird is opposite the other.
Then he waits until sunset.
We get the realistic detail that he spends his time driving away the birds of prey which want to attack the raw flesh.

At sunset he falls into a state which can only be described as a “deep sleep” and as a “horror of great darkness”.
He sees a fire and smoke. These are symbols of the presence of the Lord, as they are in Exodus.
In that form, the Lord himself passes between the two sets of “covenant” portions.
This covenant is made by the act alone, without any words.
In fact the Creator could not swear, by anything except himself, because he could not call down the wrath of any higher power than himself.
The specific detail of the promise we learn in the next verse; “this land, from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates”.

The covenant is one-sided. Abram is not asked to make any promise of his own.
In fact there is nothing comparable that he could have offered.
It is God’s role to give, and Abram’s to receive.

The Israelite interpretation of this covenant was straightforward.
The readers were the descendants of Abram.
God had promised them the land in which they were now living.

But the Christian reader must adjust his interpretation in line with the New Testament understanding of the way God works.
This changes our understanding of the covenant in two important respects.
Firstly, the “children” of Abram are no longer his physical descendants alone, but all who share the trust which he placed in his God.
“God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham”- Matthew ch3 v9
“It is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham”- Galatians ch3 v7
Secondly, the “promised land” is no longer a geographical expanse of territory.
“Here we have no lasting city”- Hebrews ch13 v14
It is the prospect of eternal life in the presence of God.
“He will dwell with them and they shall be his people”- Revelation ch21 v3

From the Christian perspective, this was God’s real meaning all along.
It is not for the Christian to believe that God has promised indefinite occupation of a physical territory to a people defined by physical descent.
Our understanding of the promise must be more spiritual.

The most important lesson of the covenant story is what we learn about God.
We learn that he is the kind of God who covenants.
That is, he commits himself to a relationship with his people.
What he wants in return is that his people should commit themselves to him in trust.
That is what constitutes righteousness.

posted on Aug, 29 2014 @ 07:12 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

What is the meaning of God giving Abraham descendants? What is the spiritual / physical honor and privilage in that? Should we understand that it is our pleasure to pleasure God, and that's it? Is there a deeper, more spiritual, meaning in having descendants?

Take in to consideration: Malachi 2:15 and 1 Corinthians 7

What do you think?

posted on Aug, 29 2014 @ 07:31 PM
a reply to: Bleeeeep
My main focus was on Galatians ch3, with "descent from Abraham" symbolising being part of God's people.
But yes, those two passages do bring out the importance for God of the stable marriage relationship, which comes out very strongly in both testaments.
Although the continuity of God's people is not entirely physical, the practice of bringing up children in a godly way comes close.

posted on Aug, 29 2014 @ 07:48 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Well, okay. Just thought I'd ask -- you know how I like deep understanding?


Maybe it has something to do with Paradise/Abraham's Bosom like Jacob to Israel? Their bodies becoming like spiritual bodies / soulful dwellings? Like angels with heavenly bodies?

1 Corinthians 15:39-41

It's got to mean something.

Maybe something like the Mormons think? eh... idk.

Edit to add: Galatians 3... "in" seems to be a theme.
edit on 8/29/2014 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 29 2014 @ 08:01 PM
a reply to: Bleeeeep
I don't think it will be anything like the Mormon teaching, because Jesus said there would be no husbands and wives in the time to come.
The Hebrews were prone to using "son of" with all sorts of loose metaphorical meanings, and this seems to point the way to "children of Abraham" being used metaphorically.

posted on Aug, 29 2014 @ 08:11 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I just meant how Mormons believe in a sort of personal worlds (dwelling places or bodies perhaps) for them and their offspring.

But yeah, I agree - there is no sexual givings in Heaven.

Edit: Metaphors but not nonliteral expressions. Meaning, the metaphors are not just abstract comparisons between physical things and opinions or notions. The metaphors are making comparisons to something which is spiritual and real, not abstract or nonliteral.
edit on 8/29/2014 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 29 2014 @ 08:14 PM
a reply to: Bleeeeep
In fact we don't have any real information about the future life except "always in the presence of God" (Revelation) and "not in bodies of quite the same kind that we have now" (1 Corinthians ch15).

posted on Aug, 29 2014 @ 08:22 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

It has been suggested that Abram was a wise and holy sage long before he became a follower of the monotheistic faith and that his will to reproduce represents a sudden turning away from an ascetic lifestyle into one that has concern for the future of this world. Does that seem plausible to you?

posted on Aug, 29 2014 @ 08:30 PM
a reply to: Nechash
There's no Biblical information whatever on what Abraham was doing before God called him.
On reproduction, the Biblical God was always encouraging marriage and people having lots of children. He thought it was a good thing. He calls himself the God of life, and he promotes the continuation of life.
The Bible doesn't really favour the ascetic ideal,in the sense of avoiding marriage. Vows of lifelong chastity are a post-Biblical thing.

posted on Aug, 29 2014 @ 08:50 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Did you not consider 1 Corinthians 7, in my post above?

God of life means, to me, that he is not a God of death - he doesn't create life just to have things die. It doesn't really mean continued creation of souls for eternity, I don't think so, anyways.
edit on 8/29/2014 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 30 2014 @ 12:10 PM
a reply to: Bleeeeep
No, I wasn't thinking in terms of endless creation of life.
That is ruled out by the statement that there is no marriage or giving in marriage in the life to come.
My point was simply that asceticism, in the sense of deliberately refusing marriage in this life, is alien to the spirit of most of the Bible.
It is completely absent from the Old Testament, and the suggestion of it in 1 Corinthians ch7 is something of a novelty, and subject to conditions.
I don't know what else you were expecting me to find in that chapter. If you think there's an on-topic argument there, you had better expound it, rather than set me to find it.

posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 02:04 PM
This thread is, in a sense, a sequel to;
The two floods of Genesis

posted on Sep, 1 2014 @ 10:18 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I was asking you to consider that verse in the earlier questions that I asked you, and when I saw that you hadn't, I asked you about that verse again because it is so peculiar and hardly fits into the "second stage".

I want to know what you know about "the second stage". I want to know what pleasure/reward it is, spiritually, to have descendants. I want to know about descendants becoming / coming into spiritual dwelling places. I want to know what that means spiritually. You only gave the spiritual/deeper meaning to the "third stage".

I think, probably, you are being told something and you cannot clearly see/understand it, but I want you to see it and tell me because I know it is important.


The sons of God were obviously not meant to have offspring with the daughters of men. Isaac and Jacob were forbade from marrying Canaanites. Solomon forbade from marrying heathen women. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul was basically saying not to marry if the desire for marriage was a lust after flesh, and later in 2 Corinthians, Paul said not to mix yokes, or not to marry other houses which were ungodly. Jesus said not to give what is holy to the dogs and not to cast pearls before swine.

Essentially, all those examples are meant to express that you should not marry / mix houses / give your fruit/seed/images, if the marriage will hinder your relationship with God. In the Bible, house/houses come with the connotation that houses have different spiritual rule and/or spiritual understanding. One house follows one set of rules, authority, and understanding, and another house, another, and that is why they often did not mix houses/seed/images.

Further, the houses, which were blessed by God, became spiritual dwelling places/nations: such as in Abraham's and Jacob's case, where souls dwelled within them.

And my main question again is: What blessing is it to have descendants? Why is it better than just spreading your fruit/images/understandings to the souls/awarenesses that are already in existence? Should we feel more pleasure from raising our own seeds into awareness than we should others'? Is it better to grow your fruit only around your own seed? What's wrong with having seedless fruit if the fruit will feed others' souls? Jesus didn't have kids. I don't understand the promise of lots of children and them dwelling within your spirit. Will the rooms in God's house only have your own seeds there? Aren't the gentiles allowed in? Aren't we all heirs?

I asked a lot of questions but they're mostly rhetorical - I was just trying to illustrate my one main question.
edit on 9/1/2014 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 12:14 AM
Some much needed good points made that should really help fan the flames against the TPTB and their benefactors..really surprised by no attacks

As for the future dealings in marriage these give strong clues - Galatian4
For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

Revelation22 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.

Apparently licking dust will be the order of the Day and war won't be such a profitable business any longer

edit on 2-9-2014 by Rustami because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 2 2014 @ 02:52 PM
a reply to: Bleeeeep
What is the value of having descendants?
The Israelites of the Old Testament period had not been told about eternal life, so having many descendants who would know you as their ancestor was the next best thing.
That's why men were so grieved about not having children.
You may know the law of levirate marriage, which decreed that if a man died without children, his brother should marry his widow and produce children "in the name of" the dead man. Even though they would be only nominally the descendants of the deceased brother, that seemed to be better than nothing.

The demand that men should marry godly wives doesn't interfere with the quest for many descendants, for the simple reason that the supply of godly wives increases as time goes on. Isaac and Jacob could only find women of their own people by looking outside the land, but from Joshua's time onwards that was not necessary, because Israel's men could find many women of their own people living on the same territory. The expansion of "God's people" to include the Gentiles spreads the net even further.

And as I said, from New Testament times onwards the definition of "descendant" changes from physical descent to sharing the same faith.

edit on 2-9-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

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