The Cutting of the Covenant in Genesis 15
by Don Costello 5/18/2008 / Bible Studies
And 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.
And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
And 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.
And he took him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
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 four hundred years;
And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
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.
In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seedd have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Eurphrates:
The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
a. According to Jeremiah 34:18, the participants of the covenant walked between the animals and professed the words of the covenant.
b. The participants who walked in between the pieces in this case were "a smoking furnace and a burning lamp". I personally believe they were two of the Persons of Godhead, the LORD God and the LORD God, i.e. the Father God and the pre-incarnate Christ.
c. The words spoken were, "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites."
The added element is Ezekiel 47:14, "And ye shall inherit it, one as well as another: concerning the which I lifted up mine hand to give it unto your fathers:"
1). In light of that we see The First Person of the Godhead speaking to the Second Person of the Godhead.
d. The cutting of the covenant took place on the plains of Mamre right outside present day Hebron, within the so called "West Bank".
1. Little known fact: From the cutting of the Covenant till Israel left Egypt was 430 years.
a. Galatians 3:16, 17 "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect."
b. The giving of the law was 430 years after this Covenant.
c.Israel arrived at Sinai in the third month after coming out of Egypt, within the 430th year.
1). Exodus 19:1 "In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai."
2.All translations except two say Israel was in Egypt 430 years
a. Exodus 12:40, 41 "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt."
a. All translations that I checked, (Amplified, NASB, NRSV, and NIV) they all clearly say Israel was in Egypt 430 years. For example, the New American Standard Bible says in Exodus 12:40, "Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years."
b. If you look closely at the King James translation, it really does not state clearly that Israel was in Egypt four hundred and thirty years. It could be understood to mean, that their "sojourning" was four hundred and thirty years and at the end of the 430 years which occurred while they were in Egypt, the sojourning ended.
c. As stated before all the translations that I checked say clearly that Israel was in Egypt 430 years, all except one, the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of Hebrew Old Testament, written around 200-300 B.C. The Septuagint says it differently.
1). Exodus 12:40 "And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan was four hundred and thirty years."
d. The 430 years is from the Covenant in Genesis 15 till they came out of Egypt. The interesting twist is that it was 430 years to the day. Exodus 12:41 "And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt."
e. Israel came out of Egypt on the 14th of Nisan the first Passover, according to the Jewish calendar. Jesus was crucified on the 14th of Nisan according to the Jewish calendar. The Covenant of Genesis 15 was on the 14th of Nisan. Since that is true, the implications are profound.
1). God has a calendar that I believe he has operated by since creation. Scripturally, we can prove that He has operated within that calendar since the Covenant of Genesis 15. God gave that calendar, with all the Sabbaths, new moons, feasts and festivals to his Covenant people at Sinai: Exodus 12:1-28; Leviticus 23. These elements of the calendar were shadows of what God would do through Christ: the body casting the shadow is Jesus Christ, Colossians 2:16, 17. Jesus crucified on Passover, the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost, etc., When Jesus comes back, at least one of the Feasts, i.e., the Feast of Tabernacles, will be reinstituted as a requirement for the whole world, Zechariah 14:16-19. Eventually the whole world will governed by this calendar as evidenced by Isaiah 66:23 "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD."
f. God promised He would bring them back into the land.
1). Deuteronomy 30:1-6 (5)
2). Scripture implies Israel would be brought back into the land before their regeneration as a nation: Ezekiel 36:24, 25. That is where we are at right now.
3). Isaiah 62:4, 5 God is married to Israel and the land.
4). Jeremiah 12:14 calls Israel's neighbors evil if they try to touch their inheritance.
5). Ezekiel 36:1-15 is a passage referring to the "mountains of Israel". A good Atlas that details the elevations of the area around Israel will show that the mountains of Israel, except the area of the Golan Heights, match perfectly the area called the West Bank.
g. Ezekiel 36:5 God is speaking in the fire of his jealously because he is married to Israel and the land.
1). Zephaniah 3:8, The fire of the LORD'S jealously.
2). Joel 3:2 Every nation that participates in the dividing up of the land will be brought.
My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.