Articles by other Colleagues
Thoughts of A Spiritual Nature / February 1997/John H. Stephens
Thoughts of A Spiritual Nature / March 1997/John H. Stephens
The TRUE evil of homosexuality - FEAR/Leif M. Wright
Thoughts of A Spiritual Nature / April 1997/John H. Stephens
Thoughts of A Spiritual Nature / May 1997/John H. Stephens
Thoughts of A Spiritual Nature / June 1997/John H. Stephens
Thoughts of a Spiritual Nature July 1997
By: John Stephens / Bible Teacher
ATP Colleagues in Ministry
"God made a statement. There were no conditions or laws to obey - just believe God. The result of believing was that God did What He says He would do."
Last month, we started looking at the covenants of God. There are three major covenants, Abrahamic, Mosaic, and the New Covenant through Jesus the Anointed One. The Mosaic Covenant is an agreement between God and Israel, an individual and a group. Each had responsibilities under the agreement, stated for the group, Israel, in what are called the mosaic laws. Absolute obedience would make you right with God, any failure was covered by sacrifices to bring you right with God again, until you disobeyed. But the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant are like testaments or wills. God makes statements (promises, or a will) and to enter into the covenant, we believe God will do what He has stated (promised or willed) He will do. We begin by looking at the Abrahamic Covenant.
Genesis 15:1-6 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward." But Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!" And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
God made a statement. There were no conditions or laws to obey - just believe God. The result of believing was that God did what He says He would do. Abraham had a son and his descendants are more than the stars you can see with your naked eye!
Genesis 15:7 Then He said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it." (NKJ)
God made a statement and kept it.
Genesis 15:8 And he said, "Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?" (NKJ)
Abraham has a problem believing and God sets up a ceremony to confirm His statement. In Abraham's day, this ceremony was performed by individuals entering into a covenant or contract of a personal nature, like a covenant between two families whereby the son of one family will marry the daughter of the other.
Genesis 15:9-11 So He said to him, "Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. (NKJ)
The idea here is that two individuals passing through the split halves of the animals, become one in agreement. Abraham accepts this ceremony as an agreement between God and himself. Now look what happens.
Genesis 15:12-16 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. "And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. "Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. "But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." (NKJ)
Abraham falls asleep and the Bible says "a deep sleep." God tells him what is going to happen in the future, and that God's promise will be fulfilled.
Genesis 15:17-21 And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates--"the Kenites, the Kenezzites, and the Kadmonites, "the Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Rephaim, "the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites." (NKJ)
God, while Abraham was asleep, completes the ceremony. There are several thoughts we need to pursue.
First, the ceremony did not include Abraham. He was asleep. Therefore, the agreement becomes a statement from God to Abraham, and Abraham was to believe.
Second, there are two images of God present, passing between the two halves of the animals, - "there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces".
I am certain the images represent God, the Father, and God, the Son, the Light of the World. The smoking oven speaks of supply, of satisfying needs. The burning torch speaks of God's Word coming into this world to reveal God in all His Glory.
John H. Stephens, is a good friend of Evangelist Perkins and this Ministry. John's page will be up-dated on a regular basis, so keep visiting his page. You can respond to his articles via According To Prophecy Ministries email given below. John 's email will be submitted to this page in the near future.
John H. Stephens: Secularly educated at the University of Texas and the University of Houston in Phycology, John found the real answer to life's questions and problems was in Jesus the Christ and His Word. Called to the ministry of pastor and teacher in 1973, he served as pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he served as co-pastor of a nondenominational church and began teaching seminars in the Houston area. He has served on the operational staff on Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association and Morris Cerullo World Evangelism. He teaches several seminars, including the "Triumphant Church", "End-time Evangelism" and "Privileges of the Bride of Christ."
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