ESV - 17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
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In my opinion, the smoking fire-pot was symbolic or prophetic of the forthcoming captivity of Abraham's descendants in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 4:20 refers to the exodus as Israel's deliverance from the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt.) In addition, this may also be prophetic of the manner in which the Israelites would be required to bake bricks by the Egyptians (Exodus 5:6-19). The burning lamp was a symbol of the majesty of God and of Israel's eventual deliverance from Egypt, in the same way that God went before the Israelites in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night following the exodus (Exodus 13:21-22). The fact that these symbols passed between the pieces of the sacrificial offerings that Abraham had laid out was indicative of a pledge by God to fulfill the covenant that He was making with Abraham. The act of the parties to a covenant passing between the halves of the animals (as referenced in Jeremiah 34:18, for example) implied that the party who would be responsible for any future violation of the terms of the covenant would suffer the same fate as the animals had.
1st you need to understand what is happening in this passage. Gen 15:6 - God count Abram righteous because of his belief Gen 15:7 - God tells Abram He was the one who lead Abram to the promise land. Gen 15:8 Abram asked God how is he going to know that God's promise will happen. Gen 15:9 God made a covenant with Abram The killing of 3-year-old heifer, a 3-year-old female goat, a 3-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon causes blood to be spilled on the floor. The bodies of these animals are placed on the opposite side of the blood that were spilled. This is what the people in the desert in those days do when they want to make a covenant with each other. This pool of blood is called the Blood Path. After the blood was spilled, both parties of the covenant are to walk through the blood path - beginning with the one higher in authority, then the lower. After both parties walked through the path, what you are telling each other is this: If either of us fail to keep our part of the covenant then either yours or my blood will be spilled on the floor like these animals did. God's part of this covenant: God will give Abram countless descendants like the stars in the sky! Genesis 15:5 Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have! Abram's part of the covenant: Abram knew he has to be the other part of the covenant and yet there was NOTHING for him to fulfill. Genesis 15:11 says when the covenant animals were killed the vultures came to attack the sacrifices. This symbolize the devil coming to attempt to break the covenant and Abram "tried to chase them away." This symbolized Abram trying to fulfill his part of the covenant. God was silent on that part BECAUSE there WAS NOTHING for Abram to do for his part. In fact, Gensis 15:12 says "As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram," God waited for Abram to rest into deep sleep, THEN He spoke to Abram. If you and I are trying to fulfill our part of the covenant, its not going to work. Till you and I learn to REST and FALL into deep sleep in the LORD, to COMPLETELY TRUST GOD, then He can speak! Genesis 15:17 After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. So what do the smoking fire pot and the flaming torch symbolize? Exodus 3:1-4:7 God appeared to Moses as the fire burning in the bush Exodus 13:21 God appeared as the pillar of fire to the Israelite when He brought them out of Egypt Deuteronomy 4:24 The LORD is a consuming fire Exodus 24:17 To the Israelite the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Acts 2:1-13 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire. Both these symbolize God. In other words, God was walking through the blood path ONCE for Himself, and the TWICE for Abram and ALL his descendants, all those who would believe in Jesus who is Abraham's descendants are also included - that include YOU AND ME. So what God is saying here is this covenant that he sets up between Abraham and Him is a BLOOD COVENANT promise that should He or Abraham's descendant failed to achieve, HE HIMSELF will be CUT OFF. This is WHY Jesus was cut off as in Isaiah 53:8 "He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken." This is the most beautiful picture of the Gospel! God sets His heart to save mankind knowing fully well man can never save themselves! Shout Hallelujah to Jesus, our Loving King and Savior!
The key active points to who is making this covenant that God makes with Abram/Abraham in the ancient style of very most solemn covenant is that it is ratified by a fiery-flame and smoking-smoke. The fiery-flame is Jehovah, the Word, the pre-incarnate Jesus, the "lamp unto my feet and light unto my path", the "only revealer of God the Father." The Smoking-Smoke or Cloud is the Holy Spirit, who is often seen acting in concert with Jehovah, the pre-incarnate Jesus, in the Old Testament, just as they repeatedly "SAW" Jehovah come down "IN" the cloud (not "as" a cloud), but He was not the cloud. Nor did the Word-Son-Jehovah need to do "cheap theatrics"... that was the Holy Spirit, who some traditions recognize as hugely powerful, but other traditions have wrongly disregarded and assigned to the bottom-right of their theological book-shelf. I hope you study God's word enough to find the verses and prove it to yourself. God Bless You, Guy R Gifford, Guru Guide Guy Gifford.
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