Learn Hebrew

Learn Torah

Hebrew for Christians
Further thoughts on Lekh-Lekha...

An Unconditional Promise...

Further thoughts on Parashat Lekha

by John J. Parsons

When Abram asked how he could know that he would inherit the land of Canaan (Gen. 15:8), God ratified his promise with a covenant ceremony, which served as a sort of "sworn contract." In ancient times, a common way to make a formal agreement was for two parties to lay their hands on the head of an animal that was slaughtered and then divided into pieces. Each party of the contract would then hold hands as they walked between the pieces, somberly pledging themselves to the terms of the agreement - lest they suffer the same fate that befell the animal (see Jer. 34:18). In the case of Abram, however, God's agreement to give him the land was clearly unconditional, since after slaughtering the animals he fell into a deep trance (תַּרְדֵּמָה) that immobilized him and rendered him powerless to act. When he awoke from the trance, he saw God walking alone between the pieces (Gen. 15:17). In other words, God made a unilateral promise to give the land to Abram, and Abram was simply to keep faith in God's word...

The "Abrahamic covenant" i.e., the "Covenant Between the Parts" (בְּרִית בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים), is clearly an unconditional and unilateral covenant established by means of the oath of God Almighty. Note that the "smoking furnace" alludes to the altar at the Tabernacle, as the "flaming torch" alludes to the menorah in the Holy Place. These both picture the altar of the cross and the Light of the World given in Yeshua. Like Abram, we find ourselves in a "trancelike" state, unable to do the sacrifice, but God only asks that we keep faith in Him. Those who want to impugn God's plan for ethnic Israel need to remember that if God could break his promise to Abram, he could likewise break his promise to the church...

Note also that the boundaries of the land promised to Abram are described as being "from the river of Egypt (Nile) to the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen. 15:18), an area of land that was never fully possessed by the Jewish people, even during the reign of king Solomon. This "greater Israel" will indeed be given to the Jewish people as their homeland during the time of the Millennial Kingdom, when Yeshua establishes Zion upon the earth...


<< Return to Lekh Lekha


Hebrew for Christians
Copyright © John J. Parsons
All rights reserved.