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Grace Bible Church

Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries


The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.

The Tree of Life for week ending 11/04/01.
The Mystery Behind the Lord Reminding Abram of the Stars Part 2.

Thank God we have the Bible:
Forty different authors writing over a period of 1,600 years penned the 66 books of the Bible.  Four hundred silent years separated the 39 books of the Old Testament from the 27 of the New Testament.
Yet, from Genesis to Revelation, they tell one unfolding story. Together they give consistent answers to the most important questions we can ask: Why are we here?  What do we do about our sins and failures?  Is there a Heaven?  Is there a Hell?  What about our eternity?
All of these were addressed and manifested in the stellar universe or the starry heavens and very clearly delineated and then they were put into a scriptural record.
Speaking of the stars in Psa 19:1 "The stars [not the heavens, the shamayim the place where the celestial bodies revolve] are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.  Day to day the stars pours forth speech [through human conversation about what they said the night before], And night to night the stars reveal knowledge."

Once again, we see how Satan takes that which God has created and perverts it so that he can counterfeit the work of God.
While many were debating things like Evolution, Atheism, Agnosticism, the New Age and Astrology little did we know what Satan was really planning, the growth and emergence of Islam for the purpose of taking over the world.

We have recently studied all of this background to show that everything that our God does, the true God of the Jew and the Christian, the false god Satan tries to counterfeit.
In 2CO 11:3 "But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.  For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully."

We have been studying the Lord's answer to Abram as he was worried and concerned about his logistics for life.
GEN 15:1-4 "After these things [Abram's four great victories in Chapter 14] the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great. And Abram said, O Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Since Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir. Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, This man [Eliezer] will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir."
In verses 5-7, we see these three pictures or three objective lessons.
In GEN 15:5 "And He took him outside and said, Now look toward the heavens, and record or scribe the stars, if you are able to inscribe them. And He said to him, So shall your descendants be."

The first lesson is in the stars which illustrates the fact that as the Creator of the stars, the Lord has the ability to solve Abram's problems but also at that time, the stars were one of the ways that God communicated His message before the Old Testament began to be written by Moses.

Secondly, there is the promise of salvation. Verse 6: "Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. Now, the word 'aman points back to a decision that Abraham had already made, he believed in the Lord."
The perfect tense of 'aman in the Hebrew is a past completed action, an action which was completed many years ago.  Abram had been saved for over twenty-five years and had salvation. 

The third lesson brought out in this passage is Faithfulness. Verse 7, "And He said to him, I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it."

We, like Abram, have no right to worry, LUK 12:27-33.  Not only are we tested with regard to logistical grace support from God but we are also tested concerning our love for Bible doctrine as well as our social life, loved ones, our failures, other distractions, and our families.  Even in spiritual maturity, we face testing, as Abraham did when he was commanded to offer his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.  We are tested in all stages of spiritual growth, but never beyond our capacity.

As a part of God's faithfulness, He always provides the doctrine or the opportunity to get the doctrine necessary to pass each test before it comes.  Therefore, Bible doctrine is your way of escape from each test, and that doctrine is provided by the faithfulness of God.
God's faithfulness becomes a reality as we advance to and reach spiritual maturity.
Remember Colossians 1:16-17 tells us that God the Son is the One who created and holds the universe together.  God the Son is the One who went to the cross, and God the Son is the One who provides for us in time. 
Understanding these illustrations and hearing the promises, there is no excuse for Abram, or any other believer, to worry about anything.
Therefore, the second cure for Abram's doubts and fears is the doctrine of the word of God, suggested in verses 8-11.

He entertained anxieties about the possibility of inheriting the land that God had promised him.  Abram saw the land occupied by the Amorites, as well as many giants.  Not only that, Chedorlaomer and his forces had been moving back and forth throughout the land, threatening to envelop it.  Although it was humanly hopeless, it was not hopeless to God.  Remember the words of our Lord in MAT 17:20 "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain [a reference to any huge obstacle in your life], Move from here to there, and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you."
Abram will learn a little bit later, the truth behind GEN 18:14 "Is anything too difficult for the Lord?"

Abram was ignorant of or rejected certain doctrines that would have given him assurance.  The answer, therefore, will of necessity be a doctrinal one.
So note verse 9 where five different types of animals are mentioned.
Abram needs to get back in fellowship with God under the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit, therefore in GEN 15:9, the Lord said to him, "Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon."

This is the first time that the heifer, female goat, ram, the turtledove, and the young pigeon are all mentioned.  However, this was not new or strange to Abram, because he knew how to chart the stars.  Before the scriptural record there was the Stellar record, the witness of the stars.  Abram knew about the witness of the stars and Capricornus, the Sea Goat.  He knew the significance of the sign of the goat which represented the animal being sacrificed.  He knew the relevance of the fish's tale representing the people for whom the atonement is made.  This of course is a picture of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was wounded for our transgressions or as "for the transgressions of His people," and that is why the fish's tale is in the back because He took the divine judgment for our sins.  Within this constellation, there are two bright stars, Al Gedi meaning the kid or the goat, Deneb Al Gedi meaning the sacrifice cometh.  And this is exactly in accordance with the Scriptures, LEV 16:8-10.  The atonement of the people involved two goats.  By casting lots the priest chose between the goats.  One was chosen for the Lord, the other was chosen for the scapegoat. The priest transferred the sins of the people onto the scapegoat and then it was driven into the wilderness.

The ancient Jews considered the two goats to be two halves of a single sacrifice.
Look at another passage that reveals that this is not something that was new to Abram because Job, which is the oldest book in the Bible, says something also about this.
JOB 9:1-9 "Then Job answered, in truth I know that this is so, But how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to dispute with Him, He could not answer Him once in a thousand times.  Wise in heart and mighty in strength, Who has defied Him without harm?   It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how, When He overturns them in His anger; Who shakes the earth out of its place, And its pillars tremble; Who commands the sun not to shine, And sets a seal upon the stars; Who alone stretches out the heavens, And tramples down the waves of the sea; Who makes the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south;"
What is the Bear, Orion and Pleiades?

The Bear refers to `Ayish (ah'-yish); or the constellation of the Great Bear from its migration through the heavens, Ursa Major.  This is the constellation of the north celestial pole containing the seven stars that form the Big Dipper.  The great bear represents the fold and the flock.  It is a large and important constellation containing 87 stars.  The brightest star is named Dubhe which means a herd of animals or a flock and gives its name to the whole constellation.  The star Merach which means to be purchased.  The star Phaeda or Pheccad meaning visited, guarded or numbered as a flock.  The star Alioth meaning a she goat.  The star Mizar meaning separate or small.  The star Al cor meaning the lamb.  It also contains the star named Al Caid or Benet Nasch referring to the daughters of the assembly.  The names of other stars all point to the same testimony, the sheep, the sheepfold, the assembly.  That's just in the first phrase in JOB 9:9.

Then we have Orion and Pleiades referring to the constellations and the seven stars.
In JOB 38:31-33 "Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, Or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her satellites? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth?"
So when the Lord  said to him, "Bring Me a three year old heifer."  Abram knew the heifer which portrayed the rebound offering.  The first thing Abram needed to do was to rebound and confess his fear mentioned in verse 1.
He also needed to confess his doubt in verse 2.
His arrogance in blaming God in verse 3.
And his lack of faith in God in verse 8.

Then next, the Lord said "Bring Me a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram."   The she-goat and the ram both spoke of the work of Christ in salvation.
Specifically, the she-goat was the reconciliation offering, while the ram depicted propitiation.  Then "and a turtledove, and a young pigeon."

The turtle dove and the young pigeon spoke of the Person of Christ and His heavenly origin, the turtle dove portraying His deity and the pigeon His resurrected humanity.  Neither bird was divided, because deity cannot be divided or killed.
What the Lord was saying to Abram by bringing these doctrines of Christ before him was that through the heifer, or "rebound" offering, He was saying, "Abram, you need have no worries with regard to your sins because by confessing them you are forgiven and your sins are blotted out."

You see, up to now Abram was still worried.  God had given him a promise, but he was still worried.  He received another promise, and he was still worried. 
He will keep on worrying, no matter if he has a thousand promises, because he has not used rebound.  He has not confessed his sin of worry, and he is therefore out of fellowship.
We cannot claim the promises of God and appropriate them when we are out of fellowship.  Thus, Abraham offered the heifer, which is the "rebound" offering, because it was necessary to get back in fellowship before he could even claim the promises of God.
GEN 15:10 "Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds."
Abram first divided the heifer, then the she-goat.  The point is, if Jesus Christ provided reconciliation (the heifer or the resound offering, the removal of the barrier between God and man), He can meet our problems in time, so stop worrying.

Then he divided the ram, the ram was the propitiation offering.  
The point is that if God the Son, hanging on the cross, satisfied God the Father, and all of the Father's claims against us, He can handle our problems in time, so stop worrying.
The turtle dove spoke of the deity of Christ.  Jesus Christ is God - deity.  He is always faithful (immutable), He always keeps His Word (veracity), He keeps on loving us and He is eternal in nature.  Can a Person like that solve my problems? 
He can, therefore, stop worrying.

The young pigeon represented the resurrected humanity of Christ, which is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us.  If the humanity of Christ is thus engaged on our behalf, He can certainly meet our needs in time, so stop worrying.
As soon as Abraham divided, or cut the heifer in half, we know he had rebounded.  
When he walked between the pieces of the heifer, he was saying in effect, "I have confessed my sins."  When he killed the other animals, it was analogous to being under the blood of Christ trusting in Him as his Lord and Savior. 

Notice that next we have the messengers of the Devil.  Whenever the grace of God is portrayed, the kingdom of darkness attacks.  GEN 15:11 "And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away."
Now that Abram has rebounded, the devil is going to get after haim, that is exactly what we have in verse 11, the devil counter-attacked. 
As soon as we stop worrying and learn to claim the promises of God and use doctrine, we are going to have more things about which we could worry. 
We will have greater temptations to worry about and undoubtedly be tested in some way.
These fowls mentioned in verse 11 are described for us in Matthew 13:3-4, 18-19, and 31-32.

Matthew 13:3-4">MAT 13:3-4 "And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some {seeds} fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up."
In MAT 13:18-19 "Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil {one} comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road."
MAT 13:31-32 "He presented another parable to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all {other} seeds; but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."

They are the messengers of Satan or individuals under Satan's influence.  
It is a part of the devil's plan to get us to worry.  That is why when 1PE 5:7 says "casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you."
The next verse says "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary [diabolis is like the Hebrew word satana and it means an attorney, an attorney who slanders], the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking some believer to devour."

The roaring is something to make us worry, and the devouring is when we start to worry.  
Back in GEN 15:11b, "Abram drove them away."  For the first time, Abram had stopped worrying.  To drive them away means that he had perfect peace; he was no longer worried.  He stood on the promises of God; he applied doctrine to experience and had victory in his life.
However, Abram's victorious experience lasted only until night-time, for after he retired for the night, a new type of worry troubled him and it produced a nightmare.
There is a cure for this, too, but Abram had to find it out the hard way.
GEN 15:12  "Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him."

Darkness here speaks of pressure which we all have, we cannot grow up without pressure.  God provides pressure, adversity and suffering so that we'll learn to claim His promises and use the doctrine of the Word.
Abram was still worried about one thing, "How can I ever get all of this land, northward, southward, eastward and westward, as God promised it to me, after separation from Lot?"

GEN 15:13-15 "And God said to Abram, Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions. And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age."
The problem of ignorance had to be disposed of. God had to postpone His answer to teach Abram, by the offerings and sacrifices, the importance of knowing the doctrines pertaining to Christ and His constant provision for Abraham.
Now that Abraham understood these things and applied the doctrine of rebound to the situation, God supplies the clinching answer to Abraham's worry.
Not only can Abram stop having nightmares now, but for four hundred years Jews in Egyptian slavery will not need to have nightmares.  They will be able to live quiet, normal lives under tremendous pressure.  Even though the lash of the taskmaster will bite deep, and even though many will be tortured and slain, they are going to live normal lives for four hundred years under intense pressure. 
How?  
By claiming the promises of God, by claiming prophecy and by claiming doctrine.
Accurately prophesied, the Jews were in slavery for four hundred years.  
That is enough to destroy any race, but it did not destroy them, in fact it made them.

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