1. Review of the issue of Abraham’s sin against God.
I’m still writing about Genesis 15 and the issue of Abraham’s triple sins:
- of disobeying God by producing a child who was a stranger to the Promise
- of polygamy – he rebelled against the Order of Creation in which God created marriage between one man and one woman.
- For listening to his wife’s instructions and for failing to ask God what to do.
In response to Abraham’s question for a sign that He would keep the Promise that a child would be born, God had asked Abraham to make an altar of sacrifice and to place on it:
“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” (Genesis 15: 9)
2. What is the meaning in each of the animals placed on the altar
Until it was revealed to me, I did not attach any importance to the type of animals placed on the altar. However, we can elicit their meanings from the Law of Moses which came into play hundreds of years later. Under the law, the Jews were asked to sacrifice specific animals for specific sins. What is therefore the meaning of each animal placed on Abraham’s altar?
3. The meaning of the 3 year old heifer
- `Eglah (H 5697) is the Hebrew word used for heifer in Genesis 15: 9.
- A three year old heifer has never been worked and has never worn a yoke (Deut 21: 3) = Hagar was a virgin.
- `Eglah was used in relation to a very fair heifer (`eglah). Hagar the Egyptian was very beautiful (Jer 46: 20; Hosea 10: 11)
- A young cow/`eglah (Isa 7: 21) = Hagar was young
- A three year old heifer/`eglah was prophetically associated with mourning and desolation, symbolic of Hagar’s desolation and grief as she fled the first time then was forever put out of the home with her son (Isa 15: 5; Jeremiah 48: 34)
4. The meaning of the three year old she/female goat
Under the Law of Moses, a female goat was offered as an atonement for sin if a person ignorantly broke the Law (Lev 4: 27 -29). A female she goat was also offered for the sin of unknowingly making an oath then breaking it (Lev 5: 4-6). This refers to Abraham’s failure to ask God whether or not he should marry a second wife. By believing the Word of the Lord that he would indeed have a child, Abraham had unknowingly agreed that the child would be his and Sarah’s. We know that was God’s intent all along, because He rejected Ishmael as the heir of the Covenant with God. Note that he did bless Ishmael with material possessions and made him a great nation.
We learn that we need to understand God’s ways since He deals with us from His perspective and not from ours.
5. The meaning of the three year old ram
This was offered when a person sinned ignorantly under the Law of Moses (Lev 5: 15)
6. The meaning of the young turtledove and pigeon
These birds were offered by women as a purification offering following the birth of a child of any sex (Lev 12: 6). This prophetically referred to Ishmael’s birth.
7. Relevance of God’s advanced offering for modern day believers.
God know the nature of our sins even before we do. Like Abraham, we sin ignorantly at times. God said that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge – of His Word and Ways. We need to learn His ways and Word to please Him. Under the New and upgraded Covenant, the blood of Jesus is the atonement for our sins. God’s dealings with Abraham reveal that He is forever merciful to those who fear Him and keep His commandments and this is revealed in that three of the five offerings (60%), were given for the sin of Ignorance. Today, God expects us to be more advanced in the Knowledge of His Word.
Most importantly, it is imperative that we interpret the Word of God as God sees it and not according to how we see it. He calls this Knowledge of His Ways. Abraham erred because of Lack of knowledge of God’s Ways and Word. We would do well to learn from his mistakes and avoid falling into sin. Blessings