Children’s Study – Abraham, Part 6

Abraham – Part 6

Abraham saw a smoking furnace and a burning lamp

[by Victor Torres]

Last study we saw the LORD instructing Abraham to offer to Him three groups of animals: of the fowls (a turtledove and a young pigeon), of the flock (a female goat and a ram), and of the herd (a heifer).

We learned that these three groups of animals are symbols of our different levels of maturity when we are in Christ. We start out very immature (of the fowls), having faith in Jesus Christ, but easily influenced by people who are trying to deceive or trick us.

Eph 4:14 (ERV) Then we will no longer be like babies. We will not be people who are always changing like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not be influenced by every new teaching we hear from people who are trying to deceive us–those who make clever plans and use every kind of trick to fool others into following the wrong way.

Then we mature a little bit, and we learn more of God’s words (of the flock). But at this point, we are not yet mature enough to lead the flock. We are like spiritual teenagers, we are just starting to learn yet we think we know everything there is to know. This is where the apostles were when they were with our Lord. Here is one event where we are shown their immaturity:

Mar 8:31 (MKJV) And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mar 8:32 And He spoke that saying openly. And Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him.
Mar 8:33 But when He had turned around and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Go behind Me, Satan! For you do not mind the things of God, but of the things of men.

Even though Peter was the one who told our Lord, “that’s not going to happen to you, Lord” (Mat 16:22), we know that all of the disciples were agreeing with Peter because the Lord “turned around and looked on His disciples” before He rebuked (or strongly corrected) Peter. At this point, we don’t have the maturity yet to suffer for Christ, but instead, we want to resist evil and mind the things of men.

But there will come a time when the Lord will decide to mature us enough to lead others into Christ (of the herd). This is the time that we will have the boldness to say like the apostle Paul, follow me as I follow Christ.

1Co 11:1 (KJV) Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

This is the time that we understand and are ready to teach the secret wisdom of God.

1Co 2:6 (ERV) We teach wisdom to people who are mature, but the wisdom we teach is not from this world. It is not the wisdom of the rulers of this world, who are losing their power.
1Co 2:7 But we speak God’s secret wisdom that has been hidden from everyone until now. God planned this wisdom for our glory. He planned it before the world began.

Let’s continue reading the story of Abraham:

Gen 15:9 (ESV) He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
Gen 15:10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half.
Gen 15:11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses [dead body], Abram drove them away.

In past studies, we have learned that birds in the Bible are symbols of spirits. They can be good or bad spirits. The birds that Abraham offered, although symbols of our immature faith and understanding, are still good spirits or true teachings. The birds of prey that try to eat Abraham’s offerings are symbols of evil spirits or false teachings. They are symbols of Satan and other evil spirits which try to twist our understanding of God’s words.

These birds of prey show us that whether we are just the newest member of His body or we are one of the most mature members, we can be attacked by the lies of Satan. I showed you last time how other churches twist the words of God, teaching false doctrines like tithing, forbidding certain foods, and teaching rituals like eating physical bread and drinking physical wine. God is not impressed with these outward rituals.

Another outward ritual that you can see in these false churches is physical baptism. Whether it is done by sprinkling water or by submerging one into a river or a baptismal pool, it doesn’t change the person’s heart. What changes your heart is the true baptism, being washed by His word.

Eph 5:25 (MKJV) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,
Eph 5:26 that He might sanctify [make it holy] and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word,

You will not see physical baptism taking place here in the body of Christ. What we are doing right now, though, studying the words of God, is the true baptism. The apostle Paul, later in his life, understood this true baptism:

1Co 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize [physically], but to preach the gospel [spiritual baptism]; not in wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

Another outward display of righteousness that these false churches do is build these lavish churches and temples, as if God will be impressed by them. I have seen many Catholic churches all over Italy that must have cost much money. The Mormon church and my former church, the Iglesia Ni Cristo also pride themselves with building these expensive “houses of worship”.

You will not see the true body of Christ waste the money God has given them to build these physical temples, because we know God does not dwell in houses made with human hands.

Act 7:48 (ERV) “But the Most High God does not live in houses built by human hands. This is what the prophet writes:
Act 7:49 ‘The Lord says, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is where I rest my feet. So do you think you can build a house for me? Do I need a place to rest?
Act 7:50 Remember, I made all these things!'”

If He doesn’t live in houses built by human hands, where does God live then?

1Co 3:16 (ERV) You should know that you yourselves are God’s temple. God’s Spirit lives in you.

It is in us where God lives. So when we help and encourage each other, when we teach the words of God to each other, we are building God’s temple.

The examples I gave you are just some of the false teachings of these false churches. This is why like Abraham, the body of Christ must drive out these false teachings that wants to creep in and destroy the body. Jesus Christ tells His followers to guard against these false teachings:

Mat 16:5 (ERV) Jesus and his followers went across the lake. But the followers forgot to bring bread.
Mat 16:6 Jesus said to the followers, “Be careful! Guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
Mat 16:7 The followers discussed the meaning of this. They said, “Did Jesus say this because we forgot to bring bread?”
Mat 16:8 Jesus knew that they were talking about this. So he asked them, “Why are you talking about not having bread? Your faith is small [The apostles were still immature at this point].
Mat 16:9 Do you still not understand? Remember the five loaves of bread that fed the 5000 people and the many baskets you filled with the bread that was left?
Mat 16:10 And remember the seven loaves of bread that fed the 4000 people and the many baskets you filled that time?
Mat 16:11 So how could you think that I am concerned about bread? I am telling you to be careful and guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
Mat 16:12 Then the followers understood what Jesus meant. He was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread. He was telling them to guard against the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees of today are the false ministers of the false churches of Babylon. Their teachings are based on Satan’s lies, and if the body of Christ lets their teachings in, it will destroy the whole body. The Bible calls the elect little flock, like a small group of sheep. And it uses predators like birds of prey, wolves, and lions as symbols of false teachers who wants to take advantage of the elect.

Eze 39:4 (ESV) You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.

Mat 10:16 (ESV) “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

1Pe 5:8 (ISV) Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

The true ministers of God do not let these false teachings to be taught in the body. They follow Jesus Christ, the good shepherd, who lays down His life for the sheep.

Joh 10:11 (ERV) “I am the good shepherd, and the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
Joh 10:12 The worker who is paid to keep the sheep is different from the shepherd. The paid worker does not own the sheep. So when he sees a wolf coming, he runs away and leaves the sheep alone. Then the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them.
Joh 10:13 The man runs away because he is only a paid worker. He does not really care for the sheep.
Joh 10:14 – 15 “I am the shepherd who cares for the sheep. I know my sheep just as the Father knows me. And my sheep know me just as I know the Father. I give my life for these sheep.

Let’s continue the story of Abraham:

Gen 15:12 (ERV) The sun began to go down and Abram got very sleepy. While he was asleep, a very terrible darkness came over him.
Gen 15:13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “You should know this: Your descendants will live in a country that is not their own. They will be strangers there. The people there will make them slaves and be cruel to them for 400 years.
Gen 15:14 But then I will punish the nation that made them slaves. Your people will leave that land, and they will take many good things with them.
Gen 15:15 “You yourself will live to be very old. You will die in peace and will be buried with your family.
Gen 15:16 (ESV) And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
Gen 15:17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces [the pieces of meat that Abraham sacrificed].

[Q – Why did Abram see a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch?]

Here’s Gen 15:17 in the KJV:

Gen 15:17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.

So what is the meaning of that smoking furnace and burning lamp that Abraham saw in his sleep? The smoking furnace and burning lamp passed through the pieces of meat that Abraham sacrificed.

Those pieces of meat from the least valuable (the birds) to the most valuable (the cow) tell us of the process of God bringing us up from being immature babes in Christ to mature ministers in Christ.

The smoking furnace and burning lamp tells us of the same thing. At the start of our life, we are slaves of our flesh. Egypt is a symbol of our flesh, and that is the meaning of the smoking furnace.

Gen 15:13 (ERV) Then the Lord said to Abram, “You should know this: Your descendants will live in a country that is not their own [Egypt, our flesh]. They will be strangers there. The people there will make them slaves and be cruel to them for 400 years.

Deu 4:20 (KJV) But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.

But because of His mercy, He will send His word to us, the burning lamp, to free us from being slaves of our flesh.

Psa 18:28 (ESV) For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness.

Joh 8:12 (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

When His burning lamp or flaming torch passes through us, it will burn out all the things of the flesh that we hold so dear in our life. The things of the flesh include the false teachings that we believe and follow. The things of the flesh are symbolized by the ten nations living in the promised land that needs to be driven out:

Gen 15:18 (KJV) In the same day the LORD made a covenant [an agreement] with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
Gen 15:19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
Gen 15:20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
Gen 15:21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

Remember what we learned in the story of Noah, when Christ preached through Noah, to those “spirits in prison”, those people who are still slaves of their sinful flesh? That is the same message of the smoking furnace and burning lamp. We are prisoners or slaves of our flesh first before we are freed by Christ and become slaves that please God.

Rom 6:12 (CEV) Don’t let sin rule your body. After all, your body is bound to die, so don’t obey its desires
Rom 6:13 or let any part of it become a slave of evil. Give yourselves to God, as people who have been raised from death to life. Make every part of your body a slave that pleases God.
Rom 6:14 (KJV) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

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