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What the Bible says about Horror and Great Darkness Falls Upon Abraham
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 14:18

Genesis 14-15 contains time markers that help us line up these events with the Passover and Exodus from Egypt, as well as the Passover and crucifixion in the New Testament:

» “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; [H]e wasthe priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18). This corresponds with Jesus' Passover observance with bread and wine, which took place at the beginning of the 14th.

» “Then He brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants be'” (Genesis 15:5). Abraham is outside and viewing the stars. The time has progressed to full dark on the 14th.

» The sacrificial activities described in Genesis 15:9-11 indicate the arrival of the daylight portion of Abib 14; it was light enough to make sacrifices. This method of making a covenant symbolizes that, if the terms were not met, the transgressor must be cut in half, just like the animals (see Jeremiah 34:18-20).

» “Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror andgreat darkness fell upon him” (Genesis 15:12). The sun begins to go down as soon as noon has passed, so this verse could indicate any time in the afternoon or early evening.

» “And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces” (Genesis 15:17). The sun has set and Abib 15 has begun. The symbol of a burning lamp is linked with the salvation of God's people (Isaiah 62:1) and describes the eyes of God (Daniel 10:6). In addition, when God descended on Mount Sinai in fire, its “smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace” (Exodus 19:18). Through these symbols, God is seen confirming His covenant to Abraham by passing through the middle of the sacrificed animals.

What happened during the daylight portion of the 14th in Abraham's day was a conversation about inheriting the land, then Abraham divided and arranged the animals at God's command in preparation for the covenant. Thus, the timing of Christ's crucifixion on the afternoon of Abib 14 points to something centuries before the Passover in Egypt—to the promises God made to the father of the faithful and to the preparations made for their covenant.

David C. Grabbe
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part Two)

Exodus 12:40-42

The account of Israel's exodus from Egypt provides a clue to the significance of the afternoon of the 14th—the time when the Messiah was crucified.

The Israelites had killed the lambs after sunset as the 14th began, smearing the blood on the doorposts of their houses. They then roasted and ate the lambs, burning the remains. At midnight the Death Angel passed over, slaying the firstborn of those not under the blood. The Israelites remained in their houses until daybreak, after which they finished spoiling the Egyptians, then all 2-3 million of them traveled to Goshen. Numbers 33:3 records that they departed Rameses on the 15th day—“the day after the Passover”—and Deuteronomy 16:1 verifies that they left at night.

The Exodus, then, began at night, as Abib/Nisan 15 began. This “night of solemn observance” is the “very same day” or the “self-same day” (King James Version [KJV]) as an event that happened 430 years before—to the exact day. That prior event is the initial covenant God made with Abraham:

Then He said to him, “I amthe LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” And he said, “Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?” So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. . . .

Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror andgreat darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land thatisnot theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. . . .

And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram. . . . (Genesis 15:7-10, 12-14, 17-18)

In verse 13, God's states that Abraham's descendants would be afflicted, yet finally delivered. This is that “very same day” to which Exodus 12:41-42 refers—the beginning of the 15th day, just after sunset.

David C. Grabbe
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part Two)


 




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