“Search the Scriptures!” is the mandate the Lord has given us, and I do not believe that this was only meant for ministers and teachers, but just as well for us, common laymen.
So, after I read and studied your editorial, under the heading: Promise and Prediction, I can say that I agree fully, 100%, with it. That is the doctrine we, as Protestant Reformed Churches, have always believed.
But there is one thing I would like to have a little more light on; and that is your statement on page 226 of the Standard Bearer of February 15, about the covenant, and especially that God moved through the pieces of the animals alone. In as far as I can see it, the name covenant becomes then so unreal, so out of order, and God is a God of order. I cannot imagine a covenant with only one party; and the way you explain it, it looks to me far more: a pledge, (toezegging, verzekering), be such a pledge then under oath.
God said to Abraham: “I will make my covenant with you, and not to you”.
When I study the picture of Genesis 15, I look at it this way: according to the customs of those times, God commanded Abraham to take animals and fowls, cut them asunder, and lay their pieces in two rows. Then, at night, there moved through these pieces a smoking furnace (Thanks be to God that this is mentioned first), a symbol of sin, uncleanness, darkness, the wrath of God—God, the righteous Judge! And also a “flaming torch”, symbol of light, cleanness, purification, salvation—Jesus Christ, our Savior!
These symbols we see, in principle, again at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
Oh yes, we read that Abraham was fast asleep. O depth of wisdom and abundant grace of God: Abraham was asleep! For if we, the spiritual children of the believing, but nevertheless, very sinful Father Abraham, with him, as a party in the covenant, would try to go through the midst of the divided animals, we, with Abraham, would have been consumed by the wrath of the Holy, Righteous God.
Scripture teaches us that from eternity, yea, in our Savior’s crucifixion, His death, burial, and His resurrection, we were in and with Him; so also when He went as a flaming torch through the pieces of the divided animals. We were in and with Him, and saved.
And so in Christ, as a party in the covenant, we feel by the grace of God so much more our responsibility to walk as children of our heavenly Father, to the honor and glory of His most holy name.
But shall we be able to do that, we must watch and pray lest we fall into temptations.
Please, esteemed Editor, give us more light!
Yes, I know, dominee, I am getting old, but I think not yet too old to learn to understand more clearly our dogmatic problems.
J. Cammenga, Sr. (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
My answer will appear in the next issue, D.V.