Smoking furnace and burning lamp


Genesis 15:17 reads “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.”, where pieces refers to the elements of the sacrifice that Abram had brought before God.

So while it was dark, we see a smoking furnace and a burning lamp passing between the sacrifice. What could this mean?
Some commentaries exposit and state that the smoking furnace refers to the afflictions of the Israelites (the seed of Abram) would face and they get their basis from other scriptural texts which portray
– the Egyptians who enslaved the Israelites as a furnace of iron (1 Kings 8:51),
– the Assyrian (Sennacherib), who besieged the Israelites whose reign was symbolic of a furnace in Jerusalem (Isaiah 31:9)
They also exposit and state the the burning lamp symbolizes the salvation of the Israelites (the seed of Abram), which they exposit from the Scripture recorded in 1 Kings 11:36 and 15:4 and Isaiah 62:1. 1 Kings 11:26 and 15:4 both express the words of God, who for David’s sake, said that there will be a lamp who will be set forth establish Jerusalem. Isaiah 62:1 refers this lamp that burns as one of salvation.

While these are certainly plausible, I am convinced that the two symbols here, of the smoking furnace, and the burning lamp are symbolic of the persons of the Triune Godhead and I deduce these, not by mere opinion, but by substantiating text in the Bible.
First, the smoking furnace and burning lamp were animate and passed through the pieces of the sacrifice, accepting the sacrifice that was offered and so it is less likely that these symbols directly meant the afflictions and salvation of Israel, as the commentators state. Furthermore, Exodus 19:18 states that when the LORD God descended upon mount Sinai in fire, the mount was altogether in smoke, which ascended as the smoke of a furnace. So this makes me believe that the smoking furnace is symbolic of God, the Father, the first person of the Trinity.
I must admit that the identity of the burning lamp is a little more ambiguous. On one hand, it could be symbolic of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, who is the light of the world, who shined out in the darkness as a burning lamp. When Jesus walked with the men on the road to Emmaus, they felt their hearts burn within them (Luke 24:32), which further accentuates this proposition that Jesus is the burning lamp. On the other hand, it is also possible that the burning lamp could be symbolic of the Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, who though being one (Ephesians 4:4) is expressed as seven lamps of fire before the throne of God (Revelation 4:5), in whose midst stands Jesus Christ, the lamb of God (Revelation 5:6). Herein, we get a glimpse of the Triune God in One (God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit God) all at work in the acceptance of the sacrifice offered by Abram.

Points to ponder:
If you/I were to offer your life as a living sacrifice today, would you/I have the Triune God in one passing through your/my life and accepting the sacrifice of our life, while we live in a dark sinful world? Would you/I see a smoking furnace and a burning lamp pass through your/my life? Think about it.

Genesis 15:17 (KJV)
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.

Exodus 19:17-19 (KJV)
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.

Luke 24:32 (KJV)
32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Isaiah 62:1 (KJV)

1 For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.

Nahum 1:5 – The fiery God


The latter part of Nahum 1:5 reads “and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.” The direct reference to the earth burning at the presence of the Lord is the reference to mount Sinai which was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly (Exodus 19:18).

Additionally, we can see in other parts of the scripture, that where God is, there is fire. God was present in the burning bush (Exodus 3:2). God was present in the pillar of fire (Exodus 14:19; Numbers 9:14-15), giving light in the darkness (Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 4:16), and guiding his people by going in front of them (Numbers 9:17-23, Deuteronomy 9:3). The Bible teaches us that the Lord is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He is a consuming fire in the context of his passionate jealousy that burns against those who follow after false and other gods (Deuteronomy 4:24). The LORD’s fire fell and consumed the acceptable sacrifice of his servant Elijah on mount Carmel, to show to all, that the LORD God was the living God (1 Kings 18:38). And when all the people saw this, they fell on their faces and proclaimed that the LORD God is God (1 Kings 18:39). Ezekiel in his vision see the fire infolding himself before God’s voice is heard (Ezekiel 1:4). The Son of God was seen in the midst of the fire when Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace (Daniel3:25). John the Baptist said that Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11) and on the day of the Pentacost, before the Holy Spirit came in to dwell in the disciples, there was seen on the disciples cloven tongues like as of fire (Acts 2:3-4). The two men on the road to Emmaus felt the presence of God as a sensation of “burning hearts” within themselves (Luke 24:32).

The earth burned (Exodus 19:18) and the Bible teaches us that it will burn again in the day of the Lord when he comes like a thief (2 Peter 3:10) to steal those who believe in him from the clutches of the evil one and this world where he has dominion (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Points to ponder:
Where God is, there is fire. When we believe in Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit of God to indwell in us, he sanctifies us by purifying us by the blood of Jesus. As fire consumes the dross from the silver, refining it, God the Holy Spirit burns up any unrighteousness (Psalm 66:10; Proverbs 17:3) as He is the the agent of our sanctification. The Lord is a passionate and purifying fire. Before the world burns and all its elements are laid bare (2 Peter 3:10), let us believe in Jesus, the fiery God, so that we can have the fiery presence of the Holy Spirit in our life to purify and perfect us. The earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein and we shall be burned as well, unless we have the burning Holy Spirit within our heart for God is a fiery God! Do you have the fire of God in you?

Nahum 1:5 (KJV)
The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.

2 Peter 3:10 (KJV)
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Matthew 3:11 (KJV)
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: