Questions & Answers
First posted: April 12, 2011
[My question is regarding] the offering commanded by God to Abram Genesis 15:7-10. Does this [offering] mean [that] the work of the covenant between Him and Abram was accomplished by the Father through sacrificial offerings of faith (heifers), the working of miracles (she-goats), the interpretation of tongues (ram), and turtledove and pigeon (which means something to do with observation of time and undefiled eyes?)?.
The visitor's question is regarding this passage:
"7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me 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. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not." (Genesis 15:7-10)
The visitor's question is regarding the possible connection between this passage and what we shared in a previous posting ("American Civil War (Part 2)") regarding the gifts that Jacob gave to Esau as he attempted to appease the wrath of God operating through Esau:
"13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; 14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, 15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. 16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove. 17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee? 18 Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us. 19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him. 20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me." (Genesis 32:13-20)
As we briefly shared in that previous posting from 10 April 2006, the 9 gifts that Jacob gave to Esau point to the 9 spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10:
Since three of the animals listed in Genesis 15:9 appear in Genesis 32:14-15, the visitor was wondering whether the spiritual gifts from God that are related to each animal were, in a sense, being offered back to God in the sacrifice of Genesis 15:9. Viewed that way, the heifer of Genesis 15:9 could point to the gift of faith, the she-goat to the gift of working miracles, and the ram to the gift of interpretation of tongues. We will briefly consider this possible connection between Genesis 15:9 and Genesis 32:14-15, and we will then consider the spiritual meaning behind the 5 animals listed in Genesis 15:9.
When I read the visitor's question on Genesis 15:9 and how it might relate to Genesis 32:13-15, I was a bit surprised, since I had never seen a connection between the two, but the idea sounded intriguing. That is why I tried to look at the Hebrew words in the original text of both passages to see how they matched up. The Hebrew word translated as "she-goat" in Genesis 15:9 is ez, which is the same as the word used in Genesis 32:14. The word translated as "ram" in Genesis 15:9 is ayil, which also matches the word in Genesis 32:14. However, the word "heifer" in Genesis 15:9 was translated from eglah, which differs from the word par for "bulls" and the word parah for "kine" in Genesis 32:15. And, as pointed out by the visitor, the turtledove and pigeon do not appear in the list of Genesis 32:13-15, given that none of the animals in that passage are birds. Therefore, there seems to be no direct correlation between the animals in Genesis 15:9 and the animals in Genesis 32:13-15. Part of the reason for the "non-connection" seems to be that the animals of Genesis 15:9 were being offered as covenant sacrifice and had to die, whereas the animals in Genesis 32:13-15 were being offered as gifts that Esau (who represents God in this context, according to Gen 33:10) could use. As we share in the "American Civil War (Part 2)" posting that the visitor's question is derived from, the 10th gift (i.e.- the "tithe") that Jacob offered to God that day was himself. After giving the 9 gifts to the "visible" or "natural" form of God (Esau), he gave the 10th gift to the "supernatural" form of God when he wrestled with the angel of the Lord until dawn, not being afraid to sacrifice his life in the process. Thus, we can say that the animals in Genesis 15:9 are a "spiritual breakdown" of the 10th gift (the "tithe"), which implied a death to self.
Another difference between the 2 passages that is worth noting is the fact that the animals in Genesis 15:9 are all listed in the singular, whereas the animals in Genesis 32:13-15 are all listed in the plural. The fact that all the animals in Genesis 15:9 are in the singular is even more remarkable if you consider the two birds; since they are such small animals, one would expect God to have instructed Abraham to offer many of them in sacrifice, but, even with the birds, God only told Abraham to offer 1 of each. The "plurality" of Genesis 32:13-15 emphasises the plurality of the spiritual gifts that God endows us with, and the "singularity" of Genesis 15:9 emphasises how our tithe is the giving of "oneself", a unique gift that no one else can replicate.
Once you take into account the "singularity" of the animals listed in Genesis 15:9, the "total" number of animals listed there gains significance (by contrast, adding up all the different numbers of animals in Genesis 32:13-15 feels like adding apples and oranges). Genesis 15:9 lists a total of 5 unique animals, which points to the 5 ministries of Ephesians 4:11. As we have studied before, there are 3 "male" ministries and 2 "female" ministries. "Curiously enough", 3 of the animals in Genesis 15:9 are relatively "large" animals, whilst the other 2 are small birds. Hence, we can safely conclude that the 3 "large" animals, the heifer, the she-goat, and the ram, point to the 3 "male" ministries, and the 2 small birds, the turtledove and the pigeon, point to the 2 "female" ministries. This correlation of the 3 "large" animals to the 3 "male" ministries is emphasised by the fact that all 3 had to be 3-years old. The age of "3" points to those who have entered into the realm of the spirit, as opposed to the age of "2", which speaks of those who are still operating in the realm of the soul and the body (this is why God allowed all the children 2-years-old and under to be slaughtered in matriarchal Rachel's Ramah). As we have shared before, the 3 "male" ministries are designed to nourish the spirit, as opposed to the 2 "female" ministries, which are designed primarily to nourish the soul. Therefore, it makes sense that the 3 large animals had to be 3 years old (i.e.- operating in the realm of the spirit).
Having said all of the above, one might question whether the 3 large animals are really a figure of the 3 "male" ministries by pointing out that 2 of those 3 animals, the heifer and the she-goat, were female, with only the ram being male. However, this actually denotes the relative weakness of 2 of the "male" ministries relative to the other. As we have shared before, the evangelistic ministry is the "giant-killing" ministry. It is the most warrior-like of all the ministries; it is the one that goes out to exercise its spiritual strength to topple enemy strongholds and establish the Kingship of God. As we also shared before, the apostolic and prophetic ministries work like a tag-team tandem that lay the foundation for the manifestation of the conquering evangelistic ministry. From all of this, we can say that the apostolic and prophetic ministries operate in relative weakness, laying the foundation for the manifestation of a strong evangelistic ministry. Hence, we can say that the 2 large female animals point to the apostolic and prophetic ministries, whilst the male ram points to the evangelistic ministry. The question then becomes, "Which of the 2 large female animals (the heifer and the she-goat) points to the apostolic ministry and which points to the prophetic ministry?".
As we have shared before, the apostolic ministry is an endurance-oriented, "trailblazing" ministry; thus, it is spiritually related to "ploughing", and is therefore more related to the heifer than to the she-goat (Judges 14:17-18). On the other hand, the she-goat is more related to the prophetic ministry, as shown by Genesis 37:31, which describes Joseph's brothers killing "a kid of the she-goats" and dipping Joseph's coat in its blood to convince Jacob that Joseph had been devoured by an evil beast (which, in a spiritual sense, he was, with the "evil beast" being Joseph's envious brothers). This reveals the she-goat's relative association to the prophetic ministry, since, as we have shared before , the prophetic ministry is a ministry of sacrifice, and the kid of the she-goats in Genesis 37:31 was a sacrificial representation of the young Joseph.
The only question now remaining is, "Which of the 2 birds is related to the pastoral ministry, and which is related to the teacher ministry?". The word "turtledove" in Genesis 15:9 was translated from the Hebrew word towr. This is the word used by the psalmist in Psalm 74:19 to refer to God's remnant as he asks God to deliver them from the enemy, which means that it is used as a term of "endearment" between God and His remnant.
"18 Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name. 19 O deliver not the soul of thy turtledove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever. 20 Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. 21 O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name. 22 Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily. 23 Forget not the voice of thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually." (Psalm 74:18-23)
The word towr also appears in Song of Songs 2:12 when referring to the voice of the turtledove being heard in the land as the time has come for the beloved maiden to "arise" and "come away".
"10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. 11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; 12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away." (Song of Songs 2:10-13)
[The word "turtle" in verse 12 was translated from towr; thus, it should really read "turtledove"]
Therefore, we can say that towr has a strong "emotional" and "romantic" connotation in Scripture. When not used to refer to a turtledove, the Hebrew word towr is used in Scripture to denote a "turn" or "row", with the connotation of turns in a circular rotation. As such, the word towr is only used 4 times in Scripture. Interestingly enough, 2 of those appearances are in the book of Esther, in reference to queen Esther meeting with her king Ahasuerus (Esther 2:12 & Esther 2:15), and the other 2 are in Song of Songs in reference to the bride (Song of Songs 1:10-11). All of this reinforces the "romantic" and "emotional" nature of the word towr. Therefore, we can conclude that the turtledove of Genesis 15:9 points to the pastoral ministry and not to the teacher ministry, since, as we have shared before, the teacher ministry is "methodical", "repetitive" and "drier" by nature; by contrast, the pastoral ministry is more "sentimental" by nature, making it more closely associated to "romanticism".
The word "pigeon" in Genesis 15:9 was mistranslated from the Hebrew word gozal, which actually means "nestling, young bird". Oddly enough, it is only used twice in all of Scripture. The only other verse besides Genesis 15:9 where gozal is used is Deuteronomy 32:11, when referring to the eagle "fluttering over her young".
"9 For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: 12 So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. 13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; 14 Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape" (Deuteronomy 32:9-14)
Notice that verse 9 speaks of God " instructing" (i.e.- "teaching") Jacob. Interestingly enough, Deuteronomy 32 starts with a reference to God's teaching (translated as "doctrine") dropping as rain:
"1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass" (Deuteronomy 32:1-2)
The fact that gozal literally means "young, nestling" points to birds who remain in the nest because they have yet to learn how to fly. This is why the Spirit speaks of God acting like a female eagle "stirring up her nest, fluttering over her young", which speaks of an eagle motivating her young not to remain satisfied with their "flying ignorance" in the comfort of the nest. All of this reinforces the spiritual connection between gozal and the "female" ministry of teacher. The fact that the Lord associates this word with a mother eagle exhorting her nestlings to fly points to a prophetic teacher, since eagles are a figure in Scripture of God's prophetic anointing. As we have studied before, teachers are perfected when they become prophetic in their teaching, bucking the "down-to-earth" trend inherent in the pragmatic teacher endowment.
"9 I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots. 10 Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold. 11 We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver" (Song of Songs 1:9-11)
[The phrase "rows of jewels" was translated from the Hebrew word towr. Notice how the Lord compares His beloved bride to "a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots" (v9) immediately before using the word towr. Even though women in most countries might feel offended by being compared to horses, the Lord's intention here is to reflect a spiritual feature of the bride. As we have shared before, Egypt is the spiritual prototype of what a "Girgashite nation" would look like, and, as we have also said before, Girgashites are teachers gone bad. Therefore, when the Lord lovingly compares the bride to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots, He is actually extolling the beautiful teacher endowment in the bride.]
Often, cheeks are used in Scripture in the context of people being slapped, which, in turn, speaks of people being shamed through judgements from others (2 Chronicles 18:23, Isaiah 50:6, Lamentations 3:30, Micah 5:1). Therefore, when Song of Songs 1:10 declares that the bride's cheeks are "befitting" or "comely" with towr, it is indicating that the bride has passed God's judgements and is therefore befitting of her cheeks being "adorned" rather than "slapped". As we have shared before, the apostolic ministry is the ministry most associated with the making of judgements. Therefore, the word towr points not only to the pastoral ministry per se but to a pastoral endowment operating in God's apostolic judgements, i.e.- it speaks of apostolic pastors who want a bride befitting of the righteous King, a bride purified through God's righteous judgements.
From all of the above, we can conclude that the 5 animals of Genesis 15:9 point to the 5 ministries of Ephesians 4:11 in the same order as they appear in Ephesians 4:11
As indicated in Genesis 15:10, God instructed Abram to cut all the animals in halves except the two birds that represented the "female" ministries; this has spiritual significance. After Abram divided the large animals and placed the halves placed one in front of the other, a "smoking furnace" and a "burning lamp" passed between them, and God made a covenant with Abram:
"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. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites." (Genesis 15:17-21)
This means that God established His covenant with Abram on the foundation of the 3 large animals' sacrifice. In other words, the Lord God establishes His covenant with His people on the foundation of a sacrifice wrought in the 3 "male" ministry anointings. Therefore, those who are soul-centric and who base their relationship with God on the foundation of the 2 "female" ministries cannot enter into a Kingdom-possessing covenant with God such as Abram did. This is why even the 2 "female-ministry" animals represent ministries in submission to the "male" Spirit anointing (apostolic pastors and prophetic teachers), as we saw above. A heart that is not willing to make sacrifices unto God and yield to His "male" Spirit nature shall not enter into the Kingdom of God, regardless of how many soul-centred sacrifices it may be willing to offer God. Offering a turtledove and a nestling and cutting them in halves (pretending that they are "larger" or "more significant" than they really are) will not impress God. You must be willing to make the sacrifices required to operate in God's "cruel" apostolic judgements, in His prophetic anointing that defies earthly thinking, and in His conquering, warrior-like evangelistic nature. Having a "pastoral" heart of compassion and a tradition-instructing "teacher" heart will not be enough in God's eyes for you to enter into the Promised Land, regardless of how much you heart may wish it to be so.
All of the above begs the question, "If the foundation of God's Kingdom covenant with His people is on the 3 'male' ministry anointings, why would He even ask Abram to sacrifice the turtledove and the nestling?". The answer can be found in what differentiates humans from angels. Whereas animals are "spiritless souls", angels are "soulless spirits". We, on the other hand, are spirits with souls; God created us with souls in order to make us vulnerable. In our vulnerability, the depth of both the joy and the suffering that we can experience increases dramatically, and that depth reaches "epic" (i.e.- eternal) proportions when that suffering and/or joy is experienced in the Spirit. As we have shared before, God gave humanity a vulnerable side in order that human beings could manifest the fullness of His nature. It was necessary for the male Adam to be given a vulnerable woman in order to reproduce himself. This is also why the act of human reproduction itself requires that people physically expose themselves and make themselves vulnerable before others. Without our vulnerable "female soul" component, we as human beings would be unable to experience and manifest the full depth of God's nature, and we would be unable to reproduce not only ourselves but God's nature on Earth. We cannot aspire to be One with God unless we can prove that we can manifest His strong nature even when clothed in earthly weakness. Once we have proved that we can act and be like God in the midst of our vulnerability, God will "turn us inside out", and the strong God nature that has fully developed inside of us shall be made manifest. In a sense, we are to walk with our spirit growing on the inside as our soul covers it on the "outside", until the time comes when our spirit will come out from inside of us and cover the weakness of our soul. In a sense, we could say that it is like turning a sock inside out. In this case, however, the more "unsightly" interior of the sock is currently outside, and, as the sock is turned "inside out", it shall finally be as it was meant to be.
All of the above explains why the turtledove and the nestling had to be part of the tithe sacrifice offered to God by Abram. As we have shared before, our green-horse sacrifice is the "ultimate tithe" we can give to God, and that sacrifice requires a strong presence of the pastoral endowment. As evidenced by a close study of 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, a deep receptiveness to the teacher endowment is also required in order to absorb and spread God's green-horse message (in other words, the teacher endowment acts as the "bridge ministry" from the black-horse to the green-horse stage). Therefore, in order to offer your green-horse sacrifice unto God, you must be willing to embrace the 2 "female" anointings. It is thus ironic that the green-horse rider who comes to obliterate the dominion of the "female" soul cannot arrogantly dismiss the 2 "female" anointings but must instead embrace them in their proper functionality. This is all to fulfil the principle delineated in the following passage:
"8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God." (1 Corinthians 11:8-12)
As we said above, there seems to be no direct connection between the animals represented in Genesis 32:14-15 and the animals in Genesis 15:9. However, it is worth noting that the 3 potential animals that might be indirectly connected in the two passages are all related to gifts imparted by "female" ministries; as illustrated in the table above, the "apostolic" heifer would point to the "cow" gift of faith imparted by the teacher ministry, the "prophetic" she-goat would point to the working of miracles imparted by the teacher ministry, and the "evangelistic" ram would point to the interpretation of tongues imparted by the pastor ministry. It is also interesting to note that both of the female large animals (the heifer and the she-goat) would then be related to teacher gifts, whilst the male large animal (the ram) would be related to a pastoral gift. Even so, the question would remain, "Why would the Holy Spirit choose a different Hebrew word for "cow-like" animals in Genesis 32:14-15 (parah) from the one He used in Genesis 15:9 (eglah)? This seems to point to a specific "sub-type" of the gift of faith. The fact that the ram points to the gift of interpretation of tongues, a gift that (upon closer study) has a strong connection to the green horse, also seems very relevant. The visitor's question, therefore, raises more sub-questions that shall be revealed by the Holy Spirit as the latter rain draws near and drops down upon the Earth (Deuteronomy 32:1-2).