Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not 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.” (Genesis 15:12-14)
This prophecy came to Abram at evening, the time just before dark, thus providing a foreboding environment. When Abram fell asleep, the Hebrew word for “deep sleep” suggests that Abram had a night vision from God. In this vision he was told that his descendants would continue as temporary residents until their ultimate deliverance. Although we understand that this spoke of the sojourn in Egypt where they were afflicted, it is also understood that the vision could be applied to the last days.
The Hebrew word for evening is ערב erev and insinuates the mixing of light and darkness, holy and profane. The “great darkness” that fell upon Abram is interpreted to mean that God’s people, the seed of Abraham, would have to endure dark times. For over two hundred years, Israel lived in Egypt — first in freedom, then in slavery. They labored and struggled until God brought deliverance under the leadership of Moses. In fact, they left Egypt on the very day that was the culmination of the prophecy given to Abram in Genesis 15.
But here is our point: as the seed of Abraham, it is understood that God’s people in the last days will have to endure difficulty and trial, too. We live in a day when light is mixed with darkness and evil is mixed with good; some call it coexistence. Darkness will continue to grow more intense and we will face troubling times. Yet, we are guaranteed that at the end of the trial there is victory and deliverance. Like Israel of old when they emerged from Egypt with great possessions, we are promised great reward if we endure to the end. Think of it this way, thousands of years ago when God spoke to Abram and made great and marvelous promises, you and I were being considered. The promise He has given us is ancient and, I truly believe, its fulfillment is near.
Blessings and Shalom,