Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight, is study #14 of Genesis, chapter 13 and we are reading the last verse of the chapter in Genesis 13:18:
Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto JEHOVAH.
After the separation between Abram and Lot, we are told that Abram went to dwell in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron. We find Mamre mentioned in Genesis 18:1:
And JEHOVAH appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
This is the time when the Lord would inform Abraham that He was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham will try to intercede.
It says in Genesis 23:2:
And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.
Then it says in Genesis 23:17:
And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure
It goes on to say in Genesis 23:19:
And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.
We are told that Mamre identifies with Hebron. The word “Hebron” is the Hebrew word, Strong’s #2275, and it has related words, but the common denominator seems to be that this word identifies with “fellowship,” “company,” or “gathering together.” Hebron became a very important place in the land of Judah. We read in Joshua 14:15:
And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.
Also, we read in Joshua 20:2:
Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
Some of the cities of refuge are mentioned in Joshua 20:7:
And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.
So, we have “Mamre,” which is Hebron and we have “Kirjatharba,” which is the same as Hebron in the mountain of Judah. The word “Kirjatharba” means “the city of Arba,” and Arba was a man mentioned in Joshua 14, which said he was a great man among the Anakims. He was the head of the city of Arba.
That city, which became Hebron, was a city of refuge. The cities of refuge were very interesting places. An individual that slew a man accidentally could flee there. The Bible gave an example of someone that was felling a tree and the ax head flew off the handle and slew his neighbor, accidently. It was a complete accident. The man was just trying to cut down a tree and as he gave it a good stroke with the ax, the ax head came loose and flew off the handle and hit his neighbor in the head and slew him. What would happen at that point? Would they have a trial and a jury and try to determine if it was intentional or an accident? Historically, at that time in the nation of Israel, the man who committed manslaughter in the accidental death of his neighbor would flee to the nearest city of refuge. If he were in Judah, he would flee to Kirjatharba or Hebron. At the same time, the kindred of the person that was killed would pursue after the man and if the kinsmen overtook the man before he reached the city of Hebron, the kinsman (the avenger of blood) would slay the man. This was all lawful. The kinsman could slay the man according to the law and it would have been legal because that is what the law stipulated. However, if the man made it to a city of refuge, then the avenger of blood (the kinsman who sought to avenge the blood of his relative) must cease from pursuing him. He could have chased him all the way to the boundary of the city and he could have killed him at any time before the boundary of the city was reached but the moment the man entered the city of refuge, he was protected by law. Then the judges or leaders of the city of Hebron, for example, would make determination whether it was an accidental death and whether the man qualified to continue to live in the city of refuge. Let us say that they determined it to be an accident; that did not mean the man could go home again. He had to stay within the city limits of the city of refuge for the rest of his life, except in the case of the death of the high priest. When the high priest died, he could leave the city and the avenger of blood could not harm him, but if the high priest did not die and he lived 10 or 20 years in the city of refuge and he decided, “I have some matters to take care of, so I am going home,” the avenger of blood could then find him and kill him anywhere outside the city of refuge because he had left the protection of the city.
This has all kinds of implications that relate to God’s salvation program. The death of the high priest that would “free” the individual from containment in the city of refuge relates to the Lord Jesus’ death as the great High Priest of His people. There are many spiritual pictures, but Hebron was one of the cities that was selected to be a city of refuge. It says in 2Samuel 2:11:
And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
We find a similar statement in 1Kings 2:11:
And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.
David first began to reign over the nation of Judah because the tribes in the North were still following one of Saul’s sons and there was division at the beginning. David was the legitimate king and when he began to reign in 1007BC David was thirty years old. David was born in 1037BC, so in the year1007BC he began to reign over the land of Judah. The other tribes were not recognizing him as king. He reigned over them for seven years and 2Samuel tells us more precisely that it was seven years and six months. Following this, David was made king over all Israel and the place of his rule was transferred from Hebron to Jerusalem and he would reign in Jerusalem until his death in 967BC, the year that the foundation of the temple was laid.
So, we see some very interesting things regarding Hebron. First, we see the importance of Hebron as the capital city of the king and it was also a city of refuge, so it was a very special place for those reasons. Also, the year that David began to reign in 1007BC was a Jubilee Year. In the Old Testament, once the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, every year that ended with an “07” or a *“57”8 was a Jubilee year because it came every fifty years. For example, 1357 or 1307 would be Jubilee Years. David, the great type of Christ, ascended the throne in the Jubilee Year of 1007BC, and exactly one thousand years later the Lord Jesus would be born of the virgin Mary and enter the human race in 7BC, another Jubilee Year. It is very interesting the way God sets up this parallel situation between David who began to reign in a Jubilee Year and the life of Christ who was born “King of the Jews” in 7BC, a Jubilee Year. We have a different relationship when we look at David beginning to reign in 1007BC and he reigned seven years and then in the year 1000BC he reigned thirty-three years in Jerusalem over the entire nation of Israel. Again, when we compare that to Christ, He was born in 7BC and there were seven years on the Old Testament side and then He went to the cross in 33AD, so there were thirty-three years on the New Testament side. Then He died on the cross. David reigned 33 years in Jerusalem and then died in the year 967BC. Upon his death, Solomon began to build the temple.
There is another time relationship from 967BC when David died until 33AD. We add 967 + 33 and we get 1,000 calendar years (999 actual years) from the laying of the foundation to the death of Christ on the cross, which typified His death at the foundation of the world. There is a tie-in to the “foundation” of the house of God, which the Lord Jesus was showing forth or making manifest through a tableau of how His death formed the foundation for the spiritual house of God consisting of everyone that He had saved. Again, we see the number “1,000,” pointing to completeness, just as David ascended the throne in 1007BC and then it was one thousand years until Christ entered into the human race. Then upon the death of David, it was 1,000 calendar years to 33AD, indicating the completeness of what God had in view, which identified with the atonement and the Lord serving as the foundation of the world and the foundation of His salvation program.
We also see an additional tie-in with 1994, a Jubilee Year. From 1007BC when David ascended the throne until 1994AD was 3,000 actual years (1007 +1994 = 3001 – 1=3000) and it breaks down to the number “3” and multiples of “10,” which point to God’s purpose and to completeness. It is the complete purpose of God regarding His salvation program and its outworking would take place in the Jubilee Year during the second outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the year 1994. Again, as David died in 967BC, that spiritually served for the work of the foundation of the temple to begin.
We see a 40-year (inclusive) period in view when we look at the period from 1994 through 2033, which is similar to 1007BC through 967BC. And a 40-year period from 7BC to 33AD can be seen in Christ’s “reign” as He lived on this earth. Both started with a Jubilee and concluded at a very significant point in time. We find that 1994 was a Jubilee Year that begins a 40-year period (inclusively) that comes to its completion in 2033, a possible year for the end of the world. And from 967BC through 2033AD, we have 3,000 calendar years. So, again, 3,000 years from David beginning to reign in 1007BC to 1994 and 3,000 years from the laying of the foundation in 967BC until 2033AD. It is the complete purpose of God concerning the foundation of the atonement and the foundation for His spiritual house. They all very neatly come together and Hebron plays a key role in this typology the Lord has established.
Let us go back to our verse and look at the second part of the verse in Genesis 13:18:
Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto JEHOVAH.
We are only in the thirteenth chapter of the beginning of the Bible and we have already seen a few altars having been built. If we go back to Genesis, chapter 8, it says in Genesis 8:20:
And Noah builded an altar unto JEHOVAH…
Earlier it was said of Abram in Genesis 12:7:
And JEHOVAH appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto JEHOVAH, who appeared unto him.
Or, we can go to Genesis 35 where it says of Jacob in Genesis 35:7:
And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
Here, we see Jacob building an altar.
We can also go to Exodus 17:15:
And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:
It says in Joshua 8:30:
Then Joshua built an altar unto JEHOVAH God of Israel in mount Ebal,
Referring to Samuel, it says in 1Samuel 7:17:
And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto JEHOVAH.
It says in Judges 6:24:
Then Gideon built an altar there unto JEHOVAH, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Let us look at just one more in 2Samuel 24:25:
And David built there an altar unto JEHOVAH…
These are not all the references to building an altar, but we get the idea. This reads like a “who’s who” of some of the most faithful people we find in the Bible and they built an altar: Noah, Abram, Jacob, Joshua, Gideon, Moses and David. They all built altars unto JEHOVAH. They built them in various locations and they gave them various names, in some cases, but the altars were all built unto the Lord.
Abram moved about quite a bit. You know, when you build an altar, you use stones and they would be heavy, so it would not be easy to transport it. So, Abram, a sojourner, would build an altar in one location and then he would move to another location and build another altar.
What can we learn from this as we read that Abram built an altar unto JEHOVAH? We know the altar represents the Lord Jesus Christ and it identifies with God’s salvation program and the Gospel. Wherever they go or wherever they travel, what we see is that it is not long before the people of God “build an altar,” because we are intimately identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not want to be separated from Him. We do not want to be removed from Him because we have moved from one city to another city or from one state to another state.
I have heard many people relate in times past when Family Radio was faithful and Mr. Camping was actively teaching, that it was a very important thing for them to have access to a Family Radio station in their local areas. It was a great blessing. And, yet, because of a job situation some people had to move and they would move to an area and they would be very disappointed when there was no local Family Radio station. Of course, God soon made provision with the internet and with translators that extended the signals and it would not be long before that person had another means of listening to the Gospel and maintaining contact with the Word of God being rightly taught.
That is the idea when people of the Old Testament would “build an altar.” It was indicating God’s presence. It was indicating the remembering of God’s salvation program and that there needed to be sacrifice for sin and Christ was that sacrifice. So, the Old Testament saints constantly built altars unto JEHOVAH, signifying their dependence upon Him and their desperate need for God to remain with them. They were reminded of this by the altars that were built.