The Covenant of the Torch
A Forgotten Encounter in the History of the Exodus and Wilderness Journey
“The Covenant of the Torch,” the key concept that penetrates through the entire redemptive history
The first book in the History of Redemption series, The Genesis Genealogies, ends at the first appearance of Abraham, which marks the inauguration of a new phase in redemptive history. In the second book of the series, The Covenant of the Torch, the grand plan of God to save all mankind through Abraham is developed in full earnest. The key concept here is the “covenant of the torch,” which God established with Abraham. The covenant of the torch promises, “in the fourth generation your descendants will come back here.”
How was the covenant of the torch fulfilled?
The covenant of the torch was passed on through the three generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Then, it was fulfilled through the fourth generation descendant, Joseph, who gave his last will and testament for his bones to be buried in the land of Canaan, not in Egypt. When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, they carried Joseph’s bones out with them through the 40-year wilderness journey and the 16-year period of conquering Canaan. Joseph’s bones were finally buried in the land of Shechem in Canaan. This marks the fulfillment of the covenant of the torch 692 years after its ratification.
The exodus and the 40-year wilderness journey
In the process of fulfilling the covenant of the torch, the Israelites had to walk through the wilderness for 40 years. The 40-year wilderness journey sets the pattern for today’s Christians, who are to leave Egypt (the world), receive training in the wilderness (church), and finally enter Canaan (heaven). This book has clearly rearranged all the events of the wilderness—the accounts of unbelief, treachery, repentance and forgiveness in chronological and geographical order. The 40-year long story unfolds before your eyes like an epic novel. You will groan, sigh, and at times, jump with excitement as you feel, deep within your heart, that this is your personal story!
The covenant of the torch has not been fully concluded yet
God has said that the covenant of the torch is “the word which He commanded to a thousand generations” (Ps 105:8) and “an everlasting covenant” (Ps 105:10). In other words, it is not an ancient fable that is relevant only for the direct descendants of Abraham. It spans the 6,000-year redemptive history and is applicable for us today. Joseph, the fulfiller of the covenant of the torch, foreshadows Jesus Christ. God’s grand plan to save mankind through Jesus Christ is symbolized in this story. Moreover, the Bible’s distinctive dual structure (double fulfillment of prophecy) is seen through the covenant of the torch.
In order to fulfill the covenant of the torch—which awaits future consummation, a “living” faith like that of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph is required (Matt 22:32). Those whom God regards as “the living” are those who only trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ—who was prefigured by Joseph, the initial fulfiller of the covenant of the torch—and who are “dead” to the sins of this world. The torch of the covenant was burning within the hearts of all the heroes of faith who fulfilled the covenant of the torch with their living faith. That torch is God’s fervent love and desire to save His people.