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Genesis 15:17

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.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
When it is added, “And when the sun was now setting there was a flame, and lo, a smoking furnace, and lamps of fire, which passed through between those pieces,” this signifies that at the end of the world the carnal shall be judged by fire. The affliction of the city of God, such as never was before, which is expected to take place under Antichrist, was prefigured by Abraham’s horror of great darkness about the going down of the sun. When the end of the world draws nigh, so at the going down of the sun, that is, at the very end of the world, there is signified by that fire the day of judgment, which separates the carnal who are to be saved by fire from the carnal who are to be condemned in the fire. And then the covenant made with Abraham particularly sets forth the land of Canaan and names eleven tribes in it from the river of Egypt even to the great river Euphrates. It is not then from the great river of Egypt, that is, the Nile, but from a small one that separates Egypt from Palesti...

Caesarius of Arles

AD 542
Notice, brothers, that what is called a fiery torch passing between those pieces is also not said to have touched the turtledove and pigeon. That evening signified the end of the world. Those animals, as we already said, showed a type of all the nations who believe in Christ. Because those nations have in them not only spiritual people, as was already said, that is, not only good people but even the wicked, for this reason the animals were divided and the fiery torch passed through them. According to what the apostle says, “The day of the Lord will declare it, since it will be revealed in fire,” and so forth. That burning, smoking oven and fiery torch prefigured the day of judgment, and for this reason fear and a darksome horror settled upon blessed Abraham. Therefore we have realized that “if the just man scarcely will be saved,” on the day of judgment, “where will the impious and the sinner appear?” That burning, smoking oven signified judgment day: the day of judgment, I repeat, on ...

Caesarius of Arles

AD 542
Therefore, in order that we may not come to this torture of soul, let us awake while there is time for correction and like good, profitable servants seek the will of our Lord. Then when that dreadful day of judgment comes, which is dreaded exceedingly even by the good and was signified by that burning, smoking oven, we will not be tormented in hell by avenging flames in company with carnal people. These souls were signified by the animals, because they can be divided by various contentious desires. Let us rather show the simplicity of the pigeon and the chastity of the turtledove, so that we may be raised to heaven on the spiritual wings of virtue. According to the apostle’s words, “We shall be caught up together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall ever be with the Lord” with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory together with the Father and the Holy Spirit world without end. Amen. ...

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
Abraham thought, “Perhaps these kings will destroy each other, or other peoples might rise up and destroy them and empty out the land for us. Perhaps my seed will become strong and will go and slay its inhabitants and possess it, or maybe the land will swallow [its inhabitants] because of their deeds. Perhaps the [inhabitants] might go into exile into another land because of hunger or rumor or some such reason.” Abraham sought to know which of these [would happen], but he had no doubts whatsoever. Then God, who knew what he sought, showed him what he did not seek in addition to what he did seek. For by the offering that Abraham made [when] the birds came down and he chased them away, God clearly showed him that his descendants would sin and be oppressed but would be saved through the prayers of their righteous ones. And by the pot of fire that came down, God made known that even if all their righteous ones should come to an end, deliverance from heaven would come to them. By the threey...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
A lamp, or symbol of the Divinity, passing, as Abram also did, between the divided beasts, to ratify the covenant. See Jeremias xxxiv. 18.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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