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And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

15:12 a deep sleep. The whole procedure in this remarkable ritual was profoundly instructive to Abram. The long delay foreshadowed a long period that must elapse before God’s promise would be fulfilled, during which the believer would have to guard against attacks of wicked men and evil spirits. The deep sleep could only symbolize death–a substitutionary death by One whom the sacrifices pictured, and in whose death Abram and all believers must share before the glory can follow.

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