Examining the 400-year prophecy found in Genesis 15, with an eye toward its fulfillment.
Time left till our sentence is fully served:
Then Yah said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.”
— Genesis 15:13
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So, Mrs. Kingdom Prepper wrote a kind of poetic essay concerning the time we have left before our 400-year sentence comes to an end. On the heals of this, I received a few emails from folks who interpreted that as a prediction that we would see immediate deliverance the day it happens; the day our sentence is fully served.
To be clear, that is not what we’re saying. We are NOT date-setters. Yeshua said it best:
7 It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
For reference, I’ve placed the original piece my wife wrote below:
That’s it: nine months. In the time it takes to birth a child, the curse will be lifted.
If only I could also see the birth of a righteous nation turning back to Yah; but the Scriptures foretold that not all of us would welcome this transition. Not all of us will turn back to Yah.
Surely, though, I see the winds of change, as I drive down the narrow streets of the south on a cloudy, rain-soaked morning, that familiar scent of swamp with a hint of something else, rises up to my nostrils. I smell the blood of my ancestors buried beneath the earth in these old slave states. It lingers in the air after a rain.
Oh, I can imagine how Abel’s blood cried out to Yah when his brother Cain killed him in the fields long ago. Yah heard his cries, as I am sure he hears the cries of all our ancestors who’ve been hanged, castrated, burned alive, raped, stabbed, and buried beneath these paved roads, highways, streets, and manicured lawns.
Every time it rains the scent wafts up, their blood crying out. Just nine more months and the curse will be lifted; the last great curse. Our sentence for our rebellion will be fully served, then the nation will give birth. Not a physical fleshly one, but a birth on a spiritual new page, to honor the name of our Elohim for all the world to see!
Nowhere does this piece mention a physical deliverance from this captivity, nor clouds bursting to reveal our great redeemer. In fact, it says that our curse will be lifted, and our sentence fully served; and the nation will give birth spiritually, not physically. In essence, the end of the 400 years of our captivity will set in motion everything else that needs to happen, but it doesn’t mean anything will happen right away.
But let me backtrack for a moment. Some of you might be wondering what in the world I’m even talking about. What’s this about 400 years? Wasn’t that fulfilled in Egypt during the time of Moses? While this subject may be old for some, it’s new to others, so I’ll try to cover as much ground as possible for the benefit of those who are brand new to this prophetic event and the particular light that has been shed on it as of late.
This all starts back in the book of Genesis, chapter 15 to be exact. Abram was at a point in his life where the pressures of having no natural heir started to weigh down on him. Yah, in a vision, promised to give him an heir in his old age, assuring him that his servant Eliezer would not be the one to inherit his sizable fortune. After performing requested sacrifices to ratify the covenant between himself and Yah, we are told the following:
12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then Yah said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
—Genesis 15:12 – 16
Many have read this believing that it refers to the Egyptian captivity. But there are several things off with that assumption. Flipping over to Exodus 12:40 we read:
40 The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years.
We need to examine these words carefully. Let’s start by lining it up with Genesis 15:13. There, Yah tells Abram in a dream: “your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs.” So far so good. That lines up with Moses’s era. But continuing we read: “and [they] will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years!” This particular clause does not line up with the events in Exodus. The entire time the nation of Israel lived in Egypt was a total of 430 years. But we are told that Abram’s descendants would serve and be afflicted for 400 total years. When Jacob, Abram’s grandson officially moved to Egypt with his family, we can count that as the start of their sojourning in a land that is not theirs. However, Joseph (according to Genesis 50:21 and 26) died at the ripe old age of 110, and during that entire time, his people were not afflicted, nor did they serve the Egyptians.
Now, the book of Genesis says that:
46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
That very chapter reveals that the seven years of plenty commenced right around that time, meaning he would have been 30 or 31 years old. The seven years of famine are what prompted Jacob to move to Egypt, per the events recorded in Genesis chapters 43 to 46. There were seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, so Jacob moved to Egypt during the famine years, while the famine was still raging. That means that Joseph could not have been more than 42 or 43 years old. What’s more, Scripture already informed us that he died at the age of 110, and he and all his brothers and their generation had to die before any affliction could befall the nation of Israel.
6 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. 7 But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.
—Exodus 1:6 – 7
If we were to say that the affliction occurred immediately following the death of Joseph, we still would not reach 400 years of affliction in Egypt. Joseph was about 42 or 43 when his entire family’s sojourn began in Egypt. He died about 67 years later at age 110. Take 430 years the children of Israel were in Egypt, subtract Joseph’s extended family’s time there (67 years) and you’re left with 363 years of servitude and affliction. But, Joseph’s brother Levi lived to be 137 years old according to Exodus 6:16, so that would shorten the time of affliction even more, disqualifying the Egyptian period of bondage as a fulfillment of Genesis 15:13.
Now, as a quick side note, the word that Bible scholars translate as generation in Genesis 15:16 is word H1755, dor, which, according to Brown-Driver-Briggs, has several senses: period, age, and generation. If we think of America in terms of periods, we would see the various stages it went through over the centuries, beginning with a clutch of colonies that lasted till the 1700s when a burgeoning nation declared its independence. From there, we see the period of expansion, where America extended its borders through wars of conquest and land purchases. Then came the period of growth, where its economy eventually soared via various means, and it vastly strengthened its military might, becoming a full-blown superpower on the world stage. And now, in its fourth period, the American empire is crumbling, as all spent empires are apt to do.
So, Genesis 15:16 can actually read:
16 “And they [the Israelites] shall come back here [to the land of Canaan] in the fourth period, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
That said, we know that there have been several slave movements since the Egyptian bondage, but only one of them can qualify as a fulfillment of Genesis 15:13. Before we jump into the 1619 date that a few out there will shoot down, let’s lay aside an earlier recorded date of 1502 for the arrival of slaves in North America. According to the National Humanities Center:
The date we recognize for the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia is 1619, but the first recorded arrival in North America occurred 117 years earlier in 1502 when Juan de Córdoba sent several of his black slaves from Spain to Hispaniola. In 1517 the first slaves sent directly from Africa arrived to do forced labor on the Spanish plantations and mines in the Caribbean islands. As the Native Americans enslaved by the Spanish died by the thousands from overwork and disease, more Africans were captured and shipped to replace them. The Atlantic slave trade was on. It remained a critical and brutal element of the Spanish and English economies in North America for over four centuries.
To be clear, the 1502 date is not the true start of slavery in the nation that is now America for several reasons. First and foremost, the record shows that “Juan de Córdoba sent several of his black slaves from Spain to Hispaniola.” For one thing, Spain is not a nation ruling over the people of Israel today after keeping them in a 400-year state of captivity that comes with affliction. For another thing, Hispaniola is a Caribbean island, and while it is in North America, it is not part of the America that is now a powerful nation. That qualification falls to the Virginia settlement known as Jamestown, which saw its very first slaves on August 20, 1619. This is very important because, Virginia, which was one of the original colonies, was foundational to the establishment of what is now the United States, the sole nation that fulfills Genesis 15:16. Virginia, as well as the nation it is part of, still exist today. The year 2019 will mark 400 years of the unbroken captivity and affliction of the true people of Israel, the so-called Negros, exacted by the same nation.
Let me state it plainly: a single nation fulfills Genesis 15:13, not multiple nations, even though we were scattered to various nations of the world. And that nation will be judged by Yah, like Egypt was in ancient times. Yah made it relatively easy to pinpoint which nation would be responsible for this 400-year captivity, though many were involved throughout time. First, in verse 13 of Genesis 15 we are told that the people of Israel would “be in a land that is not theirs.” A land, singular, not lands. This narrows things down. Then in the next verse we read:
14 “But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.”
The nation, singular, not nations. So, first, we serve a particular nation for 400 years, then the nation is to be judged, and afterward, as is stated in the verse above, after all that happens—our time being served and judgment falling on the nation that fulfilled the prophecy by holding us captive and afflicting us for 400 years—then we will come out of that nation. This does not mean that come 2019 we are going anywhere! In fact, I don’t believe there will be any kind of exodus from this present-day Egypt until that judgment is fully poured out, which may take years. But only Yah knows.
However, what the end of our 400-year sentence means is not to be misunderstood or taken lightly. The all-important merit that will be gained from it is this: we will no longer be under a curse in Yah’s eyes. Our punishment will officially be over; our sentence served. That does not mean that our captors will then willingly free us, or that the majority of us will even recognize that we were freed from a captivity (many don’t even seem to believe they are in captivity now).
What we ultimately see is this: come August 20, 2019, the nation of Israel, summed up in the collective experience of Judah here in America, will finally hold the status Abraham did when he lived in Canaan and was given the original promise and prophecy that involved us. We will be as free as he was, equal to the Gentiles that surround us, whose land we will still inhabit, just as the Gentiles of his day inhabited and occupied the land he sojourned in long ago. With that, we must exercise the faith and obedience Abraham displayed, which prompted Yah to call him a friend and establish a personal covenant with him that would involve his many descendants. And, as the closing line of my wife’s poetic essay states:
Our sentence for our rebellion will be fully served, then the nation will give birth. Not a physical fleshly one, but a birth on a spiritual new page, to honor the name of our Elohim for all the world to see!