Genesis: Abraham & Isaac

The previous post was about Cain & Abel and their offerings. This post is about another offering.

Their Journey

Genesis 22:1–2 (NIV)
1Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

Read Genesis 22. God did not want Isaac to die, but he wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in his heart so it would be clear that Abraham loved God more than he loved his promised and long-awaited son. God was testing Abraham. The purpose of testing is to strengthen our character and deepen our commitment to God and His perfect timing. Through this difficult experience, Abraham strengthened his commitment to obey God. He also learned about GodÙs ability to provide.

Does the phrase “your only son” in verse 2 sound familiar? See John 3:16! There are more similarities between this historical account and Calvary!

Abraham and Isaac traveled the 50 or 60 miles north from Beersheba (“well of seven” or “well of oath”) to Mount Moriah (chosen of Jehovah) in about 3 days (See map…).

Abraham’s faith

  • In verse 5, Abraham tells his servants, “while I and the boy go…we will come back.”
  • In verse 8 after Isaac asked, “but where is the lamb…” Abraham replies, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
  • Hebrews 11:17 (NIV) – By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice…
  • James 2:23 (NIV) – And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called GodÙs friend.”

Our Faith:

1 Peter 1:8–9 (KJV)
8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
John 20:29 (KJV)
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Also, read Hebrews 11.

Other Parallels

Parallels between Abraham and Isaac, and Christ Jesus: Genesis 22:1–14

Abraham and Isaac

  1. Occurred on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem
  2. Abraham was the father of Isaac
  3. Isaac was the covenant son
  4. Two unnamed men were there
  5. Abraham saw the mount on the 3rd day
  6. Isaac was laid upon the wood
  7. Isaac got up off the altar
  8. A ram replaced Isaac
  9. A “lamb would be seen”

Christ Jesus

  1. Christ was crucified on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem
  2. God is the Father of Christ
  3. Christ was the only begotten Son of God
  4. Two unnamed men crucified on Golgotha
  5. Jesus was raised from the grave on the 3rd day
  6. Christ was laid upon the wooden cross
  7. Christ arose from the grave
  8. Christ was sacrificed in our place
  9. Christ is the “Lamb of God” who was seen

Nugget: Abraham was permitted to see into the future and understand that God Himself would be the Lamb (John 8:56). He would suffer in the place of all mankind.

The Story of Abraham & Isaac Continues…

In verse 9: …He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar,…

Isaac was probably a young adult who was well able to resist his father if he so desired. But in complete submission to God and obedience to his father, he allowed himself to be bound and laid on the altar.

Let’s do a picture-to-person

Isaac carrying the wood, most likely on his back, and freely allowing Abraham to lay him on the altar is a picture of the Messiah on the cross.

In verse 13: Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

The ram with his head stuck in the thicket is a picture of the Messiah with the crown of thorns on His head. The ram represents Jesus who died on the cross for our sins.

Let’s go a step farther. Read Leviticus 16:8–26.

Leviticus 16:20–22 (NIV)
20“When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. 22The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.

There can be only one Lamb of God and Jesus was that Lamb. Isaac was the shadow of a scapegoat. When Jesus was crucified, Barabbas represented the scapegoat (Matthew 27:16–22). What is a scapegoat?

SCAPEGOAT: Animal that carried away the sins of the people into the wilderness on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 8; 10; 26). On the Day of Atonement, when the high priest went once a year into the holy of holies to offer sacrifices for the sins of his family and for all the people, two goats were brought before him. By lot, one for chosen to be “for the LORD.” This goat was slain as a sin offering, and its blood was sprinkle on the altar. [HIBD, p1450]

The second goat was the scapegoat. The Hebrew word for scapegoat is עֲזָאזֵל (azazel) which means “goat of removal”. After the sacrifices for atonement was done, the goat was taken into the desert. This procedure was changed possibly after a goat managed to return to the camp. Holman continues to write, “Some say the goat was led away by a priest 6 to 7 miles into the desert and pushed over a cliff to die so it wouldnÙt wander back to the camp bringing the sins back.”

The story continues in verse 14: So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

The LORD will provide (יְהוָׄהיִרְאֶה or Yahweh-Yireh or Jehovahjireh).

Some nuggets…

Let’s examine the region of Moriah (See map).

Three mountains upon which Jerusalem is built:

  1. Mount Ophel (where the Pool of Siloam is located) is the lower slopes. (Nehemiah 3:26–27; John 9)
  2. Mount Zion (Tabernacle of David – 1 Chronicles 15:1) is west of Mt. Ophel and Mt. Moriah.
  3. Mount Moriah (Temple of Solomon – 2 Chronicles 3:1) is the highest part to the north.

What happened in the Moriah region:

  1. Abraham offered Isaac upon Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:2) Most scholars say Isaac was offered upon Mt. Moriah.
  2. In Moriah there was a large threshing floor that David purchased from a Jebusite (2 Samuel 24:18)
  3. Jesus was crucified at Calvary. (John 19:19–20)
  4. Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:1–4)

From Genesis 22:6 (fire) to Acts 2:1–4 (over a 1,000 years), 120 redeemed believers gathered on the day of Pentecost when the glory of God fell! The “fiery tongues” came down on the holy mountain. Try to imagine what it would have been like to really been there…

Acts 2:1–4 (NIV)
1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The faith and obedience of Abraham and Isaac with Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice at Calvary, Mt. Moriah became to mean “mountain of glory!”

Next week, we will talk about some of the laws, both God-made and man-made.

Until then,
שָׁלוֹם (Shalom!)