Abraham’s Son

The illustration of Abraham, offering his only son Isaac on Mount Moriah, is intended as a prequel for the time when God would offer His only Son, the Messiah, for the sins of the world on the same mountain.

In this example that is written in the first book of the Bible, we see that the Old Testament exists for the purpose of illustrating the purpose, work, and ministry of the coming Messiah. By this great trial that Abraham and Isaac endured, and their successful response to the command of God, we see precisely what God intended much later—when Jesus died for us all.

Genesis 22:1-2 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”  And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.

Jesus, Testament Fulfillment:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 19:17 And Jesus, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.

Luke 22:42 saying, Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.

John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Offering a Son

In this prophecy from Genesis 22, fulfilled by Jesus, we see the entire plan of salvation demonstrated in the story of Abraham offering his son Isaac. After waiting for the promise of God for nearly 25 years, Abraham finally has the son that he has dreamed of. Isaac is perhaps in his early thirties and Abraham is a very old man of about 130 years of age.

Isaac has become everything that Abraham has dreamed of. He is the apple of his father’s eye and the delight of his life. Abraham loves Isaac so much that he has become a danger to his father.

In order for anyone to truly Love God, He must be first and foremost in everything. There is no room on the throne of our heart for anyone except God. To place a son, a daughter, mother, or father, or any other person above the Lord is to commit the gravest error.

Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

It is only right that the Lord demand that He is the first love of our life. By His very nature as the Creator and Sustainer of all life; God has the right to be worshipped exclusively by all of His creation.

To give him an opportunity for growth, the Lord desires that Abraham understand—by practical experience, who is truly first in his life. This test is not for the Lord so that He can find out where Abraham’s heart is. The test is for Abraham. One of the attributes of God is that He knows everything. There is nothing that He must learn, or discover. What makes the Lord; God, is that He knows all things—from eternity. The Lord understands Abraham so well, that He is keenly aware of his love for Isaac. The problem is that Abraham does not know that his love for his son has surpassed his love for God.

It is very easy for us to fall so much in love with a person that they become the focus of our heart, our time, and our affections. Our entire life can easily be directed at a person, above everything else. In order to have a correct relationship with God, and experience a truly blessed life, we must keep the Lord first in everything.

Often when we begin to feel empty, or sense that something is missing in our life; this void can be explained by the absence of God. We were created to worship the Lord and when He is missing, we feel our estrangement from Him.

Remember that the phrase: God tested Abraham, does not mean that the Lord needs to find out if Abraham truly loves him. It is Abraham that needs to discover whether the Lord is truly first in his life.

The difference between taking Jesus as our Savior and allowing Him to be Lord:

We can progress no further in our life with the Lord until we have settled the issue of Lordship. Many people take Jesus as their Savior because they don’t want to go to hell, and they hope to spend eternity in heaven. Few there are, who understand the importance of keeping Jesus first as Lord—over every aspect of their life. Without Jesus as the one in control of our life, He is little more than a Genie in a bottle, who waits for us to command Him.

Can a person be saved if they take Jesus as their Savior only, without allowing Him to also be their Lord? I don’t know, and I am not sure that anyone really understands whether or not this is necessary. There is a point when the mind, the heart, and the will are surrendered to Jesus. Only God knows when this point is reached. For those who will be saved, they must carefully make sure that their confession of Jesus is sincere and comes from the heart. Otherwise, salvation has not occurred and there is no eternal life for the insincere.

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

God desires that Abraham have the issue of Lordship settled in his heart, before He can take him to the next level of his spiritual growth. In our life, the importance of making and keeping Jesus as the Lord of our life, is equally significant. Without allowing the Lord to be the decision maker in all of our dreams, goals, and hopes, we become Lord over Him, instead of He being Lord over us.

Genesis 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Genesis 22:4-5 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

Abraham understands that he is taking Isaac up the hill to offer him as a sacrifice. Even so, he tells the young men who came along on the journey to serve him, that he and Isaac will both be returning soon.

This is a subtle hint of Abraham’s faith. In order to carry out the Lord’s command to offer Isaac as a burnt offering to the Lord, Abraham must believe that when he kills his son, God will raise him back to life again. Otherwise how would God be able to fulfill His promise to make one of Abraham’s descendants, a great nation?

In other words, Abraham believes in the resurrection of an only son in order to obtain the promises of God.

This sounds very much like the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Another similarity between the sacrifice that Jesus made, and the offering of Abraham’s son, is that the wood for the burnt offering that is laid on the shoulders of Isaac.

Genesis 22:6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.

John 19:17 And Jesus, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.

While we stand in amazement at Abraham’s faith in being able to offer up his only son, we should not miss the equally stunning detail that Isaac is allowing his father to tie him to the altar for the sacrifice. Isaac is not a young boy, he is a man of about 30 years of age. Isaac could easily overpower his aging father, if he was not willing to be the sacrifice. Notice that Isaac the son, was willing to give his life. Much in the same way that Jesus was willing to lay down His life for all of us.

Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Finally, as Abraham and Isaac reach the top of the mountain where the sacrifice will be offered, the question is asked: “Where is the Lamb for the sacrifice”

Genesis 22:7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

Genesis 22:8  And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”

Abraham tells Isaac that God will provide the Lamb for the sacrifice.

Another translation of this verse says: “God will provide Himself the lamb….” (RSV)

No matter how these verses are translated or interpreted, the clear message is: Abraham’s offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah, is a visual illustration of the future sacrifice that God’s only Son would make of Himself on on the same mountain.

Jesus became the Lamb that Abraham described in Genesis 22, when He came into the world to die for our sins. John the Baptist recognized this fact as Jesus comes down to the Jordan river to be baptized.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

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As this incredible story continues, we learn that the reason Abraham was able to offer his son and not withhold him from God, was due to his firm belief that God was able to raise Isaac again from the dead, in order to fulfill his promises to Abraham.

Genesis 22:16-18 “…and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Hebrews 11:17-19 “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”

Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.

Galatians 3:29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in Jesus are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

What Abraham’s act of faith means for us today:

Here, in this text from Genesis 22:16-18, we see the long-term effects of Abraham’s faith and obedience in offering his son Isaac at Mount Moriah.

As Abraham went through the mental preparation of taking his only son to the mountain, constructing the altar, and raising the knife to take Isaac’s life, he did so with great faith. Abraham understood that God had already promised, through Isaac and his future descendants, that He would make a great nation. Abraham believed that in order for the Lord to fulfill this promise, He would have to raise Isaac from the dead.

This experience that Abraham went through, was intended by God as an example for us.

More than a thousand years later when Jesus was crucified, He was taken to the same place on this mountain that Abraham had brought Isaac for the sacrifice. The offering of an only son by Abraham was a picture for us, of how God would bring His only Son and offer Him as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. In order for the promise of God to be possible in both of these examples, a son would have to be resurrected from the dead. Although Abraham was prevented from taking his son’s life, God would not spare His only Son when He was offered for us on the cross.

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all…

Without this example in Genesis 22, we would have a difficult time understanding the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. By the living example of an actual father, bringing his only son to the altar, we can feel the pain and anguish that Abraham must have experienced. We can understand the intense struggle that was going on in the mind of this old man, who loved his son more than anything else in the world. We see the obedience and love for God measured in the span of Abraham’s heart and how, at all costs, that heart was determined to love God and obey Him.

Because of the example of Abraham and Isaac at this mountain of decision, we can understand to some small degree, how the Father felt when He allowed His only Son, to come to the cross and die for us. It is clear that Abraham was allowed this great privilege of bringing Isaac to the mountain, so that all who would read this story, could understand a little of God’s broken heart when He watched His son die.

In our look at this prophecy from Genesis 22, we understand how this single act by Abraham and Isaac portrayed the complete work of Jesus as He went to the Cross for us.

As Abraham has completed the task of offering Isaac, he has now qualified all future descendants after him, to receive the blessings of obedience by faith. God stopped the plunging of Abraham’s knife into his son because Abraham had reached the place in his life where he would hold nothing back from God. It was the Lord who was the primary object of his trust. There was no other on the altar of Abraham’s heart, except the Lord, and for this finality of his faith, he was determined.

Do you realize today, that you have the opportunity to be saved and have all of your sins forgiven, because of a long list of men and women who have lived their lives trusting in the word of God?

God has been building a record of faithful men and women for six thousand years, who live by faith in God’s promises. Because Abraham was not willing to withhold his only son, in God’s blessing of Abraham, we are also blessed. The future Seed of Abraham was Jesus Christ who exercised the ultimate obedience, by faith, to the Father, and offered up His life in exchange for all of us.

When you and I chose to believe what God said concerning His Son, Jesus Christ, then we are lodged into the halls of faith with all those who have done-likewise, before us. All of the Old Testament prophecies have as their primary goal; to direct our attention to God—who would send His Son to die for our sins. If we are willing to believe this truth and take Him into our hearts, as we confess this belief; God will spare us the judgement for our sins and give us eternal life.