Archive | Genesis RSS feed for this section

Christ as the Blood of Abel

5 Nov

Cain_and_Abel008
Read Genesis 4:1-15
Sadly, we see the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve already in the next generation, where the first murder is recorded. Poor Abel is mentioned in this chapter only for his birth, his offering and his death. His birth is recorded in verse two and his murder in verse eight. He is mentioned in several other places in Scripture, though. It’s there that we get a commentary of what went on here in Chapter Four.
“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.” Heb. 11:4
Jesus also referred to him as “righteous Abel”.
“…that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” Matt.23:35
Abel is both a type of the true believer and a shadow of Christ.
He is a type of the true believer because of his offering and his faith. He brings an offering of “the firstborn of his flock, and their fat.” This represents the first and best, as fat was considered the best part of an animal. We also know the animal was slain, or else they could not get the fat. So a blood sacrifice is implied. Abel did this in faith, seeing the lamb as his substitute before God, until the Promised Seed would come.
Cain, by contrast, brought “an offering”. He came with neither his firstfruits nor his best. He came with the work of his hands, thinking he could approach God his own way, rather than the way God prescribed. Cain and Abel would have learned from the example and teaching of their parents, that God must be approached by faith and with blood. This was their first expression of faith and dependence on God as adults.
God sees the heart. It wasn’t just the type of sacrifice that was a problem, but the attitude. The offering and the worshipper are inseparable. When God appeals to Cain in mercy, Cain gets angry. He had no reason to be angry, and he could still make it right. Cain was envious. He takes his brother out to a field where he thinks no one will see them, and kills him. He should have loved him because he was his brother, and even more so, protected him as a younger brother. Instead we see,
“…not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” 1 John 3:12
God asks, “Where is Abel, your brother?” I find this interesting; as if there was any other Abel in town. God does this to emphasize the heinous nature of the crime and to strike at Cain’s conscience. Cain lies. “I do not know,” as if he could conceal his crime. Then he goes further with a surly response which questions the right of the Almighty to even ask. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” His response reveals his hard heart and a lack of any natural brotherly affection.
“And He said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’” Gen. 4:10
This shows God’s outrage. Remember, God never asks a question to get information. He knows all things. He asks, as a parent would, to see if Cain will confess and repent. Just as earlier, He asked, “Adam, where are you?”
Cain complains that his punishment is greater than he can bear. He is not sorry for his sin, only sorry he got caught. He fears a violent death, like his brother. Matthew Henry says, “It shows great hardness of heart to be more concerned about our sufferings than our sins.”
Even so, God again shows mercy to him by delaying the sentence of death already over his head because of the disobedience of his parents.
Abel is also a shadow of Christ because Abel’s sacrifice is imperfect, whereas Christ’s is perfect. “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the most holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:12
He is also a shadow because of the contrast between the intent of the blood of Abel vs. the blood of Christ. God said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” Gen. 4:10 Abel’s blood cries for justice and vengeance, but Christ’s blood cries for forgiveness.
“…to Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Heb. 12:24
Because of Christ’s death, we can enter the presence of God, from which our first parents were banished. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus…” Heb. 10:19
Also, one day we’ll be in the actual presence of God and have access to the tree of life, also banned from our first parents. Rev. 22:14
“Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.”
Timothy Keller

Advertisements

Christ as the Seed of the Woman

4 Nov

eve
Read Genesis 3

Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.

Effects of the Fall
Immediately after they ate the fruit, the lights went on, or should I say, out. (Gen.3:7) The loss of innocence led to a feeling of shame. Their guilt is expressed in the awareness of nakedness. This is in contrast to before the fall when they were naked and unashamed.

Redemption is linked to God providing a covering, or Atonement for sin. Gen.3:21 Even the mercy seat is a covering of the ark, which contained the law, which we broke. It was the place where estranged parties were reconciled. Ex. 25:7

They were also now afraid of God. Whereas before, they had fellowship with God, now they saw Him as their Judge. “I was afraid,” Adam admits in Gen. 3:10

There was a change in their relationship; blame and lack of trust; Gen.3:12

They realized they were naked, and went about trying to make themselves presentable, covering themselves with fig leaves. We often do this, too. Many people won’t come to God until they feel they’ve cleaned up their act. They try to cover themselves with the fig leaves of good works, hoping God won’t see that they’re spiritually naked.

The Blame Game
As the head of the family, Adam must give an account of what has been done. He is questioned first, even though God knew Eve ate first. As I said, it’s forever referred to as Adam’s sin, not Eve’s, although they are equally guilty, and equally fallen. He was the representative for all mankind yet to be born, and the head of the family.

“They show their allegiance to Satan by distorting the truth, accusing one another, and accusing God. Their efforts to conceal their sin only expose it.” Geneva Study Bible notes.

Imagine Eve’s shock when he blames her, as if he wasn’t responsible for his own actions. I can imagine her standing there staring at him with her mouth hanging open. Notice he doesn’t try to say he was deceived; that much at least is true. She handed it to him and he ate it. He also subtly blames God, “the woman You gave me.” Gen. 3:12 He implies it was God’s fault for giving Eve to him in the first place.

The Sentence
The Supreme Court of the Universe is now in session. The Judge has heard the testimonies (i.e. excuses), and He is ready to pass sentence. There is no question as to whether He can do this; it is His right as Creator.
For Satan, God doesn’t even ask for his side of the story, but just assigns judgment on him. God knows his motives and what he has done. The first part of the sentence is on the serpent itself, which is a symbol of Satan (Gen. 3:14). The second part is on the Devil, himself.

“Humanity is now divided into two camps: the redeemed who love God, and the reprobate, who love self. This is seen as soon as the next generation in the hostility of Cain against Abel.” Geneva Study Bible notes.

But see the grace of God. Even as He is passing judgment, He is giving us the first promise of a Redeemer. He does not leave them without hope. The woman’s Seed will gain the victory. As sin entered the world through the agency of a woman, so the Saviour of sinners enters the world by way of a woman. Jesus is Mary’s son. He had no human father. The reference to “her Seed” is a clue, as biology teaches us that men have seed, women; an egg. Yet this future Redeemer is “her Seed”, which is contrary to nature. This hints at the Virgin Birth, or rather, the Virginal Conception. It was a normal birth, but a unique conception.

This verse in Gen. 3:15 is referred to as the Protevangelium, or first gospel. We understand it by later revelations, as they unfold and God’s plan of salvation becomes clearer as history unfolds. Yet we know that the theme of redemption is the Bible’s main story line. Even Jesus said as much after His resurrection, when it’s said on the road to Emmaus, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27

It’s been understood that the Seed of the woman is the Redeemer, and crushing the serpent’s head is His ultimate triumph over Satan and his kingdom. We see hints of His human nature as the Seed of the woman, and yet because He is able to defeat Satan, He must be God. He must participate in the nature of those He will redeem, while at the same time he must have the power to subdue all evil. From Genesis to Revelation, this God-man Redeemer is held up as the object of worship. Without this beautiful, life-giving promise, Scripture would be a dull record of historical facts and laws.

This Seed of the woman is more than just a way of saying that mankind will triumph over sin. It’s a particular person, her Seed. Later we’ll also learn He is the Seed of Abraham, (Gal. 3:16) again referring to an individual, but now hinting that He’d come through the Jewish line. Then later we learn it’s in the line of Judah, and later in the family of David.

This promise of the Redeemer was repeated and amplified until He came, so they’d recognize Him.

In Genesis, Jesus is the Word Who Creates

3 Nov
sky earth galaxy universe

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3
Because Christ is eternal, we don’t have to wait long to be introduced to Him. Although the first promise of the gospel is in Genesis 3:15, He is already present in the first chapter of the Bible. God creates through His Word.
‘The Word’ is one of the names John uses for Jesus.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:1-3
“…and His name is called the Word of God.” Rev.19:13
Jesus is also present in the heavenly council when God decides to make something unique in creation.
“Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness…” Gen. 1:26
Have you ever wondered who God was talking to? Not the angels, since we are not made in their image. This is not just the majestic language of the royal ‘we’ because in the next verse it reverts back to a singular pronoun.
“So God made man in His image: in the image of God He created him; male and female, He created them.” Genesis 1:27
We also see in other parts of Scripture that Christ is the Creator; His life did not begin in Bethlehem. We also see the way Jesus talks about Himself. He says “for this reason I came into the world”. You and I would talk about when we were born. His language suggests He came from another world. His enemies pick up on this. Notice Pilate, when he was told Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, came back in and asked Jesus, not, “Who are you?”, but “Where do you come from?”
Also, Jesus said, “…before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus referred to His pre-existence and used the divine name, I AM when His opponents challenged His assertion that Abraham had seen His day and was glad.
“You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” John 8:57
In order to prove His pre-existence, He could have answered, “Before Abraham was, I was.” But instead He made the startling assertion, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Grudem says He combined two assertions whose sequence seemed to make no sense; “Before something in the past happened, (Abraham was), something in the present happened (I AM).” The Jews understood His meaning right away; first from the divine name, ‘I am’, and then because He claimed to precede Abraham and to have seen him; so much so that they picked up stones to stone Him.
The fact that Christ is the Creator was proved when He was on earth. While all of His miracles established His deity, I find His control over nature to be astounding.
When He calmed the storm that had the disciples quaking in fear, by His word, “Peace, be still,” that was when the disciples really began to fear. (Mark 4:35-40)
“And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, ‘Who can this be, that even the wind and sea obey Him?’” Mark 4:41
Another example was when Jesus walked on the water. To many, this is the very definition of impossible. But they don’t know my Jesus! See Mark 6:48-51
This same God Who created the world by speaking also speaks into our hearts, effectually calling us to Himself.

“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” John 10:4
We first hear His voice and wake from spiritual death. At the Resurrection, His voice will wake us from physical death.

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:28,29

As God, His voice wakes the dead.” For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” John 5:22

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus that You are our Creator. Thank You that Your voice brought this world into existence. Thank You that we heard Your voice calling us to salvation, and that Your voice will call us from our graves.

Questions: Do you see the trinity in the Old Testament? Do you realize Jesus is the Creator?

Response: Study the creation/evolution issues at a reputable site like answersingenesis.org

Jesus as Jacob’s Ladder in Genesis

23 Dec

Jacobs-Ladder-Meditation
“Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven, and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” Gen. 28:12

“And He said to him, ‘Most assuredly I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’” John 1:51

Read Genesis 28: 10-22 and John 1:43-51

In Genesis we see that man was created with the intent of communication with his Creator. Adam walked with God in the cool of the day. There was nothing to hinder their relationship. What must that have been like? Yet, when sin entered the world, that communication was altered. Adam could not just approach God at any time and in any way.

Fast forward a few thousand years. God has made a covenant with Noah, with Abraham and with Isaac. Now He comes to Jacob in a dream. He dreams of a ladder between Heaven and earth, with angelic beings travelling up and down on it. The ladder was NOT symbolizing the commandments of God, that if we were able to keep them, we could get to Heaven. The tower of Babel was man’s attempt to reach God with their works. God put an end to that idea pretty quick.

It is a beautiful symbol of mediation and reconciliation. It re-establishes communication. Jacob is able to communicate with God. The messengers pass on errands of mercy. Martin Luther says, “The dear angels take our prayers to heaven and bring back the answers.”

This ladder was a means of communication between Heaven and earth. Heaven and earth have been separated by sin. The LORD is above, and Jacob, the object of His mercy, is beneath.

The ladder points to the God-Man who reunites Heaven and earth. Matthew Henry says, “We have no way of getting to Heaven but by Christ.” He also says that the ladder represents the two natures of Christ. The top of the ladder His divine nature, and the bottom rung, His human nature.

In John 1: 51 Jesus presents Himself as the reality to which the stairway pointed. Jacob saw the dream of a union between Heaven and earth; Christ made it a reality. He also compares Jacob the deceiver, also called Israel, to Nathaniel, “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit. “ What Nathaniel would witness in the fulfillment of this symbol would be far superior to Jacob’s vision. He would witness the true ladder, the true communication from Heaven, the true Mediator between God and man, and as a believer he would be part of the true Israel, the family of believers throughout history.

Through Christ, the only Mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5) we have access to the Father (Eph.2:8). Matthew Henry says, “Christ is the Way all God’s favours come to us, and all our services go to Him.”

Prayer-“Lord, thank You for not leaving us as we were, unable to approach You, unable to communicate with You or hear what You had to say to us. Thank You for being the ladder between Heaven and earth, so that we could approach you by faith and be welcomed into the family of God; the true Israel.”

Questions-How did you understand Jacob’s ladder? Did you think it was works or representative of Christ?

Response-In prayer, we communicate with God. In reading and hearing God’s word, He communicates with us. How has your communication been lately? Do you avail yourself of this incredible privilege of communicating with the God of the Universe Who has loved you with an everlasting love? Spend time with Him today.

Melchizedek as a Type of Christ in Genesis

27 Oct

Read Genesis 14:18-20,Psalm 110:4,Hebrews 5:5-11,7

Christ is referred to as having three offices;  Prophet, Priest and King. In what sense is He a priest? As a priest, He represents men to God, and God to men.  He offers sacrifices. He serves God. He mediates between God and man in their covenant.

Christ was, humanly speaking, from the tribe of Judah. It was the Levites who were the priestly line. How then could He be a priest?

In Genesis, we’re introduced to a person named Melchizedek, who is referred to as a priest of God Most High in Salem (Jerusalem). He meets Abraham as he is returning from a military victory. Abraham, the patriarch recognizes Melchizedek as his superior, and gives him a tenth of his spoils. Some comment on the tenth as a tithe even before the law was given, which may or may not be significant. He also gave him bread and wine, which some say foreshadows the Lord’s supper, and Christ’s sacrifice of His body and blood.

Melchizedek seems to come from nowhere. In a book known for long lists of genealogies, the lack of information about him is significant. That’s one reason some believe He was a theophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, which we see in several other places in the Old Testament.

There is also no mention of how long he lived, as you also see in the genealogical lists. To the Jew, and then for our sake, it was important to know which family line someone descended from. It was how we would recognize the Messiah, who would be from the family line of Judah, and then a descendant of David.

Psalm 110 is another place where Melchizedek is mentioned. This psalm is widely accepted as being a Messianic psalm.

“The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.’”
Psalm 110:4

However, it’s only when we get to the New Testament that some light is shed on exactly how Christ is like Melchizedek. Hebrews 7:3 says that Melchizedek was “without father, without mother, without beginning of days or end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest forever” .This makes him sound either like a theophany of the eternal Son of God, or a reference to his appearance out of obscurity. He shows up in one scene in Scripture and then disappears just as quickly. We know nothing about him, unlike all other important persons throughout Scripture.

So, how is Christ like Melchizedek?

“Christ was ‘without father as relates to His humanity, and without mother as relates to His divinity.” B.B.Warfield

Further, without beginning or end of days in relation to Melchizedek means we don’t know anything about his lifespan, unlike the genealogies which say how long they lived. In relation to Christ it refers to His eternal  Sonship. As God, He had no beginning and He will have no end. He is the eternal God, the Ancient of Days, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He lived before the stable in Bethlehem.

As such, His priesthood is far superior to the Levitical priesthood. Those priests could only continue for a while, because death eventually overtook them.

But Christ, who is the eternal Son can be a Priest forever, because He will never die. He can continue to be the Mediator between God and man, making intercession for us because of the sacrifice of Himself, making atonement for us with His blood.

Also, King of Salem, means King of peace (Heb. 7:2). Salem was an early name for Jerusalem. Christ is both the King of the Jews and the Prince of Peace (Isa.9:6). He gives peace in our hearts because we have peace with God. “…having made peace through the blood of his cross.” Col.1:20

Prayer– “Thank you for being my everything, Jesus. You are the King of the Universe and yet you rule in my heart, as a Prophet, You tell me in Your word what the kingdom of Heaven is like and You teach me how to live for You. As a Priest, You represent God to me, so I worship You, and You mediate for Me before the throne of Heaven. Thank you that you are eternally my priest forever because of who You are.”

Questions-Do you realize you need a priest? Not an earthly one, but a perfect One? This One sacrificed Himself so that His blood could cover your sin. He also mediates between you and God the Father. (see the blogpost on Christ as the Mediator in Job).

Response-Thank God for being a far superior priest to the types and shadows of the past.

Christ as the Blood of Abel in Genesis

29 Sep

Read Genesis 4:1-15

Sadly, we see the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve already in the next generation, where the first murder is recorded. Poor Abel is mentioned in this chapter only for his birth, his offering and his death. His birth is recorded in verse two and his murder in verse eight. He is mentioned in several other places in Scripture, though. It’s there that we get a commentary of what went on here in Chapter Four.

“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.” Heb. 11:4

Jesus also referred to him as “righteous Abel”.

“…that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” Matt.23:35

Abel is both a type of the true believer and a shadow of Christ.

He is a type of the true believer because of his offering and his faith. He brings an offering of “the firstborn of his flock, and their fat.” This represents the first and best, as fat was considered the best part of an animal. We also know the animal was slain, or else they could not get the fat. So a blood sacrifice is implied. Abel did this in faith, seeing the lamb as his substitute before God, until the Promised Seed would come.

Cain, by contrast, brought “an offering”. He came with neither his firstfruits nor his best. He came with the work of his hands, thinking he could approach God his own way, rather than the way God prescribed. Cain and Abel would have learned from the example and teaching of their parents, that God must be approached by faith and with blood. This was their first expression of faith and dependence on God as adults.

God sees the heart. It wasn’t just the type of sacrifice that was a problem, but the attitude. The offering and the worshipper are inseparable. When God appeals to Cain in mercy, Cain gets angry. He had no reason to be angry, and he could still make it right. Cain was envious. He takes his brother out to a field where he thinks no one will see them, and kills him. He should have loved him because he was his brother, and even more so, protected him as a younger brother. Instead we see,

“…not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” 1 John 3:12

God asks, “Where is Abel, your brother?”  I find this interesting; as if there was any other Abel in town. God does this to emphasize the heinous nature of the crime and to strike at Cain’s conscience.  Cain lies. “I do not know,” as if he could conceal his crime. Then he goes further with a surly response which questions the right of the Almighty to even ask. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” His response reveals his hard heart and a lack of any natural brotherly affection.

“And He said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’” Gen. 4:10

This shows God’s outrage. Remember, God never asks a question to get information. He knows all things. He asks, as a parent would, to see if Cain will confess and repent. Just as earlier, He asked, “Adam, where are you?”

Cain complains that his punishment is greater than he can bear. He is not sorry for his sin, only sorry he got caught. He fears a violent death, like his brother. Even so, God again shows mercy to him by delaying the sentence of death already over his head because of the disobedience of his parents.

Matthew Henry says, “It shows great hardness of heart to be more concerned about our sufferings than our sins.”

Abel is also a shadow of Christ because Abel’s sacrifice is imperfect, whereas Christ’s is perfect. “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the most holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:12

He is also a shadow because of the contrast between the intent of the blood of Abel vs. the blood of Christ. Abel’s blood cries for vengeance, but Christ’s blood cries for forgiveness.

“…to Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Heb. 12:24

Because of Christ’s death, we can enter the presence of God, from which our first parents were banished. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus…” Heb. 10:19

“Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.”
Timothy Keller

Prayer-“Lord, forgive me for trying to approach You my way, with the works of my hands, as if that would be acceptable. You have provided the best way through Your Son. Thank you that His blood covers my sin and cleanses me from guilt. Thank You for Your great forgiveness.”

Questions-Do you feel envious of someone else’s ministry? Why do you think you have that attitude?

Response-Thank God for the sufficiency of His sacrifice that allows you to enter His presence with boldness.

Christ as the Sacrificed Son in the Book of Genesis

14 Jun

Read Genesis 22

“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.’” Gen. 22:2

One of the most beautiful ways Jesus is portrayed in the book of Genesis is as the sacrificed son of promise, presented to us in the narrative of Genesis chapter 22.

Abraham and Sarah had waited a long time for God to fulfill His promise to them. Deciding maybe He meant for them to figure it out, they took matters into their own hands. Sarah gave her servant, Hagar to Abraham; Ishmael was the result.

But the son of the bondwoman was not the child of promise, Isaac was. Because of Isaac, Sarah and Abraham experienced joy in their old age. God had not forgotten His promise. He never does. It may just seem that way from our perspective.

Fast forward. Isaac is a young man. He doesn’t know that God has spoken to his father in the night, and he’s about to have a day he’ll never forget. Notice though, how God shows He understands the magnitude of the sacrifice He is asking Abraham to make. He knows, because one day, He’ll do it, too, but no one will stay His hand.

He says, “Take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and offer him …” Gen. 22:2   Wait. What? “Your only son”? What about Ishmael, the firstborn? Doesn’t he count? Not in terms of Redemption. It’s the son of Abraham and Sarah who is the son of promise. Ishmael represents the rejected bondwoman’s son, those who believe they can be saved by works. God’s plan is much better. Gal. 4:21-31

Read verse three. Notice that? “So Abraham rose early in the morning…” I know it’s stating the obvious, but in order to wake up you have to have gone to sleep. How could he have slept? More than that, he woke up early, eager to obey. I would’ve pressed the snooze button a few times at least. Notice also, that there’s no record of his telling Sarah what God had told him. With good reason. That would not end well. This is her baby, regardless of his age.

I find Isaac’s question to his father so heart rending. He understands what is needed for a sacrifice, and sees there’s something missing. “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Gen. 22:7 This shows us the concept of a lambs and burnt offerings was not foreign even before the Law was given. I’m sure Abraham swallowed the lump in his throat and could not look at Isaac as he answered, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” Gen. 22:8

And hasn’t He done that in history? All the repeated sacrifices of animals throughout the centuries only pointed forward to the perfect Sacrifice, which would put an end to all other sacrifices; the One provided by God, Himself. “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 God took His Son, His Only Son Whom He loved, and sacrificed Him.

Did Isaac protest or struggle as Abraham bound him on the altar? There’s no record of it in Scripture so I’d conclude no. There was no, “Father, what are you doing?” or “How could you do this?” or “Please, Father, no.” Just submission to his father’s will, even though he knows it means an excruciating death at the will of his own Father.

Christ was the son of promise. All of history is His Story. All the types and shadows pointed to Him, the promised One, beloved of the Father. He was God’s “Son, His only Son, whom (He) loved.” “This is my beloved son”. Matt. 3:17 He also gladly submitted to His Father’s will, even knowing what it would cost Him. “What shall I say? Save Me from this hour? It was for this hour that I came forth. Father, glorify Your name.” John 12:27,28 and “In the volume of the book it is written of Me. I delight to do Your will.” Heb.10:7

Seemingly out of nowhere, after God/the Angel of the LORD tells him not to lay a hand on the boy, a ram appears. It’s significant that Scripture records the detail that it was caught in a thicket by its horns. This would mean its body would be unblemished, and so would be a suitable sacrifice.

In this narrative we see Christ as the sacrificed son, but we also see him as the substitute for the one under sentence of death. A thicket is a mass of thorns, and represents sin, and horns are a symbol of strength. So we see Christ pictured as held fast by sin, for us. Then the ram is offered up, “instead of his son.” Gen. 22:13 Here we see a beautiful picture of substitutionary atonement.

JD Greear  says, “Jesus did not merely die ‘for’ you, he died ‘instead’ of (2 Cor 5:21)

Abraham’s hand was held back by God. He was really going to do what God commanded. God knew his heart and his motives. He also saw his faith that in spite of this, God would keep his promise. As they were approaching the mountain, Abraham left the servants to wait, promising that, “the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” Gen. 22:5 Notice he saw what he was about to do as an act of worship. He didn’t say they would both return because he was lying to his servants or because he didn’t intend on following through on God’s command. In the book of Hebrews we’re told that Abraham believed God was able to raise him from the dead.

“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.”                     Heb. 11:17-19   It was impossible for God to lie. Abraham was so sure of God’s character and God’s word. After all, He had already given Isaac to him, as He’d promised. “And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Gen. 15:6 Abraham would do as God commanded, even though it seemed to go contrary to His promise that through Isaac the world would be blessed.

After the Angel of the LORD stayed his hand, He again reiterated the promise to multiply his descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand of the seashore.” He also tied the blessing into Abraham’s obedience. “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice.”   Gen. 22:18   But many years later, God the Father didn’t hold back His hand. He slew His own Son. Jesus felt the rejection of His Father as the worst part of the crucifixion.

“My GOD, my GOD, why have You forsaken Me?” Matt. 27:45 The answer: “For You are Holy.” Psalm 22:5   It was His Plan A. Jesus was “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” Rev. 13:8 That’s why all these narratives were given to us. Not just to entertain us or teach us a lesson in themselves. They were all glimpses of the future, and the great mystery hidden from the ages, but now revealed to us. Col. 1:26 It was the Master Plan. God meant to do this.   “He who did not withhold His own Son…” Rom. 8:32

“Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, ‘Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking His Son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, ‘Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold Your Son, Your Only Son, whom You love from us.’” Timothy Keller

“Neither Abraham, Isaac, nor any Israelites at that time could have ever fully grasped that God would one day not only demand sacrifice, dictate the sacrifice, substitute the sacrifice, and be satisfied with sacrifice, but would also actually become the sacrifice.” Dr. David P. Murray

Prayer– “There are times when what we read in Scripture is so overpowering to our souls. This account is one of them for me. I can’t imagine Abraham’s thoughts. I cannot fathom the kind of faith it takes to rise up early to obey. I don’t know if I would have that kind of faith to trust that if I killed my son, You would raise him up again. At the same time, I see beyond this narrative to the greater story behind it. The story of what my salvation cost You. It cost You Your Son. You did not hold back your knife of judgment, but buried it in the body of Your Son on the Cross. I stand amazed at Your willingness to part with Him when He came to earth, I stand even more amazed at Your willingness to allow Him to be killed by His creatures, and His willingness to be sacrificed for our sin. Thank You for so great a salvation.” Amen.

Questions– Are you holding anything or anyone more dear than God? Do you need to lay your “Isaac” whatever it may be, down on the altar and let God demand what He may? A scary thought, to be sure. But consider what God has done for you in giving His own Son. Now reconsider if you need to cling to it.

Response-Spend time alone with God and consider all the things you were sure were God’s plan for your life. Perhaps they are, but ask yourself if you’d be willing to let them go if God were to simply ask you.

%d bloggers like this: