Abraham's Faith Tested - A Type of God's Gift of His SonVolume 1, Number 12
Created Date: May 23, 2004
Posted Date: May 23, 2004
Vol 1 - No 12, May 23, 2004
The Word of God to Abraham, the father of all that believe-- Part Six:
Abraham's faith tested and the sacrifice of God's son pictured in type.
"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." -.
It may seem bizarre at first impression that God would tell Abraham to do such a thing. But as always, God has a purpose and He does nothing out of whim or chance. The immediate purpose was to give witness to Abraham's faith. The Hebrew word translated "tempt" in verse 1 means to test, prove, try or assay, as gold or silver is assayed to determine it's true quality. A reading of the entire account of this incident in Genesis 22 reveals that Abraham did not hesitate to follow God's Word. And so through Abraham's faith he was borne witness to or obtained a good report.
Another purpose of this incident was to foretell, pre-figure or point to the most critical event in human history, that is, the time when God the Father willingly sent His only son and the Son willingly died for the sins of mankind. Abraham's response to God's Word previews God's willingness to do this. What God commanded was as good as done in Abraham's mind, no questions asked. This is evidenced by the fact that Abraham arose early the next day, gathered the wood needed for the burnt offering, saddled his ass and left for the specified destination. He was prepared with a knife with which to slay the sacrifice and fire with which to light the wood -. When Isaac asked his father what they were going to use for a sacrifice, Abraham replied to him "-- My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together." - .
provides explanation and commentary to this event: "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." God had promised blessings to the world through Isaac so Abraham, by faith, knew God would use Isaac for that purpose and this resulted in Abraham believing God would raise Isaac up from the dead after he was sacrificed. "He received him in a figure" means that in Abraham's mind, Isaac was as good as dead and raised again.
Abraham's love for his son Isaac in Genesis 22:3 is the first mention of love in the Bible and it points to the love of God the Father for His son Jesus Christ. According to the chronology in Appendix 50 of the Companion Bible, Isaac was 33 years old at this time, which was the age of Jesus Christ when He was crucified. Therefore Isaac could easily have resisted any effort by Abraham, who was about 133 years old at the time, to tie him and place him on the alter. But Isaac did not do so, he went willingly and his actions picture and foretell Jesus Christ's willingness to go to the cross to die for the sins of the world. This is evidenced when Jesus said in- "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."
tells how Abraham bound Isaac and had him ready to kill on the alter when an angel of the Lord told him to stop. God provided a ram for Abraham that was caught in a thicket nearby and this ram substituted for the sacrifice of Isaac. This harks to the passage already quoted above "-- My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:" - Genesis 22:8. God provided the ram, the immediate offering for sin for use by Abraham and in so doing God demonstrated that He would provide Himself as the all-sufficient offering for the sins of all mankind, in the person of His son Jesus Christ.
Isaac was as good as sacrificed in Abraham's mind when they set off because Abraham accepted God's Word by faith. Abraham and Isaac traveled for three days to the mount where they were to offer sacrifice, just as Jesus Christ was in the grave for three days before He rose from the dead. As Abraham accounted that God would raise up Isaac from the dead and this did happen in a figure, so Jesus Christ was raised from the dead to newness of life.
Immediately after Abraham offered the sacrificial ram the angel of the Lord told him again that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed, and this because He had obeyed God's voice. The ultimate fulfillment of these promises of blessing came by and through the Lord Jesus Christ - "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." - Galations 3:16. The full measure of blessing in Christ are yet to be experienced, first in the rapture of the Body of Christ as described by the Apostle Paul in his epistles. Then in the return of Christ to reign on earth in His Kingdom as prophesied in the Old Testament, the Gospels and the Revelation to the Apostle John. However, all these future blessings are as good as done because of Christ's finished work on the cross. We have them by faith, which is the substance of things hoped for the evidence or proof of things not seen - Hebrews 11:1.