The Isaac in Christ

The story of Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrificed is a mysterious story. If you need to read about Abraham and Isaac you will find it in Genesis 22:1-18 in the Bible and I wrote about it yesterday on this blog. Today we are going to take a really close look at that story and I think you will find, as I did, that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye in just a cursory reading. First, Abraham BELIEVED that God was going to build a nation through his son. God promised him that through Isaac all the nations of the world would be blessed. His belief was honed in experience. This patriarch was unquestioning in his faith. When God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, the Bible tells us he must have been thinking something like this, “Well, if he dies, then God must be going to raise him from the dead. I don’t know why God feels He must do this, but there must be some reason.” I say this because on the third day of the

Mount Moriah today

journey they arrive at their destination, Moriah. In Genesis 22:5 Abraham says to the two servants who accompany him and Isaac on the journey, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. WE will worship and then WE will come back to you.” Abraham fully intended to bring the boy back with him for the journey home. Moreover, this line of thinking is underscored in the New Testament:

Hebrews 11:19 “Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from the dead.”

It didn’t matter that Abraham didn’t actually sacrifice Isaac, either. The INTENT of Abraham to sacrifice his son, was as good as the DEED. Abraham had the knife in his hand and had it positioned to plunge into his son. The angel had to cry out for Abraham to stop. Abraham’s intention was clear and, in God’s mind, that meant Isaac was as good as dead. Remember Jesus’ teaching that if a man thinks of an act in his heart, it is as good as his having done the act. (Matthew 5:28)

It is the 9th day of Advent. We are waiting for Jesus to be born. He was promised to us like Isaac was promised to Abraham and Sarah. Jesus’ express purpose in coming is to save the world. In order to save the world He must be sacrificed for the sin of the world. Separated by thousands of years, Jesus’ sacrifice was foreshadowed by Isaac who is a direct physical ancestor to Christ through the line to David, Matthew 1:2. In both sacrifice stories

  • both fathers gave their sons whom they loved
  • both sons did what their fathers asked
  • both rode donkeys to the same mount
  • both carried wood to their place of sacrifice (Jesus’ was in the form of a cross)
  • for both a lamb was the substitute (the lamb was a substitute for Isaac; Jesus, the Lamb, was the substitute for sinful mankind)
  • on the third day both got their lives back
  • through both, the nations of the earth were blessed.

I don’t know about you, but the next time I hear the Isaac story, I will think about Jesus and how, in Isaac, we have a preview of God’s great plan of salvation,



5 comments on “The Isaac in Christ

  1. “His belief was honed in experience” . . . his was NOT a blind faith or wishful thinking. This ‘friend of God’ had walked many miles, through countless trials trusting in God’s faithfulness to keep His word.
    Great job digging deeper into this story, Dawn.

    • Dear Andrea Dawn,

      It seems I’ve always known that Abraham was the father of all nations, but I never really realized the incredible faith he had. He is so much larger to me since this study. He gives me hope that I, too, may be able to say, “Ok, God.” to anything He would ask. I estimate Abraham was about twice my age. That’s comforting, too.

      And then I think of Isaac, living with such an example. Wow! There could be no better preparation for leading a nation! Thanks for staying with me on this one. Sometimes a good revisit of a familiar place unlocks treasures that were always there, but the visitor didn’t know the combination before.

      T’was me,

    • Dear Susan,

      “take up his blessings that He long planned for us.” Yes, yes, yes! but I had to uncover them first. In the car today with two friends, my worshop-leader friend, Ann, read from the book, Exploring Worship by Bob Sorge, “Our worship is no higher than our knowledge of God.” He sited John 4:22 as his text, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know, we celebrate what we do know for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

      God wants worshipers who KNOW Him. From intimacy flows gratitude, praise, honor–worship! Yes, let us take every thought captive and bask in the freedom He paid for!

      God bless you,

  2. Thank you for taking us deeper (again). I read in My Utmost for His Highest that this experience allowed Abraham to fully understand what God already knew…that he (Abraham) was faithful. As you said, “a lot more going on than meets the eye!” Imagine what all we don’t even see (in our short sighted vision) but might get a glimpse of if we had the faith of Abraham.

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