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THE LAMB OF GOD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT SANCTUARIES, CH-1, P-2
Dr Surya Kumar Daimari
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THE LAMB OF GOD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT SANCTUARIES
CHAPTER -1, PART-2
I. THE UNIVERSAL NECESSITY OF A SACRIFICE
4. THE FOURTH MENTION OF A SACRIFICE:
Abraham goes to offer his own son:
﴾A typical of human sacrifice﴿
The fourth mention is in Gen 22 which is a very significant chapter and cannot be bypassed or overlapped. The chapter itself is a vast storehouse of divine revelation of God. A deep insight into it will reveal God’s purpose and plan of the ages for the fallen man.
God tested Abraham’s faith and he said to him, “…Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him therefore a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning…….. went unto the place of which God had told him……….. Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife and they went both of them together. And Isaac spoke unto Abraham his father and said, My Father…..Behold the fire and the wood but where is the Lamb for a burnt offering ? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering : so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of, and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood on order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham,…. .. lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I knew that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withhold thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place Jehovah Jireh.” Gen 22:2- 14
Abraham had had a tremendous experience on the Mount Moriah where he went to sacrifice his only beloved son for a burnt offering to the Lord. None but God could understand the suffering of a father, how great a sorrow it was in yielding up his own son to death. It was only by the grace of God that Sarah could give birth to a son even in her old age. Isaac was her glory, her pride and her joy. Her life and all her love was bound in him. Abraham was afraid to tell her that God wanted their Isaac back and unburden his sorrow lest she be hindered. Any declaration of the need of sacrifice might make her refuse the sacrifice. So Abraham bore the sorrow all by himself. Sorrow stricken Abraham started his journey from Beersheba which was three days journey to Mount Moriah because he cannot refuse God’s demand. Abraham could not have understood at all why God needed his only son. He might have remembered His marvelous promise saying,
“In Isaac shall thy seed be called” Gen 21:12
“…..a seed numberless as the stars of the sky, Gen 15:5
“as the sand which is upon the sea shore.” Gen 22:27
God changed his name from Abram to Abraham. Abram in Hebrew means “exalted one” but Abraham means “father of multitude”. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham because God promised to make him the father of many nations. The whole families of the earth should be blessed through his posterity. Gen 17:5
When the father and the son were climbing the mountain Moriah and the son asked his father , “Behold the fire and the wood but where is the lamb for a burnt offering ?” Abraham might have been shocked at his words as if they were thunderbolts. Who knows, he did not take pains in answering him, “God will provide himself a lamb.” And when they reached the place, Abraham by faith built an altar and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar upon the face of his son who offered himself willingly to his mystery , kissed him for the last time, closed his eyes, offered his last sacrificial prayer and then stretched his hand up holding the knife to slay his son and we can imagine what could be his heart at this juncture. But suddenly the angel of the Lord from heaven said, “stop, stop….”. Abraham was taken aback, lifted his eyes and saw a ram caught in a thicket. And the Lord said, “Now take the ram and put him in the place of your son.” Abraham could not have understood all about these things. He might have asked God , “Why Lord, Why are you making this change from my son to the ram? “ And God was explaining him through His action, “Your son will not have to die, but my sacrifice will die in the place of your son.” O, what a blessed God, He needs a sacrifice and He Himself provides the sacrifice. And Abraham took the ram and offered a burnt offering for the Lord. Abraham called the place Jehova-Jireh which means God provides.
GOD’S PURPOSE OF ASKING ABRAHAM TO SACRIFICE HIS SON:
God’s purpose was clear and plain as mentioned in Gen 22:1,
“To test Abraham.” It means that God wanted to test Abraham’s faith on Him. After God was satisfied with Abraham in terrible experiment God had said to him,
“….for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withhold thy son, thine only son from me.” Gen 22:12
And “it was reckoned to him for righteousness” Rom 4:3
God’s promises to Abraham were not limited to his offspring and land only but beyond that. The greatest promise that God had for Abraham was,
“in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed……” Gen 22:18
And this was because of his obedience to Him.
“because thou hast obeyed my voice.” V 18
God did not want to bless just Abraham but the whole world. Thousands of years later, the same has been fulfilled in the time of Jesus , our Savior in whom we are blessed.
“……..God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying , in thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Gal 3:8,9
THE TYPOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE:
﴾i﴿ The picture of Abraham giving his only son, Isaac for sacrifice on the altar on mount Moriah foreshadows our God who gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ on the cross on the Mount of Calvary. Abraham prefigures God as the Father who “spared not his Son, but delivered him up for us all.” Rom 8:32
Isaac pictures Christ, “Obedient unto death.” Phil 12:5-8
﴾ii﴿ When we see the picture of Abraham giving his only son from another angle, we see that the cords that bound Isaac to the horns of the altar for sacrifice represent sin. Death is a sure penalty of sin. So Isaac has no way of escape until he fulfills the requisite for sin.
“The demand laid on Isaac’s life re-affirmed God’s verdict on man as sinner and so proclaimed the need for deliverance.” Says Kline. *1
Isaac could have been an excellent sacrifice for God. But God did not want Isaac should die for his sin. God prepared a ram to die in his place who bore all the burdens and sin of Isaac. There is a prophetic and messianic message in this chapter.
“Behold the ram”--- “In the combination of God’s self valedictory oath of Gen 15:17 and this divinely provided substitute, the vicarious bearing of God’s own unspared Son was Prefigured.” – Kline *2
Cf Rom 8:32,
“He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all----“
God might have spoken to Abraham in another way, “I will send my only begotten Son, who will die for the sins of the world.” When Abraham said, “God will provide”, he meant only an animal. But God really sent his Son to die on the cross in our place. John 3:16 says,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son……”
By an ultimate consecration of Isaac to God in death judgment he must demonstrate the truth of his oath of allegiance.
To be continued....
*1. Meredith G. Kline,
In New Bible Commentary, p 99
*2. Ibid, p 99
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