(Gen 22:1 NASB) Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Gen 22:1: “After these things…” After the birth of Isacc, the expulsion of Ishmael, and the pact made with Abimelech, Elohim tests Abraham. We do not know what the time frame is, but it is probably years later, perhaps even twenty years after the birth of Isaac.
(Gen 22:2 NASB) And He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
Gen 22:2: Human sacrifice was not uncommon in these times. Torah prohibits child sacrifice (and by remez, any human sacrifice) to false gods (Lev. 20:2-5).
With that being the case, why would Elohim desire Abraham to do this act? Actually, the Torah only prohibits human sacrifices to FALSE gods. But Elohim did not want Abraham to perform this action at all. He wanted Abraham to demonstrate his love and dedication to Him over his most prized possession, his only son.
Notice that Abraham does not question how Elohim is going to follow through with His promise of making many great nations out of his loins without Isaac. Abraham follows the instructions of Elohim without question and without hesitation.
Also notice that Abraham was to travel to perform this act. He was to contemplate this action for three days before he arrived at Moriah. He was to offer Isaac on one of the mountains there. Mount Moriah is in the vicinity of Jerusalem and is the place where Solomon built the Temple (2 Chron. 3:1).
(Gen 22:3 NASB) 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 wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
Gen 22:3: There is no record of Sarah in this chapter. Early exegesis of this account states that Abraham arose early in the morning and did not tell her what he was doing. She might have tried to talk him out of it.
Abraham rose early. He obeyed immediately and without hesitation. He trusted that Elohim knew what was best.
We tend to question Elohim on even minor issues like what He tells us to eat and when to rest. Abraham did not lack in faithfulness. His faithfulness showed in his works and obedience (Psalm 119:58-60).
Yeshua tells us that we must love Him more than our parents and children (Matt. 10:37, Mark 10:28-31, Luke 14:26).
(Gen 22:4 NASB) On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance.
(Gen 22:5 NASB) And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you.”
Gen 22:5: According to the writer of Hebrews, Abraham believed that Elohim would raise up Isaac from the dead in order to keep His promise (Heb. 11:17-19).
Abraham has already learned that nothing is too difficult for Elohim (Gen. 18:14).
(Gen 22:6 NASB) And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.
Gen 22:6: The parallels between the sacrifice of Abraham’s son and the Son of Elohim are striking. Here Isaac has the wood of his sacrifice loaded on his back so he can carry it to a place just outside of what would later be Jerusalem.
Yeshua had the stake of His crucifixion loaded on His back and carried to a place outside the walls of Jerusalem (John 19:16-17). If the place Golgotha (meaning “the place of the skull”) is the place of the crucifixion, then it was just outside the second north wall of Jerusalem.
(Gen 22:7 NASB) And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Gen 22:7: Even the words of Isaac (My Father”) are a foreshadowing of Yeshua’s sacrifice that He would make (Matt. 26:39, 42).
Isaac also knows that a lamb is the proper creature for a sacrifice.
(Gen 22:8 NASB) And Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
Gen 22:8: In this case, and in the One with Yeshua’s sacrifice, the Lamb for the sacrifice was provided by Elohim (John 1:29).
(Gen 22:9 NASB) Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there, and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood.
Gen 22:9: Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order. Apparently Isaac knew what was coming by this time and allowed his father to bind him. This is, once again, similar to the account of Yeshua’s sacrifice (Matt. 27:1-2).
(Gen 22:10 NASB) And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
(Gen 22:11 NASB) But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Gen 22:11: The Angel of Yahweh is probably a manifestation of Elohim, once again.
(Gen 22:12 NASB) And he said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Gen 22:12: Abraham proved his faithfulness in Elohim by his works. Elohim always knew his heart, but Abraham had an opportunity to demonstrate and prove his faithfulness to Elohim (James 2:21-24).
(Gen 22:13 NASB) Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.
Gen 22:13: Elohim allows a substitute for the sacrifice. He provides a ram as a substitutionary sacrifice in the same way He allows Yeshua to be our sacrifice for our sin.
(Gen 22:14 NASB) And Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”
Gen 22:14: The name that Abraham uses points to the sacrifice of Yeshua.
Many modern Jews object to the sacrifice of Yeshua on the grounds that Elohim detests human sacrifice and would not allow such a thing, much less require it. Well, for one, He commanded Abraham to sacrifice His Son. While Elohim stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, He promised a substitute sacrifice. That sacrifice was provided by Yahweh, as Abraham states here.
What the Anti-Messianic Jews refuse to consider is that for one, Yeshua was not a human sacrifice to false gods. Yeshua was not sacrificed by the priests. The priests did not eat His flesh. They did not remove His entrails and His blood was not poured out on the altar.
Also, the Tanakh, the Brit Hadasha, the Talmud, and the Zohar (some writings of Kaballah) all speak of the death of the righteous being atonement for others.
The Zohar states, “As long as Israel dwelt in the Holy Land, the rituals and sacrifices they performed [in the Temple] removed all those diseases from the world; now the Messiah removes them from the children of the world. (2:212a).
The Zohar also states, “The children of the world are members of one another, and when the Holy One desires to give healing to the world, He smites one just man amongst them, and for his sake heals all the rest. Whence do we learn this?” From the saying, “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities [Isaiah 53:5] by the letting of his blood-as when a man bleeds his arm-there was healing for us-for all the members of the body. In general a just person is only smitten in order to procure healing and atonement for a whole generation
The Talmud teaches, “the death of the righteousness atones” (mitatan shel tsaddiqim mekapperet).
In a well-known discussion (b. Mo’ed Qatan 28a), the Talmud asks why the Book of Numbers records the death of Miriam immediately after the section on the red heifer (Numbers 19:1-20:1) The answer is that just as the red heifer atones, so the death of the righteous atones. And why, the Talmud asks, is the death of Aaron recorded in conjunction with the Torah’s reference to the priestly garments (Num 20:25-28)? The answer is, just as the garments of the high priest atone (Ex 28:38), so also the death of the righteous atones.
An interesting passage in the Midrash reads, “Moses said to G-d, ‘Will not the time come when Israel shall have neither Tabernacle nor Temple? What will happen then?’ The divine reply was, ‘I will then take one of their righteous men and keep him as a pledge on their behalf so I may pardon [or atone for] all their sins. (Exodus Rabbah, Terumah 35:4)
We read in Numbers 35 that in the case of unintentional homicide the guilty would be sent to a protected place called the city of refuge. He would remain there until the death of the High Priest.
Numbers 35:28 Because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the slayer shall return into the land of his possession.
Why? Because the death of the High Priest would take the place of the guilty.
And the New Testament has many passages that speak of the atoning death of Messiah.
The fact is that the Jewish objections that claim “the account of Yeshua as a human sacrifice disqualifies Him as Messiah” are vacuous and hypocritical because such an atoning sacrifice is spoken of in their own writings they declare as sacred and authoritative.
(Gen 22:15 NASB) Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven,
(Gen 22:16 NASB) and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son,
(Gen 22:17 NASB) indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.
Gen 22:17: Because Abraham demonstrated his love and fiathfulness to Elohim, he is to be blessed greatly. The number of the stars in the sky that can be seen by the naked eye is about 3000. But Elohim compares the actual number to the number of grains of sand on the seashore. These numbers are actually comparable to one another.
(Gen 22:18 NASB) “And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
Gen 22:18: All the nations will be blessed in the seed of Abraham. We are included in that blessing according to Paul (Gal. 3:8-9, 16-18, 28-29).
(Gen 22:19 NASB) So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham lived at Beersheba.
Gen 22:19: Abraham dwelt at Beersheba (“well of oath” or “well of seven”) which was the place he made the oath with Abimelech.
(Gen 22:20 NASB) Now it came about after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, “Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor:
Gen 22:20: Milcah was mentioned in the genealogies along with Sarah (Gen. 11:29).
(Gen 22:21 NASB) Uz his first-born and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram
(Gen 22:22 NASB) and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel.”
(Gen 22:23 NASB) And Bethuel became the father of Rebekah: these eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
(Gen 22:24 NASB) And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah and Gaham and Tahash and Maacah.
Gen 22:24: Nahor had twelve children. Eight from his wife and four from his concubine.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas