In a previous post I explained why God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. I also began looking at the typology that exists between Isaac and Jesus. Now we’ll continue with more examples…
Isaac and Jesus Were “Offered” Up
In Genesis 22:2 God said, “…and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there…” The Hebrew word for “offered” is alah, but it does not mean “given” or “presented” as we would expect. It means, “to go up, ascend, climb, be taken or lifted up.” The idea is that when something is sacrificed, it is “lifted” up to God. Of the eight hundred eighty-nine times alah occurs in the Old Testament, 676 it translates as “up.” When Abraham was commanded to “offer” Isaac, he was essentially commanded to “lift him up.” Jesus spoke of His sacrifice this way:
- John 3:14—“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”
- John 12:32—“If I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
Jerusalem’s (Moriah’s) Rich History
Jerusalem is mentioned six hundred forty-three times in Scripture, which is much more than any other location. This does not even include the times it is called Zion, the City of David, or referenced indirectly. Babylon is second, occurring only two-hundred sixty-two times. Jerusalem is first mentioned in Genesis 14:18 when Melchizedek, the “King of Salem,” shows up in Scripture. “Salem” means “peace,” hence Jerusalem being “The City of Peace.”
Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, God told them He would choose a place for Himself:
You shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.Deuteronomy 12:5; also 11, 14, 18, 21, and 26
The Canaanites controlled the Promised Land when Israel entered it. Since Jebusites inhabited Jerusalem, it was called “Jebus” (Joshua 10:1, 3, 5, 23):
“As for the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Israel could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.”Joshua 15:63
The Jebusites remained in Jerusalem until David conquered it, drove out the Jebusites, and made it his capital. Second Samuel 5:6-7, 9 records:
[David] and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, “You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,” thinking, “David cannot come in here.” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David).
Then David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the City of David. And David built all around from the Millo and inward.
While David lived in the palace, he decided God should have His own “house”:
Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.”2 Samuel 7:1-2
Although David’s desire was good, God told him his son, Solomon, would build the temple instead (2 Samuel 7:13):
Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of [Araunah] the Jebusite.2 Chronicles 3:1
Isaac and Jesus Were Sacrificed in Jerusalem
Genesis 22:1 says, “God tested Abraham,” and the test was to see whether Abraham would sacrifice his son. Abraham could pass this test anywhere, but God said:
“…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.”Genesis 22:2
Consider the following:
- God had Abraham travel fifty miles over three days from Beersheba to Jerusalem.
- God showed Abraham the specific location to sacrifice Isaac.
- The account serves as a picture of what God would later do with His Son.
More than likely the location God revealed to Abraham was Calvary or Golgotha. “Moriah” means, “chosen by Jehovah,” and God chose this location for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac because two thousand years later He would sacrifice His Son on this same mountain:
The decision of God to establish his temple at Moriah in Jerusalem has affected all history; for this mountain became the focus of the Holy City, where His Son was crucified. And it will continue to affect history; for from this ‘city He loves,’ He will someday rule the nations of the earth.Barker, Kenneth L. and John R. Kohlenberger III. Expositor’s Bible Commentary – Abridged Edition Old Testament. Zondervan, 2017.
Here is the sermon I preached on this material…
Isaac and Jesus Were Accompanied by Two Men on Their Way to Be Sacrificed
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 the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him… And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.Genesis 22:3, 5
Isaac was accompanied by two men on his way to being sacrificed like Jesus was accompanied by two men when He was sacrificed:
Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.Matthew 27:38
The two men were not able to witness what took place between Abraham and Isaac. Similarly, when Jesus was sacrificed, nobody could see exactly what took place between God the Father and God the Son. When Jesus was on the cross:
Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.Matthew 27:45
The darkness concealed the divine transaction when our sins were placed on Christ.
Isaac and Jesus Carried the Wood for Their Sacrifices
So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.Genesis 22:6a
The wood for the burnt offering is emphasized throughout the account—mentioned five times in verses 3, 6, 7 and twice in verse 9. The wood looks to the cross. In both accounts, the wood was the physical instrument on which both Isaac and Jesus would be sacrificed:
[Jesus], bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.”John 19:17
Just like Jesus carried the wood for His sacrifice on His shoulders when He went to die, so did Isaac carry the wood for his sacrifice on his shoulders when he went to die.
Isaac and Jesus Were Willing to Experience Their Father’s Fire
[Abraham] took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.Genesis 22:6b
The fire is mentioned twice, in verses 6 and 7. We would expect verse 6 to say Abraham took the implements for building the fire, but instead, it says he “took the fire in his hand” (NKJV, ESV, NASB) or “carried the fire” (NIV). This sounds odd, but it looks forward to God’s wrath, which is commonly associated with fire:
When God poured out His wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah, He rained fire and brimstone from heaven (Genesis 19:24, Luke 17:29). The location for unbelievers who experience God’s wrath for eternity is “the lake of fire” (Revelation 19:20, 20:10, 14, 15). When Abraham carried the fire, it prefigured the wrath God the Father would pour out and the Son would consume. Jesus prayed:
O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.Matthew 26:39
Jesus drank the Father’s wrath that believers deserve, so there is no more due us:
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.Lamentations 3:22
We are not consumed by God’s wrath, because Jesus was willing to receive it for us. God’s mercy doused the fire for Christians when He lit the fire for His Son.
Isaac and Jesus Were Sacrificial Lambs
But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”Genesis 22:7-8
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
Abraham thought he would sacrifice Isaac, and then God would raise him from the dead:
He “[concluded] that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead.Hebrews 11:19
If Abraham expected to sacrifice Isaac, why did he also say God would provide a lamb?
The best solution is Abraham saw Isaac as the lamb to be sacrificed.The Moody Bible Commentary: A One-Volume Commentary on the Whole Bible by the Faculty of Moody Bible Institute. Moody Publishers, 2014. p. 81.
This further establishes the typology between Isaac and Jesus.
When Isaac said, “Where is the lamb?” he asked one of the most important questions in history. When Abraham answered Isaac’s question, he provided one of the most important answers in history. God would provide a lamb, and John the Baptist identified Him two thousand years later when he said:
Behold! The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.John 1:29
This was when Isaac’s question was finally answered, and Abraham’s words were finally fulfilled.
Isaac and Jesus Were In Agreement with Their Father
[Abraham and Isaac] went together…and Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.Genesis 22:6, 8
The unity between father and son is shown through the repetition of, “the two of them went together.” Consider these verses:
- John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
- 1 John 3:16—“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.”
The gospel makes us think of the Father’s love for lost sinners (John 3:16), and the Son’s love for those He died for (1 John 3:16), but this all required the Father and Son working together. The prophet asks:
Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?Amos 3:3
The agreement between Abraham and Isaac pictures the agreement between God the Father and God the Son. In Jesus’ high priestly prayer He said:
I and My Father are one…That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me.John 10:30, 17:21-23
Acts 20:28 says, “The church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” We would expect the verse to say, “The church of God which Jesus purchased with His blood,” or “The church of God which He purchased with His Son’s blood.” The mention of God purchasing the church with His own blood identifies Jesus as God. If Jesus shed His blood and God purchased the church with “His own blood,” then Jesus must be God:
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.John 3:16
The Father and Son cooperated, and this was prefigured two thousand years earlier when Abraham and Isaac walked to Mount Moriah together.
- In Genesis 22:2-6, do you see any other parallels between Jesus and Isaac, or God the Father and Abraham?
- Which parallel of Isaac and Jesus did you find to be most significant?
- What do the fire and wood represent?
- Why were Isaac and Jesus both willing to be sacrificed?
- Aside from the crucifixion, how else did Jesus demonstrate agreement with His Father during His earthly life?
This post is taken from A Father Offers His Son: The True and Greater Sacrifice Revealed Through Abraham and Isaac. Get your copy today!