5 ways Genesis 22 points forward to Jesus

  
Today’s Bible readings

Genesis 22 is the account in which Abraham is called to sacrifice his son, Isaac, a story that has fueled much controversy, especially from skeptics who would cast doubt on the morality of God’s command.  But such people miss the point.  This account is pointing forward to Jesus.  Here are five ways. 

1. The “only son”

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, 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​

He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” – Genesis 22:12

Now, Isaac wasn’t Abraham’s only son biologically.  He also had Ishmael, Hagar’s son.  The emphasis here is on his deep love for Isaac especially.  

Thousands of years later, God would give up His own only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). 

2. The third day (maybe)

On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. – Genesis 22:4​

This might be part of a recurring theme in the metanarrative of the third day.  Jonah would also leave the fish on the third day.  And the Savior would rise from the dead on the third day.  We’ll give this one a hard maybe. 

3. The lamb

Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. – Genesis 22:8

Jesus Himself is known as the perfect Lamb, whom God provided to be our sacrifice.  

4. The ram

And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. – Genesis 22:13​

Rather than Isaac dying as a propitiation for sins, a ram was put in his place.  This is an example of substitution, pointing forward to the substitutionary atonement Christ would perform, that is, He would suffer God’s wrath in the place of His people.  

5. The mount, maybe

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, 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

So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” – Genesis 22:14

In the Scriptures, there’s a recurring theme of mountains.  Mount Sinai.  Mount Zion.  His Holy mountain.  Here, Abraham is commanded to bring Isaac up to a mountain of His choosing for this sacrifice, pointing forward to how God’s own Son would be sacrificed on a mountain, Calvary.  

This account is not about God playing games with Abraham.  No, it’s what launched the hope of someone who would be sacrificed in the place of His people.  Abraham was willing to kill his only son.  God actually did it for sinners like us.  

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