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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

Abraham Offers Isaac - April 1, 2005


Sermon of the Week  -  April 1, 2005

The first time the word love is found in the Old Testament is in the story of Abraham offering up Isaac as a burnt offering. God said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest and offer him as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains that I will tell thee of.”  It is more than a coincidence that the first time love is mentioned in the New Testament is when God said at the baptism of Jesus, “This is My beloved Son in whom I Am well pleased.”

The first mention of love in the Old Testament was the love of a father for his only son and the first mention of love in the New Testament is the love of the Heavenly Father for His only Son. Both were only sons by a miraculous birth. Sarah was past the age of child bearing when Isaac was born. It may not seem at first glance that Isaac was indeed an only son of Abraham. How about Ishmael? For God's present purpose Ishmael is not taken into account. It was not God's idea that Abraham should have a son by Hagar. This was Sarah's idea.

This was not the first time Sarah had trouble with the promise of God. The first time she heard an angel tell Abraham that she would have a son, she laughed since she was well past the child bearing age. She did not think that the angel knew she laughed seeing as how she was in the tent. So when the child was born they called him Isaac, which means laughter.

Every Jew in the world today is a walking, living, breathing miracle having descended from a man whose birth was a miracle. Jesus in similar manner had a miraculous birth. The angel Gabriel told Mary that the power of the most high will overshadow thee wherefore the Holy thing that born of thee shall be called the Son of God.


To offer Isaac his son as a burnt offering was a great test of Abraham's faith. Abraham had been tested before. The first time he was tested was when God told him to leave Ur of the Chaldees and leave his kindred and go to a place that he would be shown. Paul says in Hebrews that by faith he went out not knowing where he was going. He was looking for a city that hath foundations whose builder and maker is God.

Many today have had the same test of their faith. Sometimes it is hard to leave the convictions of family and friends in the matter of their religious convictions and follow the word of God. They have gone to the cemetery and are hiding behind the tombstone of their parents. Remember Jesus said, “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Not many are like the preacher I know who told me that when he became a Christian his parents disowned him. It is hard to find a person who has the faith of Abraham, a person who will heed the call of the Lord Jesus and if necessary leave kindred and even homeland to serve the Lord.             

But this test was different. No crowds would stand by applauding. No metal would be struck in his honor. No stamp would be issued with his picture on it. No statue would be erected commemorating the event. This would be a cold naked test of faith. Was he going to obey God or not?

Abraham was at the point in life when he thought he could put his life on cruise and coast on home, but such is never the case. Some times the greatest trials in life are reserved for advanced years. It was not as a young man that David did the adultery and murder thing. He was a man in middle life, and it is not as a young man that Abraham has his greatest trial, but as an old man.


Now this test of Abraham would be a test that was needed. Abraham had reached the place in life where he could proudly say that Isaac is my boy. Everything depends of Isaac. We live in the same syndrome today. Everything depends on our money, everything depends on our size, and everything depends on our associates. Everything depends on our talent, No! Everything depends on God. Isaac could be taken away from him.

So Abraham meets his greatest trial head on. God said offer up Isaac as a burnt offering so, Abraham rose up early in the morning and started chopping wood for the burnt offering. He would have known what Paul would say later on. He conferred not with flesh and blood. He did not take anybody into his confidence. He never even asked Sarah about it. There are some matters in the word of God that we had better not confer with flesh and blood.

One young lady one time had decided to be immersed. She planned to do it the following Sunday. Like Abraham she should have risen up early in the morning and got the job done. Instead she conferred with flesh and blood. In this case the flesh and blood was the flesh and blood of a preacher. This flesh and blood preacher told her it was not necessary and on the advice of a pile of flesh and blood she rejected the inspired writers of the word of God and changed her mind.

And now Abraham rose up early in the morning and with his two servants, his son Isaac and the ass loaded with the wood; starts for the mountain that God told him about. He lifted up his eyes on the third day and saw the place. Whenever you read about the third day in scripture there is a good chance that you are standing on resurrection ground and this is no exception. It was on the third day of creation that the waters moved back and the dry land appeared. That was the first resurrection on the third day and it would not be the last. Then too we are reminded of the words of Peter when he said, "A day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day." From that perspective the Lord Jesus ascended to heaven the day before yesterday. The third day is this the twenty-first century. Jesus arose from the dead early on the third day. We are living now early on the third day. I am not making any predictions, but it is an interesting thought. He lifted up his eyes on the third day and saw that awful place, where he was to offer up Isaac as a burnt offering.


Abraham told the two young men to wait while he and the lad go to the top of the mountain to worship and come again to you. Abraham said, "We will come again unto you." He knew there was only one answer to his problem. God said offer up your son as a burnt offering. He was determined to do what God said. But he also remembered that Isaac was the son of promise and that his seed through him would be as the stars of heaven. There was only one explanation. When he killed Isaac, God would have to raise him from the dead. In the Hebrew epistle it is written that Abraham accounted God able to raise him from the dead from whom he received him back in a figure. His faith was that great. There never had been a resurrection before but this was the only answer. He most definitely would slay his son and leave the rest up to God. He said that they would be going up to worship.  Now just what is worship? Some usually think that worship of God is going to a religious concert and hearing music with a good beat that makes us pat our feet, wall our eyes,and shout, “Amen, Hallelujah, Praise the Lord.”

             This was the last thing that Abraham was thinking about. In this worship service Abraham would not feel like crying out, "Glory to God in the highest," as he slit the throat of Isaac. Yet he said he was going to worship. What is worship? In this case worship was simply doing what the Lord told him to do. Any time you do what the Lord tells you to do you are worshipping the Lord. When you assemble on the Lord's Day and take the Lord's Supper you are worshipping the Lord. We don't have to pat our foot while we do it. Some people are not very emotional and never holler, “Praise God.” If you are emotional and feel like shouting Hallelujah that is good, it is like putting gravy on the potatoes and I like gravy on my taters. So Abraham and Isaac went up the mountain to the place to worship.


Abraham then loaded the wood from the ass to the back of Isaac. Then he took the fire in his hand and a knife and they went both of them together. There were two people that ascended the mountain of sacrifice: the father and the son. Think you not that when Jesus staggered up the bloody slopes of Calvary He went alone. The Father had just as much to do with it as the Son. They went both of them together.  

Isaac carried the wood up the hill. This reminds us of Jesus who went bearing for Himself the cross. Both sons carried the wood. Abraham was not only willing to offer up his son as a burnt offering, but God the Father was willing to give His only begotten Son.

Isaac was not a little boy as some artists have depicted him. Some seem to think he was about twenty-five years old, some think he was thirty-six, but some go with the age of thirty-three. This seems the most appropriate guess considering the fact that Isaac is obviously a picture and a type of the Lord Jesus. But not only was Isaac in the prime of life, but he was a strong man at that. He was loaded up with asses’ load of wood to carry up the hill to the place God had chosen. This indicates that Isaac was willing to go along with this plan as well as his father Abraham. Had he wanted to escape he could easily overcome the aged Abraham. God the Father was willing and God the Son was willing to give His life also. Jesus had said, "I have the power to lay down My life and I have power to take it again. No one taketh it from Me.”


Then on the way up the mountain Isaac asked his father a very important question. “My Father, here is the wood for the burnt offering and here is the fire, but where is the lamb?” Abraham told him, “God will provide for Himself a lamb.”

            The Lamb is to be found at the cross. The Apostle John said, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." Where is the Lamb? When Philip preached to the Ethiopian Eunuch he began from this scripture and preached unto him Jesus. The scripture where he began told of a Lamb who before His shearers was dumb. When the Ethiopian heard about the slain Lamb he wanted to be baptized. Where is the Lamb? He is to be in the waters of baptism. Paul said we were buried with Him in baptism and here is an example as to how the burial was done. They went down into the water both Philip and the eunuch and he baptized him. Where is the Lamb? He is in Heaven on the Throne interceding for the Christian. John in Revelation sees Him there when he said, “Salvation to our God who sitteth on the Throne and unto the Lamb.” Where is the lamb? Abraham said that God will provide for Himself a Lamb and He did.


When they came to the place Abraham built an altar and laid the wood in order. When Elijah built the altar on Mount Carmel and brought down fire out of Heaven he first laid the wood in order. In Leviticus in the telling of offering a sacrifice, they laid the wood in order. Although the scripture does not tell us what this means it seems to be something that is stressed. We wonder could it be to lay the wood in order was to place it in shape of a cross?

After laying the wood in order Abraham bound Isaac and laid him on the altar upon the wood. Isaac was bound and so was the Lord Jesus. They bound Him and led Him away and delivered Him up to Pilate the Governor. People still bind the Lord today. The hands of Jesus are bound by a congregation when about one-third to a half of the members show up for the Lord's Supper on the Lord's Day. Certainly the Lord's hands are bound by the two per cent average of their money that most give. He is bound by the ignorance of His people in their knowledge of the word of God. The Lord Jesus is limited as to how much He can do because we have bound Him.


So, Isaac was bound and laid on the altar. Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son. His hand was raised, at that moment an angel called unto him from Heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham:" and he said, "Here I am." The angel said, “Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”

By saving the life of Isaac God shows that human sacrifice is not acceptable. This was a sin that Stephen accused Israel of doing in his defense before he was stoned. He reminded them that their ancestors had taken up the tabernacle of Moloch. In Second Kings 21 there is an example of king Manasseh making his son pass through the fire to Moloch. Moloch had a hollow belly. A fire was inside. His arms were outstretched in a cradle position. The infant was laid on the red-hot arms as a sacrifice. The thunderous beating of drums drowned out the screams of the infant so that the mother could not hear. This was one of the sins that resulted in the Babylonian captivity. One wonders what fate awaits America as the millions of babies are sacrificed in the modern day Moloch of abortion. Those who abort call it terminating the pregnancy. That term "terminate the pregnancy" somewhat silences the screams of the butchered infant.

Actually the sacrifice of Isaac would not have been acceptable because the sacrifice that was prefigured here had to be perfect. The lamb of sacrifice was always examined for imperfections before sacrifice. Nothing less could satisfy the demands of justice but the perfect Lamb of God who was examined and was declared to be perfect; tempted in all points like as we are and yet without sin.

The only sacrifice the Lord requires of us is in what Paul said in Romans 12, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Here it again, "Lay not thy hand upon the lad." Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw a ram caught in the thicket by the horns and he took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. Isaac was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ in many points. But there is one thing that is missing. The ram was the substitute for Isaac. There was no substitute for Jesus on the cross. Peter said, “There is therefore no other name under Heaven whereby we must be saved.” There is no other Savior, there is no other plan. Now this in conclusion.


Abraham built an altar there and called the name of the place Jehovah-jireh. Which means the Lord will provide. In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen 

Abraham saw the place. Where was this place? It is identified as being in the mountains of Moriah. Solomon built the Temple on one of the Mounts of Moriah. Some seem to think the place where Abraham went was that very spot. There is another possibility. Mount Calvary, the place of a skull was also there. Golgotha was forty feet higher than the Temple. While we don't know for sure it is significant that Abraham traveled three days to get there. That place of the offering of Isaac must have some significance. Abraham called it Jehovah‑jirah. In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. Could it be the place where Abraham offered up Isaac was the very spot where the Lord Jesus was crucified for our sins. Whether it is the actual place of the cross or the temple: Abraham with prophetic vision could look across the chasm of almost two thousand years and see there would be no substitute for the Son of God. And so when I stand in the water and immerse a person into Christ; baptizing them into His death, I can say with Abraham, “Jehovah-jirah.  This is Mount Calvary.  This is the hill of Golgotha.  This is the Mount of the Lord.”