Genesis
Introduction 1-2 God Says to Abraham to Offer Isaac 3-8 Abraham and Isaac Go to the Place of Offering 9-10 Abraham Offers Isaac 11-12 Abraham Gets Isaac back 13-14 The Substitute Offering 15-19 Blessing on the Basis of the Offering 20-24 Rebekah Is Born
Introduction

In this chapter God shows that His promises are based on the dead and risen Christ of Whom Isaac is a picture here. It is the fourth offering brought in Genesis. God brought the first offering. There the question is answered how He can accept a sinner in His presence. Abel brought the second offering. He shows the answer to the question: How can a man who is a sinner exist before God? The third offering is that of Noah. This answers the question: How can creation, where sinful people live, exist before God?

As we often see in Scripture, a history can be highlighted from several angles:
1. First there is the literal meaning. In this chapter we see a father who is undergoing a severe test of his faith and how he deals with it. From this we can learn our lessons.
2. Then we can also view this history as an illustration of the way God the Father offers His Son.
3. There is also a prophetic application to make. We see this in the blessing that comes from the sacrifice of the Son.


God Says to Abraham to Offer Isaac

1Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2He 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.”

After the experiences of faith in the previous chapters Abraham now receives a test of faith. It is an enormous test of faith. It is a great test if you have to wait a long time to get what you have been promised and to be obedient to God’s Word and to keep trusting Him. It is an even greater test to obey God’s Word and trust Him if He reclaims the promised thing from you which you have received. The question then is whether you really believe that God will do what He promised.

God calls him by his name and Abraham immediately makes himself available to listen to what God has to say. What God asks is deeply moving and far reaching. The way in which God says who he must offer is moving. It is “your son”. But not only that. It is “your only son”. But that’s not all either. The description of who Isaac is for Abraham is not yet complete. It is “whom you love”. Finally, God calls the name of his son. It is “Isaac”, his laughter.

This is the first time that the word ‘love’ appears in the Bible. It is remarkable that this is done to describe the relationship between a father and his son, which indicates the relationship between the Father and the Son.

Any misunderstanding about which son it would be is excluded. It is the son he got together with Sarah as a miracle of God. They did not have other children together. It is the son who is his joy, whom he loves very much. God has promised him that he will have a great offspring in this son. Now God asks him to offer all that on the altar. The practical lesson that he and we too must learn is: Do you believe more in what I have given you or do you believe more in Me?

When Abraham has to drive out Ishmael, he has been given the reason. Now that he has to offer Isaac, we hear no reason to do so. Nor is Isaac a criminal who, like a rebellious son, must be brought by his parents to the elders of his city by virtue of justice and die by their hand (Deu 21:18-2118“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them,19then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown.20They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’21Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear [of it] and fear.). The only reason to do it is because God says it. The only thing that matters in this case is obedience to and trust in God.

The place Abraham has to go to is mount Moria. At that place David will later also make an offering and Solomon will build the temple (2Chr 3:11Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where [the LORD] had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.). The church, seen as a temple, which is as the house of God, is built on the basis of the offering of the Lord Jesus.


Abraham and Isaac Go to the Place of Offering

3So 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. 4On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. 5Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” 6Abraham 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. 7Isaac 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?” 8Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

Abraham is on his way to the place God has named him after he has made all the preparations. On the third day, he saw that place “in the distance. This is reminiscent of God’s counsel in which is included that the Lord Jesus would come once to be offered. God has always seen that place ahead (1Pet 1:2020For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you). But it is connected with “the third day”, which is the day that speaks of the resurrection. God also raised him up from the dead on the third day (1Pet 1:2121who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.; Mt 16:2121From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.; Lk 24:4646and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,; 1Cor 15:3-43For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,).

During these three days, Abraham thought about what God asked of him. In Hebrews 11 are mentioned deeds that believers in the Old Testament have done in faith. Only of Abraham is mentioned what he thought: “He considered that God is able to raise [people] even from the dead” (Heb 11:19a19He considered that God is able to raise [people] even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.). This proves the enormous faith of Abraham. He had no example of this in his surroundings, from which he could see that God raises up the dead.

He knows God and through this knowledge and by thinking about all that God has promised him, he can only come to one conclusion: ‘If I have to offer my son, to whom God has bound all His promises, God will raise him up from the dead.’ This is great. This is proof of how real Abraham’s faith is. Therefore it is written that Abraham was “justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar” (Jam 2:2121Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?). The conclusion drawn directly from this by James is: “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected” (Jam 2:2222You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;). His faith is evident from his works.

In this faith he has made all the preparations. All initiative comes from Abraham. He is acting. In picture we see how all the initiatives go out from God to give His Son as an offering (Jn 3:1616“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.; Rom 8:33For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God [did]: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and [as an offering] for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,). In other places we also read that the Son gave Himself (Gal 2:2020I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.), but for a moment it is about the picture that is presented here.

The considerations of Abraham’s faith are reflected in what he says to the servants: “We will worship and return to you.” We also hear his trust in God in what he says to Isaac: “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

In verses 6 and 86Abraham 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.8Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together., and also later in verse 1919So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham lived at Beersheba., it says: “So the two of them walked on together.” This is also a wonderful reference is to the walking together of the Father and the Son (Jn 8:29a29And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”).


Abraham Offers Isaac

9Then 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. 10Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

Nowhere does it say that Abraham ‘supposedly’ offered his son. We always read that he offered Isaac. The detailed description of Abraham’s actions impresses. Nothing happens hastily, but deliberately, purposefully, calmly. We no longer hear a word from the mouth of Isaac.

We know the outcome, which takes away much of the tension. But we can imagine to some extent what went through Abraham. Certainly, he trusted that God would raise him up from the dead. But to have to kill your son, who has let himself be bound as a willing victim; the son who sees his father lifting the knife to slay him …


Abraham Gets Isaac back

11But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12He 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.”

Then the voice of the angel of the LORD sounds, that is the Lord Jesus, Who himself will later be the true offering, and for Whom there shall come no voice. On the contrary, when He calls, heaven kept silent. Here He calls, as it were in delight, twice the name of Abraham, because of his faith in Him. He tells us this because He wants to share it with us.

This test is not necessary to show the LORD if Abraham is believing, but to show us the faith in Abraham’s heart. If we say we believe in the Lord Jesus, our faith will also be tested. God sees our faith, but He wants our actions to show others what we confess with our mouths.

Again Abraham is directly available. Then comes the word of deliverance: “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him.” The proof has been provided that Abraham gave everything for the LORD. For him the LORD is greater than all promises and all possessions that are anchored in Isaac. Here Abraham gets everything in return. And what an experience has he gained from it! God is to believe through everything and against everything.

We must learn to put everything on the altar, really everything God asks of us. And does He ask less than everything? Then we will also gain the experience that Abraham gained: that God is the God of the resurrection.


The Substitute Offering

13Then 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. 14Abraham 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.”

Isaac does not have to be offered literally. There is a substitute offering. That is so for every person who believes. Here too the faith of Abraham, which he has expressed in verse 88Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together., is answered.

Abraham gives the mountain the beautiful name “The LORD Will Provide” Everything the LORD has intended, He will provide. The proof for this is furnished; the foundation for it is laid in the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.


Blessing on the Basis of the Offering

15Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17indeed 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. 18In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” 19So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham lived at Beersheba.

Now – in picture – the son of the promise has been in death and has risen, God swears by Himself (Heb 6:13-1413For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,14saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.”) that the blessing will come, both for Abraham and his seed (verse 1717indeed 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.) and by Abraham and his seed (verse 1818In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”). Both Israel, his physical offspring – “as the sand which is on the seashore” –, and the believers of the church, his spiritual offspring – “as the stars of the heavens” –, will be blessed through Christ, the dead and risen Son of God.

The gate of the enemies will be taken possession of by Abraham’s descendants when Israel enters Canaan under Joshua and conquers the cities in that country. There will also be blessing for all the nations of the earth. That shall be in the thousand years kingdom of peace. The nations will then be blessed through Israel.

Abraham goes to live near Beersheba, which is ‘well of the oath’, to be constantly reminded, as it were, of what God has sworn. Thus we may also live in the consciousness of all the promises of God, which are in Christ yes and amen (2Cor 1:2020For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.). Do we do that?


Rebekah Is Born

20Now it came about after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, “Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel.” 23Bethuel became the father of Rebekah; these eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah and Gaham and Tahash and Maacah.

The chapter concludes with the mention of the sons of Nahor, the brother of Abraham. The reason is that from Bethuel, the son of Nahor, Rebekah was born, the future wife of Isaac. Although the marriage only takes place in Genesis 24, Rebekah is mentioned here anyway, because we see here on the basis of which that marriage can be made. That basis is the death and the resurrection of Isaac. Thus the church, the bride of the Lamb, came into existence on the basis of the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.


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