The Offering of Isaac - Bible Study Notes
Genesis 22 – The Offering of Isaac
What is the Gospel? Look at 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 for Paul’s definition…
“Now I would remind you, brothers of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”
1. Christ died according to the Scriptures.
2. He was buried and raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
What Old Testament Scriptures teach that Jesus would die, be buried, and raised on the third day? There are many, but here are a few obvious ones…
Genesis 1:11-13, Genesis 22, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, and Jonah 1:17
What is a “type” in scripture? The Webster’s definition of type is a person or thing believed to foreshadow another. The Old Testament is full of types which foreshadow the Messiah. When Jesus came and fulfilled all these types it was evidence that He indeed was the Christ sent by God. Romans 5:14 uses the word type and says that Adam was a type of the One who was to come.
Read Genesis 22:1-4
This is the first mention of the word “love” in scripture. When a word is first used, we study the context and connotations surrounding the word to understand its meaning throughout the rest of scripture. Love is mentioned here as being between a father and his only son, who was to become a sacrifice for sin (burnt offering). This is a type, or model, of God and His only Son, who were both willing to sacrifice the Son for sin. Love is giving your all for the good of someone else, even if they are unworthy! Love is associated with God’s saving grace and His plan to become the sacrifice for our sins. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
In Hebrew pictographs, the word “love” is “ahav,” spelled aleph, hey, bet/vet. Aleph means the head, strength, or father; bet means tent or house. The word for father then is Av or Ab (Abba). It means the strength or head of the house. When the hey represents the breath or essence of something. When God inserted the hey into Abram and Sarai’s names, He was placing His essence, or Spirit within them. When hey is placed in the word Av, it means “the essence of the Father.” The essence of God, the very definition of His character is love. Love is literally the essence of God.
What is the purpose of God’s testing? To help us to see whether we will believe God’s words enough to obey Him. God already knows the outcome, but He tests us to show us and others the truth about our faith. Our response is either a positive witness for God, or a negative one! God allows negative thing into our lives in order to test our faith. Did God know that Covid would be a thing right now? Could He be using is to test us?
Abraham believed God’s word and was confident that He could obey and God would restore Isaac to him… Read God’s promise in Genesis 17:15-19, and New Testament commentary in Hebrews 11:17-19. He believed in the resurrection of the son of promise – pointing to the Son of Promise, Jesus! It is also possible that Abraham knew from the beginning that he was acting our prophecy. John 8:56…
How is Isaac an only son? What about Ishmael? This is recorded in this way because Isaac is a type of the only Son of the Ancient of Days. God has other “sons” as well – the angels are called sons of God, Adam was a “son” of God, but Jesus is the One and only supernaturally born Son of God who is actually the Second Person of the Trinity – God in human flesh. Isaac was the only son of the promise who was born in a supernatural way by God’s intervention. Isaac could not have been born except by a miracle because Sarah was past the age of childbearing. Likewise, Jesus could not be born in the natural way because He could not be tainted by Adam’s “seed.” He was fully human because God overshadowed Eve and caused Him to be conceived as a human baby, while avoiding being born like Adam, in sin.
We notice in scripture that there is always a “first” and a “second.” The first one fails because they live by the flesh and their sin condemns them. The second is the one who inherits because they are obedient and chosen by God. The first corresponds to the flesh and fallen humanity, the second corresponds to the Spirit and our new life in Christ. It is only possible because God brings it about supernaturally by saving us.
1st Adam: Adam, God’s first “son” who sinned and caused the whole human race to fall
2nd Adam: Jesus, the Second Adam who came to restore the human race by living a perfect life and dying in our place to pay for our sins. (1 Cor. 15:45-49)
1st: Cain, the first born who refused to bring the sacrifice God required, an innocent lamb pointing to Jesus, instead he brought the works of his own hands which are never good enough.
2nd: Abel, the one who brought and trusted in the sacrifice God required. He was a shepherd who was killed at the hands of his brother because he was the firstborn and accepted by God, so that he became a type of the Messiah to come who would also be killed by jealous “brothers.” (Jews)
1st: Ishmael, the son produced by the flesh when Abram and Sarai tried to help God keep His promise.
2nd: Isaac, the son who was born supernaturally of God and was the only Son accepted by God to inherit the promises. We do not inherit the promises of God by our own works, but by being saved and living by the Holy Spirit.
1st: Esau, the perfect picture of the flesh who has no respect or desire to inherit the things of God until it’s too late.
2nd: Jacob, the one chosen to inherit. He esteems the things of God and the inheritance of God, but actually goes about trying to get it in his own way, even though God has chosen to give it to Him. We also make the mistake of trying to earn our salvation and inheritance rather than taking it by faith in Jesus.
1st: Saul, the king God gave to the people when they rejected Him as their true King. He looked great and seemed fine at first, but the flesh is always deceptive and eventually will fail.
2nd: David, the man after God’s own heart who was the rightful king, but had to wait for the first king to die before he took the throne. We must die to the flesh and allow Jesus to take over the throne of our lives, as well.
Read Genesis 22:5-8
Abraham takes two witnesses with him. He tells them to wait and after he and Isaac worship, they will both return to them at the bottom of the hill. He believed that they would both come back. True worship involves faith and being willing to lay our everything on the altar with trust that God knows how to provide what you need. (Read Hebrews 11:17-19)
1. Isaac carries the wood – Jesus carries the cross part of the way, then another takes it for him.
2. Abraham, the father carries the knife and the fire, symbols of separation and judgment.
3. Abraham announces that God will provide “Himself” a sacrifice.
4. They went together in agreement is what the Hebrew says. Isaac didn’t fight to get away, he willingly obeyed his father.
Read Genesis 22:9-13
1. Isaac is bound just as Jesus is bound when they arrested Him.
2. Isaac is placed on the altar; Jesus is placed on a Cross.
3. A ram is the substitution for Isaac; Jesus is the substitution for us!
4. The ram is caught around his head in a thorn bush; the crown of thorns was placed on the head of Jesus – thorns are the symbol for the curse of sin.
5. Jehovah-Jireh, God will provide Himself a lamb for the sacrifice. Only the Lamb provided by God is sufficient for our sins. When we lay our all on the altar we can also be assured that God Himself will provide all we need! This is the same area where Solomon later builds the Temple. It is a ridge system called Moriah. The Temple, as well as the hill of Calvary, are located on this system of ridges. The name of Jerusalem comes from this name of God – Jehovah-Jireh and shalom (peace) Jireh-shalom = Jerusalem – God will provide peace. There was already a city called Salem in Abraham’s day to the west of this ridge system, which David conquered and renamed Jerusalem. Traditionally, the hill on which Isaac was sacrificed is believed to be the place where the Temple stood. Many, however, believe it was the actual hill to the north of the city called Gordon’s Calvary today.
Read Genesis 22:15-19
1. God multiplied his descendants at the sand of the sea, and the stars in the sky. Sand represents earthly, physical descendants from Abraham. Stars represent heavenly, spiritual descendants for Abraham – we are his spiritual descendants because of Jesus. Genesis 15:3-6 – we are counted in those stars!
2. Abraham returned to the servants and they went to Beersheba to dwell. Where is Isaac? Obviously he is with them, but he has been edited out of the narrative for the purpose of the typology. The next event is Abraham commissioning his servant (whose name means “Helper”) to find a bride for Isaac (Chapter 24). After the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, we do not see Him again until He comes to meet His bride.
3. The bride of Isaac is mentioned. She is the daughter of Abraham’s nephew. It is from Abraham’s idol worshipping relatives that Isaac receives his bride. It is from the pagan gentiles that Jesus receives His bride! (The majority of the church is non-Jewish, or Gentile.)
Interesting note – there are six recorded Gentile brides in the Old Testament. Their deaths are not recorded. There is one Gentile Bride of Christ in the New Testament. Our death is not recorded either – we are given eternal life!