The Word: On a Hill Far Away

Genesis 22:1–19, especially v. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

When we board an airliner, we’re asked to show a photo ID. For security reasons, the airlines don’t take us at our word. They want proof that we’re who we claim to be. Jesus’ critics demanded proof of His identity, thus He showed them His “photo ID.” He told them His portrait was on every page of the Old Testament. “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (John 5:46).

Where did Moses write of Jesus? One place is Genesis 22. The young man Isaac is a remarkable prototype of Jesus Christ. Everything about Isaac in this passage points to his being a type or illustration of Christ. Everything about him reminds us of the Lord Jesus, and those who carefully study Genesis 22 find a remarkable series of parallels between Isaac and Immanuel:

  1. Both Isaac and Jesus were sons of promise. The angel had announced to Abraham that he and Sarah would bear a son. Likewise, the birth of Christ was announced beforehand by an angel to Mary and Joseph. Even the very names of these boys were given before conception.
  2. Both were born miraculously. God “tinkered” with a woman’s womb to cause a supernatural conception in both cases.
  3. Both Isaac and Jesus were called the only begotten sons of their fathers. (John 3:16; Heb. 11:17).
  4. Both Isaac and Jesus had fathers who were willing to sacrifice their sons “on a hill far away.” According to 2 Chronicles 3:1, Mount Moriah is in Jerusalem. The range of mountains where Abraham built his altar would later become the very spot where Christ would die for the sins of the world. That’s why Genesis 22 keeps emphasizing the particular site of the mountain chosen by God (vv. 2, 3, 9, 14). “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
  5. Both Isaac and Jesus carried the wood up the hill on their own backs. It was the wood on which they were to be sacrificed.
  6. Both were to be offered as a burnt offering for sin.
  7. Both willingly allowed themselves to be placed on the wood they had carried on their backs to the top of the mountain. Both became obedient unto death.
  8. Both Isaac and Jesus were “dead” for three days. In Jesus’ case, it was a literal death. In Isaac’s case, it was figurative, but it was a figure the biblical writers didn’t want us to miss. According to Genesis 22:3, Moriah was three days’ journey for Abraham. During those three days, he grieved for his son as one lost. According to Hebrews 11:17, figuratively speaking, Abraham received Isaac back from the dead on the third day.
  9. Both, being raised up, were given a bride selected by their fathers through whom all the world would be blessed. With Isaac, it was Rebekah. With Christ, it is His bride, the church.

How would you answer this question: What biblical figure was a son of promise, and both his birth and his name were announced in advance?

He was conceived miraculously is his mother’s womb. He was the only begotten son, yet his father was willing to sacrifice him as a burnt offering on a hill far away. He carried the wood on which he was to be sacrificed on his own back, and he went submissively. He was “dead” for three days, then arose. Being raised up, he took a bride selected by his father, through whom all the world would be blessed.

Two thousand years before Calvary, we have the gospel story given to us in advance through a preview, a prototype. Yet Isaac himself could never have actually provided purification for sins, for he was a sinner just as we are. Two millennia later and two millennia ago, God became a man, went to the cross, and there, shedding His blood, bridged the gulf between His own holiness on the one hand, and you and me on the other. On the mountain of the Lord, it was provided.

Will you believe it? Will you receive it? “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:11–12).

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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