ABRAHAM COMMANDED TO OFFER ISAAC

By: Gary L. Rodgers

 In Genesis 22: 1-14 we find faithful Abraham called to offer up to God his only son Isaac. Here is a man who waited for years to have a son through Sarah to now be called to offer him up in sacrifice to the Lord. What a challenge to set before Abraham. But notice in verse five what Abraham said to his two young companions that accompanied him and Isaac. “I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”  Abraham was so trusting and so sure that God would use his son Isaac to carry on the seed of promise[1] that Abraham was intended to follow through with what God commanded him to do. Abraham knew that if God could give him a son when Sarah was beyond her child-bearing years then God had complete control over his and Isaac’s life and that if he followed through with the sacrifice of his son, that God would raise Isaac from the dead.[2] Abraham knew that God never fails on His promises and when God said in 21:12 “for in Isaac shall thy seed be called”, Abraham had no reason to doubt it.

GOD WILL PROVIDE HIMSELF A LAMB

And in verse eight Abraham answered Isaac’s question regarding the sacrifice. My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:” What faith they both shared in God to be all trusting and sure of His promises. Isaac being so young could have easily overtaken his father in strength and escaped this death. But Isaac knew full well that as all of what he was taught of his father he would trust him with his very life. The challenge was to both of them; Abraham to obey God’s command and willfully offer up his son, and Isaac to also be submissive to what was about to happen to him and willfully offer up his life. In this the sacrifice was considered complete in that they both acted out of their submissive will to the Lord God. What great faith they both had in our God. The Lord takes pleasure in obedience, mercy and knowledge of God over the sacrifice of animals.[3] God delighted in the obedience of Abraham and Isaac, and it was God’s pleasure to show mercy unto them both.

When Abraham was about to thrust the knife into Isaac God stopped him. God knew that Abraham’s faith would carry him through any circumstance even the taking of his son’s life. Abraham proved his love and obedience to God and God blessed him for it. “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:” (Verse 8) What prophetic words were these words of Abraham which pointed all the way to Calvary.[4]

LAYING THE HAND UPON THE HEAD OF THE SACRIFICE

Genesis 22:9And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

11And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here [am] I.

12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me.

Abraham was given two commands in this verse.

  • First he was not to lay his hand upon Isaac. In researching the steps taken to offer up both a burnt offering and a sin offering the person[5] that the sacrifice was being offered up for had to place their hand upon the head of the sacrifice and then kill the sacrifice.

Leviticus 1:4And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.

Leviticus 4:24And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it [is] a sin offering.

Leviticus 16:21 & 22And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send [him] away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:

22And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

[6] This was a picture of the transference of the guilt of sin from the guilty to the innocent (From the lost sinner to the Lamb of God). The person presenting the sacrifice by faith believed that their guilt was being transferred from themselves in the act of placing their hand upon the head of the sacrifice that was being killed as their substitutionary payment[7] for their sin.

Isaiah 53:6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

2 Corinthians 5:21For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The atonement was being made for the guilty at the price of the innocent’s blood being shed for them. At Calvary a crown of thorns (that wood hay stubble works of man – 1 Corinthians 3:11-15) in the shape of a crown was placed on Christ’s head with the hands of the human race to show that the guilt for the sins of the world, the religious works of man, tested and consumed by fire, was now transferred to the sin offering.[8] The King of Kings was not given a crown of gold (gold represents deity) and His scepter was a mere reed.[9] This crown and scepter was given to Christ as a means of mocking Him.

  • The second command given to Abraham was not to do “any-thing” to Isaac. Abraham was commanded not to take the life of his son that was being offered in sacrifice. At Calvary a Father (God the Father) offered up His Son (Jesus Christ) as the sacrifice for all of humanity. Mankind now must come and kneel before the King not in mockery but in seeking His forgiveness for all of their sins in order to be justified and forgiven in His sight. We need to kneel at the cross and confess Christ as Lord and Savior. Willfully man sinned; willfully man placed a crown of thorns upon the head of Christ, now willfully man must come and bow before Him and acknowledge that He is indeed the Son of God.[10] The burnt offering was wholly consumed by God. It was not a shared offering. When God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering it was an offering totally committed to God. We need to offer up ourselves for dedication and service in total commitment to God.

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!


[1] Genesis 21:12

[2] Hebrews 11: 17 – 19

[3] I Samuel 15:22, Hosea 6:6

[4] “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 (John 1:36, 1 Peter 1:19, Isaiah 53:7)

[5] or priest when offering for the people

[6] Leviticus 1:4, 4:4, 4:24

[7] Galatians 3:13, John 11:50-52, I Peter 1:18-21, II Corinthians 5:21

[8] Matthew 27:29, Mark 15:17, John 19:2

[9] Matthew 27:29 – The scepter is used as a symbol of royal authority.

[10] Matthew 27:54, Mark 15:39, Luke 23:47