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Tuesday, April 23 2013

Isaac: Rising From The Ashes

"Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering"

Long before the establishment of the Levite priesthood (see The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood and Leviticus: The Prophecies Of Christianity), righteous people of the LORD made altars. They were typically made of stone, not only because it was a place where something was sacrificed to the LORD, but because it was given entirely to the LORD as a burnt offering i.e. no part of the sacrifice could be recovered later, except for the ashes. Noah made such an offering immediately after the Flood (see also How Did The Flood Happen?).

Noah's Burnt Offering

"8:18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him: 8:19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.

8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:18-22 KJV)

After his arrival in the land of Canaan (see Camped Out In Canaan), righteous Abraham built a number of altars and made burnt offerings upon them, just as Noah had done (incidentally, Noah, like Abraham, was born in the area of what is today Iraq).

"12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

12:6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 12:7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 12:8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. 12:9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south." (Genesis 12:1-9 KJV)

"13:3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 13:4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD." (Genesis 13:3-4 KJV)

By the time of the famous test of Abraham in which the LORD told him to sacrifice his son Isaac (see A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac), Abraham already had much experience with burnt offerings.

Abraham Altar

"22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." (Genesis 22:1-2 KJV)

Notice the large amount of firewood that was brought along to the sacrifice.

"22:3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

22:6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. 22:7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son.

And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

22:9 And 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. 22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

22:12 And 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.

22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

22:15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 22:16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

22:19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba." (Genesis 22:3-19)

Many have sought to understand how Abraham could have brought himself to do it. The answer, most simply, was because the LORD commanded him to do it, but moreover, Abraham was a man of great faith and understanding of the Gospel. When he said "I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you" (verse 5 above), Abraham had every intention of sacrificing Isaac and rendering him into the ashes of a burnt offering, exactly as the LORD commanded him, but Abraham also thereafter expected to return with Isaac, alive, after he had not only been killed, but rendered into ashes. Why and how did Abraham think that?

"11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." (Hebrews 11:17-19 KJV)

Abraham well-knew that the first human was "raised" from "dust" (see the Fact Finder question below), so the LORD can resurrect the dead from "flesh and bone" or "dust and ashes."

Fact Finder: From what physical substance did human life begin? From what spiritual substance did human life begin?
See Dust and Ashes and What Makes Physical Life Possible?


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This Day In History, April 23

215 BC: A temple was built on Capitoline Hill (one of the "seven hills of Rome") dedicated to Venus Erycina.

1014: Brian Boru, high king of Ireland, was killed while fighting Viking invaders at the Battle of Clontarf.

Battle of Clontarf 1016: Edmund Ironside succeeded his father Æthelred as king of England.

1348: The first English order of knighthood, the Order of the Garter, was founded.

1500: Pedro Cabal claimed Brazil for Portugal.

1563: Construction of El Escorial began in Spain by Philip II (a Hapsburg).

1616: English playwright William Shakespeare died. Born on this date in 1564, he died on his 52nd birthday.

1625: Frederick Henry became Stadtholder (ruler) of the Netherlands after the death of Maurice of Nassau.

1633: The League of Heilbronn was established. It united South German Protestants with Sweden and France against the Catholic League and the Imperialists.

1635: The first public school in New England, Boston Latin School, was founded in the English-built city of Boston, Massachusetts.

1661: King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland was crowned in Westminster Abbey.

1823: Aaron Arrowsmith died at age 73. The British geographer and cartographer published many fine maps and atlases.

1851: The first Canadian postage stamp, the Three-Penny Beaver, was issued.

1891: Jews were expelled from Moscow, Russia.

1918: The British Navy under Admiral Keyes raided the German submarine base at Zeebrugge.

1941: King George of the Hellenes and the Greek government fled the Greek mainland from the advancing Germans; the Greek army also formally surrendered to Germany and Italy.

1945: The Russian army liberated the Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrueck concentration camps.

1950: Chaing Kai-shek evacuated Hainan, leaving mainland China to Mao Zedong and the communists.

1963: Itzhak Ben-Zvi died. He was the second President of Israel, one of the 37 signers of the declaration of the present-day state of Israel in 1948 (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate, A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).

1969: Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death for assassinating Robert Kennedy. The sentence was later reduced to life imprisonment.

1985: Coca-Cola changed its sugar and caffeine formula and released "New Coke." Consumer response was so overwhelmingly negative that the original formula was back on the market in less than 3 months.

1997: The presidents of Russia and China signed a declaration opposing the domination of one superpower in the post-Cold War world.





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Copyright © Wayne Blank