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Wednesday, September 5 2018
A Bible Journey, 22: The Sacrifice Of Isaac
"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"
The purposeful birth of Isaac (he wouldn't have been born otherwise - his mother Sarah was unable to have children, through her life as a younger woman, and then as a past-childbearing elderly woman when Isaac was born) was declared and prophesied by the LORD (see The Real Jesus: The Word Of The LORD God). Abraham had many other children (see A Bible Journey, 21: Sons Of Abraham - Ishmael and Isaac and Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates), but one line, through Isaac, was chosen to be the royal line of the coming Messiah.
The purpose of a particular line didn't make anyone in it superior to anyone else (other than the Messiah when He was born from it), but it did then make them necessary to the genealogy. It was a shock to Abraham then when the LORD commanded him to "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."
"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.
Despite the shock and horror, Abraham obeyed the LORD. He left with Isaac and the "wood for the burnt offering." Isaac wasn't just to be killed; he was then to be made a burnt offering - rendering his body to ashes (see the Fact Finder question below).
"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." (Genesis 22:3-5 KJV)
Isaac asked a question. He had witnessed burnt offerings (the purpose of which was to symbolize the absolute offering of something to the LORD without being able to thereafter get it back) before, but of animals. Isaac asked, "Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"
"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.
Abraham would have sacrificed Isaac, as the LORD told him to do. But was it an act of blind obedience, or obedience of faith? Answer: faith, not only his knowing that the LORD would resurrect Isaac from the dead, but that He would resurrect him from the ashes of his burnt offering. It wasn't a test of Isaac. It was a test of Abraham.
"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)
The sacrifice of Isaac was made by Abraham's faith - and then completed in the usual way, with a ram.
"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.
As the LORD had promised to Noah, the same "seed" promise continued through Abraham (see The LORD's Seed Covenants With The Two Men Of Iraq).
"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." (Genesis 22:15-18 KJV)
As he had told the other men that he would do, Abraham then returned with Isaac, alive, from the place where he had intended to sacrifice Isaac and render him into ashes.
"22:19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba." (Genesis 22:19 KJV)
Some information that is provided in the Holy Scriptures seems irrelevant to the context of a particular section. The inclusion of the news that Abraham's brother in Syria had more children seems out of place with the recording of Isaac's sacrifice.
"22:20 And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor; 22:21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram, 22:22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 22:23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother. 22:24 And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah." (Genesis 22:20-24 KJV)
Why was it included there? Because, as explained later in the Scriptures, Isaac's son Jacob, who the LORD renamed as Israel (see A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel), found his two wives and two concubines from that family, of his family (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria). It's how the "seed" promise to Abraham, through Isaac, would continue toward its fulfillment in the Messiah.
"29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. 29:2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth. 29:3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place.
Fact Finder: What did Abraham understand about "dust and ashes" that assured him that Isaac would be resurrected from his "burnt offering" - without need of a dead, corrupted body?
This Day In History, September 5
394: The 2-day battle at the Frigidus River in northwest Italy ended in victory for Theodosius, the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and western divisions of the Roman Empire. Eugenius was beheaded, Arbogast committed suicide.
1590: Alexander Farnese's army forced Henry IV of France to lift the siege of Paris.
1664: The Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam was taken by the British who later renamed it New York.
1666: The Great Fire of London was extinguished after two days. Over 10,000 buildings were destroyed.
1697: During the War of the Grand Alliance, naval forces of England and France fought the Battle of Hudson's Bay.
1800: Napoleon surrendered Malta to Britain.
1836: Sam Houston was elected as the first President of the Republic of Texas (unlike the New England colonies, Texas rebelled against, and declared independence from, Mexico; see also The Mexican Border Wall).
1877: The native American (see The First Chinese American War) warrior Crazy Horse (who led the Sioux at the Battle of the Little Bighorn) was fatally bayoneted by U.S. troops "while trying to escape" (while in chains). Crazy Horse, who surrendered to stop the genocidal slaughter of entire villages of his people, was diplomatically guaranteed that he would be allowed to live free on a reservation - but was instead transported to a prison of common white criminals where he would have spent the remainder of his life in a tiny concrete and steel cage.
1905: The Peace of Portsmouth ended the Russo-Japanese War.
1910: Marie Curie demonstrated the transformation of radium ore to metal at the Academy of Sciences in France.
1914: At the start of the First World War (1914-1918; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars), the Treaty of London formally linked the British Empire, France and Russia as allies.
1945: Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk in the Soviet embassy in Ottawa, Canada defected with documents that revealed an active Soviet espionage system in the West. His defection resulted in 20 espionage trials and 9 convictions. Gouzenko lived in Canada under an assumed name until his death in 1982.
1969: During the Vietnam War (a civil war caused by foreigners who divided the ancient single nation of Vietnam into two artificial countries - before it was reunited in the present day), U.S. Army Lt. William Calley was charged with premeditated murder for the massacre of hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians (old men, women and children, including infants in their mother's arms), in the My Lai Massacre.
None of the U.S. troops who committed the war crimes were punished for carrying out the unlawful orders of their commander ("We were just following orders"). Their commander, Lt. William Calley, was the only one convicted - for which he spent a comfortable 3 years under house arrest - about 2 days for each cold-blooded murder. God's True Judgment yet awaits Calley, and all other war criminals through the ages.
Among the war criminals awaiting justice will not be Hugh Thompson. The former U.S. Army helicopter pilot from Atlanta, Georgia, at age 24, along with his crew, stopped the infamous U.S. massacre at My Lai by landing his helicopter between the Vietnamese men, women and children and the U.S. troops who had already murdered about 500 of them. Thompson ordered his two door gunners to open fire on the U.S. troops if they didn't stop their murders of helpless women and children. Hugh Thompson was ostracized at the time, but is now regarded as an extremely courageous and honorable warrior - a genuine hero. Hugh Thompson died in 2006 at age 62.
1972: At the Olympic Games in Munich, 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian "Black September" terrorists.
1977: The Voyager 1 unmanned spacecraft was launched. Just over 20 years later, in 1998, it became the most distant human-made object from earth at 6,500,000,000 (6.5 billion) miles away, while continuing to travel at 39,000 miles per hour. Unless it hits something (unlikely in the great void of space), its journey will never end.
1978: The Camp David peace conference began between Israel's Menechem Begin and Egypt's Anwar Sadat, with U.S. President Jimmy Carter presiding.
1980: Switzerland's St. Gotthard Tunnel opened. At 16.2 kilometers / 10.1 miles, it is the longest highway tunnel in the world.
1984: Western Australia abolished capital punishment, the last Australian state to do so.
1997: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu ("Mother Teresa") died at age 87. The Albanian-born Roman Catholic nun was known for her work with the "poorest of the poor" in India. She was awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize.