Isaac; An Old Testament Picture of Christ
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son…” – Hebrews 11:17
The Bible is a photo album with the face of Jesus on every page. And as we flip through its pages, early on we come to an Old Testament snapshot of our Savior that is especially clear; it is the story of Abraham and Isaac recorded in Genesis chapter 22. Let us ponder together this passage that has been described by many as “Old Testament Calvary.”
To begin with, Abraham and Isaac were the only ones to be involved in the transaction that was to take place on top of Mount Moriah. Two servants had made the three day journey with Abraham and Isaac. But they were invited only up to a certain point. As they approached the mountain, Abraham instructed the two of them to stay behind (Genesis 22:5). And from that point forward, only Abraham and Isaac would make the trip; for only father and son could make the rest of the journey. Yet the two servants were not the only ones strikingly absent from the mountaintop scene; for Sarah was not even present. This beloved wife of Abraham and the loving mother of Isaac made the cast for the scenes that played out in Genesis 21 and 23, but not here in Genesis 22. Just like the two servants, she was not invited; for what needed to take place on top of the mountain only called for the presence of father and son. And so it was with the events that transpired at Calvary. It should not surprise us that there was a three hour period of darkness (Matthew 27:45); for when God heaped the sins of the world upon His Son and baked Him in the oven of His wrath, it was an event only between the Father and the Son. Author Martin DeHaan wrote, “What happened between Abraham and Isaac on the mount we may never know…and so too what transpired between the Father and His Son Jesus Christ during those last three hours of agony we shall never be able to comprehend. It was a transaction between Father and Son. No human eyes were to behold that scene.”
Secondly, Isaac carried upon his back the wood for the sacrifice. Genesis 22:6 says, “Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son…” Abraham placed upon the back of Isaac the kindling to be used for the sacrifice. Likewise, as our Lord Jesus made the trek to Calvary, He carried His own wood when He carried His cross, which was the Roman instrument of death (John 19:17).
Thirdly, one of the most common misconceptions pertaining to this biblical event involves Isaac’s age. In all probability, he was not some little child as some have depicted. To the contrary; Old Testament genealogies and timelines suggest he was a young man (probably a teenager), strong and in the prime of life. He could have easily overpowered his aging father who was well over 100 years of age. But he did not. Instead, he submitted to the will of his father, and did so without protest. Similarly, Jesus submitted to the will of the His heavenly Father at Calvary. On the night before His crucifixion while in the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed “not My will, but Yours (Luke 22:42).”
Yet in our passage, Isaac as an Old Testament picture of Christ is seen only up to a certain point; for Isaac himself needed atonement for his sin. Thus when the Lord saw Abraham’s faith demonstrated by his willingness to slay Isaac, He immediately stopped Abraham from doing so and provided an alternate blood sacrifice; a ram caught in the thicket (Genesis 22:12-13). Because of this, Abraham called the name of the place Jehovah Jireh, signifying God’s provision (Genesis 22:14).
I pray that Isaac as an Old Testament picture of Christ would make a deep impression into the clay of your heart. Ask God today to help you see Christ throughout the entire Bible; for it is His Story. Remember, the Word of God is all about Jesus because Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1).
– Pastor Eric