One of the most well known stories in the Bible is when God tests Abraham. And yet, so many miss how this powerful, prophetic act points to Yeshua. When Abraham is preparing for his 100th birthday, the Lord visits him and gives him the shock of his life:
“‘And I will bless Sarah and also give you a son by her; and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.’ Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’” … Then God said: “Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” (Genesis 17:17, 19)
And sure enough, in their old age, Abraham and Sarah have a son. The Bible says that Sarah’s womb was dead and yet God gave her a child.
Sometime later God decides to test Abraham and tells him, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
What’s interesting is we don’t get to see Abraham’s reaction. Maybe he had none. By this time, maybe he had learned to trust the Lord. Maybe he argued, even as he laughed, when the Lord told him that 90-year-old Sarah would have a son. What we do know is that he obeyed.
They set out for Moriah. And it looks like Isaac gets a little concerned going up the mountain. They have a conversation:
“Father”…”Yes my son”… “Ehhh, The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Did Isaac know? Was he getting concerned?
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb.” And that is the most powerful verse in the passage. God will provide a lamb. In Hebrew the word is ‘seh’ (like ‘say’) and it refers to a young lamb.
Okay…they reach Mount Moriah and Abraham builds an altar. And again, I would love to see the response of Isaac when his dad begins to tie him to the altar. Did he protest? “Eh, Abba, what are you doing?” Or did they walk so close to the voice of God that both trusted that the Lord who opened Sarah’s womb could also raise the dead.
Abraham lifts the knife and is about to plunge it into Isaac when the Angel of the Lord stops him. Many believe that this is Yeshua appearing in the Old Testament, which makes what I am about to say next even more amazing!
Abraham sees a ram caught in the thicket. There is only one problem. Abraham, a prophet of Yahweh, said that God would provide a lamb—a seh—not a ram which is a different Hebrew word, ‘ayal’ and refers to adult male sheep. A lamb or a seh in Hebrew, is a baby lamb, innocent, like young Isaac.
You see, God would never ask of Abraham that which he was not willing to give Himself. They were in covenant together. God asked from Abraham his most precious possession, his son. God purposely placed Himself in debt to Abraham and would make good on it when He sent to Israel, and the world, His only son as a sacrifice. Many years later, his cousin John, seeing Yeshua come toward him, declares, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Isaiah prophesied that, like Isaac, “he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,” and Paul calls Yeshua our “Passover lamb.” On Passover, you could not use a ram, but only a one-year-old male lamb, without spot or blemish.
You know that you were redeemed from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors—not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with precious blood like that of a lamb without defect or spot, the blood of Messiah. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
The lamb that God provided was not the ram caught in the thicket, but was the angel of the Lord, Yeshua, that stopped Abraham from killing Isaac.
And then that same Lamb, who would come 1600 years later, also in a supernatural birth to a young Israelite, says to Abraham: “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore… and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”