Genesis Chapter 22, Sacrifice of Isaac in Type and Antitype

Oct 5th, 2009 | By | Category: Genesis, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Genesis Chapter 22, Sacrifice of Isaac in Type and Antitype

Gen. 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.

“God did tempt [or test] Abraham.” James 1:13 states, “God cannot be tempted with evil,  neither tempteth he any man.” We are tested for our loyalty and fidelity to God and to the truth, and such tests are designed by the Father. The motivation of the Adversary is different— he tries to ensnare and entrap us.

James 1:13 contains an important clause (paraphrased): “God tempts no man with evil.” There are two methods of tempting:

1. Tempting/testing for good. Testing with the intent of bringing out qualities that are more or less dormant—forming, kneading, and shaping them so that a person becomes crystallized in righteousness. Such experiences are necessary for “muscular” development. One may be innately inclined to righteousness, but tests bring to the forefront, in the crucible of experience, the quality of righteousness, developing it into hardness and firmness. Thus God tempts no man with evil or with evil intent, but tempts individuals for their good.

2. Tempting/testing with evil intent. The Adversary designs such tests, hoping that the Christian will stumble and fall.

When God called Abraham, the reply “Here I am” shows a responsiveness. Abraham could have just been silent and listened. (Some of us are inclined this way by temperament—to obediently pause and listen—but Abraham responded as Samuel did.) Abraham was responsive and alert to do God’s bidding. The following types should be kept in mind: Abraham represents God (the Father), and Isaac pictures Jesus.

Types

With a type like the Tabernacle, which contains measurements, the weight of silver sockets, etc., all of the meticulous details picture something very structured in fulfillment. The fact that the Tabernacle is treated mathematically shows that we are to look acutely at the various details and to expect an antitypical significance. The same is true of certain pictures as, for instance, when God, on Mount Sinai, gave Moses a visual representation of His character.

Another example is the vision of a wheel within a wheel in the first chapter of Ezekiel. Since these types are “mathematical,” we are to weigh every word in the antitype.

The lives of individuals are another matter, however. We are to examine the life of an individual something like a parable in that we do not expect every detail to have an antitype. Otherwise, the personages in these incidents would be robots, and it would be hard to draw a line between predestination and free moral choice. The point is that we should note the feeling of the incident itself. Some pictures are quite accurate in regard to the antitype, and others are just generalizations.

Abraham and Isaac

Abraham and Isaac

Gen. 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.

The Heavenly Father’s words were very touching. He said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah—and offer him there as a burnt offering.” This test brought out qualities in Abraham. God did not just say, “Take your son for a burnt offering,” but the words played on the chords of sympathy and affection that Abraham had for Isaac.

Why did God say of Isaac, “Thine only son”? (1) Isaac was the son God recognized as the promised seed, the product of the union between Abraham and Sarah. (2) Ishmael and his mother had been cast out by this time. (3) This incident is a type, and Jesus (prefigured by Isaac) was “the Son of His [God’s] love,” that is, God’s “beloved Son.” In other words, there is a special attachment or affection between the Father and the Son.

The destination was the land of Moriah, which means “God will provide.” This was an appropriate name since, in the final analysis, God did provide the ram in the thicket (and also Jesus in antitype). Mount Moriah is where Adam died; where Jesus was crucified; where Isaac was offered up; the site of Ornan’s threshing floor, which was purchased by King David; the burial place of many tombs of the kings of Judah; and the site of Solomon’s Temple, Herod’s Temple, and the future Ezekiel’s Temple. The Dome of the Rock sits on the mount today.

Originally, Mount Moriah was one continuous mount, but 200 years before the First Advent, the Maccabees excavated a trench to make the mount and Jerusalem more defensible. Prior to the excavation, Jerusalem had a strategic weakness on the north side. The future earthquake at the time God delivers the Holy Remnant will occur along a fissure from Jerusalem to Azal, affecting the Temple Mount (Zech. 14:4,5).

Abraham began his journey to Mount Moriah from Beersheba, which was about 50 miles to the south. Isaac was to be a “burnt offering,” that is, wholly consumed by fire. With a sin offering, the animal was killed and only certain organs put on the fire; the hide, dung, etc., were burned outside the camp. With a burnt offering, the hide was removed, and the rest was completely burned. The point is that Abraham knew the implication of Isaac’s being a burnt offering—that after being killed, he was to be wholly consumed by fire. The journey to Mount Moriah was a very sad one for Abraham.

Gen. 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.

“Abraham rose up early in the morning.” Despite the severity of the test, he got up early, ready to do God’s will. Abraham took wood because, never having seen Mount Moriah, he did not know if there were any trees at the site. He also took two young men with him as well as Isaac.

Gen. 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

On the third day of traveling from Beersheba, Abraham saw Mount Moriah afar off. With each day representing a year, the three-plus days picture Jesus’ 3 1/2-year ministry.

Gen. 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.

Telling the two young men to stay there with the ass, Abraham said that he and Isaac would go ahead and worship and then return again to them. Abraham’s statement to his two servants proves he believed Isaac would be raised from the dead—and right away. “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Even after Abraham arrived at Moriah, it took time to climb the mount and prepare an altar.

We are reminded of Mary, who was ready to do God’s bidding without hesitation, even though a stigma would attach to her in regard to Jesus’ birth. Here Abraham just wanted to obey God and did not worry about how he would explain Isaac’s death, which some would think was murder. Neither Mary nor Abraham worried about the consequences—they just promptly obeyed God. We, too, should be promptly obedient “handmaidens” to do God’s will.

Both Abraham and Mary manifested a good principle; namely, take one step at a time because “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matt. 6:34). We should not stop to rationalize that there could be repercussive effects from something we might do in the future. We are to live each day as it comes, obeying the Lord’s will and not worrying about the consequences, for after all, consequences can be overruled if such be the Lord’s will.

The three-plus days’ journey gave Abraham opportunity to turn back, but he did not do so. He kept going forward in obedience.

Gen. 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 took the wood and laid it on Isaac. Then he took a knife and a censer with coals of fire. Here is a clue as to how men went on a journey in those days. They carried censers with coals of fire, which could be used for cooking (or other) purposes.

Isaac’s carrying the wood is like Jesus’ carrying the Cross. Jesus carried the Cross from Jordan to Calvary, indicating that he brought persecution upon himself. His faithfulness in doing his Father’s will led to his death. Jesus instructed those who would follow him, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).

Gen. 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?

Seeing the fire and the wood, Isaac asked Abraham, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Q: Is there any way of knowing specifically how old Isaac was, or do we just say 25-30 years?

A: Sarah was 127 years old when she died, and Abraham was 137 at that time (Gen. 23:1). Since Sarah was 90 when Isaac was born, he was 37 when she died. Hence Isaac had to be less than age 37 and at least 25 years old. Therefore, the 25-30 age range seems reasonable.

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

Gen. 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.

Abraham said God would provide the lamb, and they continued on together. When they got to Mount Moriah, Abraham built an altar, put the wood on it, bound Isaac, and laid him on the kindling wood. Isaac was like a lamb going to the slaughter. He was meek and offered no resistance when tied.

Isaac must have had tremendous faith in and reverence for God. He would have been told and retold over and over again of the circumstances surrounding his birth as the child of promise.

His very life was the result of miracles, so he had reverence from a very personal standpoint.

The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice

Gen. 22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay Isaac. In the picture, the artist shows Abraham with the knife raised high and ready to plunge. This is probably an overdramatization. The angel would not take the chance of waiting until that moment because the knife could have suddenly been used.

Two qualities of God are represented here: mercy and justice. To all effects, however, Abraham slew Isaac, for he had mentally agreed to kill him and was in the process. But “love” (God’s love) forbad the slaying.

Gen. 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

Gen. 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.

Gen. 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.

The angel (the Logos) called to Abraham from heaven, “Do not kill Isaac.” Speaking for God, the Logos said, “I know you fear [reverence] me, for you have not withheld your dear son.”

The sound of the voice caused Abraham to look up, and then he noticed the ram caught in the thicket. The ram, picturing Jesus, was offered instead of Isaac. This substitution shows that in a type, an animal can prefigure an individual or a class.

Hebrews 11:17,19 reads, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac … accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” This text tells us Abraham’s innermost thoughts. When the instruction came to slay his own son, his faith reasoned that even if he slew Isaac, God was able to raise him; that is, since Isaac was to be the seed of promise through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed, the son whom he dearly loved would not remain dead, for God would raise him up.

Nevertheless, Abraham’s faith was strongly tested, for he could have reasoned, “I dearly love my son Isaac, and I cannot kill him because the promise has to be fulfilled through him.”

Hebrews 11:12 states, “Therefore sprang there even of one [Abraham], and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” From the impotent, aged Abraham came the seed of promise. This thought would have fortified his faith.

The provision of the ram was a wonderful faith lesson for Isaac to carry with him the rest of his life. Isaac had grown up watching the example of Abraham’s faith. His father’s example helped him to submit to the instruction and also to face up to this temptation, or trial, and to manifest the faith of his father. The Scriptures tell us much about Abraham and Jacob but relatively little about Isaac, so this incident helps us to appreciate Isaac.

Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the ram caught in the thicket. The ram must have made a noise that caused Abraham to look ”behind him.” The ram would be struggling to get free of the thicket. Abraham heard the angel say, “Do not lay your hand on the lad,” and then he became aware of something behind him. Hence the expression “lifted up his eyes” is figurative, meaning the matter dawned upon his mind. We can “lift up our eyes” in understanding a type or a lesson, for example. The same meaning applies to verse 4, where Abraham “lifted up his eyes” and saw Mount Moriah. He would have realized at that point that the mountain he saw was his destination.

The large rock on Mount Moriah on which Abraham offered up Isaac is the place where the altar of Solomon’s Temple was later built. Today that rock is under the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, and it is surrounded by a railing. A hole in the side of the rock was used to drain the blood from sacrifices or to channel it to go underground, and some say the blood ended up in a spring below. Subsequently, however, the rock was hollowed out and made into a place of worship so that visitors can now go under the rock where the altar once stood.

Mount Moriah was originally like a loaf of bread—all one complex. It was connected to the hill where Jesus was crucified. At a later date, the separation between Calvary and the Temple Mount was artificially excavated. In the future, the mountain will again be one. The gap will be closed up so that Calvary and the Temple area are close to each other.

Review

Abraham pictures God, and Isaac prefigures Jesus. However, we must be careful about certain parts of the account. For example, the following debate took place. One brother felt that at times, God is not omniscient in the sense normally thought, that He does not know everything long in advance, the end from the beginning. But, the brother continued, God is able to confront the situation and to give a solution immediately. He used Abraham and Isaac as an illustration, but this reasoning is wrong! Being omniscient, God is never confronted with anything suddenly. God sees things in advance—before they occur—and never has to make a quick decision.

Abraham loved Isaac, his dearly begotten son. The Logos in heaven was submissive to the Father, and thus endeared to Him, long before coming down here to earth, as Jesus, to give his life as a ransom. God had a plan in which beings here on earth, as well as future beings yet unborn, should know about evil through the exercise of free moral agency so that they would not be tempted inordinately if certain things happened. For instance, Adam had no knowledge of sin or death when he was created, but he made an unwise decision. He did not see that one cannot trifle with the Father in any sense of the word. His lack of experience enabled Satan to succeed in tempting him to the point of disobeying the specific injunction of the Father not to eat certain fruit. The permission of evil on the earth will benefit not only those who have lived here but also those not yet born on other planets, who will see earth’s experience via movies, photography, etc. Thus all will know that God is just, and evil will not have to arise elsewhere to teach this lesson. So strict is God’s justice that Jesus had to die to cancel it. In seeing movies, populations on other planets will vicariously experience what earth’s inhabitants went through.

God loved His Son before the Logos came down here, and this relationship compares with the account of Abraham’s love for Isaac. However, one point we cannot compare in the antitype is the fact that Abraham was tested, for nobody tested God. The Father devised the plan of the ages even before the Logos was created. And when the planets and the stars were created, He gave them all names, showing that they were designed for a purpose. In the vast universe, with all of the named stars, is the earth, an insignificant planet of a particular sun. “Earth” was designed in advance as the place where Jesus would come and die. Before the Logos was created, God purposed or planned his creation, and He planned that the Logos would have companions (the Church) and what their functions would be and that evil must be experienced here on earth as an object lesson for all of God’s future creations. The point is that we cannot say every detail in Abraham’s life accurately pictures the Father, but the love Abraham had for Isaac is a picture of the love the Father had for the Son before the Son was offered on the Cross.

God’s character of justice cannot be treated lightly, for He will not and cannot lie. In fact, it is impossible for Him to lie, and He will not and cannot do things that would vitiate His own principles—principles that are very important for the peace and happiness of His subjects. All who get everlasting life must have respect for and knowledge of the Father. We get insight into the secret workings of God’s mind by certain things that happen. By what was created in the physical universe, we have some concept of His greatness, power, intellect, etc. By Jesus’ works and words, we get to “see” the Father. In other words, the Father’s character is revealed in Jesus. God felt the lesson was so important that His very own Son would have to be offered.

Jesus had the sterling character needed to work out God’s plan.

Genesis 22:4 states, “Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.” The term “third day” is significant. Before Jesus came down here, he knew he was coming to give his life as a ransom; that is, he had some foreknowledge of his mission (Matt. 20:28).

However, as a little infant, he did not know. In fact, he did not know of his prehuman existence until he was baptized in Jordan and the heavens were opened unto him. He then “found [himself] in fashion as a man, … and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8).

Q: Didn’t Jesus’ statement to Mary, “I must be about my Father’s business,” indicate that he knew about his mission (Luke 2:49)?

A: Jesus knew about the miraculous circumstances surrounding his birth (the singing of the angels, the coming of the shepherds and the wise men, Joseph and Mary’s flight with him to Egypt and their return, etc.). And his own family knew that he was destined to be the Savior, but they did not know he had a preexistence. They knew only that a promised seed was to come and be the Deliverer.

When Jesus became aware of his preexistence, he was driven by this realization into the wilderness to meditate how to go about his mission in the best way possible. He knew the Crucifixion would terminate his ministry, but that knowledge was put on a back burner, for he was concerned how to start the mission. He had to call his disciples, for example. Thus he dwelled on what was needful for the moment, taking things step by step. Not until the Mount of Transfiguration, the last year of his earthly ministry, did Jesus talk more about his death.

This timing corresponds with the type. Isaac knew about the mission to offer a burnt offering, but not until the end, when he was being tied up, did he know with certainty that he was to be the offering, that he was the lamb. And so Jesus thought more keenly on all the minutiae of detail that had to be fulfilled in regard to his death as the date approached. The same is true for the Christian Church. As the date for the Church to be complete approaches, we should be proportionately interested in pertinent prophecies.

As these comparisons are made, type with antitype, we should keep in mind that not everything in the type has an antitype. What is especially emphasized is the Father’s love for the son, yet the need for his sacrifice, his death. The antitypical Isaac did die, but mercy and justice were combined. God loved His Son dearly but could not sacrifice justice. The fact that Jesus was the propitiatory lid of the Ark of the Covenant when he died enables God to be just yet the justifier of those who come to Him through Jesus. Justice is really the foundation of love.

Without the satisfaction of justice, there could be no grace and real forgiveness because of God’s own nature. Jesus had to die in order for God to redeem the race. Thus justice and love are combined in this one sacrifice. Both God’s and Jesus’ reactions are prefigured by Abraham and Isaac, respectively.

The three-plus days of Genesis 22:4 correspond with Jesus’ ministry of 3 1/2 years. After Abraham saw the mountain afar off on the third day, it would have taken part of that day to get to Moriah and prepare for the sacrifice.

Comment: If Calvary and the rock where Isaac was offered will be moved close together and the gap filled in, then Adam’s place of death will also be close. The kernel of God’s plan will thus be visibly demonstrated in the Kingdom Age.

Gen. 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Abraham called the place “Jehovah-jireh,” that is, “Jehovah’s providence” or “God will provide.” Abraham knew that God would provide, so his naming the place was an outward manifestation of his faith. The name made the mount a kind of memorial.

The picture here of Abraham and Isaac brings out the mutual tender affection between father and son. That is the faith of Abraham. All Christians must be developed similarly if they are to get the crown. They must, somewhere in their life, have an equivalent test—of the dearest thing being sacrificed in obedience to the Father. Many do not get that test because they are not developed to the point of having this rounded-out experience. Two things are necessary: (1) leaving Father Adam’s house (making a consecration) and (2) finishing the consecration.

Passing the test of sacrificing one’s Isaac is the development of the mark of perfect love and obedience. Not all of the consecrated get that experience.

Gen. 22:15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, The Logos (the “angel” of Jehovah) called out of heaven the second time unto Abraham. (The first time the Logos called is stated in verse 11.)

Gen. 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:

Abraham had just demonstrated that he was willing to obey God and, if necessary, to slay his son as a burnt offering. What is the difference between a burnt offering sacrifice and the custom of other peoples of committing their firstborn to the flames? (1) A burnt offering was killed before it was burned. With the Canaanites, etc., live offerings were often consumed by fire. In God’s arrangement, the animal was put to death first—and in a painless way by cutting the jugular vein. (2) Abraham was obeying a direct commandment from the Father, as opposed to false religions that developed along other lines. In some cases, pride led to the sacrifice of one’s son in order to be regarded in higher esteem by fellow men. In cults, those who are most extreme get elevated. They are promoted in  proportion as they show fidelity to Satan. In contrast, Abraham was obeying a proper instruction from a proper source: God. (3) Age is an important factor. Very often infants were sacrificed by the heathen (for example, to Molech); hence they did not acquiesce to the sacrifice but were forced. However, Isaac, being 25-30 years old, fully submitted to the instruction.

It is important to distinguish between right and wrong. As far as zeal is concerned, other people are willing to commit their life unto death. For instance, people douse themselves with gasoline and set themselves afire for a cause. Therefore, other factors must be considered. We must love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and thus be sure we are obeying Him in any decision.

The sacrifice was a real test upon both Abraham and Isaac, for both were involved in rendering the sacrifice. And Jesus’ giving his life as a ransom involved thought, meditation, and sacrifice on the part of both the Father and the Son. God devised the plan whereby it was necessary for His Son to die to bring salvation to the human race.

Willingness to die is only one facet of Christian development. There must also be a willingness to be instructed by God’s Word. We must be dedicated to searching out what God’s will is. We must develop the fruits of the Spirit too. As far as dedication is concerned, other people are equally committed to giving their lives but not according to proper understanding.

Gen. 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;

Gen. 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

God said to Abraham, “I will bless you and multiply your seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand upon the seashore, and your seed shall possess the gate of its enemies. And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” The multiplication of the seed will be (1) as the stars of heaven and (2) as the sand of the seashore.

This is the first time in Scripture that the heavenly and the earthly promises are combined. Why the distinction? There is a double blessing: spiritual and natural. The spiritual is the antitype of the Isaac seed, or The Christ, which will be as the stars of heaven. In other words, Abraham’s seed is to be multiplied. The “star” aspect is primarily The Christ, whereas the “sand” aspect is primarily the Ancient Worthies during the Kingdom; that is, the Ancient Worthies will have a temporary natural inheritance. (The rebellion at the end of the Millennium is called going up against the “camp” of the saints. Dissatisfaction will be voiced against the Ancient Worthies and the arrangement.) Abraham looked for a “heavenly” city, that is, for a spiritual inheritance at the end of the Little Season. Daniel 12:3 says the Ancient Worthies will be as the “stars [picturing their heavenly inheritance] for ever and ever” after their change at the end of the Kingdom.

The fact that the spiritual seed will be multiplied to be as the stars of heaven signifies a much greater number than just the 144,000. Although the number of the Great Company class is not now known, it will be known when they receive their change. However, even adding the number of the Great Company to the Little Flock will not produce a multitude equivalent to the stars of heaven. In regard to the earthly seed, the Ancient Worthies are a limited number, 144,000, one for each saint. Hence the Ancient Worthies alone are not equal to the sand of the seashore. An alternate translation for verse 18 is the following: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves.” In becoming that seed, the nations shall bless themselves. In identifying themselves with the Kingdom, with the Lord’s arrangement, people will become blessed.

There are so many stars (suns) that man cannot number them, and the spiritual seed is likened to the stars. “And he [the LORD God] brought him [Abram] forth abroad [in a vision], and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he [God] said unto him [Abram], So shall thy seed be” (Gen. 15:5). This prophecy suggests that the Church in glory in future ages will generate life both spiritually and naturally. Just as with the earth, planets in other solar systems were not created in vain but are to be inhabited; that is, at least one planet in each solar system (not all planets) will be inhabited. Planets have various functions; for example, some are for signs and some mark time. And some planets will be peopled by physical beings (this will be a natural increase). In addition, the Church, with the Lord Jesus, will generate other spirit beings (this will be a spiritual increase).

For the natural multiplication to be as the sand on the seashore, it will have to include more than just the earth. Otherwise, the amount of people could be numbered. The multiplication would have to include other planets in other solar systems. Incidentally, the promise that the Church (pictured by Rebekah) will be the mother to thousands of millions (that is, to billions) applies to the Kingdom on earth (Gen. 24:60).

For the spiritual seed to be as the stars of heaven, it will have to include other spirit beings—the creation of many more angels. At present, there is not a superabundance of angels but just a sufficiency to aid in God’s plan here on earth, where God’s physical creation began. The clue is Hebrews 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Whatever the number of holy angels is now, it is sufficient for preparing the New Creation down here, but there certainly would not be enough for the entire universe if other planets are peopled some day.

It is no exaggeration to say that God created the earth with His fingertips (Isa. 45:11,12). We are like tiny microbes in a rug down in this small segment of the universe. God is way high above, dwelling above the heavens. We look down and see a tiny bug crawling along. From the bug’s standpoint, the earth seems illimitable, but to us, the earth is “numbered.” The principle is the same when God looks down on tiny man, and tiny man looks up at the universe. God knows the number of the stars and has names for each. The stars have a finite number, known only to Him. The universe is infinite from our standpoint, and finite from God’s standpoint. Earth is only the very, very beginning of God’s creation of human beings. That is why Jesus Christ came here. Those on other planets, who will be created in the future, will learn by observing what took place here in connection with the permission of evil and its outworking in God’s plan. Different orders of spirit beings are all considered “stars.” Even Jesus, as the Logos, was a “star”—the bright and morning star, an archangel (Rev. 2:28; 22:16).

Comment: The earth is like a physical embryo; The Christ is like a spiritual embryo.

The Abrahamic promise should not be underestimated in regard to how great the seed will be. Abraham, in this sense, represents The Christ. Abraham’s “seed” will be those who are developed in future generations. In the beginning, Abraham’s seed will be Isaac, the spiritual seed, but there will also be a natural seed: the Ancient Worthies, Israel, and those of the world who come into harmony with the arrangement in the Kingdom Age. All will be gathered in Christ, the top stone of the Pyramid, The Christ. Next comes the Great Company (although that sequence is debatable), then the Ancient Worthies, Israel, and the world of mankind. God purposes that all will be united in Christ, so in one sense, Abraham represents God, for it is His plan. But as “children of Abraham,” we are part of Abraham. God made the promise to Abraham, that is, to The Christ. God said, “I will make Abraham the father of the spiritual and the natural seeds.”

Verse 17 can be paraphrased as follows: “In blessing, I [God] will bless The Christ, and in multiplying, I will multiply the seed of The Christ [1] as the stars of heaven and [2] as the sand on the seashore.” That is the thought going beyond the Millennium. Continuing, “The seed of The Christ shall possess the gate of their enemies.” In other words, Abraham represents not just an individual but a seed class.

“Thy seed shall possess the gate [the seat of authority] of his enemies.” The seat of authority will be taken from the enemy and replaced by the holy power. From another standpoint, years ago castles had moats for protection, and a drawbridge was the only means of access to the gate of the castle. When the bridge was drawn up, the enemy could not cross the moat and get to the gate, or entrance, of the castle. To have control of the gate would be to control the city or the castle. Hence the gate was the vital organ of the castle’s or the city’s control. For example, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was the “gate” of Judah and the nation (Micah 1:9). Whoever controlled Jerusalem controlled the nation. Similarly, to control Washington, DC, is to control the United States. The capital of the “enemy” (Satan) is (1) Rome down here on earth and (2) Satan’s personal headquarters in the spirit realm. Satan issues commands and exercises influence and power from his capital, or headquarters, in earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, for Abraham’s seed to possess the gate of their enemies shows that there will be a complete reversal of power from the bottom up and the top down.

The promise was given to Abraham because he obeyed God’s voice. In verses 17 and 18, God confirmed the covenant He had already made with Abraham. When first given, the covenant was conditional upon Abraham’s leaving Ur of the Chaldees. Because of his obedience, the covenant became unconditional. The covenant was confirmed several times. The question might be asked, Why does the covenant again sound conditional here, as if it were dependent upon Abraham’s offering his son? The answer is that the covenant, already made, was reaffirmed. It was like saying, “God made the right choice when He initially called Abraham.” When the covenant was first made conditionally, Abraham’s character was not apparent to others. He was “called out” of Ur of the Chaldees, and each step of his obedience further vindicated God’s wisdom in choosing him. (Incidentally, this is the earliest mention of an “ecclesia,” or a calledout class.) Abraham developed under God’s providence. Although a master craftsman was needed to mold Abraham’s character, there was something intrinsically good that God could see, and God was not surprised that Abraham obeyed. It was as if God said, “You obeyed my voice, but I always knew you would because I knew your character.” It would have been comforting for Isaac to hear the promise made to Abraham, for from a natural standpoint, saac was assured he would have children.

Gen. 22:19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.

Abraham returned to the two young men, and they all went back to Beersheba, where he was sojourning before he left for Mount Moriah (Gen. 21:33,34; 22:3,5). The two young men had no idea of the drama that had just taken place. It would be interesting to know if Abraham and/or Isaac said anything about it on the return trip. The world and nominal Christians are likewise oblivious as to the character and trials of the Church class as they develop.

Gen. 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;

Gen. 22:21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,

Gen. 22:22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.

Gen. 22:23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.

Gen. 22:24 And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.

Milcah was the daughter of Haran and the wife of Nahor. Also, she was a niece of Abraham. Milcah and Nahor had eight sons, Bethuel being the last. This news was reported to Abraham. (Probably later, that is, by Ezra, the information was added that Bethuel begot a daughter named Rebekah.) Abraham would have reasoned: With all these sons, there was probably a potential bride for Isaac among the daughters born. Nahor’s concubine had four sons.

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