Genesis 086 – A Pop Quiz

Genesis 086 – A Pop Quiz
Genesis 22:1-10 • Dr. Andy Woods • July 24, 2022 • Genesis


Genesis 086

A Pop Quiz

Genesis 22:1-10

July 24, 2022

Dr. Andy Woods

            Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Genesis. Genesis chapter 22. And the title of our message this morning is a pop quiz. Don’t you hate it when your teachers gave you a pop quiz when you’re going through school? Well, God gives Abraham here a pop quiz. And He has the right to give you a pop quiz also as His child. We’re going to try to make it this morning, Lord willing, through verses 1 through 10. And I’m glad you all don’t start laughing when I say that anymore. I have to be honest with you, that as I was trying to prepare for Genesis 22 for this week; It’s sort of overwhelming the things that are found in this chapter. I’m saying to the Lord, well, how do I condense this? How do I teach it? Because it’s obviously heavenly. It’s obviously from above. In fact, if this chapter doesn’t convince you that the Bible is God’s Word, I don’t really know what will, because it’s majestic in terms of its predictions that it gives about Jesus 2000 years ago. And I would argue that this is one of the mountain peaks of scripture. You know, all scripture is God-breathed and profitable but there are parts of the scripture that take you to the summit. Take you to the mountain peak. They take you to the zenith. And once you’re on the mountain peak, you just get a crystal-clear view of the mind of God and His plan for redemptive history.

I would argue that Isaiah 53 is a mountain peak of scripture. I would argue that the conversation that Nicodemus had with Jesus in John 3 is a mountain peak. I would argue that Revelation 19 when Jesus returns to this earth and sets up His kingdom, that’s a mountain peak of Scripture. I would argue that the material that we’re given in the Gospels about the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ is a mountain peak. And this clearly, Genesis 22, is a mountain peak. It takes you right to the top. And helps you grasp the mind of God, like very few other sections of Scripture can. So, we have been studying- this all falls into the context of the life of Abraham. These are the different events in the life of Abraham that have transpired. Abraham, of course, being a very special person through Abraham; God is going to start a nation, the nation of Israel. And the person that God uses is also the person that God tests. And boy, does Abraham receive a test here, a test of his faith.

Genesis 22 Abraham Sacrifices Isaac

      1. Abraham tested (1-10)
      2. Substitutionary provision (11-14)
      3. Covenant reaffirmed (15-19)
      4. Rebekah’s lineage (20-24)

We’re kind of looking back and obviously we can’t cover all these verses today, but looking at the whole chapter, there’s basically four parts to it. Abraham is tested, verses 1 through 10. God provides a substitutionary provision, verses 11 through 14.

The Abrahamic Covenant is reaffirmed, verses 15 through 19, and then the chapter sort of ends with: Hey, Rebekah; Isaac is going to marry Rebecca. Where did Rebecca come from? You have a description of Rebecca’s lineage in verses 20 through 24. And today we just start easing our way into verses 1 through 10, the testing of Abraham. As we look at those verses here is sort of a rough outline that we’re seeking to follow.

Genesis 22:1-10 Abraham Tested

      1. Abraham instructed (1-2)
      2. Abraham’s obedience (3)
      3. Arrival at destination (4)
      4. Abraham’s instructions (5)
      5. Continuation of journey (6)
      6. Conversation (7-8)
      7. Offering prepared (9-10)

And the first part of it, verses 1 and 2, is God gives some instructions to this man, Abraham. Look, if you will, at verse 1. “Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.'” You’ll notice that the chapter begins with “after these things.” After what things? After the events in chapter 21: Isaac’s birth; Ishmael’s expulsion; Abraham and Abimelech entering a covenant with each other after those events transpired. Then the events of our chapter take place. There are probably about thirty-one years, roughly in between the end of chapter 21 and the beginning of chapter 22. You’ll notice what Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum says. He says:

“The timing was: And it came to pass after these things, meaning after the events of Isaac, Ishmael, and Abimelech in chapter 21. Moreover, these two introductory verses cover a gap of time of about thirty to thirty-one years.”

It’s sort of interesting that Isaac was probably three to five years old, give or take, when the events of chapter 21 happened. Now he’s at the age in his early 30s; somewhere between age 30 to age 33. And you say, well, that’s very, very interesting because that’s the same age where most of the material is recorded about Jesus during His earthly ministry. And no doubt you’re aware of the fact that the Holy Spirit is using Isaac as a type of Jesus Christ. And by the way, you’re completely legitimate to see such typology because Jesus said this after He resurrected from the dead on the road to Emmaus, the Emmaus Road. He says in Luke 24:27, walking with his disciples, “Then beginning with Moses and with all of the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.” What scriptures? Hebrew Bible. No New Testament existed when Jesus made that statement. And then over in Luke 24:44, same chapter. “He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.'” When He says, “written about Me in the law of Moses the Prophets and the Psalms,” He’s giving the three major divisions of Hebrew Bible. And He’s saying the whole Hebrew Bible, which we call Old Testament, points towards Me.

And if there’s ever a sermon, I wish I was the fly on the wall to hear, that would be my pick. I mean, I would love to hear exactly what parts of Hebrew Bible He highlighted, showing that Tanach, Hebrew Bible, points towards Him. I mean, there’s no doubt in my mind that He gave them some sort of explanation of Genesis 22. So, there are so many Christological parallels between Genesis 22- by the way, which took place 2000 years before Jesus ever walked the face of this earth. There are so many parallels between Genesis 22 and Jesus Christ that I made a chart. And you say, well, that’s a big chart. Well, that’s only part one. There’s part two. So, as we’re going through this, I’m going to keep referring you to this chart. I don’t know of any other book in the world that does this kind of thing. Speaks truth, typifies truth before it happens. By the way, we’re going to see when we get to the story of Joseph- assuming we get there before the rapture happens- Genesis 37 through 50. The whole story of Joseph typifies God’s end time program with Israel. Do you want to understand God’s end time program for Israel? It’s already available in microcosm form in the life of Joseph. The exact same thing is happening here concerning the first Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. I mean, the very first thing is Isaac’s age.

Isaac’s age is roughly the same age of Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. In fact, in Luke chapter 3:23, it says, “When He began-” of Jesus- “His ministry, Jesus himself was about 30 years of age…” And He ministered from age 30 to age 33, roughly. That’s the same age of Isaac here at the time when God gives specific instructions to Abraham concerning Isaac. You continue in verse 1 and it says, “Now, it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham,” That’s why I’ve entitled this message “A Pop Quiz.” A pop quiz is scary enough because it holds you accountable for what you’ve been learning. But it’s a little bit more intimidating when God is the one giving the pop quiz. God tested this man, Abraham. Dr. Charles Ryrie says, “God tested Abraham. God does not tempt anyone with evil,” In other words, a temptation is different than a test. A temptation is designed to get you to sin so that you fail. Satan does that. That’s not what God does. God tested Abraham. God does not tempt anyone with evil. James 1:13 says that. But in certain instances, He does test, try, or prove us as is taking place here with this man, Abraham. The book of James tells us that God tests His children. James 1:2-4 says, consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials. Is that your reaction when you hit trials? It’s not mine.

I usually am resentful. But the book of James says rejoice, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let endurance have its perfect work so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. You’ll notice that God tests our faith not to ascertain its existence. This is how Genesis 22 is commonly misunderstood. A lot of people think God is testing Abraham’s faith to see if he really had faith. We know he had faith twenty years earlier because it says in Genesis 15:6, He believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness. He had faith. That’s not the issue. The issue is the maturity of that faith. The growth of that faith. And God many times in our lives will put us through various tests for that same reason, the book of James tells us. The little church at Philadelphia that we read about in the Book of Revelation; God put them through a test. Revelation 3:10. God says, “Because you have kept the word of my perseverance, I will also keep you from the hour of testing, that hour, which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Philadelphia, God says- Jesus speaking to Philadelphia- I’m going to keep you out of the tribulation period, which will test the world. Because you’ve already been tested.

Now that shows us that tests and pop quizzes from God are normal in the church age. And so, if God does that to you, don’t be shocked. Don’t be surprised. This is the normal walk of the child of God. What’s the test exactly? Well, I think the test is bound up in what later would become the first commandment. Exodus 20:3-5. “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord Your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate me. Hey, God doesn’t like it when we have rivals in our life. Just like your spouse that you’re married to wouldn’t appreciate it if suddenly you’re on all the dating apps. That wouldn’t fit, would it? That wouldn’t make sense. I noticed some of you put their phones away when I said that. I mean, God is such that He wants us completely and totally for Himself. And the problem with us is we’re idolaters by nature. And sometimes the things that God blesses you the most with, it’s easy to forget that those things came from the hand of God also. You may have a fantastic career, but you might forget that it’s God that gave you that career.

And so, God puts you through a test. Do you love your career more than Me? God may have given you amazing gifts and talents, and sometimes it’s easy to forget that those gifts and talents come from God. And so, God puts you through a test to see where your heart is. God may have given you an amazing house. But sometimes it’s easy to forget that that house came from the hand of God. And so, God puts you through a test to see what you really love, first and foremost. It’s very similar to what Jesus said to Peter at the end of John’s gospel. When Jesus said to Peter, Peter, do you love Me more than these? There is a debate as to what the “these” are. Maybe it was the fish. Peter may have loved his career as a fisherman more than Jesus. Maybe the “these” is the sheep that he was supposed to feed the ministry. Many people in ministry fall in love with the work of the Lord, ahead of the Lord. And they start to get their image and value from what they do rather than from Jesus. Abraham is facing that kind of thing because they had waited- as we’ve studied verse-by-verse- waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited on the birth of Isaac and then he was born miraculously.

And now Isaac is in his early 30s. And you can see how Abraham and Sarah might have loved Isaac, possibly more than God himself, forgetting that he is a gift from the Lord. And so here comes the test. And you look at the very end of verse 21 and it says, And God said to Abraham, and Abraham said, “Here I am.” We know going all the way back to Genesis 12:2, that God told Abraham that He was going to bless Abraham. And one of the blessings that God brought into Abraham’s life is He is a man that heard God’s voice seven times. I’ve used this paragraph many, many times in our teaching.

“This is the first of seven times that Abraham receives a direct revelation from God. In 12:1–3 is God’s initial call to Abram outside the Land of Canaan; in 12:7 is the first appearance to Abraham in the Land; in 13:14–17, Abraham encounters God after the separation of Lot; in 15:1–21, God signs and seals the Abrahamic Covenant; in 17:1–21, Abraham receives the token of the covenant; in 18:1–33, God speaks to him in conjunction with the destruction of Sodom; and in 22:1–2 and 22:11–18, God directs Abraham to offer Isaac.”

  • Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Book of Genesis, 240

It shows you the seven times where God spoke to Abraham prior to Genesis 22. God is now appearing and speaking to Abraham an eighth time. And you go down to verse 2 and God says something very interesting. He says, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” Notice this expression here, “Take your son, your only son.” In fact, if you go down to verse 12, same chapter, it repeats the expression, “your only son.” If you go down to verse 16, same chapter, it repeats the expression “your only son.”

And it’s a very strange expression because Abraham had another son. We learned about him in Genesis 16. He is Ishmael. Ishmael did not come through Sarah, as we’ve studied. Ishmael came through Hagar and in Genesis 21:8-21, when Ishmael was expelled, Abraham was distressed about that, because Ishmael was his son, just like Isaac was. And so, since Abraham had another son, why does it keep saying here, your only son? Well, the word for “only” here could refer to not exclusion, but uniqueness. In other words, Isaac is unique. Is unique in what sense? He was the son not born out of works. And being impatient with God, as was Ishmael. But he was the son born out of faith and patience and waiting upon God. And so that made Isaac not the only son in terms of exclusion, but he was unique. And that gives us another parallel with Jesus and Isaac. What do we know about Jesus Christ? He is unique as well. Just like Isaac was unique. In fact, the Gospel of John 1:14 says of Jesus Christ, It says, “The word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Have you ever asked yourself what do those words “only begotten” mean? The Greek is monogenés. It’s a compound word; two words making up one word.

You recognize the word mono- as in Monopoly, singular. Guinness, you recognize from biology. It’s the word species or kind. You put those two words together? Mono-guinness. One of a kind. I mean, Jesus is one of a kind. He is completely and totally unique. As the unique God-man. Isaac was obviously not the God man, but he was unique as well, because unlike Ishmael, he was the child born of patience waiting upon God, unlike Ishmael. Now, some would take this word only as an exclusion. And that’s interesting because if that’s true, God does not recognize the works we do through human power. The only work that God recognizes that we do as Christians are things that He does through us. In fact, when we stand before the Lord at the Bema Seat judgment to test not us, but the quality of our works- and you will be put through that test just like I will- there are going to be put, not us, but our works through a fire. Whatever is left after the fire finishes consuming apparently is some sort of reward that we receive above and beyond salvation. When God puts us through that test, many of our works will dissolve. It’s all described in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. But just looking at verse 15, it says, “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

I mean, what exactly is going to be burned up at the Bema Seat judgment? This is not a judgment of heaven or hell. This is a judgment to ascertain the quality of our works. And I think very largely the issue is going to be what works did you do for Jesus while you were here on the earth through your own power versus His power? What I did for God through my own abilities and my own power instead of relying upon Him, that’s dissolved. It’s burnt up. It has no enduring quality because after all, at the end of the day, if I did it through my own power, whose works is it? Those are mine. But if I did something for God resting upon Him, allowing Him to work through me, then that’s no longer my work. But it’s ultimately His work. And that’s what survives this burning process. John 15:16. Jesus said this to the disciples in the upper room. He says, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you, that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give you.” He wants us to not just bear fruit, but fruit that remains, fruit that survives this burning process at the Bema Seat judgment. And I think the big difference is what we did for God through human power and what we did for God through His power.

Why is Isaac called Abraham’s only son? It’s very clear that when you study everything we’ve studied in the book of Genesis, Ishmael- and God loved Ishmael just like He loves everybody- but Ishmael is the product of human works, human manipulation, not waiting upon God, not being patient with God, helping God out as if poor God needs our help; versus Isaac, who was a product of patience, waiting upon God. God is such that He will not share His glory with another. He is not going to reward us for things we did in our own human power. He will reward us for things that we did through His power. And boy, I tell you folks, speaking a little bit personally here, this is a very difficult lesson for me because I have what you might call a Type A personality. I can work and work and work and work and work and probably from the human perspective, accomplish an awful lot. But at the end of the day, I have to look back at some of that and I have to say, well, is that something God did through me or is that something I did for myself even though I did it in Jesus’ name? It’s interesting that He calls Isaac Abraham’s only son for that reason. God does not recognize the things that we do for Him through human power.

What’s the basis of the test then? Verse 2, “He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac,'” Obviously, Abraham loved Isaac. The test is, does he love Isaac more than God? That’s the test. Because God, in our relationship with Him, wants no rivals. Dr. Charles Ryrie says of this verse: “God’s intention here was to see if Abraham loved Him more than he loved Isaac and to try Abraham’s faith in His promise concerning descendants.” Do you love the promises of God and the answers of God more than God? Do you love your ministry more than God? Do you love your spiritual gifting more than God. God wants us to get that straight. He wants us to get that sorted out. So, He puts us through these tests. “He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac-‘” Now watch this- “And go to the land of Moriah,” Wow, that’s interesting, “-and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains-” singular mountain, Mount Moriah- “of which I will tell you.” Arnold Fruchtenbaum says, concerning the Hebrew of this verse, Leave Beersheba, go to Mount Moriah, that that Hebrew construction is found only one other place in the book of Genesis. It’s when God called Abraham, then Abraham, out of the Ur of the Chaldeans.

[Fruchtenbaum] says: “Abraham was told where to take Isaac: Get you into the land of Moriah. The Hebrew here is lech lecha, the same form He used to call Abraham in [Genesis] 12:1 when He first told him to go out from the land of his home. These two usages are the only places the phrase is found in the Hebrew text.” I mean, Abraham had two big tests in his life. God says, leave what you know and follow me. That was test one, Genesis 12. That was years earlier- decades earlier. Now, here comes test two. I’ve blessed you with a fulfilled promise. I want you to leave where you are, Beersheba. I want you to go to Mount Moriah. And what does He say here? I want you to sacrifice him. Lord, am I hearing you correctly? -Whom you love. Go to the Land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you. What is this business about Mount Moriah? Well, that’s a third parallel because in Second Chronicles 3:1, it says, (this is a thousand years later) “Then Solomon began to build the House of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah.” The very place where Solomon would build Temple Number one a thousand years later is the exact place where Abraham is to offer Isaac. Now, let’s not stop there because Mount Moriah would later be called Mount Zion.

And a thousand years after the time of Solomon, 2000 years after the time of Abraham, that’s the exact same geographical locale where Jesus would die for the sins of the world. I mean, is Isaac a type of Jesus Christ? Absolutely. His age, he’s the unique one, and even the place of his would-be execution is where Solomon would build the temple and Jesus Christ, the Son of God would be sacrificed for the sins of the entire world. This is the kind of thing Jesus was talking about on the Emmaus Road when He opened the eyes of the disciples to the Scriptures. And He said they all point to Me. I mean, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jesus took them into a study of many passages of the Scripture, not the least of which is Genesis 22. And another thing to understand about this is what God told Abraham to do was completely and totally irrational to the human mind. It made no logical sense. Why did it make no logical sense? Because back in Genesis 21:12, God was very clear- for through Isaac your descendants shall be blessed. In other words, the blessing is going to come from Abraham to Isaac, giving birth to the nation of Israel, leading to Jesus Christ. If you don’t have Isaac, you don’t have the nation of Israel and you don’t have Jesus. And now you’re telling me to kill him? It’s kind of interesting as you go through the book of Genesis, God many times tells people to do things that don’t make any sense from the human perspective.

I mean, God told Noah to prepare for a global deluge by building an ark. How much sense does that make? Put yourself in Noah’s shoes. Genesis 2:5-6 says, “Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not yet sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to arise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.” If I’m reading this right, that generation had no idea what rainfall was. I sort of feel like that in Texas sometimes. I’m grateful for the little shower that we got last night or yesterday. But you’re dealing with a generation that had no conceptual understanding of rainfall. And how much sense does it make to spend 120 years of your life preaching of a global deluge and building this massive structure in your driveway called the Ark? I mean, think of the absolute ridicule that Noah was put through because God told him to do something that was completely and totally counter-intuitive. That, by the way, is why Noah shows up in Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith, recognizing those who trusted God despite what their five senses was telling them.

And this, by the way, is why Abraham shows up in the Hall of Faith as well. These are the greats of the greats because they had to completely and totally rely upon the promises of God, and they had to put aside what was normal and what was natural in their world. People ask, well, I thought God was against human sacrifice. Why would God call Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Well, the thing to understand is the prohibition against human sacrifice is not given until the time of Moses six centuries later. Dr. Fruchtenbaum says:

“At this point of progressive revelation, God did not actually forbid human sacrifice, which was later prohibited by the Law of Moses (Lev. 18:21, 20:1–5; Deut. 18:10).”

This is a pre-Sinai revelation. And you go down to verse 3, and what does Abraham do? He obeys God.

Genesis 22:1-10 Abraham Tested

      1. Abraham instructed (1-2)
      2. Abraham’s obedience (3)
      3. Arrival at destination (4)
      4. Abraham’s instructions (5)
      5. Continuation of journey (6)
      6. Conversation (7-8)
      7. Offering prepared (9-10)

Verse 3, “So Abraham arose early in the morning.” He doesn’t waste any time. God spoke, he goes into action. “So, Abraham arose early in the morning and saddled his donkey and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering And arose and he went to the place of which God had told him.” Abraham does seven things here in verse 3: he rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, he took two of his young men or servants with him, he took Isaac, he split wood, and he went to the exact place that God told him.

Do you see other parallels with Jesus Christ here? You mean Isaac is writing to his place of would-be execution on a donkey? Boy, that reminds me a little bit of Palm Sunday, doesn’t it? That would be a fourth piece of evidence in this typology. You get to verse 4 and they arrive at their destination. It says, “On the third day-” Well, that’s interesting. Not the second day. Not the fourth day. The third day. “On the third day, Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance.” How long of a journey is it between where Abraham was, Beersheba, and Mount Moriah? It’s the distance between Beersheba and Jerusalem. Of course, Jerusalem at this time is not a factor. Jerusalem is not even a Jewish city yet. It wouldn’t become a Jewish city until the time of David about a thousand years later. But that’s where Mount Moriah was located. And folks, that’s a journey of fifty to sixty miles. And so, it’s important as you put this together to think of it in human terms. I mean, this was not an easy thing God was asking him to do. The journey itself is arduous, let alone the sacrifice. The third day I find very interesting because we all know from Matthew 16:31 that Jesus would be raised up on the third day.

And maybe that’s not the strongest parallel there. But it is interesting as you move into this, how these parallels start to kind of stack up. They start to snowball. The Holy Spirit is obviously, through this story, prefiguring something. And then something amazing happens in verse 5; Abraham’s instructions, once they arrive, to the two servants that he brought with him. “Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there-” Where’s there? -Mount Moriah. And what does it say there at the end of verse five? “We,” meaning me and Isaac. The very Isaac that God told Abraham to kill. “We will worship and return to you.” He doesn’t say we are going to go over there and I’m going to come back. That’s not what he says. He says we are going to go over and we’re going to come back. Stay here. I and Isaac will go over there, and we will worship and return. How can that statement be understood in light of what God specifically said in verse 2? I want you to offer him on Mount Moriah. If you’re going to offer him on Mount Moriah, he’s obviously going to die on Mount Moriah. If he dies on Mount Moriah, how in the world could Abraham say, well, we’re going to come back, the two of us, to these two servants? Well, fortunately, the book of Hebrews rides to our rescue.

And it explains everything going on in Abraham’s mind. It’s in Hebrews 11:17-19, “By faith-” Boy, that’s an understatement. He really had to completely trust God here. “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your descendants shall be called.'” Abraham understood that the messianic program was going to come through Isaac. No Isaac, No Israel, No Jesus Christ. And yet Abraham was willing to do exactly what God said anyway. Book of Hebrews tells us why. “He-” That’s Abraham- “Considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.” Do you see what is happening here? This is the absolute height of Abraham’s faith. It doesn’t get any better than this. I’m going to do exactly what God said, because even if I killed him, God’s going to have to do something, like raise him from the dead. Because if you don’t have Isaac, you don’t have the chain leading to the Messiah. That’s why he says, “we will worship and return to you.” Isaac and I will go over to Mount Moriah. Abraham, of course, thinking the sacrifice is going to happen. Isaac is going to die. But I have so much faith in the promises of God.

I have so much faith in Genesis 21:12, that even if I kill him. God is going to have to do something, like raise him from the dead. What you’re clearly seeing here is a parallel with Jesus Christ in terms of His resurrection. I hope we understand that the resurrection of Jesus is a big deal. Paul says in First Corinthians 15:14, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith is also in vain.” No resurrection, no Christianity. In fact, Jesus is called the first fruits. The first to be raised from the dead. In other words, His resurrection guarantees our resurrection just like the first fruits in a crop guarantees the rest of the crop. You don’t have the resurrection of Jesus; you don’t have Christianity. We’re all wasting our time here. If the empty tomb can be explained in some other way other than the resurrection of Jesus. An as central a doctrine as the resurrection of Jesus is, here it is in your Bible, 2000 years in advance. This, to my mind, is one of the tremendous disappointments I have with modern scholarship. One of the things some of the younger scholars taught me in seminary is that the concept of resurrection is not clear in the Bible until you get to the sixth century; the Prophet Daniel- when this statement is made here in Daniel 12:2, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life.”

And these scholars would say it’s not until you get to the sixth century, roughly, oh, I don’t know, 1500 years later that resurrection is clear. And if you’re reading the Resurrection of Jesus into other passages pre-Daniel, you’re reading the New Testament back into the old. This is what sells today in scholarship. I could never go along with that. I never believed it was true. I didn’t fit with the academic currents of the day, because my Bible is clearly saying Abraham long before the time of Daniel believed in resurrection. He believed that if he killed Isaac, God was going to have to do something like resurrecting him from the dead. And the Book of Hebrews tells me that. “Oh, don’t bring in the book of Hebrews, because you can’t read the New Testament back into the Old Testament!” “Really? Why can’t I?” I don’t know of any better commentator of the Bible other than God. I mean, what other commentary am I supposed to read to explain this passage? This becomes one of the reasons why we started Chafer Theological Seminary. We were just up to our ears, up to our eyeballs with this type of liberal insanity which very, very sadly permeates our evangelical institutions that we just made a break. Evangelical academia to a very large extent is irretrievable. You can’t bring it back.

It’s too far gone. I respect those who stay in the system and try to be salt and light there, but from my vantage point, the Titanic has sunk. When you can’t even see resurrection here because of some academic mindset then the ship is sunk. We’ve got to start something new. Now, folks, the resurrection concept is in Daniel 12:2. But it’s long before Daniel 12:2. It’s right here in verse 5 of Genesis 22, written 2000 years before Jesus ever showed up. Abraham had so much faith in God, He said, If I obey what God said, even though it’s irrational, God is going to have to raise him from the dead. And that becomes a type, if you will, of Jesus Christ. The truth of the matter is, at this point, Abraham’s faith is at its height. I don’t know if it gets any better than this. Kind of like that old- I don’t know if I should talk about beer commercials from the pulpit, but that old beer commercial, you know, they’re all hanging out- “Doesn’t get any better than this.” And don’t put your hand up if you know that commercial, because then we can identify you as carnal and we don’t want to do that. You can call me carnal because obviously I know a little bit about the commercial- but that’s what I feel like when I read this.

It doesn’t get any higher. It doesn’t get any better than this. That’s why the book of James- when it’s talking about faith without works is dead- mentions man things, but right on the list he mentions Abraham.

Faith Manifesting Works (James 2:14-26)

  • Thesis: works accompany useful faith (2:14)
  • Five illustrations (2:15-26)
    1. Needy brother (2:15-17)
    2. Demonic monotheist (2:18-19)
    3. Abraham (2:20-24)
    4. Rahab (2:25)
    5. Lifeless corpse (2:26)

In James chapter 2:22-24 he says, “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And Abraham believed God, and it was [credited] to him as righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” Boy, what a bunch of misunderstandings on this. People think that when God tested Abraham, he was trying to figure out if he had ever trusted God. That is not what’s happening here. Abraham had already trusted God. Abraham trusted God for salvation two decades ago in Genesis chapter 15:6. “Abraham believed God and it was [credited] to him for righteousness.” We know Abraham’s a believer. So, what’s the test? It’s not a test to determine the existence of faith. That is a mishandling of Genesis. That is a mishandling of the book of James. It is a test to determine and to ascertain the maturity of that faith, the quality of that faith. In other words, yeah, you have faith in Christ to go to heaven, but can God now push you to a certain limit where you can keep trusting Him so He can use you to bless other people?

The test is not does faith exist. That’s a complete misreading of the Book of James. Go to our James series that we did here Wednesday night some time back to see all of that. That’s a misreading of James. That’s a misreading of Genesis. It’s a test to ascertain the quality of preexisting faith, not whether faith exists. And the two of them, once they arrive at Mount Moriah, continue journeying, just the two of them, towards the specific mountain. The specific mountain that God was speaking of. Look at verse 6, “Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So, the two of them walked on together.” Notice another parallel here. Who’s carrying the wood? Abraham took the wood of burnt offering and laid it on Isaac, his son. What is Jesus doing with His own cross? He’s carrying it until, of course, in the gospels, He was exhausted, and He was incapable of carrying it anymore. And they enlisted Simon of Cyrene (Matthew 27:32) to carry the cross. Up to that point Jesus is carrying His own cross. And what is this business here in the middle where the father, that’s Abraham, took in his hand the fire and the knife. The father is going to kill the son.

That’s what’s going to happen, allegedly. You understand that when Jesus died on a cross 2000 years ago, He was not hanging on that cross to be kind of our role model or to help us live a more sacrificial life. He was absorbing the wrath of a holy God in our place. One member of the Trinity. God, the Father was pouring out His wrath on another member of the Trinity God, the Son, so that wrath would not come upon us. He was our substitute. He absorbed the wrath of the Father for sins He didn’t commit in our place. What is verse 6 saying? “He-” that’s Abraham the father of Isaac- “took in his hand the fire and the knife.” And what does the rest of it say? “So, the two of them walked on together.” You mean Isaac could have resisted at this point? Yes, he could have. He was a young man. He wasn’t an infant. He was in his 30s. He could have just resisted his father and said, “I won’t go.” In fact, when you go down to verse 9, I think it is. “Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood and bound his son Isaac-” You realize that Abraham is binding a 30 plus year old young person here that could have easily broken away and said, “I’m not going to go along with the program.”

What is that type of? That’s a type of the volition of Jesus, who could have, if He wanted to, called the whole thing off. Jesus says that in John 10:17-18, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I might take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” Don’t get this idea that Jesus was swept into circumstances beyond His control and was forced into an execution that He couldn’t have stopped. He clearly could have stopped it, according to what He just says there in John 10. Isaac is in the exact same situation. Do you realize that’s the point of the book of Hebrews? The audience in the book of Hebrews is going back to the animal sacrificial system. And the author of the Book of Hebrews says, what in the world are you doing that for? Don’t you understand that in the current priesthood of Jesus that you now possess, you have something higher than the animal sacrificial system because the animals had no choice in the matter? Jesus, by contrast, who fulfilled all that typology, had a choice. Isaac had a choice.

Jesus had a choice. Is this not interesting how these parallels just keep developing? And then the two of them have a conversation. Isaac kind of gets smart. “Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ And he said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?'” Gosh, I see you getting ready to make a sacrifice. I don’t see any animals here. Abraham doesn’t turn around and stick his finger in Isaac’s stomach and say, You’re the guy that’s going to die. He gives sort of a generic answer. Verse 8: “Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ So, the two of them walked on together.” Abraham’s answer here is very interesting. Arnold Fruchtenbaum says:

“Then came Isaac’s inquiry: And he said, Behold, the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering? Abraham’s answer was: And Abraham said, God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son. In Hebrew, it reads yireh-lo, which allows for two options. The first option is that God will provide for Himself or, second, that God will provide Himself as an offering. It was a divine provision either way. Isaac inquired no further…”

This could very well be understood as God is going to provide Himself as an offering. And if that doesn’t point to Jesus, I don’t know what does, because He was our substitute. Isaiah 53:3-6, “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore; And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging, we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” What is the world is this talking about? Fancy Word Time: The vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus. Vicarious, in the place of somebody else. Penal, punishment. He absorbed the punishment in our place. I mean, it was divine wrath that He absorbed. Substitute, that wrath should be on me, but it was poured out on Him. In our Soteriology series that we did several years back, we brought this up. It’s all about substitution. We’ve used the example of the Secret Service men that leaps in front of the bullet and absorbs it so that the president of the United States is not killed.

We’ve used the illustration of the bee sting in which somebody in a car reaches out and grabs the bee so no one else in the car has to be afraid because a bee stings only once. And he opens his hand, and the bee flies out of the hand, and you can see the stinger in his hand. He says, I took the sting in your place. That happened when I was in a youth group many, many years ago. Best sermon on the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement I’ve ever had, watching that transaction happen. And this is the difference, folks, between liberalism and the Bible. Because when you’re in a liberal social gospel church, they will always play down this doctrine. They will make it sound as if Jesus died on the cross to be a good example for us. Jesus died on the cross to help us to live a sacrificial life. They have all these explanations as to why Jesus died on the cross, and that never gets to the heart of the issue. I’m not denying that the death of Christ teaches us how to live selflessly- I’m not denying that. But that is not the primary purpose for which He died. He died as our substitute. And you can see here the false views of the atonement which began to percolate around the 11th century A.D. And the church fought back. And they said, no, it wasn’t a ransom to Satan. No, it wasn’t a moral influence example.

No, it wasn’t a moral example. No, it wasn’t a governmental example. No, it wasn’t an accidental example. It was substitutionary. And a lot of you, because of economics and job changes, will leave Sugar Land Bible Church and you’re going to go places where God is going to send you. You’re going to be looking for a church. And you better ask the people in charge what they believe about this issue, because this is the difference between liberalism and biblicism. Liberalism will always, always play down the concept of substitution. Substitution is clearly here if the rendering of that Hebrew is: God will provide Himself as a substitute. I don’t know what’s going to happen to you, Isaac, Abraham says, But God is going to Himself be the substitute. Vicarious substitutionary penal death of Jesus Christ. Verses 9 and 10 is the preparation of Isaac. Verse 9: “Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.” Where did they go? Mount Moriah. What do they build there? An altar. A temple is going to be built there a thousand years later. A cross is going to be built there, 2000 years later. They laid the wood, they bound Isaac. Isaac, I think, could have fought back. Arnold Fruchtenbaum says:

“Next, Abraham laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Isaac was not a child anymore, but a young man with enough strength to be able to resist what his father was doing to him. But Isaac submitted to what his father was doing to him, and obviously trusted him.”

Just like Jesus did. He laid down his life volitionally on his own accord. And then you see verse 10 and it says, “Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” And you say, Pastor, what’s going to happen? Well, if you come back next week, we’ll talk about it. Because God does something amazing here, as you know, which also points to Jesus. You know, there are some passages of the Bible that you go through with the church and then you say, how in the world am I going to work this into an opportunity for people to come to faith? I don’t have that problem today, because that’s about as clear a picture of the gospel as I know how to give. Jesus did it all in our place. And if you trust in Him, the wrath of God no longer abides on you. Our exhortation is to place your faith, hope, trust and confidence in the person of Jesus Christ alone. And if you do that, God makes you a promise. That promise is: you’re now exempted from My wrath. And if you won’t place your faith in Christ, then the wrath of the Father against sin is still kindled against your life.

And so, if the Holy Spirit in any way is convicting anyone in the room, anybody listening online, anybody listening to the archives after the fact, if the spirit is convicting people of your need, which is the ultimate need, you have to trust in Christ. Our exhortation to you is to do it now. Today is the day of salvation. To believe means to trust, to rely upon, to depend upon. The Bible says 160 times that’s the single thing a person must do to be made right with God. You don’t have to walk an aisle to receive this. You don’t have to join a church to receive this. You don’t have to give money to receive this. It’s a gift and the only way to receive a gift from God is to believe in the one He has sent.