This unique man, the Father of the Faith, heard contrary ‘facts’ from God: “It is through Isaac that descendants will bear your name.” (Genesis 21:12) Then in Genesis 22:2: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you.” The great nation, that God promised Abraham he would be the father of, would be fulfilled through his son Isaac. Now sacrifice him? How could both things be true? Just one possibility: Isaac would rise from the dead.
Abraham and Isaac travel three days to Mount Moriah. Two servants accompanied them. At the foot of Mount Moriah, Abraham loads the wood for the burnt offering onto Isaac’s back to carry up the hill. Abraham tells the servants: “I and the boy will go up and worship and will come again to you.” Then Isaac asks a blunt question: “Father! Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” “My son,” Abraham answered, “God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.”
When they reached the top, Abraham lays Isaac on the wood and ties him to the altar. (Wouldn’t it take a man to carry enough wood to burn up a body?) Abraham has the knife to take Isaac’s life and the fire to burn his body. As he raises the knife God calls to him and tells him not to harm his son. At that moment, Abraham and Isaac ‘behold’ a sheep caught by its horns in a bush. Isaac is released and Abraham sacrifices the sheep.
Artists impressions of Isaac show him at five to seven years old; others as a teenager. The Hebrew word translated boy or lad has multiple meanings: a young boy, a servant, a young man and a grown man still considered young (not old). Jewish and Christian scholars put Isaac’s age between 25 (Josephus) and 31-37 (others). Adam Clarke, who wrote an entire Bible commentary, puts Isaac’s age at 33. Does that sound familiar? Carrying wood up the hill? Familiar? Yes, Moriah is Calvary. Isaac could resist his 127 year-old father, but submitted to death. Sound familiar?
Multiple translations use the word ‘behold’ about the sheep in the bush. John the Baptist uses it when he first sees Jesus by Jordan: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away sin of the world.” Abraham was forced to believe in the impossible – a dead son who becomes his heir. Hebrews 1:2 “God appointed Christ as heir of all things.” And you and me? Rev 21:7: “They who overcome inherit all things.” From the sentence of death to owning everything. Do you believe that impossibility like Abraham?