Contend Earnestly: Genesis 22 - Part I

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Genesis 22 - Part I

I am going to take an opportunity to take a series and devote it to the study of Genesis 22 and the foreshadowing of Christ and His crucifixion. This passage has been broken down numerous times and by numerous men of God. I don’t pretend that this work is my own, as how could it be with all the sermons I have heard from it. But, I also will not have footnotes unless I directly quote someone as, although I have heard many sermons on the subject, I don’t remember exactly where I heard many of the illustrations and comparisons, so please bear with me and forgive me ahead of time. I will say that I did hear a great sermon by Adrian Rogers on the subject about 2 years ago. As I am also very jealous of Adrian now that he is worshiping our God “face to face” in heaven.

On with the show…

Genesis 22:1
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am."

Here we see the very first illustration I want to make. For most of the passage we will see that Abraham “plays the part” of God the Father and Isaac “plays the part” of Christ but the first verse actually reminds me of what Christ might have said. There was a time in eternity past where the plan of redemption was made (Acts 2:23). We don’t even pretend to understand how this took place or in what capacity but we do know that God the Father and God the Son predetermined the plan of salvation. We also see that it wasn’t just God who predetermined this plan but Christ had his part and He said “Here I am,” like we see Abraham doing here in verse 1 of Genesis 22. Of Christ, we see this in Philippians 2:6 which says that: although He (Christ) existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. I am not going to defend the great kenosis passage at this point but just notice that it was Christ who did not regard equality with God, not God the Father. As you read further in Philippians you will notice that all the actions that are taken of Christ coming to us on earth it is by Christ's power and no one else’s. ( i.e. He emptied Himself, He took the form, He humbled Himself, etc.) Know that these comparisons are never perfect in our minds so I don’t believe that God “tested” Christ in this plan as is said to be done with Abraham. But, even our thoughts on God testing Abraham makes us first think that God didn’t know how Abraham would respond when we know that God preordains all things as David shows in Psalm 139.

Genesis 22:2
He said, "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 here that God says to take your only son. Interesting to note here is that Abraham had another son, Ishmael, but he was not the promised son that God’s plan ordained. So God calls Isaac Abraham’s only son. With Christ, we know that Christ is called the firstborn (Col 1:15) and God’s only begotten Son (John 3:16), and this passage shows us a little more on what these references truly mean. The calling of Isaac being Abraham’s only son really shows Isaac’s importance or preeminence not his actuality of being Abraham’s only son. Same is seen in Christ. Christ is not actually created nor was He begotten the way that we as humans would think, but both Christ being the firstborn and him being begotten are Christ’s preeminence and His uniqueness. Just as Isaac was preeminent and unique compared to his brother Ishmael.

Two other quick notes on this verse: this is the first time the word “love” is used in the Bible, showing again the importance of this relationship of Abraham the father and Isaac the son. Also, Moriah is thought to be about the region that Christ was crucified on Calvary as Moriah is traditionally thought to be Jerusalem.

As you can see just through two verses, and much more could have been gleaned from these two verses for thought and devotion but I just want to start your study in this wonderful passage of obedience and foreshadowing of our great and glorious Saviour.

Much more will come and I pray that we will always be looking for Christ in the Scriptures as He is our hope and our cause for living.


Anonymous said...

Good work Seth. The typology of the OT should always lead us to Christ. This is the downfall of dispensationalism. Christ's sacrifice was intended by God. They would have us believe Christ's death was uncontrollable and a great cosmic accident, rather than the redemptive plan of God as foreshadowed in Abraham and Issac.

Seth McBee said...

David, I don't want to sadden you and we have conversed over on Lane's blog as well, but, although I am not a hardlined dispensationalist I am a progressive dispensationalist. I see the continuance of the OT to the NT but as far as some of the promises to Israel as a nation we would find disagreement.

Justin Evans said...

As we know, anyone can take any view to the extreme, but discarding the extremist "dispensationalists", I have not heard a dispensationalist purport that the crucifixion was an accident. David, I am not questioning you, I just have not heard that (and would be surprised to learn it).

That God worked in different ways in different dispensations in the past, in my mind, does not conflict with the fact that Christ's atoning death is pictured, foreshadowed and planned in the Old Testament (which I believe, and I would label myself as a dispensationalist).

Seth McBee said...

I did forget to add that to my comment as well that I never heard of any dispensationalist labeling Christ's crucifixion as an accident.

Now open theists would have to believe this, but not necessarily the dispensationalist.

Or maybe better put, it is not an A=B scenario. Dispensationalist does not equal Christ's crucifixion as accidental.

Justin Evans said...

And to do what I should have with my first post...

Seth, great post. We were talking yesterday about how Christ explained Him in all the Scriptures of the Old Testament to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. What a thought....(and if I stole some of your thunder on this sorry....but now we are even ;)

Anonymous said...

"This is the downfall of dispensationalism. Christ's sacrifice was intended by God. They would have us believe Christ's death was uncontrollable and a great cosmic accident"

Not to pile on here, but as a dispensationalist Christ's death was not an accident...nor do I see it (the cross) as an accident as in any way a logical conclusion of dispensational theology. I'd encourage you to listen to dispensationalists like John MacArthur, Steve Lawson and S.Lewis Johnson for some additional dispensational context.

Seth McBee said...

Welcome to our blog...good to have you and thank you for your additional thoughts and insight on dispensational thought. And you are very right as it is not a "logical conclusion of dispensational theology"

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