The Sacrifice Of Isaac


In this chapter, we read about one of the most significant events in the life of Abraham, the sacrifice of his only son Isaac. We read about real faith in action, not only with Abraham but with Isaac himself. Faith isn’t simply about hearing God’s commands, but it involves obeying those commands. This whole event was pointing toward what God would eventually do with His own Son, Jesus.

‘Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’ Genesis 22:1-2

Notice how personal God’s words are, ‘take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac’, it’s almost as though God was driving the knife into Abraham’s heart. Please know that God isn’t tempting Abraham as some translations suggest, James 1:13, but He is simply putting Abraham to the test.

Why did God test him?

God testing Abraham not because God needed to know how strong Abraham’s faith was but because Abraham needed to know how strong his faith was. This was done to reveal Abraham’s faith in God because he needed to know.

What might of Abraham thought?

1. This was crazy.
2. This is my only son. God was against human sacrifice.
3. What about the seed promise?
4. Against the law that God gave them after the flood.

Abraham had to learn to trust ‘THE ONE’ who made the promise, not the promise itself. The word ‘love’ is mentioned here for the first time, love is mentioned in relation to the sacrificial offering of a father’s son, John 3:16.

It took three days to get to the region of Moriah, 2 Chronicles 3:1. Isaac was to be killed first and then be offered as a burnt offering.

‘Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, ‘Father?’ ‘Yes, my son?’ Abraham replied. ‘The fire and wood are here,’ Isaac said, ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together.’ Genesis 22:3-8

Because Abraham had to rise in the morning, suggest that God gave him the command to sacrifice Isaac early in the evening. Notice that Abraham didn’t argue with God, He simply obeyed.

Do you think he told Sarah?

I personally don’t believe he did, or he may have received a lot of resistance from her. He simply prepared for the journey ahead and went in the direction which God told him to go. After three days Abraham finally saw Moriah, the place where God had commanded him to go to sacrifice Isaac.

Remember that Abraham had never experienced a bodily resurrection, but he trusted that God would indeed resurrect Isaac from the dead, Hebrews 11:17-19. Abraham knew everything was possible with God.

The word ‘worship’ is used here for the first time, in the New Testament the first time the word ‘worship’ is used, is when the magi came with their gifts for the baby Jesus, Matthew 2:2 / Matthew 2:11. It’s clear that both Abraham and the magi offered God the very best of what they had, which is what our worship of God should be.

Isaac was around 30-33 years old and he carries the wood on his back for his own sacrifice, this is what Jesus did with the cross. Isaac notices that they have everything for the sacrifice except the lamb, after asking his father about it, Abraham simply replies, ‘God will provide.’ John 1:29 tells us that Jesus is the lamb of God, Revelation 5:1-10.

It’s clear that Abraham trusted God to deliver, even up to the last minute. Notice also that Isaac and Abraham walked together, side by side, Genesis 22:6 / Genesis 22:8.

‘When they reached the place, God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’ Genesis 22:9-12

There was a specific place on Mount Moriah for Abraham to go to but when he arrived, we have to wonder what was going through his mind as he built the altar for his son. We also have to wonder what was going through Isaac’s mind as his father laid him on the altar. But notice that there’s no resistance from Isaac which tells us he too must have trusted God and his father.

We can only imagine the gulp in both Abraham and Isaac when Abraham took the knife to slay his son. This was it, it was time to follow God’s commands, but God steps in at the very last second and says, ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy.’

The testing of Abraham’s faith was now over, he would become the father of faith to everyone who would put their trust in the only begotten Son of God, John 3:16. God wouldn’t allow Abraham to sacrifice his only son but in the future, God would allow His only Son to die for the sins of all of humanity.

Abraham’s faith was in God’s ability to raise Isaac from the dead and he willingly obeyed God’s word, even before he knew what God’s will was.

‘Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So, Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.’ The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’ Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.’ Genesis 22:13-19

Abraham was justified by his works, James 2:21 and if he hadn’t done the work, there would have been no evidence of his faith, in other words, he demonstrated his faith by his works, James 2:18.

‘The Lord will provide’ means on this mount it will be provided. Abraham named it in reference to what God had done. God reminds Abraham of the promise again, Genesis 12:3.

Isaac And Jesus

Isaac took three days to get there and when he got there, he left still alive and we know that Jesus was raised on the third day according to Scripture, 1 Corinthians 15:4. Isaac is a picture of Jesus.

1. Both are loved by their father.
2. Both offered themselves willingly.
3. Both carried the wood for their own sacrifice.
4. They were sacrificed on the same hill. Mount Moriah and Golgotha.
5. Both are delivered from death on the third day.


"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."