Paralleled Sacrifice

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 (NIV)
 
In today’s devo, we’re going to do two things: 1) point out all the parallels between Isaac and Jesus and 2) examine some key elements of Abraham’s conversation with the angel. In fact, William Beck states, “Isaac prefigured Jesus in many ways.” How so?
 
Isaac climbed Mt. Moriah (Genesis 22:2); Jesus climbed Mt. Calvary (Luke 23:33). 
 
Isaac carried his instrument of sacrifice (Genesis 22:6); Jesus carried His instrument of sacrifice (John 19:17).
 
Isaac was willing to give up his life, not forced to offer himself as a sacrifice but willingly gave himself up to his father; Jesus was willing to give up His life, not forced to offer Himself (John 10: 15,18; 15:13) but willingly gave Himself up to His Father (Matthew 26:39; Luke 23:46).
 
Isaac was silent during this entire ordeal; Jesus was silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 26:63).
 
Isaac was laid on the wood (Genesis 22:9); Jesus was laid on a wooden cross (Matthew 27:35). 
 
The father, Abraham, willingly gave up his beloved son (Genesis 22:12); God the Father gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). 
 
Both were ‘obedient unto death’ (Philippians 2:8). 
 
God accepted both sacrifices (Genesis 22;17; Isaiah 53:10–11). 
 
God provided a ram as a substitute (Genesis 22:13); God provided His Son, the Lamb, as our substitute (Hebrews 10:10). 
 
On the third day (Genesis 22:4) Isaac was symbolically raised from the dead as he was spared from death (Hebrews 11:19); on the third day Jesus was literally raised from the dead so we could all be spared from death (Mark 16:5–7).
 
I hope you see this picture and are as floored as I am. This took place over 2,000 years before the birth of Jesus—over 4,000 years ago. The gospel of salvation and atonement was preached in full effect, on full HD 4K ultra display in Genesis 22, a picture for us to marvel at and worship the Lord through!
 
Now, as we wrap up I want to briefly show you something in Abraham’s conversation with the angel. What does Abraham say when he hears the voice from heaven? The same thing he said in Genesis 22:1: “Here I am.” Always the servant, always ready to listen to the Lord and to walk in humble obedience. 
 
And that angel (messenger) of the Lord? Most scholars believe that it was Christ Himself, “Not a created angel, but the eternal one, the Son of God, who perhaps appeared in human form, and spoke with an articulate voice” (John Gill). Imagine this: the voice of Jesus, the Lamb God provided, bringing this amazing picture full circle!
 
DIG: What is the most striking aspect of the similarities between Jesus and Isaac for you?
 
DISCOVER: What do Abraham’s words in this passage show us?
 
DO: While Isaac is a typology and precursor to the One who came after him (but was before him), God’s love for mankind and plan for redemption comes full circle as He did not withhold His only Son. Reflect on this today, on the fact that God gave His perfect, beloved Son for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
 
 

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.