Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the last message we saw how Abraham offered his son Isaac according to God's demand. That story, recorded in Genesis 22, is not only a meaningful history but also has an implied significance, for it is a vivid picture of Christ in several aspects. Although we cannot find the title of Christ nor the name of Jesus in this chapter, many aspects of Christ are signified in the way of implication. In this message we need to see the aspects of Christ depicted in this chapter.
Isaac typified Christ. We have seen that Abraham answered God's call to go to Mount Moriah to offer Isaac. This is history. However, if we view this matter from the perspective of God's revelation, we shall see that what Abraham did to Isaac is a vivid picture of what the Father did to His beloved Son. When Abraham journeyed to Mount Moriah with Isaac, two young servants accompanied him. On the third day, Abraham put the two servants aside, saying, "I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you" (v. 5). From that point on, the story was different. It was no longer a story of four peoplethe father, the son, and the two servants; it was now a story of Abraham and his son Isaac. Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it upon Isaac, who bore it to the top of Mount Moriah. Compare this with John 19:17, which says, "And bearing the cross Himself, He went out to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha." Isaac walked the same path on the way to Mount Moriah that the Lord Jesus later walked on the way to Golgotha. Before Christ bore the cross and walked to Calvary, Golgotha, Isaac bore the wood for the burnt offering and walked along the same way. And Jesus was crucified on the same mount where Isaac was laid on the altar. Thus, we see that Abraham was a type of the Father, and Isaac, with the wood upon him, was a type of the Only Begotten Son of God. Isaac was brought as a lamb to the altar. Jesus was also "brought as a lamb to the slaughter" (Isa. 53:7).
As Abraham and Isaac were climbing Mount Moriah, Isaac said, "Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" (v. 7). Abraham replied, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering" (v. 8). Here we see that the son fellowshipped with the father. Do you not believe that while Jesus was bearing the cross on the way to Calvary He fellowshipped with the Father? And do you not believe that the Father talked with His Son? I do. If you say that the Bible does not tell us of this, I would say that Genesis 22 tells us so. We need to have the sight and the listening ear to hear the heavenly conversation on the way to Mount Moriah. Abraham and Isaac typified the Father and the Son, and their fellowship on the way to Mount Moriah was a vivid picture depicting how Jesus the Son fellowshipped with the Father as He was bearing the cross to Calvary. Although we do not have a clear explanation of this in plain words in the New Testament, we do have the picture in the Old Testament, and a picture is better than a thousand words. The picture in Genesis 22 portrays something which words cannot explain. Although the writers of the New Testament did not describe the loving fellowship between the Father and the Son on the way to Calvary, it is clearly portrayed in the picture in Genesis 22. How we all need to see this picture. As we shall see, nearly every point regarding the type in Genesis 22 is covered in John 1.
Let us consider now some details of Isaac as a type of Christ. Isaac was Abraham's only son (vv. 2, 12, 16). This typifies Christ as God's only Son (John 3:16). Isaac was Abraham's beloved son (v. 2), and Christ was the Father's beloved Son in whom He delighted (Matt. 3:17). In 22:5 we see that Isaac took his father's will, and in Matthew 26:39 we see that Christ chose the Father's will. In the picture in Genesis 22, we see that Isaac, a full-grown man, was obedient unto death (vv. 9-10). According to the record of this chapter, in the matter of offering Isaac, Abraham consulted neither with his wife Sarah nor with his son Isaac. Abraham took his son, put the wood upon him, led him up the mountain, bound him, and laid him on the altar. He did not give Isaac the opportunity to say anything. But Isaac took his father's will and was obedient to death. Likewise, when the Lord Jesus was about to die, He said, "Not as I will, but as You will" (Matt. 26:39). In Philippians 2:8 we are told that Christ was obedient unto death. Look again at the picture: Isaac was obedient unto the altar. He not only followed the father to the foot of the mount; he also obeyed him in taking up the wood and in being bound. He did not resist. Even when the father laid him on the altar, took the knife, and stretched out his hand to slay him, he did not rebel. He was obedient unto death. If we consider all these aspects of Isaac as a type of Christ as portrayed in the Old Testament, we shall see that they were sovereignly arranged, matching the clear word of the New Testament revelation.
In God's eyes, Isaac was killed. Just as Abraham was about to slay his son, the angel of the Lord intervened from heaven, saying, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him." The angel of the Lord here is actually God Himself. This is proved by verse 12 in which the angel of the Lord said to Abraham, "I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." The "me" here is God Himself. Notice that the angel of the Lord did not say "from him," but "from me." Abraham, the father, put his son to death, but the angel of the Lord raised him up from the dead. In like manner, Acts 2:24 says that God has raised up Christ from the dead.
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