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Genesis 22 - the type/prophecy of the son as atoning sacrifice

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

Genesis 22 – the type/prophecy of the son as atoning sacrifice

 

 

The Tanakh shows us in the first book Genesis that God will provide this payment for sin/atonement sacrifice which will last forever. In Abraham’s near offering of Isaac on one of the mountains of Moriah, we see that Abraham loves God so much and is so obedient, that he is even willing to sacrifice his son for Him. This is not just an act of love and faith on Abraham’s behalf, but it also tells us how much God loves us and how far He is willing to go to save us.

 

God will do what Abraham did not, and then God will do what Abraham could not – after the sacrifice of His son, God will raise Him again, forever conquering sin and death.

 

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."

 

7    Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." And he said,

      "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

8     Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." So the two of them walked on together.

9     Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood,

     and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

10   Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

11   But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am."

12   He said, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God,

     since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."

13   Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns;

     and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.

14   Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day,

    "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided."   (NASB)

 

 

There are those who believe this does not pertain to the Messiah at all, but is that justified?

 

The argument most often used to say this or anybody dying for the sins of others cannot be true, is that God does not allow human sacrifices. No one states that God does. However, because God is infinitely holy, sin cannot approach God and sin has its consequences (resulting in death which must be paid for), God has instituted the principle of blood atonement. The blood of animals can only atone temporarily, but there must be an atonement that will last and apply forever, so that both sin and death will be removed forever.

 

People must understand that one who dies for the salvation of the creation in the greatest example of love is not the same as a “human sacrifice”. People pay the price with their blood/lives and sacrifice themselves for others all the time. This can hardly be called “human sacrifices”.

 

How often do we see police, firefighters and soldiers lay down their lives to save others? Are these human sacrifices? A human does die for a human, but it can hardly be called “human sacrifices” as in pagan rituals.

 

What about parents willing to die for their children? Is this a human sacrifice? No, it is not. None of these are examples of human sacrifices, though a person is willing, and does, die so that others will live.

 

How much more than that God’s own son dies for the creation?    

 

To illustrate in human terms, let us say there are 1000 people held hostage and the chief of police and his son are engaging in hostage negotiations with the kidnappers. After some deliberation, these kidnappers demand the son of the hostage negotiator himself as ransom for the freedom of the 1000 people. As much as the father loves his son, he knows and sees the value of saving 1000 lives compared to 1. He is okay with it, but the decision belongs to his son. Because the son is just like his father, he also sees that giving his life for the lives of 1000 people is “worth” his own suffering and death. The ransom proceeds and the 1000 hostages are freed and the hostage negotiator’s son is taken, tortured and ultimately killed.

 

Is this a case of “human sacrifice” or is it an example of a transcendent sacrificial love? He allowed himself to be the ransom and paid the price that others might live. This is what God and His son has done so that we will be able to one day live forever free from bondage to sin and death.

 

 

 

After the angel sees that Abraham was willing to offer up his son, he tells him to not go through with the action and instead of Isaac, a ram caught in the thicket was used instead. Then Abraham gives that place a name in Genesis 22:14.

 

Genesis 22:

14   Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day,

     "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided."   (NASB)

 

Or

 

14   And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day,

     In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. (KJV)

 

 

The name and meaning of the place is the LORD will provide or see to it, because that is exactly what God did – He provided or saw to the replacement sacrifice for Isaac. And even more because it says “God will provide”, it points also to the future where God will make a required provision.

 

 

However, there is a discrepancy between the translation of Genesis 22:14 in the Jewish translations of the Tanakh into English, and in English Bibles.

 

In four of the most popular Jewish translations of the Tanakh into English, verse 14 reads variously:

 

14 “And Abraham called the name of that site “HASHEM Yireh”, as it is said this day, on the mountain HASHEM will be seen.”

 

14 “And Abraham named that site Adonai-yireh, whence the present saying, “On the mount of the LORD there is vision.”

 

14 “And Avraham called the name of that place Adonay-yir’e: as it is said to this day, In the mount the LORD will appear.”

 

14 “And Abraham called the name of that place Adonaijireh; as it is said to this day: ‘In the mount where the LORD is seen.’

 

 

We see that the name given to the place has an entirely different meaning than in the English Bible translations. In the English Bibles the idea of provision by God is clearly made, but in the Jewish translations this provision is entirely missing and is replaced instead with a meaning pertaining to something visual/God will appear.

 

Which one is correct?

 

 

The context gives us the answer. Earlier in the chapter, the young Isaac notices the fire and the wood and asks his father, “behold, the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (verse 7).

 

This is Abraham’s answer:

 

Genesis 22:

8   Abraham said, "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they both went together.   (WEB)

 

 

Both uses of the word ‘provide’ in Genesis 8:8 and Genesis 8:14 are from the same Hebrew word ‘yireh’ and it means ‘provide’, so it is only logical that the meanings of Genesis 8:8 and 8:14 are tied together. And that is exactly what we see in the English Bibles: the name Abraham gives the place in verse 14 is directly tied to what he said in verse 8 : God will provide for himself the lamb offering – He will see to finding the lamb offering. The name which indicates God will provide is correct.

 

What is odd is that the Jewish English translations for Genesis 22:8 agree with the standard English translations that God will provide this lamb offering:

 

8 “And Abraham said, “God will seek out for Himself the lamb for the offering, my son.” And the two of them went together.”

 

8 “And Abraham said, “God will see to the sheep for His burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them walked on together.”

 

8 “And Avraham said, My son , GOD will provide himself a lamb for the burnt offering: so they went both of them together.”

 

8 “And Abraham said: ‘God will provide Himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’ So they went both of them together.”

 

 

So their translations for verse 14 should reflect the same meaning of provision, but they clearly do not.

 

So the question is: Why do the Jewish translations have different meanings for verse 14 when the same word, meaning and context is known and used in verse 8?

 

Could it be because Abraham’s own son as a lamb offering and God providing for Himself the sacrifice sounds too much like the Christian gospel? Could it be because the name “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided” reveals a provision yet future from Abraham’s time and just magnifies this gospel? Could it be because all this hints at what God will actually do Himself since He is the ultimate provider of all things? Does it sound too much like the suffering servant who dies for the sins of the world in Isaiah 53 is this prophesied provision?

 

The last thing to be said is Genesis 22:14 ties to verse 8 with the same Hebrew word ‘yireh’ and it is correctly translated in the English Bibles as ‘provide’. The fact that verse 14 is not translated as ‘provide’ in the Tanakh English translations means something is being hidden – and not “seen”, which is the opposite of what it is ironically, incorrectly and intentionally (?) being translated as now.

 

 

 

 

Please see next article in this series: A person who atones for sin - Psalm 22 - the crucified one

 

 

Link of the Prophesied Messiah articles outline

  

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