sheep ram in field
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Abraham & Isaac on the mountain

by

Scripture

Genesis 3:17-19

And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 22:1-18 - Abraham and Isaac go to the mountain

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”  And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

John 19:17

and he (Jesus) went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha

John 1:29

The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Galatians 3:13

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”

Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

Type and shadow

"Take your son, your only son" - this is a referent to the Son of God, we should see Isaac as a stand-in for Jesus Christ (Matthew 17:5; Hebrews 1:5; Acts 13:33; Matthew 16:17; Luke 1:35)

"Abraham took the wood and laid it on his son" - this points us to Jesus bearing up the wooden cross on His way up the mountain to the sacrifice.

"where is the lamb for the offering; God will provide for himself the lamb" - "On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided" - The lamb of God is Jesus Christ, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)

"a ram caught in a thicket by his horns" - a male sheep (ram), caught in a thicket, by his horns. This is a prophetic reference to Jesus being forced to wear a crown of wooden thorns, he was caught by his head, crowned with a curse (Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 5:12; Genesis 2:17; Matthew 13:3-8; Hebrews 6:8). Jesus became a curse for us (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13). God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21)

"your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies; all nations of earth will be blessed" - offspring (singular) points us to this being Jesus Christ.

Study of connections

We are truly blessed in the work of Jesus Christ, the work he accomplished on the tree, the wood that was prepared for the ultimate final sacrifice, who became a curse for us, that we may walk free from the sacrificial altar. We, like Isaac had been bound by sin but we are resurrected and set free to live as was Isaac who in type-and-shadow, the blade of death misses but strikes Jesus Christ, the lamb of the living God, who bled and died in our place.

Sources

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.