Jesus in the Life of...
Isaac - The Sacrificed Son
by I Gordon
In Abraham and Isaac we have a picture of God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ. The life of Isaac gives us clear types of what would be fulfilled through Jesus’ life and death.
The miraculous birth
Gen 21:1-7 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him... Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, 'Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.'
As a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, the first thing to notice is the miraculous birth by which Isaac came into the world. God had promised that a child would be born to Abraham in his old age, but one hundred years old is leaving it a bit long don't you think? In the natural it's obviously far too late but this was not a natural birth. Galatians 4:28 tells us
'And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh (Ishmael) persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit (Isaac).'
Isaac truly was 'born according to the Spirit'. It was the work of God that allowed the ninety one year old Sarah to conceive and it was the power of God that bought about Jesus in an even greater miraculous birth.
Matt 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
Like Isaac, the Lord Jesus was 'born according to the Spirit' and would go on to fulfill in His life many of the events that we see pictured in the life of Isaac.
The sacrifice of the promised son
While some of this has already been mentioned in the study of Abraham, let me point out some (obvious!) pictures of Jesus from Genesis chapter 22.
22:1-2 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, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.'
Isaac, whom Abraham loved, was to be a sacrifice on Mount Moriah. This was actually a mountain range, upon which Calvary stood. So this is the same place that approximately 4000 years later God would allow His son to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. Notice also that God spoke of the love that Abraham had for Isaac. Believe it or not, this is the first mention of love in the Bible and while it speaks of Abraham's love for Isaac, it is a picture of the love which God the Father had for Jesus. This love existed before the foundation of the world and was expressed several times in Jesus' earthly ministry when God's voice was heard from Heaven stating 'this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.'
22:6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife.
While Abraham carried the fire and the knife, it was left to Isaac to carry the very wood on which he would be sacrificed. This again pictures the Lord Jesus who, while he was physically able, carried his wood, the cross, to Golgotha where He would die.
22:7,8 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.'
Just as Isaac was to take the place of the lamb for this sacrifice, so Jesus became the 'lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.'
22:13-14 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.'
Abraham called the place where Isaac was to be sacrificed, 'The Lord will provide.' And that is exactly what God did do 4000 years later because He 'so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son...' With Isaac, we had a picture of Jesus as the only Son, deeply loved by the Father being sacrificed. But a slightly different picture emerges now with the ram. With the ram we have a picture of an innocent victim dying as a substitute for another. Its blood was spilt so that others could go free. This again is what Jesus did for us.
The servant sent to prepare the bride
24:1-4 Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. He said to the chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, 'Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.'
What then, is the next mention of Isaac after he was to be sacrificed upon mount Moriah? What we find is that Abraham is concerned that Isaac should have a bride and sends his servant out to find her. This is a clear picture of God the Father's heart after the sacrifice of His son Jesus. This is discussed more in the study on Abraham but it should be mentioned that like Isaac here, the next major event after Jesus' death and resurrection was the sending of the Holy Spirit to find and prepare a bride for him. The servant in this passage is a beautiful picture of the Holy Spirit. The servant was the chief servant in Abraham's household, yet is unnamed in scripture. This pictures how the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead, doesn't speak or draw attention to Himself, but gives all glory to Jesus. In John 16:13-14 Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit saying
'but when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify me; for He shall take of mine, and shall disclose it to you.'
Likewise we read that the servant was in charge of all that Abraham had. This also pictures the Spirit who, being part of the Godhead, possesses all the nature and character of God but has taken a subservient role doing and speaking only what He hears the Father saying.
The marriage of the son
24:62-66 'Now Isaac... went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, 'Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?' 'He is my master,' the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself. Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her.'
We have seen how Isaac was offered as a sacrificed on Mount Moriah. We also noted how the next mention of Isaac was with his father Abraham sending the servant out to find a wife for Isaac. But in this scripture, we have the first time that Isaac is actually seen since his near sacrifice in Chapter 22. Clearly, this also continues the picture of the Lord Jesus Christ who ascended into heaven after the resurrection and is not seen again until He meets His bride at His return. From the scripture above we see three things that occurred at this time. Firstly, we see that Rebekah prepared herself by covering her face with her veil. Secondly, we see that Isaac took Rebekah back to his home, to his mother's tent. Finally we see that Isaac loved her and the two were married. These three events foreshadow the meeting of Jesus and his bride, the church.
Revelation 19:7 'Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.'
We also know from Jesus' own words that at his return he, like Isaac, will take us back to His Father's house.
John 14:2-3 'In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
So where do we as believers fit into this? Well, if Abraham is a picture of God the Father and Isaac is a picture of Jesus Christ, then we are seen in the life of Rebekah, Isaac's bride. So what was required of Rebekah in becoming Isaac's wife?
24:54-60 When they got up the next morning, he said, 'Send me on my way to my master.' But her brother and her mother replied, 'Let the girl remain with us ten days or so; then you may go.' But he said to them, 'Do not detain me, now that the LORD has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.' Then they said, 'Let's call the girl and ask her about it.' So they called Rebekah and asked her, 'Will you go with this man?' 'I will go,' she said. So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham's servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah...'
Rebekah was willing to leave all that she knew, including her home, family and possessions to become Isaac's wife. And this is without even seeing him! The application for us is to also separate ourselves for the Lord, and Him alone. The greek word for the church is 'ecclesia'. This means the 'called out' ones. As His bride, the church consists of those that have been called out of the world and its system to be separated unto Him. Notice how Rebekah didn't hesitate to go with Abraham's servant back to Isaac. She was 100% committed to the man she had never seen! Likewise, we have not seen Jesus with our physical eyes, yet spiritually seeing Him we are called without reservation to be His. This is what the Apostle Paul strived for in his own generation.
2 Cor 11:2-3 'I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.'
May we be like Rebekah, giving ourselves wholeheartedly to the one who wholeheartedly gave Himself for us.
2 Cor 6:15-18 As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.' 'Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.' 'I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.'