In Genesis 22, God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac: “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about” (Gen. 22:2). There is tenderness in the way the phrasing builds from “take your son” to “your only son” to “whom you love.” God knows what He is asking. The bereavement of the cross is already in His heart. The Lamb of God was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). Before asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, God has already given up His own Son in His heart.
Moriah was a three day journey, just as death and resurrection was a three day journey for Christ. Isaac innocently observes that Abraham has the fire and wood for the sacrifice but not the lamb. Abraham answers, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (Gen. 22:8). Is this a statement of faith? Or is Abraham referring to the fact that Isaac is the lamb?
For the final journey to the altar-site, Abraham lays the wood on Isaac. Jesus carried His wood cross as well. On reaching the site and building the altar, Abraham binds Isaac to the wood. Christ was bound to the wood cross with spikes. Scripture records no words from Isaac’s mouth–no questions, no protests, no outrage. The silence of Christ through much of His sentencing and suffering is recorded in the gospels. And Isaiah foresaw the same when he wrote, “As a lamb before her shearers is slient, so He did not open His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
When Abraham takes the knife to slaughter his son, the Lord calls from heaven to stop him. He shows Abraham a ram caught in a thicket, and Abraham sacrifices the ram in Isaac’s place. Christ also took our place and died the death we deserved.
The Hebrew word for burnt offering literally means, “that which goes up” or ascends. God asked that Isaac be a that-which-goes-up offering. Here we have a compact picture of Christ’s death and resurrection. He is the offering that goes up or ascends. He dies on the cross but rises and ascends to heaven. He is pleasing to the Father.
God was also pleased with the offering of Isaac. Because Abraham didn’t withold his only Son, God knew he was in the image of God who wouldn’t withold His only Son. The Lord restated His promise that Abraham’s seed would increase and bless all nations. Isaac’s sacrifice secured the future blessing of all nations.
Because of the events there, the testimony about Moriah was, “It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain” (Gen. 22:14). Generations later, the Lord would select Moriah as the place for His temple (2 Chron. 3:1). For generations, God’s people would see their sins atoned for there.
Christ is the mountain of the Lord where all is provided. Sins are covered, not just for generations, but for all time. All that we need for life and godliness is in Him (2 Peter 1:3). His death and resurrection answers our every need, brokenness, or emptiness. He is the fullness, the all, the satisfaction of God and man.