1 And it came to pass after these things, that Elohim did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
Elohim tempting Abraham - Bro Thomas' suggestion the tempter of Yahoshua in the wilderness was angelic is not without precedent.
Abraham was tested, put to the proof: not tempted... He was being taught that the Promised Seed would be a sacrificial man descended from Isaac.*
And finally the promised son was born. How infinitely precious the seed would be, after such a long and trying period of waiting! Abraham and Sarah were now old. All the hope of the promise for which they had waited for a quarter of a century was centered in the boy Isaac as he grew to manhood.
But still God had not finished the trial and perfecting of Abraham's faith. The greatest test was yet to come, when it seemed that all testing must now surely be over
Bro. Growcott - Shall A Child Be Born?
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
The typical offering - a burnt offering the consumption of sin's flesh
8 And Abraham said, My son, Elohim will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
Isaac understood from Abraham's response to his question, that he was the sacrificial lamb, led to the slaughter and opened not his mouth (Is.53.7).*
The Apocalyptic Messenger, May 2016
God appears to Abraham, and without any explanation commands him to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham's reaction, as far as it is given, is perfect -- and the record has certainly not spared him previously. There is not the slightest hint of reluctancy, doubt, or hesitation, and his words as he goes forward to the offering are full of assurance and faith --
"God will provide."
...Perhaps Abraham had prayed for one final opportunity to show that now at last his faith was full and complete. There is no evidence of any conflict of desires -- just supreme understanding and trust. Nothing in Abraham's demeanor betrayed to Isaac that ought was amiss, and Abraham's evident peace and confidence was so great that Isaac willingly submitted to his own part.
Bro. Growcott - Shall A Child Be Born?
10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
What can be done in such trying circumstances but to
"commit our souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator" (1 Pet. 4:19).
...Our part is to obey Him, regardless of consequences. Abraham faltered not in the killing of his own son, which was the greatest violence a parent could be called on to do to natural feeling.
If Abraham had sheltered himself behind the impossibility of the thing, and excused himself on the ground that it was contrary to nature, and incompatible with God's own principles of action, would he have been accepted? By no means. And how can we claim to be His children if we are not prepared to act as he did? Jesus makes this the test. He said to the Pharisees,
"If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of your father" (John 8:39).
Job was accepted, whose motto was: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." This must be our motto in relation to His commandments. They may seem hard sometimes, but the object in view-our preparation for life eternal-is high beyond all we can think.
Let us endure. The time is short; a glorious change is at the door, when, if we are now obedient, we shall no longer be commanded to be submissive to evil, but have the sword of judgment put into our hands for irresistible execution upon all the world.
The Christadelphian, Sept 1898
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest Elohim, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
Paul says that Abraham knew that God had promised that the seed should come through Isaac, and he accounted that God was able to raise Isaac up, even from the dead (Heb. 11:19). To Abraham the command held no repulsiveness or terror -- his confidence in God's love and power blotted all that out.
What a victory for Abraham's faith. All his past struggles are overshadowed by this final triumph, for which the long development had prepared him. All his waiting and steadfastness is justified. Now he was at peace with God and with himself. The promise was once more renewed (Gen. 22:16), and God tried him no more.
Bro. Growcott - Shall A Child Be Born?
13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
This was the death and resurrection of the Yahweh-Name bearer represented to Abraham dramatically. It taught him, that the Seed to be chosen for him, who was to
"possess the gate of His enemies, and in whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,"
should suffer a violent death, and then rise again to fulfil his destiny.
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Yahweh Yireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of Yahweh it shall be seen.
Yahweh Yireh; He who shall provide..."In his name" is here an all-important phrase, for apart from this great name, there is no repentance nor remission of sins for Jew or Gentile. "There is salvation in no other; for," continues the Spirit in Peter,
"there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved"
(Acts iv. 12)
Eureka - The Name.
The parable, or representation, of what was afterwards to happen to Isaac's Seed, the Christ, now began.
"Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering, and laid it upon Isaac, his son ;"
while he carried the fire and the knife. Isaac went on with great readiness, not in the least suspecting that he was the proposed victim. "My father!" said he, as they jogged along; and he said,
"Here am I my son." "Behold, said Isaac, the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering."
Having arrived at the place, built an altar, and laid the wood in order, he bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. He then stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. At this crisis, when Isaac was expecting instant death at the hand of his father, who loved him as his only son, the angel of the Lord called to him out of heaven, and commanded him to do the lad no harm.
A ram caught in a thicket by the horns was appointed as a substitute for Isaac, who was therefore substitutionally slain; but by his personal deliverance from death, restored to Abraham as by a resurrection. Abraham called the place of this memorable and instructive transaction, Yahweh-Yireh; and upwards of four hundred years afterwards, it was known by the name of
"the Mount of [Yahweh]" (Gen. 22:14)
But before we dismiss the parable of the Seed, it is to be remarked, that it was not completed in the figurative resurrection of Isaac. The sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ had been represented; but then, after these events, what was to be his destiny? The answer to this question is found in the closing incident of the parable. Moses testifies that
"the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time."
The first time he announced from heaven the acceptance of the son's sacrifice; but the second time the Lord spoke from heaven, he had reference to Christ's triumph over his enemies, and his possession of the world, as preached to Abraham in the Gospel at the beginning.
"By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou bast done this thing, and hast not witheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying, I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore: and thy Seed shall possess the gate of His enemies; and in thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My voice."
Thus, the parabolic representation was finished,
"and Abraham returned to his young men; and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt there."
Elpis Israel ii.2.4.
15 And the angel of Yahweh called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith Yahweh, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
The offering of Isaac by Abraham offers a further illustration of these principles. The embarrassment of the moderns in reference to this case is perfectly gratuitous, and due solely to the fact that they ignore, or fail to apprehend, the primary relation of God to man. They tacitly regard creation as existing for man's behoof and convenience. God's rights have vanished from their calculations. His proprietary relation to the universe is not a practical idea with them. They have reduced God to a beneficent principle or a passive impersonal energy with an intelligent turn, and have practically exalted man to the throne of the universe.
Consequently, such an action on the part of Abraham as tying Isaac with cords, and laying him on an altar and lifting a knife to slay him, they cannot understand as a divine transaction at all. It is inconsistent with their notions of what is due to man...
If they could but learn...that God is a real God, a personal God, of an individual intelligence localised in substantial glory in the heavens, yet embracing measureless immensity by the effluence of His invisible energy, out of and by which He has made all things in His wisdom and for His glory, they would come easily to see that man is but an insignificant permitted form of His power, of no more account with God, even in his national aggregations and pomps, than the dust that a man sweeps out of his doors (Isaiah 40: 15).
Coming to see this, he would come to estimate aright God's wonderful condescension in having anything to say to man at all, still more in His having arranged for such a wonderful emancipation as has been offered in Christ on the condition of faith and obedience.
He would cease to wonder at the multitudes of rebels that have been swept from the face of the earth in God's dispensational visitations, and would wonder rather at the patience that permits so many generations of them to brave heaven with their insane effrontery. He would learn to perceive wisdom and fitness in the discipline to which he subjects, in various ways, the men who fear before Him in a reasonable way, especially in view of the fact that the race is in a state of alienation from Him, and that His dealings with men have been to invite approach, with a view to reconciliation on His own principles.
In such a state of enlightenment, no man would have any difficulty in understanding the offering of Isaac in the naked facts just as they stand recorded. It was a putting of Abraham to the test to ask him to offer up in sacrifice his only son (by Sarah), whom he loved, and concerning whom he had been expressly informed that in him should the promised seed be called, raised up, and developed. It was a powerful - a staggering test - but not unsuitable to the case of a man whom God was proposing to constitute the father of the family to whom He should give the everlasting inheritance of the earth in the ages of immortality and glory.
He was not allowed to proceed to the full extremity of the test; but he was prepared, and proceeding to do so. His action was arrested when the purpose was served. The practical result of it is thus defined by God Himself...
Now how could Abraham have been exalted to the great blessedness, of having the promises based upon the foundation of his individual obedience under great trial, without God showing His visible hand, and miraculously (as men talk) revealing to Abraham His will? No occurrence in nature could have served such a purpose: and no evolution of "Providence" would have given Abraham the distinct direction that was necessary to put his faith to so great a proof.
It may be said that in this, there is a barrier placed between us and Abraham, since we have no miraculous experience in the way of test. The barrier is only seeming. Though there has been no miraculous communication direct to us in a personal sense, we are the recipients of such communication in so far as the communications by the hand of Jesus and the apostles are intended for all who listen and receive them.
These were as direct and miraculous as in the case of Abraham, and in many particulars, they contain the same elements of test as the offering up of Isaac, and were intended to have this effect as regards believers. Many of the commandments of Christ are of this test order.
They put obedience to the proof and exercise us directly in the recognition of God and in practise of patience in preparation for exaltation. They are intended for no other purpose.
When Christ commanded his disciples to resist not evil and to give way to the aggressor and to refrain from taking vengeance, it was not that it is in itself a good thing for the evil to have the upper hand, or the wicked to go unpunished. On the contrary, his purpose is in the end to destroy the evil and inflict direct vengeance on the offenders, even to the point of merciless extermination, and that too by the hand of the saints.
But the command to his people meanwhile to submit to wrongful suffering, like sheep in the midst of wolves, and to return evil for evil to no man, is one of many ways in which the commandments of Christ lay the foundation of a tried and obedient faith in all those who submit to them, against the day of power and exaltation and glory.
Visible Hand of God Ch 7
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
When the Lord has "broken to pieces together" all the parts of Nebuchadnezzar's Image -- that is, destroyed that power which bound them all together as one dominion -- the work next to be accomplished in relation to them is to subdue the gold, the silver, the brass, the iron, and the clay -- in other words, the powers represented by them -- that they may become
"like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors;"
so that, being carried away by the tempest of war, "no place may be found for them," and the subjugating power become as
"a great mountain, and fill the whole earth."
But a question arises here which must be answered, or our exposition is at fault, and deficient of a very important link in the, chain of testimony which connects the kingdom of God with the foundation of the world. It is, By what means are
"the kingdoms of the world to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ"
after he has dissolved the imperial bond of union among them by the glorious victory of Armageddon?
... the nations will be subdued to the sceptre of Shiloh by the sword, and that the tribes of Israel will be his soldiers in the war.
Besides punishing them for their idolatry, and subsequent unbelief of the gospel of the kingdom preached to Judah in the name of Jesus, Israel has been also scattered among all nations, that they may be ready for the work assigned them in "the time of trouble," which intervenes between the battle of Armageddon, and their final and complete restoration at the end of forty years.
Though the dominion of Gogue be broken, the kingdoms and states which acknowledged him as their imperial chief will not voluntarily surrender themselves to another lord, any more than the populations of the old Assyrian empire did when the power of Sennacherib was broken in one night. The effect of his overthrow was only to prepare them for subjection to a more civilized and powerful ruler. In this case, the Lord used the Chaldeans for their subjugation: but in the coming strife he will use the tribes of Israel.
Elpis Israel 3.6.
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.
This is the end of Abraham's recorded pilgrimage. From this point the story is concerned with Isaac. Abraham lives nearly another forty years, but very little more is recorded concerning him. The record drops him out and moves on. He has played his part through to ultimate success and peace.
In this last chapter of his allegorical life, he typically enacts the salvation of the world -- the loving Father and the obedient sacrificed Son. How much of its significance he was privileged to discern we know not, but we feel that, like Moses, he was in this scene on Moriah, taken up and given a broad, distant view of the Promised Land in its final glory.
"He saw Christ's day, and was glad."
Bro. Growcott - Shall A Child Be Born?
20 And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;
21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,
22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.
23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother.
24 And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.