The Angel of The Lord and the Sacrifice of Isaac

First off, thanks to Kabane for his comment. I really like knowing that the Trinity series going on now is appreciated. Some of my friends know that the Trinity is a strong passion of mine and this is a doctrine that the church needs to reclaim. We are not just monotheists. We are Trinitarian monotheists. That distinguishes us from the rest.

Tonight, we’re going to be looking at Genesis 22. (For those wondering, yes. I am trying to do my blogs earlier and on weekends, they could pop up at strange times. It’s part of my devoting more time to reading, especially with books to go through before class starts.)

Now while I am focusing on the Trinity, I’d like to bring some other aspects out of this passage. There are so many parallels in this passage that I once shared this with someone and it just freaked them out entirely as they didn’t realize the Bible was like this.

Let’s start with Abraham and Isaac going to the mountain. On the way there, they stop and turn to the men traveling with them and Abraham says that he and Isaac will go and that then they will return to go back home.

Did you notice that?

THEY will return?

But do we have any reason to believe Abraham was hesitant?

Somehow, Abraham knew the child of the promise would survive. At this point, resurrection had not even been hinted at, but Abraham figured this God who had been communicating with him would be capable of raising the dead.

Notice as they go up that Abraham is carrying the implements for offering the sacrifice, but it is Isaac who is carrying the wood? Do we know any stories of other sons that went up hills carrying the wood for the sacrifice?

When they reach the place of offering, Abraham binds his son and lays him on the altar. Sound simple? Maybe not. Consider this. This was several years later. It’s believed that Abraham was about 115 and Isaac was about 16 years old.

How many 115 year-old guys do you think could bind and tie up a 16 year-old kid? My guess is Isaac could have at least outran him. In Jewish tradition, the reason this happened is that Isaac was a willing sacrifice.

A son who was a willing sacrifice….

Now we get to the angel of the Lord showing up. Let’s look at what he says in verse 12:

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Notice that! The angel says that you fear God, but then says “You have not withheld from ME your son, your only son.” In this case, this person is taking on divine prerogatives as sacrifices were to be made only to God, and yet, he is calling another person God?

Further credence that this is God the Son.

Later he will say this:

15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Notice again how he speaks. First, the change is made from the Angel of the Lord to “The LORD” and then he speaks in the same blessing language that God spoke to Abraham in. It’s hard to miss this angel taking on divine prerogatives.

But what happened in between that speaking?

Abraham offered another sacrifice.

A ram, an adult male lamb.

And it’s caught.

It’s caught in a thicket, a rather thorny area.

Caught by its horns, which we know, are on its head.

So we have an adult male lamb with thorns on his head being a sacrifice.

It makes you wonder if the Angel of the Lord knew that there would come a time when a son would be sacrificed to God, a son, an only son, and there would be no one to say “YHWH. YHWH. Hold back your hand!”


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