Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Abraham, being commanded to offer up his son Isaac, when stretching forth his hand to slay him, is prevented by the angel of the Lord. Abraham offers up a ram, in the stead of his son: God establishes his covenant by an oath with Abraham. Abraham is informed of the children of Nahor.
Genesis 22:1. God did tempt Abraham, &c.— Did try, or prove him, for the further display of his faith and obedience; which is the only sense in which God can be supposed to tempt his creatures. The apostle to the Hebrews gives us a good comment on this passage, ch. Genesis 11:17, &c. assuring us, that Abraham readily obeyed the Divine command, as having an undoubted faith, that God was able to raise his son Isaac again, even from the dead; that son, who was so miraculously born, as it were, from the dead; and who being the heir of the promise, the patriarch could have no doubt, but that God would by some means or other restore his life, if he thought fit thus to take it away. In this confidence he cheerfully obeyed the Divine command, indisputably ascertained, without all controversy, that it was such: and herein he acted an eminently wise and pious part, since there can be no question, that it is the only safe rule of conduct for every man implicitly to obey whatever shall undoubtedly appear to be the direct command of that God, who is the Judge of all the earth, and will most certainly do right: however dark and intricate matters may at first appear, the issue will always prove the propriety of an invariable attention to this rule.
Bp. Warburton, in his Divine Legation of Moses, vol. 4: has considered this event in, I believe, a just light. "It is evident," says he, "from the words of Christ, John 8:56, (Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad), that Abraham was desirous of being acquainted with the manner in which the promise of the redemption of mankind should be effected. The principal intention of this command was to reveal to Abraham by action instead of words, the manner of this redemption; yet, as this was a favour of a very high nature, and conferred on Abraham at his earnest request, it was but fit he should approve himself worthy of it by some proportionable trial. On this account, therefore, God was pleased, by the very manner in which this mystery was revealed, to tempt, to try Abraham. Where the making the favour itself the trial of his deserving it, hath all the superior elegance and beauty which is conceived in the dispensations of Divine Wisdom only. The very manner in which this reason is recorded, shews it an inferior one; for it is not said that God gave this command to try Abraham, which expresses a principal reason, but that, in giving the command, God did try him, which only implies an inferior one."
Genesis 22:2. Take now thy son, &c.— The order in which the words are placed in the original, gradually increases the sense, and raises the passions higher and higher: take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac. Jarchi imagines this minuteness was to exclude any doubt in Abraham. Abraham desired earnestly to be let into the mystery of redemption; and God, to instruct him (in the best manner humanity is capable of receiving instruction) in the infinite extent of the Divine goodness to man, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, let Abraham feel, by experience, what it was to lose a beloved son; the son born miraculously, when Sarah was part child-bearing, as Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin. The duration too of the action, Genesis 22:4 was the same as that between Christ's death and resurrection, both which were designed to be represented in it; and still farther, not only the final architypical sacrifice of the Son of God was figured in the command to offer Isaac, but the intermediate typical sacrifice in the Mosaic oeconomy was represented by the permitted sacrifice of the ram offered up, Genesis 22:13 instead of Isaac.
Land of Moriah— Conformable to the interpretation given of this command, Abraham calls the land to which he was sent with Isaac, the Land of vision, according to Jerom's interpretation, which shews, that the words of the Lord Jesus, Abraham saw my day, allude to this extraordinary circumstance. In a word, Jesus says, Abraham saw my day; and Abraham, by the name he imposed on the scene of action, declared the same thing. Abraham earnestly desired to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.
It is agreed among almost all the Jews, that this is the place where Cain and Abel offered sacrifice, as well as Noah afterwards. It was here also, I doubt not, where Christ was crucified, as Solomon's temple was built upon one of the same mountains of Moriah. But Mr. Mann's observations best deserve notice on this head: he remarks, that this narrative of that signal trial of Abraham's faith and the issue of it, upon God's command to him to sacrifice his most beloved son, in which all agree the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to have been prefigured; in one circumstance of it, namely, the place of the sacrifice, has not been sufficiently considered; perhaps, thought not to be of any significancy, though it is to be observed, that the choice of the place was not left to Abraham as indifferent; but he was directed to make a journey of three days to a particular spot in the land of Moriah; which God would point out to him. Moriah is mentioned once more in 2 Chronicles 3:1 where Solomon is said to have begun to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, in Mount Moriah. It might be better rendered, on a mount of Moriah: accordingly, Maundrell, and other judicious observers, have justly applied Moriah to the whole mountain of Jerusalem, comprehending all those mounts of Gihon without the walls (of which Mount Calvary was once a part) of Sion, of Acra, or Jerusalem Proper, and of the temple within the walls. Of these, Mount Gihon or Calvary was, and still is, notwithstanding the alterations of three thousand years, the highest ground to the west; and the Mount of the Temple, the lowest of them all on the east side of the city. Of this lowness of the Mount of the Temple, one mark was the brook Siloam, springing out of the side of Mount Gihon or Calvary, near the western walls where it entered, and by its channel divided the city of Jerusalem from the city of Sion, passing out to the east near the Mount of the Temple: and Josephus confirms it, with observing how much pains had been taken, during the reign of the Asmonean princes, to lower the ground of Jerusalem, that it might not so much overtop that of the temple, as it naturally did. Beer-sheba, the place of Abraham's residence, was in or near the road from AEgypt to Jerusalem, and from that city forty-two miles distant to the south-west. Conducted in that way probably by an angel, he came not till the third day to the sight of the destined Mount of Moriah, which appeared to him afar off; yet probably was within a few miles, as he was to ascend it on foot with Isaac heavy-loaden. In this position to the west, or south-west, it was impossible but that that Mount of Moriah, which was highest and nearest to him eastward, should meet his eye, which in after-ages was called Mount Calvary, and not that which was beyond it, and much lower, on which afterwards the temple stood. It was therefore on this Mount Calvary, that Abraham offered his only son; as on this same Mount Calvary, about two thousand years after, the Almighty Father ordained that his only Son Jesus should be sacrificed for the redemption of mankind.
Offer him, &c.— The command was only the conveyance of an information by action instead of words, in conformity to a common mode of conversing in former times: and as it was only the grant of an earnest request, and known by Abraham at the time of imposing to be such a grant, he could not possibly have any doubt concerning the Author of it.
REFLECTIONS.—While we are in the body, we must be kept in the exercise of faith and obedience. There is no rest, till the body rest in death. Abraham had weathered his storms, and began to enjoy repose in the comfort of those blessings God had bestowed on him. But now a greater storm overtakes him than ever he felt before. He had left his home, and expelled his son Ishmael; but now the very hope and joy of his life is called, and Isaac must bleed. Observe,
1. The author of this fiery trial, God; who cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man, i.e.. to sin: but his temptations are to prove the truth, and increase the strength of the faith of his servants. Note; If a man have severe trials, it is to make him a burning light to God's glory.
2. The command given. When Abraham expects some message of peace, as usual, from his Covenant-God, how surprised must he be to hear the dreadful word, Take now thy son, make no delay, I call for thy son, take him, thine only son, in whom thou art so wrapped up, that the other is as nothing in thine eyes. This Isaac, the child of thine age, the staff of thy hopes; this darling, whom thou lovest so tenderly, I call for: Isaac must be offered up to me, not as my servant, but as my sacrifice. Thy hands must slay him: thou must kindle the fire, and lay him thereon. Moriah is the distant place; and when thou comest, I will shew thee that mountain where he must be offered a whole burnt-sacrifice unto me. Did ever parent's heart hear so afflictive a command, where every word is torture, and pointed as a dagger to the heart!
Genesis 22:5. I and the lad will go—and come again— These words are expressive of Abraham's faith, and full assurance, that he should return to them with Isaac restored from the dead, if God should permit him to offer him as a real sacrifice. For that he had such an assurance (says Dr. Chandler in his Vindication) is plain from Hebrews 11:17; Hebrews 11:40. Which account of Abraham's faith is founded on the nature and reason of the thing. For this was the only possible way he had to reconcile God's promise of giving him a numerous posterity by Isaac, with this command, to offer him for a burnt-offering; for if it implied a total destruction of Isaac's life, then God would have falsified his promise. Neither does the supposition of his having such an assurance, derogate in the least from the perfection of his obedience; for it was not an assurance founded upon any revelation from Heaven, nor did it amount to absolute certainty; but it was such a faith, or moral persuasion, as sprang from reasoning justly on the Divine perfections, and the full confidence he had in the promises and truth of God. Now this being the case, the horror of the action must have been greatly alleviated in the parent's eye; for though he understood the order from God to be a command from God to put his son to death, yet he firmly believed it was not to be a lasting death till the general resurrection, but a death which was to be immediately abolished and succeeded by a resurrection to a long and prosperous life upon earth: a resurrection which would have given the father a pleasure equal to the pain of having deprived his son of life, and have filled the breast of his son with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Genesis 22:6. Abraham took the wood, and laid it upon Isaac— Hence it appears, among other circumstances, that Isaac must have been full-grown at this time. Josephus reports him to have been twenty-five. It appears probable that he was more: there were about thirty-seven years from his birth to the death of Sarah; so that it is not unlikely, that in age, as well as in bearing the wood, on which he was to be sacrificed, he represented Christ, who bore his own cross, and was above thirty years old. It is also observed, that Isaac, being of this age, must have voluntarily submitted to be bound and sacrificed by his father, as so old a man could not have had strength sufficient, had Isaac resisted. Josephus puts a pathetic speech into Abraham's mouth on the occasion, and describes Isaac's submission as the result. But nothing can be conceived more pathetic and affecting than the plain narrative here given by Moses; the natural and melting inquiries of Isaac; the resolved, yet tender replies of the father. Here too we may discern in this willing oblation of Isaac, a figure of His oblation who freely gave himself to die for the salvation of sinners.
REFLECTIONS.—With silent awe the patriarch hears, and hesitates not to obey. A thousand arguments, no doubt, arose (notwithstanding all we have urged). Can God enjoin what he hath forbidden? Must Abraham become an unnatural monster? Can human sacrifices please him? and must a father murder his son? Can such an unreasonable as well as unnatural command come from God? What and where then is the promised Seed? Sprinkled with the blood of her son, how shall I meet the upbraiding mother? and what will the nations think, when shuddering with horror they hear the dreadful tale? Thus flesh objected: but faith consults not with flesh and blood: convinced, beyond the possibility of doubt, that he had God's warrant, he hastes to fulfil the dire command.
1. Early in the morning he rose. Neither deliberation nor delay is admitted. Note; In difficult trials of faith, what we do we must do quickly.
2. He makes the needful preparations, cleaves the wood, where each stroke must have hewed his heart with pangs; saddles his beast for dispatch, and, probably unknown to Sarah, hastes away. Note; The distress of others for him, is apt to melt down the martyr, more than his approaching suffering.
3. After three long days' journey, where every step must have been anguish, the place appears. Abraham undaunted sees it afar off, and dismisses his servants, lest they intrude and hinder him: alone he must bear the shock. Note; When we approach God in worship, intruding thoughts and cares should be shut out.
4. Isaac, the darling son, now bears the wood on which he must be extended a breathless corpse; Abraham the fire to consume him, the knife to slay him. Who can abide it? What faith can stand? Grace is omnipotent.
5. No stranger to the wonted rites of sacrifice, the lovely Isaac with innocence demands, My Father,—a melting word! a piercing remembrancer!—where is the Lamb? Ah, hapless boy! might Abraham bleeding with tenderness say: it cannot be; thou must not lie down weltering in blood beneath my hand, my cruel hand.—No, unmoved, unshaken, he replies, My son, God will provide himself a lamb. Thou art the sacrifice; he gave thee me, and he demands thee back again.
6. The spot is fixed, the altar rises, the wood is laid. Stupendous faith! The son, the seed, the Isaac, the darling, is bound, is laid; the knife is drawn, the arm extended, the point descending into the shivering flesh. Who can regard the attitude, and not be struck with sacred dread, with holy horror, and deep amazement at such determined obedience. God sees well pleased, and stays the descending stroke.
Genesis 22:12. Lay not thine hand— As by the command Abraham understood the nature of man's redemption, he must know also how the scenical representation was to end. Isaac was made the person, or representative of Christ dying for us. The Son of God, he knew, could not possibly lie under the dominion of the grave. Hence, he must needs conclude, either that God would stop his hand, when he came to give the sacrificing stroke; or that, if the revelation of this mystery was to be represented throughout in action, that then his son, sacrificed under the person of Christ, was soon to be restored to life: accounting, that God was able to raise him up even from the dead as the author of the epistle to the Hebrews assures us, ch. Genesis 11:19. The law of nature commands us to protect and cherish our offspring: would that law have been transgressed in giving a stroke, whose hurt was presently to be repaired? The law of nature, which is the law of God, forbids all injury to our fellow creature: and was he injured, who, by being thus highly honoured, in becoming the representative of the Son of God, was to share with his father in the rewards of his obedience? Thus it appears, that this command was an information by action: and when regarded in this view, all the arguments against God's giving it to Abraham are absolutely enervated and overthrown. This interpretation of the command concludes strongly against the Socinians for the real sacrifice of Christ, and the proper redemption of mankind. For if the command were an information by action, instead of words, the proof conveyed in it would be decisive, there being here no room for the evasion of its being a figurative expression, since the figurative action, the original of such expression, denotes either a real sacrifice, or nothing at all.
Now I know, &c.— God could not but know this before: therefore all that can be implied is, Thou hast now given the fullest and most satisfactory proof of thy faith, and of thy piety and regard to me, by this action.
Genesis 22:14. Called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh, &c.— When Isaac asked his father, Where is the lamb? he answered (in the Hebrew) Elohim Jireh; to which this name alludes. The answer of Christ to the Jews in these words, Abraham rejoiced to see my day, no doubt, alludes to this verse. Jehovah-jireh signifies, as Houbigant and the best interpreters agree, the Lord shall be seen. But with what propriety could this name be given to it by Abraham, if, in this transaction, he had not seen the representation of our Lord's passion? and, if he did see it, how apposite was the name? The historian goes on, "as it is said, to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen;" or, more exactly to the Hebrew, for he said, in the mount of the Lord shall be seen. In the first part of the verse, the sacred historian tells us that Abraham called the mount Jehovah-jireh, the Lord shall be seen; and in the latter part he acquaints us with the manner how Abraham imposed that appellation, namely, by the use of a proverbial speech, implying the reason of the name. In a word, Jesus says, Abraham saw his day; and Abraham, by the name he imposed upon the mount, declares the same thing. But as the vision was of a public, not of a private nature, he expresses himself in terms which signify what all the faithful shall see, not what he himself had seen. The Lord shall be seen. And, in fact, the Lord was seen crucified upon this very mountain.
REFLECTIONS.—Never message greeted mortal ear more welcome, than that of the angel now. We have,
1. The speaker: the Angel of the Lord. That blessed Angel of the covenant, that only Son, whom God hath spared to bleed for us; he arrests the uplifted arm, and cries, Slay not thy son. Isaac unbound, with rapture as given from the dead, is clasped to the bosom of his father, twice welcome now, when thus restored. Note; (1.) When we give up every creature-comfort to God, then shall we most enjoy them. (2.) Man's extremity is God's opportunity.
2. The approbation of this glorious instance of obedience, Genesis 22:12. God knew it before: he testifies it now, for Abraham's comfort, and for his honour, to all succeeding ages.
3. Another sacrifice provided. When all is ready, the fire shall not burn in vain: a ram is in the thicket, and supplies the place of Isaac. Note; Praise is the fit return of mercy.
4. A name is given the place, in memory of the deed: Jehovah-jireh, the Lord shall be seen. Surely he is daily seen, compassionating his people's distresses, and providing a relief suitable to their wants. None ever trusted in him but found him in mercies abundant, in truth faithful, in promises unchangeable.
5. In the whole history we have a lively type of greater things. We have seen the day, when God spared not his own Son, when he was bound with cords, when he bore his cross, and on this mountain, probably on this very spot, was offered up an offering for sin; when he, triumphant over the grave, rose again to live for evermore, where the faithful seed of Abraham, whom no man can number, and whose possessions are the glories of heaven, shall see him and enjoy him to all eternity.
6. And now, my soul, meditate on these things. Art thou a son of Abraham? Is there in thine heart a darling sin? Is there a favourite lust precious in thine eye? Draw forth the knife, and smite it to the heart. Hath God spared not his Son for me, and shall I spare what he commands me to sacrifice? No, gracious Saviour; no. Help me to be faithful, unreserved, cheerful, willing in my surrender to thee, to keep back nothing from thee. Then prove me, and search the ground of my heart; and when thou hast tried me as silver is tried, crown the faith thou hast bestowed, and the obedience thou hast enabled me to yield to thee, with that unfading glory which thou hast promised to those who are faithful unto death.
Genesis 22:16. By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord— This passage clearly proves what we have before observed, that this Angel, or Messenger, was the Jehovah, or the second Divine Person, who appeared to the patriarch, &c. See Hebrews 6:13. Though the word and promise of God is immutable, and needs no sanction, yet he is willing to condescend to the capacity of weak minds, and therefore an oath being to men for confirmation of an end to all strife, He swears by himself, as he can swear by NO GREATER.
Genesis 22:17. Possess the gate, &c.— He who is possessed of the gates is possessed of the cities, and, these surrendered, becomes master of all the country; so to possess the gates is to possess the cities and countries of his enemies.
Genesis 22:18. In thy seed, &c.— To the observations heretofore made on this promise, let it be further remarked, that there is an increase of sense in these words; for God doth not only and simply say, they shall be blessed, but shall bless themselves, or count themselves blessed in him: To shew that this person, this promised Seed, the Messiah, should not stand in need of any blessing himself, as the rest of Abraham's seed did; but be the Author of all blessings unto others, who should derive them from him alone.
REFLECTIONS.—Those who honour God, God will honour. Abraham pleased God, and he shall not want his reward. Observe,
1. The covenant is confirmed by an oath, to multiply his seed, that by two immutable things he might have strong consolation.
2. The better blessing is promised; even that Messiah, in whom not one nation only, but all nations should be blessed; whose seed should exceed the stars; before whose victorious arms his enemies should bow; and sin, Satan, death, and hell, receive their final and fatal overthrow. Abraham's natural descendants were honourable, great, and numerous: but this incarnate Son of Abraham's race hath acquired for his people, blessing, glory, power, dominion, such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive.
Genesis 22:20. It was told Abraham, &c.— The chief intention of this genealogy seems to be, to give us an account of the family of Rebekah, whom Isaac married: it connects with the beginning of ch. 24: And it was in consequence of the information here given Abraham, that he thought of seeking a wife for his son from this family. Huz or Uz here mentioned, is supposed to have given its name to Job's country, see Job 1:1. Note; It is a great comfort to hear of the prosperity of our friends; their joy is our own.
Further Reflections on the offering of Isaac, considered as a type of the Messiah.
Who can forbear here to think of the adorable mystery of redemption by Jesus Christ? "For God so loved the world, as not to spare his own Son, but deliver him unto the death for us all." Methinks the language of this whole transaction was as if God had said, "Ye children of men, hear you what my faithful servant and friend has done upon this mountain, in cheerfully sacrificing his only Son to testify his love to me. By the same method I will declare my love to a perishing world, by giving my only-begotten Son to fall a sacrifice for sin. In this mountain shall the sword of justice awake against him by his own consent; and what has now been done only in a figure, shall be really transacted at the appointed time. Meanwhile let rams, and other beasts, be sacrificed as a memorial of this grand burnt-offering; but let no human blood smoke upon my altars."
But more particularly to enumerate the important predictions of this prophetical history: it contained, first of all, a lively intimation, that in the fulness of time a human sacrifice should be offered up. Indeed, it is but just and equal that the nature which sinned, should suffer: for how can the blood of harmless beasts atone for the sins of guilty men? And this might seem to have been confessed by the horrid custom which obtained in the Gentile world, of sacrificing men to appease the wrath of their deities. But the Living and True God prohibited such direful offerings under the severest penalties; not only for their evident barbarity, but because they encroached upon the plan of his infinite wisdom, and anticipated the great Propitiation, who was to be a human Sacrifice, although he was no ordinary person, as Isaac was no ordinary son. Like Isaac, he was a Son and Heir, the Son of God, and the Heir of all things.—A Beloved Son; for he was daily his delight, before the mountains were brought forth: and oftener than once it was declared by a voice from the excellent Glory, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," Matthew 17:5.—An only Son; for angels and saints, though stiled the sons of God, have no claim to such a sonship as the filial Godhead is possessed of. Isaac's birth was altogether extraordinary, both by the father's and mother's side, surpassing the ordinary course of nature; but still more amazing is the generation of our atoning sacrifice, whose Father as God was the All-glorious JEHOVAH, and whose mother was a virgin. The event of his birth, like Isaac's, was long foretold, and ardently expected before it happened; but though long delayed, the promise was punctually fulfilled at the appointed time. Isaac's name imported laughter. In Jesus, the true Isaac, our mouths shall be filled with laughter, and our tongues with melody, and our hearts shall leap for joy.
Ask you the manner of his death? Behold it in this lively type. For as Isaac carried the wood, so the Beloved Son of God carried his cross. O ye children of men, your iniquities were the heavy load he bore in his own body on the tree. These, like the wood which was intended to reduce Isaac to ashes, rendered him combustible to the fire of Divine wrath.
It was for no crime that Isaac was to suffer death in this tragical manner; yet such was his filial piety, such was his reverence of the high command, that he made no attempt to save his life, though he was able to have done it, being arrived at his manhood. Even so the innocent Redeemer, in whom was found no cause of death, no, not by his very judge, abhorred not the ignominious cross: he spared to employ all the legions of angels that were ready at his beck; he never attempted to make his escape when his time was come, which he had often done before. Though he had thoroughly digested in his mind the doleful circumstances of his crucifixion, he betrayed not the least unwillingness to submit to his Heavenly Father's will, even when his human heart shrinked at the bitter cup. "I lay down," says he, "my life: no man taketh it from me," John 10:17-18. "Father, not my will, but thine be done," Luke 22:42.
It was by a wound from the hand of his Father alone that Isaac was to breathe out his soul; and by him alone was the funeral pile to be lighted up. For these purposes, we are informed in the sacred history, Abraham carried the fire and the knife. It was not the envy of the Jews; it was not the covetousness of Judas; it was not the irresolution of the cowardly Roman judge, which chiefly consigned our Isaac over to the tormenting cross: but being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, these only proved the sinful (because voluntary) executioners of the high decree. Thy burning anger against the sins of men, O Heavenly Father, was the fire that preyed upon his holy soul. Thy justice, inflexibly severe, was the keen slashing sword which awaked against him, and drank his vital Blood. "It pleased the Father to bruise him: thou didst put him to grief," Isaiah 53:10. And truly many of the sufferings of our dying Redeemer were of such a nature, as none but God could inflict, and none but God could have endured.
It is a circumstance by no means unworthy of our careful attention, that the true Propitiation was offered up in the same place where the beloved son of Abraham was to expire upon the altar. Ye mountains of Moriah, your name may now be JEHOVAH-JIREH for better reasons than Abraham's offering up his Isaac, for in these mountains the Lord was seen putting away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
It was not possible for a mortal creature to give a higher document of love to God, than by sacrificing for his sake a dearly beloved and only son. The whole history is so amazing, that we know not whether we should most admire the strange commandment or the unparalleled obedience. Even so it was not possible for the immortal God to give a nobler demonstration of love to men, than by delivering for their sake his only-begotten Son to die for their offences. The whole transaction, from first to last, is of so uncommon a nature, and so foreign to every human plan for acceptance with God, that to the wise Greeks it was mere foolishness, and to the Jews a stumbling-block. As Abraham could not without faith have acquiesced in the precept, no more can we without faith truly acquiesce in the Gospel-plan. He consulted not with Sarah, when he was called to obey; and when we are called to believe, we must not consult with vain philosophy. Though in the mystery of redemption there is a depth of wisdom; yet, thy line, O reason, is too short to sound its bottom. Reason, in its depraved state, may not unfitly be compared to the patriarch's ass, which staid at the foot of the hill, but ascended not with Isaac to the sacrifice. It is the province of faith alone to ascend this hill of the Lord, and comprehend the love of God which passeth knowledge.
Isaac, it is true, was not sacrificed; and there was no need that God should raise him from the dead, as the patriarch perhaps expected. But as he was in a manner a dead man during the three days which intervened betwixt the sentence being passed upon him, and the reversing of it by the heavenly voice, it may be truly said, that "in a figure he was received from the dead," Hebrews 11:19. Exactly so, our true Isaac was received on the third day from the dead, not in a figure only. Like Isaac, he received no harm; but, "O death, he was thy plagues; O grave, he was thy destruction," Hosea 13:14. Like Isaac, he returned to his Father's house from whence he came, and became a Father of many nations, who are begotten again to a lively hope by his resurrection from the dead: for thus the prophet Isaiah foretels, with admirable plainness and propriety, "When thou, (O Heavenly Father,) shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand," Isaiah 53:10.
Forbear, ye children of men, anxiously to inquire, "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and how shall I bow myself before the high God? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, and the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? For lo, he has given his firstborn to atone for your transgression, and the Son of his love to expiate the sin of your souls by the sacrifice of himself. Thus hath he shewed you what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."
Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
the Fourth Week of Lent
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