Most people know the story of Abraham being told to sacrifice Isaac. A lot of people find this story disturbing. In fact, this story is attacked by atheists, skeptics, and even some Christians for being immoral. After all, how can we explain a loving God telling his devoted follower to kill his own child. Sure, God doesn’t let Abraham go through with it, but if God tested you in that way would you really be all right with it, even if you didn’t have to go through with it? This story can make us uneasy. However, if we look at this story as a “type,” of the story of Jesus, it starts to make much more sense.
Types are people, stories, and objects in the Bible that foreshadow another person, story, or object that will arrive in the future. These “types” are all over the place. A simple one to use as an example is the Passover Lamb from the Old Testament, being a “type,” of Jesus, the lamb of God in the New Testament. One foreshadows the other. Studying these types is a good way to show how divinely inspired the Bible really is. It also shows us that God is in complete control of human history. God foreshadows events down to the smallest of details and some of the events are separated by 2,000 years. That is pretty amazing. Let’s look at a very interesting example of this.
The Story of Abraham and Isaac The story of God the Father and God the Son.
And looking at it from the other side shows that the writer of Genesis also did not write this story to make it match up with a future story that he knew might one day occur. At the time that Genesis was written down, they had no idea that a Savior would one day die on a cross for us. And we know that the story was not tampered with after the time of Jesus because we have copies of it that existed before that time. So there is no way that human beings set these stories up to parallel each other!It is hard to read these two stories and not see the parallels. You can argue that some of them are coincidences, but all of them? Since the crucifixion is one of the most well-documented events in Biblical history we know that the authors did not simply write the story in a way that would make it look like the story of Isaac. The details of the story of Jesus are historical facts about crucifixion. For example, the carrying of the wood up the hill was simply what crucified men did. So there is nothing being manipulated to make the two stories match up!
This is divine foreshadowing from a God who knows the future. God entered into human history to save us. Towards the beginning of the story of redemption we find this story of Abraham and Isaac. Knowing what was coming 2,000 years later, God beautifully foreshadowed how the story of redemption would reach its climax. What a story!
You might be saying to yourself, “That is pretty neat, but why would God do that? Why would he tell Abraham to sacrifice his son just to foreshadow what would be coming 2,000 years later?” Well, I believe that the answer is to show us how serious what he did for us on that cross really was. As parents, when we read the story of Abraham and Isaac we can’t help but to be upset by it. We cannot imagine being asked to kill our own children. That is how God wants us to feel when reading this story! He wants us to be a little upset because it makes us appreciate what he did for us even more. He loves us so much that he was willing to watch as his only Son was killed. So God wants us to read the story of Abraham and Isaac, become upset by it, and then realize that God did what we would never do! Ever looked at this story in that way before?
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