By Matthew Moshe Nolan
I can’t stand it when you hear, “I can prove it through scripture.” It demonstrates that we’re still thinking like Greeks!
Beresheeth/Genesis 22:1: And it came to pass after these things, that Elohim did test Avraham and said to him, Avraham. And he said, See, Hinayni/Here I am. 2 And He said, Take now your son, your only son Yitzchak whom you love, and get into the land of Moriyah and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I will tell you. 3 And Avraham rose up early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Yitzchak his son, and cut the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up and went to the place that Elohim had told him. 4 Then on the third day Avraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place far off. 5 And Avraham said to his young men, Stay here with the donkey and I and the lad will go over there and worship and come again to you. 6 And Avraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it upon Yitzchak his son, and he took the fire in his hand and a knife and they went both of them together. 7 And Yitzchak spoke to Avraham his abba, and said, My abba, and he said, Hinayni, my son. And he said, See the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Avraham said, My son, Elohim will provide Himself a Lamb for the burnt offering; so they went both of them together. 9 And they came to the place that Elohim had told him about, and Avraham rebuilt an altar there and laid the wood in order, and bound Yitzchak his son and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10 And Avraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. 11 And the Malach-YHWH called to him out of the shamayim, and said, Avraham, Avraham! And he said, Hinayni. 12 And He said, Lay not your hand upon the lad, neither do anything to him; for now I know that you fear Elohim seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me. 13 And Avraham lifted up his eyes and looked and saw behind him a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. And Avraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Avraham called the name of that place YHWH-Yireh as it is said to this day, On the mountain YHWH is seen. 15 And the Malach-YHWH called to Avraham out of the shamayim the second time 16 and said, By Myself have I sworn, says YHWH, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 that in the bracha I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your zera as the cochavim of the shamayim, and as the sand that is upon the seashore; and your zera shall possess the gate of its enemies; 18 and in your zera shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed My voice.
The Traditional Jewish Interpretation
The crown of Avraham’s faith: to willingly sacrifice his dearest hope to the will of Elohim. Thy son, thine only son whom you love, even Isaac. The repetition is said to indicate the intense strain that was being placed upon Avraham’s faith and the greatness of the sacrifice demanded.
The Traditional Christian Interpretation
Avraham was willing to offer up His only son whom he loved as a sacrifice so, likewise, our heavenly Father was willing to offer up His only begotten son as a sacrifice! The binding/ Akeidah is a picture of the work of redemption. Avraham is a picture of the heavenly Father and Isaac is a picture of Yeshua the Messiah, the only begotten son, beloved of The Father.
Beresheet/Genesis 9:5 – The fourth of the seven Noachide laws = Abstain from bloodshed:
And surely the dahm of your lives I will require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the chayim of man. 6 Whosoever sheds man’s dahm, by man shall his dahm be shed; for in the image of Elohim He made man. 7 And you, be fruitful and multiply; bring out abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.
Vayikra/Leviticus 18:21: And you shall not let any of your offspring pass through the fire to Molech, neither shall you defile the Name of your Elohim: I am YHWH.
Vayikra 20:2: Moreover, you shall say to the children of Yisrael, Whoever he be of the children of Yisrael, or of the gerim that sojourn in Yisrael, who gives any of his offspring to Molech, he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 And I will set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given from his offspring to Molech to defile My Kadosh-Place and to defile My kadosh Name. 4 And if the people of the land do in any way hide their eyes from the man when he gives his offspring to Molech and kill him not, 5 then I will set My face against that man and against his mishpacha and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
Melechim Alef/1 Kings 11:7: Then Shlomo built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moav, in the hill that is before Yahrushalayim, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And likewise he did for all his strange wives who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
In a Nutshell
Did YHWH tempt (Authorized version) ~ OR ~ test Abraham? Remember last week:
The Avinu Prayer, Mattityahu 6:13: Do not bring us into the hands of a test.
Tested = To be brought into difficult circumstances that try one’s faithfulness.
Tempted = To be enticed to break Torah/sin. (Yaakov/James 1:13)
The Akedah: An Account of Blind Obedience to YHWH’s Spoken Word?
Did YHWH tempt Avraham to perform an obviously wrong deed because YHWH ordered it? Wouldn’t that be a violation of His eternal Word? Does YHWH’s instruction override all personal moral intuition or rational thought? Did Avraham make a decision followed by an act to destroy YHWH’s promise of zera with the irrational act of human/child sacrifice? Is this a case of blind obedience when Written Torah isn’t available for reference? Can you ever know YHWH through blind obedience? Or does it require an intimate inward relationship from brit milah ha lev/circumcision of the heart?
Avraham is guided by his understanding of Torah from within – his moral compass. Why make a life-or-death decision based upon voices that aren’t certified by a Written Torah for reference?
Can We Justify This Interpretation Through Scripture?
Surely – only on the basis of the assumption that it’s been ordered by YHWH in violation of His own Word and a personal revelation that only Avraham heard. Could Avraham have misunderstood the true intent of YHWH’s initial words? Perhaps Avraham had given the divine command a Molechian interpretation consistent with his upbringing and his father’s house? Perhaps YHWH did not want him to slaughter Yitzhak after all? Anyway, YHWH doesn’t rescind His apparent command, but a Malach/angel; by what right would Avraham obey a Malach over YHWH? (In the painting by Rembrandt, the Malach’s hand stays the sacrifice, as if to demonstrate that the spoken word of a Malach wasn’t sufficient.)
Consistency With the Proceeding Text
Avraham’s nature: A man of deep compassion, justice, and morality.
Beresheeth/Genesis 18:19: For I know him [Avraham], that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the halacha of YHWH, to do mishpat and justice.
Beresheeth 13:8: Avraham puts Lot before himself and gives Lot first choice.
Beresheeth 14:14: Avraham goes on a military rescue mission for Lot.
Beresheeth 14:23: Avraham refuses his right to war booty.
Beresheeth 18:2: Here the phrase is coined, “The hospitality of Avraham.”
Beresheeth 18:23: Avraham crying out to save sinners.
These aren’t the character traits of a man willing to throw out all sense of justice and morality. Avraham’s argument for Sodom demonstrates that the Word of YHWH isn’t independent of moral justification. Would Avraham just throw all this to the wind for the sake of blind obedience? Why no attempt to save Isaac, his one and only beloved son, like he
did for people of Sodom – strangers?
The Akeda and the Mesopotamian Culture
Avram was a product of the Mesopotamian culture. The crowning act of one’s devotion to his preferred idol was to offer up one’s most beloved child.
Doubts About Yitzhak?
He was 37 years old … was YHWH going to really fulfill His promises through Yitzhak/Isaac, or was it a delusion of sorts? ‘Maybe I could use Yitzhak as a means of sacrifice’; it was an act he was familiar with and was widely accepted. ‘Maybe it would invoke YHWH and YHWH’s promises would at last materialize?’ ‘Maybe I banished the wrong son?’
Alternative Sod (deep, mysterious) Interpretation
Beresheeth/Genesis 22:2: Vayomer kach-na et-bincha et-yechi-decha asher-ahavta et-Yitzchak velech-lecha el-eretz ha-Moriyah veha’alehu sham le’olah al achad he-harim asher omar eleicha.
[You’re going to] “Take your son, your only one, whom you love – Yitzchak – and go to the land of Moriyah and sacrifice him as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains which I will designate to you?”
Really Avraham? Take three days and think about it!
Will Avraham—a monotheist in a pagan world—break free and be delivered from generational sin, from the wicked practice of Molechian worship? Or will he succumb to it, will he establish the Torah standard for behavior and worship? He’s got three days to think about it! Is it possible that the test is to see if Avraham has the determination to complete his abandonment of pagan practices?
Beresheeth 22:16 Vayomer bi nishbati ne’um-YHWH ki ya’an asher asita et-hadavar hazeh velo c’hasach-ta et-bincha et-yechidecha.
And said, “‘I have sworn by Myself,’ declares YHWH , ‘that because you performed this deed and did not withhold your only son …’”
I suggest to you that the blessing came upon Avraham because he performed this deed (substituting the ram for Yitzhak) and did not withhold or remove his son. The Hebrew word Hasach can also mean to remove. Avraham didn’t remove Yitzhak from YHWH’s promises by killing him. Avraham did right by abiding by fundamental scriptural morality and not engaging in human/child sacrifice.
v16 “… velo c’hasach-ta et-bincha et-yechidecha …”
“… have not withheld/kept/prevented your son, your only one, from Me …”
So I understand the blessing came upon Avraham because he did not kill his only son in Molechian style worship – he finally overcame the Mesopotamian culture and set the standard of how we’re to worship YHWH.
That being said, the whole account still leaves us with an amazing shadow picture – in fact, I believe, now an even clearer picture of what not to and what to expect in Messianic texts: A father willing to sacrifice his one and only son – yet the Heavenly Fathers vitriol abhorrence to human sacrifice.
Yahushua – The Rosh-Pina
Location, location, location!
Substance, substance, substance!
We’re putting in a new foundation in all of our lives – we’re raising a Sukkah in Salem!
Check our understanding of the substance of our Rosh Pina/Cornerstone!