16.3.1. Abraham Offers Isaac

It was upon Mount Moriah where Abraham was told to offer Isaac: “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (Gen. Gen. 22:2). What transpired upon this mountain, as recorded in Genesis Gen. 22:1, is a foundational event, both for Judaism and Christianity. To those who are familiar with the Torah, the opening instruction given to Abraham is shocking! For the Torah—the very Word of God—specifically indicates God’s opposition to child sacrifice (Deu. Deu. 12:31; Deu. 18:10). Yet here, the Almighty Himself instructs Abraham to offer child sacrifice! Why would God give such instructions if it were not meant as an exclamation mark commenting upon the very event itself? Although Judaism sees the purpose merely as a point of testing of Abraham’s faith, Christianity understands the full typological significance of what took place—as a sign post pointing to the most significant event in all history: when another Father would offer His “only Son” upon the same mountain. The offering of Isaac is a carefully constructed divine pattern which pointed to the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross many years later. That this is true can be seen from the numerous typological correlations between this event and the crucifixion.

The Offering of Isaac points to the Crucifixion of Jesus
Type (Model)Antitype (Fulfillment)
Abraham offered his only son (Gen. Gen. 22:2, Gen. 22:12). God offered his only Son (John John 3:16).
Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice (Gen. Gen. 22:5). Jesus carried the cross for the sacrifice (John John 19:17).
Isaac cried out to his father (Gen. Gen. 22:7). Jesus cried out to His Father (Mtt. Mat. 27:46; Mark Mark 15:34).
Isaac escaped death after three days (Gen. Gen. 22:4). Jesus rose from the dead on the third day (Mtt. Mat. 16:21; Mark Mark 16:2-4; Luke Luke 9:22).
Abraham indicated God will provide a lamb for the sacrifice (Gen. Gen. 22:8). God provided Jesus as The Lamb for the sacrifice (Isa. Isa. 53:7; John John 1:29, John 1:36; Rev. Rev. 5:6+; Rev. 7:17+).
God provided a ram, a male sheep, as a substitutionary sacrifice (Gen. Gen. 22:13).God provided a male, Jesus, as a substitutionary sacrifice.
The ram was caught by its horns (head) in a thicket (thorns) (Gen. Gen. 22:13). Jesus wore a crown of thorns on his head (Mtt. Mat. 27:29), a symbol of the sin He bore (Gen. Gen. 3:18).
Sacrifice offered at specific location on Mount Moriah (Gen. Gen. 22:2, Gen. 22:9). For hundreds of years, sacrifices would be offered from the same spot inside Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple (2Chr. 2Chr. 3:1). When Jesus is crucified outside the city walls on the same mountain, the veil within the Temple is rent in two (Mark Mark 15:38).
The ram was God’s provision (Gen. Gen. 22:13-14). Abraham prophetically named the place pointing to the crucifixion where God made the ultimate provision: the sacrifice of His Son for sin (Heb. Heb. 9:26-28).
Now the God-given instruction to sacrifice Isaac, in violation of what would later be codified in the Law of Moses, can be understood—God had no intention of actually allowing Isaac to die. Instead, He intended to test Abraham’s faith and demonstrate prophetically His intention to offer His own Son, Jesus Christ, on the same mountain hundreds of years later (Ps. Ps. 22:1; Isa. Isa. 53:1). Sadly, the same words that Jesus spoke to the religious leaders of His day can still be said to Judaism which rejects Messiah Jesus: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John John 5:39).1 In the hundreds of years which would separate Abraham’s offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah from God’s offering of Jesus, the ritual slaughter of countless animals within the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, Solomon’s Temple, and the Second Temple all pointed forward to this ultimate offering of Jesus on the cross. Both Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple were specifically placed on Mount Moriah to show their connection with the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Lamb. Thus, the Temple Mount is not just a random piece of real-estate contested by some confused religious fanatics. It is a specific location where God Himself ordained that Abraham should act out the event pointing to the crucifixion and the place where the intervening Temples stood. It is at this precise location where both the Tribulation Temple and the Millennial Temple will be built.


1 Concerning the revelation of Jesus to be found in the OT: Ps. Ps. 40:7; Luke Luke 18:31; Luke 24:27, Luke 24:44; John John 5:39, John 5:46; Acts Acts 8:35; Acts Acts 10:43; Heb. Heb. 10:7.