The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you,
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age"
January 24, 2016
1) Parallel Offerings (Jim Robson)
2) News & Notes
In the twelfth chapter of Genesis, God makes some promises to
Abraham (whose name was still Abram at this point), including the
promise that he would become "a great nation" (verse 2). This is a
remarkable promise, since Abraham is seventy-five years old, and as
yet has no children since his wife is barren (11:30). Eleven years
later, Abraham has a son by his wife's maid, and names him Ishmael
(chapter 16). In 17:19, God reveals to Abraham that Ishmael is not
the descendant through whom the promises would be realized, but that
Abraham's wife Sarah would bear him a son, and God would establish
His covenant with him. This son, the son of promise, was to be named
Isaac. Finally, we find in chapter 21, Isaac is born when Abraham is
one hundred years old, and Sarah is ninety. This brings us to
"Now it came to pass after these things, that God tested Abraham,
and said to him, 'Abraham!' And he said, 'Here I am.' And He said,
'Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to
the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one
of the mountains of which I will tell you.' So Abraham rose early in
the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men
with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt
offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a
distance. And Abraham said to his young men, 'Stay here with the
donkey, and I and the lad will go up yonder; and we will worship and
return to you.' And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and
laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the
knife. So the two of them walked on together" (Genesis 22:1-6).
As you may already know, God did not let Abraham kill his son, but
stopped him in the nick of time. Of course, Abraham fully intended
to carry out the Lord's instructions, and so Isaac was as good as
dead in his mind up until the moment the angel's voice restrained
his hand. It is a remarkable account of faith, but there are other
lessons we can learn from this event.
In II Chronicles chapter 2, King Solomon began making preparations
to build a palace for himself, and a temple for God. Chapter 3 opens
by telling us where the temple was built, "Then Solomon began to
build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah" (II
Chronicles 3:1). Abraham was instructed to sacrifice Isaac in
Moriah, and we find that Mount Moriah is in Jerusalem. This calls to
mind another sacrifice which was made in Jerusalem roughly two
thousand years later: the sacrifice of Christ.
Remember that, although Abraham's firstborn son was Ishmael, God
referred to Isaac as his only son. This expression emphasizes
Isaac's preeminence; remember that it was Isaac through whom God
would bring about His promises to Abraham, and so Isaac the one and
only son of promise. Now, consider John 3:16, "For God so loved the
world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish, but have eternal life." Here the same
expression is used to express Jesus' preeminence among God's
children: Jesus is the One through whom God ultimately fulfilled His
greatest promises to Abraham and accomplished His plan of salvation
for all mankind; and Jesus is the One who most perfectly displayed
the image of God in which Adam was created. So, both Jesus and Isaac
were preeminent among their respective fathers' children to such an
extent that both are referred to as only sons.
But God had also made a point of the fact that Abraham loved Isaac.
Likewise, He made a similar point regarding Jesus at His baptism,
"And behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, "This is My beloved
Son, in whom I am well-pleased" (Matthew 3:17). It is no great
coincidence that both Abraham and God loved their sons. However, it
is interesting that God specifically pointed out this fact in each
case. And, since the writers of scripture were generally selective
about which details they included in their accounts, it is
interesting that both Matthew and Moses included this one. But there
Abraham fully intended to kill his son at God's command, and so far
as he was concerned, Isaac was as good as dead until he got to the
mountain and the angel spoke from heaven, which was on the third day
from when God had issued the command. Similarly, consider the length
of time Jesus was among the dead, "For I delivered to you as of
first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures, and that He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3,4). So, just as
Isaac was as good as dead until the third day, so also Christ was in
the grave until the third day from His crucifixion.
Again, remember that Isaac bore the wood for the burnt offering.
Likewise, Jesus bore the cross, "They took Jesus therefore, and He
went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a
Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha" (John 19:17). Therefore,
just as Isaac carried the wood upon which he was to be burned, so
also Jesus carried the wooden cross upon which He was to be hung.
Further, Abraham carried the fire and the knife; he was to be the
one to perform the sacrifice of his only son whom he loved. That
being the case, consider that Jesus was delivered up by the
predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). Thus, the
sacrifice of Christ was ultimately God's doing, and the men who
physically performed the crucifixion were in essence God's tools.
God, knowing their hearts, was able to use their evil inclinations
to achieve His purpose. In both sacrifices, then, the father was to
execute the sacrifice of the son.
All of these parallels might be relegated to the realm of striking
coincidence, except for the consideration that the book of Genesis
was written some 1400 years before Jesus was born, and the authors
of the various books of the Bible were all selective about the
details they recorded. Many details which are ordinarily included in
other literary works are generally left out of scripture. That being
the case, we need to satisfy the question of how the author of
Genesis knew which details to include in his story in order to bring
out these parallels: unless he had divine guidance.
To say that the New Testament authors contrived their histories to
fit the account in Genesis, does not fit the facts. For example, all
four gospel accounts were recorded independently, yet all four
describe details of Christ's sacrifice that correspond to Isaac's.
Also, none of the gospels make any mention of parallels between the
two sacrifices, whereas they certainly would have had the details
been so contrived. In fact, we need to look at several different
books in order to see all the parallels, which shows that the
writers of the gospel accounts did not have these parallels in mind
when they wrote; otherwise they would have been sure to include all
of them and draw them out. Further, none of the gospel accounts even
note the connection of the location of the two sacrifices: we need
to go to the seemingly unrelated book of II Chronicles to find that
both occurred in the same area. So then we are left with the fact
that the author of Genesis, who was very selective as to which
details he included in the various accounts, somehow managed to
include several details of the sacrifice of Isaac which closely
parallel the sacrifice of Christ: 1400 years before Jesus was born
as a man!
In the New Testament book of Hebrews (which was not written by any
of the authors of the gospel accounts), we find that God indeed had
Jesus in mind when He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, "By faith
Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had
received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was
he to whom it was said, 'In Isaac your descendants shall be called.'
He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from
which he received him back as a type" (Hebrews 11:17-19).
The word rendered "type" in this passage is the same word often
translated "parable": it refers to a story which is intended to
symbolize something else. Jesus often used parables in His teaching
in order to help make spiritual concepts more understandable. In
this case, God orchestrated an event in Abraham's life to symbolize
what He intended to do with His own Son some two thousand years
later: He created a living parable. He then saw to it that this
event was recorded in writing, so that we could look back and see
that what He accomplished in Christ, He had planned all along. "Oh,
the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How
unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" (Romans
For those who still insist that all of this is nothing more than
mere coincidence, there is yet one more fact to consider. The
"coincidences" mentioned here are just a drop in the bucket. There
are many such parallels in scripture. For now, however, these
parallels between Isaac and Jesus will suffice as our first
discussion of the evidence which God has provided to show that He
did indeed guide the writing of scripture.
-- Via Watchman Magazine, February 1998, Volume 1, Number 2
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians be praying for the following
Shirley Jernigan (Gege Gornto's mother), who is in her 90s,
began hospice care in the home of her daughter a couple weeks
Frankie Hadley (Rex's wife) recently had a mini stroke.
Carol Drain will be seeing her doctor February 1 to hear
results of the recent tests she had, due to a possibly slight
indication of a recurrence of cancer that has been in remission for
Let us also continue praying for Shirley Davis (hip
trouble), Deborah Medlock (pain around shoulder area), Andra
Johnson (difficulties while being pregnant), Misty
Thornton (heart trouble), and Michelle Rittenhouse
The Golden Isles church of Christ in Brunswick, Georgia, will be
having a congregational sing January 30 from 3 to 5
PM. All are invited. They meet at 441 Touchstone Parkway.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith
comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John
8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10;
5) Be baptized in water for the
remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not,
salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM
& 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website)