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Sermon No: 89391-Covenants - Part 9b - The Abrahamic Covenant



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SERMON TOPIC: Covenants - Part 9b - The Abrahamic Covenant

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 21 March 2021

Topic Groups: COVENANTS, GENESIS, ABRAHAM

Sermon synopsis: God had insisted that the covenant would be established with Sarah’s son, even though Abraham originally tried to convince God that it would be simpler to establish it with Ishmael instead. When Abraham was perturbed at the friction between Sarah and Ishmael, God assures him that while he would make Ishmael into a great nation, the Messianic promises regarding the seed (or “offspring” i.e. Jesus) would be fulfilled in Isaac.


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COVENANTS

PART 9b: THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT – ISAAC

Promise

Human government

Conscience

Innocence

DISPENSATIONS

Abrahamic

Noahic

Adamic

Edenic

COVENANTS

3 STRANDS OF PROMISES

  • On two occasions God made a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15 & 17), but both are extensions of the initial promises made in Genesis 12 and reaffirmed in Genesis 22.
  • The promises have 3 distinct strands:
    • Blessing to the nations (12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14)
    • Descendants (12:2; 15:5; 17:4-5; 22:17)
    • Land (12:7; 13:15; 15:18; 17:18)

3 STRANDS OF PROMISES

STRANGERS

  • Abraham and the patriarchs lived in the Promised land like strangers – and only later would their descendants inherit the land.
      • Heb 11:9-10 (NIV) By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

FOREIGNERS & STRANGERS

      • Heb 11:13-16 (NIV) All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

STRANGERS IN THIS WORLD

  • We too are living as “strangers in this world.”
      • John 17:16 (NASB) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
      • Phil 3:20 (NASB) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ
  • Thus we are exhorted:
      • 1 Pet 2:11 (NASB) Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.
  • But one day “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt 5:5).

ASSISTING GOD

  • Initially God had told Abraham that he would have a son, but not that it would be a son by Sarah.
  • So Sarah tries to “help” God fulfil his promise by convincing Abraham to have a surrogate child by her Egyptian handmaid Hagar – following an ancient Near-Eastern custom * whereby a barren wife could have a child by proxy.

THE AFTERMATH

  • But things soon take a turn for the worse.
    • After falling pregnant, Hagar treats Sarah with contempt (16:4)
    • Sarah blames Abraham - for listening to her suggestion (16:5).
    • Abraham abdicates responsibility and tells Sarah to decide what to do with Hagar. (16:6)

HAGAR RUNS AWAY

    • Sarah treats Hagar so badly she runs away.
    • God is unhappy and send his angel to intervene.

ISHMAEL IS BORN

    • The angel instructs Hagar to return and her son Ishmael is born. (16:6-16)

HAGAR AND ISHMAEL OUSTED

    • After the birth of Isaac 13 years later, Ishmael mocks him. (21:8)
    • Sarah pressurizes Abraham to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael (21:10).
    • This situation causes Abraham distress (21:11) but God permits it, promising to also bless Ishmael (21:12-13).

ISHMAEL SPARED AND BLESSED

    • Hagar and Ishmael almost perish in the desert, but God intervenes by sending an angel to save them from death by thirst (21:17-19).
    • Hagar is comforted by the angel with a promise that Ishmael will be a great nation (21:18).
    • Ishmael goes on to live in hostility with his brothers (16:12).

THE COVENANT SON

  • After Ishmael’s birth, God tells Abraham that Ishmael is not the covenant son and makes it clear that the promise is to be fulfilled through a son born to Sarah. In other words, God didn’t need their help.
      • Gen 17:21 (ESV) “But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

A NAME CHANGE

  • God thus changes Sarai’s name too.
      • Gen 17:15-16 (ESV) And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her … she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”
  • According to older commentators: *
    • Sarai means “my princess,” confining her honour to one family only
    • Sarah signifies “a princess,” namely, of multitudes.

HAGAR AND SARAH AS ALLEGORIES

  • Paul uses Hagar and Sarah as allegories of the Old Covenant (Law) received at Sinai and the New Covenant (Grace).
      • Gal 4:24 (NIV) These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.
  • Abraham’s first son (Ishmael) was born of a slave woman. He was not the recipient of the Abrahamic covenant. But the son (Isaac) of the free woman was.

THE SLAVE WOMAN AND THE FREE WOMAN

  • Likewise the Old Covenant (Law) could not give us freedom or make us recipients of God’s covenant blessings.
      • Gal 4:25-26 (NIV) Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
  • New Covenant Christians are born of the free woman and not of the slave woman i.e. under the Law.
      • Gal 4:31 (NIV) Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

CHILDREN OF PROMISE

  • New Covenant Christians are also “children of promise.”
      • Gal 4:28-30 (NIV) Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”
  • We thus have a share in the inheritance.
      • Rom 8:17 (NIV) Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ …

THE SON OF PROMISE

  • Abraham tried to bring about the covenant promise through his own efforts by having a child with Hagar (the Law). But it is through the son of promise (Grace) that the covenant blessings are given.
    • Similarly we might try in vain to be justified by the Law (good works – our own efforts). But it is through the son of promise (Jesus) that our covenant blessings are freely received in the New Covenant.

NOT UNDER LAW

      • Gal 4:21-23 (NIV) Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
  • The son (Ishmael) born to the slave woman (Hagar - Law) through natural birth (according to the flesh) was NOT the covenant son.
  • The son (Isaac) born to the free woman (Sarah - Grace) through a miraculous birth (as the result of a divine promise) was the covenant son.

WHY WAIT SO LONG?

  • How many years passed before God fulfilled his promise? 25 years! Why the long wait?
  • It was a test of faith in God’s word.
    • Both Abraham and Sarah (Gen 18:10-12) are commended for their faith.
      • Heb 11:11 (NIV) And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.
    • Yet not only did they waver by trying to help God, both Abraham (Gen 17:17) and Sarah (Gen 18:10-12) laughed at one point at the prospect of having a child in their old age.

3 LAUGHS

  • Abraham falls down and laughs.
      • Gen 17:17 (ESV) Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
    • According to Ellicott * the Jewish interpreters regarded Abraham’s laugh as one of joy, and Sarah’s as one of unbelief.

ISHMAEL NOT THE COVENANT SON

    • Abraham then suggests that God use Ishmael to fulfil the promises (v. 18). God responds by agreeing to bless Ishmael, but affirms that he is not the covenant son.
      • Gen 17:19-21 (ESV) God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

I AM WORN OUT AND MY LORD IS OLD

  • Sarah laughs when Abraham entertains the 3 heavenly visitors.
      • Gen 18:10-12 (NIV) Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

REBUKE FOR UNBELIEF

  • Sarah’s laughter is clearly out of unbelief because she receives a gentile rebuke from the Lord.
      • Gen 18:13-15 (ESV) The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”

LAUGHTER OF JOY

  • After Isaac is born, Sarah’s initial laughter of unbelief is replaced with the laughter of joy!
      • Gen 21:6 (NIV) Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”

A SON CALLED “LAUGHTER”

  • When the son of promise is born, he is called Isaac (laughter) a perpetual reminder to them of the reliability of God to fulfil what is laughable to man.
      • For nothing will be impossible with God. (Luke 1:37, ESV)

AN ARMY OF 300 MEN

  • The other reason God waited so long was because he specifically wanted the situation to be hopeless in the eyes of man.
  • Remember in the case of Gideon how God reduces his army to a handful before his crucial encounter with the Midianites. Why?
    • So that they cannot claim the victory was of their own doing.

A BROKE WIDOW

  • God sends Elijah to the care of a poverty-stricken widow in Zarephath who only has enough food for one last meal. Why?
    • God uses someone who has no resources – to show that he is the supply.

A WET SACRIFICE

  • In the challenge against the prophets of Baal, Elijah pours water over the sacrifice that God needs to consume with fire. Why?
    • God waits until the situation is hopeless in the eyes of man before he steps in.

AS GOOD AS DEAD

  • Thus God waited until Abraham was as “good as dead” before Isaac is born.
      • Heb 11:12 (NIV) And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
  • When Sarah and Abraham are so old that the thought of having a child is laughable – even to them – only then does God send the child of promise.

ISAAC THE COVENANT SON

  • God had insisted that the covenant would be established with Sarah’s son, even though Abraham originally tried to convince God that it would be simpler to establish it with Ishmael instead.
      • Gen 17:18-21 (NIV) And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” Then God said; “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him … But my covenant I will establish with Isaac…”

IN ISAAC YOUR SEED SHALL BE CALLED

  • When Abraham was perturbed at the friction between Sarah and Ishmael, God assures him that while he would make Ishmael into a great nation, the Messianic promises regarding the seed (or “offspring” i.e. Jesus) would be fulfilled in Isaac.
      • Gen 21:11-12 (NKJV) And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight because of his son. But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.”

THE COVENANT CONFIRMED AGAIN

  • Years later, when Isaac has grown up, the covenant is once again confirmed with Abraham when he is prepared to offer his son of promise on the altar.
      • Gen 22:1-2 (ESV) After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take 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.”

YOUR ONLY SON ISAAC?

  • Q: Why is Isaac called Abraham’s only son when he already had Ishmael as a son?
  • A: The context of Hebrews 11:17-18 clearly shows that it was the son of the promise that is being referred to:
      • Heb 11:17 (ESV) By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only [Greek: monogenés] son …

MONOGENES – ONE OF A KIND

  • The word monogenés (Greek) used of Isaac in Hebrews 11:17 doesn’t simply mean “only begotten.” It is derived from two Greek terms, monos (only) and genos (class, kind). It literally means “one of a kind” or “unique”.
  • The KJV and NKJV render this as “only begotten [monogenés] son”.
  • A careful reading of the Bible shows that the phrase is used to affirm Isaac’s unique status, a status based on the following:
    • Ishmael was conceived normally without the need of any miraculous intervention.
    • Isaac was conceived miraculously to a barren mother and a very aged father.

A UNIQUE SON

      • Heb 11:17 (International Standard Version) By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered Isaac—he who had received the promises was about to offer his unique son in sacrifice
  • According to Wikipedia:
    • Monogenēs is a Greek word which may be used both as an adjective monogenēs pais only child, or only legitimate child, special child, and also on its own as a noun; o monogenēs “the only one”, or “the only legitimate child”. *
  • This is the same term applied to Jesus as being God’s ‘monogenés’ i.e. unique son, i.e. son of the covenant.

ONLY BEGOTTEN SON

      • John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten [monogenés] Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
      • John 1:14 (NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten [monogenés] of the Father, full of grace and truth.
      • 1 John 4:9 (NKJV) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten [monogenés] Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

A STRANGE TEST

  • God gave Abraham a command which seemingly came out of nowhere and is entirely out of character - as God himself had outlawed murder (Gen 9:6).
      • Gen 22:3 (ESV) So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

THE THIRD DAY

      • Gen 22:4-5 (ESV) On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”

HUMAN SACRIFICE?

  • Why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac when human sacrifice is consistently forbidden by God himself?
    • It was a test of Abraham’s faith in the promise of God.
      • James 2:21 (NIV) Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
    • Afterwards Abraham is told, “now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” (22:12)

MASTEMA (AKA SATAN)

  • In the non-canonical Book of Jubilees, the angel Mastema tempts men to sin and if they do, he accuses them before God. If they resist the temptation, the process acts as a strengthening of men’s character. This seems similar to the function of Satan in the Book of Job. Jubilees has Mastema urging God to test Abraham by demanding Isaac as a sacrifice.
    • Then Prince Mastema came and said before God: “Abraham does indeed love his son Isaac and finds him more pleasing than anyone else. Tell him to offer him as a sacrifice on an altar. Then you will see whether he performs this order and will know whether he is faithful in everything through which you test him.”
  • When Abraham passes the test “the prince Mastema was put to shame.” **

THROUGH ISAAC YOUR SEED WILL BE RECKONED

  • While canonical scripture makes no mention of Satan being involved in this incident, it is clear that the request by God was to test Abraham’s faith in God's loyalty to his covenant.
  • Remember that God had previously said “my covenant I will establish with Isaac” and “it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham's faith in God keeping his terms of the covenant was such, that when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, he believed that God would need to raise him from the dead in order to fulfil his promises.

I AND THE BOY … WILL COME AGAIN

  • This is borne out by Abraham’s words to the young men, “I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you” (Gen 22:5) – showing an expectation that both he and Isaac would return.
      • Heb 11:17-18 (NIV) By faith Abraham, when God tested Him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”
  • This shows the progression in Abraham’s faith. While he might have wavered in the beginning, this was an act of great faith.

TYPE OF RESURRECTION

  • The Book of Hebrews explains that Abraham’s declaration to his servants was due to his confidence in the resurrection. He was convinced that in order for God to fulfil the covenant promises (regarding descendants) that Isaac would come back down the mountain even if he had been offered. The sparing of Isaac’s life is regarded as being a type of resurrection.
      • Heb 11:19 (NIV) Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

ISAAC CARRIES THE LOAD

      • Gen 22:6 (ESV) 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 they went both of them together.

ISAAC’S AGE

  • The range for Isaac’s age based on the Biblical record is between around 2 - 37 years old.
    • As they climb the mountain, Isaac is the one carrying the large pile of wood. Wood enough for a burnt sacrifice would have been fairly heavy. This fact tells us Isaac wasn’t a small child when he was to be sacrificed; he was at least a healthy teenager. *
  • Isaac may have thought his aged father was getting a little absent-minded.
      • Gen 22:7 (ESV) And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father… Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

WHERE IS THE LAMB?

      • Gen 22:8 (ESV) Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” ...
  • Again, in faith, Abraham tells Isaac that God would provide the sacrificial lamb. But what did he mean by that statement?

GOD WILL PROVIDE

  • While Abraham probably never knew exactly how God would intervene, we saw that he did know the son of promise couldn’t die if the covenant promises were to be fulfilled.
  • Abraham was prophetic in his declaration. 2000 years later, in that same area, God would again “provide for himself a lamb” for the sacrificial offering.

Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29, ESV)

ISAAC BOUND

      • Gen 22:9 (ESV) When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

ISAAC’S SEEMING COMPLICITY

    • Isaac’s age also adds an interesting dimension to the story. If he was strong enough to carry the wood up the mountain, then he was probably strong enough to resist being sacrificed and fend off Abraham if he had wanted to. *
  • Yet Isaac seemingly offers no resistance when he is bound - just like Jesus who would willingly go with the soldiers even though he could have called 12 legions of angels for assistance (Matt 26:53).

ISAAC’S SEEMING COMPLICITY

  • Neither did he offer a defence at his trial.
      • Matt 26:62-63 (NIV) Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.
      • Isa 53:7 (NIV) He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

YOU HAVE NOT WITHHELD YOUR SON

      • Gen 22:10-12 (ESV) Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

THE SUBSTITUTE SACRIFICE

      • Gen 22:13 (ESV) And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

THE COVENANT IS REITERATED

  • After Abraham’s act of faith, the covenant is reiterated - all 3 aspects *
      • Gen 22:15-18 (NASB) Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

THE PROMISES REAFFIRMED TO ISAAC

  • Later when Isaac is a man, God appears to him and re-affirms all the covenant promises regarding land, descendants and blessings to the nations.
      • Gen 26:3-5 (NKJV) Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

JEHOVAH JIREH

  • But getting back to the incident where God provided a substitute sacrifice for Isaac we read:
      • Gen 22:14 (ESV) So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide” [Yahweh yireh]; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

YAHWEH YIREH

  • Yahweh Yireh (Jehovah Jireh) means “The Lord Will Provide” (Genesis 22:14).
    • Jehovah-Jireh is a symbolic name given to Mount Moriah by Abraham to memorialize the intercession of God in the sacrifice of Isaac by providing a substitute for the imminent sacrifice of his son. *
  • While this title is often used by people to indicate that God provides for our material and physical needs (which indeed he does) the actual context speaks specifically of God as being the provider of our spiritual needs – i.e. Jehovah will provide the sacrifice for our salvation.

ON THE MOUNT OF THE LORD

  • “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided” - In some sense it seems that Abraham understood that what had happened was pointing to the future redeemer of mankind.
      • John 8:56 (NIV) “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
    • All the verbs of John 8:56 are in the aorist tense, and thus connect Abraham’s joy with a special incident, when “he rejoiced to see the day of Christ.” *
  • While it is clear that the sacrifice of Isaac – Abraham’s only begotten son is a type of the sacrifice of Jesus – God’s only begotten Son, was Mount Moriah the same spot as Calvary?

WAS MOUNT MORIAH THE SAME AS CALVARY?

  • Mount Moriah is in Jerusalem - and the Temple was built there.
      • 2 Chron 3:1 (ESV) Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to David his father… on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
  • Now Jesus was not crucified on the Temple Mount which many Jews identify as the spot where Abraham went with Isaac.
  • But Abraham was told to “go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains…” Hence there was more than one mountain in Moriah.

ONE OF THE MOUNTAINS IN MORIAH

  • Calvary is not called a mountain in Scripture but simply “a place.”
      • Luke 23:33 (NKJV) And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him…
  • But Jerusalem and its suburbs are all located in a mountainous area. Psalm 125:2 says that “the mountains surround Jerusalem.”
    • While the Gospels merely identify Calvary as a "place" (τόπος), Christian tradition since at least the 6th century has described the location as a "mountain" or "hill". *

THE HILL OF EXECUTION

    • An alternative suggestion, due to Krafft (1846) proposes that the reported association with the word "skull" is a popular etymology of an original name Gol Goatha, interpreted (by Krafft) as meaning "heap of death", or "hill of execution"; the supposed toponym Goatha has also been identified, by Ferguson (1847), with the location called Goʿah in Jeremiah 31:39, in a description of the geography of Jerusalem. *
      • Jer 31:38-39 (NIV) “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when this city will be rebuilt for me from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. The measuring line will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah.

THE PLACE OF THE SKULL

  • In all four Gospels the site of Jesus’ crucifixion is referred to as Golgotha, (Aramaic: “Skull,”) also called Calvary, (from Latin calva: “bald head,” or “skull”). Many Protestants identify this as a skull-shaped hill in Jerusalem called Gordon’s Calvary just north of the Damascus Gate.

ONE OF THE MOUNTAINS IN MORIAH

  • While Jesus was crucified outside Jerusalem - and not actually on the Temple Mount - it MIGHT have been the spot where the near-sacrifice of Isaac occurred although we cannot be dogmatic on this issue.
  • But it is certainly in the same general area and there is no doubt that Abraham is pointing prophetically to the future sacrifice of Christ when he names the mountain “The LORD will provide.”

THE LAMB OF GOD

  • Jesus was Abraham’s promised Seed through whom God would bless all the nations of the earth (Gal 3:8-18). He was crucified on a cross in Jerusalem, the very same area - where centuries before - Isaac’s life was spared by a substitute sacrifice. Once again the LORD would provide a sacrifice on the mountain.

THE LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH

  • His death is portrayed as a sacrifice for sin, his unblemished, sinless life paying the ransom for those enslaved by sin and death (Acts 3:13-26, 1 Pet 2:18-25).
    • 1 Pet 1:18-19 (NIV) For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN

  • Jesus’ death was not an accident but took place according to the plan and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). Through Christ, God did for us what we could not do: atone for our sin (Rom 5:6-11, 8:1-5, Eph 2:1-18).
  • Rev 5:6-9 (NIV) Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne … the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb… And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
  • Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from:
    • THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
  • Other Scripture quotations taken from:
    • The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
    • The New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
    • The New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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