Walking to Death: Isaac and Jesus

Walking to Death: Isaac and Jesus

How beautifully and intricately the Old Testament prefigures Christ. I read the following words concerning Abraham and Isaac walking to the mountain where Isaac was to be slain. Some, not all, believe this to be the same mount where the Temple was later to be built and close to the very place where Jesus was later crucified.

“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 22:6).

Isaac, clearly a type of Christ in his death and resurrection as the writer of Hebrews states (Heb 11:17-19), carried his own means of execution, just as Jesus bore his own until he could do so no longer into the darkness of his death. John said succinctly, without mention of Simon of Cyrene’s eventual help, “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” (Jn 19:17).

The wood for burning and the wooden cross for crucifying was laid on Isaac and Jesus. The son Isaac walked along with his father, Abraham, just as the Son Christ walked with his Father in perfect unbroken union as He had always known for all the eternal past to the place of his impending death. It is there that the great separation death brings was to be experienced.

Isaac rose from his near death at the voice of “The Angel of the LORD,” a term often chosen for the preincarnate Christ when he appeared in the Old Testament. It is precisely the term used in the Genesis passage so that we might make this connection between Jesus as the later Isaac and Jesus as the deliverer. Jesus was the one who cried out to Abraham to stop his knife, and he was also prefigured in the ram caught in the bushes provided for Abraham as the substitute sacrifice. Beyond what happened to Isaac, yet similar, Jesus rose after fully dying for the sins of those he came to save. Imagine how the eternal Son must have contemplated his death in those Genesis moments, and that deliverance of Isaac, which he would someday experience himself in a much more profound way.