In Genesis Chapter 22 we read about a time where there were only a handful of followers of the true God, Abraham and his family. God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as many as the sands on the seashore. A son, Isaac, was born to show that the promise was beginning to be fulfilled. Then a shocking development: God told Abraham to take his son Isaac to a mountain called Moriah and to sacrifice him there. Abraham could not see how this was consistent with God’s promises but he obeyed and set out. As they drew near to the mountain, Isaac asked what was going on: “We have the fire and the wood, but where is the victim for the sacrifice?” Abraham answered, “The Lord will provide the sacrifice.” He spoke in faith, better than he knew. He actually got to the point of binding Isaac and raising a knife to kill him, when God stopped him, saying “I see that you trust me.” Abraham looked up and found a ram caught in a thicket. It turned out as he had said, God provided a sacrificial victim.
This story was foundational for the Jewish people. Mount Moriah came to be identified with the hill on which the city of Jerusalem and its grand Temple were later built.
Fast forward to about 30 A.D. Jesus, a preacher from Nazareth in the north country, came to Jerusalem. There he was arrested and condemned by the religious leaders and executed, at their request, by the Roman governor. His dispirited followers at first hid to avoid being arrested themselves. Then after three days Jesus returned from the dead.
Looing through the Jewish writings to try to make sense of this, the early Christians (who were Jews) pondered Genesis Chapter 22. They realized that, just as God had provided a sacrifice for Abraham on Mount Moriah, God had again, this time once and for all, provided a sacrifice to take away sins (and evil and death). They realized that God’s plan had been in place ever since the beginning of the Jewish people.
Join us and learn more about the fascinating history of God’s plan to save humanity.