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Jerusalem - its once-for-all sacrifice

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.” 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. 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.” 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. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. 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. 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.” 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. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”. Genesis 22: 1-14
The incident in bold above is from a very ancient book – Genesis – which means “Beginning”. What about it? Well, a man named Moses (alive circa 1300 BC) was traditionally regarded as the author of Genesis. Scholars in the last century have put forward a possible date of around 500 BC and alternative authorship. 

‘Christ is the still point of the turning world.’ (T S Eliot, British essayist, 1888-1965)
However, it is agreed by all that Genesis was translated into the Greek language around 300 BC. Therefore, there is absolutely no doubt that it was written before Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again in Palestine (BC 4 – AD 30). 

Some of my friends strongly maintain that Jesus, (if he ever existed they tell me) when reading the Old Testament in the Jewish Bible (of which Genesis is the first book), decided that if he could fulfil the Old Testament Scriptures he would have a great following. My friends claim that Jesus did just that – said things, taught things and lived so as to fulfil Old Testament prophesy about the Messiah. They think, in that way, to deal Jesus a death blow.

In fact, these claims of my friends are probably true and right. In the prophetic incident in bold above, please note how Jesus fulfilled the Scripture record. 

  1. Abraham’s son is described as “your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love”; Jesus came claiming to be the only begotten Son of the Father above. When he was baptized a voice from heaven came saying “You are my Son, my beloved, with you I am well pleased.” 
  2. Abraham as father led his own son to be sacrificed; Jesus went to die on the cross stating clearly that in doing so the will of his Father was being fulfilled. 
  3. A donkey carried Isaac to the place of sacrifice; Jesus entered Jerusalem a week before his death riding a donkey (not a war horse). 
  4. Isaac carried the wood to his place of sacrifice: Jesus carried his wooden cross to Calvary, then outside Jerusalem's city walls. 
  5. Abraham told Isaac, his son, “The LORD himself will provide a sacrifice”: The LORD himself did provide the sacrifice – His Son, the LORD made flesh for us.
  6. Elsewhere in the Old Testament, Moriah, where Abraham brought Isaac, is identified as the place in Jerusalem where King Solomon (c. 960 BC) built his Temple to the LORD.

‘This man changed history. Our dating, our culture, our legal system, our educational system and the belief that has dominated vast amounts of this world for the last 2,000 years, all stem from this one individual who died as a young man after a short time in the public eye.’ (Simon Austen)
But have you thought about one overarching truth in all this? The words in bold above were definitely written centuries before Jesus died. Jesus did fulfil those words. What kind of man would decide to do that? What kind of man would decide to be killed so as to fulfil an ancient story in an old book?

What good would it do for him if he did so decide and did go through with it? What good would it do to his enemies?
Sinner Syvret

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