After Abraham failed in the symbolic offering, God commanded him to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering. In this way, God began a new dispensation for the purpose of restoring through indemnity Abraham’s failure.
Abraham obeyed God’s instruction to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, who was born to Abraham in his old age. In giving this instruction, God was taking a serious risk, unprecedented in history. Whatever decision Abraham made, whether he obeyed the directive or not, that decision would become a condition representing heaven and earth; the fate of everything that happens in heaven and on earth, as well as the fate of millions of future lives, depended on it. Although Abraham had no idea of the importance of the moment, once he received this instruction, he made a sincere attempt to lay his son Isaac on the altar and sacrifice him.
Imagine what was going on in Abraham’s soul as he held the knife over his beloved son to kill him! His soul literally went beyond reality. Who could recognize such faith in those days? By doing what God expected of him at that most serious, risky moment, Abraham proved by his fearless act that both he and his family belonged to Heaven.
This is what Abraham prayed as he sacrificed Isaac: “Even though Isaac is my son, he belongs to You. Therefore, I sacrifice him for You.” The rest was of no consequence to him.
It is not clear how old Isaac was when Abraham offered the boy as a sacrifice. He was old enough to carry the wood for the sacrifice, and when he saw there was no lamb to be offered, he inquired of his father about it. Isaac was apparently old enough to understand his father’s intentions. We can infer that he helped his father, even though he knew that his father was preparing to offer him as the sacrifice.
If Isaac had resisted his father’s attempt to offer him as a sacrifice, God definitely would not have accepted the offering. In fact, Isaac demonstrated a faith as great as that of Abraham. Together, their faith made the offering successful, and there was no way for Satan to retain his hold on them. In making the offering, Isaac and Abraham underwent a process of death and resurrection. As a result, two things were accomplished. First, Abraham succeeded in the separation of Satan, who had invaded him because of his mistake in the symbolic offering. He restored through indemnity the position he had occupied before he had made the mistake and transferred his providential mission to Isaac from this restored position. Second, by faithfully obeying God’s Will, Isaac inherited the divine mission from Abraham and demonstrated the faith which qualified him to make the symbolic offering.
How did Abraham offer Isaac? When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad 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.”
Abraham’s faith was absolute. In obedience to God’s command, he was about to kill Isaac, his only son, intending to offer him as a burnt offering. God intervened at that moment and told Abraham not to kill the boy. Abraham’s zeal to do God’s Will and his resolute actions, carried out with absolute faith, obedience and loyalty, lifted him up to the position of already having killed Isaac. Therefore, he completely separated Satan from Isaac. God commanded Abraham not to kill Isaac because Isaac, now severed of all ties to Satan, stood on God’s side. We must also understand that when God said, “now I know . . .” He revealed both His reproach to Abraham for his earlier failure in the symbolic offering and His joy over the successful offering of Isaac. Because Abraham succeeded in his offering of Isaac, the providence of restoration in Abraham’s family could be carried on by Isaac.
In the way of doing God’s will, we must be willing to give up our “Isaac,” that which is most precious to us, but which may hinder the realization of a greater goal.