Why did God command Abraham to sacrifice Isaac when He also commanded, “you shall not kill”?

God said to Abraham “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2a). God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac to impress upon his mind the reality of God’s future sacrifice of His own Son to save mankind, and also to test his faith.

Abraham passed the test and showed unwavering faith. For he reasoned had not He who bestowed the precious gift a right to recall His own? And Abraham repeated the promise, “In Isaac shall they seed be called”–a seed numberless as the grains of sand upon the shore. Isaac was the child of a miracle, and could not the power that gave him life restore it? Looking beyond that which was seen, Abraham grasped the divine word, “accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19).

Abraham believed God, “and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: an he was called the friend of God” (James 2:23). But Abraham’s faith was made manifest by his works. “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?”(James 2:21, 22).

Through type and promise, God “preached before the gospel unto Abraham” (Galatians 3:8). And the patriarch’s faith was fixed upon the Redeemer to come.  Christ said to the Jews. “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he should see My day; and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56). The ram offered in the place of Isaac represented the Son of God, who was to be sacrificed in our stead. When man was doomed to death by transgression of the law of God, the Father, looking upon His Son, said to the sinner, “Live: I have found a ransom.”

None but God could understand how great was the Abraham’s sacrifice in yielding up his son to death. While God saved Abraham’s Son from death, He offered His own Son to redeem mankind. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Through God’s gift, it becomes possible for us to be “called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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