In Genesis 22, God tests father Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his son Isaac on the mountains of Moriah. Abraham shows himself willing, which was all God really required. The test surely shows Abraham’s faith. And unslain Isaac, himself willing to die and figuratively rising from the dead, surely foreshadows the Son of God Who truly died and actually rose from the dead.
But what of the ram caught in the thicket and offered in place of Isaac? Like the lambs and bulls and goats appointed under the law which came later, does this beast not also prefigure the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world?
The great I AM WHO I AM spoke to Moses out of a burning yet unconsumed bush. What a a marvelously “incarnationally flavored” theophany; the divine and human natures united in the one Person of Christ! Does not the thicket entrapped ram have the same flavor?
The eternal Son allowed Himself to be caught in a thorny thicket of wicked human hands which put a crown of thorns on His head. And in place of not only the ancient son of promise, but of all those who like Isaac are children of promise (Galatians 4:28), He was offered once for all.
And that once for all offering of Himself was on the same mountain ridge which was called Moriah when Abraham was tested. There was the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite where David was divinely commanded to offer sacrifces (2 Samuel 24:18-25). There Solomon’s temple, where the blood of countless foreshadowing beasts wold be spilled, was built. Abraham called the name of the place, “the LORD will provide.” In that place the ultimate Provision was made.
Both the scapegoat and the slain goat of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) speak of the One Who was slain and carried our sins far away. That is, He both fully propitiated divine wrath and fully expiated human guilt. The rich depth of divine articulation is likewise revealed here in Genesis 22, and indeed throughout Scripture.
How profound and wonderful is the fulness of the atoning work of Christ, satisfying both the righteousness of the thrice holy God and the needs of guilty, corrupt sinners! It requires that the written word of God be an intricate tapestry deeply dyed with Gospel ink. Truly, every jot and tittle speaks of Him!