Sunday, December 25, 2011

Notes on Genesis 22

The Sacrifice of Isaac

"The sacrifice required of Abraham in the offering of Isaac shows that if a man would attain the keys of the Kingdom of an endless life; he must sacrifice all things."

-Joseph Smith

Isaac as type or symbol of Jesus Christ

1. Both were products of miraculous births.
2. Both thought to be approximately the same age when they were offered.
3. Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice just as the Savior carried the wood of his cross.
4. Both were offered on Mt. Moriah or its environs.
5. Both offered themselves willingly.

The Burnt Offering
See verse 2.

Easton's Bible Dictionary

Hebrew olah; i.e., "ascending," the whole being consumed by fire, and regarded as ascending to God while being consumed. Part of every offering was burnt in the sacred fire, but this was wholly burnt, a "whole burnt offering." It was the most frequent form of sacrifice, and apparently the only one mentioned in the book of Genesis. Such were the sacrifices offered by Abel (Gen_4:3, Gen_4:4, here called minhah; i.e., "a gift"), Noah (Gen_8:20), Abraham (Gen_22:2, Gen_22:7, Gen_22:8, Gen_22:13), and by the Hebrews in Egypt (Exo_10:25).

The Ram as burnt offering

The ram was a symbol of strength. The burnt offering symbolized an offering of one's entire self to God. Perhaps the Lord offering a ram to Abraham to sacrifice in the stead of Isaac was a recognition of Abraham's entire devotion to God. An acknowledgement that all of Abraham's strength was consumed in serving God.

Interestingly this story also seems to fit the pattern laid out by the facsimiles found in the Book of Abraham:

Facsimile 1 - Sacrifice
Facsimile 2 - Vision
Facsimile 3 - Enthronement

In Genesis 22-23 we see a similar pattern:

Chapter 22 describes the sacrifice of Isaac
Chapter 22 verses 15 - 18 briefly describes a vision or visitation experienced by Abraham.
Chapter 23 verse 6 acknowledges Abraham's royal authority.

In verse 6 Abraham is described as a "prince". The word "prince" is translated from the Hebrew נשאי (Nasi) which can be translated as:

1. An exalted one
2. King or sheik
3. Prince
4. Captain
5. Chief

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