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Grace Bible Church

Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries


The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.

The Tree of Life for week ending 04/28/02.
The Doctrine of the Abrahamic Covenant. Part 3.

The doctrine of the Abrahamic Covenant is still our subject, and the ninth point we have noted in this study is that amplification of the covenant is given after Abraham passes momentum testing, GEN 22:17-24.

GEN 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning

Abraham was caused to get up early by the motivation he had from his occupation with the person of Christ. He had maximum category one love (toward God), a perfect scale of values, phenomenal maturity, and perfect confidence in the Giver and in His justice and fairness. Even though the gift was obviously being withdrawn by the command to sacrifice his son Isaac, it made no difference in the relationship.
Abraham did not seek counsel from his wife or friends; he did not talk it over with anyone. Divine challenges and commands are only confused when counseling gets involved. When the Word of God speaks of "counselors," it refers to Biblical doctrines residing in the believer's soul, as in PRO 1:5, "A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel." The understanding does not come from other people; it comes from God's Word. Abraham received counsel from the Lord, doctrine resident in the soul.

GEN 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey.

The Hebrew noun "chamor," translated "donkey," refers to the highest quality of individual transportation at the time. Abraham had great bles-sings and the capacity to appreciate them. This is a part of Abraham's blessing for time, and inasmuch as he is occupied with the person of Jesus Christ, the greatest wealth in the world could not destroy his attitude toward the Lord or his spiritual life. It is not the possession of things that can hold you back; it is lack of occupation with the person of Christ. Abraham was able to enjoy what he had, and his motivation and willingness to obey is revealed by the fact that he saddled his own donkey.

GEN 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son.

The word for "son," "beno," means beloved son. This is his most precious gift, his beloved son; however, Abraham is more occupied with the Giver than he is with the gift.
GEN 22:3 he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

The Hebrew verb for "arose" is "quwm," indicating that everything was done with vigor and with the intent of complete obedience. There was no hesitancy and no evasion; the mature believer assumes the responsibility for his own actions and is decisive in them. He understands the issue and pursues the policy of God with vigor and strength.

GEN 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his ass, and took two of his young slaves with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

God sends us no trials or tests, whether great or small, without first preparing us and providing a way of escape that we may be able to bear it. These tests and trials are God's vote of confidence in us with the doctrine we have learned. Abraham recognizes divine authority and obeys without hesitation.

There are many parallels between Isaac and Jesus Christ.

The birth of Isaac foreshadows the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isaac was the child of promise, and more was said about him before his birth than about any other, with the only exception of Abraham's greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaac was the child of a miracle; Sarah's womb was "dead," ROM 4:19, and she needed supernatural help, Heb 11:11. This is a foreshadowing of the miraculous virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaac was also the promised seed and son, GEN 17:16; so also was Jesus Christ, GEN 3:15, ISA 7:14.

When Isaac's birth was an-nounced, his mother asked, in GEN 18:13, "Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?" to which the answer was returned, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" The striking analogy is seen in the fact that when the angel of the Lord made known to Mary that she was to be the mother of the Savior, she asked inLUK 1:34, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" Then the answer was returned in LUK 1:37, "For nothing will be impossible with God."

Isaac's name was specified before he was born in GEN 17:19. Before Jesus Christ's birth, His Name too was specified, MAT 1:21.

Isaac was declared to be Abraham's uniquely born son whom he loved; our Lord was called the uniquely born Son of God.

GEN 22:4 On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance.

There is nothing to indicate that Abraham had anything but complete peace on this three-day journey. There is no change in the happiness of the mature believer in the midst of the greatest disasters in life. Tranquility and peace is not freedom from pressure, but rather blessing in the midst of pressure. Doctrine resident in the soul provides the basis for victory over the adverse circumstances of life, and God guarantees the mature believer that all things will work together for good.

God had informed Abraham that he would tell him which mountain was the appointed location of the sacrifice, and now in GEN 22:4 Abraham suddenly recognizes the chosen place, which was to be the scene of the ultimate act on the part of a believer, proving that the Giver is more important than the gift.

GEN 22:5 begins to show the dynamics of maximum application of doctrine to experience.

GEN 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men [slaves], "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you."

Abraham was surrounded by dependable and trustworthy servants, which speaks well of his treatment of his slaves. The command to remain at the foot of the mountain with the chamor ass indicates Abraham's trust of his slaves. The noun translated "lad" is "wehanna'ar," and it does not mean a "lad" at all; it means that he is a young man.

Notice that Abraham says that we will worship and we will return. Abraham knew the command, and he had complete confidence in the Lord. He knew the covenant that was given to him stated, "In Isaac shall your seed be called,"GEN 17:19. We read in HEB 11:19, "He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead." If he really is going to kill Isaac according to the divine instructions, it is obvious to Abraham that the Lord will have to raise him from the dead.

To the slaves this is a very simple thing; as far as they are concerned, the father and the son are going to the top of mountain to worship the Lord there. Competent leadership made it simple.

GEN 22:5 And Abraham said to his young slaves, "Stay here with the ass, and I and the young man will go yonder; and we will worship and we will return to you."
Note that Abraham is dogmatic in his thinking, when he says, "We will return to you." This clear, dogmatic thinking is based on his tremendous confidence in the justice of God. Another principle to note here is that those in positions of authority do not have to give explanations for what they do. In fact, in many cases, if they give reasons and explanations, they violate the rights and privacy of others. This is why we must learn to obey without questioning authority.

Abraham believed in the doctrine of resurrection and therefore applied it to this situation. He believed that God keeps His Word and therefore had a dogmatic confidence that Isaac would come back down that hill with him, because it is impossible for God to lie. This relates to ROM 4:2-3, "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."

Abraham was justified in two ways:
Justification before God by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, GEN 15:6.
Justification before man, JAM 2:21.

As a result of passing the test of Gen 22, he was vindicated before man, identified as a mature believer, and called a friend of God. He had said that he and Isaac were going up the mountain to worship, and the utilization of doctrine is the highest form of worship.

Someday you will be called upon to use a maximum amount of doctrine in a crisis, and it will be your greatest moment of worship. The high point in your life is that time when you will make the most use of the doctrine in your soul. Learning doctrine is not the end; faithfulness in learning will make doctrine the working object of your faith. You will then produce works that have eternal repercussions. These are the gold, silver, and precious stones at the judgment seat of Christ.

The real power of Christianity is found in doctrine. Love for the Lord Jesus Christ is based upon the believer's attitude toward Bible doctrine, JOH 14:23, "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.'" The intake of doctrine is the basic concept of worship. The application of that doctrine is the overt, visible justification by works, JAM 2:21, "Was not Abraham our father justified [vindicated] by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?" The works are merely what is seen, but it is the doctrine that produces the works! James continues in JAM 2:22-23, "You see that doctrine was working with his works, and as a result of the works, the doctrine was completed [fully developed], and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness [salvation, GEN 15:6],' and he was called the 'friend of God [justification by works, 2CH 20:7, ISA 41:8].'"

Abraham did not go up the hill to advance or improve his spiritual life, nor to get blessed or make points with God. He did so to worship God; there was no thought of advancement or gaining anything from God. The test was not designed to promote Abraham but to reveal how much he had already been promoted. The mature believer does what he does and gives what he gives, without seeking advancement or promotion from God. Abraham went up that hill to demonstrate who and what God is. He is called the friend of God in three passages, and whether the Lord gives him a pat on the head or not is not the issue. This is why he had such a great, intimate relationship with God.

The mature believer lives in the principle of ECC 9:10, "Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might." The friend of God has a perfect happiness in life and a remarkable promotion and blessing in eternity, which is indescribable. God tests His friends in ways that He would never test anyone else.

Under the first mention principle, Abraham portrays the true meaning of substitutionary sacrifice. Isaac is a young man, probably 25 years old, and he recognizes the authority of doctrine and is willing to offer himself on the altar. His relationship with his father has taught him to be as obedient to the will of God as his father is. Isaac becomes a perfect picture of the uniquely born Son of God offering Himself for our sins on the Cross. The sacrifice on the mountain was to take place between the father and the son only. When God judged our sins in His Son, it was a private matter between Him and the Lord Jesus Christ.

GEN 22:6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son.

Remember that Isaac is approximately 25 years old and this is important because he is the stronger of the two, and he willingly allows his father to put him on the altar. Most young men at this age would never go along with this. The volition of Isaac, the potential sacrifice, is definitely involved. We can see what kind of respect for authority he has, not only for the authority of God, but also for the authority of his father, who is communicating the orders. The positive volition of Isaac foreshadows the human volition of the Lord Jesus Christ in facing the Cross, JOH 10:17, "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again."

Like our Lord Jesus Christ, Isaac was willing to do his father's will. Just as Abraham laid the wood on his son, so the Lord Jesus Christ carried the burden of our sins. This entire sequence of events portrays an act of justice whereby God the Father would judge all sins as the Lord Jesus Christ bore them on the Cross.

For a more detailed study, order last week's tapes, IA11-134 to IA11-138.

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