“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” Genesis 22:13-14 (Read v. 1-19)
The account of God’s testing of Abraham’s faith is indeed remarkable, for God told Abraham to offer up as a burnt offering his own beloved son Isaac, the son God had promised to him and through whom God had promised to make Abraham a blessing to the nations of this world. Abraham obeyed, taking the wood, the fire and his son Isaac and traveling to the specific mountain at which God told him to offer up his son.
God’s Word tells us in the book of Hebrews (11:17-19) that “by faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”
Abraham took his son Isaac, bound him and laid him on the altar; and, as Abraham raised the knife to kill Isaac and offer him up as a burnt sacrifice, “the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (v. 11-12).
It was then that “Abraham lifted up his eyes” and saw “a ram caught in a thicket by his horns, and Abraham offered up the ram as a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” Abraham named the place “Jehovahjireh,” which means, “in the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.”
And this substitute ram offered up in the place of Isaac, the father of Israel, certainly points us to another substitute offering for the sins of the world — possibly sacrificed on the very same mountain in the land of Moriah (cf. 2 Chronicles 3:1). Jesus Christ, God’s only-begotten Son made man, born of the Virgin Mary, was offered up in our stead — in the stead of all mankind. The holy and innocent Son of God bore the sins of the world and was sacrificed upon the cross on Golgotha, just outside ancient Jerusalem, to make full atonement for the sins of all mankind.
The prophet Isaiah wrote (53:5-6): “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” And John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Jesus is our substitute. He atoned for our sins so that we could be pardoned and forgiven by a just and holy God. And when we look in faith to Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for the sins of all, God pardons us, declares us just, righteous and forgiven, and He accepts us as His own dear children (cf. Romans 3:23-26; Ephesians 1:6-7; 1 John 1:7 — 2:2; Galatians 3:26-29).
Indeed, in the mountain of the LORD, God has provided for us a substitute, His only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed for us to atone for our sins and raised up again that we might trust in Him and have forgiveness and life through faith in His name!
We thank Thee, dear Lord Jesus, for bearing our sins and being our substitute, that we might have pardon and life everlasting through faith in Your name. Amen.
[Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible]