Introduction: I believe one of the most important reasons for the Old Testament is to give us shadows of Jesus Christ. These shadows vary in many forms and some show the cross, others show the empty tomb, life of Jesus (especially the betrayal and trial) while others show the coming return of Jesus!
The shadows of Christ are made by the light of God’s word shining off certain biblical, Old Testament figures. The shadow cast, depicts certain times of Christ’s life. In the case of Isaac, our object casting a shadow, it is the cross.
And He [God] said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”
Here we have the first ray of light shining at Isaac, the shadow being cast is the who, place and manner Christ was going to be crucified.
First, the “who”. Abraham had only one true, legal son, Isaac. But, he wasn’t just any son that God picked for the sacrifice. He was the only one of Abraham, like Christ of God. But, Isaac was also a promised son, just like God promised Christ. So, the first verse casts a shadow of who Christ would be, an only Son of God as well as a fulfillment to a promise.
The land of Moriah included all the mountains of Jerusalem but, since, what we know as Mount Cavalry, is the highest mountain it is believed that Abraham took Isaac here to be sacrificed. Same place as Christ.
The manner to which Isaac was to be sacrificed also spoke of Christ. A burnt offering was the way of the offerer to say to God that he was completely committed to following Him. In the case of Abraham, it was his way of saying that he would do anything that God commanded.
However, in the case of Christ, it is quite different . . . yet the same. With Christ, He offered Himself as the total sacrifice of commitment to God. He did everything for God by sacrificing Himself, something neither Abraham nor Isaac did.
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
A similarity can easily be seen here. Like Christ, Isaac had to bear the very thing that would kill him. But, unlike Isaac, Christ had to carry, and drink the sin of the world (Matthew 26:42) as well as carry the cross. Christ took on a mental, emotional and physical task just getting to Golgotha.