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.
And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, “My father”: and he said, “Here am I, my son.” And he said, “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
Just as Christ knew that God was working through Him to redeem the world and show all that He loved them with an unquenchable love, Isaac saw that his father was going to make a burnt offering to the LORD to show his commitment. But, Isaac didn’t understand that he was the sacrifice.
And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
Just what was going on in Isaac’s mind, I do not know, but, I can tell you this, like Isaac was bound and laid upon wood, so was Christ nailed to a wooden cross to endure hours of cruel pain.
And 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.”
Personally, I love that the angel of the LORD had to call Abraham’s name twice. For me that emphasizes Abraham’s resolve to do this for God. A name called once could be a mistake or the mind playing tricks but the name being said twice is a sure indicator that someone is talking. As far as I read it took two calls for Abraham to respond.
Here is where the story changes somewhat. It is easy for a man to pay for a lamb so he can give it as a burnt offering for a sign of his commitment but it is much harder to give your only son as that sacrifice. This is what Abraham did and God acknowledged his willingness to do it and utter love for Him.
It is somewhat the same way with Christ. God gave Christ as the greatest token of His love for mankind. If we cannot accept that and acknowledge the suffering Christ and God went through to save us from our sin . . . then we are lost.
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.
For Abraham he didn’t just relax and take Isaac and leave. No, he took effort (lifting his eyes can mean that very thing) to find a suitable sacrifice to replace his son. For Christ, He was the perfect sacrifice. Just like the ram replaced Isaac, so did Christ replace man’s sacrifices.
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.”
And, “in the mount of the LORD” it was seen that Jesus Christ has taken the sin of the world upon Himself and that He has given everything for mankind. Let us not forget the shadow of Isaac, for it teaches of Christ.