Adrian Rogers - An Old Testament Portrait of Jesus
Would you take God's Word and find Genesis chapter 22. And those of you who've known and loved the Bible for a long time know that we're on sacred ground in Genesis chapter 22. After you've found it let me remind you of something; that on, at 11:30 a.m. May the 29th, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary stood at the very top of Mount Everest. He was the first man to ever climb that mountain and reach the top; 29,032 feet. He planted the British flag there. No man could climb higher on this earth than Sir Edmund Hillary climbed when he climbed Mount Everest that day. Up sheer walls of ice, howling winds, deep crevasses, rock after rock, steep, torturous, dangerous, up and up and up Sir Edmund Hillary went. But there's another mountain, spiritually, more steep, spiritually, more costly than Mount Everest. It is when Abraham and Isaac went together to climb Mount Moriah.
And we're going to see that today, because when Abraham and Isaac in the Old Testament went up Mount Moriah so long ago for a very special offering, it was a foretaste of Calvary. It was a dress rehearsal for Calvary. It was a picture, a prophecy, an Old Testament portrait of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. No one could, without divine inspiration, write a book like the Bible. And I hope today that you'll be blessed as I am blessed as we look into this wonderful chapter because the Bible says, the Lord Jesus said in John chapter 8 and verse 56 that "Abraham rejoiced to see My day and was glad". Abraham saw Jesus, he, "Rejoiced to see My day and was glad". And in Galatians chapter 3 verse 8 we read that the Gospel was preached to Abraham. Now Abraham lived centuries before Jesus Christ was born in the flesh upon this earth. There're several things I want you to notice in this chapter. The very first thing is what I want to call a special person, and that special person was Isaac. Isaac, the son of Abraham, was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, and let me tell you how.
First of all, his birth was prophesied. Go back to Genesis chapter 18 if you will and we haven't read yet from Genesis 22, but just go to Genesis 18 for just a moment, and let's get a running start. In Genesis 18 beginning in verse 9 through verse 14, "And the angel said unto him, 'Where is Sarah thy wife?'" that is, speaking to Abraham, "and he said, 'Behold, in the tent.' And he said, 'I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son and Sarah heard it in the tent door which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and wellstricken in age and it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women," that is, Sarah had gone through the menopause. It was, her womb was no longer productive, and Abraham was presumably too old to have to father a child. And so when Sarah heard that she was going to be a mother, the Bible says in verse 12, "Therefore, Sarah laughed within herself, saying, 'After I am waxed old, shall I have pleasure, my Lord being old also?' And the Lord said unto Abraham, 'Wherefore did Sarah laugh? Saying, 'Shall I of a surety bear a child which am old?'"
Now here's the key to the whole thing; look at it in verse 14, "Is anything too hard for the Lord"? By the way, I want to ask you that question. "Is anything too hard for the Lord"? No. "'Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed,'" underscore that, "'at the time appointed I will return unto thee according to the time of life and Sarah shall have a son.'" That is, here is a birth that is prophesied, and it was a miracle birth. Isaac was born of a miracle, just as the Lord Jesus was born of a miracle in His virgin birth. Now also, not only was his birth prophesied, his birthdate was preset. In Genesis 18:10, God said to Sarah and Abraham, "I'm going to do it at a time appointed".
Now the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world, the Bible tells us in Galatians 4:4, "In the fullness of time". Now this Child was named before he was born. Go back to Genesis chapter 17 and look if you will in verse 19, "Call his name," the angel said, "Isaac". Jesus was named before He was born. Matthew 1 verse 21, "Thou shalt bring forth a son and call His name Jesus". Isaac was conceived by a miracle, just as Jesus was conceived as by a miracle. Isaiah 7 verse 14, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and be with child". Our sweet Jewish friends, and I hope some of them are, are listening today to this program. You know they wonder about our faith, that we believe in a virginborn Savior. They wonder about that. Precious friend, if you're a Jew, I want to tell you something. You are here because of a miracle. Every Jew today is the result of a miracle birth. When Sarah and Abraham came together and had a son; that was a miracle. When little Isaac was born, Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90. I can see Abraham coming out of the maternity ward on a cane, saying, "It's a boy"! Here he is! 100 years of age.
Listen, the birth of Isaac was prophesied. He came at a set time; his name was given before he was born. His very birth was because of a miracle conception. And he was counted as Abraham's only beloved son. Let's go back to our text now, beginning in verse 1, Genesis 22 verse 1 through 3, "And it came to pass after these things that God did tempt," that literally means God did test, "Abraham and said unto him, 'Abraham', and he said, 'Behold, here I am.'" Now watch this, "And he said, 'Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest.'" Now what does that remind you of? John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son". "'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 was this one, conceived by a miracle, counted as Abraham's only son, and now God the Father says, "Abraham, I want you to offer your son, your only son as a burnt offering". Abraham saw his son raised from the dead. Now, he did not see him literally raised from the dead, but he saw him figuratively raised from the dead. The Bible, go down to Genesis 22 verse 4, and it says, "Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off". That is, he saw Mount Moriah afar off. Abraham and Isaac, going to the place of sacrifice; after three days, Abraham sees Moriah as it rears its head there on the horizon. In the heart and mind of Abraham, from the time that God told Abraham to put his son to death was three days, just as the Lord Jesus Christ was three days and three nights in the grave. In the heart and mind of Abraham, Isaac was as good as dead for three days.
You say, "Pastor, I think you're pushing the point here". No I'm not. Put in your margin Hebrews 11 and verse 19. The Bible says that Abraham did this, and I'm reading, "Accounting that God was able to raise him up even from the dead, from whence also he received him in a figure". Abraham said, "God, if You want me to put my son to death, then You're going to have to raise him to life again". And he did in a figure, symbolically, Abraham received Isaac raised from the dead. Can you see how Isaac pictures Jesus? Say, "Yes". How Isaac pictures Jesus. He is the son of prophecy and promise, his birth is at a set time, his name is given before he is born, he is conceived of a miracle, he is the only beloved son, he is offered up as a sacrifice, he is received from the dead. God has just put an Old Testament Calvary here just to show us that Calvary was not incidental or accidental, that Calvary had been in the heart and mind of God for centuries, centuries, actually before God created the universes.
Now, the very first thing we're talking about is a special person, his name is Isaac. Now here's a second thing I want you to see here today. Not only a special person, but a specific place. Look in Genesis chapter 22 verses 2 through 4 again, "And He said," God is saying to Abraham, "'Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah and offer him there,'" underscore Moriah, underscore there, "'for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains,'" underscore that, "'which I will tell thee of.'" He didn't just say any place. You go to a particular place. And then, if you will look down at verse 4, "Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off". What was this place? It was Mount Moriah, and by the way, Moriah means, Foreseen of the Lord. Now keep that in your mind, that's what Moriah means, "Foreseen of the Lord". Here was a particular place in the heart and mind of God. God said, "Abraham, take your beloved son and offer him upon one of the mountains that I will show you".
Now listen, listen very carefully, friend, this is a big universe. I went out and I looked up at the stars, that vast stellar universe, empires and empires of stars piled one upon another, stretched across the black velvet of space. And I just had to give a gasp as I looked up there and, you know, the astronomers tell us that there are billions of known galaxies. Now our galaxy is the Milky Way. And out of those billions of galaxies, God chose one galaxy, the Milky Way. The Milky Way, a hundred thousand light years from rim to rim, six hundred million billion miles of space; a disclike galaxy; revolving around its center. And can you imagine six hundred million billion miles of stars in the Milky Way? And God in the Milky Way finds one moderately small star, our sun. And then revolving around our sun, our solar system, is a handful of planets. And God takes one planet, planet Earth, and God says, "The Earth is the Lord's". The Earth, it all belongs to Him, but there's one planet that is very special. "The Earth is the Lord's".
And then of this magnificent globe called planet Earth, God rejects many socalled beautiful places, magnificent places, and He takes a little land there on the edge of the Mediterranean and He calls it, "His land". That's the land of Israel. And then in the land of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, God takes one city out of that land, and He calls that city, "Jerusalem," the city of the great king, the holy city. "The Earth is the Lord's", this land is My land, this city is the holy city. And God keeps tightening the focus, and God takes one mountain in that city, in that land on that Earth in that solar system in that galaxy. God takes one little place, one mountain, and He calls that mountain, "My holy hill".
Now what was so important about that? Do you know where Moriah is and was? Friend, Moriah is Calvary! That's where the temple was built, on Moriah. That's where Jesus died, on Moriah. And God said, "Now Abraham, take your son, the son of miracle birth, your beloved son, the son that you love, the son that I named, the son that I gave to you, take that son and take him to the place I'll show you of and you sacrifice him there"! A special person, a specific place. Doesn't it remind you of Luke 23 verse 33, "And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him". You see, Moriah means, Foreseen of the Lord. A special person, a specific place, a solemn purpose, a solemn purpose. Genesis 22 verse 2, God says to Abraham, "Offer him up". "Offer up your son". Now Abraham and Isaac start up Mount Moriah. The others cannot go; Abraham says to the others, "You stay here. The lad and I are going to worship God".
And I'll tell you, God the Father and God the Son have gone places you and I will never know. This pictures dark Gethsemane as the Lord Jesus went alone with the Father. Can you imagine what must've gone through the heart and mind of Isaac? Can you imagine the suffering of Isaac? Isaac looked at his father and his father had a fire. There're no matches in that day so he had to carry a torch with him. It's going to be a burnt offering. And Abraham had a fire in one hand, and in the other hand Abraham had a knife. And they're going up Mount Moriah. Isaac doesn't know what is about to transpire. He can tell there's a troubled look on his father's face. And he says, "Father, I see the fire, I see the knife, where is the sacrifice"? Look in Genesis 22 verses 7 through 9, "And Isaac spake of Abraham his father and said, 'My father?' 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?' And Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.'" "'God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.' So they went both of them together".
Isaac now is beginning to understand. He's beginning to understand that he is going to be the sacrifice. Look in verse 9, "And when they came to the place which God had told him of, 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". Now don't get the idea here that Isaac is a little baby boy. Isaac is a strapping teenage boy. Abraham now is well over a hundred years of age. Isaac could've outrun him. Isaac could've wrestled him to the ground and overpowered him. But Isaac allows himself to be bound. As the Savior said in Gethsemane in Matthew 26 verse 39, "Not My will but Thine be done". You see, Isaac did not refuse to be a sacrifice, as Jesus laid down His life. They said in Matthew 27 verse 42, "He saved others, Himself He could not save," concerning Jesus. It was Himself He would not save.
Now, Isaac goes up that hill carrying his cross, as it were. Look if you will in Genesis 22 verse 6, "Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it upon Isaac his son". Here is Isaac carrying as it were the wood of his cross up Calvary. He laid aside the gold of His glory. He took the wood of our wickedness and the wood of our weakness. Doesn't this remind you of John chapter 19 verse 17, it's speaking of Jesus, "And He, bearing His cross, went forth into the place, into a place called the place of a skull". Now listen. Notice the sacrifice, the suffering of the cross. Look if you will in Genesis 22 verses 9 and 10, "And when they came to the place which God had told him of, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order and bound his son and laid him upon the wood and Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son".
The cord speaks of the binding power of sin. The knife speaks of the bleeding power of sin. The wood speaks of the burning power of sin. It speaks of all that Jesus would suffer on that cross for us. And it foretells a time when God would lay His own dear Son upon a cross and raise the knife of His fierce wrath against sin. You cannot imagine what it must've been like for Abraham at that moment. Don't think so much about Isaac, friend. Thank God for Isaac, but think for a little bit also about Abraham, to sacrifice his own son.
Now here's the fourth thing I want you to see. I've talked to you about a special person. I've talked to you about a specific place. I've talked to you about a solemn purpose, a sacrifice. Now here's a sacred promise I want you to see. Abraham is about to plunge that knife into the beating breast of his own dear son. And now look in Genesis 22 verses 11 through 14, "And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of Heaven," here's the scene, Abraham is ready to make the sacrifice, "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 anything unto him, for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me.' 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 Jehovah Jireh, as it is said to this day, 'In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.'"
That knife did not fall upon Isaac because one day it would fall upon Jesus. Here the scene shifts. No longer is Isaac a picture of the Savior, but now God dramatically shifts the scene, and Isaac becomes a picture of Adrian and of you. He's there; he's destined to receive the knife. But there's a change. God says, "Isaac, get up. There is a substitute for you. There is a sacrifice that's going to take your place". And Abraham looks up and there is a ram caught in a thicket, in thorns by his head. His horns are caught in a thicket. Do you know what that was? It was a lamb crowned with thorns, that's what it was. A lamb crowned with thorns! And God says, "Take that! Take that one! And sacrifice him instead of Isaac". And Isaac is up and a substitute is down.
What a picture of Calvary. What a picture of what the Lord Jesus Christ did for me and for you. And look at the sacred promise. Here's the sacred promise, look at it now in Genesis 22 verse 14, "And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah Jireh, as it is seen, as it is said unto this day, 'In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.'" What shall be seen? Calvary. That's the promise. In the mount of the Lord, in this same place God will provide Himself a Lamb. "Foreseen of the Lord". It will be seen. Now you can understand the Bible in John 8:56 when it says that, "Abraham saw My day and was glad". Now you can understand what the Bible means in Genesis 3 verse 8 when it says that, "The Gospel was preached unto Abraham". Do you think Abraham was glad that day when Isaac got up and that ram got down? Of course he did.
Now folks, let me just tell you what this means to me and I'll be finished. Remember again that Moriah means, Foreseen of the Lord. Remember that Jehovah Jireh, that's how God described Himself, was, "The God who is sufficient, the God who will provide". He's done that for me. God called me to preach as a teenaged boy. My dad wasn't able to send me to college or to seminary. Joyce and I got married; we were just kids. I was 19, about to turn 20. She was 18. We didn't have anything. We went off on our honeymoon with fifty dollars. That's it. Eight years I spent in school, seven of those eight years married. God provided it all. I worked as a car salesman, worked as a fruit packer, worked as a busboy, worked as a meat cutter, worked as a construction worker, worked as an elevator mechanic, done all kinds of things. I can remember one time in school I went to buy my lunch. I reached in my jeans. I had 21 cents. I looked at the menu. A cheese sandwich was 20 cents. She said, "You want anything to drink"? I said, "No ma'am". But I still had one penny.
I want to tell you, friend, God has provided. I can tell you something, folks. We took care of our children; we started our family when we were in school. For seven years we lived from hand to mouth, and I'm talking about God's hand to our mouth. It was Jehovah Jireh. When I started preaching, I said, "Dear God, how am I going to preach"? I preached three or four times, and I preached everything in the Bible and everything there was to preach. There was nothing left to preach after I'd preached three or four times. And I preach now, I average preaching five times a week every week, sometimes more. But I'm going to tell you something, folks; God provides. And out of the wealth of His Word and out of the riches of His grace, God provides. Joyce and I laid away a little baby, a little baby that died after we'd just graduated from seminary. We'd never, never, never tasted that kind of bitter sorrow. Where did we go? To Jehovah Jireh. God has provided.
Now let me tell you something, folks. Do you know why God provided for Abraham? Because Abraham was willing to give back to God that which God had already provided to him. Who was it that gave Abraham Isaac? It was Almighty God. How could Abraham trust Isaac back to God? Because God had given him Isaac to begin with. Now folks, listen to your pastor. Anything God has given you, you can trust Him with. Now if God hadn't given it to you, you don't need it anyway. Anything God has given you, you can trust Him with it. So take everything you have and hold it this way and say, "Lord, it's yours".
A father took his son to McDonald's. They were having father-son fellowship, and the son bought a large pack of fries, and the father and son sat down there, and the father reached out to get a French fry to eat, and the boy put his hand on his father's hand, said, "Dad, those are mine". That father said, "Something flew all over me". He said to himself, "My son has a bad attitude". And then he said, "What he doesn't realize is that I bought those fries and what else he doesn't realize is that I can take them all from him if I wanted to. And what else he doesn't realize is, I've got enough money in my pocket, I could bury him with French fries. And if I wanted to, I could go get my own French fries".
And he said, "God spoke to me". Said, "All that stuff you think is yours, I gave it to you. And I could take it from you if I wanted to. And I could bury you in more blessings if I wanted to. And I don't need your French fries. I want to have some fellowship with you". Friend, it wasn't, it wasn't Isaac that God wanted, it was Abraham. That's what God was after. A man who could love Him and trust Him. God says, "I love you so much, I am not going to spare My Son". "He that spared not His own Son, how shall He not freely with Him also give us all things"? Now folks, it's time we loved and trusted our Father more. Calvary, Calvary, bloody Calvary ought to kill any selfishness in us and fill our hearts with praise.
Would you bow your hearts in prayer? Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. If you're not saved, let me tell you that Jesus died for you. And the fierce knife of God's wrath was plunged into the bosom of Jesus that it might not fall upon you. God allowed the Lord Jesus to be crowned with thorns that you might be crowned with grace and forgiveness. Would you receive Him right now? Would you pray a prayer like this?
Lord Jesus, thank You for dying for me. Thank You, Lord, that I was able to get off that altar, and that, Lord, You took my place. And now, Lord, by faith I receive You into my heart as my Lord and Savior. Forgive my sin, cleanse me, save me, Lord Jesus. In Your name I pray, Amen.