THE FEAR OF ISAAC
Although not specifically named, Jesus is found several places in the Old Testament. In the very first verse of the Bible there are seven words in the Hebrew version. The middle word, in the Servant Lamp position1, is not spoken. It is composed of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, reminiscent of the Alpha and Omega in the Revelation. In the Revelation Jesus is standing in the middle, in the Servant Lamp position, of the seven lamps. I believe Jesus is pictured in Genesis 1:1.
One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 30:4. This verse asks two questions, and we know the answer to both. 1) Who is in control of Creation? 2) What is His son’s name? We know that God is in control and Jesus is His son. The writer, Agur, was not privileged to know the name of Jesus.
Jacob, the son of Isaac, spent twenty years working for his uncle, Laban. When he left the country of Laban to return home to his family, Laban confronted him. Jacob told Laban that he had tried to cheat him, and had changed his wages ten times. Jacob told Laban that if it were not for the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, Jacob would have had nothing.
Who, or what is the Fear of Isaac? The Hebrew word is pachad, and means fear, dread, or terror (Strong’s #6343). A related word (Strong’s #6344) implies shame, and also means a stone. As I study this word I am impressed with the connection the definitions have with Jesus. The Jews treatment of Jesus was shameful. Jesus is the stone the builders rejected. Jesus is The Rock of our salvation.
The Jewish writer Everett Fox suggests that this word implies a champion. Jacob did not express fear or terror of this being. Jacob stated that he had a champion in the Fear of Isaac. Jesus is our champion, our advocate before the Lord.
Over the years, rabbis have determined that Hebrew letters each have meaning.2 Therefore, the letters of the Hebrew alphabet that spell pachad (Peh, Chet, Dalet) also tell a story:
Peh - mouth and speech - the world was created by the spoken word, and John 1:1-4 tells us that without Jesus nothing that was made, was made.
Chet - transcendence, life and grace - Jesus came to earth, but transcends this life. John tells us in Jesus is life. Jesus is our hope and source of eternal life. It is by His grace that we have that hope.
Dalet - the door or the way - Jesus is the way to truth and life.
We do not think of Jesus in terms of fear or terror because He has His tremendous power in control. Do you not think that while on the Cross, Jesus could not have destroyed those who mocked Him and were killing Him? I would not want to be on the receiving end of the wrathful power of Jesus.
When Jacob told Laban who was protecting him, it was the God of Abraham, but the Fear of Isaac. Why Isaac? I believe it is because in the story of Abraham offering to sacrifice Isaac, which is a foreshadow of God the father offering His son Jesus, Abraham is a type of the Father and Isaac is a type of the Son. The Fear of Isaac is linked to Isaac, the son.
In my opinion, the Fear of Isaac is the pre-incarnate Jesus. The Fear of Isaac was the champion of Jacob. Jacob did not fear Him. Jesus is our champion, also. Praise His name always!
1 - see http://www.luke810.com/men3.htm
2 - see http://www.luke810.com/alph1.htm