The Greatest Love Foreshadowed

There is a principle in the study of God’s Word called the Principle of First Mention. The first appearance of certain words in the Bible establish an unchangeable pattern. God does not change.

“For I am the LORD, I change not.” – Malachi 3:6
An example is the first mention of “grace,” which is found in the passage regarding Noah and the Great Flood. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8) Grace continues on to show God’s unmerited favor to sinful man throughout the Bible.

But the greatest example of love is found in its first mention in Genesis 22 when the Lord told Abraham to sacrifice his son, the Child of Promise, that he loved. Abraham took Isaac to the mountains of Moriah, where the Temple was later built (Second Chronicles 3:1), and prepared to sacrifice him there.

Isaac was not a child. According to Hebrew tradition, Isaac was about thirty years old at the time. Confirming this is the idea is that a child could not carry enough wood to burn the sacrifice. And Abraham’s servants did not accompany them up the mountain. Abraham was obedient to the Lord. If Isaac was about thirty years old, then Abraham was one-hundred and thirty years old at the time. Therefore, fully grown Isaac, who could have resisted his elderly father, was obedient, even to an impending death as a sacrifice. But the Lord provided a substitute for Isaac.

This story is a wonderful picture of God the Father offering His only Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice. Jesus was obedient. Jesus carried the wood (the cross). Jesus was a little over 30 years of age at the time of His crucifixion. He was offered up as a sacrifice on the same mountain range where Abraham was prepared to offer his only son. He was crucified on the same mountain (geologically) where the Temple stood and the sacrifices were made. This time Jesus was the substitute for our sins.

We just celebrated this marvelous event on Resurrection Sunday. It was foreshadowed some 4,000 years ago by Abraham and Isaac. And it occurred with the first use of the word “love” in the Bible. Praise the Lord for His wonderful love for us. Praise the Lord for Jesus and the Salvation we have through Him.

BACK to Lesson Archive.