It is Christmas again and we are busy trying to buy those gifts and filling our event calendars with family and church fellowship gatherings. But we as Christians need to remember that Jesus truly is the reason for the season. Christ came to Bethlehem to die for the sins of whosoever will. As I was pondering that thought, I began thinking of one of the first references to the coming and sacrifice of Jesus in Genesis 22. Abraham was told to carry Isaac to the ‘land of Moriah’ to a mountain ‘I will tell thee of’… Isaac was likely in his thirties as his mother dies soon after in the next chapter at the age of 127 and she bore Isaac at age 90. So Isaac, like Christ, goes willingly at the behest of his father to the place of sacrifice. And, like Christ, he carries the wood that he would be bound to to that place of sacrifice. By the way, this is Abraham’s fifth altar. Five is the number of Grace in God’s Word.
It is at the point of Abraham being fully surrendered to God’s will with his knife in the air, that Jesus, in His pre-incarnate state (a theophany), appears and stops the sacrifice from occurring. Jesus says to Abraham, “…now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me .” This is a powerful glimpse at the wonderful plan of God. In I Chronicles 21, God sends His angel to judge Israel with pestilence for the sin of David in numbering the people. He stops the angel from destroying Jerusalem when David repents of this sin at a spot called the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. Gad the seer tells David to build an altar on that spot and offer up a burnt offering. Just a few chapters forward in II Chronicles 3:1 we see “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.” Did you see that? The threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite is in Mount Moriah. Abraham is told to sacrifice Isaac in Mount Moriah and now the temple is built in Mount Moriah. Remember Abraham had told Isaac on the way up the mountain that God will provide himself a lamb. Revelation 13 refers to Christ as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” This spot where we read the pre-incarnate Jesus is standing is the same place that is referred to in I Chronicles 21 and II Chronicles! It is the place that Jews traditionally refer to as the ‘Foundation Stone’. Many Christian theologians as well as archaeologists believe that on this same ridge known as Mount Moriah is the place called Calvary where Christ died for our sins.
Let that sink in for a moment…Now step back and look at the big picture with me. Christ is standing, in Genesis 22 around 2,000 B.C., on the same spot that Solomon would build the temple (about 1,000 A.D.) and where Christ would one day be hanging from a cross (about 33 A.D). He is telling Abraham “Now I know you love God seeing that you have not withheld your only son, whom you love from me.” 2,000 years later He would be saying something similar to us through John the apostle in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “Now you know I love you seeing that I have not withheld my son, my only son, whom I love”… Plus He is standing and would later be sacrificed on the place referred to by Jews as the ‘Foundation Stone’. They do this because they believe that creation started at this point. Remember how Jesus is referred to as the ‘Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.’
One more nugget of blessing from these passages to share with you and I’ll be done 🙂 Remember that passage in I Chronicles 21 where David numbers the people? God punishes Israel with the sword of His angel killing over 70,000 people before stopping the angel at the same spot where Jesus stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. He stops His angel as David repents praying “let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me…” God tells His angel, “It is enough…” A thousand years later, the Son of God would have the judgment of God upon Him for the sin of the world and would cry out “It is finished” on this same spot!
Abraham once called this place Jehovah Jireh. We say ‘God will provide’ but the saying actually translated from Hebrew to English means ‘Jehovah will see’. This is poignant for nearly 2,000 years later Jehovah was seen of men and the Father provided Himself as the lamb for Himself. Praise God!!! Do you know Him today? This Christmas do you have the reason for the season in your heart? Speaking of David’s sin in I Chronicles 21, he numbered the people but God numbers after another sort, He numbers to the sword. Isaiah 65:12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. I pray today you will realize you are a lost sinner in need of the savior and let Him be Lord of your life.
Christ came at Christmas to give you the gift of salvation…He was born to die…