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The ways of sacrifice; Abraham and Isaac

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posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 05:06 PM
The key point of the episode which we call “The sacrifice of Isaac” is that the sacrifice of Isaac did not happen.
This negative result is just as revealing, in its own way, as the incident of “the dog which didn’t bark” in the adventures of Holmes.

The story begins with the command which God gave to Abraham.
“Take your son Isaac, your only son…and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis ch22 v2).

The offering of sacrifice to the gods was the normal practice of the ancient world, and this would sometimes include the offering of human victims.
They might be strangers or criminals, or they might be the children of the people offering the sacrifice.
There’s evidence of this elsewhere in the Old Testament.
We find reports of children being “sent to the fire to Molech” by the worshippers of that god.
The idolatrous king Manasseh “burnt his son as an offering and practised soothsaying and augury and dealt with mediums and wizards” (2 Kings ch21 v6)
We also find the story of the king of Moab who found himself hard-pressed in war. “Then he took his eldest son who was to reign in his stead and offered him for a burnt offering in the wall” (2 Kings ch3 v27).

So the command which Abraham received would not have come as an absolute surprise.
At the very least, though, it would have looked like a puzzling contradiction.
He had been promised a multitude of descendants, and that promise could only be fulfilled through Isaac.
Nevertheless, without understanding how the command and the promise could be reconciled, he resigned himself to accepting the command and began making preparations.

The story dwells on each stage of the journey into the mountains, building up the tension.
The separation from the servants, while Abraham and the boy continue on alone together.
The innocent question; “Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering”.
The ambiguous answer, given in faith, that “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering”.
The ritual carried through, right up to the taking of the knife, and then the last-minute reprieve.
A message from God stops the sacrifice and instructs him to replace the boy with a ram, the beast “which God has provided”.

So what was God’s purpose in making this demand?
The more obvious and more explicit purpose was to bring out Abraham’s response.
But if we look more closely, we can also see a teaching purpose in the story.

Abraham’s response

The reason given in Genesis, when God retracts the command, is “Now I know that you fear God, seeing that you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me” (Genesis ch22 v12).

For the writer of Hebrews, the story is a demonstration of Abraham’s faith, not just his general trust in God but his faith in the resurrection.
The logic is that Abraham did not cease to believe that the promise of descendants would be fulfilled through Isaac, even if this command was obeyed, and that implies a belief that Isaac would in some sense be “raised from the dead” (Hebrews ch11 vv17-19).
While James can see how Abraham showed his faith and carried it through by acting in obedience.
The story demonstrates how Abraham was justified by his deeds (James ch2 v21).
Neither explanation is quite complete, because his faith and his obedience could have been tested in other ways.

We find the real key by returning to the words of Genesis.
“You have not withheld…”
This was about Abraham’s willingness to give up everything he had and surrender it all to God.
That’s why the test had to be based upon Isaac.
Isaac was the continuation of Abraham’s life, so the offering of Isaac was the most complete act of self-surrender (short of giving up his own life) which Abraham could have made.

The outcome of the test was the revelation which God had been looking for;
“Now I know that you fear me”.
In Biblical terms, “the fear of God” is the willingness to keep his commandments.
It means the appropriate respect for God’s authority as Creator.
This was where Adam and Eve had failed.
They detached their wills from the will of God, setting themselves up in attempted independence.
The response of Abraham, in contrast, was that he surrendered his will to the will of God, in complete trust and obedience.
He withheld nothing.
Thus he went as far as humanly possible in reversing the offence of Adam and Eve.
And he takes his place appropriately as the role-model and progenitor of “God’s people”.

The teaching purpose

The teaching purpose of the story is fulfilled in the way the command is given for the purpose of being retracted later.
This acts like a “double negative”, which has a very useful function in literature.

When Timofey Pnin, one of Nabokov’s characters, turns back to his research “with a not unhappy sigh”, the effect of that phrase “not unhappy” is much more subtle than a simple “happy” would have been.
It briefly offers up the possibility that the sigh might have been “unhappy”, then quickly takes it away again.
The thought stays in our minds just long enough to be negated.
The story of Abraham and Isaac might be described as “a dramatised double negative”, because it works in just the same way.
The opening command puts into our minds the negative possibility that God might want human sacrifice.
And this possibility stays in our minds just long enough to be negated at the end of the story.
The result is a forceful affirmation that the Biblical God does NOT want human sacrifice from his people.
Elsewhere he gives commands forbidding the practice, but the drama makes the point more emphatically and has a much bigger impact on the memory.
In a cultural world where human sacrifice has been found acceptable, this rejection of human sacrifice makes a profound change in people’s ideas about the gods.

In fact the story of “sacrifice” in the Bible shows a gradual transformation of the way the word is to be understood.
One of the key instruments of the transformation process is the simple principle which counts as one of the lessons taught by this passage;
“God will accept one kind of sacrifice in place of another”.
In this case, human sacrifice was replaced by animal sacrifice.
Later in the Bible, we find that animal sacrifice can be supplemented in turn by substitutes such as praising God, “the sacrifice of the lips”.
Paul urges us to make ourselves “a living sacrifice” (Romans ch12 v1).
The climax of the process is the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, which might be seen as God’s way of telling the Jewish people that he never really wanted animal sacrifice either.

If one kind of sacrifice can be replaced by another, we should learn from this that God has little interest in the exact forms of sacrifice.
He does not want or need anything specific among the kinds of sacrifice which might be offered.
What he’s looking for is the willingness to sacrifice.

And even the willingness to sacrifice is only a symbol of what he really wants from us.
Namely, the full offering of ourselves.

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 06:26 PM
I'm with you excepting one detail. God already knew what Abraham would do. So it isn't god that needed to know that Abraham "feared" him. God didn't need to know anything. It's Abraham that needed to learn something from the experience, as well as those he related the story to after. The question is...what exactly was god teaching Abraham?
edit on 9/19/2014 by Klassified because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 06:35 PM
a reply to: Klassified
How about;
The importance of trust (faith)
and the importance of obedience.
I put trust first because I see it as primary. Obedience is acted-out trust.

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 06:53 PM
In reality he was practicing the very same beliefs our elite practice and was ritually sacrificing his son for "wisdom", the perks they think they're evil overlords give them and they also believe, immunity from karma.

Michael, Jaliel, also known as Jophiel and Zadkiel stopped him because they're the true Angels and Higher Ups, and set him straight.

There is also a possibility of it being a gnostic meaning only, except that that kind of thing always goes on amongst the elite and powerful.
edit on 19-9-2014 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 06:58 PM
a reply to: Unity_99
That is not what the text says.
The text says that the same God who gave the original command also countermanded it at the last moment.
The other names you bring in are not mentioned, so there is no authority for referring to them.
I am interpreting the passage as it is actually given.

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 07:01 PM
OK, like all Christians did, in this article, just ignored that evil stupid passage and anyone trying to justify it as being pyschotic, which in the literal sense they would be.

However, on this search found it:

The truth is, the two stories of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross are actually one and the same. Abraham and Isaac’s story isn’t so much of a foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice as it is the same story being told again! What’s even more is the fact that both of these stories and the characters involved are telling YOUR story as well! Remember, each Biblical story brings us closer to the truth within us (the nature of the Christ) when we apply them to ourselves instead of thinking they are about someone else in another time and place.

In the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the number of three is also used.

“And Abraham rose up early in the morning…and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day, Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off” (Gen. 22:3-4).

Just as Jesus was three days in the tomb, so did Abraham travel for three days before reaching the destination where Isaac was to become the sacrifice. Abraham is symbolic of the phase of the divine nature active in the soul. That is why he is the central figure of this story. It is through the divine phases of involution and evolution that the process of God manifests as man and then man ascends back to God. If we are honest, the New Testament teaches that we are to become the image of Christ, the one who ascended. WE are to ascend, as shown in the story of Christ, back to the father through the death, burial, and resurrection of the ego.

There is a great deal of breakdown of the Logos and the Ram. Its a good read.

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 07:05 PM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: Unity_99
That is not what the text says.
The text says that the same God who gave the original command also countermanded it at the last moment.
The other names you bring in are not mentioned, so there is no authority for referring to them.
I am interpreting the passage as it is actually given.

The text is a gnostic script. In that we understand a mystery or inner action is taking place as the entire bible takes place inside of you.

However, there are layers of meaning put there and a duality of path. I've noticed a few dark codes as well, including the one about cannabilism, the sensitive tootsie that was a royal foot, and laying seige to Is Ra El which is the awakening and progression of the people, as the wealthy elite are apt to do. Which is also about ritual sacrifice like alll elites and royal families and bankers do. To their families and ours.

There are scientific, mathematic, astrological and numerological and even magic, like just mentioned, the ritual sacrifice. Even the sacrifice of Christ, a ritual that I don't support or believe in one bit. Guess who wants ritual sacrifice, it never is Goodness/Love/God. Either its like the gnosis , overcoming EGO, OR its just bad guys murdering a good Man who may ore may not have been assisted to escape off to India, if Christ is not just metaphor. But is also the example of One Person Who Walked The Walk To Ascension.
But whatever it says literally, in the literal, its beast. Lower mind. And thats why they turned God/Love/Goodness into a smiting murderous saturn type in the bible, to twist people's Love.

edit on 19-9-2014 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 07:07 PM
a reply to: Unity_99
There was nothing pyschotic about my explanation of the passage.
It has to be understood in terms of the relationship which is being built up between God and his people, represented by Abraham, in which he calls for trust and obedience.

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 07:11 PM

originally posted by: Unity_99
The text is a gnostic script. In that we understand a mystery or inner action is taking place as the entire bible takes place inside of you.

The text is nothing of the kind. It is the communication of a story.
Gnosticism is just an excuse for making things up as you go along, "an interpretation of language by which words can be made to mean anything or nothng".

edit on 19-9-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 07:38 PM
I have always considered this part a key to understanding the text

5 "And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you."

Almost like saying Abraham knew that they would both return

Just a thought

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 07:40 PM
a reply to: borntowatch
Thank you- yes, another sign of the basic faith in "receiving Isaac back" which was pointed out in Hebrews.
I hadn't noticed or had forgotten that point, so that was very useful.

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 07:41 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I understand the telling of Abraham and Isaac to be more of a symbolic attack toward other worshipped gods of the time. Most likely horned gods like Baal.

God telling Abraham to sacrifice the Ram instead of his own son Issac was symbolic of killing the old horned gods and sacrificing them for Abrahams God. Out with the old, in with the new. We also see this controversy of worshipping two different gods when Moses smashes the tablets in response to the Golden Calf worshipping.

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 07:47 PM
a reply to: TheLieWeLive
If you go through the laws of Leviticus, the ram is a fairly regular object of sacrifice, along with all the other animals which the Israelites domesticated, so it doesn't seem to me that it's being picked on here.
Your explanation doesn't seem to have any emphasis on "not killing Isaac", which I think is the real key.

edit on 19-9-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 08:01 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

That's because it was about not killing Issac or, for that matter, any human ever again. It's was symbolic of change and also the smearing of the other gods being worshipped at the time.
Children were being cooked in ovens prior to this. You may say 'burnt offerings' but I see it as the early years of human cannabalism.

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 08:09 PM
a reply to: TheLieWeLive
I certainly agree that it signifies a change, as far as human sacrifice is concerned. In fact the sacrifice of children to Molech is still being recorded as late as just before the Babylonian conquest.
However, it strikes me that the sacrifice of rams was too much the normal routine of sacrifice to have any particular anti-deity signficance in this particular story.

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 08:33 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Killing anyone is psychotic by definition. Those following the True God, find that request appalling. No True God of love would consider asking his followers to participate in premeditated murder..

Blasphemy against life, in its extremes. Seriously, god commading the most heinous crime you could commit against your neighbor. Unbelievable.

I know of another God who was a murderer from the beginning.
edit on 19-9-2014 by Not Authorized because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 08:56 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

If God is universally good, and Abraham was actually in communication with him, then I think the story of Isaac was either an allegory meaning that Abraham was willing to lay down his talents and future impact on the world to God, or it was a test by God to see if Abraham was independent enough to think for himself. Either way, it is a #ed up story, and the fact that modern day people agonize over it as if it should literally be the height of human morality is beyond me.

If God is a monster who would sincerely want a father to murder his own child, then I am more virtuous than our creator, who has revealed himself to be a tyrant. I don't care what kind of power and authority he has. A tyrant cannot eternally withstand the combined efforts of the righteous ones, and his arrogance would in this case be our greatest asset.

posted on Sep, 19 2014 @ 11:19 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

The lesson was for Jesus. Scripture is a foreshadowing of events in the future, but the events in cyclic. When Jesus was a man, he was required to be fully man. This also implies inconscience, or not knowing who you are. We are not aware of what woke him up to his true purpose, but it is a sure bet that this story served a dual purpose. For one, the surrounding peoples knew the story well. They would have put the pieces together as it unfolds. Jesus would have drawn his own assurance from this as he was witnessing his own future unfold. Abraham likely knew God had a larger plan for the situation that would then foreshadow his own family nation moving forward in time. Abraham already had the promise of many nations when the letter Hey was added to his name. Before this, he was Abram. Hey means to behold, which is what Abraham was doing from chapter 17 forward.

You must realize who the LORD of the OT is. He is the higher nature of the Son of God. He is the one that formed Adam, then worked the destinies of his offspring forward in time. However, he is not Elohim, but the Son of God. This is obvious in Isaiah 53 when the Isaiah speaks of all three. He speaks of Lord, God (Elohim) and the coming righteous one (right arm of the Lord). What does the Lord learn in the first century? That there is indeed a God beside him. Jesus pointed to the Father, not YHVH. Why? Jesus is the first and last Adam. In other words, he is everyone on the list of Luke 3. He is all of us. We, who are many, are one loaf (1 Cor. 10).

Check the last two names in the Genealogy. And before you say that Adam was the Son of God, you might want to check Colossians 1. The Son of God is the first born. Adam was formed. Adam was not around when the universe was formed. The Son of God (LORD) was.

Colossians 1

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

When the Father said he was pleased at Jesus baptism, he was telling the Son he had paid his original error, but still had to face the cross.

Who is the fallen Guardian Cherub of Ezekiel 28? Read it. The one in the Garden, adorned with EVERY jewel.

God is raising a Son. By this, the Son raises us. That's what Father's do. God the Father is Aleph Bet and the Mother (Holy Spirit of God) is Aleph Mem.

Hidden in the Letters

He paid the debt for mankind for a reason. By doing so, he became the Guardian Redeemer foreshadowed by Boaz and Ruth.

Again, all of the Bible is for the Son of God to know who he is to God. Involution and Evolution (Baptism) requires inconscience. Even for the Lord.

edit on 19-9-2014 by AlephBet because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 20 2014 @ 01:26 AM
this is a shadowed prophetic message of faith to all the earth/nations/races (how many ancients sacrificed?). Jesus being the exact point, as in life from the dead in reality

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.Daniel7

And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. MIcah4

Revelation 6
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

posted on Sep, 20 2014 @ 02:10 AM

originally posted by: Not Authorized
Killing anyone is psychotic by definition. Those following the True God, find that request appalling.

You are missing the point.
God gave that command for the deliberate purpose of NOT carrying it through.
It was a way of presenting the message "I do not want you to sacrifice yor children" which was much more dramatic, and therefore much more memorable, than simply saying so.

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