To many, the account of Abraham offering up Isaac to God in Genesis 22 is one of the hardest stories in the Bible to read and comprehend. You don’t have to be a parent to feel the anguish Abraham must have felt, to question how he could attempt such a heartbreaking act, and even to doubt the goodness of God.
In addition to the emotion it raises, there are several unanswered logical mysteries as well. What did Abraham tell Isaac they were doing? Was Isaac really that gullible? The fact that Abraham had Isaac carry the wood up the mountain indicates that Isaac was stronger than Abraham. How did Abraham wrestle him onto the altar? Furthermore, the surrounding information indicates Isaac would’ve been an adult, probably near 37 years old. Just how did Abraham get him to go along with this preposterous plan? There are enough holes in the report to make us wonder if we’re really hearing the whole story. (more…)
In Part 2 of this blog series, we looked at the first obstacle that separates mankind from a holy God – represented by the fence enclosing the courtyard of the tabernacle. The fence reminds us of how God gives us the faith to believe in Yeshua as the only entrance into God’s kingdom, so that we can accept His invitation of communion with Him.
But our sin keeps us from dwelling in his kingdom, keeps us from living in full relationship with Him. Once we’ve entered into relationship with Him through faith, we become aware of our sinfulness as compared to His righteousness. (more…)
Whenever I heard, “Jesus died for your sins,” I often thought, “What sin did I commit that would deserve death?” I’m a good person; I keep the 10 commandments; I try to love God and love my neighbors as myself. Then I heard, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). So I asked, “Which sins can I die from?”
For a long time I understood this to mean that if I live sinfully, I will live separate from God, not enjoy His abundant life, and maybe eventually die from a destructive lifestyle. All of those are true, but later I asked, “What did it mean to those who first heard it shortly after Yeshua’s death?” (more…)
“A living sacrifice to God” (Romans 12:1). It’s a familiar term, one that’s always in the back of my mind as my position and purpose in God. Then, I unexpectedly learned a deeper understanding of what that actually means and how I can really live it out.
The idea of sacrifice to us today refers to giving something up. But the audience of Paul’s day at the time it was written would have understood it to refer to the temple sacrifices — animals, birds, oil, grains — which were a major part of their life and had been in their history for nearly 1,500 years.
One of the offerings required was a “whole burnt offering” — the Hebrew word “olah” (referred to repeatedly in Lev. 1-6). This offering was used to symbolize that the worshipper had offered himself in service and obedience to God. But what I didn’t know was that the word “olah” was also used to describe bondservants. (more…)
In Leviticus and other sections of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), we read about the myriad of offerings and sacrifices, the ceremonial cleansings, and the stipulations for coming near to a holy God. On The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), for example, the high priest would’ve prepared for weeks ahead of time to perform the duties prescribed for the one day — with all its garments, offerings, animals, his family and other priests involved and contingency plans in case something didn’t go as planned. Then on the actual Day of Atonement, it would probably take him all day to perform the list of duties.
Granted, The Day of Atonement was the most holy day of the year, but there were six other holy days equally as rigorous in their requirements, not to mention the daily and weekly procedures of the temple and the offerings and sacrifices brought in by the people of Israel that were also required.
In Yeshua, we see the fulfillment of all of these requirements. (more…)