Church of Christ
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38) Hebrews - Chapter 11:17 and following - By faith (continued 3)
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Abraham being tried, offered up Isaac.  This was a proving of Abraham.
       a) Archeologists show that child sacrifices were common among the people of that day.
       b) The heathens loved their gods enough to sacrifice a child.  Here was a greater God asking Abraham to do it.
       c) Would Abraham do it?  He would by faith.  His resolution to obey was then the same as though he had
           actually sacrificed his son, offering up his only begotten son.  This shows how severe the trial was.

Abraham had gladly received promises, and Isaac was the only hope of their being fulfilled.  See Genesis 17:2 and
Genesis 21:12.  Now in taking away Isaac, it was the same as taking away the promises.  Isaac is called the "only
begotten," for Ishmael had been driven from the family and was not considered a part of the promise.  All should
account that God is able to raise up, even from the dead.

According to this verse, Abraham surely concluded that God would restore Isaac to life.  This was further
strengthened by Abraham's words to his servants, "We will worship." "Come again." - Genesis 22.5.  In the Hebrew it
is in the plural, "We will return."  From this he did in a figure receive him back.  Some think this refers to Isaac's
supernatural birth, but this is poor exegesis.  Abraham received him back from the altar as one raised from the dead.

Abraham's obedience until God stayed his hand caused Isaac to be the same as dead.  He was figuratively raised
from the dead.  God said Isaac had not been withheld, so he was sacrificed as far as God was concerned (Genesis
22:12-18).  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come.  The ability to bless was, in a
sense, a prophecy.  Isaac had nothing to the land, except the right of burial, yet he could say, "Let the peoples
serve thee and nations bow down to thee," Genesis 27:29.  Isaac had nothing to bestow but the Word of God.

A comparison of the history of Esau's people, the Edomites, with the blessing of Isaac shows that Isaac made a
prophetic outline of the fortunes of the two races.

Edom was quite a nation before Israel had kings (Genesis 36:31).  Edom was independent while Israel was in
bondage in Egypt.  Saul and David finally conquered the Edomites.  Compare 1st Samuel 14:47 and 2nd Samuel

Genesis occurred prior to this blessing when Joseph promised not to bury his father in Egypt (Genesis 47:31).  
Some make a great deal out of the fact that in some versions it reads, "Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head."  
Several suggestions are made to clarify the issue, one of which suggests the Hebrew word may mean either a bed
or a staff, depending upon the vowel pointing in the Hebrew language.  Some suggest Paul quoted from an incorrect
text, but this view destroys inspiration.  An inspired writer would select an inspired text, or would know the truth.  
Both can be right in my judgment.  Here is an old man dying, and he would need support, and so his staff and bed
were both used.

Joseph.  His conception of sin stands out.  "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" Genesis 39:9.
He is one of the few of which no evil is recorded of him.  His prophecy is found in Genesis 50:24.  His faith is seen in
that he requested that they carry his bones in a box with them into the Promised Land (Genesis 50:25).  Genesis
ends with him in a coffin in Egypt, but his bones were carried into the Promised Land, for Moses remembered
(Exodus 13:19).