The scriptures say of Abraham, “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb 11:10) This is the reason that he, “when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” (Heb 11:8) He was given grace to see beyond the veil which covers the eyes of those without the gift of faith.
His “vision”, though imperfect, nonetheless compelled him to persevere, clinging to the promise which was given to him. Indeed, he is the embodiment of that scripture which says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1) It was this “vision” which empowered him to obey the commandment of the LORD to take his son Isaac, who was the son of promise, and offer him as a burnt offering unto the LORD.
How could it be possible that he should offer up the very one whom the LORD had promised to be his heir; not to mention the natural affection which he had for the son of his old age? Yet the LORD enabled him to “see” beyond the present into the future and behold the fulfilled promise of GOD even though he died before that promise was manifested. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Heb 11:13)
This “vision” is demonstrated in the scriptural account of the temptation or trial of Abraham on Mount Moriah. It is that which caused him to make the preparations necessary to make a burnt offering to the LORD in obedience to His commandment. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. “ (Gen 22:3)
He had plenty of time to contemplate the seeming folly of his actions. Carnal reason, surely, plagued him with plenty of doubt and fear, even wrestlings and strife of body and soul. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5:17) Even as the saints of GOD are assailed with the same in their journey here below. His journey was three long days of agony which could only be alleviated when he could see more clearly the place of offering. “Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.” (Gen 22:4)
It seems that he was encouraged by that which, to the carnal mind, would seem no encouragement at all. For it was in contemplation of worshipping the LORD, at the appointed place of SACRIFICE, that he first testified that he fully expected to return with his beloved son. “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.” (Gen 22:5)
The appointed place of worship for the sons of GOD is the cross of CHRIST, even as Paul declared, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal 6:14) This is the only place where the sons of GOD can find any hope at all. It is here that all of their hopes rest, because by grace through faith they are given eyes to behold the ONE who gave HIMSELF as an offering for sin.
The men of this world can behold it, since the gospel is not hid, but they cannot see the glory that surrounds that place nor receive any comfort there from. It is here that JESUS CHRIST demonstrated HIS dominion over sin though it was hid from the wise and prudent. It is here that the GOD of HEAVEN and earth made a show openly of HIS triumph, even though that triumph was not clealy manifested until the third day when HE arose from the tomb.
Abraham’s “vision” enabled him to testify to his son of the source of his confidence. When Isaac inquired as to where the sacrifice was, Abraham declared, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” (Gen 22:8) In this we see a picture of the willingness of the SON, in obedience to HIS FATHER, to go to the cross as well as the faith of Abraham in the ONE “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Php 2:6-8) Abraham believed that the LORD HIMSELF would provide this offering for sin. And thus he manifests saving faith.
The “FAITH” which justifies sinners is not that which is within them (though they are indeed given this sort of faith by the HOLY GHOST), rather the “FAITH” which justifies sinners is the ONE who is the OBJECT of FAITH. CHRIST is their FAITH. The woman with the issue of blood who had spent all of her money on physicians of no value was not healed “because” she believed, (after all she had “believed” in many physicians) she was healed because of the ONE in whom she believed. (see Luke 8:43-48) This is exactly Paul’s testimony and that which Abraham confessed. “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2Tim 1:12)
The scripture says that “Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns.” (Gen 22:13) The salvation of the sons of GOD is not accomplished by some stop gap method, rather, before ever there was a sinner there was a LAMB for a sin offering. Before the foundation of the world the LORD loved HIS people in CHRIST with an everlasting love, and upon that basis HE did create the world to display the glory of HIS grace in their “redemption”. This RAM was caught in the thicket before Abraham was given eyes to see HIM there. So it is that CHRIST was ordained to be the “LAMB of GOD which taketh away the sin of the world” before any man had ever sinned.
This RAM which Abraham saw was “caught in a thicket by his horns”. The LORD JESUS said; “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:17-18) The “horn” in the scriptures is a reference to “power”. The redemption of CHRIST’s elect bride is, from beginning to end, the product of HIS design and ability to accomplish that which HE set out to do. The grandest display of the power of GOD which the world has ever seen, is displayed in this redemptive work as HE delivered himself into the hands of wicked men to be crucified. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (2Cor 8:9)
In the light of that which Abraham was given eyes to see (and partake of) he worshipped the LORD. “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (Gen 22:14) The very name which the angel told Joseph HE would be called, JESUS, (which is Joshua in the Hebrew) means “JEHOVAH is SALVATON”. Abraham was given this “vision” even as are all of those with like precious faith. “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Mat 1:23)mam