ISAAC REPLACED BY A RAM
Isaac was replaced by a ram, that is, by a lamb. Verse 13 says, “Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” Here we see that the son was not killed, but the ram, the lamb, was. Who was killed on the cross—the Son of God or the Lamb of God? It was the Lamb of God who was killed. Christ is the Son of God, but when He was killed on the cross, He was replaced by the Lamb of God. John 1:14, speaking of the Son of God, says, “We beheld His glory, glory as of an only begotten from a father.” But John 1:29 says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Here we see that the Son of God was replaced by the Lamb of God. The Lamb of God, not the Son of God, was crucified. In crucifixion, the Son was replaced by a ram.
In 22:8 Abraham prophesied that God would provide a lamb for a burnt offering. The eternal Lamb was ordained by God from eternity (1 Pet. 1:19-20). In 22:13 we see “a ram caught in a thicket by his horns.” In the Bible horns signify fighting power. Christ has the fighting power, but it was caught by a thicket. The thicket signifies humanity. We are the thicket, and Christ, the Lamb of God, has been caught in us and cannot escape. He has been caught by His human nature that He might be offered as our substitute. Christ as the Lamb of God was willing to have His horns caught by humanity. When we see this clear picture, we all must say, “Lord, thank You. You were willing to be caught by us.”
The Son of God was replaced on the cross by the Lamb of God. In a positive, divine sense, the Son of God was never crucified. The Lamb of God was crucified. No one could crucify the Son of God. Praise Him that He was willing to be a little lamb putting His horns among human beings and being caught by us. Thus, we see that not only did this Son of God become the Lamb of God, but that He was replaced by the Lamb of God. Although we do not have such a picture in the New Testament, we see it in the Old Testament. Along with the clear words in the four Gospels, we need the pictures in the Old Testament.
PROVIDED BY JEHOVAH-JIREH • The ram who replaced the son on the altar was provided by Jehovah-jireh (v. 14). The title Jehovah-jireh has two meanings: Jehovah will provide and Jehovah will see. There is not only a provision but also a vision. Within the provision, we have the vision. Look at the cross: what provision and vision we have there. I can testify that at the cross I have received both the provision and the vision. Before the cross, I was lacking, but at the cross I obtained the divine provision. Before the cross, I was blind, having no vision, but at the cross, through the provision, I can see. Now my sight is so clear. I have not only been provided for but also enlightened. Even many of the young people can testify that before they came to the cross, they were poor and blind. But one day they came to the cross and found the provision and the vision. May the Spirit of wisdom help us to realize the depth of the significance that is in the fact that the Son of God was replaced by the Lamb of God whose horns were caught by humanity.
TYPIFYING CHRIST AS OUR SUBSTITUTE • The Lamb of God who replaced the Son of God was our substitute (1 Pet. 3:18). As the ram was killed instead of Isaac, so the Lamb of God suffered crucifixion for us. When as a boy I heard the preaching of the gospel in which we were told that Christ suffered death on our behalf, I could not understand it fully. Only when I saw the clear picture in Genesis 22 was I able to understand how Christ was our substitute. The ram was killed for Isaac. This is a picture showing that Christ, the Lamb of God, was crucified on the cross for us. We all should have gone to the cross, but God replaced us with the Lamb of God. To this we all must say, “Praise the Lord! The Lamb of God, who is the Son of God, was our substitute.”
Because the Lamb of God became our substitute, He became great and significant. In Revelation the unique title of Christ is the Lamb. When in Revelation 5 the Apostle John saw the scroll which no one in heaven or on earth was worthy to open, he wept. Then one of the elders said to him, “Do not weep; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Immediately after this, John saw the Lamb: “I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing.” In Genesis 22 we have the seed of that Lamb. This seed grew up in John 1:29 and is harvested in the book of Revelation. Eventually, the throne of God becomes the throne of God and of the Lamb out of which proceeds the river of water of life with the tree of life growing in it (Rev. 22:1-2). All this proves that the Bible is not a manmade book. It certainly is the divine revelation. What a picture of Christ is revealed in Genesis 22!
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)