1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt* Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
*H5254 נָסָה nacah (naw-saw’) v. to test. This is important: because the reason for telling us in the initial sentence that “this is a test”, is so as we read about it we don’t fret and wonder if in some way Yahweh actually sanctions human sacrifice on some level.
Something we don’t see in the Bible is how this comes about. The Books of Jubilee and Jasher give us more detail.
Jasher 22:41-44 “And when Yitschaq was thirty-seven years old, Ishmael his brother was going about with him in the tent. And Ishmael boasted of himself to Yitschaq, saying, I was thirteen years old when YAHWEH spoke to my father to circumcise us, and I did according to the word of YAHWEH which he spoke to my father, and I gave my soul unto YAHWEH, and I did not transgress his word which he commanded my father. And Yitschaq answered Ishmael, saying, Why dost you boast to me about this, about a little bit of your flesh which you didst take from your body, concerning which YAHWEH commanded you? As YAHWEH liveth, the ALMIGHTY of my father Abraham, if YAHWEH should say unto my father, Take now your son Yitschaq and bring him up an offering before me, I would not refrain but I would joyfully accede to it.”
What an opportunity for Satan to step in and try to thwart the plans of God of bringing the Messiah through Abraham’s covenant. Enter the opportunist:
Jasher 22:45-53 “And YAHWEH heard the word that Yitschaq spoke to Ishmael, and it seemed good in the sight of YAHWEH, and he thought to try Abraham in this matter. And the day arrived when the sons of YAHWEH came and placed themselves before YAHWEH, and Satan also came with the sons of YAHWEH before YAHWEH.
And YAHWEH said unto Satan, Whence come you? and Satan answered YAHWEH and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And YAHWEH said to Satan, What is your word to me concerning all the children of the earth? and Satan answered YAHWEH and said, I have seen all the children of the earth who serve you and remember you when they require anything from you. And when you give them the thing which they require from you, they sit at their ease, and forsake you and they remember you no more.
Hast you seen Abraham the son of Terah, who at first had no children, and he served you and erected altars to you wherever he came, and he brought up offerings upon them, and he proclaimed your name continually to all the children of the earth. And now that his son Yitschaq is born to him, he has forsaken you, he has made a great feast for all the inhabitants of the land, and YAHWEH he has forgotten.
For amidst all that he has done he brought you no offering; neither burnt offering nor peace offering, neither ox, lamb nor goat of all that he killed on the day that his son was weaned. Even from the time of his son’s birth till now, being thirty-seven years, he built no altar before you, nor brought any offering to you, for he saw that you didst give what he requested before you, and he therefore forsook you.”
Satan is always the accuser and twister of details concerning humanity; what he doesn’t know is the depths of our hearts.
Jasher 22:54-55 “And YAHWEH said to Satan, Hast you thus considered my servant Abraham? for there is none like him upon earth, a perfect and an upright man before me, one that fears YAHWEH and avoids evil; as I live, were I to say unto him, Bring up Yitschaq your son before me, he would not withhold him from me, much more if I told him to bring up a burnt offering before me from his flock or herds. And Satan answered YAHWEH and said, Speak then now unto Abraham as you hast said, and you wilt see whether he will not this day transgress and cast aside your words.” And so, we will see.
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Mt. Moriah is where the Temple used to, and will again someday, exist; that place that today is called the Temple Mount. About 50 miles journey that lies ahead of him…..lots of time to think, and back out of the agonizing purpose of this trip.
3 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.
Jasher 23:21-23 “And Abraham took two of his young men with him, Ishmael the son of Hagar and Eliezer his servant, and they went together with them, and while they were walking in the road the young men spoke these words to themselves, And Ishmael said to Eliezer, Now my father Abraham is going with Yitschaq to bring him up for a burnt offering to YAHWEH, as He commanded him. Now when he returns he will give unto me all that he possesses, to inherit after him, for I am his first born.”
Greed, envy and power are the tools of Satan over and over again in this world. They are the propellant for this event yet Satan will not leave all the work for humanity.
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
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.
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
So many times in this world we are “called” or “nudged” or better yet inclined to do something that we know has the stamp of YHWH all over it, and yet, sadly, we shrink up and do not do it. Why? There are other voices, those in our own mind of doubt, fear and worry, or even perhaps of some “well-meaning” friend or relative that says to you “have you considered the outcome”.
These voices are in like manner to those we see here in the telling of Isaac and Abraham.
Jasher 23:25-28 “And while Abraham was proceeding with his son Yitschaq along the road, Satan came and appeared to Abraham in the figure of a very aged man, humble and of contrite spirit, and he approached Abraham and said to him, Art you silly or brutish, that you go to do this thing this day to your only son? For YAHWEH gave you a son in your latter days, in your old age, and wilt you go and slaughter him this day because he committed no violence, and wilt you cause the soul of your only son to perish from the earth?
Dost you not know and understand that this thing cannot be from YAHWEH? for YAHWEH cannot do unto man such evil upon earth to say to him, Go slaughter your child. And Abraham heard this and knew that it was the word of Satan who endeavored to draw him aside from the way of YAHWEH, but Abraham would not hearken to the voice of Satan, and Abraham rebuked him so that he went away.”
Do you know the sound of Satan’s voice? Even when it’s masked by someone humble and contrite? What about those in partnership with you, do they know which is the voice of YHWH? and which is the voice of the Adversary?
Jasher 23:29-33 “And Satan returned and came to Yitschaq; and he appeared unto Yitschaq in the figure of a young man comely and well favored. And he approached Yitschaq and said unto him, Dost you not know and understand that your old silly father brings you to the slaughter this day for naught?
Now therefore, my son, do not listen nor attend to him, for he is a silly old man, and let not your precious soul and beautiful figure be lost from the earth. And Yitschaq heard this, and said unto Abraham, Hast you heard, my father, that which this man has spoken? even thus has he spoken.
And Abraham answered his son Yitschaq and said to him, Take heed of him and do not listen to his words, nor attend to him, for he is Satan, endeavoring to draw us aside this day from the commands of YAHWEH.”
7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
Confidence and faith in YHWH is what He requires of us all. Abraham has this in a huge way and nothing will stop him. If we can recall back to Chapter 14 Abraham witnessed YHWH defeat the armies of Giants and in Chapter 19 He decimates 5 cities instantly!
Yet, sadly, Satan is relentless. How many times have you felt like there were seemingly insurmountable obstacles to your mission?
Jasher 23:34-40 “And Abraham still rebuked Satan, and Satan went from them, and seeing he could not prevail over them he hid himself from them, and he went and passed before them in the road; and he transformed himself to a large brook of water in the road, and Abraham and Yitschaq and his two young men reached that place, and they saw a brook large and powerful as the mighty waters.
And they entered the brook and passed through it, and the waters at first reached their legs. And they went deeper in the brook and the waters reached up to their necks, and they were all terrified on account of the water; and while they were going over the brook Abraham recognized that place, and he knew that there was no water there before.
And Abraham said to his son Yitschaq, I know this place in which there was no brook nor water, now therefore it is this Satan who does all this to us, to draw us aside this day from the commands of YAHWEH. And Abraham rebuked him and said unto him, YAHWEH rebuke you, O Satan, begone from us for we go by the commands of YAHWEH.
And Satan was terrified at the voice of Abraham, and he went away from them, and the place again became dry land as it was at first. And Abraham went with Yitschaq toward the place that YAHWEH had told him.”
Notice how Abraham KNEW this place. This where he and YHWH communed with one another on several occasions prior. He wasn’t in unfamiliar territory. Does your “mission” [some would say their “calling”] have you in unfamiliar territory? The Bible is our map for life and our “calling”. We are called to “go and make disciples”. How can you make a disciple when you have not trodden the path yourself? Do you feel like you are drowning in a sea of doubt, fear and worry? Or do you know the place you are in well enough to rebuke Satan and keep going?