Akedah, the Binding of Isaac
What is the significance of the binding of Isaac? What is really going on between Abraham and God? Is this simply a test of faith or is this something else? Can the Hebrew pictograms explain this for us? Is there anything here that points us to Messiah?
There are only a few words in the Ancient Hebrew text that are found a single time. Since words are defined by the context in which they appear, the precise meaning of words that only occur once can be difficult to determine. One such word appears in the account found in Chapter 22 of the book of Genesis. Here Elohim commands Abraham to provide a burnt offering for Him.
In verses 6 through 9 the Biblical record provides this account for us:
"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.
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?
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood"
The word bound is the Hebrew word Akad from which the expression the Akedah comes. The conventional meaning of Akad is to tie with thongs or to bind. But since this word is found nowhere else can we be certain of what this means?
This is another example of how the ancient Hebrew pictographic letters can be of great help. Akad is spelled Ayin Qoof Dalet.
Ayin is the picture of the eye and means to see, to know, or to experience.
Qoof is the picture of the back of the head and means the last or the least. It holds the meaning of behind.
Dalet is the picture of the door and means a doorway or an entrance or a pathway to either life or death. It is a place where change can take place.
How can this be helpful to us? First, in the Ayin we can see that Abraham and Isaac will both see and experience something momentous. What is that? This is a picture of how much Elohim values Isaac. Isaac, one of the least, just a young man, not even Abraham’s first son, finds himself at the doorway to death. Isaac’s willingness to allow himself to be sacrificed will result in life.
Was this just a test of the faith of Abraham in his God? In the book of James Chapter 2 verses 21 through 23 this insight is provided for us:
"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. "
How did Abraham see this doorway to life open in this time of intense testing of his faith? Verse 13 describes the sacrifice provided by Elohim in the stead of Isaac:
"And 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."
Why is there a ram and did it need to be bound also?
Psalm 118 verse 27 tells us this:
"God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar."
We just saw from verse 8 in Genesis Chapter 22 that God will provide himself a lamb. That word provide literally means to see. In these sacrifices God is showing us the light. This light is given by Him for us to see, to know and to understand His purposes and His plan.
The Hebrew pictograms are also numbers and each of the three numbers in the word Akad reveal some of this plan.
Ayin is the number 70 and represents perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual power and significance.
Qoof is the number 100 and describes election or Children of the Promise.
Dalet is the number 4 and stands for God’s creative works or creation.
These numbers tell us that God has all along had a perfect spiritual plan for His creation that centered on the Children of Promise, His elect. These Children of Promise would be rescued from the doorway leading to death by a sacrifice substituted for them and provided by God Himself.
In the case of Isaac, instead of the lamb that Abraham said God would provide, a ram was provided instead. But this was only a type of the true lamb that would someday come, be bound on a cross, and sacrificed for sin.
John the Baptist shewed us light and described someone who would be that final sacrifice that would that would complete God’s perfect plan. In the Gospel of John Chapter 1 verse 29 we read:
"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
The Akedah was always intended by our Heavenly Father to help us to place our faith solely on the ultimate and final sacrifice offered to us. That sacrifice was completed in the person of Jesus Christ, His Son, who is the doorway to life eternal.