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The Oath and Sacrifice: More on Toldot...

The Oath and Sacrifice

Further thoughts on Parashat Toldot...

by John J. Parsons
www.hebrew4christians.com

In our Torah portion this week (i.e., parashat Toldot) we learn that the great oath of blessing that God gave to Abraham was extended (exclusively) to his beloved son Isaac (Gen 26:3-4; Rom. 9:7). Recall that it was only after the Akedah (the sacrifice of Isaac) that the LORD God swore the oath (שְׁבוּעָה) that through Abraham would all the families of the earth be blessed: "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son (ben yachid), I will surely bless you... and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice" (Gen. 22:16-18; cp. Gal. 3:9,16). The critical Hebrew phrase, "by myself have I sworn" (בִּי נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי) is the most solemn oath God could make and must be regarded as an inviolable vow (Heb. 6:13-18). It is nothing short of astounding to realize that the very existence of Israel and the Jewish people - and therefore the advent of the Messiah himself - derives from the Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his "only begotten son" -- an act of faith that constituted the revelation of "deeper Torah" later enshrined in the laws of sacrifice given at Sinai.  That is why the key idea of the Torah centers on the idea of atoning sacrifice, and in particular, the continual sacrifice of the lamb.  Indeed sacrificial atonement is the central theme of the central book of Torah, i.e., Leviticus, where we draw near to God through sacrificial rites, the foremost of which was the ongoing offering (i.e., korban tamid: קָרְבַּן תָּמִיד) of a defect-free male lamb, together with unleavened bread and wine. The LORD called this "My offering, My bread" (Num. 28:1-8). In other words, at the very center of the Torah we see the Altar that constantly prefigured the Lamb of God who would be offered up to secure our eternal redemption (John 1:29; Heb. 9:11-12). Yeshua is our "lamb offered in the morning and in the evening," and His sacrificial life embodies God's passion for you to receive his love.

The "Gospel of Moses" revealed in the Akedah foretells the cross of our Savior. For more on this subject, see "Israel and the Akedah" here.

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