Friday, 8 September 2017

Is Genesis 22 a Messianic Prophecy?

Genesis 22 is the Biblical account of Abraham being tested in sacrificing his son. It begins:

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

This video is also uploaded here and here

Some Christians think this account is a prophecy or foreshadowing of Jesus being crucified. A few points in refutation from rabbi Michael Skobac and rabbi Tovia Singer as per the video:

1. The Old Testament teaches nobody can die for somebody else’s sins and innocent person cannot die for the sins of the wicked. Ezekiel 18:13 and 18:20-23

2. Human sacrifice is not biblical. “It (human sacrifice) is forbidden and an odious abomination” – rabbi Tovia Singer.

3. If early Christians believed Genesis 22 was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ crucifixion why did Paul not mention this? This notion did not occur to any writer in the Bible. This notion is a fabrication which comes from the author of a forgery called the Epistle of Barnabas (non canonical book). This book almost made it into the canon. It was also advanced by a Catholic church father, Justin, in the 2nd century. The key point is why is this idea not in the NT? Why didn’t one of the authors not put this into the Bible? Aren’t these protestants who believe in sola scriptura? There seems to be an evolution of thought as time progressed.

4. In Genesis 22 it mentions, in the opening, that God tested Abraham. It announces clearly what this chapter is about, testing Abraham’s faith.

5. Michael Skobac mentions the way Christians view these passages is an approach which works backwards. Nobody reading Gen 22 prior to Christianity would have thought this was a prophecy about the Messiah.

6. It can’t be speaking about Jesus, it’s clear from the passage that this offering is meant to be a burnt offering. Obviously Christians don’t believe Jesus was burnt.

7. There’s no indication that this offering in Gen 22 was for sin.

8. When John (in his Gospel) announces Jesus as the Passover lamb it’s peculiar as this lamb was never brought for atonement of sin in Jewish practice. It was brought for commemoration of an event in Jewish history. The most appropriate analogue would have been the Yom Kippur scapegoat as this was the only animal which bore the sins of all the people (the others were limited) but this scapegoat is not said to be killed in the Bible (it’s sent off into the wilderness).

9. In verse 13 of Gen 22, this story is fulfilled. Abraham sacrifices the lamb. 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

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