Was Isaac a Type of Christ?


Scripture verses are NKJV unless otherwise noted; words in brackets [  ] were added by Bible translators; words in parenthesis (  ) and any underlining is my emphasis.

One of the most dramatic events of the Old Testament happened when God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. When reading this account it presents a problem. It may seem to be an isolated event in which only Abraham knew what his mission to the land of Moriah was going to be.

For most Bible readers the Book of Genesis presents a real challenge to be able to grasp the full understanding of what took place. The events recorded by Moses are highlights of the history that God wanted known, and is clearly seen in the account of Abraham and Isaac.

For the most part the detailed interaction of the people are not recorded, leading the reader to fill in what surely took place before and during what was presented, and this was true, regarding the sacrifice of Abraham’s son.

Without this realization the sacrifice of Isaac presents somewhat of a distorted view of what actually took place. For example, it appears that without Isaac having any knowledge of what was expected of him, he is taken to an isolated place for what he knows to be a burnt sacrifice to God.  Isaac meekly allowed his father to bind him and place him on the wood that was split for a burnt offering. It would seem as though Isaac had this great burst of faith that allowed his father to bind him as a lamb for slaughter. 

It is here that mainstream Christianity goes astray, presenting a picture of Isaac being a youth of ten or twelve years, oblivious of what was intended for him. They show a young child carrying a bundle of sticks up the mountain on his way to be sacrificed. The thinking is that only a young child would allow himself to be bound for sacrifice without putting up some sort of resistance.

There are two points to be made here. First we are told that Abraham split the wood for the burnt offering. Genesis 22:3 “So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.”

The meaning of this is that the wood was of substantial size that needed splitting—not sticks. Secondly, a burnt offering required the victim to be totally consumed. Hence the larger quantity and size of the wood is required for a substantial fire. Clearly no ten- or twelve-year-old could carry such a load. Obviously Isaac was an adult man in good physical condition. So, how old was he? The answer to that question will be given as the biblical account is more fully examined.

In Genesis 22:1-2 1“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am’ 2Then He said, ‘Take now 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.’"

At this point in his life Abraham knew that God had given an irrevocable promise that a great nation would come forth from his son Isaac. Therefore, he rightly concluded that God intended to resurrect Isaac after his sacrificial death. Hebrews 11:17-19 17“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten [son,] 18of whom it was said, ‘IN ISAAC YOUR SEED SHALL BE CALLED,’ 19concluding that God [was] able to raise[him] up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”

Here the first parallel is found of Abraham to Isaac, as God the Father was to Jesus Christ. Just as God offered his only begotten son so Abraham did with Isaac; thus showing Abraham as a type of God the Father, and Isaac as a type of Christ.

The faith to die for our beliefs is not based on some sudden mystical receiving of a determination to carry out God’s will in a time of trial. The simple truth is that without the written word of the Bible there could be no faith. Without the record in the bible of man’s interaction with God and its witness to His guarantee to man that there will be a resurrection to eternal life, faith in Him cannot become a reality. 

Romans 10:14-17 14“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO PREACH THE GOSPEL OF PEACE, WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!" 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?" 17So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The Bible.

In order for these things to happen as recorded, Abraham would have told Isaac and Sarah what his mission would be, and with all confidence declared that the only outcome would be the resurrection of Isaac, and they believed.

It is by the revealing of the true history of the Bible, which contains the promises of God to His chosen, and their acceptance, that the Bible is factual that builds true faith.

Isaacs’s faith was built on Abraham and Sarah’s telling and retelling the miraculous events God accomplished in their lifetime, highlighted by his miraculous birth in their old age. This is just as the Bible tells us today, with the emphasis being placed by them of Isaac being the progenitor of a great nation to come. Genesis 17:15-19 15“Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah [shall be] her name. 16And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be [a mother of] nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.’ 17Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Shall [a child] be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear [a child?] 18And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!’ 19Then God said: ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his descendants after him.’” Genesis 18:10-12 10“And He said, ‘I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ (Sarah was listening in the tent door which [was] behind him.) 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; [and] Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’"

Coupled with the Spirit of God it gave reality to the teaching Isaac received, which strengthened him to face death. Knowing that he would be resurrected allowed him to fulfill his destiny.

Just as those today base their future resurrection on the biblical record of the mighty works of God: the Flood, the Exodus and all that followed, there is also a written guarantee to all who believe on Him that there will be a resurrection as shown in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Then what is the reward?

I Thessalonians 4:1 tells us, “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and please God;” And in Verses 14-17 we read: 14“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive [and] remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Not only was Abraham’s faith confirmed by his actions, but also the faith of Isaac and Sarah by their willing submission to God’s command.

Continuing to follow the parallel of Isaac to Christ, Isaac was required to carry the wood for his sacrifice knowing he was the sacrifice, just as Christ was forced to carry the cross for His crucifixion. As Abraham and Isaac began the journey up the mountain Isaac questioned his father about a lamb for the sacrifice. This can be compared to Christ when in the garden of Gethsemane as recorded in Luke 22:42-43 42 “saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done. ’43Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.”

God sent this angel to strengthen Christ and He sent an angel to stop Abraham from killing his son. Abraham’s statement in Genesis 22:8 reads, “And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.’ So the two of them went together.” Abraham’s statement here was a prophecy that Christ made through John the Baptist in John 1:36 “And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’”

Another parallel is seen in the two young men who accompanied Abraham and Isaac as far as the mountain. In Luke 22:61-62 it is seen that Peter and John followed Christ to the courtyard of the high priest. 61“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.”

Also the three days journey to the mountain represents the three days and nights Christ was in the grave. In the minds of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac was already dead from the moment the decision was made to carry out God’s command.

As already pointed out, Isaac would have been a grown man to enable him to carry the wood required for the sacrifice, thus the parallel of Christ‘s age to that of Isaac’s can be drawn. Christ was thirty-three years old when He was crucified. Would Isaac be the same age? It can be shown that Isaac was also thirty-three when he was faced with being sacrificed. This is shown by comparing the calendars for the appropriate years by clicking on the calendar generator and inserting the year 1900 BC, the year that he was thirty-three years old. The year of Christ’s crucifixion was 30 AD. Both calendars show that the Passover occurred on a Wednesday, the 14th of Nisan. See the calendars that follow at the end for confirmation.

To summarize, the following parallels are shown: The first parallel is the proposed sacrifice of Isaac as a burnt offering, a sin offering, as Christ’s death on the cross was a sacrifice for our sins. Second, Abraham had to split the wood. The Father prepared the way to Christ’s death. John 4:34 “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work,’” Third, the two young men accompanied Abraham and Isaac just as Peter and John went to the high priests house. Four, the three days of travel equaling the three days and nights Christ was in the tomb. Five, Isaac’s request for a lamb for the sacrifice, and Christ’s request to have the cup removed from Him in the garden. Six, the angel that prevented Abraham from killing Isaac, as the angel sent to strengthen Christ. Seven, Isaac carried the wood just as Christ carried the cross. Eight, Abraham is pictured as a type of God the Father, willing to sacrifice Isaac as God sacrificed Christ for our sins. Hebrews 9:28 “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him he will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

Thus, Isaac was a type of Christ.












Since writing this article it has been brought to light that there are two important references that give a compelling reality to the story of Isaac being a type of Christ.  


First, Isaac allowed himself to be bound by his father and placed on the sacrificial wood that he had carried for the offering.  This was done without any physical act of defiance by Isaac; just as in Isa. 53.7 where it shows that Christ was led like a lamb to the slaughter, demonstrating Isaac’s absolute confidence, knowing that he would be resurrected.  It is the ultimate act of faith. Matt. 16:24-25. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’”


We must have the same faith in the promise of our own resurrection.  He was the only son of Abraham and Sarah, and was steeped in his miraculous birth and God’s promise that great nations would come from him. Isaac realized that for that to happen God would resurrect him.


Some background information is necessary before going to the second point, having to do with the location of the temple which conflicts with the preponderance of present day beliefs.  The central point revolves around the belief that the Muslim’s Dome of the Rock sits over the stone on which Isaac was supposed to be sacrificed.  Overall, the belief is that this Moslem edifice sits on what has been called “the original foundation of the temple.” This is in direct conflict with the present desire of the Jews to again build the temple on its original site.


The temple was a necessary part of their beliefs, and it was the place where the Jews went to to resolve their sins because they do not recognize the first coming of Christ and His atoning sacrifice for sin. This is the reason they believe that another temple must be built. If it cannot be built on that exact spot it must be built somewhere on what is known as the temple mount.   


In their misguided zeal, as the Jews are prone to do, they follow tradition rather than the actual eye-witness recorded history.  They have accepted as fact what their mortal enemy, the Muslims told them, instead of relying on their own Bible record as recorded in Gen. 22:9.  “Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an alter there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the alter, upon the wood.”   


Here is a statement in which God plainly withholds a defined location of the proposed sacrifice of Isaac. It is ludacris to think that a false religion would know the site where God would have the sacrifice of Isaac when God did not reveal it to His own people. Why? The answer: Because the location of this place must be hidden and the reason is clear. If that place was defined it would have become a revered site and a place of worship, or a place to be worshipped. The  most important reason is clear. God used this exact location to sacrifice His Son, completing in Isaac a type of Christ by using it for both sacrifices. It would only be possible if the place of Abraham’s sacrifice was unknown to anyone until the time of Christ’s sacrifice.


The New Testament defines the place of the crucifixion and also points out the location of the temple. God uses a most unlikely person – a centurion of the Roman army – for the purpose of showing the temple location. Remember that this man undoubtedly witnessed many crucifixions and terrible deaths of men in battle.  It is an important fact because it directly affects the centurion’s astonishment as he witnessed this event and gave an in person report.  It was not Christ’s excruciating death which impressed him and that he reported, but it was the events that followed which caused him to declare that Christ was the Son of God.  Mark 15:33, 37-39. “Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.  Verses 37-39. “And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. So when the centurion who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, ‘Truly this Man was the Son of God!’”   


The first thing that put the centurion on alert was the darkening of the area. Two points to consider that dispel the idea that the darkness was caused by an eclipse of the sun. The Passover and the first high day Sabbath always occur on the full moon. It is impossible to have an eclipse because sun and the moon are opposite one another. Also, the dark part of the eclipse lasts only about seven minutes.  This darkness was a miraculous work of the Father, showing that the light of the world was to be extinguished.  Then the centurion witnessed the tearing of the veil at the death of Christ.


 Luke 23:44-48 also records this event. “Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit’. Having said this, He breathed His last. So when the centurion saw what had happened he glorified God, saying, ‘Certainly this was a righteous Man!’  And the whole crowd who came together to that site, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.”   The centurion plainly saw the veil being torn – he was an eye witness, along with all those who came to witness the crucifixion.  


The next recording of Christ’s death is in Matt. 27:45 and 50-54. “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.”  Verses 50-54.  “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that happened, they feared greatly, saying, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’”  These three reports were from eye witnesses as to what took place as Christ died.  


As was recorded by all three gospels, the first thing that happened was the darkness of the noon day. Then at Christ’s death the veil which was several inches thick tore.  In the book THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JESUS THE MESSIAH by Alfred Edersheim it states the veil was sixty feet long and thirty feet wide and the thickness of the palm of a man’s hand. 


The sound of the veil tearing, which God miraculously caused, would have been like an explosion coming out of the temple entrance, across from the site of the crucifixion. It brought everyone’s attention to the temple and was followed by an earthquake.  The earthquake did not cause the veil to tear.  Some think it was the breaking of the stone lintel that caused the tearing.  At best this may have caused a minor tear as it broke and fell.  Remember, it was torn from top to bottom BEFORE the earthquake as the three scriptures plainly state.


The temple mount is located on the highest point in the city. If the temple is located on the top of the wall, which is sixty-two feet high, it would be several hundred feet back from the edge, making it impossible to see into the temple what the eye witnesses reported. Their reports place the temple directly opposite the crucifixion site at a level that allowed them to see into the temple.  The Bible account, in absolute terms, makes it impossible for anyone at the crucifixion site to see these things happening if the temple was located on top of the temple mount.  It is literally a physical impossibility.


The crucifixion site was located outside of the city of Jerusalem. Heb. 13:11-12. “For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”  The site of the crucifixion site was across the Kedron Valley, placing it outside the city.  


There is no record in the Bible of an exact location for the temple. However, in the crucifixion account the temple location is shown to be south of the Temple Mount, allowing the eye witness account to be fulfilled. This location proves the Biblical report to be accurate - the inspired word of God. As previously pointed out, it was the final completion of Isaac being a type of Christ by having the site of Isaac’s sacrifice  the same site as the site where Christ was crucified.  


Clearly the temple would not be placed on the same site where Isaac’s sacrifice was to be. That site was reserved for the crucifixion of Christ.