Skip to comments.The Sacrifice of Abraham
Posted on 03/25/2007 7:31:29 PM PDT by Urbane_Guerilla
I say this with total respect for Christians, Jews, and anyone else who does not worship mohammed, as the slaves of islam do:
The worshippers of mohammed, mohammedans, pretend that Judeo-Christian history is their own. It is a "history" found in mohammed-worship theology (the silly-goofy koran is the primary source) only because not-so-smart mohammed was a sociopath who incorporated elements of other religions while he was devising his own religion designed to associate mohammed with allah.
The irony of islam is that, for rational folks, it is a direct challenge to any basis of faith. The worship of mohammed is so absurd, so made-up, so religious, that it is impossible to raise any question about mohammed-worship without raising questions about any other faith.
With Good Friday approaching, it is important to look at the precursor event, the near sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham. God ordered that Abraham slaughter Isaac, as an animal would be slaughtered. Isaac, who was a famously piquant gift to Abraham, would be burnt by his old father.
Abraham was exalted by God for his willingness to inflict such suffering not only upon Isaac, but also, and maybe more-so, upon himself. The beauty of Jesus was his understanding that this barbarism was unacceptable.
There is nothing, and was nothing, admirable about the slaughter of Isaac. The story is repulsive. It is self-evident that any entity requiring a man to kill his son for the pleasure of the entity, to test loyalty, is actually a story about those who believe that arbitrary suffering is good and wonderful.
The story of the worship of mohammed is a story about a sociopath who has spawned hatred, violence and the love of infliction of suffering. Suffering, to allah, is his ultimate pleasure.
There is no way to logically separate the belief in the goodness of Abraham's willingness from the brutality of belief in allah, and his brutal "messenger."
Our President, who in so many respects has been so well intentioned, and who does not deserve the ridiculous and outrageous calumnies put upon him, is tethered to a basic premise about existence which renders him incapable of understanding what we are up against.
He is our Abraham, willing to sacrifice us on the rock altar of belief in the fundamental goodness of submission to God.
I'm not sure I get your point.
The story of the sacrifice of Abraham and Isaac has been difficult for modernists to accept, much like the Book of Job, but it is biblical.
It illustrates both obedience and mercy.
Abraham obeys God, even though he is being asked to kill his son, his only son, his son who was promised to multiply like the stars in the sky and inherit the land of Israel.
But when he proves his obedience, God forbids him to kill Isaac. Instead, he sacrifices the ram caught in the thicket. It was a test, an unpleasant test, but God does not demand the sacrifice of the first born son. Instead, God accepts a substitutionary sacrifice of a sheep.
Clearly this points to the Passover, and another substitutionary sacrifice, the blood of the Passover lamb instead of the first born son.
And, for Christians, this points to the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God.
I agree with you about Mohammed, but I'm not sure what your point is in relating it to the story of the Sacrifice of Isaac--which didn't take place.
You wrote this?
Let me give you a few things to think about with relation to this story.
1. God forbids human sacrifice.
2. God knows everything - and He knew He would not allow Abraham to complete this act. God NEVER intended Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
3. Abraham was the "friend of God" God shared many things with Abraham - just as friends share many things. God wanted His friend, Abraham, to understand what He Himself would go through when He (God) offered up His own Son Jesus on the cross for the sins of the world.
4. Pray for wisdom before calling anything in the Word of God repulsive. You may just be missing the point of the story.
I'm not trying to be argumentative, but Ishmael might disagree about that 'only son' thing.
Mohammad, the plagarizing pervert, plagarized from the jews before butchering them and taking slaves.
I think the point was for God to convince Abraham to trust him in all things even when doing so seemed illogical.
God had promised Abraham this son, Isaac, as the son who would not only spring from the womb of his septagenarian wife, but who would provide him with a lineage more numerous than the stars in the sky. For God to turn around and ask Abraham to sacrifice this son that he and Sarah had waited so long for, and who God had specifically promised would serve an alternate purpose, defied Abraham's sense of reason. For Abraham to trust God in this matter and to prepare to go through with the act, which God would never allow to take place anyway, illustrated Abraham's willingness to trust God in all things, and proved to Abraham that he COULD trust God even when it didn't make sense.
As a man of reason, I can appreciate such a lesson.
That said, your broader point seems to be about the war on terror, and I'm not really sure what this has to do with that. The president is leading this nation as the head of state of a constitutional republic, with laws that emanate from the Constitution of the United States, not from the Bible or the Torah. This is a struggle between a constitutional republic and a patchwork of Islamic dictatorships. How the president's personal faith factors into that equation is beyond me.
The point is this: like the allah of mohammed-worship, the God of Abraham (who is embraced whole-heartedly by the sociopath mohammed in his absurd construction of a religion whose point is the worship of mohammed) is an Entity pleased by the arbitrary and pointless suffering of men.
Abraham necessarily says to himself, if God wants me to do it, I must do it. It is not the same thing as saying, for instance, if God wants me to be kind to others, I ought to be kind to others. It has only to do with the whim of the Supreme Being.
The concept of the whim of a Supreme Being is the gist of mohammed-worship. (The trick to islam, is that mohammed was the conscious stand-in for allah).
There is no difference in the logical premise of mohammed-worship and Christianity or Judaism, for example. Our President knows this, if only subliminally. He is not capable of confronting our enemy, because he shares the same interior premise: God is worthy of obedience even if he dictates the totally inane and brutal sacrifice of a son, especially under circumstances where the sacrifice is a sadistic emotional/psychological event.
The worship of mohammed is a particularly debasing and humiliating, and emotionally cruel circumstance. There is nothing satisfactory from a human pov, other than the debatble satisfaction of belief in monotheism.
But the belief in monotheism, and all it implies, calls into question islam and other "Abrahamic" religions.
Our President is not a deep thinker. I do not say that in disrespect. I abhor his critics, who are witless jackasses, mostly. His belief system, tho, prevents him from uderstanding the enemy. He realizes (at some level of understanding) that the best criticism of our enemy, implicates his own beliefs.
that's something I've always had trouble accepting. I know this: were I in Abraham's position, I would never, under any circumstances, be willing to sacrifice my child, even if I was convinced that God Himself was telling me to do it. I've read all the arguments, and I'm still unconvinced. I guess I'll just have to take it up with the Man himself one of these days.
Of course I also think the prodigal son's brother got a bad rap--you might say I'm a bit of a contrarian.
But I was recalling the way it is presented in Genesis 22:1-2:
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.
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.
Presumably Isaac is called the "only son" because he is the child promised by the angel who will be the progenitor of Israel and the twelve tribes who will multiply like the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore.
The passage emphasizes that Isaac is his son, the son whom he loves, his only son, because only through Isaac will the promise of the Covenant be realized. All this emphasizes how dear such a sacrifice would be.
God forbids human sacrifice, but he called for Abraham to commit human sacrifice. Ponder that.
God knew that he would not permit Abraham to actually slaughter Isaac, but he did permit Abraham to go thru that particularly gruesome human experience. If I understand human existence correctly, we all want to be spared that experience, regardless of the outcome
Friends do not put friends thru the ordeal suffered by Abraham, for such a trivial and irrelavant point.
I pray for wisdom, even tho I do not understand the nature of prayer. Do you?
Also, don't you think that Abraham being instructed to sacrifice Isaac, and the obvious agony of Abraham depicted in those passages is meant to place before us in type and shadow the heart of God when His own son was sacrificed -- give us a window, in other words, not merely the fact that God is fore shadowing the sacrifice itself, but by imagining the agony of Abraham, we can walk for a bit in God's shoes as He shed's the blood of His Son to attone for our transgressions.
That point is clear enough. The issue is about the nature of the point.
islam exalts the point, altho islam is actually mohammed-worship, the point of which is to be gloriously obedient, even tho obedience is submission to exquisite cruelty. Exquisite cruelty (the worship of allah and his associate mohammed) is the necessary option of islam.
As the story of Abraham also shows, it is the necessary option of what our President believes.
I don't know the man (W) personally, so I am speculating.
But based on what he has said and not said, it seems W cannot find the intellectual basis for confronting those whose religion leads them to seek our total destruction.
Of course. The Sacrifice of Abraham's only son Isaac is typological for the Sacrifice of God's only Son Jesus.
There is also typology within the Old Testament, as I mentioned, pointing to the Passover and the sacrifice of a lamb in place of the first born son. The Last Supper is a fulfillment of the Passover meal, recalling the original Passover. And Jesus is called the Lamb of God (in Revelation) in remembrance of the sacrificial lamb.
The pagan religions in the land of Canaan demanded human sacrifices, and it was customary to sacrifice the first born son to Baal Moloch, throwing the child into the furnace. Judaism introduces the substitutionary sacrifice. That is why when Jesus is presented in the Temple as a baby, a pair of doves is sacrificed in His place. And in turn Jesus offers Himself as a sacrifice in place of all of humanity, atoning to the Father for our sins.
I very much recognize the foreshadowing. So did Jesus, I suspect.
Typical of Jesus, that extraordinary and lovely man, he put the best possible construction on it, to the extent of his life, for the benefit of us all.
He was no mohammed.
Yes, I do think the agony of Abraham was intended. That is what would make any human being react negatively.
This episode was all about foreshadowing the sacrifice of Christ. God provided a substitutionary sacrifice for the son of Abraham, but for His own Son, there was no substitution possible. Christ was the true sacrifice symbolized by the ram for both Abraham and his son.
This is a beautiful story, not repulsive. I agree with you completely.
"God will provide himself a Lamb for The sacrifice."
My biggest problem with Dubya, and this may be a related point, is that he's too queasy to do what's necessary to win this war.
Churchill was a far more morally complicated figure than Dubya, but it took a Churchill to carpetbomb German cities and win WWII. Dubya has spent too much of the last four years looking out for Iraqi civilians, in my view, when he should have been trying to win the war.
So perhaps it does take an amoral SOB to properly wage war from time to time. And in that sense, an evangelical like Bush, who has it in the back of his mind that he'll have to answer to God for every dead Iraqi, etc, may not be the best guy for the job. You sort of need an anti-hero at times like this. Not sure if that's what you're getting at.
I've always loved the promise God made to Abraham that his descendents would be as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore.
May one assume that the descendents have not reached that point yet? And therefore the last days of earth must be a long way off . . .
***I'm not trying to be argumentative, but Ishmael might disagree about that 'only son' thing.***
God's promise was that the son would be born by SARA, not Hagar. As a result Hagar has no claim although her son did father many kings.
Finite man can't grasp the infinite.
Your points are all garbage, but I do so appreciate you posting them as the replies have been thoughtful and stimulating. . .
Where you err is with the assertion that islamofascism has anything to do with religion and therefore, could be compared to Christianity and Judaism in the first place.
I'm not real sure about that either. Maybe Isaac was his only remaining son after he sent Ishmael away? I'm used to not understanding the Bible completely. Genesis 1:26 still has me shaking my head after all these years. But I do believe, even though I don't entirely understand. I figure if God thinks it is important for me to understand He'll see that I do.
Islam is not an "Abrahamic" religion, whatever that is.
Abraham is the biological progenitor of the Arabs, through his son Ishmael. Arab is not an equivalent of Muslim. The fact of Abraham's monotheism is claimed by some to link his religious beliefs system to Islam because Islam is monotheistic. But the God of Abraham is not the god of Islam. And, of course, Muslims reject the doctrine that Abraham's One God is manifested in three persons, the Trinity.
It seems to me that you have touched on a somewhat controversial subject, though not particularly for Jews who understand the story from all its angles. I will provide the Jewish perspective on the matter.
First, we must understand that the story of Isaac's sacrifice is not a simple matter to understand. We, as humans, particularly in the modern age, find it difficult to comprehend something as controversial as sacrificing one's son.
In Judaism, there are two ways to interpret this story. One interpretation is the standard one as understood by the vast majority of bible scholars and bible readers. The other interpretation is much more complex and much more controversial. Both lead to the same conclusion, but both take two completely different paths.
Let's begin with the standard interpretation:
Isaac was a grown man (somewhere between 25 to 37, depending on the source) and could've easily fought off his father if he wished not to be sacrificed. Yet Isaac did not resist and did not make a sound. Like a righteous man, he has accepted his fate. G_d instructs Abraham to sacrifice his son without giving him a reason for it. The practical explanation suggests that it was the most heavenly, most difficult, most powerful test ever given to a man to test his belief in G_d. The story goes on that just before Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac, an angel interferes and manifests a ram (or a goat, depending on the source) where Abraham chooses to spare his son and sacrifice the ram instead.
The second interpretation is not widely accepted, but one that was suggested by several Jewish scholars of old. Keep in mind that this is the unorthodox interpretation and by far the most controversial of the two:
The story starts the same. The only difference is that the angel is too late to stop Abraham from sacrificing his son and Isaac is in effect, sacrificed and has died. Further interpretation suggests that when Abraham has sacrificed his son, many angels cried and screamed in agony to G_d as to why He would allow such a cruel, unmerciful act. It is further explained that G_d resurrects Isaac from the dead by bringing him into His "Raqia Shevi'i" (loosely translates to "Seventh Heaven") and reinstalling, so to speak, Isaac's soul and then bringing him back to life.
As you can see, both interpretations take different paths, but both lead to the same conclusion - Isaac lived. Whether he wasn't sacrificed and lived or whether he was sacrificed and resurrected, the result is the same. This clearly suggests that G_d never intended for Abraham to kill Isaac, but rather sacrifice or attempt to sacrifice Isaac in order to test Abraham's trust in Him.
Some suggest that G_d was indeed testing Abraham's faith in him, though I believe it goes considerably deeper than that, into areas and ideas we may never comprehend. Someone here used the term "obedience" which is grossly incorrect in this case as G_d did not demand obedience from Abraham, but rather inquired into his belief in Him. So, in effect, this was much more a test of trust and free will rather than a test of obedience. Obedience relates more to a command. G_d has not "commanded" Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. G_d has "asked" Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Because it was such a grueling test of free will and Abraham has stepped to the "challenge", G_d has since considered Abraham as his own son and has promised his offspring and his people great lands and wealth.
I could discuss this much further as there are other implications to consider such as the rather large gap between the time of Isaac's sacrifice (when he was around 30 years old, depending on the source) to the time Isaac married Rebekah (when Isaac was around 40-45 years old). There are of course other implications, but I would not venture to discuss them at this point as I have to call it a night.
Rather like our current practice of abortion.
Yes, I meant to add one of your points earlier. I have taught Genesis and Exodus to mixed classes of Jews, Christians, and at least some students who have never even seen a Bible.
In western art, Isaac is usually portrayed as a young man, maybe a teenager. But some of my Jewish students who have studied the Hebrew Bible said that the traditional Jewish interpretation of this passage is that Isaac was in his 30s, old enough to be responsible, and old enough to fight off his father if he had chosen to. Abraham was more than a hundred years old when Sarah CONCEIVED Isaac, so presumably he was over 130 at the time of the sacrifice.
In other words, it must be concluded that Isaac was not forcefully tied up and placed on the burning pile to have his throat cut, but that he CHOSE to permit his father to do this. In other words, he was tested too, and he too chose virtuous obedience.
Interestingly, in Buchanan's 16th-century Latin tragedy about Jephtha's daughter, he makes the same presumption: that she voluntarily agreed to be a sacrifice so her father could fulfill his unfortunate promise. This doesn't make these stories a whole lot easier, but it does put another light on them.
Yes, Ishmael was disowned and banished, and he became a wanderer. He was traditionally said to be the progenitor of the wandering Arabs or Bedouin, which Mohammed seems to have picked up on in his distorted version of the story.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus