Andrew Fuller Friday: On Abraham’s Sacrifice of Isaac

A few remarks on the general design of the whole will conclude this subject. Though it was not the intention of God to permit Abraham actually to offer a human sacrifice, yet he might mean to assert his own right, as Lord of all, to require it, as well as to manifest the implicit obedience of faith in the conduct of his servant. Such an assertion of his right would manifest his goodness in refusing to exercise it. Hence, when children were sacrificed to Moloch, who had no such right, Jehovah could say in regard of himself, “It is what I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind.” God never accepted but one human sacrifice; and blood in that case was not shed at his command, but by the wicked hands of men. It is necessary, however, that we should resign our lives, and every thing we have, to his disposal. We cannot be said to love him supremely if father, or mother, or wife, or children, or our own lives be preferred before him. The way to enjoy our temporal comforts is to resign them to God. When we have in this manner given them up, and receive them again at his hand, they become much sweeter, and are accompanied with blessings of greater value.

But in this transaction there seems to be a still higher design; namely, to predict in a figure the great substitute which God in due time should “see and provide.” The very place of it, called “the mount of the Lord,” seems to have been marked out as the scene of great events; and of that kind too in which a substitutional sacrifice was offered and accepted. Here it was that David offered burnt-offerings, and peace-offerings, and called upon the Lord; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt-offering, and commanded the angel of death to put up his sword, 1 Chron. 21:26, 27. It was upon the same mountain that Solomon was aftewards directed to build the temple, 2 Chron. 3:1. And, if it were not at the very spot, it could not be far distant that the Saviour of the world was crucified. Mount Moriah was large enough to give name to a tract of land about it, ver. 2. Mount Calvary therefore was probably a smaller mountain, which ascended from a certain part of it. Hither then was led God’s own Son, his only Son, whom he loved, and in whom all nations of the earth were to be blessed; nor was he spared at the awful crisis by means of a substitute, but was himself freely delivered up as the substitute of others. One reason of the high approbation which God expressed of Abraham’s conduct might be its affording some faint likeness of what would shortly be his own.


Excerpt from: “Abraham Commanded to Offer Up His Son Isaac,” in Expository Discourses on the Book of Genesis.

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Expositions—Miscellaneous. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 3, pp. 89–90). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

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