“The Lord will provide”
These are the words that the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) uttered. Why did he say it?
We all know that God tested the Prophet Abraham by asking him to go to a mountain and offer his beloved son as a sacrifice!
The Prophet Abraham obeyed. Why? He remembered the promises made by his God about his descendants. The Injil tells us that he believed that God would have to raise his son from the dead (Hebrews 11:19) in order to fulfil the promise that his descendants would be more than the stars in the sky for multitude. (Genesis 15:5)
So he led his son on this mountain and prepared to sacrifice him. As they walked up the mountain, Abraham’s son asked, “Look, here is the wood and the firs, but where is the lamb for the offering?” He was obviously unaware of what was about to be asked of him. At the very last moment God stopped Abraham. The faith of his Prophet Abraham was proven to be true. Then God provided a ram in place of his son.
The ram died in the place of the son. And the Prophet Abraham called this place “the Lord will provide.”
This is well recognised as a prophecy (Taurat, Genesis 22:1-14).
By gradually observing the sacrifices in the Holy Scriptures, we come to understand the meaning of Abraham’s Prophecy.
From the beginning.
From the first chapters of the Book (Taurat) of Moses (Musa) we learn that God commanded men to offer sacrifices of animals. Thus Abel (Habil), the son of Adam and Eve, offered God the firstborn of his livestock. And God accepted these sacrifices.
His brother Cain (Qabil) offered him some vegetables he had grown. But God did not accept this type of sacrifice (Taurat, Genesis 4: 1-5).
The Passover in Egypt.
Later we can read the story where the children of Israel were under the yoke of the slavery of the Egyptians. God sent the Prophet Moses to tell Pharaoh to release his people. But the Pharaoh refused and God struck the Egyptians with ten plagues.
The final plague was the most severe. The Lord had warned Pharaoh that if he did not let his people go, then the firstborn of each family would die in the same night. Pharaoh refused to listen.
Then the LORD commanded the children of Israel to take one perfectly healthy lamb for each household. Each family had to sacrifice their lamb and collect its blood. Then the blood had to be brushed on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the front door.
God says that the angel of death would pass through Egypt that night and take the life of the firstborn son in every house.
However, where the blood was present on the posts and the lintels, the angel would pass over that home without taking life. The first-born son would not die, because the blood of the Lamb had been shed in his place.
And everything went according to what God had said.
Then the Lord instructed his people to commemorate this event each year by a feast during which they would sacrifice “the Passover Lamb” (Taurat, Exodus 12: 1-30).
The Words of God to the Prophet Moses.
After leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, God gave many laws to the Prophet Moses.
God gave him the Ten Commandments that clearly explained how serious sin is. These laws command us to love God with all our heart; they forbid idols, images, and blasphemy.
They also teach us to love our neighbours and forbid adultery, theft, murder, lies and jealousy (Taurat, Exodus 20: 1-17).
These laws were given in order to show men and women that they are sinners and guilty before God. The prophet David (Daoud) wrote in the Psalms (Zabor) “There is none that does good, not even one” (Psalm 14: 3).
Although these laws demonstrate that every man is a sinner God also tells the Prophet Moses how they can receive God’s forgiveness. He ordered that they were to take a healthy animal without blemish (calf, kid or lamb) and bring it to a priest appointed by God and anointed. The individual was to confess his faults. Then the sacrificial animal was to be slain and offered as a sacrifice, and its blood was to be poured on and around the altar. It is written, “In this way the priest shall make atonement for his sin, and it shall be forgiven him” (Taurat, Leviticus 4: 27-35).
God clearly taught that one who wanted divine forgiveness should offer a sacrifice.
So, a lamb, an animal died in the place of the sinner. This was only an illustration of a much more important future sacrifice that God would later reveal to the Prophet Isaiah.
The Prophet Isaiah
The Prophet Isaiah lived seven hundred years before Jesus the Messiah. In chapter 53 of his prophecies, in the Holy Bible, God announces something very clearly.
He speaks of a man who will become a sacrifice to atone for the sins of others. In verses 4-7 we read:
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
Who is this sacrificial lamb?
We can be forgiven and reconciled with God through this sacrifice. Who, then, is this man of whom God spoke? The Prophet John (Yahya) provides he answer to this question in the Gospel (Injil). The first time he sees Jesus The Messiah, the Prophet John makes a remarkable proclamation. We read, “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and he said,” Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).
Jesus the Messiah often spoke of his death on the and He said of Himself, “The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28). Therefore, the true sacrifice and the perfect sacrifice is Jesus! The sacrifices of the lambs were prefigurating something better. They served as illustrations of the death of Jesus.
It is no longer necessary to sacrifice lambs or animals because Jesus died for sins. The New Testament explains it: “but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 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.” (Injil, Hebrews 9: 26-28)
These verses also teach us that Jesus the Messiah will return. Today he is alive because, on the third day after his death, God raised him up. He will come to take his people, for whom he has sacrificed himself, to be with Him.
This people is made up of all who have come to God, like those who had offered a lamb in the time of the Prophet Moses. They have confessed their sins and turned from them. They have asked God to forgive their iniquities. They have believed that Jesus, the Messiah, died for their sins. Now they love God and strive to live by obeying Him.
God tells us in His Word, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ( 1 John 1:9). Do you accept Jesus as your atoning sacrifice?
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