Amplified: By faith Abraham, when he was put to the test [while the testing of his faith was still in progress], had already brought Isaac for an offering; he who had gladly received and welcomed [God’s] promises was ready to sacrifice his only son, [Ge 22:1-10.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: It was by faith that Abraham offered up Isaac when he was put to the test. He was willing to offer up even his only son, (Westminster Press)
NLT: It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God's promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: It was by faith that Abraham, when put to the test, made a sacrifice of Isaac. Yes, the man who had heard God's promises was prepared to offer up his only son (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: By faith Abraham offered up Isaac while being put to the test; even he who received the promises, offered up his uniquely begotten, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: By faith Abraham hath offered up Isaac, being tried, and the only begotten he did offer up who did receive the promises,
|BY FAITH ABRAHAM, WHEN HE WAS TESTED OFFERED UP ISAAC: Pistei prosenenochen (3SRAI) Abraam ton Isaak peirazomenos (PPPMSN): (Ge 22:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; Jas 2:21, 22, 23, 24) (Dt 8:2; 2Chr 32:31; Job 1:11,12; 2:3-6; Pr 17:3; Da 11:35; Zech 13:9; Mal 3:2,3; Jas 1:2, 3, 4; 5:11; 1Pe 1:6,7; 4:12; Re 3:10) (2Co 8:12)
This is the third illustration of Abraham’s faith in Hebrews 11 (Heb 11:8 = "by faith...when he was called" and Heb 11:9, 10, 11, 12 = "By faith he lived as an alien...")
By faith Abraham - Surely one of the prime examples of a man's faith.
Dwight Pentecost commenting on Abraham's faith and obedience exemplified in Hebrews 11:17-19 writes that "Our faith is often tested most when our present circumstances seem completely contrary to what God has revealed to us through His Word. That is precisely the situation Abraham faced, and yet he did not succumb to “doubting in the dark what God told him in the light.” Instead, he lived his life in accordance with what God had said. (Pentecost, J. D., & Durham, K.. Faith that Endures: A Practical Commentary on the Book of Hebrews. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publication)
Remember the context and flow of this letter of exhortation to those Hebrews who were being afflicted with various tribulations, which undoubtedly tempted some consider turning back to the Old Covenant ways of worshiping God. The writer of Hebrews is presenting the OT truths of the faith-life, so that their faith might be encouraged. In a parallel passage Paul emphasized the value of the OT Scriptures to encourage perseverance to to the end writing that...
In Hebrews 11, the great “Faith” chapter, it is interesting to observe that Hebrews 11:1 tells us what faith is and the other 39 verses demonstrate what real faith accomplishes or what genuine faith looks like in everyday life.
The offering of Isaac, after years of waiting for the promise of this son, was Abraham’s ultimate test of faith, and is often stressed in Jewish sources, these sources regarding this a model of faith to be emulated. It is fascinating to see how near these Jewish sources come to the truth without grasping the whole truth about Abraham's faith in the Messiah. In one source the Rabbis taught that Abraham faithfully withstood ten temptations (not clearly a Biblical conclusion), of which the call to offer up his only son was the greatest (M Avoth 5:3). The Midrash Rabbah on Numbers (XVII.2) records a non-biblical narrative stating that when God's test of Abraham regarding Isaac was completed, Abraham asked God never to put him to any test again, because it almost destroyed him (there is no record of this in Scripture).
Morris comments as do others that "Abraham's offer of Isaac can be taken as a thrilling type of God offering His only begotten Son. (Morris, Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)
Certainly one cannot read the story of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac without thinking of passages like "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Ro 8:32-note)
John MacArthur entitles his comments on this section of Hebrews 11 "The Proof of Faith" writing that "The proof of Abraham’s faith was his willingness to give back to God everything he had, including the son of promise, whom he had miraculously received because of his faith. After all the waiting and wondering, the son had been given by God. Then, before the son was grown, God asked for him back, and Abraham obeyed. Abraham knew that the covenant, which could only be fulfilled through Isaac, was unconditional. He knew, therefore, that God would do whatever was necessary, including raising Isaac from the dead, to keep His covenant... If Noah illustrates the duration of faith, Abraham shows the depth of faith. (MacArthur, John: Hebrews. Moody Press)
Faith (4102)(pistis) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. As pistis relates to God, it is the conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things well as the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. As faith relates to Christ it represents a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Stated another way, eternal salvation comes only through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way.
For more discussion on the meaning of faith see commentary on Hebrews 11:1-2.
Faith is believing that God will keep His promises, despite circumstances that seem to be to the contrary! True faith that saves one's soul includes at least three main elements - (1) firm persuasion or firm conviction, (2) a surrender to that truth and (3) a conduct emanating from that surrender. In sum, faith shows itself genuine by a changed life. (Click for W E Vine's definition of faith)
Note that this discussion of pistis is only an overview and not a detailed treatise of this vitally important subject. Those interested are directed to respected, conservative books on systematic theology for more in depth discussion (eg, Dr Wayne Grudem's book Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine is an excellent, uncompromising, imminently readable resource for the lay person. See especially Chapter 35 (Click for online outline of Conversion and/or Listen to the Mp3 of Conversion) which addresses the question "What is saving faith?" in an easy to understand manner.) Much of this "definition" deals with the general word group for faith (pistis = noun, pistos = adjective, pisteuo = verb)
The great theologian John Calvin defined faith as “a steady and certain knowledge of the Divine benevolence towards us, which, being founded on the truth of the gratuitous promise in Christ, is both revealed to our minds, and confirmed to our hearts, by the Holy Spirit.”
Note that faith is founded on divine truth (God’s promise) and is witnessed to by the Spirit in the heart. It has both objective and subjective aspects, and both are essential!
As pistis relates to God, it is the conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things well as the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. As faith relates to Christ it represents a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Stated another way, eternal salvation comes only through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way.
Forsaking All I Trust Him
By faith - Abraham’s faith produced immediate, unhesitating obedience. His faith was demonstrated by his works. Faith alone saves but the faith that saves is not alone. Faith shows itself to be genuine by obedience. To obey is better than sacrifice.
Here is the test in God gave Abraham in Genesis 22 (see Ge 22:1) - God declared...
Hughes - There was no arguing with God, no bargaining, no equivocating. Abraham had learned well from the lessons of life—for example, his own wasted sojourn in Haran, or the unforgettable tragedy of Lot’s wife. Therefore, his obedience was immediate and explicit. Though every fiber of his natural being rebelled against what God was calling him to do, though his feet felt like lead, he did not turn aside. What amazing faith!...No wonder he is the father of all who believe. No wonder he is called the friend of God. (Hughes, R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books)
The fourth stanza (below) of one of the grand old hymns, Trust and Obey, captures the essence of Abraham's sacrifice
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Spurgeon - It may be that Isaac, though a gift from God, began to usurp God’s place. An Isaac may become an idol. The dearest thing we have, the most precious, the most beloved, may still become an abomination by being made an idol to keep us away from God. Some of the heathen worship gods of mud, others worship gods of gold, but there is no difference in the idolatry, whether the image be made of mire or of the most precious metal. Do you have any idols, dear friends? I will not press the question too closely, but whatever your idols may be, they will bring you a world of trouble, for you must love nothing in comparison with God. He must be first, and everything else far away in the background. He will endure no rivals. He will permit no Dagon to stand in the place where the ark of the covenant abides. So God tests Abraham to see who has most of his heart’s love.
Tested (3985) (peirazo [word study] from the noun peira = test from peíro = perforate, pierce through to test durability of things) is a morally neutral word simply meaning “to test”. Whether the test is for a good (as it proved to be in Heb 11:17) or evil (Mt 4:1 "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil") depends on the intent of the one giving the test and also on the response of the one tested. (See study of similar word dokimazo)
See also word study on related word - peirasmos
Peirazo here in Hebrews 11:17 is in the present tense ("continually tested") which indicates the test was ongoing. It began with God's command in Genesis 22:1, 2, continued as he walked with Isaac to Moriah and culminated when God told him not to drop the sword on Isaac.
Peirazo is used 39 times (Matt. 4:1, 3; 16:1; 19:3; 22:18, 35; Mk. 1:13; 8:11; 10:2; 12:15; Lk. 4:2; 11:16; 20:23; Jn. 6:6; 8:6; Acts 5:9; 15:10; 16:7; 24:6; 1 Co. 7:5; 10:9, 13; 2 Co. 13:5; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 3:5; Heb. 2:18; 3:9; 4:15; 11:17, 37; Jas. 1:13, 14; Rev. 2:2, 10; 3:10) and is translated in KJV as "assay, 1; examine, 1; go about, 1; prove, 1; tempt, 29; tempter, 2; try, 4 and in the NAS (40) as "did, 1; put, 1; put to the test, 2; tempt, 2; tempted, 13; tempter, 2; test, 6; tested, 2; testing, 7; tried, 2; trying, 2.
There are 24 uses of peirazo in the Septuagint (LXX) - Ge 22:1; Ex. 15:25; 16:4; 17:2, 7; 20:20; Nu 14:22; Dt. 4:34; 13:3; 33:8; Jdg 2:22; 3:1, 4; 6:39; 1Ki 10:1; 2Chr. 9:1; 32:31; Ps. 26:2; 35:16; 78:41, 56; 95:9; 106:14; Eccl. 2:1; 7:23; Isa 7:12; Da 1:12, 14; 12:10
Peirazo can have several nuances depending on the context: (1) trials with a beneficial purpose and effect, (2) divinely permitted or sent, (3) with a good or neutral significance, (4) of a varied character, (5) definitely designed to lead to wrong doing, temptation, (6) of men trying or challenging God.
The trials may come from God or under His permissive will from Satan, or may be the result of our own wrong doing. The solicitations to do evil come from the world, the evil nature (the "flesh"), or the Devil. When the Scriptural context clearly indicates the testing is an enticement to evil, the word is most frequently translated by a form of the English tempt, which carries that negative connotation and this NEVER refers to a test from God.
Bishop Trench compares the use of the related verbs peirazo and dokimazo (See online for Trench's full discussion of dokimazo and peirazo)
Douglas Moo writes that "The word that is translated “trial”— peirasmos— and its verbal cognate — peirazo — are important words in this section: we find peirasmos in Jas 1:2-note; Jas 1:12-note and peirazo in Jas 1:13, 14-notes. These words have two distinct meanings in the NT. They can denote either an outward trial or process of “testing” or they can denote the inner enticement to sin: “temptation” or “tempt.” The latter meaning is seen in verses such as 1Ti 6:9...(see also Lk 22:40, 46). 1Pe 4:12 (note), on the other hand, is a good example of the other meaning...(see also 1Pe 1:6-note; Mt 26:41; Lk 22:28; Ac 20:19; Re 3:10-note). In several verses, the meaning of the word is not clear. The Lord’s Prayer is a good example: most English translations have rendered “Do not lead us into temptation,” (Mt 6:13-note) but many contemporary scholars argue for “Do not bring us to the time of trial” (NRSV). In other verses, the meaning of peirasmos/peirazo may even combine these ideas, in the sense that the external trial is at the same time a point of temptation (see, e.g., Lk 4:13; 1Co 10:13-note; He 3:8-note). A combination of meanings of this kind may well be present in Jas 1:13, 14, 15. In Jas 1:2, however, peirasmos means “trial.” The surrounding language makes this clear: believers run the risk of “falling into” these trials, which have as their purpose the “testing” of faith and need to be “endured.” These same terms are used elsewhere in the NT when peirasmos has the meaning “trial” (1Pe 1:6-note; Jas 1:12-note). (Moo, D. J. The letter of James. The Pillar New Testament commentary Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leicester, England: Eerdmans)
Swanson summarizes the meaning of peirazo as falling into one five general categories (modified from Swanson, J. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains):
Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us; God tests us to bring out the best.
Recommended Resource (related to temptation): Of Temptation by John Owen
Character is revealed by what you do in secret, when no one else is around to see. If you are not a person of integrity then you will not be a person of character. Maturity is revealed by what you do in your free time. A person of integrity uses their free time wisely.
Abraham again proved his faith by his willingness to give back to God his son of promise, Isaac, whom he had miraculously received because of his faith. It would take an even greater miracle for them to replace Isaac by natural means. He trusted God for a resurrection.
The testing of one's faith/obedience was not unique to Abraham...
The point that is emphasized in these verses on testing is that with the tests God provides opportunities for His children to demonstrate and grow their faith. In fact it is fair to state that every test the Father allows becomes either a stumbling block (King Hezekiah) or a stepping stone (as in Abraham's case in this passage).
Jonathan Edwards wrote that "The surest way to know our gold is to look upon it and examine it in God’s furnace, where He tries it for that end that we may see what it is. If we have a mind to know whether a building stands strong or no, we must look upon it when the wind blows. If we would know whether that which appears in the form of wheat has the real substance of wheat, or be only chaff, we must observe it when it is winnowed. If we would know whether a staff be strong, or a rotten, broken reed, we must see it when it is leaned on, and weight is borne upon it. If we would weigh ourselves justly, we must weigh ourselves in God’s scales, that He makes use of to weigh us.
Offered up (4374) (prosphero from prós = toward + phéro = bring) literally means to bring toward and so refers to an offering, whether of gifts, prayers, or sacrifices. The Septuagint (LXX) uses this word 124 times and often in the context of a sacrificial offering (more than 50 times in Leviticus alone!). The picture of this verb is to carry or bring something into the presence of someone usually implying that what is brought is then transferred to the one to whom it is brought. Abraham was offering up that which was most precious to him, his son of promise, through whom the covenant blessings given to Abraham were to flow.
The perfect tense when considered from the perspective of Abraham’s intention to comply with the solemn command views the sacrifice as an accomplished and perfectly accepted event.
Kent Hughes helps understand making an interesting comment noting that Abraham ""really did “sacrifice” Isaac. The Greek perfect tense is used when the text says that he “offered Isaac as a sacrifice”—and the perfect tense refers to a completed action in past time. This means that the sacrifice actually took place as far as Abraham’s resolve and obedience were concerned. From the divine perspective, as well as from Abraham’s perspective, Abraham did it! But immediately the same verb is used in the imperfect tense in the following statement—he “was about to sacrifice his one and only son”—indicating that it did not physically happen. The point is, in terms of obedience to God, Abraham did it. He completely offered his beloved Isaac, the laughter and joy of his life. (Hughes, R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books) (Bolding added)
Dwight Pentecost comments on the offering noting that "Since Isaac was set apart to be a burnt offering (Lev 1:1–17), he was being offered not in atonement for some sin, but as an act of worship to God. And the obedience of Abraham was itself acceptable worship. Thus, based on the life of Abraham, the writer desires that his readers should “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12) and show the same patient endurance and obedience that their faith ought to produce. (Pentecost, J. D., & Durham, K.. Faith that Endures: A Practical Commentary on the Book of Hebrews. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publication)
AND HE WHO HAD RECEIVED THE PROMISES WAS OFFERING UP HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON: kai ton monogene prosepheren (3SIAI) o tas epaggelias anadexamenos (AMPMSN): (Genesis 22:2,16)
Received (324) (anadechomai from aná = an emphatic + déchomai = receive kindly, accept deliberately and readily) means to receive kindly as one would receive a guest and so to entertain (see below). It means to experience something by being accepting. It was used in secular writings to describe one taking a burden upon himself.
Received suggests more than a passive attitude, instead indicating a willingness to take what God offered.
Westcott writes that anadechomai is an unusual word and "The idea which it suggests here seems to be that of welcoming and cherishing a divine charge which involved a noble responsibility. The word is used frequently of undertaking that which calls out effort and endurance (Wescott, B F: The Epistle to the Hebrews the Greek text with Notes and Essays. 1903)
Thayer writes that it was used "from Homer down; to take up, take upon oneself, undertake, assume; hence, to receive, entertain anyone hospitably.
Anadechomai implies the seizing or laying hold upon that which is presented.
In the only other NT use (none in LXX), Acts 28:7, anadechomai means to receive hospitably.
The promises (1860) (epaggelia/epangelia from the verb epaggello = announce upon or engage to do something in turn from epí = intensities meaning + aggéllo = tell, declare) in secular Greek was used primarily as a legal term denoting summons and in Scripture refers to a promise to do or give something. It refers only to the promises of God (except Acts 23:21). Epaggelia is a gift graciously given and is not a pledge secured by negotiation. God's promise to Abraham was that Isaac would establish the guaranteed posterity.
Elsewhere the writer of Hebrews exhorts his readers "that you may not be sluggish, but imitators (mimetes = one who does what others do, especially the patriarchs like Abraham) of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU, AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU." And thus, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. (Hebrews 6:12-15)
Offering up (4374) (prosphero from prós = toward + phéro = bring) means to offer gifts, prayers, or sacrifices. (see the above comment on prosphero). This use of prosphero is in the imperfect tense, showing that the sacrifice was not in fact completed but was ongoing; i.e., Abraham was in the midst of carrying out the sacrifice.
Abraham's willingness to offer up Isaac proved his faith, because the final standard of faith and its real proof is the willingness to sacrifice. This is an interesting thought to ponder especially in light of Paul's exhortation to believer's regarding their bodies (which of course includes their minds, their wills, their members) in Romans 12...
James uses Abraham's OT example to teach about genuine faith, asking the rhetorical question...
Only begotten (3439) (monogenes from mónos = only + génos = offspring, posterity from verb gínomai = come into existence) means only begotten, unique, one of a kind or one and only. The word "son" is not in the Greek text so literally this reads "the only begotten".
Isaac was not literally the only son of Abraham—there was also Ishmael through Hagar (Ge 16:1-16) but Isaac was the "unique" son that God had promised and whose birth was a supernatural fulfillment of Jehovah's promise.
The writer of Hebrews proceeds to quote from Ge 22:12 (see notes) to prove the point that Isaac was the unique son of Abraham for through Isaac's seed must pass the promises of the Abrahamic covenant, not through the seed of Abraham's other son Ishmael. In addition Abraham by Keturah had six more sons named in Genesis 25:1, 2.
John writes that "the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (Jn 1:14) "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
Spurgeon - How beautifully do we see the spirit of consolation exhibited in the character of Abraham, who, with all his troubles, as a stranger in a strange land, walks among men as a king! Have you never envied that quiet dignity with which, believing in God, he seemed also to master all around him without any sign of agitation of mind? Oh, that you had such comfort as he had when he took his son, his only son, whom he loved, to offer him up for a sacrifice! You never have had such a trial as that; probably you never will; but in all that time of testing, what solid comfort he had! There were no written Scriptures then, yet how grand is the consolation that the Scripture describes him as having!
In Our Daily Bread we read the devotional entitled "Unlikely Heroes"...
Steven Cole's Sermon...
Amplified: Of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned. [Gen. 21:12.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: although it had been said to him: “It is in Isaac that your descendants will be named.” (Westminster Press)
NLT: though God had promised him, "Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted." (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: of whom it had been said 'In Isaac your seed shall be called'. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: with reference to whom it was said, In Isaac shall your offspring be called, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: of whom it was said -- 'In Isaac shall a seed be called to thee;'
|IT WAS HE TO WHOM IT WAS SAID IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED: pros on elalethe (3SAPI) hoti en Isaak klethesetai (3SFPI) soi sperma: (Genesis 17:19; 21:12; Romans 9:7)
Like most of the OT quotations in the book of Hebrews, this quote is not from the Hebrew text but is literally word for word from the Septuagint (LXX) of Ge 21:12 which reads "en Isaak klethesetai (3SFPI) soi sperma"
Westcott observes that "The words "in Isaac" stand emphatically first: In Isaac, and in no other, a seed shall bear thy name, shall be called thine. (Ibid)
A T Robertson writes that "God’s very words (Genesis 21:12) were in the heart of Abraham now about Isaac “his only son” (Word Pictures)
Descendants (4690) (sperma from speíro = to sow) referred to seed sown, the seed containing the germ of new fruit. In Classic Greek spérma primarily signifies an individual child or offspring, whether son or daughter.
It was he = It was to father Abraham God reaffirmed His promise. Note also that this reaffirmation in (Genesis 21:12) is recorded about 15 years before (estimate based on Isaac being old enough to bear the wood for the sacrifice on his back Genesis 22:6) God's great test of Abraham in Genesis 22 (see study Covenant: Withholding Nothing from God and Jehovah Jireh - God our Provider)
With this quote, the writer explains the promise and the uniqueness of the promise fulfilled in Isaac, both facts he has just noted in the previous verse (v17).
In addition, as one reads through the promises of Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis, the promise here in Genesis 21 was another divine affirmation that the promises given to Abraham would pass through the line of Isaac, the child of promise, and not through the line of Ishmael, the child who was a product of the "flesh", who was begotten outside the promises of God due to a lapse of faith for a time by Sarah and Abraham. Abraham believed this promise and his belief was demonstrated to be genuine (see the relevant quotation by James in previous verse discussion) by his willingness to offer up Isaac, his only begotten son whom he loved.
Spurgeon - However puzzled Abraham may have been by the command to offer up the son in whom his seed was to be called, his plain duty was to obey that command and to leave the Lord to fulfill His own promise in His own way. Perhaps he had also learned, through his mistake concerning Ishmael, that God’s way of fulfilling His promise might not be his way, and that God’s way was always best. The faith that was undismayed when the promise of a son was uttered was still undaunted when the Lord demanded the life that He had so strangely given. Perhaps God gave it such a supreme test because of its very grandeur. The trial was terrible, but still Abraham believed. Possibly he did not understand the trial; he did not want to understand. He believed, and he took God at His word, and he would do what God bade him do, whatever that might be, and he would leave the Lord to extricate him out of any difficulties into which his obedience might bring him. Thus God tried his faith.
Amplified: For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: He was willing to do this for he reckoned that God was able to raise him even from the dead. Hence he did receive him back which is a parable of the resurrection.(Westminster Press)
NLT: Abraham assumed that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life ag ain. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: He believed that God could raise his son up, even if he were dead. And he did, in a manner of speaking, receive him back from death. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: counting upon the fact that God also was able to be raising him out from amongst the dead, because of which fact [namely, that Isaac only passed through the likeness of death] he also received him back in the form of a parable [i.e., not actually, for Isaac did not die]. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: reckoning that even out of the dead God is able to raise up, whence also in a figure he did receive him.
|HE CONSIDERED THAT GOD IS ABLE TO RAISE MEN EVEN FROM THE DEAD: logisamenos (AMPMSN) hoti kai ek nekron egeirein (PAN) dunatos o theos: (Genesis 22:5:; Matthew 9:28; Romans 4:17, 18, 19, 20, 21)
If we consider the character of our God (e.g., He is able), we can better obey even though we don't fully understand what He is doing in our life. Abraham walked by faith not sight. His faith "told" him that God was able to work out His purpose, even though he (Abraham) could not see how that could be accomplished.
In the Greek, Hebrews 11:19 is part of the same sentence as Hebrews 11:17-18.
Abraham clearly believed in the resurrection from the dead even though we are not told in Genesis that God specifically revealed that doctrine to him. In a sense, Abraham had to believe in resurrection, because, if God had allowed him to carry out the command and literally sacrifice Isaac, resurrection would have been the only way God could have kept His promise. Clearly Abraham understood the immutability of covenant promises which under girded his courageous obedience.
Spurgeon - See how faith consecrates natural affection. See also how faith laughs at impossibilities. Abraham expects that God will raise his son from the dead, or do something equally wonderful, so that the promise He had given shall be fulfilled. It was not Abraham’s business to keep God’s promise for Him; it was God’s business to do that for Himself, and He did it. You remember how Rebekah tried to make God’s promise come true for Jacob, and what a mess she made by her plotting and scheming. When we give our attention to keeping God’s precepts and leave Him to fulfill His own promises, all will be well. It was Abraham’s part to offer up his son; it was God’s part to fulfill the promise to His seed according to the covenant that He had made.
Considered (3049) (logizomai from lógos = reason, word, account) means to reckon, compute, calculate, to take into account, to deliberate, weigh and implies a process of reasoning. Logizomai refers to a settled conclusion by careful study and reasoning and so represents a reasoned conclusion. It was a term frequently used in the business community of Paul's day and meant to impute or credit to one's account.
Logizomai suggest that Abraham used a process of thought or reasoning. He reasoned that since God promised him a line of ancestry through Isaac, He would have to do that. And he had faith to believe that God would do so.
Westcott writes that "The obedience of Abraham rested on his faith in the creative power of God. His conclusion was made at once and finally (Ed note: as signified by the aorist tense) that God could raise from the dead. That this was his judgment follows of necessity from the fact that he was ready to surrender Isaac without giving up his faith in the fulfilment of the divine promise. (Ibid)
Hughes explains "The idea (of logizomai) is that Abraham used his stores of logic to reason the situation out. He didn’t indulge in fideism—faith without reason, blind faith. He was eminently logical—almost mathematical—in his reasoning. And his logic was audacious. God had said that Abraham would have children as numerous as the stars and the sand—and Abraham believed God (Genesis 15:5, 6). God had said that through Isaac the great covenant and blessing would come—and Abraham believed God even though his body was “as good as dead” (He 11:12; cf. He 11:1; Genesis 17:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22; Ro 4:18, 19, 20, 21 - see notes Ro 4:18, 19, 20, 21). Abraham knew Isaac had come through a miraculous prophetic fulfillment of God’s word. He also knew Isaac had no children and, in fact, was not even married. Yet God had clearly told him to sacrifice Isaac. There was no mistake or misunderstanding. Therefore, Isaac was as good as dead! And from Abraham’s perspective it was now God’s problem, for God’s word through Isaac had to be fulfilled. Abraham’s breath-taking logic was: God could and would raise the dead. There had never been a resurrection, but he knew God had to bring Isaac back to life. There was no other way. God would keep his word! “Stay here with the donkey,” he told his servants, “while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5, italics added).." (Hughes, R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books)
Matthew Henry makes some practical observations related to Abraham's reasonings ("considered") writing that "(1.) God is able to raise the dead, to raise dead bodies, and to raise dead souls. (2.) The belief of this will carry us through the greatest difficulties and trials that we can meet with. (3.) It is our duty to be reasoning down our doubts and fears, by the consideration of the almighty power of God. (Henry, M. Matthew Henry's Commentary)
Believing that God’s promise regarding Isaac was unconditional, Abraham came to the conclusion that God would fulfill that promise even if it required raising Isaac from the dead. He was so convinced that he assured his servants that he and Isaac would return (Ge 22:5). Thus, even in a time when no one had ever been raised from the dead (as far as we can discern from Scripture) Abraham believed God would raise up Isaac in order to keep His promise. Such was the faith of Abraham.
The famous Puritan writer John Bunyan had a somewhat similar experience to that of Abraham in the sense that he had to make a choice between something very precious to him and his obedience to God's call on his life to preach the gospel. He chose to preach the gospel regardless of the consequences, and he was put in jail for his obedience (which by the way is the place he wrote one of the most beloved books in all of literature other than the Bible - Pilgrim's Progress). In jail Bunyan was deeply concerned about his family and was especially grieved about his little blind daughter, for whom he had a special love. Bunyan expressed his heart this way...
Able (1415) (dunatos related to dunamis refers having the power by virtue of inherent ability) means powerful, mighty, strong and is an attribute of God, Luke referring appropriately to God as "the Mighty One" (""For the Mighty One [dunatos] has done great things for me; and holy is His name. Luke 1.49). Notice that Greek words derived from the stem "duna-" all have the basic meaning of “being able” and speak therefore of possessing the “capacity”, and not surprisingly is the root of our English words "dynamic, dynamo, dynamite, etc".
See related blog post - GOD IS ABLE - preceptaustin
Dead (3498) (nekros from nékus = a corpse [English - necropsy, necrophobia, etc]) means literally to have breathed one's last breath but figuratively refers to the spiritual condition of men apart from God (dead in their trespasses and sins).
Abraham obeyed and fully complied with God’s request. In fact, if God had not intervened, Isaac would have been killed. Abraham showed his unwavering faith in God in humble obedience to God’s word. He demonstrated his love for God above anyone else, even his son Isaac.
FROM WHICH HE ALSO RECEIVED HIM BACK AS A TYPE: hothen auton kai en parabole ekomisato (3SAMI): (He 11:11,12; 9:24; Ge 22:4,13; Romans 5:14)
Literally the last section reads "he received him back in a parable".
The BKC writes that "The readers can learn from that supreme test in which the patriarch was called on to sacrifice his...son. Though this seemed to contradict the divine promise, Abraham was able to rise above the trial and trust in the resurrecting power of God. So also Christian readers must sometimes look beyond the experiences of life, in which God’s promises do not seem to be fulfilled, and realize that their resurrections will bring those promises to fruition. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor).
Augustine said that “Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.”
Type (3850) (parabole [English "parable"] from parabállo = to compare in turn from pará = alongside, beside + bállo = to throw alongside) is literally a putting alongside for purposes of comparison and new understanding.
Parabole refers to an illustration "thrown alongside" truth to make latter easier to understand. A parable is an earthly story used to illustrate or teach a spiritual truth. This refers to a rhetorical figure of speech whereby there is a setting of one thing beside another to form comparison or illustration.
In Heb 9:9 the writer uses parabole to refer to the Tabernacle as a model or example which anticipated and precedes a later realization (the shadows of the Tabernacle pointed to and were ultimately fulfilled in Jesus death on Calvary) "is a symbol (parabole) for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience"
Abraham received Isaac back from the dead, as it were, even though Isaac had not been slain. In another sense Abraham had released Isaac into the hands of Jehovah and God gave Isaac back to him.
Vincent explains "type" ("in a parable") as follows - "Since the sacrifice did not take place as a literal slaughter, there could not be a literal restoration from death. There was a real offering in Abraham’s will, but not a real death of Isaac. Isaac’s death took place symbolically, in the sacrifice of the ram: correspondingly, the restoration was only a symbolic restoration from the dead." (Word Studies)
Spurgeon - This was one of the grandest achievements of faith. It was also a figure or type of God’s offering up his well-beloved Son almost on the same spot...The doctrine of the resurrection is a precious jewel that Faith weareth as in a ring on her right hand. “God can raise the dead,” says Faith, and that is a most comforting truth. O you bereaved ones, wear that ring! O you who fear to die, wear that priceless jewel ! It will be better than any amulet or talisman that the ancients ever wore....See how Abraham spied out the great doctrine of the resurrection. Though almost driven to desperation, he would not give up his faith in God. He was bidden to believe two apparently opposite things;—first, that in Isaac should his seed be called; and, secondly, that he must offer up Isaac;—but he bridged the two by believing another grand truth, that God was able to raise up Isaac, “even from the dead.” Whenever there are two things, revealed to you in Scripture, which you cannot quite reconcile, you may always believe that, between them, there lies something more glorious still, which your dim eyes as yet are scarcely able to perceive....
Abraham expects that God will raise his son from the dead, or do something equally wonderful, so that the promise he had given shall be fulfilled. It was not Abraham’s business to keep God’s promise for him; it was God’s business to do that for himself, and he did it. You remember how Rebekah tried to make God’s promise come true for Jacob, and what s mess she made by her plotting and scheming. When we give our attention to keeping God’s precepts, and leave him to fulfill his own promises, all will be well. It was Abraham’s part to offer up his son; it was God’s part to fulfill the promise to his seed according to the covenant which he had made....He had virtually done so in the esteem of God though no trace of a wound could be found upon Isaac. How often God takes the will for the deed with his people! When he finds them willing to make the sacrifice that he demands, he often does not require it at their hands. If you are willing to suffer for Christ’s sake, it may be that you shall not be caused to suffer and if you are willing to be a martyr for the truth, you may be permitted to wear the martyr’s crown even though you are never called to stand at the stake, the scaffold or the block.