The Covenant Exchange( All rights reserved - © 1997 )
Why was Abraham willing to take Isaac up to the mountain in the story recorded in Genesis 22:1-14? Why was Abraham willing to put his knife to Isaac's throat? Why did the Almighty demand such a thing of Abraham?
These things seem strange to us because we view them with the cultural understanding of a people far removed from the covenant integrity of the society in which Abraham lived.
Abraham was a nomadic herder-tradesman. People within that social structure were very familiar with blood covenants, and held them in the highest of esteem. Abraham's blood covenant with the Almighty One is recorded in Genesis 17.
When a blood covenant was established within those social structures, it was common for the participants to enter into what we might call Auxiliary or Addendum agreements. Those additional agreements were added with well-established rituals. One of the common rituals was a ritual of covenant exchange. When the superior, or strongest party, of a covenant called for the subordinate party to bring his oldest or only son to a sacrificial altar, the subordinate party was usually very quick and eager to comply.
He was eager to comply because he knew that his protector, the superior party of the covenant, was offering him an extraordinary deal. He knew that a substitute sacrifice would be waiting, and that this substitute sacrifice would ALWAYS be substituted for his son at the last minute. He was eager to comply because he knew that the superior party was committing himself, by the act of making the request, to a solemn commitment that all of His descendants would be willing to place their lives on the line to defend the lives of the descendants of the inferior party.
Put in another way, as a man very familiar with the rituals of Blood Covenants, Abraham knew that by asking
Abraham to bring Isaac to the altar, The Almighty was committing Himself:
Abraham's placement of Isaac on the altar is often seen as a great act of faith in the Almighty. We often misinterpret the nature of that act of faith. If we view the act of being willing to tie Isaac up and place him on the altar as a great act of faith, we do so from a western frame of mind, a frame of mind that is unfamiliar with the workings of blood covenants. The great act of faith on Abraham's part was his absolute conviction that the Almighty could and would live up to the commitment He was making.
This was the Almighty One, El Shaddai, El Elyon, the Creator, He who holds the world in the palm of His hand, The Lord of Hosts... HOW COULD THE ALMIGHTY ONE HAVE A PHYSICAL DESCENDANT WHO WOULD THEN GIVE UP HIS LIFE FOR THE LIVES OF ABRAHAM'S DESCENDANTS?THE SOLUTION
When the fullness of time was satisfied, the Almighty One secured the agreement of a young Jewish girl named Miriam. Miriam was engaged to be married to a Jewish man named Yousef. El Shaddai poured the creative part of Himself, His Voice, into her uterus to become flesh. Adonai Yireh, G*d our provider, required of Yousef and Miriam that they name this child YESHUA, which means "Deliverer."
YESHUA, being the son of Miriam, was fully human. He, being the creative voice of G*d, was also fully and completely G*d.
YESHUA, born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, satisfied all of the Messianic prophesies of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Poetic writings.
YESHUA lived among men, and spent about three years teaching as a Rabbi, publicly confronting the enemies of the descendants of Abraham.
YESHUA confronted false interpretations of the Law of Moses, interpretations which served the selfish desires of those promoting them.
YESHUA confronted sickness, poverty, hunger, and death, proving His mastery over them.
YESHUA confronted ignorance, religious abuse, and prejudice, defeating them.
YESHUA confronted sin and disobedience to The Almighty, proving that there was a way for sinful man to find redemption.
In one final act of covenant fulfillment, YESHUA stood between the true enemy of all mankind and those who were afflicted by that enemy, and placed Himself between the descendants of Abraham and their greatest enemy.
In what appeared to be defeat, He was crucified by Roman soldiers and buried in a borrowed tomb. That defeat was turned into victory when, on the third day, He rose again, conquering death and the grave.
ALL OF HIS LIFE WAS SPENT SATISFYING THE COMMITMENT MADE BY THE ALMIGHTY IN THE RITUAL OF COVENANT EXCHANGE WHICH IS DESCRIBED IN GENESIS 17.
BENEFITING FROM HA MESHIAH
We are not required to give up our Jewishness, or our culture, in order to accept the benefits of Yeshua as Ha Meshia. We do not have to accept the cultural traditions which have been built up around a gentilized "Jesus" who has had the Jewishness washed out of Him by two thousand years of Christian tradition which has ignored, for the most part, His complete and total Jewishness.
Accepting Yeshua as Ha Meshia does not require us to quit celebrating Chanukah and start celebrating Christmas. It does not require us to give up Kosher diets and begin eating unkosher food. We are not required to attach the name "Christian" to ourselves. We do not have to accept any of the "Christian" cultural baggage which has been used by men who had no inner knowledge of the true intentions of Yeshua to demean, persecute, and destroy other cultures and races.
All that is required is that we place full trust and confidence in The Almighty, and in His ability to continually fulfill the commitment which was made to Abraham and all of his descendants.
We urge and plead all men, whether Jew or Gentile, of every race, color, and ethnic background, to look at the real Yeshua, and consider His teachings and claims.
WE PLEAD WITH ALL MEN TO LOOK PAST THE TERRIBLE THINGS WHICH HAVE BEEN DONE "IN THE NAME OF JESUS," BY MEN WHO DID NOT REALLY KNOW YESHUA. HE NEVER AUTHORIZED THE THINGS THEY DID IN "THE NAME OF JESUS," AND HE IS NOT TO BLAME FOR THEIR HATEFUL ACTIONS.
We invite you to meet the real Yeshua, the strong, vital, and living Jewish Carpenter from Nazareth - the man who walked, talked, and joked with His disciples in Galilee, and who lives in our hearts today.
Would you like more information about Yeshua, the Messiah? Would you like to know more about how you can come to know Him as your Messiah?
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