Is the story of Abraham’s (attempted) sacrifice of Isaac ‘merely’ a prefiguring of Jesus’s sacrifice, or is there more to it?
What do you mean by ‘is there more to it’? There would have been a Jewish understanding of the story before Christians related it to Jesus, if that’s what you mean.
Is there more to it for Christians? By being ‘more to it’ I mean does the prefiguring explain the totality of it or is there more to understand and ponder? It’s a famously ‘deep’ scriptural story that has preoccupied philosophers and thinkers for years, cf Kierkegaard.
Got you yes, I think there probably is. Even though it prefigures Christ’s sacrifice I’d say we could still ponder on what the story would have meant for the Jews, too, such as our own trust in God and how much we’d be prepared to sacrifice for him. There are very few pieces of scripture that only have ‘one’ meaning, that’s the beauty of it
For specifically Jewish understandings of the Akkedah, turn to Jewish commentaries thereon; there are many.
Our LORD’s folks didn’t spare to get every available meaning from the Torah.
Shalom and ICXC NIKA
…I think that it being the type of Christ’s Sacrifice is its main purpose… yet, as a demonstration of Faith, it could also be a teaching mechanism for Judaism (Hebrews 11); it is said that Abraham Believed in God and it was accredited to him as righteousness… it is also demonstrative of how we are to Trust God’s Will–Isaac was the son of the Promise, yet Yahweh God Commanded Abraham to sacrifice him… Abraham Trusted that God could still deliver on His Promise even when making such request…
…also the passage is a clear demonstration of God’s Purpose, He is Willing to Sacrifice Himself for the good of man, but He does not require that man be sacrificed.
The story of the binding of Isaac tells us considerably more about Jesus’ sacrifice that I have read that anyone has recognized. First, God asked Abraham to offer his son as a holocaust. When was Jesus offered as a holocaust? It has to be the resurrection where His Body was consumed. Second, Hebrews 11 further tells us that Abraham believed that God was able to raise his only beloved son from the dead–that is after he was burned up so from smoke and ashes of the holocaust. Since this is a type and the antitype cannot be less that the type and the holocaust is the highest form of sacrifice who was willing to participate in offering their only beloved son Jesus as a holocaust and believe that God would raise Him from the dead? So only Mary qualifies and Jesus’ body needed to be consumed by holy fire.
Grace and peace,
One conclusion of modern Jewish scholarship is a polemic against human sacrifice. If it wasn’t clear before, human sacrifice is thoroughly proscribed as the moral of this story.
Continuing in that polemical fashion, the commentary makes a leap that NO human being could ever be thought to be a satisfying sacrifice to God, even if that person was hypothetically the son of God (as the argument goes). So, it is used to preclude the whole possibility of Jesus being the Lamb that God will provide.
Modern Jewish commentary seems more open to typology than it was reported to be in the past. But, as I read it (as a non-academic student) it is discussed polemically to reinforce Jewish interpretations and preclude Christological ones.
Even apart from the Akkedah, the major argument against the Christological sacrifice is that a human being is not an acceptable sacrifice.
…it’s the “can lead a horse to water…” thing; a proponent of a religious belief cannot, by definition, consciously defend any other belief than that of his/her own.
…just from the proposed argument, these scholars blind themselves to the fact that the Old Testament requires that they accept all the tenets provided–including that Yahweh God Commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
If they accept this particular tenet… well, their argument is mute.