Introduction: If someone asked me to teach a class about the messages
from my wife, I would have to do some thinking. My wife gives me all
sorts of messages. Is there a theme in the messages from your spouse
or your best friend? In general, my wife’s messages are positive and
not critical. They are fun and not harassing. I love to hear from
her. What about messages from God? Does He have a theme? Are they
fun or harassing messages? Is there a way to summarize all that He
says through the prophets? Let’s dive into the Bible and explore
this possibility together!
- Abraham the Prophet
- Read Genesis 22:1-2. Tell me all the reasons why, if you
were Abraham, you would not believe this is a message from
- What kind of a god would remind Abraham that he loved
his only son as part of a message to kill and burn
- Read Leviticus 20:1-3. Is God giving mixed messages?
- Read Genesis 22:9-12. We can see that God did not intend
that Abraham kill his son. What do you think was God’s
intent? Did He have a message? (This was a terrible test
- Is the message about selfishness? God talks about
“withholding” the son. (God speaks as if it were also
a test of selfishness.)
- Would this show that the parents who sacrificed their
children to Molech were unselfish? (Read Hebrews
11:17-19. The parents giving their children to Molech
did it to gain blessings. It was a selfish act. If
Abraham sacrificed his son it would deny him the
promised blessing. Abraham concluded that God would
raise his son to life. This shows that Abraham never
thought he would be blessed by sacrificing Isaac. He
was just obedient.)
- Read Genesis 22:15-18. What does God promise Abraham?
(Abraham was not in this for the blessings, but God
promises blessings and many descendants who are themselves
blessed. God also promised Abraham’s descendants will be
the means by which all nations on earth are blessed.)
- Why is Abraham being promised so much? (“Because you
have obeyed me.”)
- This is contemplation time: What message is God giving
through the angel and through Abraham? (That He wants
loyalty and obedience.)
- Is the message deeper than that? Why would God chose
such a terrible, mixed-message test? Why use such an
awful and illogical context?
- The Son and the Sanctuary
- Read Acts 3:24-26. To what event does this text link
Abraham’s experience? (Jesus coming to earth.)
- Read Galatians 3:6-9. To what theology does Galatians link
Abraham’s experience?(Righteousness by faith.)
- The story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac seem
completely illogical on the surface. They smell of Molech
and pagan child sacrifice. Let’s go through the ways in
which the details of Abraham’s experience relate to the
message God was (and is) giving us:
- First detail: an innocent son. How does that relate
to God’s message? (Jesus is the innocent Son of God.
Compare Luke 1:46-55.)
- Second detail: a loved son. How does that relate to
God’s message? (God shows His incredible love and
loyalty to us because He was willing to give His
loved Son – He was willing to give Himself.)
- Third detail: an altar of sacrifice. How does that
relate to God’s message? (God has taken away our sin
by the gift of His Son. Compare Luke 1:67-77.)
- Fourth detail: God intervenes with another sacrifice
in place of the beloved son Isaac. How does that
relate to God’s message? (Righteousness by faith.
God died in our place – which we accept by faith. God
died to save our loved ones from eternal death!)
- The Rest
- Read Genesis 2:1-2. What message is God giving us here?
(That He is the Creator and that Sabbath rest is part of
- Read Exodus 20:8-11. What is God’s message here? (This
makes explicit what is implicit in Genesis: God wants us
to celebrate His creation through the weekly Sabbath of
- Read Deuteronomy 5:12-15. What is God’s message here?
(This is another view of Sabbath rest. God wants us to
celebrate our rescue from evil through the weekly
- Read Hebrews 3:18-4:2. What kind of rest is God speaking
about here? (The rest that comes from the gospel – that is
the story of Abraham and Isaac as a prophecy of Jesus’
death on our behalf.)
- Read Hebrews 4:3-6. This is contemplation time again.
What do the gospel and Sabbath rest have in common? (They
are victory points. When we read an obituary composed by
the family, it generally consists of all of the “high”
(victory) points of the person’s life. God created us and
He made the Sabbath rest to celebrate and memorialize this
victory of His authority. God snatched His people from
the slavery of Egypt. He reminded the people that the
Sabbath rest was a memorial of His creative authority and
His authority over Egypt (evil). The phrase “His work has
been finished since the creation of the world” suggests
that God’s plan of salvation was in place at the creation.
The Sabbath also memorializes that.)
- Read Hebrews 4:7-11. What Sabbath rest do we find here,
and what does it have to do with what we just
contemplated? (Jesus came, died and rose to eternal life
on our behalf. Just as God created us, just as He
snatched His people from Egyptian slavery, so He has now
snatched us from the slavery of sin and eternal death. We
celebrate all of that weekly by entering into the Sabbath
- Read Hebrews 4:14-16. This brings us back in a complete
circle to Abraham and Isaac. What temptation did Abraham
and Isaac face that Jesus faced? (To give in to
selfishness. To take the easy way out. To avoid the pain
- What is God’s message to us through His work as “a
Great High Priest,” through the Abraham story and
through the Sabbath celebration of God’s victories?
(That from the beginning He has put everything in
place to allow us victory.)
- Can you see now why the Abraham sacrificing Isaac
story is not some weird, mixed-message event, but
rather a summary of God’s messages to humans?
- The Ultimate Victory
- Read Isaiah 25:6-8. What message is Isaiah the prophet
sharing with us? (The victory feast when we get to heaven!
Vegetarians may have to put in a special advance order.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-57. What victory point do we see
here? (Death is swallowed up in Jesus’ victory over sin.
Isaiah 25:8 tells us that death is swallowed up and 1
Corinthians 15:54-55 quotes this prophetic message to
- For those vegetarians who are suffering from my joke
about Isaiah 25:6, ask the carnivores in the class
where they are getting the meat if death is over?
- Friend, can you see a consistent message from God through
His prophets? I can. He is our Creator, He is our Rescuer
from evil, sin and death. He offers us a Sabbath rest now
to celebrate His Creation, plan of salvation and victory
over sin. That Sabbath rest anticipates the ultimate
Sabbath rest in Heaven and the earth made new. Will you
accept the prophets’ messages today? Will you enter into
God’s Sabbath rest?
- Next week: Interpreting the Prophetic Writings.