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!

  1. Abraham the Prophet

    1. Read Genesis 22:1-2. Tell me all the reasons why, if you
      were Abraham, you would not believe this is a message from

      1. What kind of a god would remind Abraham that he loved
        his only son as part of a message to kill and burn
        his son?

      2. Read Leviticus 20:1-3. Is God giving mixed messages?

    2. 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
      of loyalty.)

      1. Is the message about selfishness? God talks about
        “withholding” the son. (God speaks as if it were also
        a test of selfishness.)

      2. 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.)

    3. 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.)

      1. Why is Abraham being promised so much? (“Because you
        have obeyed me.”)

    4. This is contemplation time: What message is God giving
      through the angel and through Abraham? (That He wants
      loyalty and obedience.)

      1. Is the message deeper than that? Why would God chose
        such a terrible, mixed-message test? Why use such an
        awful and illogical context?

  2. The Son and the Sanctuary

    1. Read Acts 3:24-26. To what event does this text link
      Abraham’s experience? (Jesus coming to earth.)

    2. Read Galatians 3:6-9. To what theology does Galatians link
      Abraham’s experience?(Righteousness by faith.)

    3. 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:

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

      3. 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.)

      4. 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!)

  3. The Rest

    1. Read Genesis 2:1-2. What message is God giving us here?
      (That He is the Creator and that Sabbath rest is part of
      His creation.)

    2. 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

    3. 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

    4. 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.)

    5. 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.)

    6. 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

    7. 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
      of sacrifice.)

      1. 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.)

      2. 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?

  4. The Ultimate Victory

    1. 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.)

    2. 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
      reinforce it.)

      1. 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?

    3. 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?

  5. Next week: Interpreting the Prophetic Writings.