18th September 2021

Old Jerusalem and new Jerusalem.

Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David…
2 Chronicles 3:1 (NIV)

Jerusalem has been in the news often over the last few years, and frequently that news isn’t good. It seems a shame that a place that is historically held in such high regard by Christians, Jews and Muslims should find itself so often a tinderbox of conflict.

Did you know that Mount Moriah was the place where Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac, his only son (Genesis 22:2)? And Mount Moriah, as we read in the header scripture, is the same place where Solomon, son of David, built the temple of God in Jerusalem.

The city of Jerusalem was also known as Salem (Genesis 14:18, Psalm 76:2), long before it had its name changed, and it seems like Abraham had a part in this: when Isaac was spared and a ram appeared caught in a thicket, Abraham called the place ‘yehovah yireh’ in Hebrew, meaning ‘the Lord will provide’. And if we prefix ‘yireh’ to Salem we get ‘yireh-salem’ – Jerusalem! Genesis 22:14 continues: ‘And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” ’

I guess we might wonder why Isaac was spared, and a ram took his place on the altar of sacrifice. Perhaps it is because this son of Abraham had a bigger part to play in God’s plan of salvation. If we check Luke 3:34, we find the genealogy of Jesus and it tells us that Jesus is a descendant of Isaac.

But this episode in Genesis also foreshadows the sacrifice of Jesus.

Similarity of detail abounds. Genesis 22:2 tells us that Isaac was Abraham’s only son; Jesus was God’s only son. Isaac carried the wood for the sacrifice, a burnt offering; Jesus carried the wood of his cross: ‘Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).’ (John 19:17). Interestingly though, there was no substitute for Jesus’ sacrifice, because the ‘ram caught in a bush’ foreshadowed Jesus’s own sacrifice. His death was the substitute for us – for humanity – the sacrifice to end all sacrifices!

No wonder the people continued to say, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:14). The Lord has provided – and he will ultimately bring to earth a new Jerusalem (Revelation 3:12), a place where Jesus rules and righteousness dwells (2Peter 3:13). Isn’t that good news?

Prayer
Praise and thanks to you Father for the precious gift of sacrificial love, in giving up your only Son for us all. In his name, Amen.

Study by Cliff Neill

 

About the writer:
Cliff Neill is a Minister in the Hemel Hempstead congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local congregation:
GCI Hemel Hempstead
Adeyfield Free Church Centre
Maylands Avenue
Hemel Hempstead HP2 4GZ

Meeting time:
Sunday 10:30am
Hemel Hempstead is also on Zoom, please email congregational contact below to get the link

Local congregational contact:
Shirley McLean
Email: hemel@gracecom.church

Word of Life contact:
wordoflife@gracecom.church