GENESIS CHAPTER 22
The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic .which largely limits the observer to the content offered by chapters 1 through 21 in the book of Genesis. Other passages must have a relationship with the context at hand, such as a Scriptural quotation or reference in the passage at hand. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.
Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.
I) [Gen 22:1-18]:
(Gen 22:1 NKJV) "Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham!'
And he [Abraham] said, 'Here I am.'
[After a time had passed, i.e., after the events of the previous chapter 21 , God tested Abraham once more. Note that Abraham had been tested by God a number of times: the test to leave his homeland and his family, to live among the Canaanites, to face famine, to separate from Lot, to have the birth of Isaac come 25 years after he departed and arrived at Canaan, to give up Ishmael. This time God said, "Abraham," and Abraham responded, "Here I am," like one friend having a conversation with another]
(Gen 22:2 NKJV) Then He said, 'Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.'
[Then God told Abraham, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.." Note that Moriah was the area around Jerusalem, (2 Chr 3:1) - about two days' journey from Beer-sheba. The mountain that Abraham was directed to was most likely the future Temple Mount in Jerusalem. God was direct and to the point. The life of Issac miraculously born of Abraham and Sarah was to be taken. The LORD addressed Abraham's love for his son Isaac and described him as "your only son Isaac," in the sense of Abraham's only son through Sarah, the son through whom all of what God promised to Abraham would be fulfilled, providing he survived to have descendants leading to the One Descendant through Whom would be provided provision for all mankind to have eternal life, evidently an atonement for sin. For the LORD had promised to fulfill His promises to Abraham through Isaac, (Gen 17:19; 21:12; 26:1-5). The prospect of Abraham killing his son and burning his body on an altar as a sacrifice to God was in view. This would be Abraham's greatest test of all! The test would strike right at Abraham's heart. It would reveal what God had accomplished in Abraham]
(Gen 22:3 NKJV) So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went toward the place which God had told him.
[Abraham's response was one of immediate and total obedience. The next morning, he rose early, saddled his donkey, took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood he would use to burn his son Isaac's dead body in the burnt offering to God, and arose and went to the place which God had told him to go to]
(Gen 22:4 NKJV) Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.
(Gen 22:5 NKJV) And Abraham said to his young men, 'Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.'
[On the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you." Abraham went off by himself and spent time worshipping God. Notice that Abraham told the servants "we will come back to you," meaning both himself and his son Isaac - that somehow Isaac would survive / remain alive or be resurrected and come back with Abraham. For the LORD had promised to fulfill His promises to Abraham through Isaac, (Gen 17:19; 21:12; 26:1-5). So God's promises to Abraham were predicated upon the survival of his firstborn son through Sarah, i.e., Isaac]
(Gen 22:6 NKJV) So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.
[When Abraham came back from worshipping God, he took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac so that he could carry it. And Abraham took "the fire," evidently some kind of smoldering embers with which to start a fire, and a knife; and the two of them went off together]
(Gen 22:7 NKJV) But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, 'My father!'
And he [Abraham] said, 'Here I am, my son.'
Then he [Isaac] said, 'Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?'
[Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, 'My father!' And he [Abraham] said, 'Here I am, my son.' Notice the respectful tone father and son had for one another despite the circumstances. Then Isaac said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Isaac was evidently familiar with burnt offerings - the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish accompanied by an acknowledgment of ones sinful nature to the LORD in order to receive forgiveness of sins and blessings with belief in a future, actual substitutionary atonement for sins by a Descendant in view through Abraham and Isaac. So Isaac noted that there was no lamb to offer]
(Gen 22:8 NKJV) And Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.' So the two of them went together.
[And Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.' Although God had commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac; and since the promises God made to Abraham depended upon Isaac being alive to have descendants of his own, leading to the One Descendant through whom Abraham and his descendants were promised that those believing in the LORD's provision as such would have eternal life; Abraham was evidently confident that God would either find a substitute 'lamb' for the offering, or raise his son from the dead - from his ashes - in order to fulfill His promises through Isaac, (cf. Heb 11:17-19). So the two of them went on together."]
(Gen 22:9 NKJV) Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.
[When Abraham and Isaac came to the place which God had told Abraham to go to, Abraham built an altar there, placed the wood on the altar in an orderly manner, bound his son Isaac - evidently without his resistence - and laid him down upon the wood on the altar. Isaac and Abraham were both in full expectation of Isaac being killed and burned on the altar. Hence the only way for the LORD to fulfill his promises seemed to be to resurrect Isaac from his ashes on the altar. For the LORD had promised to fulfill His promises to Abraham through Isaac, (Gen 17:19; 21:12; 26:1-5. Since Isaac was a young man, probably in his late teens or twenties who might easily have overpowered his father, who was around 120 years old; and in view of Isaac's understanding of the burnt offering, nevertheless, Isaac permitted his father to bind his arms and lay him down on the altar, knowing that his throat was going to be cut and his body burned up on the altar - an extra ordinary act of faith in the LORD's deliverance by both of them so that He could fulfill the promises through them]
(Gen 22:10 NKJV) And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
[Whereupon Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. There was no evidence of any struggle to resist the outcome by Isaac]
(Gen 22:11 NKJV) But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, 'Abraham, Abraham!'
So he [Abraham] said, 'Here I am.'
(Gen 22:12 NKJV) And He [the Angel of the LORD] said, 'Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.
[The Angel of the LORD intervened and stopped Abraham just before he slit Isaac's throat. Note that the phrase "Angel of the LORD" is defined as the LORD Himself, (cf. Ex 3:4; 16:9) - a Person Who was at once identified as God yet also sent by God and therefore distinct from the Father - evidently the preincarnate Jesus Christ . Notice that the word rendered "Me" at the end of Gen 22:12, which refers back to the word rendered "God," in the verse, confirms that the Angel of the LORD is God.
Objectors falsely maintain that Abraham was not saved until this moment in Gen 22:12. They conclude that Abraham demonstrated his faithfulness to God, hence received his salvation at this time by his obedience to God's command to go ahead and sacrifice Isaac.
However, this verse cannot be saying that God discovered by knowledge / experience in finite time that Abraham feared Him as a result of Abraham's faithful actions with Isaac. For that would make God less than sovereign and omniscient - a God Who has to wait upon man to do things so that He can discover whether man is faithful and fears Him or not. The Bible teaches that God decrees all things and has done so before the creation of the universe  - so certainly He did not need to wait until Abraham was faithful in deeds in order to 'know' that Abraham feared Him.
Furthermore, Abraham had already demonstrated his faithfulness - his fear of God - a number of times before this, such as when the LORD directed him to leave his homeland and his family, and when Abraham was obligated to live among the Canaanites; and when he had to face famine; and when he was directed to separate from Lot; and when he waited for the birth of Isaac 25 years after he departed for Canaan; and when he was directed to give up Ishmael.
Furthermore, fearing God - which is demonstrating a reverential awe of God's sovereignty over one - is not the same thing as being justified unto eternal life, which occurred in Abraham's life in the time frame of Gen 15:1-6 when he was declared righteous, i.e., saved unto eternal life when he believed in God's promise of his eternal destiny to have innumerable descendants. The declaration of Abraham's justification, i.e., his salvation unto eternal life was received by Abraham at the moment he believed in God for it, apart from performing any faithful deeds .
So when the Angel of the LORD said to Abraham "For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me" it was said in the sense that the Angel of the LORD was commending Abraham for his reverance of the LORD as sovereign, for trusting in Him implicitly, and for obeying Him without question. The Angel of the Lord did not declare at this later time that Abraham was righteous unto eternal life. He had already declared that at the time of Gen 15:6 on the basis of Abraham's faith alone in God's plan of eternal life apart from performing any faithful deeds - long before Isaac was born]
(Gen 22:13 NKJV) "Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
[When Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, evidently reacting to a movement and/or sound, he saw behind him a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son - a substitutionary offering with a view to the once for all Substitutionary Offering of the Chosen Desendant of Abraham and Isaac - One truly without blemish - for the sins of all mankind. Since burnt offerings were statements of ones acknowledgment of ones sinful nature and of ones faith in a future atonement for sin, to be made with a sheep or goat without blemish - a sign symbolic, not actual, of being without sin, since animals were not to be found totally without blemish; and since in the case of Abraham, God appointed Isaac, Abraham's son, to be the burnt offering; and since Isaac was not without sin; then Isaac's sacrifice was not designed to be an actual atoning sacrifice which required a perfect human - hence the LORD's last second provision of a ram goat to substitute for Isaac. The substitutionary sacrifice of the ram meant the preservation of Isaac's physical life and symbolized his atonement, since it was a burnt offering. For God had previously considered and declared that the offerer of a burnt offering was forgiven of his sin nature and the accompanying sins via the proper execution of that offering which included an acknowledgement to the LORD that the offerer was a sinner and that forgiveness would come through the LORD alone. On the other hand since no animal is able to atone for the sin nature and the accompanying sins of any man, neither being conscious of God, nor conscious of sin, nor an example of sinless perfection, nor a perfect representative of mankind Who would choose of His own free will to be sacrificed in order to perform a satisfactory atonement for the sins of all mankind before God - given His unique capacity to do so in the first place; then it is evident that the animal offered as a burnt offering for atonement was symbolic of that One Male Human Being that the LORD promised would come to make that Atonement for all the sins of all mankind]
(Gen 22:14 NKJV) And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide;' as it is said to this day, 'In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.'
[Abraham called the name of the place, Hebrew: "Yahweh Yireh," rendered "The-LORD-Will-Provide" in the NKJV. The verse goes on to say, "as it is said to this day, 'In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.'
By this statement, it is evident that Abraham understood that the LORD is the Provider of salvation unto eternal life for those who trust alone in Him alone for it through a substitutionary atonement for sins which the LORD Himself would provide - a Descendant of Abraham and Isaac]
(Gen 22:15 NKJV) Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven,
(Gen 22:16 NKJV) and said: 'By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son -
(Gen 22:17 NKJV) blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
(Gen 22:18 NKJV) In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice,' "
[Then the Angel of the LORD - the LORD - called upon Abraham a second time out of heaven. The LORD began with "By Myself I have sworn," indicating emphatically the importance and veracity of what the LORD was about to tell Abraham. Whereupon, the LORD said, "Because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son"...
[in the sense of Abraham's only son through Sarah; the son through whom all of what God promised to Abraham would be fulfilled]
... blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore...
[the prospect of having innumerable descendants implies that one has everlasting life in order for that prospect to be a reality in Abraham's experience]
...and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies...
[in the sense of being victorious over them - possessing their cities, their territory, i.e., they would battle for and win possession of the Promised Land]
...In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed...
[in the sense that through one of Abraham's and Isaac's Descendants will make provision for salvation and blessing to all the nations of the earth]
...because you have obeyed My voice' " Note that this was a reiteration of the covenant the LORD made with Abraham and Isaac]
[Notice that it is further comfirmed that the Angel of the LORD is the LORD by comparing verse 15 with 16, where one refers to the other.
So the LORD told Abraham that because he had obeyed the voice of the LORD and not withheld his only son, the LORD would bless Abraham, multiply his descendants - through Isaac - to be innumerable, implying eternal life for Abraham, and whose descendants would rule the earth, and in Abraham's seed - the promised Seed - all the nations of the earth would be blessed: In total - the promises the LORD made to Abraham since Genesis chapter 12, unconditional promises because of the LORD's unilateral promise and ratification; yet it is conditional in the sense that the LORD because of His Absolute Sovereignty and Infinite power would inevitably enable and move Abraham to choose to obey His voice step by step - one key step being Abraham's son Isaac being born via God's supernatural intervention .
Although Abraham's salvation unto eternal life as well as all the other promises of God's covenant with Abraham were unilaterally ratified by the LORD alone upon Abraham's exercising of a moment of faith alone in the LORD alone for all of this ,
the LORD's promises would nevertheless be fulfilled as He enabled and moved chosen individuals: Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and many from Israel and from all mankind throughout the ages to choose to obey His voice and be part of that fulfillment - chosen before the foundation of the world to participate as the LORD decreed; and yet as each one chooses to do. The Abrahamic Covenant touches upon this subject relative to the conditions upon which that Covenant is dependant upon, conditions which will inevitably be fulfilled given the Absolute Sovereignty of the LORD over His universe