It is little known that in the innermost sense the Old Testament is about the growth and states that Jesus went through as He gradually grew from a child to a man. The only way to get to know this is by studying the correspondential meanings of scriptures one by one, particularly Genesis and Exodus. In this article I will study the correspondences in Genesis from the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac. This story is a seminal moment in Jesus development where He begins to realize who He is. He did not know who He was God at birth but gradually come into this awareness. In the highest level Isaac represents the Lords human, and Abraham represents God. The story as a whole relates the immense temptations Jesus underwent by being human, and the union this brought about between His divine human and divine essence. This article will be the beginning of a series.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
The words ‘your only son’ refers to the fact that Jesus is the only one who can undergo the task of redeeming all of humanity, that He has the capability to overcome all evil by the might of His divine soul alone. He is the Son of God, who undergoes the process to become one with God. If He did not have this ability the whole human race would have been lost. The process of overcoming temptations is the way He became one with God.
‘Whom you love – Isaac’ refers to the universal truth that evil attacks and tempts the deepest ruling love in the soul of people. Isaac is the one Abraham loves mostly dearly and Abraham is told to sacrifice him. This scripture reflects the universal truth that it is the continual effort of Evil to undermine and destroy a persons ruling love with all its devious arts. But the lord does not allow evil to compel anyone, demons can influence and tempt, and angels can urge and guide, but neither can compel. It is through overcoming temptations that we remove hereditary evils from our body and soul.
‘The region of Mariah’ means a place of temptation. Since place in the spiritual world indicates ‘state’ and Moriah represents temptation, this phrase represents the Lord entering a state of extreme temptation. Abraham was commanded to travel to this specific place to sacrifice his son. Mt. Moriah is three days travel away so it was purposeful that the sacrifice be there. Moriah is the same mountain where the altar was built by David, and where Solomon afterward built the temple. (2 Chronicles 3:1, also 1 chronicles 21:16-28, Sam. 24:16-25). And Most of all this is the same land where Jesus underwent the extreme temptation in the garden and on the cross. Without knowledge of correspondences many Christians have seen the parallel between the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham with the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross at the command of the father. That there is this continuity between Abraham, David, Solomon, and Jesus is a function of correspondences as we shall see further with other motifs. Abraham could have performed the sacrifice where he was, but that he was commanded to go to the mountain of Moriah. That he was sent there was for the fulfillment of correspondences Because the meaning of the sacrifices and offerings by Abraham, David, Solomon all have to do with the process of union between the Lord’s human body and divine soul that was accomplished by temptations.
In general everything about the Jewish nation, such as the tribes, the temple, the names of the people, the kings, the judges, et all, was representative for the sake of correspondences with heaven. This is the sense in which the Jews are the ‘chosen’ people, not necessarily from having a special spiritual quality. The Jews had a genius for external worship that was used for the Holy purpose of God.
“And offer him there for a burnt offering”.
Sacrificing at the alter was the most holy means of worship for the Jews. I mentioned that Christians understand that this refers to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, which I believe is the truth. Internally it refers to the process of union between the Lord’s divine human and his divine essence, which is the most Holy source of all things. More particularly it refers to the intense process of undergoing temptations that was the crucible that formed the bond. The burnt offering symbolizes surrendering to the Holy of the lord and the removal of hereditary evils from body and soul – for we can only receive God to the degree we reject evil.
But evangelical Christians long ago interpreted the sacrifice on the altar differently, which has become tradition. For them it means that Jesus ‘ransomed’ himself for the sins of all mankind, that he took away the sins of mankind by His act of sacrifice and this was how He redeemed humanity. But this is not the case. This Christian doctrine comes from tradition started by Luther: it is not from the internal of the Word. It is not possible for anyone to take the sins from another, including God. The removal of sins is a gradual process that each person must participate in from their own will. Probably God may be able to remove sins from another but he does not for it would mean nothing. Man can only be changed and thus saved by exercising his or her freedom. The relationship between God and man is reciprocal, similar to the way it is between people, except God guides man from His infinite wisdom. This is a great truth – for it speaks to how close is the relationship we can each have with God. God is always waiting at the door for us to knock, meaning we must turn to Him in our will to receive Him. He is always with us and never leaves us for an instant. He is closest to us when we are lowest and most in pain and tempted in our life even though it appears not to be so; we can feel Him if we but turn to Him. Christians who think He saved us by ‘ransoming his life for our sins’ are greatly mistaken. They think He ‘bore our sins for us’, that He removed sin from our body in a unilateral way and this is how he redeemed all men. These are false doctrines, sometimes known as unmerited favor, which is closely related to the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. The true meaning of Jesus’ redemption is that He defeated all the forces of hell by Himself from his divine power. He put all the forces of hell in their place, and restored the integrity of the lower heavens, which had been compromised in the times of darkness before His incarnation. By subjugating the hells Jesus restored equilibrium between heaven and hell, which had been lost in the favor of the hells. Mankind’s state of freedom depends entirely on the Lord maintaining equilibrium between heaven and hell, meaning they are completely separate and in their own place with a great chasm between them so that heaven is in a state of complete integrity. Also, by making His physical human body divine in the resurrection He entered the innermost of all things. This means He came into immediate and direct presence with all things, whereas before the Jewish church was by representation, and representation is like the shadow compared to the direct light of the sun. The passion on the cross was the final and most grievous temptation in which he removed all hereditary evil from His body and made His human divine thus merging with the divine of the Father. This is what the sacrifice on the altar refers to in the internal sense. Previous to the incarnation and resurrection God was in the celestial and spiritual sphere, but not in the natural; but after He entered the whole – and thus His presence burned exponentially brighter and increased the light available to all humans.
(I have written more extensively on these topics on the article called, “The renewal of all things: The difference between the Old and New Testament”, and any of the articles on the glorification go deep into this subject).