A Disagreement About The Faith of Abraham and God’s Purpose for Requiring Him to Sacrifice Isaac

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Hi D____,

Thank you for your concern for my well being and for your questions. I will answer you in the order you have posed your objections to the scriptures I quoted:

Concerning all your speculations about what God could have done to try Abraham’s faith, here is a principle that I live by:

1Co 4:6  Now these things, brothers, I applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us ye might learn not to think above that which is written, so that ye may not be puffed up, one over the one against the other.

That is not a suggestion or a request. It is a commandment to “not think above what is written”. So let’s stick only to “that which is written” and not waste our time speculating about why God did not tell Abraham to send Isaac away or cut off his legs.

This is what Abraham was commanded to do:

Gen 22:1  And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
Gen 22:2  And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

“Take your son, and get into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering” is what Abraham was commanded to do. Those words are not a request or a suggestion.

When God said (Exo 20:3) Thou shalt have no other gods before me, that is a commandment, and “…offer [your son] there for a burnt offering” is also a commandment. That is all according to “that which is written”, and that is all I am interested in discussing.

What did God say after Abraham drew back the knife to offer Issac as a burnt offering, and after Abraham ‘looked behind him to see a ram caught in a thicket by his horns’?

Gen 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Let’s not waste each other’s time with fruitless speculation about the purpose for this trial God gave Abraham. This is what God Himself tells us of its purpose and of the fruit of that trial:

Gen 22:15  And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
Gen 22:16  And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
Gen 22:17  That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

There it is – “because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son… I will bless thee”. Abraham did not place Issac, his only son, “before [God].” He had kept the commandment:

Exo 20:3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

This is not that hard to figure out when we stick to “that which is written”.

Now this is why it was done:

1Co 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. One of the things mentioned in particular in this context is:

1Co 10:7  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Anything we place between ourselves and God becomes an idol to us; be that thing our first-born son, or ourselves, or any physical possessions. Since our Creator is invisible, it is only natural for all of us to place many things ahead of Him, especially ourselves and the things we want in this physical life. That entire experience typified God offering “His only son” as the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world”, and that is why it had to be as it was.

As far as Abraham was concerned, he had offered Isaac and had received him back as alive from the dead:

Heb 11:17  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Heb 11:18  Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Heb 11:19  Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence [“from the dead”] also he received him in a figure.

It is not just our faith that saves us. “The devils believe and tremble”:

Jas 2:19  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

What is more precious to God than gold that perishes is:

1Pe 1:7  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Abraham also “in a figure” gave “his only begotten son”, as a type and a figure of what our heavenly Father sacrificed for our sins.

You said:

These words are inspired of the holy spirit. This is not my idea:

Pro 16:1  The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

Pro 16:4  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Pro 20:24  Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

Act 4:26  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
Act 4:27  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
Act 4:28  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. 

If any of these verses are true, and they are, then yes, Abraham’s ‘preparations of his heart and the answer of his tongue was from the Lord’.

Apparently you are unaware that the preparations of our hearts and what comes out from our hearts through our tongues “is from the Lord”.

You seem to think Abraham’s thoughts were independent of God.

Apparently you are simply unaware of those other three verses, or else you simply choose not to believe them. If indeed that is the case then according to the scriptures this is why you have made such and erroneous decision:

Isa 63:17  O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

There are literally dozens such scriptures telling us plainly that God ‘creates evil’ for the purpose of demonstrating that He is in the process of making man in His image, as Genesis really reads:

Gen 1:27 And creating is the Elohim humanity in His image. In the image of the Elohim He creates it. Male and female He creates them. (CLV)

You really should acquaint yourself with what the scriptures teach on this matter. I suggest you take the time to read this article:

After The Counsel of His Own Will

God knew exactly what Adam and Eve would do before He ever created them simply because they did “whatsoever [His] hand and [His] counsel determined before to be done”. That is why we are told in no uncertain terms:

2Ti 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Tit 1:2  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

We are plainly told that He is working all things after the counsel of His own will, and we are told that He works in us both to will and to do of His own pleasure:

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will

Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Of course mankind is completely unaware of this and so we are told in the preceding verse:

Php 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

When we are “working out our own salvation [it is only] because it is God which works in [us] both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

So I do not deny that we make decisions every day, and those decisions appear to be independent of God, when in reality God “is working all things after the counsel of His own will… making us to err from His ways and hardening our hearts from His fear”, as He is preparing our hearts and He is expressing what is in our hearts with our tongues. It is all “from the Lord” (Pro 16:1).

Nothing could be further from the Truth! The counsel of Nicea did nothing more than to acknowledge the books which were already known by all to be the Word of God. Peter Himself calls Paul’s epistles “scripture” long before the counsel of Nicea in 325 A.D.,

2Pe 3:16  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

This paragraph simply demonstrates that you are not all that familiar with the Word of God. Just because we are not told in Genesis 11 or 12 that God called Abram out of Ur does not mean that it is not specifically so stated just a few chapters later. Stephen was a little more familiar with the Word of God than most. Ur is mentioned in relation to Abram in all of these verses in Genesis, and chapter 15 states specifically, “I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees”. Stephen was not speaking above what was written, as you imply.

Gen 11:28  And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.

Gen 11:31  And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

Gen 15:7  And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

Where did you read, ‘I am the Lord that brought thee forth out of Haran of the Chaldees’? That is speaking above what is written.

Not meaning to offend you, but Stephen’s knowledge of what is written exceeded your knowledge and very likely the knowledge of most of the people hearing him speak.

What error is that? That God is sovereign and gives us the preparations of our hearts and the answers of our tongues? That He made all things for Himself, yes even the wicked for the day of evil? That even all the events surrounding our Lord’s crucifixion was all done by what God’s counsel and His foreknowledge determined in advance to be done? Is that the “error it seem to [you] that [I] make here?

My intention is to remain faithful to the Word of God and let every man be a liar:

Rom 3:4  God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Or it could simply require faith in this Biblical admonition which is repeated twelve different times in different words within the New Testament:

1Co 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1Co 1:11  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
1Co 1:12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
1Co 1:13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Do you think that is good Biblical admonition to live by? I certainly do, and that is why I am so careful not to think above what is written.

It does not say ‘speak’, it says “not to think above that which is written” (1Co 4:6).

The fact that there are 40,000 conflicting Christian denominations testifies against them that the Christ they serve is divided and that they have no use for the words of 1Co 1:10 and the other 11 verses in the New Testament with the same admonition to “be of one mind… be of the same mind… that there be no schism…” etc.

I am not the author of all these verses I have shown you, but here are a couple more you apparently do not know are “written”:

Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

The Hebrew word for ‘evil’ here is ‘rah‘. It is the very same word translated as ‘evil’ in this verse:

Gen 2:9  And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

So many people who reject the sovereignty of God try to make Isa 45:7 read ‘I create good and calamity’. But it is not called the tree of the knowledge of good and calamity. It is called the tree of the knowlege of good and evil.

Either you simply like most people, are not yet given eyes to see what is right here before you, or you will say, ‘Wow I did not know that was true! I did not realize that God creates evil!’

I did not write that, the holy spirit inspired it to be written for our admonition, along with so many, many others verses like this:

Amo 3:6  Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil [rape, sodomy to use your examples] in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

All flesh is nothing more than “vessel[s] of clay” and this is what we are told of “the first Adam” who you think, as we all do in our own time, that he was made perfect and then fell:

Jer 18:4  And the vessel that he made of clay was [by God’s design] marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Meaning this:

Rom 8:20  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

For, this is the One Truth about ourselves that the Pharisees and Sadducees effectively opposed: that God made humans in God’s image.

We are not robots, nor circus animals.

That is right, we are nothing as complicated as robots or circus animals. We are just clay in the Potter’s hand, and this is what He can do with His own clay:

Jer 18:5  Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Jer 18:6  O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

Clay in a Potter’s hand has no fabled ‘free will’, rather this is what the scriptures declare from Genesis to Revelation, and this again is what you apparently, along with the Pharisees and the Sadducees, do not like to hear:

Rom 8:20  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

But God never intended for vain clay to be His finished product because He knew “before the world began [that] corruption [could not] inherit incorruption”:

1Co 15:50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 

So why did God bother to make Adam “of the dust of the ground… made subject to vanity” to begin with? Here is the Biblical answer to that question in the very next verse of Romans 8 which our natural man just naturally hates, because it takes the beast off of the throne of God within our hearts and minds, and it puts God on our hearts and minds as a sovereign God who is working all things after the counsel of His own will:

Rom 8:21  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [“Elohim is making man in His image and after His likeness”]

Neither Christ nor any writer of the New Testament or of the Old Testament ever used the words “the fall of man”. God, we just read, made man “subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected the same in hope, by which “hope, we are saved… yet though as by fire”

Rom 8:24  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
Rom 8:25  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

1Co 3:13  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

“He himself shall be saved, Yet so as by fire… the lake of fire”. I pray that our exchanges help you to see that God will not lose one soul to death, because there is a lake of fire which will purify even Hitler, Stalin and Mao, and will destroy death and the grave.

1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
1Co 15:24  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
1Co 15:26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 
1Co 15:27  For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
1Co 15:28  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

The writers of the New Testament wrote what they wrote under the inspiration of he holy spirt. In that sense they were made to write down what Christ said and what He did.

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

In our Lord’s “one mind” and service.


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