Moriah, Golgotha and the Garden Tomb

Chapter 2. God’s Revelation to Abraham - Part A

We know that 2000 years ago Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our Sins and Salvation. The Question we are addressing now is where did He die? We are establishing from Genesis 22 that the summit of MOUNT MORIAH, where Abraham offered up Isaac, must also be the place of the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE of the Messiah, the Lamb of God. We shall see that God revealed this vital fact to Abraham, when he had showed himself willing to offer up his son. 

First of all, let us review the story of Abraham and Isaac. 

Genesis 22:2: “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the Land of Moriah, and offer himthere for a burnt offering, on one of the mountains which I will tell you of.” 

Notice not any Mount would do. He had to offer up Isaac on a specific Mount. Why? Because God had chosen a specific Mount for all future sacrifices. He had set aside a specific location to act out the Drama of Redemption. 

Genesis 22:3,4: “So Abraham rose early in the morning...
and went to the place of which God had told him. Then ON THE 3RD DAY Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.”

On the 3rd DAY of his journey, Abraham arrived at Mt.Moriah. 

So he offered up Isaac in the afternoon of the 4th DAY from when 
God had originally spoken to him, which was when he had originally 
set him apart (in his heart) to be offered up as a sacrifice unto death. 

Likewise Jesus, the Lamb of God was set apart 4 DAYS 
(that is, 4000 years), before He was offered up on Mt. Moriah: 

Revelation 13:8 describes Jesus as: 
“the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

1Peter 1:18-20 agrees: “you were redeemed with the precious Blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish and spot. He was foreordained (to be sacrificed) before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”

This speaks of Christ being set aside for sacrifice 4 DAYS or 4000 years beforehand (from the foundation of the world), since: 
“a Day with the Lord is as 1000 years” (2Peter 3:8, Psalm 90:4). 

In Exodus 12:3-6, God revealed the same truth through the Passover Lamb. He commanded it to be set aside for sacrifice on the 10th Nisan, 4 days before it was actually sacrificed on the 14th!

Again we see that in every detail, in both its TIMING and its LOCATION, that Abraham’s sacrifice of his beloved son, Isaac, anticipated and prefigured Father God’s Sacrifice of His beloved Son, Jesus. By the lesser sacrifice, God was preparing the way for the greater Sacrifice, so when it happened: “in the FULLNESS of time” 
(Galatians 4:4,5), at the preordained LOCATION, we would know it. 

God would have instructed Abraham to offer up Isaac at the holiest point, the Peak of Mt.Moriah. But before they reached the peak, Abraham said to the young men with him:

Genesis 22:5: “Stay here; Isaac and I will go up and worship (‘bow down, submit the will’) and (we will) come again to you.”

We see that Abraham was clearly expecting Isaac to come back with Abraham after having been sacrificed. Therefore Abraham was believing for his son’s resurrection! At this point, they would have been standing on the Plateau, which is part of the way up the Mount. This is where the Temple Platform is today: 

moriah-book24

 

Abraham and Isaac then went up to the summit or head of Mount Moriah (north of the Temple Platform). In the time of Christ this place was known as Golgotha, ‘the Place of the Skull’, due to the ‘Skull’ formed in the Rock Face as a result of quarrying (see below).

moriah-book25

 

Abraham and Isaac made the final ascent together, with Isaac carrying the wood of his sacrificial altar on his back (Genesis 22:6). 2000 years later, the Greater than Isaac, Jesus would walk the very same route to the Summit of Moriah. Like Isaac, He carried His wooden Cross, the altar upon which He would be laid! 

The rock of Mount Moriah extends from the Temple Mount to its Northern Peak outside the City-Walls. The highest point of Mt.Moriah is NORTH of the Temple Mount, just outside the City Walls, near the Damascus Gate. Their final ascent started from the Temple Plateau and ended at the Northern Peak (see below). 

moriah-book26


When Isaac asked Abraham about what would be offered, he answered, Genesis 22:8: “My son, God will provide HIMSELF the Lamb for a burnt Offering.” Abraham was not being evasive, but prophetic. He was saying that God will ultimately provide Himself as the sacrificial Lamb. Abraham knew that in obedience to God they were acting out a Picture of God’s Ultimate Sacrifice of His Son. 

Genesis 22:9: “Then they came to the (specific) Place of which God had told him (the Peak of Mount Moriah). 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.”

Likewise 2000 years later, at the same location, Jesus was laid upon his wooden altar, the Cross and lifted up as a Sacrifice to God. 

Genesis 22:10-12: “Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord (Jesus Christ) called to him from Heaven, and said: “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said: “Here I am.” And He 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.”

Genesis 22:13: “Then Abraham LIFTED HIS EYES and LOOKED, and there behind him was a Ram caught in a thicket by its horns (He SAW God’s Provision of a Sacrifice). So Abraham went and took the Ram, and offered it up for a Burnt Offering instead (in the place) of his son.” 

This established the Principle of SUBSTITUTIONARY Sacrifice. But this animal sacrifice, like all the animal sacrifices that would later take place on this same Mount, were only prophetic Pictures of the ultimate Substitutionary Sacrifice, when God would offer His Own Son, the Greater than Isaac, to die in our place on Mt.Moriah. Abraham knew this, for God had revealed it to him in a vision. As Jesus said in John 8:56: “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to SEE My day; he SAW it and was glad.” 

It seems that when Abraham lifted his eyes, and saw God’s Provision in the Ram, he also saw in the Spirit, God’s ultimate Provision of His Son, Jesus Christ, dying as the Lamb of God in that very same place. We will see this is confirmed by v14. 

Since Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah, God revealed to Abraham that He was going to provide His own Son as the ultimate Sacrifice for man on Mount Moriah. As a token of this, He initially provided a Ram to be sacrificed in the place of Isaac on Moriah. This was just part of the greater revelation of God’s ultimate Provision: the future Sacrifice on Mount Moriah of the Lamb of God. This is clear from what Abraham said next (v14).

Genesis 22:14 confirms this prophetic vision of Abraham, and that this was no one-off Sacrifice, but the prophetic forerunner for what God would do on that same Mount. Abraham made a declaration revealing that God had now established the continuous sanctity of this Mount as the place of Sacrifice, not just for the Temple sacrifices, but also for the ultimate Sacrifice to which they pointed: 

Genesis 22:14: “Abraham called the name of the Place (Mt. Moriah) ‘the LORD will PROVIDE’ (lit: ‘Jehovah-Jireh’ or ‘Yahweh Yireh’ = ‘The Lord is our Provider’ or ‘the Lord our Provision’) as it is said to this day (notice that this important location was faithfully passed down the generations within the people of God):
“In the MOUNT of the Lord, it (His Provision) shall be provided” or: “In the MOUNT of the Lord, it (His Provision) 
will be SEEN.”

What shall the Lord provide? The ultimate Sacrifice of which Isaac’s sacrifice was just a picture. The Sacrifice of Christ, God’s Lamb, just as he had said in v8: “the Lord will provide Himself (as the sacrificial Lamb).” Where shall it be provided? “In the Mount of the Lord”, that is: ‘chosen and ordained by the Lord’, that is: ‘Mount Moriah, Jerusalem.’ Abraham is prophesying that the final Sacrifice of the Lord, of which his sacrifice was just a Type and Shadow, will be made at the very same location on Mount Moriah!

This becomes clearer from an even better way to translate this verse. 
Genesis 22:14: “Abraham called the Name of the Place, ‘the Lord will Provide’ (YAHWEH-YIREH), 
as it is said to this day, 
“In the MOUNT, the LORD shall be PROVIDED”, or: “In this MOUNT, the Lord shall APPEAR (as the Provision)”, or: “In the MOUNT, the Lord shall be SEEN (as the final Sacrifice)” 

or: “The MOUNT, where the LORD will be SEEN”, 
or: “The MOUNT, where the LORD will be MANIFESTED.” 

Thus Abraham was declaring His prophetic vision that Mt. Moriah would be the Place of the Lord’s Manifestation and Provision. He named this place: ‘Yahweh Yireh’, signifying that this was where the Lord would provide for us. Then, to clarify what He would provide, it adds: “In this MOUNT, the Lord shall BE SEEN.” Thus, the Lord will provide Himself, being manifested in the flesh and appearing upon Mount Moriah as the ultimate Sacrifice, fulfilling v8: “God will provide HIMSELF the Lamb for a burnt offering.” Thus this Mount is the place where the Lord is both our Provider and our Provision, thus perfectly fitting the name: ‘Yahweh Yireh.’ 

God had initially chosen the Mount, and Abraham’s sacrifice had invested it with holiness, sanctifying it for all the future Temple sacrifices, as well as for the Ultimate Sacrifice of Christ. Abraham’s prophetic declaration can only be finally fulfilled by the Coming Messiah, Who would be offered up as the supreme Sacrifice for us.

“On the Mount of the Lord, it (the Final Sacrifice) will be SEEN (MANIFESTED)”, or: “On this Mount, the Lord will be SEEN” is a clear statement that God’s final Provision of Himself as a Sacrifice would be on this very Mount (Mt.Moriah). This is confirmed by the vital and foundational place the offering of Isaac has in the purposes of God, as revealed in the Bible. Everything about it is preparing the way and looking towards the Final Sacrifice. Clearly, the Ram caught in the thicket was not God’s ultimate provision for man, it was just a prophetic symbol of it. Hence Abraham declared: 
“This is the very MOUNT WHERE the LORD will be SEEN.”

This Mount is the place where Yahweh Yireh would be revealed, for God would provide for all the needs of mankind through His Lamb. ‘Provision’ means to see ahead and provide what is needed. So God saw ahead what man needed for Salvation, and provided it in Christ, manifesting it in His Death and Resurrection on Mt. Moriah. 

Thus, it seems that at this time Abraham named this specific Mount: ‘Mount Mori-Yah.’ Moriah literally means: ‘the shown of Yahweh’ (Yah), or: ‘the Manifestation of Yahweh.’ Thus Mount Moriah means: ‘the Mount where Yahweh has chosen to Manifest Himself’, or more simply: ‘The Mount of the Lord’s Manifestation.’ Thus within the Land of Moriah (Genesis 22:1), there is a specific Mount, where Abraham offered up Isaac, called Mount Moriah, where the Temple would later be built (2Chronicles 3:1).

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