Vol.VII No.XI Pg.3
January 1971

Human Sacrifice

Robert F. Turner

Abraham. . . 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 (Gen. 22: 1,2). What a heart rending command for a father! Reason cried that it was contrary to Gods promise —in Isaac shall thy seed be called (Gen. 21:12). Furthermore, God had never accepted such sacrifice. Nevertheless, Abraham sadly journeys to Moriah. Isaac and his father leave the servants and ascend the appointed mount. Where is the sacrifice? asks Isaac. From a heart that believes in Gods power to raise the dead (Heb. 11:19), Abraham replies, God will provide himself a lamb. Rocks are stacked to form an altar. Wood is laid on it, and the fire is ready. Finally Isaac is bound on the altar. Now the test! Abraham raises a knife to slay his son, but an angel stays his hand. God says, Now I know thou fearest God. Abraham then sees a ram caught in the bushes and offers the ram as a sacrifice.

Now, did God change his mind about what sacrifice he wanted? No! Though the ram is offered in sacrifice, the ram is not the sacrifice of this account. Isaac was laid on the altar, but from the beginning he was not the sacrifice God sought. Before the angel appeared, God received his sacrifice. It was Abraham who was offered to God, and he was completely sacrificed when he raised the knife to kill Isaac. His will, his logic, his emotions as a father, his whole being had to be subdued to obey that command. God received human sacrifice.

The Jew brought a calf for a burnt offering. It was just as God commanded, yet it was not the calf God wanted. I am God,... every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills (Psa. 50:10). God wanted the man who brought the calf. He sought the Jew in complete and voluntary submission to Gods will. He was pleased with such human sacrifice and satisfied with no less.

Jesus said, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matt. 16:24). Thus, discipleship demands self denial. That means putting God above emotions when you must choose between God and family. It means putting God before self when you really want to do something that God forbids. Self denial means blindly obeying a command though you do not see why it should be necessary. Self denial is human sacrifice. It is self offered to God on the altar of unconditional obedience.

I beseech you therefore. brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God. which is your reasonable service (Rom. 12:1). Through the centuries many godly men have offered themselves as martyrs for their faith in God. All Christians must first offer themselves to God in simple obedience. We must love God enough, trust him so completely, submit our will to his so thoroughly, and anchor ourselves in hope so securely that we will do anything he says — simply because he says it. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: (Gal. 2:20) Joe Fitch.