The Akedah -

The Binding of Isaac...

The Akedah (sometimes called Akedat Yitzchak) is the story of how Abraham was tested by God to bind his beloved son Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah. At the last moment, God stopped Abraham from going through with the sacrifice and provided a substitute (see Genesis 22). It is one of the most widely read passages of Scripture in the Jewish liturgy, recited during every morning service and also during Rosh Hashanah.

As Messianic believers, we understand the Akedah as a foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice the heavenly Father would give on our behalf: unlike Abraham, God the Father actually offered His only Son in order to make salvation available to all who believe (see John 3:16). As Abraham said, "God Himself will provide a lamb" (Genesis 22:8).

The following prayer is recited before the reading of Genesis 22:1-19:


Our God and God of our fathers, remember us in good remembrance before You, and recall in recollection salvation and mercy from the heaven of heavens of old. Remember us, LORD our God, the love of the ancients Abraham, Isaac, and Israel Your servants, the covenant and the mercy and the oath that you swore to Abraham our father on mount Moriah, and the Akedah when he bound Isaac his son on top of the altar
[as it is written in Your Torah - Genesis 22:1-19 is then recited].


    "The shofar blown at mount Sinai, when the Torah was given, came from the ram which had been sacrificed in place of Isaac. The left horn was blown for a shofar at Mount Sinai and its right horn will be blown to herald the coming of Moshiach. The right horn was larger than the left, and thus concerning the days of Moshicah it is written, "on that day, a great shofar will be blown." (Tz'enah Urenah)

    R. Judah says: When the sword touched Isaac's throat his soul flew clean out of him. And when He let His voice be heard from between the cherubim, "Lay not thy hand upon the lad." The lad's soul was returned to his body. Then his father unbound him and Isaac rose, knowing that in this way the dead would come back to life in the future; whereupon he began to recite, "Blessed are You, LORD, who resurrects the dead." (Pirkei Rabbi Elieazer)

    When Isaac's throat was about to be cut, he thought: "Into thy hands do I commit my my spirit: you have redeemed me, O LORD, God of Truth" (Psalm 31:5). He thought: "I shall not die, but I shall live; and I shall return, because God will not lie. I am the son of the promise of the Eternal. Therefore I must beget children, even if heaven itself collapses" (Midrash Bereshit). Isaac, no less than Abraham, believed the promise: "I have made you the father of many nations"-- in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist" (Rom. 4:17).

    By virtue of Isaac who offered himself as a sacrifice on top of the altar, the Holy One blessed be He, will resurrect the dead in the future, as it is said, "To hear the groaning of him who is bound; to open up release for the offspring appointed to death." (Psalm 102:21) "Him who is bound" is interpreted as Isaac bound on top of the altar. "To open up release for the offspring appointed to death" [is interpreted] as the dead whose graves the Holy One, blessed be He, will open up so that He may set them on their feet in the Age to Come. (Mekilta Simeon)


Eloheinu velohei avoteinu zokhreinu b'zikkaron tov l'fanekha
ufakdeinu bifkuddat yeshu'ah v'rachamim mishnei sh'mei kedem.
Uz'khor lanu Adonai eloheinu ahavat hakadmonim Avraham
Yitzchak v'Yisrael ava'dekha et ha'brit v'et hachesed v'et
hashvu'ah shenishba'ta l'Avraham avinu b'har haMoriyah
v'et ha'akedah she'akad et Yitzchak b'no al gabbei hamizbeach.

The Akedah and the Gospel

Consider how the Akedah provides a prophetic picture of Yeshua the Messiah as the promised "Lamb of God" (Seh haElohim) who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Both Isaac and Yeshua were born miraculously; both were "only begotten sons"; both were to be sacrificed by their fathers at Mount Moriah; both were to be resurrected on the third day (Genesis 22:5, Hebrews 11:17-19); both willingly took up the means of his execution; and both demonstrate that one life can be sacrificed for another – the ram for Isaac, and Yeshua for all of mankind.

Indeed, the first occurrence of the word love in the Scriptures (ahavah) (Gen 22:2) refers to a father's love for his "only" son who was offered as a sacrifice on Moriah (the very place of the crucifixion of Yeshua), a clear reference to the gospel message (John 3:16).

During the season of Passover, let us ask the LORD to quicken these words of John the Baptist (Yochanon haMatbil) within our hearts:

John 1:29 (HNT)

"Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29; HNT)

כִּי־כֵן אהֵב אֱלהִים אֶת־הָעוֹלָם
עַד־אֲשֶׁר נָתַן בַּעֲדוֹ אֶת־בְּנוֹ אֶת־יְחִידוֹ
וְכָל־הַמַּאֲמִין בּוֹ לא־יאבַד
כִּי בוֹ יִמְצָא חַיֵּי עוֹלָם׃

ki-khen  o·hev  E·lo·him  et-ha·o·lam,
ad-a·sher  na·tan  ba·a·do  et-be·no  et-ye·chi·do,
ve·khol-ha·ma·a·min  bo,  lo-yo·vad
ki  vo  yim·tza  cha·yei  o·lam


"For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son,
so that whoever trusts in Him should not be destroyed, but have eternal life"
(John 3:16)

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