What is the church? And what shall we liken it to on the mountain in Genesis 22?
"And they came to the place
that God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and arranged the
wood. Then he bound Isaac his son and placed him on the altar atop the
wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. And the angel of Yahweh called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” And he said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the boy; do not do anything to him. For now I know that you are one who fears God, since you have not withheld your son, your only child, from me.” And
Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked. And behold, a ram was caught in
the thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram, and offered
it as a burnt offering in place of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place “Yahweh will provide,”"
God is God. He is Holy. Part of what that means is anyone who does not treat him as such deserves to die. Abraham deserved to die for his sins. The concept and practice of sacrificing an animal in our own place goes back to Genesis 3 when God gives animal skin coverings to Adam and Eve. Our naked shame is covered by the blood of something which did not rebel against God; did not doubt Him; an innocent caught in the thicket of our sin. We see it again in chapter four with Cain and Abel. We see it again in the animals Noah brings on the ark and sacrifices as soon as they are safe on land again. And we will see it all through the Bible, right up to the coming of the True Lamb of God. All of this points ahead. God knew what He was going to do from the beginning.
"And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain." Revelations 13
Just as God knew what Abraham and Isaac were going to find on the mountain. Here God is giving Abe and the angels and us a much clearer picture of Jesus than even a fuzzy little lamb! Here God is letting Abraham, the father of nations, act in God's own place! For God knows what He is going to do: sacrifice His own Son! This test wasn't to show God what was in Abe's heart, He already knew. Abe's name is written in a book God has on his coffee table. A book of people whom Jesus has chosen to die for. Chosen to die in place of. Chosen to provide for. It is to show us what is in God's heart.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6
The church are those who have received the gift God has provided.