Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity Abraham and Isaac - The Ultimate Test of Faith The Sacrifice of Isaac Was Abraham's Ultimate Test of Faith Share Flipboard Email Print Abraham is about to sacrifice his son Isaac when he sees a ram in the thicket. DEA PICTURE LIBRARY / Getty Images Christianity The Old Testament Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Catholicism Latter Day Saints View More By Jack Zavada Christianity Expert M.A., English Composition, Illinois State University B.S., English Literature, Illinois State University Jack Zavada is a writer who covers the Bible, theology, and other Christianity topics. He is the author of "Hope for Hurting Singles: A Christian Guide to Overcoming Life's Challenges." our editorial process Jack Zavada Updated June 11, 2018 The sacrifice of Isaac put Abraham to his most agonizing test, a trial which he passed completely because of his total faith in God. God told Abraham, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." (Genesis 22:2, NIV) Abraham took Isaac, two servants, and a donkey and set off on the 50-mile journey. When they arrived, Abraham ordered the servants to wait with the donkey while he and Isaac went up the mountain. He told the men, "We will worship and then we will come back to you." (Genesis 22:5b, NIV) The Ultimate Test Isaac asked his father where the lamb was for the sacrifice, and Abraham answered that the Lord would provide the lamb. Saddened and confused, Abraham bound Isaac with ropes and placed him on the stone altar. Just as Abraham raised the knife to slay his son, the angel of the Lord called out to Abraham to stop and not harm the boy. The angel said he knew that Abraham feared the Lord because he had not withheld his only son. When Abraham looked up, he saw a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. He sacrificed the animal, provided by God, instead of his son. Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham and said: "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." (Genesis 22:16-18, NIV) Points of Interest from the Story of Abraham and Isaac God had earlier promised Abraham that he would make a great nation of him through Isaac, which forced Abraham to either trust God with what mattered most to him or to distrust God. Abraham chose to trust and obey. Abraham told his servants "we" will come back to you, meaning both he and Isaac. Abraham must have believed God would either provide a substitute sacrifice or would raise Isaac from the dead. This incident foreshadows God's sacrifice of his only son, Jesus Christ, on the cross at Calvary, for the sin of the world. God's great love required of himself what he did not require of Abraham. Mount Moriah, where this event took place, means "God will provide." King Solomon later built the first Temple there. Today, the Muslim shrine The Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem, stands on the site of the sacrifice of Isaac. The author of the book of Hebrews cites Abraham in his "Faith Hall of Fame," and James says Abraham's obedience was credited to him as righteousness. A Question for Reflection Sacrificing one's own child is the ultimate test of faith. Whenever God allows our faith to be tested, we can trust that it is for a good purpose. Trials and tests reveal our obedience to God and the genuineness of our faith and trust in him. Tests also produce steadfastness, a strength of character, and equip us to weather the storms of life because they press us closer to the Lord. What do I need to sacrifice in my own life to follow God more closely?