Young Isaac

(Moved from Forgotten Prophets)

As I’ve said, every now and then I may excerpt some passage from one of my longer works. So here, in this Eastertide season, and noticing my cryptic gloss that Jesus was age 35 at the crucifixion, it occurs to me that I might elucidate. The following is a snippet from chapter six of my “Most Ancient Days” – a reconstruction of ancient chronology from the Flood to the reign of King Saul. I go on and on and on, there, about things hardly anyone cares about, but this particular section is of more general interest. It sheds some like on poor Isaac, Abraham’s would-be victim. The context is a discussion on several of the coeval Egyptian Dynasties (a discussion for another time, if ever – but it straightens out some very knotty problems).


It was during this time, c. 1930 bc, that Abraham scaled Mount Moriah to sacrifice his beloved Isaac. Isaac was born in 1966 bc, and dedicated as heir in 1961 bc (Gen 21:8-10, Gal 4:29-30), which occasion marked the start of the 400 years of sojourning for Abraham's seed (Gen 15:13, Acts 7:6). Sarah died in 1930 bc, and Isaac married at age 40 (Gen 25:20), in 1926 bc.

Isaac was not a little child when offered by his father, but rath­er he was precise­ly the same age as Jesus at His crucifixion.1 If Isaac was offered right around the time of his mother's death, he would have been about age 35½. This is supported, first, by the fact that Sarah's death is the very next event recorded in Genesis (23:1). It is also sup­ported by the fact that tradition says that Samael (Satan) went and told Sarah that Isaac had been killed, and when she learned that he was still alive, she died from joy.2 A mid­rash . . . makes him thirty-seven.”3 Isaac is called a "lad" or "boy" in Gen 22:5 & 12, but this word (nah'-gar) is exactly the same as used of the "young men" in the same verse; it is used of Joshua in Ex 33:11 during the year of the Exodus, when he was 53 years old. Obviously, then, Isaac need not have been a child.

Isaac carried the wood of his own sacrifice (Gen 22:5), as did Je­sus; He was immo­bilized, as was Jesus. Both actual sacrifices, of ram and Christ, were trapped by horns (Jesus on the ‘horns’ of the cross — an an­cient, tech­nical description); and both were crowned by thorns (the bram­bles, in the case of the ram).

There were even three tempt­ations by Satan. Hebrew legend says that Sama­el appeared in the guise of an old man to Abraham on the way up the mountains. He whis­pered to Abraham that such a com­mand, to sacrifice Isaac, could not have come from God: "You have been de­ceived." (This echoes Satan's "Hath God truly said?" of Genesis 3, which is answered by Jesus in Mt 4:4 and Lk 4:4, Man shall live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.) Abraham drove the deceiver away, but Samael re­turned as a hand­some youth, and said to Isaac,Why should your besotted father slaugh­ter you without reason? Flee, while there is yet time! (This echoes the Serpent's It shall not be so of the Garden, answered by Jesus in His honoring of His Father in Mt 4:7: Do not put the Lord thy God to the test.) Again Satan was driven away.4 Finally, he appeared to Abraham and said that God wanted only a lamb, and not Isaac as sac­rifice.5 (Again, this echoes the replacement of a created thing for the divine — You shall be as gods — which Jesus answers in Mt 4:10: Worship the Lord thy God.) For the third and last time, Satan was driven away.

[1].Jesus was born before the Passover of 4 bc (when Herod died); the season was probably around the Feast of Ta­ber­na­cles (au­tumn), 6 or 5 bc. He was crucified April 9 (Nisan 13), 32 ad — aged from 35½ to 37.

[2].R. Graves and R. Patai, Hebrew Myths (NY: Greenwich House, 1964), p. 175.

[3].Graves, p. 176.

[4].Sepher Hayashar, 77-79; in Graves, p. 174.

[5].A.S. Rappoport, Ancient Israel: Myths and Legends (NY: Bonan­za Books, 1987), Vol. 1, p. 294.


Once upon a time I read the Bible four times in six weeks. The benefit of doing such a thing is that you start to really notice connections. I walked away with the conviction that this really was the work of a single author. I was not Christian at the time. I was just convinced. There came a point when all those contradictions in the Bible you keep hearing about turn out to be the product of ignorance that presumes to authority. You get enough questions answered and after a time you realize you're dealing with an honest witness. Enough answers, and you come to the place where you know that even if you don't know the answer, you can see that it's there. If everything that can be tested, tests true, you begin to build trust. Eventually you don't have to see the sun rise, to know how it got into the sky.

I don't really do apologetics here. Basically because no one asks. But it's how I got saved - speaking as a man, of course. I'm not much for faith. You want me to believe something, prove it. But again, integrity earns trust. That's why I'm Christian. Speaking as a man, of course.

Anyone who's plowed through my many words here, or some of them, cannot have helped but noticed a certain ambivalence in my tone, about God. Well, after all, I am a fool. But here's an idea, about God. He doesn't want us to sacrifice our children. He wants us to have enough faith to do so. But there's only one person in the universe whom God ever wanted to sacrifice his son. And that's God, and his own Son. There is a way that we are not to be like God. We make the sacrifices, for our children, not of them. Only God had to do that. The fact that in this horrible universe children do die, is not the fault of God, but of free will and its inevitably associated Fall. God knew but did not ordain the Fall. He provided for its remedy. And oh the cost of it.

That, that is what Easter is. I write this with tears, as I so often do. Who knew.



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