Sarah and Abraham

Leviticus 18:21 and 20:2 give us God’s moral standards as to human sacrifice. It is specifically condemned.

Leviticus 18:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them[1] to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am Jehovah.

Leviticus 20:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

“You shall also say to the sons of Israel, ‘Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones.’

First, it should be kept in mind that Jehovah had no intention from the beginning of having Abraham offer up Isaac. (22:12) This was a great test as to Abraham’s faith.

Genesis 22:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God,[2] seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

Abraham sacrifices isaac-

God was not after a sacrifice, but an evident demonstration of Abraham’s faith, which was likely more for Abraham than for God. Abraham’s actions confirmed God’s confidence in him. By his actions, Abraham demonstrated beyond question that his original faith in God was beyond question, and is still genuine, as he was to become the father of a great nation. In addition, Jehovah is the God of the living, not the dead. Even though a person may lose their life, if they are in God’s favor, to him they are not dead but awaiting a resurrection.

Hebrews 11:17-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up[3] Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up[4] his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed[5] shall be called,” 19 having reasoned that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking,[6] he did receive him back.

It is inferred in the account that Abraham must have believed that, even if he did offer Isaac, it was within Jehovah’s power to bring him back. Take note of his comments before heading off to complete his task.

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIPGenesis 22:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

And Abraham said to his servants, “You stay here with the donkey, and I and the boy will go up there. We will worship, then we will return to you.”

[1] Lit cause to pass over; allow the passing through; i.e. children devoted to or sacrifices in the fire to Molech

[2] I.e. God-fearing (not dreadful fear), reverential fear of displeasing God out of ones love for God.

[3] An interpretive translation could read, “as good as offered up Isaac.” The Greek verb here (prosenenochen) translated “offered up” is in the perfect tense, where the writer describes “a completed verbal action that occurred in the past but which produced a state of being or a result that exists in the present (in relation to the writer). The emphasis of the perfect is not the past action so much as it is as such but the present ‘state of affairs’ resulting from the past action.” (GMSDT) Dods and Moffatt take the perfect tense to refer only to a past act with no emphasis being suggested by the author. (Dods, “Hebrews,” 358; Moffatt, Hebrews, 176.)

[4] The Greek verb here (prosepheren) translated “was offering up” is in the imperfect tense, “where the writer portrays an action in process or a state of being that is occurring in the past with no assessment of the action’s completion.” (GMSDT) Therefore, this rendering is in harmony with what actually happened.

[5] Or descendants; offspring

[6] Lit in a parable; Gr enparabolei