04. Ransomed…with a Great Sacrifice!

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Assalamu’alaikum
 
The Honored Qur’an gives a most descript illustration of submission to the Word from Allah in the life of Ibrahim. We should consider ourselves blessed to know the story. 
 
Ibrahim called out…
One of the best examples of submission to Allah’s Word is when Ibrahim was called to leave his country, his kindred, his home, and he was to go to a place where Allah would show him. Ibrahim implicitly obeyed when Allah spoke to him. This is recorded in Genesis 12:1 (Taurat) “Now the LORD had said unto Ibrahim, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee” It continues to record Ibrahim’s response… Genesis 12:4 So Ibrahim departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him…and Ibrahim was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.” By this time Ibrahim was no longer a young man, he was settled, and was wealthy, but when Ibrahim heard the voice of Allah, he obeyed without questioning. Ibrahim was not told where he would go but simply that he was to pack up and go, fully confident that Allah would lead him. You see, Ibrahim had developed a relationship with Allah, he understood that His way is best, even when he didn’t fully understand why, he simply took Allah at His Word and submitted to His wishes. We too, would do well to render that same submission to Allah as Ibrahim rendered. 
 
Ibrahim called to sacrifice
The Honored Qur’an tells us that Musa (Moses) was given the Scriptures (Taurat) and the criterion between right and wrong. Sura 2:53 Al-Baqara
“And remember We gave Moses the Scripture (Taurat) and the Criterion (between right and wrong)...” In Genesis (Taurat) is written the entire story of Ibrahim. In chapter 22 of Genesis there is recorded the account of how Ibrahim was called to sacrifice his son. It reveals to us how it happened. But is this account important? It tells us in Sura 26:69 that we are to ‘rehearse’ the story of Ibrahim. ew that This account is most important for us to know, for it has a lesson to teach us. The Honored Qur’an has a very positive statement about Ibrahim.
Sura 26:69 Ash-Shuara
“And rehearse to them (something of) Ibrahim's story.” 
In Genesis 22:2 (Taurat) it is written… “and he (Allah) said, Take now thy son, thine only son”…then these extremely painful words… “whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” 
When Allah asked Ibrahim that he sacrifice his son, Ibrahim implicitly obeyed. This story is briefly recorded in As-Saaffat Sura 37:102-107. This could not have been an easy task for Ibrahim to carry out! His tender heart must have been keenly pained beyond description! Yet the Word from Allah had been given, the command rang most clear in his mind and Ibrahim was in the habit of communing with Allah. There had developed such a relationship between Allah and himself, that he understood Allah’s voice when he heard it. And the love Ibrahim had towards Allah, was such that when Ibrahim heard His voice, he obeyed from his heart, even when he did not fully understand why.
 
Ibrahim called the ‘Hanif’
Ibrahim is considered the ‘Hanif’ among those who are truly sincere and most devoted to Allah. The ‘Hanif’ are those purest in their religion to Allah. In Genesis 22:3 we have the account of why Ibrahim is considered the ‘Hanif’. After Ibrahim was given the message, the account says…“and Ibrahim rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and …his son, and clave (split) the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which Allah had told him.” This is what makes Ibrahim to be among the ‘Hanif’. When Ibrahim heard Allah’s voice he obeyed and acted upon what he was asked to do. Is it true today that those who are obedient to the voice of Allah, those who yield unquestioning submission to Him are also among the ‘Hanif’? 
 
Ibrahim called to Mount Moriah
This task which Allah had asked Ibrahim to conduct was no small feat. We can note that it took three days to make that journey to the land of Moriah. It must have been three long, painful days knowing that perhaps he would be returning from the place of sacrifice alone. One wonders if Ibrahim found any rest during the nights when others slept. Surely Ibrahim wrestled every night with Allah in prayer over this issue. Continuing to read: (Taurat) Genesis 22:4 “Then on the third day Ibrahim lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Ibrahim said unto his young men, abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”
No man was to witness this event before Allah, other than the father and his son. Thus “Ibrahim took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon …his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.” Verse 6 before long the son of Ibrahim spoke saying…“my father…behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Ibrahim said, my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” 
They arrived at the sight, the altar was built, the wood was placed upon the altar, and then the news was revealed to Ibrahim’s son that he would be the sacrifice. His son submitted to what Allah had asked of Ibrahim, and the son was placed upon the altar. This was the beloved son of Ibrahim in his old age. Then as Ibrahim raised his hand with the knife…his hand was stayed…
As Ibrahim was about to slay his son, a voice was heard… ‘Ibrahim, Ibrahim,' he answered “here am I”. Genesis 22:11. It continues verses 12-13. “and He (Allah) said, lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me…and Ibrahim lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him, a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Ibrahim went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.”
 
Ibrahim’s son Ransomed
How was Ibrahim’s son ransomed? The Honored Qur’an says that his son was ransomed with a momentous or great sacrifice! Sura 37:107
“And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice…” We must ask, was the ram which was caught in the thicket, really a ‘Momentous or Great Sacrifice’? Or is there more to this story? Could it be that the ram caught in the thicket which Allah provided pointed to the “Great Sacrifice”? Did this represent Him whom Allah would send to be the sin offering for the entire world? In a sense Ibrahim’s son represented all humanity. We all should die eternally, as a result of sin, but we can live, because of the ram-lamb, the ransom provided by Allah, which was sacrificed in our stead. His name was Isa al-Masih, Christ Jesus. Sent from Allah to be the atonement on behalf of mankind. Man had fallen, yet Allah would provide a solution. The sinful race had to be ransomed with a magnificent sacrifice of Him whom was sent from Allah. 
 
Ibrahim called blessed by Allah
Because Ibrahim obeyed Allah’s voice in this matter, the account in Genesis 22:17-18 (Taurat) calls Ibrahim blessed by Allah. But not alone was Ibrahim to be blessed, but also Ibrahim’s seed (offspring), even all nations of earth. “I (Allah) will bless thee…I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore…and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” 
In Genesis 26: 5 It again tells us why Ibrahim is blessed by Allah… “Because that Ibrahim obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Some would argue that the Ten Commandments were not given until Moses time at Sinai, long after Ibrahim, but this account in Genesis forever settles the fact that even Ibrahim obeyed Allah’s Ten Commandments for it is recorded that Ibrahim kept Allah’s commandments.
If we wish to have the blessing of Allah, we too, must be willing to render obedience to Allah’s Word and His Commandments, in the same manner in which Ibrahim obeyed. Most assuredly, we too will be blessed by Allah.
All the verses in the Old Testament Scriptures, (Taurat) which speak about sacrificing of animals were to lead one to look forward to the ‘Great Sacrifice’, the ‘Momentous Sacrifice’ which was to be sent from Allah. Yet when Isa al-Masih finally came, few understood His mission. Few believed that this was truly the Messiah, the Sin Offering, the Ransom, the Saviour of the World fallen in sin. 
One must ask the question, why did Allah ask Ibrahim to travel to Mount Moriah? This was the same Mount Moriah, where later the temple would be built but also the very spot when many years later, Isa al-Masih, would give His life as a sacrifice for the human race. It was upon that mount, that very mount where centuries before Ibrahim’s hand was stayed to spare his own son, but this time Allah’s own hand was not to be stayed, and He (Isa al-Masih) who was nearest to Allah, was sacrificed on behalf of humanity. Isa al-Masih’s life was yielded for us. Ibrahim’s experience with his son, was a fore-shadowing of what was to come. In Ibrahim’s day, a ransom was found, the ram in the thicket. In the Injeel, it says... “even as the Son of Man [Isa al-Masih] came …to give His life a ransom for many” Matthew 20:28
Anciently, wise people of the East knew that a ransom would come on behalf of mankind. In the Holy Books we read the following: “deliver him [man] from going down to the pit [destruction]: I have found a ransom.” Job 33:24 
A ransom is the price paid for the sinner to be pardoned from sin. ‘The wages of sin is death’, and someone had to pay the price on man’s behalf or man surely would have only the pit [destruction] to look forward to, it is written in the Injeel, that Allah provided a sacrifice, a ransom…Hebrews 10:12 “But this man, [Isa al-Masih] after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God [Allah]”
1John 2:2 “And He (Isa al-Masih) is the propitiation [the conciliator] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Dear friend of Allah, will you not accept this sacrifice, this ransom from Allah on your behalf? For you, dear friend, Allah gave Isa al-Masih, the Messiah as the “Momentous Sacrifice”. Given to you and I, as our Saviour from sin. Please accept this gracious offer today!
 
وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ
 
‘Ransomed …with a Great Sacrifice’
 
 
As-Saaffat 107
(Sura 37:107)
 
 
 
Series no. 04
 
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