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The meaning of Eid al-Adha

from The Big Picture (see also many other fascinating photos)

Yesterday marked the beginning of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival commemorating Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son.  Muslims believe it was Ishmael who was nearly sacrificed.  But Genesis 22 is clear that Isaac, the child of promise, was the one to be sacrificed.   And he, the child of promise, was the one who Abraham received back from the dead.

The action took place on a mountain in the region of Moriah (Gen 22:2).  Mount Moriah was where the temple would later be built (2 Chron 3:1).  And so as they ascend this hill the father carries the tools of judgement - the fire and knife.  The son carries the wood.  He asks his father about the sacrifice.  "God Himself will provide the lamb" says Abraham.

On this occasion the Angel of the LORD intercepts the judgement. (v11ff)  He does so from heaven which is very odd for Him - usually He is more hands-on in His interactions.  But one day He would come in Person to this mountain.  And on that day He would intercept the judgement of the whole world.  He would be the Child of promise, the Seed of Abraham and the Lamb of sacrifice.  And on that day the Father would not spare His own Son but give Him up for us all.  (Rom 8:32).

In Genesis 22, a ram is provided as a substitute for Isaac (v13).  But of course, Abraham had prophesied that a lamb would be provided (v8).  And this prophecy was believed and proclaimed throughout the generations:

Abraham called that place "The LORD Will Provide".  And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."

The true substitutionary sacrifice, the true promised Son, the true Seed of Abraham would die as a Lamb on that mountain in the region of Jerusalem.

Islam celebrates father Abraham, Ishmael and the sacrifice that saved him.  But this is not the true Eid - the true sacrifice.  All of this points to the true Father who did not spare His Son.  To the true Child of Promise who was willing to lay down His life and to the true Sacrifice that was provided for all.

Here's Mike Reeves explaining it in 10 minutes - an excerpt from a longer talk. (Thanks to Dave Bish for editing).

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5 thoughts on “The meaning of Eid al-Adha

  1. Inilah

    Question about the Hebrew of Gen. 22:8: Abraham said, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son."
    Is there a case for the translation being "God will provide himself for the lamb for a burnt offering", thus a more explicit prophecy of how the LORD himself being the sacrifice? Just wondering...

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  3. Glen

    Hi Inilah,
    My very basic Hebrew knowledge makes me think 'provide for Himself'. But yes I'm aware of the other translation.

    I guess if you had the bible software you might want to do a search in the Hebrew for all the uses of 'provide' in conjunction with 'for'. And see whether 'for' might be used to draw attention to the *subject* of provision (rather than the object - which is what I'm assuming for my translation).

    Also you might want to think about the fact that the verb is *not* reflexive. Perhaps you might conclude that it's odd for a verb that's not reflexive to then refer back to the subject. And that might push you towards saying 'Himself' is there to highlight the Subject of provision rather than the Object of that provision.

    But I'm not in any position to make those calls.

    Mike's your man!

    Hi Lovebug,
    Welcome to comments.

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