“Lesson 28: Genesis 22,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 28,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Abraham’s faith in the Lord and His promises was tested when he was commanded to sacrifice his covenant son, Isaac. When Abraham proved his faithfulness, the Lord spared Isaac and provided a substitute sacrifice. The Lord then confirmed the covenant He had previously made with Abraham.
Invite a student to read Genesis 22:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord commanded Abraham to do. Use footnote a in verse 1 to help students understand that the word tempt as used in verse 1 means “to test” or “to prove.” (You may need to explain that although Abraham had another son, Ishmael, Isaac was the only son born to Sarah and the son the Lord had promised to make His covenant with.)
What did the Lord command Abraham to do? (To sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering)
Draw a picture of an altar on the board. Remind students that after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, the Lord commanded them to offer as sacrifices the firstlings of their flocks. These sacrifices included killing a male, firstborn, unblemished animal with no broken bones, placing it on wood upon an altar, and then burning it, symbolically demonstrating to God a willingness to give Him everything.
What words or phrases in verse 2 can help us understand how difficult this command must have been for Abraham?
What promises had the Lord made to Abraham that would have made sacrificing his son an even more difficult trial of faith than it already was? (The Lord had promised that through Isaac, Abraham would become a father of many nations and that He would establish His covenant with Isaac [see Genesis 17:15–21].)
Point out that in addition to the promises Abraham had previously received, the command to offer his son as a human sacrifice might have been especially difficult because Abraham himself was almost offered as a human sacrifice to false gods, but the Lord saved him (see Abraham 1:7, 15).
Display the picture Abraham Taking Isaac to Be Sacrificed (Gospel Art Book , no. 9; see also LDS.org). Invite a student to read Genesis 22:3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Abraham responded to the Lord’s command. You may want to explain that clave means to cut or split.
What stands out to you about Abraham’s response?
What can we learn about Abraham from his response to this heart-wrenching command?
Invite a student to read Genesis 22:4–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Isaac asked his father. Invite students to report what they find.
How did Abraham respond to Isaac?
Invite a student to read Genesis 22:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Abraham did when they arrived in the land of Moriah.
Why do you think Abraham was willing to obey the command to sacrifice his son Isaac? (One answer might be that Abraham obeyed because he knew God and trusted Him and His will.)
Invite a student to read Genesis 22:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened next.
How do you imagine Abraham and Isaac might have felt after receiving this message?
Through his willingness to sacrifice Isaac, what had Abraham shown about his feelings toward God?
Explain that Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that although “we generally interpret the word fear as ‘respect’ or ‘reverence’ or ‘love,’” we should also “so love and reverence Him that we fear doing anything wrong in His sight” (“A Sense of the Sacred,” [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, Nov. 7, 2004], 6, 7; LDS.org). You may want to suggest that students write this explanation in their scriptures.
What can we learn from Abraham and Isaac’s experience about what we can do to show the Lord that we love Him? (Students may identify something similar to the following principle: When we are willing do what the Lord commands us, we show our reverence and love for Him.)
Ask students to ponder some of the Lord’s commandments. Invite each student to come to the board and write one or two commandments above the drawing of the altar. You may want to add some commandments to their list based on the needs of your class (such as reading scriptures daily, partaking of the sacrament weekly, sharing the gospel, or keeping the law of chastity).
How does our willingness to obey these commandments show the Lord that we love Him?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for why it is important that we willingly obey God.
“The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give,’ brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him!” (“Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 24).
Refer to the list of commandments on the board, and ask students to answer the following questions in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:
Which commandments from the Lord do you willingly obey?
Which commandments can you begin obeying or obey more willingly to show your love for the Lord?
You may want to invite a few students to share what they wrote. Encourage students to pray for help to willingly obey the Lord.
Display the picture The Crucifixion (Gospel Art Book , no. 57; see also LDS.org). Consider writing the following truth on the board: Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac is a type of Heavenly Father’s sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Explain that a type is a symbol that foreshadows a future event. Exploring the details of a type can help us learn more about the event it is designed to foreshadow.
Invite students to review Genesis 22:1–12 with a partner. Ask them to look for details in the verses that show similarities between Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac and Heavenly Father’s sacrifice of Jesus Christ. You might suggest that they mark the similarities in their scriptures, or you could ask them to write what they discover on a piece of paper. It might help them to organize what they find in a chart like the one that follows. Some examples have been provided.
Abraham’s Sacrifice of Isaac
Heavenly Father’s Sacrifice of Jesus Christ
Isaac was to be sacrificed in place of a lamb
Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for our sins
Heavenly Father willingly
Jesus Christ carried
After students have completed their search, ask them to explain to the class what they discovered. You may want to explain the following additional similarities: The land of Moriah (see Genesis 22:2), where Isaac was to be offered as a sacrifice, included the places that would later be called Gethsemane and Golgotha, where Jesus Christ would suffer and be crucified almost 2,000 years later; Abraham’s name means “father of a multitude,” which parallels Heavenly Father being the father of all spirit children.
What can Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac teach us about Heavenly Father’s sacrifice of Jesus Christ?
Explain that if Heavenly Father had not chosen to sacrifice His Only Begotten Son, then none of us would be able to return to God’s presence.
Who was Heavenly Father showing His love for by sacrificing His Son, Jesus Christ? (Help students identify the following truth: Heavenly Father demonstrated His love for us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.)
If possible, provide students with copies of the following statement by Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite a student to read the statement aloud. Ask the class to listen for how Heavenly Father might have felt as His Son was being crucified.
How does the sacrifice of Jesus Christ demonstrate Heavenly Father’s love for you?
Consider sharing your testimony of Heavenly Father’s love for each of the students in your class.
Ask a student to read Genesis 22:13–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord provided as a sacrifice in the place of Isaac. Ask students to report what they find.
Summarize Genesis 22:15–19 by explaining that because Abraham demonstrated His willingness to do what the Lord commanded, the Lord reassured him of the blessings promised in the Abrahamic covenant.
Summarize Genesis 22:20–24 by explaining that after Abraham returned home, he learned about children born into the household of his brother Nahor, including a granddaughter named Rebekah, who would play an important role in the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham.
Conclude by sharing your testimony of the principles discussed today as prompted by the Spirit.
To help students review the five scripture mastery passages they have studied so far during this course, you may want to give them a brief quiz. Provide the key words from the seminary bookmark, and ask students to write the reference to the associated scripture mastery passage. Prior to the quiz, you may want to give students time to study with a partner the key words from the seminary bookmark associated with the five scriptures.