“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that this day should overtake you like a thief.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4
When reading the accounts of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, there are parallels to God’s overall plan found within those stories. M.R. DeHaan penned a book, Portraits of Christ in Genesis in 1966 that covers many of these details. Chuck Missler has presented the story of Isaac in similar fashion detailing the parallels to Jesus. The point is that Genesis lays the foundation of understanding God’s plan and there seems to be a more complete picture in view that seems to have been missed. But let us first look at the story of Isaac.
Isaac’s birth is said to have been an impossibility. Some years later, Abraham is told to take his only son and sacrifice him on Mount Moriah (the highest part of Moriah north of the Temple Mount is actually Golgotha at 777 meters above sea level). Just before Isaac is ready to give a willing sacrifice, an angel stops Abraham and a ram is offered instead. Abraham calls the place, “in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen” and indeed it later would be seen fulfilled by the Messiah in the same place. But Isaac is not mentioned again until he receives his bride, Rebekah (meaning “to tie”). However, Sarah (meaning “princess”) dies during this in between time of Isaac’s “absence” between the sacrifice and wedding. It is during this time that Abraham commissions his servant (Eleazar means helper) to go get a bride for his son. The servant goes to a far country and Rebekah agrees on faith to marry a man she has not seen. The servant brings Rebekah to Isaac, who is seen coming to greet her. This story so eloquently tells the story of Jesus and his first coming until he returns. Isaac represents Jesus and Sarah represents Israel. Jesus also mourns the loss of Israel, but rejoices when his servant (the Holy Spirit) brings him his bride (the Church). But the analogies do not stop there.
As we consider the importance of the Isaac story parallels, there are other parallels that are given in Scripture that expand the overall story. The other parallels are made by Paul through the inspiration of the Spirit. The first parallel is Ishmael and Isaac. In Galatians 4:22-24, Ishmael is said to represent the Law given at Sinai and Isaac represents the Grace of Christ given at Jerusalem. Not only did Ishmael come before Isaac, but he was only a son by law and not what was promised. The other parallel concerns Jacob and Esau. According to the analogy in Romans 9, Esau represents natural Israel that is not the saved remnant represented by Jacob. Here then is the big item that seems to have been missed. If we assemble all of the analogies, then the dispensations of Israel and the Church are seen in a way that could only have been mapped out by God himself. The details of the story are always significant.
The overall analogy begins with a Father (Abraham) who is requested by Sarah (the princess wife–Israel or the woman) to have a legal son outside of God’s plan. This leads to Ishmael (the Law), but later God’s promise of a Son (Isaac, Jesus) is fulfilled. The Father (Abraham) then offers up his only Son (Isaac) at Golgotha. Sarah (Israel, the woman) then dies and her Son mourns at her loss (representing Israel’s blindness) so the Father sends his Servant (the Helper) to obtain a bride for the Son. The Servant then brings the bride (Rebekah–to tie, bind) to the Son (Rapture) and they are married. Out of their marriage there are then two sons born. The first born (Esau) does not obtain the birthright, but hastily rejects it (natural Israel, which is not saved). The second son, Jacob (whose name is changed to Israel), obtains the birthright, but he must then endure a time of trouble to obtain the wife he desires (the Tribulation). Israel (Jacob) then returns to the land of Israel.
Therefore, the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob weave the story of the ages. Behind what really happened is a representation of the history of Israel to the coming of the Messiah and the final redemption of Israel. It also accurately portrays the insertion of the Church Age without abandoning the promises reserved to the nation of Israel (Jacob). Hopefully the below diagram helps in that understanding.