Friday, December 10, 2010

The Patriarchs as types of Christ: Isaac

From The Christian Topography, Cosmas Indicopleustes.

This is Isaac the co-heir of the promises and the blessings of God given to Abraham his father----who was a type of the sacrifice of the Lord Christ, since for three days he travelled on to death, and afterwards returned alive----who on his own shoulders carried the wood for his own sacrifice, as also the Lord Christ carried his own cross on his shoulder----who died in intention and was given his life by God ; he in exchange for whom a ram was slain, and whose father heard these words from God:

Because thou hast not spared the son whom thou lovest, so in like manner it has been said with reference to Christ the son of God: Who spared not his own son but has given him up for us all; although the flesh alone is that which has been given for the life of the world, since it is impossible for deity to die; but since the flesh has thus been given, scripture saith that his own son hath been given, because the flesh is a substitute for and a counterpart of the son, after the example of the blessed Isaac. For thus saith the Lord: Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad.
This is Isaac who involuntarily transmitted to Jacob the blessing promised by God to himself and his father, saying: Let peoples serve thee, and let their princes bow down to thee, and be thou Lord over thy brethren, and let thy father s sons bow down to thee; cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be every one that blesseth thee. But we see not all these things accomplished upon Jacob, but see rather that Jacob, having prostrated himself seven times upon the ground, made obeisance to Esau. And thirty kings, sprung from Esau, reigned before ever a king reigned in Israel; so that these blessings await Him who was expected to descend from them, namely, the Lord Christ, whom the whole scope of divine scripture has in view.

And this man who was co-heir of the gifts and promises of Christ, and a type of the Lord Christ himself, was he who transmitted the blessing, which he himself had received from his father, not to the son whom he wished to inherit it, but to him to whom God ordained it should be given. Glory to our God who in supreme wisdom administers the affairs of men, Amen!

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