The salutary and pivotal story of Gen 22 (much quoted and studied by all the "Abrahamic" religions) is tantalizingly short on detail. However, here are a few snippets that we can glean from this exemplified story
- The "Angel of the LORD" is is the LORD Himself as confirmed by V12 use of "Me" and "Myself" in V16, "I" in V17 and "My" in V18. (See also the material in the appendix below).
- It is almost certain that only the important details have been recorded for us in the story of Gen 22. For example, we are not told if the ram caught in the thicket was there all along or became caught during the the time Abraham was busy at the altar
- We are also not told what made Abraham "look up" (V13) - was it any of:
- (a) a direct suggestion of God/Angel of the LORD?
- (b) an impression on Abraham's mind by God?
- (c) a sound or movement made by the ram that attracted Abraham's attention?
We are not told, presumably because it does not matter. The most important feature of this story is the substitutionary and vicarious sacrifice and death of the ram instead of Isaac!
Thus, the ram became an anticipatory type of Christ as confirmed by John the Baptist 1500 years later:
John 1:29 - Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the
Benson captures this well when he says:
Genesis 22:13. Behold a ram — Though that blessed Seed was now
typified by Isaac, yet the offering of him up was suspended till the
latter end of the world, and in the mean time the sacrifice of beasts
was accepted, as a pledge of that expiation which should be made by
that great Sacrifice. And it is observable, that the temple, the place
of sacrifice, was afterward built upon this mount Moriah, 2 Chronicles
3:1; and mount Calvary, where Christ was crucified, was not far off.
APPENDIX - Angel of the LORD
The following passages make it clear that the “Angel of the LORD” is quite often, the LORD (Jehovah) Himself, probably Jesus in particular. Gen 16:7-13, 22:11-17, 32:24-30, 48:16, Ex 3:2-6, 32:34, Num 22:22-35, Josh 5:13-15, Judg 2:1-4, 6:11-23, 13:3-23, Isa 63:9, Dan 3:25, 28, Hos 12:4, 5, Zech 3:1-7, Mal 3:1, Rev 8:3-5, 10:1-10, 18:1, 20:1-4.
A closely related phrase, “Angel of God” who is clearly God as in Gen 6:13, 8:15, 9:8, 17, 15:13, 17:3, 4, 21:12, 16-21, 35:1, 10, Ex 4:3-8, 6:2, 23:20, 21, Deut 1:6, 1 Kings 12:22, etc. See also Acts 10:3, 4, Gal 4:14.
In Isa 63:9, “the Angel of His [LORD’s] presence saved them”, and is almost certainly a reference to the same being. The same is true of Ex 23:20, 21, Josh 5:13-15.