Questions From Readers
If Abraham actually believed that he was going to sacrifice his son Isaac, why did he tell his attendants that he and Isaac would return to them?—E. M., U.S.A.
Jehovah definitely told Abraham that he wanted him to offer up his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice.—Gen. 22:2.
In faith Abraham traveled with his son and two attendants until the place for sacrifice was in the visible distance. Then Abraham said to his attendants: “You stay here with the ass, but I and the boy want to go on over there and worship and return to you.”—Gen. 22:5.
Whether Abraham fully appreciated the truthfulness of his statement at the time, we do not know. But what he said was as if prophetic of what would actually take place.
Did Abraham doubt that Isaac would be offered up as a sacrifice? No, he fully intended to obey God, and he had full faith in Jehovah and his power. So Abraham was going to carry out what God said even though his dear son would die. Abraham knew that both he and his wife Sarah had been as good as dead in regard to procreative ability, and yet God brought to life again their power to produce offspring. This reviving of their reproductive abilities resulted in Isaac.—Heb. 11:11, 12; Rom. 4:19-21.
Jehovah had already promised Abraham that he would make a great nation out of him and that Abraham would thus be a means of producing a great blessing for “all the families of the ground.” And God had told Abraham what was going to take place in regard to his “seed.” (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:13-16) God was not speaking about offspring through some other son, for he specifically said, “It is by means of Isaac that what will be called your seed will be.” (Gen. 21:12) If Isaac were sacrificed, then for the blessing to come through that seed, Jehovah would have to resurrect Isaac. Did Abraham believe that Jehovah could do that? Under inspiration the apostle Paul answered that Abraham “reckoned that God was able to raise [Isaac] up even from the dead.” (Heb. 11:19) Hence, Abraham clearly expected that if Isaac died God would in time resurrect him so that Isaac would be able to produce the seed promised. The comments of Abraham to his attendants reflected that confidence.