One of the earliest names of God in the Bible is found in Genesis 16:13: “You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees.”
God is the One who sees into our hearts, sees our situation, and sees the future.
God also opens human eyes to see the unseen. For example, in Genesis 21:19 God “opened” the eyes of Hagar to see a well. In Numbers 22:31 He “opened” the eyes of Balaam to see an angel. God also opened the eyes of his prophets. Prophets in the Old Testament, such as Samuel, Gad, and Amos were sometimes called “seers” or see-ers. These prophets had a supernatural ability to see the future, or have insight into the heart of God (1 Sam. 9:19, 1 Chron 29:29, Amos 7:12). Therefore, God is not only the God who sees, but the God who enables us to see.
One beautiful example of seeing the unseen was Abraham, the friend of God, who was given a unique revelation. In John 8:56, Jesus said:
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.
How did Abraham see the day of Jesus? This wonderful story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac has oft been ridiculed because people cannot “see” the amazing reality of what God was doing in this event. The events that took place were a real-life parable that Abraham and Isaac were privileged to participate in. It was through this living parable experience that Abraham was able to “see” the day of Jesus.
In Genesis 22:2 we read:
Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
Abraham, the Father, was to take his only beloved son, lift him up to the mountains of Moriah, and offer him as a sacrifice. Strong’s Concordance tells us that Moriah means “seen of Yah (God)”. The mountains of Moriah were a special place of YHWH’s presence. Abraham was not to go to just any place in Moriah. He was to go to a specific spot that YHWH would reveal to him.
This mountain has three peaks. The lowest peak is where the city of Jerusalem was, likely just a town in Abraham’s day. The middle peak is where Solomon would one day build the temple of Yahweh, the only place in Israel where a sacrifice could be made. Some have suggested that Golgotha was on the third mount, being the highest place near Jerusalem and a likely place for Rome to display prisoners so they could be seen by all.
We do not know for sure, but it is likely the place where Abraham was directed by God was a place of profound significance. On the “third day” they arrived (Gen. 22:4). The “wood” was layed upon Isaac’s back and he carried it to the place of sacrifice (Gen. 22:6). Isaac asked, “Where is the lamb?” (Gen. 22:7). Abraham replied, “God will provide for himself the lamb” (Gen. 22:8). The book of Hebrews tells us Abraham believed “God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19).
When Abraham stretched out his hand to sacrifice Isaac, he was stopped, and God provided a ram. Afterwards, Abraham called that place “Yahweh-Yireh” (Gen. 22:14).
This has often been translated God-Provides since God provided a ram for the sacrifice. However, that is inconsistent with the Hebrew. The Hebrew root word for Yireh means “to see, to behold, to see what cannot be seen by the eyes, or to let one’s self be seen.”
The Jewish Hebrew scholar, Robert Alter translates Genesis 22:14 as follows:
And Abraham called the name of that place, YHWH-Yireh, as it is to this day, “On the mount of YHWH there is sight”
The Septuagint translates the last phrase, “in the mount the Lord was seen.”
Consider all these elements of this story. The third day. The wood Isaac carried to his place of execution. The lamb. The resurrection. Could it be that Abraham, in naming the place, was sharing with us what happened to him? Could it be that he had a revelation on that mount? Could it be that he realized he and Isaac were acting out a scene that would take place thousands of years later? Could it be that Abraham saw Jesus’ day?
Hebrews 11:13 tells us Abraham “saw…”from a distance.” (NIV) On the stage of the theater of the universe, Abraham acted out a scene that revealed to him the mystery of the plan of redemption. Abraham saw the day of Jesus. And Jesus said when Abraham saw it, he “rejoiced” (John 8:56) The Greek word for rejoiced literally means to “jump for joy,” to rejoice exceedingly. I can picture Abraham jumping up and down, dancing for joy at what was revealed to him. It was a life-changing moment, and no doubt the greatest chapter in his life.