He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
NOTE: The Greek text for ‘figuratively speaking’ says: ‘as in a parable’, thus referring to an ancient Jewish parable by Pirkei de R. Eliezer. In the psarable the Rabbi suggests that as the knife touched Isaac's throat, the boy's spirit actually left his body, only to come back at the sound of the voice of the angel. According to that midrash, while Abraham did not kill him, Isaac actually died and resurrected when on the altar. The author of the Book of Hebrews was aware of this ancient tradition to which he referred in order to make his point.
Oh for the provision of our Almighty Abba! When we don’t bring in our part of the bargain, He provides the missing elements. He provides the missing elements and yet teaches us our lesson of faithfulness. Abraham was ready to go though the whole of God’s plan. He was letting go of his own plans for Isaac to accept God’s plans instead.
One could blame Abraham for being a fanatic and a lunatic; a religious nut of some sort but wait …! We may have the idea that Abraham was bringing an innocent unsuspecting young boy to an untimely death, but the text tells us that Isaac was actually a young bachelor, a young man who willingly allowed himself to be tied up to this altar on Mt. Moriah in full knowledge of what was going to happen to him. He had seen his father do it many times before and probably did it himself. In the days of the Tabernacles and temples, animals brought to the altar were to be calmed down before going through the whole offering process; they had to be willing victims. Such was Isaac. A young man who utterly trusted his father and who lived solely to do his father’s bidding. That is why Isaac was in the mind of Jewish people a representation of the coming Messiah, a representation alluded to in Jewish literature and most of all in the tradition of the Afikomen of the Passover Seder.
Abraham’s confession of faith came with a test that provoked in him immense turmoil. Did he believe, as is alluded to in the text that God would resurrect Isaac and provide something else for the offering on Mt. Moriah?
What if God would ask you to testify of your faith in such a way? What if He were to ask you to sacrifice your son and tell you, ‘Don’t worry though, I am going to resurrect him right away!’ The same could be said of Isaac when he realized what was happening. His faith in his father was tested then, but he still relied entirely on the faith of his father who told him, ‘Adonai Yirei’: ‘Hashem will provide’.
The test provides a standard to quantify the value of the commitment, a touchstone to define the caliber of our faith. From one to a hundred how would you grade Abraham’s test? Probably off the charts. And what about Isaac’s” Off the charts too. How about yours?