Abraham was the son of Terach, who was an idol maker during the time of Nimrod’s rule. According to tradition, Terach was not just any idol maker, but the favorite of Nimrod. Being born and raised in an idol maker’s house, Abraham would have been familiar with every god worshiped in Babylon.
Everything the worshipers did in the name of their gods was to ensure a place in the afterlife. It was a celebration and worship of death, where every god allowed for human sacrifice in their name. When he left the idols behind, he continued to carry with him some of the beliefs, since that was what he knew.
God’s time is not man’s time and God waited to teach Abraham just how different He was from the false gods. Man learns mostly from experience and Abraham was no different. Everything he knew about religion was based on the false gods, which placed far more emphasis on death than life.
By the time God blessed Abraham with Isaac, many years had passed. He had seen the character of God countless times and even negotiated with God in regards to Sodom. Some wonder why Abraham would so openly disagree with God, but it was what God wanted. In order to understand the nature of God, Abraham had to ask if the righteous and wicked would be slain together.
God used Sodom to teach Abraham more about his character in a way he would understand, just as He had done numerous times before. It is not easy to unlearn something that has been learned, which Abraham proved several times over. He may have followed God, but a part of him always remained with one foot in the past.
When God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the response should have been similar to what happened with the righteous in Sodom. He should have known the nature of God and challenged what he was being told. God had already proven he wanted Abraham to challenge Him when something came across as being off, but Abraham continued to live partly in the past.
God had already told Abraham that through Isaac the world would be blessed. Rather than reminding God of his words, Abraham chose to follow God’s command to sacrifice his son. Not once prior to that moment, had God ever asked for a human sacrifice from Abraham and never even hinted human sacrifice was allowed.
Abraham wanted to believe God would intervene, but as Hebrews 11:19 makes clear, he was ready to sacrifice Isaac in the hopes that God would raise him from the dead. From the moment he received the command to the moment of sacrifice, God wanted Abraham to challenge him, which never happened.
It took a great many years before Abraham understood that human life has value in the eyes of God. At the very root of Judaism is the worship of life, rather than death offered by the false gods during the time of Abraham and beyond. Judaism isn’t just based on worship of the life God has given, but a celebration of life.
One of the requirements of Judaism is baptism by immersion. The reason is to teach a lesson about death and life. Through the act of immersion, it is the equivalent of death. When the head is raised above water, that is when life is truly embraced and celebrated. It is a reminder of the lesson Abraham had to learn the hard way when he continued to be partially rooted in the past.
When Jews separate meat from dairy, it is another reminder of separating death from life. Meat is the representation of death and dairy is the representation of life. It is a reminder that one cannot live for God when one is focused on death.
One of the most common phrases used by Jews is l’chaim, which means to life. Those words are the very essence of celebrating the gift of life God has given. For it is only when one appreciates their life as the gift that it is that one can live for God, rather than die for God.
Jews and gentiles may live under different laws, but human life is to be valued by both. The laws of Noah and the laws of Moses both prohibit murder. As has been said many times, to murder just one person is to murder the universe and to save one person is to save the universe, since to the person murdered or not, the potential murderer is that person’s entire universe.