Typology is the study of types, and what we are doing is studying the Old Testament types that point to Jesus and His third day resurrection. The author of Hebrews tells us that the account of Abraham, when he was asked to kill Isaac, is a type of the resurrection.
The author of Hebrews points out what many overlook when pondering God’s command to kill Isaac. Prior to that command, prior to God asking Abraham to slay the son of promise, God had told Abraham that through Isaac his descendants would be named. This promise came when Abraham was concerned about the enmity between Hagar and Sarah.
This promise was given to Abraham in advance of the command to kill Isaac. Therefore, when God asked Abraham to kill Isaac, Abraham was confronted with a divinely ordained paradox. How could God ask him to kill Isaac prior to Isaac bearing children? Abraham determined, as we learn from Hebrews, that God could raise Isaac from the dead. Is there really any other solution to the paradox? If indeed God allowed Abraham to kill Isaac, then God would have to raise Isaac from the dead in order for him to have children. So this is a foreshadow of the resurrection from the dead.
But what about a three day interval? Hebrews speaks of Abraham and Isaac as a type of the resurrection of Christ, but not as a type of the third day resurrection. To understand where the three day interval comes into play, we must go to the text in Genesis and look at the details in more depth.
The text says that Abraham departed in the morning to the place where he would kill Isaac, and on the third day arrived at the destination. To make sense of this, we must understand that in the faithful mind of Abraham, he had determined to kill his son upon the command from God. So as far as Abraham was concerned, Isaac was dead. In fact, Isaac was dead to Abraham, so to speak, during the entire three day journey to Moriah. But on the third day, when they ascended the mountain, when Abraham was prevented from killing Isaac by the cry of the angel, when the plan of God was revealed and Abraham learned Isaac was not to die, at that moment on the third day Isaac was figuratively resurrected in the mind of Abraham. Abraham at that moment knew his son would remain alive and a literal resurrection was not needed, although in his heart he was prepared for God to do such a thing.
It is in this way, then, that the story of the binding of Isaac points ahead to the Messiah and His own binding upon a cross, and subsequent resurrection – on the third day.