The Holy Scriptures are full of allusions to the Lamb of God. But why would God have a lamb? “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him” (Isa. 59:16 KJV). God brought salvation unto Himself by offering His own Son as the Lamb; it was the right thing to do. His righteousness was vindicated by His provision of the Lamb.
There are six major realms impacted by the Lamb of God. They are listed below by increasing size and importance:
|• The Lamb for a lad (Gen. 22:7-8)||The Lamb prophesied|
|• The Lamb for a family (Ex. 12:5)||The Lamb applied|
|• The Lamb for a city (Rev. 21:23)||The Lamb magnified|
|• The Lamb for a nation (Rev. 14:1)||The Lamb realized|
|• The Lamb for the world (Jn. 1:29)||The Lamb personified|
|• The Lamb for heaven (Rev. 5:6)||The Lamb glorified|
|• The Lamb for eternity (1 Pet. 1:20)||The Lamb authorized|
The Lamb Prophesied: A Lamb For A Lad
The first mention of the word “lamb” in the Bible is in Genesis 22. (The first mention of “love” and “worship” occur there as well.) It was during Abraham’s greatest test – in offering up his only son Isaac as a burnt offering – that Abraham assured his son that, “God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8). Isaac had noticed the wood he was carrying, along with the knife and the fire, and asked where was the lamb for the burnt offering. Hearing his father’s response, Isaac submitted instead of struggling to free himself from what was apparently going to happen, as Abraham bound him and laid him upon the altar to sacrifice him as God commanded. God intervened to prevent the slaying, and so Abraham received him, figuratively speaking, “even from the dead” (Heb. 11:19). Instead, what God provided for Abraham was a ram caught by the horns. If it had been caught by another part of the body, it could not have been offered, for it would have been scratched and therefore blemished. Now a ram is not a lamb, so Abraham’s previous prophesy was not immediately completely fulfilled, but it had a longer view. This may be what Christ meant when He said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad” (Jn. 8:56). God would provide a lamb in the person of His Son – a Lamb as a substitute for sinners.
The Lamb Applied: A Lamb For A Family
In the Passover account in Exodus 12, Moses commanded the people to take a lamb for a household. And if the household was too small for the lamb (there was no question that the lamb might be too small for at least one household), that family might join with another household, so that all the roasted lamb would be consumed and none of it be left till morning. To those in the house it was said: “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year or younger, from sheep or goats.” They were to keep and examine it for four days; in this time they might be assured that it had no blemish. And they would naturally also begin to be fond of it. They were then to slay it and to apply the blood to the upper and side beams of the door of the house where they were to eat it. Any firstborn child who was in that household would be spared from immediate death. It was the Lord’s Passover in a double sense: the death angel God sent passed over each house marked by the blood, and God Himself passed over the house to shield its occupants from that angel (Ex. 12:23).
Because God said earlier in Exodus 4:22, “Thus saith the Lord, ‘Israel is My son, even My firstborn,’” it may be implied that any Israelite not under the blood of the lamb would be slain, not just the firstborn as each Egyptian family experienced. We may note that children in a godly home have a tremendous advantage toward receiving the Lord because of their parents’ example, much like those children in the houses where their father applied the blood of the Passover lamb.
The Lamb Magnified: A Lamb For A City
One distinguishing feature of cities in our world today is night light. Viewing the earth at night from a satellite, we quickly see where the cities are from the amount of light they produce. The light of the heavenly city, described in Revelation 21, will be greater: “Her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal” (Rev. 21:11). The difference is that there will be no night in that city (Rev. 21:25). Where does all the light come from? “The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:23). The light is the glory of God in the Lamb. This city is huge – 12,000 furlongs (equal to 1,440 miles or 2,317 km) on each side, foursquare. The Lord Jesus, who now is the Light of this world in a spiritual sense, will then in a literal sense be the Light of the New Jerusalem, and all the glory and honor of the nations will enter into it – those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 21:26-27).
The Lamb Realized: A Lamb For A Nation
After thousands of years of God’s dealings with them, the nation of Israel will be born at once: “Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Isa. 66:8). I believe the fulfillment of this verse is in Revelation 14, where 12,000 out of every tribe of Israel will comprise the notable 144,000 “redeemed from the earth” (Rev. 14:3). Finally, the nation of Israel, comprised of these 144,000, “shall look upon Me whom they have pierced,” says Christ, and be born again (Zech. 12:10). He will be recognized as their Messiah after all, and they will follow Him wherever He goes. These believers comprise the national “first-fruits” (Rev. 14:4).
The Lamb Personified: A Lamb For The World
John 1:1 tells us that before the world was, the Word existed, and the Word was God. That Word made the world, and then that Word became flesh and dwelt among men. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men … He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not” (Jn. 1:4,10). He was the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14). John the Baptist was sent before Him to prepare His way so that all might believe on Him. When John saw Him, he declared: “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). Who is this Word who became the Lamb of God? It is Jesus Christ, the unique One, the only begotten, the Ancient of days, the One who became a man so that He could carry away the sin of the world by the sacrifice of Himself. It was the most precious sacrifice: His three hours on the cross of Calvary cancel the judgment of all men’s sin for all time and eternity. It was because of His love for you and me that He allowed our sin to nail Him to that cross, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God once for all.
The Lamb Glorified: A Lamb For Heaven
John was transported to heaven where he saw a Lamb “as it had been slain” (Rev. 4:1; 5:6). In heaven His wounds will be forever a reminder of that finished work. Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess Jesus as Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11). An innumerable angelic host will cry, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I (John) saying, ‘Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.’ And the four beasts said, ‘Amen.’ And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped Him that lives forever and ever” (Rev. 5:12-14). Imagine the scene – the Lamb glorified!
The Lamb Authorized: A Lamb For Eternity
The New Testament gives us three glimpses of the pre-world eternity, denoted as “before the foundation of the world.” The first is in John 17:24 where Jesus said, “Father … You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” Here was the Father’s passion – His own Son. Next, in Ephesians 1:4 Paul wrote, “He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Here was the Father’s purpose – to choose a bride, “a chaste virgin,” for His Son (2 Cor. 11:2). And lastly, in 1 Peter 1:18-20, Peter wrote, “Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain manner of life received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” Here was the Father’s price – to accomplish His purpose for His passion, even the offering up of that Son as a Lamb. He was the One foreordained and thereby authorized before the world to be the Lamb of God.
How concerned is God for us and our salvation? Just look closely at the Lamb!
By Tom & Susan Steere
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org