The Most Important Animal
God Ever Created
Mr. Mike Hamel of Cedaredge, Colorado, provides us with added insights and spiritual nourishment in this his concluding study on the Lamb of God.
We’ve seen from our previous survey of Old Testament history that the sacrificial lamb taught many lessons about drawing near to a holy God. The shedding of blood demonstrated the reality and provided the remedy for sin.
God was the first to pick up the sacrificial knife. He would offer the ultimate sacrifice that would forever put away sin. Not an animal, but His own Servant. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah wrote not of shadows, but of the substance of things to come. Jehovah would lay man’s sin on His own Servant, then punish His Servant for that sin. The mere ritual of animal sacrifice could never purge man from the real moral guilt of his transgressions. A better offering was needed.
But the Jews somehow, missed the meaning of Isaiah 53 and other portions of Scripture, like Psalm 22. When Jesus presented Himself to the nation they refused to see Him for Who He was. They were looking for the Lion of the tribe of Judah, little realizing they first needed the visitation of the Lamb.
Yes, Christ was the coming King, the promised Son of David. Royal blood did course through His veins. But before the crown came the cross, for sin had invaded His kingdom and through His death He must render powerless him who had the power over death, that is the Devil.1 Before the throne came the tree because He must bear our sins in His own body that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds we are healed.2
There are four main passages in the New Testament that refer to Christ as the Lamb of God. Also, the book of Revelation, using a different Greek word, refers to Christ as the “little lamb” twenty-eight times. From the prophecy of Isaiah we move ahead to the testimony of five men eminently qualified to speak of “the glories of the Lamb.”
John 1:29, 36
John the Baptist, the anointed forerunner of Christ, pointed to Jesus of Nazareth one day and said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Here was God’s lamb. Not for one person or a single nation, but for the whole WORLD!
To John’s testimony the Father in heaven added these words, “This is My beloved Son.”3 Not an animal. Not merely a servant. But God’s own Son, the second Person in the Trinity! He would be the atoning sacrifice!
Philip the evangelist, when speaking to the Ethiopian nobleman, brought prophecy and history together, interpreting the former in light of the latter.
“The One of whom Isaiah wrote has come,” said Philip, “and fulfilled all that was written aforehand.” Jesus Christ had gone like a sheep to the slaughter. “By oppression and judgment he was taken away … he was cut off from the land of the living … he poured out his life unto death … he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.”4 Philip began with this great prophetic word and preached the good news of Jesus to this hungry heart and the nobleman accepted God’s lamb as his own.
1 Corinthians 5:7
Paul the Apostle here refers to Christ as the great Paschal lamb, antitype of all the Passover symbolism. The parallels between type and antitype are striking.
The passover lamb had to be prefect, without blemish. It had to be tested and approved before it could be offered. Then the animal was slain and its blood applied to the doorposts. It was then eaten as food. This ritual became an annual event to serve as a reminder, a memorial of God’s work of deliverance.
The Lamb of God was without sin. He was tested by the Evil One, not because there existed the possibility He could sin, but to demonstrate that He couldn’t. He died on Calvary’s cross for all men, but only those who personally apply His blood to themselves receive salvation from the wrath to come. He is the Bread of Life, the spiritual food of the believer. And regularly His saints gather around a remembrance feast and praise the One Who purchased their salvation at the cost of His own life’s blood.
1 Peter 1:19
Peter, the companion of Christ, spoke of Jesus as the lamb unblemished; the one “Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.”5 From the spotless Lamb came precious blood which secured a perfect redemption for men. What silver and gold could never purchase the Lord Jesus appeared to provide for the believer.
John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, refers to the Lord Jesus Christ twenty-eight times in the Apocalypse as the “little lamb.” The apostle delights in recording the Lamb’s resplendent, multifaceted effulgence. He writes of:
· the blood of the Lamb, 5:6, 12; 7:14
· The worship of the Lamb, 5:8; 7:9, 10
· the wrath of the Lamb, 6:1, 16; 14:10
· the followers of the Lamb, 7:14; 12:11
· the throne of the Lamb, 7:17; 11:1, 3
· the book of the Lamb, 13:8
· the song of the Lamb, 15:3
· the marriage of the Lamb, 19:7-9
· the glory of the Lamb, 21:23
Genesis began with promises and shadows. Revelation ends with promises fulfilled and shadows dissolved in the sunblaze of the Lamb’s triumph!
Many today deny the reality of sin. They redefine words so that sin and guilt no longer exist. Humanistic thinking will have no part of a just God and the idea of accountability to a Higher Being to this mindset is ridiculous.
Others accept the existence of sin but deny God’s remedy for it. They reject Christianity as a slaughterhouse religion saying, “Sacrifice is primitive and debasing to God and man.” They ignore the fact that God instituted the sacrificial system and Himself offered the supreme sacrifice that enabled Him to be just and yet the justifier of fallen men.
By saying “no blood necessary” they follow the way of Cain and reduce the Cross of Christ to a sentimental religious ornament.
The Jews stumbled over the cross. They couldn’t see the Lamb because they looked for the lion.
The Gentiles rejected the cross as foolishness. They couldn’t accept the notion of personal sin or propitiatory sacrifice.
But the Christian falls down before the cross and worships the Lamb slain there.
The tree is empty now. So is the tomb. The Lamb is gone. John tells us where.
“And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the LAMB that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’ And every created thing which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the LAMB, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’ And the four living creatures kept saying, ‘Amen.’”6
And the writer and the readers said, “AMEN!”
Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible.
1 Hebrews 1:14
2 1 Peter 2:24
3 Matthew 3:17
4 Isaiah 53:8-12
5 1 Peter 2:22
6 Revelation 5:11-14