Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
Tree of Life. A weekly Review
Dispensation of the Mosaic Law. Behold the Lamb
Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God and He is at the very center of the entire universe.
Joh 1:29, The next day he [John the Baptist not the author of this book who is John the apostle so he] saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
“He” is a reference to John the Baptist not the author of this Gospel who is John the apostle but the prophet John who was baptizing those Jews who wanted to repent and be prepared for the coming Messiah.
The question that all should have is why was our Lord called the Lamb of God?
Well, first of all, the lamb was one of four different categories of sacrifices used under the Old Testament Levitical code.
In the Old testament, the lamb was to be without spot and without blemish and was actually tied down to the horns of the altar.
Then when the lamb was tied down the priest stood there and had whoever came to him to receive forgiveness of God name his sins to the priest for the purpose of being forgiven by God. We don’t have to do that today because we have all been made priests representing ourselves to God. Therefore, all we have to do as priests is 1Jo 1:9.
In the O.T. the priest would put one hand on the individual’s head and another on the lamb’s head which represented a transfer of their sins. The sins of the individual were transferred to the lamb as hundreds would observe. This was the way they learned their doctrine
Then, the priest would lift up his knife to the nose of the lamb and slit his throat. The result is blood squirting all over the place. Which is why Heb 9:22 says, And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
The point is that the lamb was not responsible for the sins but he paid for them. Now, Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. And so, when the Lord Jesus Christ was hanging on the Cross, the sins of the world were literally poured out on Him and judged. And as they were poured out on Him and judged this meant that sins were no longer the issue at salvation. And so, the Lord Jesus Christ is that lamb who took away the sin of the world.
Sin is in the singular because it represents the entire sin nature of man.
Now, when the apostle John said “Behold the lamb of God,” the word for
Behold is was it known as a Greek interjection is used as a command meaning to denote, to surprise, it means to really look, don’t miss Him.
So, the lamb of God ties the cross into the Levitical sacrifices and indicates that TLJC is the one who would be the lamb...Who literally takes away the sin of man. “takes away” is the pres-act-part of airo which means to lift up, to bear, to carry.
It means to pick up a burden and carry it from those that were burdened. The burden of our sins was placed upon the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. And, He bore our burden i.e., He paid the penalty as Rom 6:23 says, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now, under the law of double jeopardy our sins cannot be judged again. And, because our sins have been judged there is no longer a barrier between God and man. So, when it says that the lamb takes away our sin, it means to lift up the burden, to carry it away and to bear it. The Lord not only died for sin but also for the effects of sin.
So, John says, look, don’t miss this, “Behold the lamb of God.”
And the Lamb not only dies for our sins but He also died for the effects of our sins. This is why we read in Psa 32:1-5, (A Psalm of David. A Maskil.) How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night
Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to Thee, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah.
Note that the Lord not only died for sin but also for the effects of sin.
The Bible is very consistent in revealing the lamb of God and Jesus Christ as the Lamb. In fact, There are 10 notable passages in which the lamb is mentioned.
1. For example: in Gen 4 there is the account of Abel and his lamb. Notice in Gen 4:3-7, where the emphasis is upon the necessity of the Lamb. Gen 4:3-7, So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard.
So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Cain brought an outwardly beautiful but bloodless offering and it was in disobedience to God’s instructions. Cain’s offering had in it nothing of confessed sin of a need for propitiation. So, we see the importance of the necessity of the lamb.
2. In Gen 22, there is the incident in which Abraham offers the lamb in place of Isaac.
Gen 22:6-8, And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
In this incident, the emphasis is not on the necessity of the lamb but upon God’s provision of it. God will provide Himself the lamb. And as many of you know, the incident goes on and Abraham lifts his knife to his son’s head and a voice from heaven says:
Gen 22:12, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
In a moment Abraham sees a ram and offers the ram instead of Isaac.
God had indeed provided the lamb. In fact, Abraham was so impressed that he named the place Jehovah Jireh which is “Jehovah will provide.” The emphasis here is not upon propitiation (like Gen 4), but upon substitution. The lamb was offered as a substitute instead of Isaac.
The “Lamb of God” was offered as a substitute in place of us.
That’s why we read in 1Pe 3:18, For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
3. Then the third important passage concerning the lamb is found in Exo 12 where there is the Passover Lamb i.e., slain on the night before the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. This signifies the freedom God’s people now enjoy from the cosmos because of the sacrificial lamb. So that in Exo12, the emphasis is on the slaying of the lamb.
Exo 12:3, “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.’”
So, there had to be one lamb for each family. And, it had to be a male of the first year without blemish.
Exo 12:5, “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.”
But, even though the lamb was without blemish, it was of no efficacious value while it was alive. It must be slain and the blood had to be sprinkled upon the Hebrew dwelling place. The blood was to cover the household from the destroying death angel.
Exo 12:13, “And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
So the emphasis in Exo 12 is on the slaying of the lamb. And because the lamb was slain there was divine protection. The sprinkled blood protected the household from the angel of death.
4. In Lev 16 the 4th passage concerning the lamb is filled with instructions about the sacrifices which were to be offered. All the way through the book of Leviticus, the emphasis is upon the character of the lamb. Over and About 20 times we are told that the Lords’ offering must be without blemish.
Or as in Lev 22:21, it shall be prefect to be accepted. Lev 22:21, ‘And when a man offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord to fulfill a special vow, or for a freewill offering, of the herd or of the flock, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.
In Lev 16, the emphasis is upon complete absolution from guilt and condemnation.
5. Isa 53 is the 5th of these lamb passages, Isa 53:6-8. Here we have a big step forward in the developing revelation of the lamb. Up to this point the lamb has been and animal but now for the first time we learn that the lamb God provided is a person.
Isa 53:6-8, All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That
He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?
He was wounded for our transgressions and Jehovah has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter. In Isa 53, we discover that the lamb is a person. So far then we have:
1. Gen 4:3-7, the necessity of the Lamb.
2. Gen 22, the substitution of the lamb.
3. Exo 12, the slaying of the lamb.
4. Lev 16, the character of the lamb.
5. Isa 53, the lamb is a person.
In Joh 1:29, our 6th passage on the lamb, the lamb is identified as the Lord Jesus Christ. John the Baptist sees Jesus coming to him and cries,
Joh 1:29. So, here the lamb is, not only a person. He is now identified as the Lord Jesus Christ! The emphasis in Joh 1 is upon the Lamb completely removing our sins from us. The lamb of God is responsible for the removal of our sin, with all its ugly guilt and penalty.
7. Then in Acts 8, Philip explained to the Ethiopian that the lamb of God is Jesus Christ. And that the lamb is further identified as the promised Christ, the Son of God. What the Ethiopian had failed to find in Jerusalem in the Law, in the temple and in the ceremonials, he now found in Jesus Christ the lamb i.e., personal salvation. Let’s read the passage:
Act 8:27-39, And he arose and went; and behold, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship. And he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” And when Philip had run up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?”
And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: “He was led as a sheep to slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He does not open His mouth. “In humiliation His judgment was taken away; Who shall relate His generation? For His life is removed from the earth.” And the eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself, or of someone else?”
And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”]
And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing.
8. From that we pass now to the 8th passage on the lamb i.e., 1Pe 1:18-21. The resurrection of the slain lamb was something never disclosed in O.T. times. That the lamb should die is foretold again and again but nowhere is his resurrection predicted. However, in 1Pe 1:18-21, the emphasis is upon redemption through the lamb. You were redeemed, with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ.
1Pe 1:18-21, knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
9. Then in Rev 5, we see the 9th reference to the lamb who is now in the throne of heaven i.e., the very throne of the universe. The lamb in Rev 5 now sits in sovereign control over history as “the lamb in the midst of the throne.”
Rev 5:6-12, And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came, and He took it out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” 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.”
10. Then finally in Rev 21and 22, what a climax of the never ending glory of the lamb is portrayed in these last two chapters of the N.T. The final picture of the lamb is that of His everlasting kingship. In the midst of a sinless society with the curse and pain and tears and death all gone forever, the lamb is in the midst. The lamb sits in the very throne of God i.e., called the throne of God and of the Lamb
So, from the first book in the Bible, Genesis, to the last book in the Bible, the lamb is mentioned.
Abel reveals the necessity of the lamb.
Abraham reveals the provision of the lamb.
The Exodus reveals the slaying of the lamb.
Leviticus reveals the character of the lamb.
Isaiah 53 reveals that the lamb is a person.
Then in Joh 1, we have the identification of the lamb.
Acts 8 gives us the Christ-hood of the lamb.
1Pe 1 reveals the resurrection of the lamb.
Rev 5 reveals the enthronement of the lamb.
Rev 21,22 reveals the endless kingship of the lamb.
1. In the case of Abel, we are told simply that lamb was offered. It was offered as a propitiation for sin.
2. In the case of Abraham and Isaac, the lamb was offered in the place of one person, namely Isaac.
3. In the Exodus passage, in the case of the Passover, each family must have its own lamb. It was the lamb for one family.
4. In the book of Leviticus on the day of atonement we see the character of the lamb for one nation.
5. In Isa 53, we have a great picture of the suffering lamb, the Messiah.
He shall sprinkle many nations i.e., beyond Israel. He shall make many righteous for He shall bear their iniquities. Here we have the lamb for all the elect.
6. In Joh 1, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” We have the Lamb for the whole world.
7. In Acts 8, He is the lamb for each individual, not for the Jew only, but also for the dark-skinned gentile Ethiopian. It is the lamb for whosoever.
8. In 1Pe 1, it is the lamb foreordained from before the foundation of the world. That is the lamb for all history.
9. In Rev 5, the lamb is enthroned and we see the lamb for the universe.
10. In Rev 21 and 22 where He reigns in endless glory in the new heaven and new earth, we see the Lamb for all eternity.
Think of it,
1. Abel reveals the necessity of the lamb.
2. Abraham reveals the provision of the lamb.
3. The Exodus reveals the slaying of the lamb.
4. Leviticus reveals the character of the lamb.
5. Isaiah 53 reveals that the lamb is a person.
6. Joh 1, the identification of the lamb.
7. Acts 8 the Christ-hood of the lamb.
8. 1Pe 1, the resurrection of the lamb.
9.Rev 5, the enthronement of the lamb.
10 Rev 21,22, the endless kingship of the lamb.
1. The Lamb for sin.
2. The Lamb for one person.
3. The Lamb for one nation.
4. The lamb for the elect.
5. The Lamb as a person.
6. The Lamb for the world.
7. The Lamb for whosoever.
8. The Lamb all history.
9. The Lamb all whole universe.
10. The Lamb for all eternity.