Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 11/11/07
The Lamb of God.
The book of Revelation makes it plain that the Lamb of God is Jesus Christ, and it is this Lamb who will usher in the Millennial Kingdom. In fact, the book of Revelation uses the title “Lamb” for Christ at least twice as often as it uses the name “Jesus.”
            We looked at the fantastic episode concerning Philip (not the Apostle). This Philip is an evangelist who was one of seven men appointed by the church in Jerusalem to the office of deacon. After the murder of his fellow deacon Stephen, Philip went to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Gospel there, and a great number of people came to Christ. ACT 8:26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” In the midst of this spectacular work, Philip was instructed by the Spirit to leave Samaria and go down to a desert region. Once there, Philip found only a single person, an important Ethiopian court official who had spent time in Jerusalem, and was now returning to Africa.ACT 8:27 So he got up and went; and 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. This man had previously been convinced to follow the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Notice that he was coming to Jerusalem to worship, not to vacation. ACT 8:28-33, and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” Philip ran up and 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 WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH.”
            In God’s fantastic plan, this Ethiopian was, at that very moment, reading Isaiah 53, which gives the Gospel with such clarity and detail. ACT 8:34-35, The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. This is incontrovertible proof that ISA 52:13-15; ISA 53:1-12 is Messianic, and points directly to our Lord Jesus Christ. The eunuch believed and went on his way rejoicing.
Philip’s encounter with this man means that not only was Philip the first to proclaim the Gospel to a Gentile, but also that the Gospel was taken by this Ethiopian courtier to the continent of Africa! Of all the passages of scripture that this man could have been reading, God the Holy Spirit had led him to this particular one. God will move heaven and earth to get Gospel information to anyone who is positive.
            It is with that introduction, that we have been looking at the Lamb of God. Look at ISA 52:13-15, “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men. Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand.”
ISA 53:1-12, Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our grief’s He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 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? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
            In Isaiah 53 there are 24 parallel statements about our Savior. This Hebrew poetic form reveals the Lamb as the center point for the entire universe. The one thing which we call attention to as being noteworthy is that the exact center of these 24 parallels is ISA 53:7b, where He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter. This is much more than coincidental, just as it was no coincidence that it is this exact verse that shows up in the hands of the eunuch that day. The Lamb is absolutely essential to understanding Messianic prophecy. The Lamb is the unifying factor that ties together the Old Testament sacrifices with the Old Testament predictions of the Savior. The Lamb runs from Genesis to Revelation, and each time the lamb appears, more details are given. It is here in Isa 52-53 that we have a big step forward in the developing revelation of the Lamb. Up to this point, the lamb had been an animal, but now for the first time we learn that the Lamb that God had provided from the foundation of the earth is a Person. On the day that Christ died on the Cross the Jews were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate a feast. MAR 14:12On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” The sounds of thousands of slain lambs were still on the ears of the Jewish establishment as they urged Pilate to remove the bodies from the Cross before the onset of Passover. It is so incredible that they were completely blind to the fact that the LAMB of God hung on the center cross!
            In the verse preceding the Lamb of God there are 7 expressions of the atonement from the human side (the substitutionary sacrifice). Then in the verses following after the Lamb of God there are 7 expressions of the sacrifice from the Divine side: In ISA 53:4 He has born our griefs, and carried our sorrows. In Verse 5, He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace is upon Him, and, with His stripes we are healed. In Verse 6 Jehovah has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Each of these 7 statements expresses one distinct aspect of our Lord’s substitutionary identification with us. Our Lord’s death on our behalf was an act of God, not just a deed of man; it was an atonement, not just a crucifixion. The Lamb of God, and the cross, are the very center point of man and God. In the second half of the chapter we find 7 expressions of the atonement from the Divine side (ISA 53:8-12). Between the two sets of seven points of view is ISA 53:7b “He is led as a Lamb to the slaughter.” That is where the Lamb belongs; it is where the prophet-poet put it speaking in the Holy Spirit. That is where God has put the Lamb, absolutely central in our redemption and salvation (1TI 2:5). The Lamb of God is the center between God and man, our focus point is Christ; He is to be the center of our life.
            To finish this brief look at Messianic Prophecy, let’s look at the Lamb of God in the Old Testament. The reason why our Lord was called the Lamb of God is because the lamb was one of four different categories of sacrifices used under the Levitical code. The lamb was to be without spot and without blemish, and was actually tied down to the horns of the altar. When the lamb was tied down the priest stood there and had the person name their sins. Then an individual would come to the priest; the priest would put one hand on the individual’s head and another on the lamb’s head which represented a transfer of sins; the sins of the man were transferred to the lamb. This was the way it was done, the Jews would observe this, and this was the way they learned their doctrine. Then the priest would lift up his knife to the lamb and slit his throat, and the result would be blood squirting out all over the place. HEB 9:22 and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. It was a very gruesome sight, but it was designed to be a gruesome sight to reveal to everyone that one day God would send His Son who like the lamb, would be an innocent party and receive unbelievable abuse. The lamb was not responsible for the sins, but paid for them, and so it was to be for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. The Bible is very consistent in revealing the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb. Let’s take a look at 10 notable passages in which the lamb is mentioned: 1) In GEN 4:3-7, there is the account of Abel and his lamb. 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, nothing of the need for propitiation. However, Abel’s sacrifice pictured the coming of the Lamb of God. So we see the importance of the need for the lamb. 2) In GEN 22:6-8 there is the incident in which Abraham offers the lamb in place of Isaac, Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” Scholars believe this is the same hill found in 2CH 3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah. It is also the same hill on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. In GEN 22:7-8, 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. Actually the Hebrew says “God will provide Himself a lamb for the burnt offering.”Then in GEN 22:12 The Lord said, “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.” Abraham then sees a ram and offers the ram instead of Isaac (GEN 22:13). God had indeed provided the Lamb. Abraham was so impressed that He named the place Jehovah Jireh (Jehovah will provide). Just like the lamb was offered as a substitute instead of Isaac, the “Lamb of God” was offered as a substitute in place of us. 3) In Exo 12 there is the Passover lamb which was to be slain on the night before the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. This symbolizes the freedom that God’s people would enjoy from Egypt. This represents the world, or the cosmic system. Then in Exo chapter 12 the emphasis is on the slaying of the lamb. There had to be one lamb for each family, and it had to be a male without blemish. It must be slain and the blood had to be sprinkled upon the Hebrew dwelling place. EXO 12:13And 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.” That’s why it is called the pass-over! The lamb was slain and there was Divine protection. 4) The book of Leviticus is filled with instructions about the sacrifices which were to be offered, and all the way through the book, the emphasis is upon the character of the lamb. Around 20 times we are told that the Lord’s offering must be without blemish. In the book of Leviticus the emphasis is also upon complete absolution from guilt and condemnation. 5) Isaiah 53 is the big step forward in the developing revelation of the Lamb. Up to this point the lamb has been an animal, but now for the first time we learn that the Lamb that God would provide is a Person (ISA 53:7). 6) In JOH 1:29, the lamb is identified as the Lord Jesus Christ. So here, the lamb is not only a person, He is now identified as the Lord Jesus Christ! The emphasis in upon the Lamb completely removing our sins from us. 7) In Acts Chapter 8, Philip explained to the Ethiopian that the Lamb of God is Jesus Christ and also the promised Messiah, and the Son of God. What the Ethiopian had failed to find in Jerusalem under the Law, in the temple, or in the ceremonials, he now found in Jesus Christ, the Lamb, which is personal salvation. 8) From there we have an eighth passage on the Lamb, 1PE 1:18-21, where the resurrection of the slain Lamb is portrayed. The emphasis is upon redemption through the Lamb. 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) In Revelation chapter 5, we see the reference to the Lamb Who is now on the throne of heaven, the very throne of the universe. REV 5:12 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) The tenth passage is in REV 21:22 where we see the never ending glory portrayed. The final picture of the Lamb is that of His everlasting kingship. In the midst of a sinless society, with the curse, the pain, the tears, and death all gone forever, the Lamb is in the midst. The Lamb sits in the very throne of God called the throne of God and of the Lamb.
REV 21:22And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.”
            In the Old Testament, 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 the lamb would be person. In the New Testament, John 1 identifies the Lamb. Acts 8 gives us the Christ-hood of the Lamb. 1Peter 1 reveals the resurrection of the Lamb. Revelation 5 reveals the enthronement of the Lamb. Revelation 21 reveals the endless kingship of the Lamb.
            We all need to be reminded of why we are here, and why we are to love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ and what He went through on our behalf. We read in ISA 52:14 Just as many were astonished at you, {My people,} So His appearance was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men. People were shocked, stunned, and devastated when they saw the abuse our Lord was put under. His face, His appearance was completely destroyed and disfigured. In ISA 50:6 “I gave My back to those who strike {Me,} And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.” MAT 26:67 says, Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him. MAT 27:30-32, “And they spat on Him, and took the reed of thorns and began to beat Him on the head. And after they had mocked Him, they took His robe off and put His garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. And as they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross.” In LUK 22:63-64 we read, And the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him, and beating Him, and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, “Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?” MAR 15:19 And they kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting at Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him. PSA 22:14All my bones are out of joint;” The weight of His body on the cross pulled His bones apart; this is truly intense suffering. Physical abuse was prior to the Cross, and mental abuse was on the Cross. He did bear the weight and pressure of our sorrows and our sins; in fact, we are told in LUK 22:44 that as our Lord drew near to Gethsemane that the pressure was so intense He sweat drops of blood through the pores of His body.
            In heaven there will be only one resurrection body with scars and wounds, “the Lamb of God.” ZEC 13:6 And one will say to him, “What are these wounds between your arms?” Then he will say, “{Those} with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” The scar across a soldier’s face which he gained in defending his country is not a disfigurement to him; it is a mark of beauty. If someone saved your life, and in doing so lost an arm or received a terrible wound, they would be all the more beautiful to you. The wounds of the Lord Jesus Christ are precious jewels which should charm our eyes and melt our hearts. He is the Lamb of God. His crown of thorns has far more glory than any crown of gold. His hands that were pierced and nailed should be your delight to behold. He took more punishment in His body than anyone who ever lived and will live! Just as His suffering and His humiliation was the greatest ever, so will His glorification be the greatest ever.
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