A few years ago there was a show on television called Lonely Planet, where different guides went to countries around the world where the cultures are much different from North America. Quite often there were lambs sacrificed, and one thing I noticed is that they never made a sound..they go to their death without struggle. Often it moved the guide to tears to see this innocent animal killed. This post is about the lamb as seen in the bible, old testament, foreshadowing the Lord Jesus Christ, who went to the cross without struggle, going to complete the work He came into this world to accomplish, to pay the penalty and atone for sin by the shedding of His precious blood, and His death on the cross and resurrection.
Genesis 22: 8 “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:….
Exodus 12: And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood,, I will pass over you…”
There are many references to lambs in our bible. The first one is in Gen.3:21 “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Adam and his wife had tried to cover themselves with fig leaves after their disobedience in eating the fruit of the tree that they were commanded by God not to eat. After eating the fruit their (spiritual) eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked so they tried to cover themselves. (Gen 3:6-7) but this covering was by their own works. God covered them with the skins of animals, requiring the shedding of blood. Nothing could cover the sins of Adam and Eve but that which God gave them, just as our sins are covered by the precious blood of Christ, Romans 1 Peter 1:18-19 “Foreasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things………but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Hebrews 8:12 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
The next instance is that of Abel, Gen. 4:4 “he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering” Abel’s offering was acceptable being that which was not of the work of his own hands, but necessitated the sacrifice of one of his flock, while Cain’s offering was from the fruit of the ground (which was cursed) and was not accepted by God. Gen. 4:5 “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect”. Because Abel’s offering was accepted by God, and Cain’s was not, Cain in a fit of rage murdered his brother. And still today, this world tries to find its way to heaven by doing good works, and not by faith.
Next is Abraham and Isaac, that wonderful story of trust, obedience and grace. When God required Abraham to sacrifice his only begotten son – Gen 22:2 “take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him thee for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Isaac was the son promised by God born of Sarah, not his son by the will of the flesh which was Ishmael) Abraham did not hesitate, but took Isaac to Mount Moriah where he completely trusted God in that he told his servants “I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” (Gen 22:5). Even though Abraham knew that he was to sacrifice Isaac, he believed that somehow Isaac would return with him. And when Isaac inquired of his father “..where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Gen 22:7) Abraham said these mighty words “..my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen 7:8), and of course, the sacrifice was provided at exactly the right moment “..and Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns...”(Gen 22:13) and so the sacrifice provided by God is slain in Isaac’s stead. Abraham’s trust and obedience were shown grace, and Isaac fulfilled his destiny.
A very graphic example of the Lamb of God is given in Exodus 12, during that very fateful night when the firstborn of Egypt would die..there is a wonderful progression here, Verse 3 “...in the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb…..a lamb for an house.” one of many, a lamb. Then in Verse 4 it becomes more selective “and if the household be too little for the lamb…...” Now it is narrowed down to the lamb. no longer one of many, it is the lamb. And finally, it is made personal – Verse 5 “your lamb shall be without blemish…..” Now it is not just “a” lamb, nor “the” lamb, but “your” lamb. Just as the Lord Jesus Christ is not “a” Saviour, one of many, He is “the” Saviour. But even though He is “the” Saviour, our forgiveness is not accomplished until He becomes “your” Saviour.. we must believe the gospel and receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour.
And so the little lamb is killed, and its blood was to be placed “on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the house” (Exodus 12:7) And “the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you….” (Exodus 12:13) The firstborn were saved by the blood of the lamb as long as they were in the house protected by it. Just as we are saved by the precious blood of the Lamb, The Lord Jesus Christ, and when God sees us He sees us righteous by the blood of the Lamb. Romans 4:7-8 “..Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
Another instance in the Old Testament is this meditation found in Isaiah 53: 6-7 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Even those many, many years before the birth of the Lord Jesus, when he came from heaven to cloth himself in human flesh, the prophet Isaiah spoke of him as the Lamb. But it was not as a little baby in a manger, no, it was the lamb to the slaughter, the death of the Lord Jesus on the Cross…
And so this is the Lamb in the old testament.