Revelation 5:6 “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”
For the King of all Creation to take the form of innocence is a fascinating way to look into one of the many ways God has manifest His love to us. The Lamb of God portrayed in Revelation is the image of perfection–full of power and omniscience, this is no ordinary Lamb. What was once regarded as weak and vulnerable will one day demonstrate His power to the world. The image of the sacrificial lamb is steeped in history for the Jewish people and so from Exodus to Revelation we have an image that transcends as time goes on.
Exodus 12:3-6 “Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.”
The Passover lamb was the sacrifice that God made necessary for salvation during the time of Israel’s redemption from bondage. The blood of the lamb became the symbol of God’s protection from death and the life that strengthened His people for the journey.
Jesus–The Lamb of God
Jesus is the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for all who believe and He fulfilled all that is necessary for our redemption.
1 Peter 1:17-19 “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.“
The Passover celebration that is observed every year in late March/early April, is an annual celebration of this great deliverance by God that resonates in the hearts of all Jewish faithful. The Passover lamb is at the center of this celebration because it gave its life in the redemption story.
Exodus 29:38-42 “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day regularly. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. And with the first lamb a tenth seah of fine flour mingled with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering. The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there.”
The great deliverance of Israel from bondage was a sign also to the Egyptians that the Lord, He alone is God. Each plague that was brought upon Pharaoh was a denial of their false god’s and an exaltation of the Lord God Jehovah as King.
During the Passover meal, God instructed the Israelites to prepare unleavened bread and eat it for 7 days. Now in tradition, the Seder meals use of unleavened bread while eating it in haste was an act of recognizing that deliverance was coming soon and they just couldn’t wait for the rising of the yeast. The problem with this ‘hurry up’ narrative is that God had them eat it for an entire week. A look into this traditional Biblical text is a focus more on the yeast rather than on the rush.
Just as the lamb had to be pure in form, so the lamb of God maintained His innocence in regards to sin. Today, the encouragement to God’s people is to walk in faithfulness, striving for perfection in honor of the One who gave His life.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8 “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Paul reflects on the dangers of allowing sin within the congregation of believers. Just as a little yeast affects the entire batch of dough, so a little compromise of sin affects the people adversely. Sin spreads like a cancer or like a spreading infection it eventually consumes its host.
The Israelites had 400 years of idolatrous Egyptian practice that affected their people. The Lord instituted a practice that served as a sign to them that it was time for the purifying of the people. The number seven has often been a sign of completion in God’s history and this seven day ceremony was a sign of God’s desire for them to be completely pure of all Egyptian influence and corruption.
Today, as children of a new covenant, God’s people have been grafted into a spiritual heritage and likewise have a responsibility to consider the leaven of sin just as Israel did in the time of the Exodus.
Romans 11:16-18 “For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”
*The Passover lamb had a subsequent deeper meaning in the spectrum of salvation.
John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
The scourge of sin has been prominent throughout the annals of mankind. The suffering we see today and have read in history has directly been influenced by this blight on the souls of men. To a much greater degree, the enmity that was created between God and man has created a chasm that is impossible to span on our own merits.
The lamb of God came to pay the redemption price for mankind. The cost of sin is death. From the moment Adam sinned until Jesus came, the requirement to be justified from sin could not be fully met.
Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.”
The offering up of the Lamb of God was the great act of mercy and grace that bridged the impossible divide sin left in its wake. Jesus willingly forsook His throne, humbled Himself and gave us His life that we might be spared.
Matthew 20:28 “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
This ransom paid was a debt He didn’t owe. We see types and shadows of what was to come, such as Abraham who ascended the mount to offer his son Isaac upon the altar. The Lord stopped Abraham by commuting the act, He provided the sacrifice as an atonement for Abraham’s sin. The lambs atonement was incomplete, it could not sufficiently assume our sin, but only provide a reprieve from God’s wrath.
Jesus became the perfect sacrifice for us.
Hebrews 10:8-10 “Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.“
The old sacrifice, according to the law, was abolished when Jesus came. The Moral law’s requirement of death for sin was fulfilled when Jesus brought the complete sacrifice for us.
Hebrews 10:11-14 “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.“
The old patriarch’s could never be completely free from sin. As a result of their sin, they waited patiently for the lamb of God to free them from the exclusion that sin created. Once Jesus arose from the grave victorious, the captives were released and death lost its sting.
We have been granted this offering of new life. We have a choice as to whether we will receive His sacrifice or reject it.
*The sacrifice was great, nothing in all of history comes remotely close to the magnitude of what Jesus accomplished. For those who have spurned His love, the magnitude of their error will one day be realized.. If the Father did not spare His Son from the cross, how much will He spare those who have rejected so great a salvation?
If you accept the sacrifice Jesus gave, you will be spared in much the same way Israel was spared during the passover. You will know the joy Israel experienced as they crossed into the promised land but in greater measure.
Heaven awaits those who believe.