"Behold! The Lamb of God..."
Dr. Tom Berry
The apostle John portrayed John the
Baptist with the words, "There was a man sent from God, whose
name was John. This man came for a witness of the Light,
that all through him might believe." John 1:6, 7.
The apostle Matthew stated that
John the Baptist was "He who was spoken of by the prophet
Isaiah, saying: 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.'".
Matthew 3:3; Isaiah 40:3.
Mark informs us that "...They
(the religious leaders) feared the people, for all counted
John to have been a prophet indeed." Mark 11:32.
Jesus gave this testimony of John,
"For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a
greater prophet than John the Baptist..." Luke 7:28;
It is clear that John the Baptist
was called, commissioned and empowered by God to correctly
present Jesus to mankind. And how did John present Jesus?
First of all, it is worth noting that John did not present Jesus
God manifest in the flesh; the
Agent in creation of the universe; the Source of all life; the
Supreme Teacher of pure truth; the Perfect Example to follow;
the Author of man's salvation; the future King of Israel and the
world or the Supreme LORD of the new creation.
John would have been right if he had
presented Jesus in any or all of these ways. John's task,
however, was to bear witness of the pre-eminent reason Jesus came
into the world. As Jesus approached John down by the Jordan
River John pointed towards Him and proclaimed to his great great
crowd of followers, "Behold! The Lamb of God Who
takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29.
Anyone inquiring about a true understanding of Jesus and all those
who teach about Him should hold these words in highest regard.
This message is an effort to describe how we are to behold Jesus as
"The Lamb of God."
PICTURED AS LAMB
OF GOD IN OLD TESTAMENT TYPES
Abel and His Lamb
brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And
the LORD respected Abel and his offering." Genesis 4:4.
To this our New Testament provides this understanding, "By
faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,
through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God
testifying of his gifts..." Hebrews 11:4. The key
thought here is that It was through faith Abel made this sacrifice
to God. Romans 10:17 also helps us. "So then faith
comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Abel
heard God's message that fig leaves could not provide a
satisfactory covering to make his parents acceptable to God.
Instead, God provided them a covering from the skins of animals to
make them acceptable. Abel proceeded to offer his sacrifice
that pictured the coming sacrifice of the true Lamb of God.
The Ram That Substituted
commanded to offer Isaac as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah (Genesis
22:2). Abraham obeyed immediately (Genesis 22:3). For
three days Isaac was a sacrifice in the mind of Abraham (22:4)
his servants, "...The lad and I will go yonder and worship, and
we will come back to you. (Genesis 22:5). This
expressed Abraham's faith that God would raise Isaac from the dead
because God had promised that through Isaac all nations of the
earth would be blessed. (See Genesis 17:18-19; Romans 4, and
As Abraham and
Isaac walked up Mount Moriah Isaac asked, "Look, the fire and
the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"
(Genesis 22:7). Abraham answered, "My son, God will
provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering." (Genesis 22:8
KJV). Many translations add the word "for" before Himself.
It is true that when the Lamb of God died as a sacrifice for sins
on Mount Moriah some 1900 years later that God provided for
Himself a sacrifice that takes away the sins of the world.
However, that insertion of the word "for" obscures the fact that "God
was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their
trespasses to them..." ((2nd Corinthians 5:19).
God not only provided a sacrifice for Himself but He provided
Himself as the sacrifice.
completed the binding of Isaac upon the wood of the altar he
picked up a knife to slice Isaac's jugular vein before burning his
body to ashes. At that instant in time God stopped him and
provided a ram as a substitute for Isaac.
To all this, some
400 years later Moses added "And Abraham called the name
of the place, 'Jehovah-jireh (THE-LORD-WILL-PROVIDE), as it is
said to this day, 'In the Mount of the LORD it shall be
provided.'" (Genesis 22:14). This prophecy was
fulfilled some 1900 years later when Jesus died on a cross located
on Mount Moriah.
The Passover Lamb -
God's 10th plague
on the nation of Egypt was stated in these words, "For I will
pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all
the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and
against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am
the LORD." (Exodus 12:12).
However, to the
people of Israel God made a provision. He instructed every
male head of household to select a lamb out of his flock and
inspect that lamb for four days to make certain it was without
spot or blemish. On the 14th day of the month the lamb's
blood was drained from the jugular vein and the flesh roasted with
fire. With a branch of hyssop the father struck the blood
upon the lentil (cross board at the top of the door) and side
posts. God instructed, "Now the blood shall be a sign for
you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I
will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy
you when I strike the land of Egypt." (Genesis 22:13).
All this was shortly fulfilled and devout people in Israel observe
the Passover to this day.
On April 10, 30 AD
Jesus entered the temple in Jerusalem. For four days He was
inspected by priests, attorneys of the Mosaic law and by Pilate,
the Roman governor of Judea. Pilate summed up the true legal
finding, "...I have found no fault in this Man concerning those
things of which you accuse Him." (Luke 23:14).
Nevertheless Jesus shortly died as a sacrifice for sin on the
cross and rose again on the third day. This is how He
fulfilled the preeminent purpose for which He came into the
world---"The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!"
The Burnt Offering Lamb
Exodus 29:38, 39; Leviticus 1.
Under the Mosaic
economy a lamb was offered as a burnt offering every morning and
every evening upon the brazen altar. God was indicating that
what enabled Him to abide in covenant relationship with His people
was the continual covering over of their sins by the blood of
Hebrews 10 gives
helpful insight into Christ's fulfillment of this picture. "For
the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the
very image (picture) of the things, can never with these
same sacrifices...make those who approach perfect...But this Man,
after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at
the right hand of God...For by one offering He has perfected
forever those who are being sanctified." (Hebrews 10:1,
PLAINLY PROPHESIED JESUS AS THE LAMB OF GOD
In the Hebrew language that Isaiah wrote, this 53rd chapter is in
poetry consisting of 24 completive parallels. That means the
first statement introduces a thought and the second statement
completes it. At the exact center of these 24 parallels is
"He was led
as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep before its
shearers is silent".
In verses 4-6
Isaiah makes seven statements of the Lamb's substitutionary death
as Isaiah saw them from the human side:
He has borne our
And carried our sorrows
He was wounded for our transgressions
He was bruised for our iniquities
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him
And by His stripes we are healed
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
8-12 there are seven statements of the Lamb's substitutionary
death seen from God's viewpoint:
transgressions of My people He was stricken
When You make His soul an offering for sin
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many
For He shall bear their iniquities
And He was numbered with the transgressors
And He bore the sin of many
And (He) made intercession for the transgressors
significant truth revealed by Isaiah is that the Lamb is a Person.
In every instance the Lamb is referred
to with a personal, masculine pronoun. A careful reading
reveals that Isaiah prophesied that the Lamb of God would be a
Person Who would die for sins; be buried; rise again and intercede
for those who appropriated His sacrifice for their sins by faith.
PREACHED AS THE LAMB OF GOD IN
THE NEW TESTAMENT RECORD
The eunuch in
charge of the treasury of Queen Candace of Ethiopia had traveled
some 500 miles to worship Jehovah in the city of Jerusalem.
He was returning in his chariot and was reading the book of
Isaiah. Philip, a deacon and evangelist of the Jerusalem
church, had been directed by an angel to station himself along the
road. As the eunuch was passing Philip heard him reading the
core verse of Isaiah 53, "He was led as a sheep to the
slaughter; And as lamb before its shearer is silent..."
Philip asked the eunuch, "Do you understand what you are
reading?" The eunuch answered, "How can I, unless
someone guides me?" and invited Philip to join him in
the chariot. "And beginning at this Scripture,
Jesus to him." See Acts 8:26-35. As a result the
eunuch accepted the sacrifice Jesus made for him and placed his
faith in Jesus Christ to be his Savior. Members of the
Coptic church in Ethiopia will enthusiastically tell you that the
Coptic church is the oldest continuing church in existence and was
founded by this eunuch. (See also Peter's words in 1st Peter
The apostle Paul
found it necessary to write to the Christians of the church in
Corinth and chastise them for slipping back into their old fleshly
habits. He strongly reminded them that as the Lamb of God
Jesus not only came to save believers from God's condemnation of
their sin, but also from the practice of sin. "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 are truly unleavened.
For indeed Christ, our Passover (Lamb) was sacrificed for
us." 1st Corinthians 5:7.
WILL BE PRAISED AS THE LAMB OF GOD FOR ALL ETERNITY
There are 27
references to Jesus as the Lamb of God in the book of Revelation.
Perhaps the fullest section is Revelation 5:6-14. We
discover in Revelation that it is as the Lamb of God that:
Jesus has purchased
our redemption. 5:9
Jesus gives power to overcome Satan. 12:10, 11.
Jesus has regained dominion over all things for redeemed mankind.
Jesus will defeat all rebellion and establish His throne. 11:17,
Jesus will provide white robes of righteousness for His saints.
Jesus enables His people to overcome Satan. 12:11.
Jesus composes "the book of life". 13:8.
Jesus will be married to His bride, the church. 19:7.
Jesus and His heavenly Father are the eternal light of the New
Jerusalem. 21:22, 23.
Jesus will sit on His throne with God, the Father. 22:1, 3.
In the great work
of defeating Satan; redeeming mankind from the curse and restoring
paradise Jesus did it all as the Lamb of God.
Have you beheld the
Lamb of God? Ponder what He has done for you as the Lamb of
God and reach out to Him in sincere faith. He will not turn
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.