The Lamb of God
Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). (John 1:35-42)
God is faithful. He surely keeps His promises. Whether it is Jesus Christ coming to the earth or dying on the cross, they are all result of God keeping His promises. Because God keeps His promises, Jesus Christ has today become our Lord and Savior. When Jesus is referred to as the ‘Lamb of God’ (Jn 1:36), it does not mean He is cuddly and soft like a lamb. It means He is the promised Lamb.
There are two kinds of laws. One is the law coming naturally from man’s conscience; the other is the Law revealed to Moses. The law coming from man’s conscience has some similarities with the Law of Moses. For example, there is ancient Middle Eastern literature containing things similar to Moses’ Ten Commandments. These laws were not revealed by God but came naturally from man. On the other hand, God called Moses and personally revealed His Law to him. Afterwards, Moses proclaimed them to the people.
Though they are the same action, they can have completely different meaning depending on whether they were done by personal preference or God’s revelation. Some people do not worship idols because they naturally do not like idols. Some people do not worship idols because God commanded to keep away from them. There is a fundamental difference between the two. Whether an action is done by personal conscience or God’s will is what determines either salvation or destruction.
When the Israelites rely on the Law of Moses, this is the conscience of faith. When the gentiles rely on the law coming from themselves, this is regular conscience. Romans 2:14-15 talks about this. It says, “for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them).”
The greatest difference between the law coming naturally and the Law of Moses is, unlike the former, the Law of Moses is prophetic and has God’s promises. Romans 3:21 says, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets.” As this verse says, the Law has a prophecy and the Prophets have a prophecy. When God gave the Israelites the Law, He gave them a conscience according to His will. Those with this conscience have a kind of promise. God’s promise is none other than the Lamb. As the Law of Moses says, no ceremony or service can be fulfilled without the Lamb.
If we trace the origins of the Lamb, it goes back to Abraham. When Abraham became a hundred years old, God gave him a son. How adorable must he have been if he was born when Abraham was a hundred years old? Many people say the emotions from raising a son when you are young and the emotions from raising a grandson are quite different. If your son is like your own body, your grandson is like your spirit. How fond must Isaac have been to Abraham since he had him at a hundred years old? Abraham had courage to send Ishmael away to survive by himself. It would not have been easy to do the same for Isaac, who was like Abraham’s own spirit. What a bolt from the blue it was when Abraham received the command to offer his son as an offering! It was so shocking Abraham did not say a single word to his beloved wife.
On the way to offer the burnt offering, Isaac asked Abraham, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham tried to conceal his distress and stay aloof, yet he must have been greatly distressed when asked this. Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” He said this, but instead of thinking a real lamb would be on the mountain, he would have thought God gave him his son for this very day. When Isaac heard God would provide, he went without another word (Gen 22:7-8).
The two of them arrived at the place God directed. Abraham offered his son on Mount Moriah, and this is where the temple of Jerusalem was later built. Abraham spread firewood on the place God directed, tied his son up, and place him there. Isaac did not doubt his father’s actions one bit but trusted God would provide. When Abraham picked up the knife and grabbed his son, God was certain he was really going to slay his son and burn him. God quickly said, “Abraham, Abraham!…Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Abraham heard this, looked up and saw a ram caught in a thicket by its horns and could not move. Abraham called the land ‘Jehovah Jireh’, which means, ‘God will provide’. With the death of the ram prepared by God, Abraham recovered his son’s life (Gen 22:9-14).
When God gave the revelation saying, “Offer your son!”, how afraid, anxious and trembling must Abraham have been? From this moment until the word came saying, “Abraham, Abraham! Do not lay your hand on the lad,” it corresponds to the Law. The Law was revealed by God. It made the people afraid, anxious and tremble. Finally, the voice came saying, “Abraham, Abraham! Do not lay your hand on the lad,” and God provided the ram. This corresponds to the Gospel. Similarly, you should first know the Law to know the Gospel.
God said to Abraham, “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies” (Gen 22:16-17, KJV). Here the word “thy seed” is not plural but single form. The Hebrew word for ‘gate’ is similar to ‘authority’. ‘Possessing gates’ means ‘tearing down authority’. So the word “your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies” means “I will give you a Son and He will trample on the devil’s authority.” This fulfills what God said earlier to the serpent:
“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel” (Gen 3:15).
Several hundred years later, when the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt, God remembered the covenant He earlier established with Abraham and called Moses to save Israel. At the time, God made the people of Israel take a year-old lamb without blemish and put its blood on the sides and tops of the door frames. That night they ate the meat with their families. God said, “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” (Ex 12:13). On that day, though the firstborn of Egypt died, those who put the lamb’s blood on their door frames and spent the night eating meat in their houses were saved. This too deals with God’s promise about the Lamb, who came in the future.
Afterwards, Israel kept the Day of Atonement every year. After the High Priest went in and out of the Most Holy Place, he laid hands on the lamb’s forehead and sent it into the desert. The lamb entered the desert and was eaten by a beast called ‘Azazel’. It never appeared again (Lev 16:10, ESV). In the same way, because Jesus Christ took up our sins and was eternally punished, our sins can no longer press us. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God.
Jesus Christ is the Lamb prophesied about in the Law and He saved us. The moment Abraham sacrificed his son (who is like his own spirit), the lamb appeared. Similarly, the moment our spirits were destroyed because of sin, Jesus (the Lamb of God) appeared. When we refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God, we mean He is the Sacrifice prepared by God.
The moment Jesus died on the cross, the curtain separating the Most Holy Place and the Holy Place was torn from top to bottom. Outside the curtain was where the people served God. Behind the curtain was where no one could enter and only God dwelt. In other words, one side was like the heaven of God and the other was like the world of man. When the curtain was torn, the division between the Most Holy Place and the Holy Place disappeared. Before, God and man could not dwell with each other, but now they could have fellowship.
Jesus said, “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (Jn 14:20). He spoke about the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Sure enough, the Holy Spirit enters us, inspires our spirits and rules our personalities. This is how we know that Jesus dwells in us and we are in Jesus. To sum up, the Holy Spirit entering us proves that the Lord dwells in us and we dwell in the Lord.
When the curtain was torn, the Most Holy Place and the Holy Place were united. In the same way, when Jesus Christ’s flesh was torn, the wall blocking God and man collapsed. God’s promised salvation was fulfilled through the Lamb provided by God. 1 Peter 1:18-20 says, “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. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” Jesus Christ is the Lamb provided by God from before creation. God said, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Just as God said, when man ate the fruit, he died. But the Lamb provided by God from eternity past died on man’s behalf and man lived.
Acknowledging Jesus as the Lamb of God is our faith. There is true salvation in such faith. We understand Jesus as the Lamb of God because we believe our spirits—doomed to eternal death—now live through Him. The promise of the Lamb of God in the Law of Moses is therefore fulfilled by the appearing of Jesus Christ.
When we say Jesus is the Lamb of God, it does not mean He is cute and gentle like a lamb. He is the Sacrifice provided by God to be sacrificed on behalf of mankind. Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6:53). We have perfect life today because we eat the flesh of Jesus Christ and drink His blood. This is possible because of Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus is the Lamb of God.
in LET US KNOW JESUS, Chapter 16 “The Lamb of God” by Semuon