Genesis 3:21. We will trace the mentioning through the Scriptures to get a picture of God's eternal plan. No covering of sin and shame without the shedding of blood (innocent blood). Obviously God instructed Adam and Eve in offerings for sin, for we see Cain & Abel making offerings in Genesis 4:3,4,5a.
3. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
4. And Abel, 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:
5. But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.
Why did God accept Abel's offering - see Hebrews 11:4. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." A sacrifice of a lamb by faith, rather than the fruit of toil - an offering of works.
In Genesis 22, we see the faith of Abraham who obeyed the command of the Lord to offer up his only son, who he loved. He rose up early in the morning and went to the appointed place. Isaac (who was about 20) asked his father - "but where is the lamb for a burnt offering." And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering."
Abraham and his son came to the spot and he tied up Isaac and took the knife to slay his son. The angel of the Lord stopped him and said, "now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou has not withheld they son, thine only son from me." And the Lord provided a ram caught in a thicket for the offering, and gave Abraham the Promise of the Saviour in verse 18 "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."
There are a great many lessons for us in this mighty act of faith. In Hebrews 11:19, we are told that Abraham had the faith that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead. Isaac was born by a miracle of the Lord. In Abraham's 100th year when Sarah (the barren one) was 90 - Genesis 21:1 "the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken." A special miracle in this visit was required - the greatest gift for a woman - a child. Isaac was the firstborn, child of the promise, seed of Abraham, a type of the first-born of God, the promised seed, who would be offered up by God.
The greatest exemplifying of the Sacrifice of Christ as the Lamb of God, of course, is seen in the 11th & 12th Chapters of Exodus in the last plague on Egypt. God's mighty miracles to convince Pharaoh to let His people go. We see not a mere plague but judgment and a sign to Israel to be carried on generation to generation in the observance of Passover. The first-born of all Egypt must die. 1:10 "and the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land." Pharaoh was God's unwilling instrument - to show His great power and glory - to teach forever to Israel the lesson of the sacrificial lamb - that they might experience the salvation from death in Egypt, their lives being spared by the blood of the lamb.
Let us look at the specific directions given to the children of Israel by God through Moses.
12:3b "they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house
12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish a male of the first year:
12:6b Israel shall kill it in the evening.
12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
12:10. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until morning; and that which remained of it until morning ye shall burn with fire.
12:13 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, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
12:22 And ye shall take a bunch of hysop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin,
12:46b neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
12:14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
This took place around 1450 B.C. the Great Exodus from bondage wrought by the Passover. In the Gospel of Christ we have deliverance from the bondage of sin the guilt and penalty of sin by the sacrifice of Jesus.
The Passover and the slain lamb was central to the Exodus - to be a perpetual prediction and pointing to the great Passover of Calvary and the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. He died that we might be spared.
I Corinthians 5:7b,8a "For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast."
The deliverance from physical bondage opening the way to an earthly promised land in Exodus, becomes deliverance from spiritual bondage to life eternal, opening the way to the heavenly eternal city.
About 690 B.C. Isaiah the prophet foretold the suffering of the Lord's servant in Chapter 53:6b,7 the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter.
The Lamb of God which is Jesus Christ was first revealed and presented to men by John the Baptist in the Gospel of John Chapter 1 Verse 29 where John is baptizing:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
The life of Jesus moves inexorably toward Jerusalem and the cross. On that last Thursday we see that Jesus has already foretold His coming death and He spends this last Thursday with His disciples celebrating the Passover with the supper of unleavened bread. Jesus instituted the ordinance of the Last Supper for us. He became flesh, and His body was broken for us; the cup symbolizing His blood shed for our sins.
Indeed the unblemished life of only Jesus only could please God and make Him worthy to bear our sins. He was a first-born male.
He was killed, His blood on the posts of the cross. Sour wine was put in a sponge and lifted up upon a hyssop branch, to Him and He said "It is finished" and He died.
John 19:32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first and of the other which was crucified with Him.
33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs:
36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken.
In the morning after the Sabbath the tomb was empty - the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world was completely gone, as if burned up with fire from on high - indeed glorified.
This teaching of God about the redemptive work of His only-begotten Son is wonderfully summed up by Peter in his first letter chapter 1:18-21
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot;
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21. Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
As we have seen, sin entered the human race by Adam's sin, he disobeyed God. He and Eve hid themselves for their shame. To hide their guilt they made aprons of fig leaves. God found them and said "This will not do." Covering for sin cannot be fashioned by human hands. The Lord took an innocent animal and before their eyes God slew that innocent animal as the blood fell to the earth. God took the coats of skin and covered the shame and nakedness of man and wife. This was the first sacrifice - and it was offered by the hand of Almighty God. What did Adam experience as he watched the spilling of innocent blood - the lifeless body - did he not see what it meant to die because of sin.
We have seen the sacrifice of the firstlings of Abel's flock accepted. The offering of Cain rejected.
We watched the Lord miraculously bless Abraham with a child in his and Sarah's old age - then demand Abraham sacrifice his God-given son. But God stayed his hand and provided the ram.
Then the Passover of the nation of Israel. Each household to sacrifice a lamb that their lives would be spared. It was established as a memorial - each year the high priest offered the blood of atonement before the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies of the Temple. The ark held the tablets of stone upon which were the ten commandments - showing the righteousness and judgment - the establishment of God's throne. By these we are reminded that we are all sinners and come far short of the glory of God. The ordinance of the Passover reminded the people that the wages of sin is death.
God demands a perfect life - which we cannot give. Jesus who was perfect, the Son of God, became our sacrifice, God's gift to us. The very precious Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
The unforgettable lessons shown to and experienced by Adam, Abel, Abraham, Moses, and the nation of Israel kept in their memories the terrible nature and consequence of sin - and the terrible sacrifice necessary for atonement for that sin - that a man cannot earn his own salvation - that his work would come too far short and would be tainted with the sin he was trying to remove. Indeed Martin Luther profoundly observed that the best deeds of the holiest saint were tainted by the secret sin of pride. The sacrifice must be perfect - unblemished, innocent as a lamb.
We have heard a few words from among many from the prophets to whom were revealed by the Lord the prophecies of the Atonement by The coming Saviour, the Lamb of God.
All these things - lessons, symbols, types, shadows, signs - point to Jesus Christ who became flesh and was recognized by John the Baptist - as the Lamb of God. The prophecies about His death were seen unfolding in the very details laid down in the Passover in Egypt. The Lamb of God presented to the world.
It was and is Christ as the Lamb of God - who died for our sins. That through his blood we have forgiveness. This was and is preached - from Peter to today.
1 John 1:7b - "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."
We are made right with God through the shed blood alone. Romans 5:9 "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
Anyone who sets aside or denies the precious blood of The Lamb of God, our sacrifice, rejects the only way of redemption, forgiveness, cleansing, salvation, of holiness and victory.
Indeed we are "bought with a price". (1 Corinthians 6:20).
This is our message as Christians. We still are sinners in an evil world. Our message is forgiveness. God has forgiven us through the sacrifice of Jesus. This is the Good News we must share with those who are seeking God - who are burdened with trouble and guilt. Jesus died for them too.
We must constantly be reminded of the Cross - that we might live for Him who died for you and for me.
We must learn the eternal truth spoken in Paul's message to the Galatians 2:20 -
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
As we look into that mighty and difficult book - the Revelation of Jesus Christ given to John - we see the Lamb of God before the throne of God. It is the Lamb that hath prevailed to open the book of the seven seals.
7. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
8. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.
9. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and has redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
11. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Revelation 12:11. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
The future of the Church is foreseen in 19:7-9
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
The perfect city, the Holy Jerusalem was shown to John descending out of heaven from God.
14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Who shall be there?
21:27 - "they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."
Has your name been written there? If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord - as the very Lamb of God then it is. If not, do not put it off - Revelation ends with words of warning.
6 ¶ And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
7 Behold, I come quickly.
¶ Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
16 ¶ I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
17 ¶ And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Let us cry in our hearts with longing these words of love for our Lord and Redeemer, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
This article was written by my father T.O.D. Johnston, who was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran Baptist Church on May 26, 1979. He has been a student of Scripture since 1972. View more lessons at his Bible Study Lessons page.