|Topical Bible Study||April 1961|
The Son of God Series—Lesson VI
The Lamb of God
A LAMB is used in the Bible as one of the symbols of Jesus in the laying down of his life for the sins of the world. (John 1:29; I Cor. 5:6) This symbol is brought to our attention both in the types and in the prophecies of the Old Testament; and the fulfillment of these is revealed in the New Testament by the apostles, and by Jesus in his Revelation to John on the Isle of Patmos.
This symbol is first brought to our attention hi the account of the offering brought to the Lord by righteous Abel. (Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11:4) Cain presented an offering to the Lord at the same time that Abel did, but the Lord did not accept this offering, which consisted of the fruit of the field. Doubtless one reason Abel’s offering was acceptable is that it required the shedding of blood, hence pointed forward to the better sacrifice of Jesus.*—Heb. 9:22; Lev. 17:11
* “The Atonement Between God and Man,” page 446.
God promised Abraham that his “Seed” would bless all the families of the earth. Doubtless Abraham supposed that his son Isaac would be this “Seed.” But God asked Abraham to offer his son in sacrifice, which Abraham demonstrated his willingness to do. However, at the last moment, a ram—a male sheep—was provided by God to take Isaac’s place on the altar. Isaac was a type of Christ, and the lamb pointed forward to the sacrifice of the “Lamb of God.”—Gen. 22:8,12,13
Later there was the sacrifice of the Passover lamb in connection with the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. The blood of the Passover lamb protected the firstborn of Israel against death during the Passover night, and all Israel was delivered the next day. The New Testament points to Jesus as the antitype of the passover lamb.—I Cor. 5:7; I Pet. 1:18,19
The Prophet Isaiah foretold the suffering and death of Jesus, and likened him to a lamb led to the slaughter. (Isa. 53:7) This prophecy is remarkably true of Jesus, in that it represents him as voluntarily surrendering himself to be sacrificed. Jesus did not defend himself.
In the Book of Revelation we find Jesus referred to a number of times as a “Lamb.” We see him as a slain Lamb. (Rev. 5:6) We find the Lamb exalted to kingdom authority and power, as symbolized by Mt. Zion. (Rev. 14:1) We learn that there is a marriage of the Lamb, and later we are told of the Lamb’s wife, or bride.—Rev. 19:7
The Apostle Peter explained that both the sufferings of Christ and the glory to follow were foretold by the prophets. (I Pet. 1:10,11) There are many prophecies describing the glory of Christ following his suffering, and the sense of these is beautifully summed up by the revelator.—Rev. 5:9-13
According to the Scriptures, the true followers of Jesus share in his suffering and participate in his kingdom glory. (Rev. 14:1,4; I Pet. 4:12,13) These, as the “bride” of Christ, will share with him in dispensing the blessings of life provided by his blood—the blood of the Lamb.—Rev. 22:17
The kingdom of the Lord is symbolized in the Book of Revelation by a throne. This throne is said to be the throne of God and of the “Lamb.” (Rev. 22:1) From this “throne” the water of life flows out to the people of all nations, showing that by divine control, and through the provisions of the shed blood, all the families of the earth are to be blessed.
It is important for all disciples of Christ to know the answers to the following questions pertaining to Jesus and his place in the divine plan of salvation.
Do we have scriptural proof that a lamb is used to symbolize Jesus?
Where is the lamb symbolism first brought to our attention in the Bible?
How is the lamb symbolism emphasized in God’s dealings with Abraham?
How do we know for certain that the Passover lamb pointed forward to Jesus?
Quote Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the suffering and death of Jesus.
Explain how Jesus is referred to in the 5th chapter of Revelation, and in the 14th and 19th chapters.
What did the Apostle Peter write about the suffering and the glory of Christ?
Explain the combined symbolism of the throne and the Lamb as mentioned in Revelation 22:1.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
The importance of the Lamb symbolism of Jesus is seen in the Bible’s many references to it. Thus is stressed the basic need for the shedding of blood in order for man to be restored to God’s favor and to life.