Adult Sunday School - Part 15 - The Lamb of God
Adult Sunday School - Part 15 - by P.K.Odendaal - October 2012
There were many new thoughts and notes added and new perspectives gained since I wrote this article more than two years ago, making reading it difficult and disjointed. As it has now gained new interest from my readers, I have therefore decided to do a complete rewrite.
Writing about the Lamb of God is a continuing process, as new insights are gained every time the scripture is studied again. It is Pass-over now and I have freshly considered the last week of the life of Christ. In this last week He is fulfilling the prophecy of the Lamb of God and showing us what will transpire towards the end of the world.
The story of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God runs through the whole bible. It is not as if God suddenly realised that he made a mistake by making Man, and now he has to redeem Man. No, He made plans for the redemption of Man when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil or even before that when he made His son with that in mind.
Psalm 2:7-8 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
You may ask where His son gets into the picture, and why He (God) could not redeem us and take us as His bride. There are three reasons for that. Firstly God did not have the body of Man and could thus not suffer as Man as was required for the redemption of the sins of Man. I use the capital letter meaning Man in general and typical which includes women. Secondly God could not die and leave the whole of creation in a state of doom and desolation while he redeemed us and thirdly, He divorced Israel and could not marry again. The fact is that he married and divorced a woman called Israel. He divorced her because she was unfaithful and gave her a letter of divorce as was custom.
Jer 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce;
I will therefore start with the manifestation of the Lamb in the New Testament and take the prophecies in the Old Testament to turn your eyes upon the wonder of the Lamb of God in the New Testament.
We will start with the revelation of the Lamb of God to Man - in the New Testament.
Joh 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
So where did this all start? In Eden of course, when the first sin was committed.
My story starts with the first sin and we are so well acquainted with the story that unfolded in the Garden of Eden where Satan gets Adam and Eve to the point where they were disobedient to God's word - His only commandment - not to eat from that tree.
After the event, God, on a stroll through Eden for His daily chat with Adam and Eve during His evening walk, does not find them at the usual place and He calls for them. When they replied in anguish he asks: "Where are you"?
Of course they and God knew where they were - in hiding behind some trees and shrubs, but God was not speaking of their physical whereabouts, but about the deeper meaning of their sin which is that of being lost (spiritually speaking). God speaks to them and wants them to know that now they are lost and they would therefore not know where they are. Also incidentally, but purposely, God's next question was "Who told you that you were naked?" They knew by themselves that they were now naked before God and God refers to this incident when he speaks to us in these last days from Revelation 3:
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me ... white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
At this eventful meeting, God speaks to each one present, but to Satan first:
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
In our words: I will put enmity between the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) and the Sons of Darkness (Satan's followers - a third of all angels). He says to Satan that you will bruise my Son's heel by taking Him to Golgotha, but there He will be crowned King of Kings and thereby crush your authority for ever and be victorious over all you stand for: Death Hell and Grave.
Things seem to be forgotten for a moment, but we meet up again two thousand years later at a mountain called Moriah:
Gen 22:8-14 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
Here Abraham tells Isaac, his son, that they are going to offer a lamb at Moriah (Golgotha), after two thousand years: In the spirit Abraham does not look at his own offering of Isaac in three days' time, but he looks forward from his own time (2000 years B.C.) to the crucifixion two thousand years later. And when they come to Moriah, God tells them to offer the lamb which they found nearby caught in the thicket: And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. This thicket stands for the sin of the world and for the crown of thorns, in which Jesus Christ got embroiled. And Abraham utters this prophecy when he sees this: And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, in the mount of the LORD (Golgotha) it shall be seen.
So the stage is set and made known to mankind already two thousand years before the event.
God again visits Israel in bondage about one thousand years later and leads them out of Egypt (in an Exodus) whilst in the prophetical realm He mimics the Exodus of His children from Planet earth in the Last Days when they are raptured. And there He sets the custom of the slaughtering of the lamb, which is mimicking the crucifixion.
We pick up the story in Egypt, where Moses instructed the people that every family shall take a lamb from the sheep or the goats - Exodus 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: without blemish, and keep it from the tenth to the fourteenth day, and then kill it in the evening and strike its blood on the doorposts to save their first born. These four days are the four thousand years which Christ awaited crucifixion, from the time of Adam to His crucifixion, which was 4000 years. I wrote about the destruction of the earth in Part 2, and said that there were people before Adam. This is further proof of it. What does the ten days quoted above refer to, if it is not to the ten thousand years before Adam?
Later we find this lamb carrying the sins of Israel into the wilderness: Lev 16:21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. It was not yet time to kill the lamb, and he had to die outside the camp: Hebrews 13:12-13 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
Our excursion into the Old Testament above prepared us for the itinerary of the actual event almost a millennium later as described in the New Testament. Our story of needs must be to follow the Lamb on His last visit to speak to us, now outside Paradise, naked and lost, and on a trip which mimics the prophecy almost exactly. We need to follow Him for the last seven days. Remember, the lamb had to be kept from the tenth to the fourteenth day and then slaughtered.
We take up the story from John 11 when He is called to heal Lazarus. He lingers specifically until Lazarus has been dead for four days (the four thousand years we were dead - from Paradise to Crucifixion - and also the number of days the Lamb had to be kept before it was killed). He then raises Lazarus from the dead, signifying the Resurrection of the Dead, namely of those Israelites who have died in the four thousand years since Adam. He weeps before He raises Lazarus from the dead, because He knew what price He will be paying in a week's time for raising the dead and the raising of Lazarus. He yells at Lazarus to COME OUT, and it reminds me of His final words - IT IS FINISHED.
The scripture then strangely goes over to the prophecy of Caiaphas, for no apparent reason: Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. This is a direct reference to the crucifixion and the raising of the dead.
He then goes to the town of Ephraim in the wilderness as a sort of respite to make a break between the Old and New Testament and to prepare to start His final week on the right day! He then starts his journey again from Bethany where Lazarus was, and He does this six days before the pass-over.
At this stage the story of His final week begins when He enters Jerusalem. In some way it is also the story of the last three thousand years, to fulfil the time God has spoken over the Earth - the Seven Thousand years. And this is why it is said that after eight days He visited the disciples (after His death) in the Upper Room where Thomas was. If it was a reference to weekdays it could not be more than seven days. This signifies the eighth day after the Seven Thousand Years have been completed.
He enters, as He should, on the exact day and time that the High Priest would bring in the lamb for Pass-over into the City gates, where it is to be held for four days, according to Exodus - from the tenth to the fourteenth day. So it would be not surprising that many people were gathered at the gates, waiting for the High Priest to enter with the lamb - and here, not surprisingly, but totally unexpectedly, the true Lamb of God enters on the appointed time and date, as God has prophesied to Abraham. In the words of Abraham to his son Isaac, he said that God would Himself supply the lamb for the sacrifice - and if God would do it, He had to do it in the way and on the time He told His people to do it.
If the lamb had to be kept for four days it is quite obvious that there were three days left of the Seven Thousand years, and it is these three days that He was in the grave which completes the seven days. We today accept that He was in the grave from Friday to Sunday, which is only two days, but if one looks at the words of Jesus himself, where He said to His disciples that He gives them the sign of Jonah, it is clear that He said that Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. He must therefore have been crucified on a Thursday, which would have happened if it was an important Pass-over. The day we call Palm Sunday would be four days before that.
I wish to start the Last Supper with a riddle.
If you read all the gospels, you will see that on the night of the Last Supper there was wine and bread, but none of the gospels mentioned the most important item that had to be there, and that is the lamb. The lamb is in fact the main reason why they held the pass-over as the blood of that lamb had protected them from the Destroyer who wanted to kill their first born.
Why did they not have any lamb at the table at the Last Supper?
The answer is that the Lamb of God was there alive and in person.
I conclude with the clear and wonderful prophecy of our redemption by the Lamb. It has two very touching aspects - one of excessive jubilation (by us) in Isaiah 52 and one of intense suffering by the Lamb in Isaiah 53.
Isa 52:1-15 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down afore time into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? They that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
Isa 53:1-12 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
These scripture were so beautifully written into the libretto of 'The Messiah' by Jennens, and the music was composed by Handel. Handel was asked by Jennens in 1741, to write the music for this libretto. He locked himself up for twenty four days and came up with one of the most beautiful spiritual pieces of music ever written (259 pages).
And then the final vision of the Lamb in Revelations and the vital part it plays there:
Rev 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain ... . v:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb .... v12 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. .... v:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. .... v:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; .... v:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. .... 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. .... 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. .... 19:7 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.