13 Oct 2012

Adult Sunday School - Part 15 - The Lamb of God

Adult Sunday School - Part 15 - The Lamb of God - by P.K.Odendaal

Written October 2010, Rewritten April 2012, April 2014, April 2019

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 2019 now and I have freshly considered the last week of the life of Christ. In this last week He is fulfilling the prophecies of the Lamb of God and showing us what will transpire towards the end of the world. Once again I gained new perspectives on this subject since I wrote the original article back then.
What really struck me this time is how accurately God planned these events and gave us notice of it almost three thousand years ago exactly to the year, day and hour. So in this new edition I will be reliving the whole fourteen days God set aside to find a bride for His Son. After these fourteen days there will be another seven days, at the end time, during which He will hold his wedding week with the Bride.
The whole Bible is about God and His Son having two passionate and loving relationships with two brides - the one, named Israel, now married and divorced and the other one, the Bride of Christ who is to be married soon to His Son.
Seven biblical days had been set aside for the marriage of God with the nation of Israel and seven biblical days had been set aside for the marriage of Christ with His bride. There are also other nuances to these fourteen days, making it applicable to Christ alone which is the one I favour in this article.
The prophetic story typifying these events is written in Genesis 29 and covers the two sisters whom Jacob received as wives from Laban. He had to labour for each of them for seven years, making it two wedding weeks of seven days each. Firstly Lea, and secondly his beloved Rachel. These two women were a type of the brides of God and of His Son. The first not the beloved, but tender eyed and the second the beautiful and well favoured one. And sisters they had to be indeed, as we as Christians are brothers and sisters of Israel groomed in the Spirit.
In this article I will jump to and fro from days to years to millennia, calling them all days, as the Bible does, and not making a difference between these when it comes to prophesy:
... for a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, ....
... and Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
The story, which serves as the basis for our study, contains the history of Jacob, whom God renamed to Israel after Jacob wrestled with God until God blessed him. In the story Jacob had to take each of these two brides for a wedding week and therefore we can expect that God will take two weeks to fulfil this prophecy of the two brides which is the fourteen days we will talk about, or of the two eras of seven days applicable to Christ alone, as the two brides' stories are so intertwined and overlapping that it becomes difficult at times to distinguish between the two.
The story of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God runs through the whole of the 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. 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 which typically 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 He gave her a letter of divorce as was custom. In Jeremiah God divorces Israel and the focus goes onto finding a bride for His Son. 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. 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 and His only commandment which was that they should not to eat from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
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 in a spiritual context. 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: 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: 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 my 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 The Grave.
Things seem to be forgotten for a moment, but we meet up again two thousand years later at a mountain called Moriah, which in our book keeping is two days later (after Adam): 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. This last part of the verse talks of the two days up to the crucifixion where Christ was crucified on the third day after Abraham or the fifth day after Adam - after four thousand years.
In the narrative Abraham prophesies to Isaac, his son, that there is going to be an offering of The Lamb of God 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. The significance of this day as the Shabbat immediately preceding the pass-over Shabbat is this:
The Haftorah read in many communities on this Shabbat speaks of the coming of The Messiah, referring to the dayof his arrival as the "great and awesome day of the Lord". Exactly what Abraham said.
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 to a New Heaven and a New Earth in the Last Days when they are raptured. And there He sets the custom of the slaughtering of the lamb, which mimics 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 - 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.
Later in Scripture, we find this lamb carrying the sins of Israel into the wilderness in Leviticus: 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 ... in Hebrews ... 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 again 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 four 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 two 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 the gates of Jerusalem, as He should, on the exact day and time that the High Priest would bring in the lamb for Pass-over into the City, where it is to be held for four days, according to Exodus - from the tenth to the fourteenth day. So it would not be 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 first seven days, from the tenth day to the seventh day, 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 Wednesday, which would have happened if it was an important Pass-over. The day we call Palm Sunday would be four days before that, named by Abraham as the Day of the Lord.
In chronology then, Jesus Christ enters Jerusalem as the Pass-over Lamb on Saturday (Shabbat), one week before the pass-over Shabbat. Four days later He is slaughtered on Wednesday. He spends three days in The Grave and gets resurrected on the Pass-over Shabbat, and that is why the Bible says in Lucas: And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
That leaves three days of the fourteen which is the end of the two thousand years after Christ which we are nearing now.
The other seven days are being set aside for the Wedding Feast of seven days at the end time.
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. ... Read the whole chapter yourself.
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 ... Read the whole chapter yourself.
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 at last we have 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 ... And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb .... 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. .... 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. .... 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; .... 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. .... 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. .... 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. .... 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.


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