Christianity 201

July 21, 2013

Where is the Lamb?

In a devotional post from the blog Biblical Studies, the author notes that in addition to being a study on substitutionary atonement, the story of Abraham’s (almost) sacrifice of Isaac initiates the question Isaac asks — “Where is the lamb?” — that then reverberates throughout the rest of scripture.  This was originally published under the title Genesis 22.

In Genesis 22, God commands Abraham to offer his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice. God is not endorsing child sacrifice among men, He is foretelling His Child sacrifice for men. Abraham is obedient to God, not willing to keep anything from God, even his beloved son. This was a test for Abraham and a testimony to the world. On the way to the altar, Isaac asks his dad, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” In response, Abraham prophesied, “”My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together” (Genesis 22:7-8).

When they arrive at the place of sacrifice, Abraham prepares to offer Isaac to the Lord, but before Abraham could sacrifice Isaac, God stops him. We read in Genesis 22:10-12, “And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “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.”” Before they leave the mountain top where Abraham was to offer Isaac, Abraham again prophesies the coming of the Lamb of God in Genesis 22:14, “And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”” About 2,000 years later, upon that very same mountain just outside of Jerusalem, God offered His only Son, the Lamb of God, as a sin offering to reconcile fallen man to the Holy Living God Almighty.

Where was the lamb? That question had been asked by all the faithful, from Isaac to Moses to David to Isaiah, all the way to the time of John the Baptist when he declares in John 1:29, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” For hundreds of years, on a daily basis the priests of Israel continued to echo Isaac’s cry, “Where is the lamb?” Of all the lambs sacrificed in Israel’s worship of God, none was as important to Israel as was the Passover lamb. Through this special lamb, God’s people were saved from the death angel and delivered from Egyptian bondage.

In Exodus 12:3 we read, “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.” It was through the killing of this lamb, the eating of its flesh, and the faithful application of its blood that salvation and deliverance were provided to Israel.

In the Passover, God gave to His people a beautiful, symbolic portrait of the eternal truth of salvation through the blood of God’s supreme Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ! Thousands of years later, multitudes have yet to encounter Christ, and still echo the cry, “Where is the Lamb?”

Behold the Lamb! But wait! We can hear another voice crying in the wilderness, “John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ … The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’” (John 1:29,35,36).

“John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”” (John 1:29). “The next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”” (John 1:35-36).

John the Baptist was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight” (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:3). He warned the world to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). The Apostles “went out and preached that people should repent” (Mark 6:12), and Jesus declared, “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). God Almighty has given this testimony to a fallen world, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Therefore, repent of your sins and accept the Lord your God who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

 

Read more at the same blog: Here’s a study from later on in Genesis (chatper 41) on the life of Joseph.

September 4, 2011

4 Things Christ Accomplished on the Cross

From Philadelphia pastor Brian Jones:

Theologians use various words to describe what Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished.  Each of these words illuminates a unique aspect of what happened on the cross at Calvary…

Redemption

The term conveys the idea of being “bought back.” If a thief steals an expensive watch, sells it to a pawn shop, and then the original goes and pays a large sum of money to buy it back — that’s an example of redemption. Jesus’ death served as God’s payment to “buy us back from sin, darkness, the devil, and hell.

13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Col 1:(13 added) – 14

Reconciliation

The term conveys the idea of two people whose relationship was damaged, and they they became enemies before later coming back together.  Jesus’ death restores humanity’s broken relationship with God.

  So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. -Romans 5: 11

Substitute Atonement

The term conveys the idea of someone stepping up to take upon him or herself the punishment due another person. Jesus, in His death, stepped up to take the punishment we deserved because of our sins.

 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed. -Isaiah 53:5

…Like looking at a diamond from various angles, the death of Jesus has multiple meanings and many layers, but there is one aspect of Jesus’ death that is more central than all others combined, and that’s the idea of propitiation. It’s what theologian J. I. Packer calls “the heart of the gospel.”

Propitiation

…”an offering that turns away wrath.”* Jesus’ death on the cross served as a sacrificial offering which appeased God’s wrath and opened up the possibility for people to spend eternity with Him in heaven.

25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. – Romans 3:25 (& 26 added)

~Brian Jones in Hell is Real But I Hate To Admit It (David C. Cook) pp. 141-143

*Jack Cottrell, The Faith Once for All (College Press)

Scriptures used for this blog post: New Living Translation (NLT)