December 18, 2017

God’s Provision of the Lamb

Otis Holmes

And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt· offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering; so they went both of them together (Genesis 22:7-8).

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

In the life of Abraham there were four great tests. The first test dealt with his leaving his country and his kindred (Genesis 12:1-3). The second test concerned his separation from his nephew Lot (Genesis 13:6, 12). The third test involved God’s plan for Ishmael, Abraham’s son by Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian handmaid (Genesis 17:18). The fourth test was in regard to the provision of a lamb (Genesis 22:1-12). Abraham passed all of these tests. I wonder how many of us could have passed any one of them?

In the test of the lamb, Abraham and Isaac presented two great testimonies. First, there was the faith of Abraham. We find this set forth in Hebrews 11:17-19: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” My, what a great testimony! Suppose God asked you to offer up a son as a sacrifice. Would you obey God regardless of the price? Would your faith be like that of Abraham, accounting that God would raise up your son from the dead?

The next great testimony was the obedience of Isaac (Genesis 22:6-13). Scripture says that Abraham and Isaac “went both of them together” up the mountainside. On Isaac’s back was the wood for the fire of the sacrifice. Isaac’s willingness to be bound by his father and then laid upon the altar to become a burnt-offering sacrifice to God was an excellent testimony. When Isaac realized he was to be the sacrifice, being more than just a lad, he could have run away from his aged father or resisted him. Isaac’s obedience with regard to being offered typifies the obedience of Jesus Christ, Who willingly offered Himself for our sins. Jesus said, “No man taketh it [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:18).

In considering God’s provision of the Lamb “who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God” (Hebrews 9:14), I call your attention to five things. First, let us consider

The Lamb Prophesied

The first promise of the Redeemer is Genesis 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.” There are many other prophecies concerning the offering of the Lamb. Possibly the most outstanding one is found in Isaiah 53:3-7. But in our text Isaac asks his father, “But where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham answers, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering.” And as a testimony to his faith, Abraham called this place of testing “Jehovah-jireh,” the common interpretation of which is “the Lord will provide.” Not only did Abraham believe it; he also led his son to believe that God would provide the lamb.

The second thing to consider in God’s provision of the Lamb is

The Lamb Personified

Throughout the Old Testament we find that God has instructed His people with regard to the lamb, and always in their minds the lamb meant an animal. They sacrificed animals to God. Not until Isaiah chapter 53 do we find an indication that this lamb God had prophesied was not an animal but a Person, and 45 times in this chapter we find the pronouns “he,” “his,” and “him.” There are Jews who interpret this as a reference to Israel as a nation. Their interpretation, however, could not adequately fit the picture because in the first chapter of Leviticus God sets forth His orders concerning the burnt-offering sacrifice. The animal must be a fit substitute: It must be a male; it must be a firstling of the flock; and it must be without spot or blemish. Certainly the Person who was to be the Lamb must meet these requirements.

Third, let us consider

The Lamb Identified

If the prophesied lamb was to be a person, who was he? None of the prophets fit the description. Not one of the priests was worthy. In Galatians 4:4-5 we find the answer: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

One day when John the Baptist was standing on the banks of the Jordan River, baptizing his converts, he Saw Jesus approaching. By the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist declared: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Did Jesus fulfill the requirements of the lamb? Without question He met every requirement. He was a male; He was the firstborn (John 3:16); and He was without sin (1 Peter 2:22). According to John 18:38, Pilate had to admit, “I find in him no fault at all” Jesus Himself, in John 8:46, asked of a group of unbelieving Jews, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” Jesus Christ was the perfect substitute. 1 Peter 2:24 declares, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” Hebrews 7:26 states, “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” I1 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Fourth, we see

The Lamb Crucified

God had commanded Abraham to slay his son. Then, having seen Abraham’s willingness to carry out His orders, God declared, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad … for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (Genesis 22:12). Next, God directed Abraham to a ram caught in a thicket, and He told Abraham to slay the lamb as a substitute for his son, Isaac. Here we find a double type of the Lord Jesus Christ: Isaac as the Son, and the lamb as the substitute. The lamb’s blood was shed; his body was placed upon the altar; and he was offered up as a burnt offering. The blood had to be shed, for “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).

In Hebrews 10:4 we read that “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” The burnt offering of the lamb portrayed the offering of Jesus on the cross for our sins. John 3:14 states, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” Hebrews 10:19 says that we have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus!’ According to 1 John 1:7, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, died on Calvary’s cross for our sins. His blood had to be shed if there was to be an atonement.

There is a very close connection between the place of Abraham’s sacrifice and the place of God’s sacrifice on Calvary. God, Who never gives orders merely for the sake of giving orders, had commanded Abraham to offer up his son on Mount Moriah, the same place which God later told David to purchase as the temple site. 2 Chronicles 3:1 identifies this place as the threshing floor of Oman. This same spot, Mount Moriah and the threshing floor of Ornan, we know today as Mount Zion or Jerusalem. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, died on Mount Calvary just outside the walls of Jerusalem. None of this was an afterthought in the mind of God; He had planned it in eternity.

Paul said, “But we preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23). Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the world. He died for you. He died that you might be saved and go to Heaven. Have you accepted Him as your Saviour? If not, will you not turn to Him now and receive Him as your Saviour? He wants to save you. To become your Sacrifice, He “stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51); and through His shed blood you can have redemption, “even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14).

Last we find

The Lamb Glorified

As a result of the substitutionary death of the lamb, Isaac was magnified and glorified. In Genesis 22:18, God declared to Abraham, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” The immediate seed was in Isaac; the ultimate seed referred to Jesus Christ, the. Lamb of God. Galatians 3:16 states: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Philippians 2:5-10 presents a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus. It describes our Lord’s coming into the world, His death upon the cross of Calvary, and His resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of God the Father. The passage challenges, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being In the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.”

Although Jesus Christ was crucified and placed in the tomb, He did not remain in the tomb. He arose from the dead (John 20) and ascended to the Father (Acts 1:9-11). And some· day every knee will bow, and “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11).

Revelation chapter five gives a wonderful picture depicting the exaltation of the Lamb of God. The Apostle John, asking who was worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof, found that there was no man in Heaven or in earth who was able to look upon the book, much less to open it. And because he could find no worthy person, he wept much. One of the 24 elders said, “Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” John looked, and instead of seeing a lion, he saw a “Lamb as it had been slain.” Later, John heard the voice of many angels, “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 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.”

Will you not today look to the Lamb of God? This is the proper time. Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). When you stand before the great white throne of judgment, it will be too late to look to the Lord for salvation.

Jesus loved you so much that He went to the cross of Calvary where He willingly allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross. He loved you enough to lay down His life for you, to have the nails driven into His hands, to pour out His precious blood in agony and suffering and horror in order that you might be saved. Will you not at this moment acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you need the Saviour? He came to die. He came to die for you. He came to die that you might have salvation. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Accept Him now while there is still time.

This article was first published in Faith for the Family, March/April 1975. It is republished here by permission.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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