400 years the Israelites had been in bondage in Egypt,
now had come their time of deliverance. God had raised
up Moses as the one who would lead the children of Israel
(the actual descendants of Jacob, whose name became
Israel) from slavery to the promised land in Palestine;
that promised land would become the nation of Israel.
But the Pharaoh of Egypt was not going to let them go,
so in order to get him to change his mind Moses was
sent to warn him of the plagues to come. Various plagues,
sent from God, came upon the land of Egypt; plagues
of hail, locusts, boils, frogs etc. The Pharaoh still
refused to let the Israelites go. Not until the plague
on the firstborn would he relent.
the previous plagues the Israelites and their animals
had not been affected by them, even though the Israelites
lived in the same land alongside the Egyptians, only
the Egyptians and their animals were affected; what
became the final plague could have been different. Unless
the Israelites availed themselves of God’s unique and
particular mode of protection, even they would be visited
by the ‘destroying angel’.
around midnight on a certain day every firstborn son
from every household in Egypt, including the firstborn
of the cattle, would die:
Moses said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight
I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt
will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits
on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl,
who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the
cattle as well.’”
chapter 11, verses 4-5).
thing would save the Israelite households from sharing
the same fate as the Egyptians:
man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household-----the
animals must be without defect------all the people of
the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on
the sides and the tops of the door-frames of the houses
where they eat the lambs-----The blood will be a sign
for you on the houses where you are; and when I see
the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague
will touch you when I strike Egypt.”
chapter 12, verses 3, 5-7, 13 ).
were told to slaughter the lamb, to use its blood to
cover the doorposts, and to roast and eat the carcase---but
they were not allowed to break any of its bones, and,
though some non-Israelite males could partake of the
meal, they, first, had to have been circumcised:
LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations
of the Passover:--------Do not break any of the bones-------No
uncircumcised male may eat of it.”
chapter 12, verses43, 46, 48).
whole purpose of The Passover lamb was to point to the
true Lamb who was to come. It was sometimes customary
at crucifixions for the soldiers to smash the leg bones
of the victims in order to speed up the dying process;
the whole weight of the body was then taken on the chest,
and would cause suffocation. When the soldiers got to
Jesus, He was already dead---so they did not break his
when they came to Jesus and found that he was already
dead, they did not break his legs.
chapter 19, verse 33).
the prohibition concerning the lamb that ‘No uncircumcised
male may eat of it’; circumcision means ‘cutting
away’, and is easily understood in the physical sense.
But, again, this Old Testament rite was only a physical
symbol, or shadow, of an eventual spiritual reality---it
pointed to the circumcision of the heart (spirit) for
believers in Christ; the spiritual cutting away of a
stony, hard heart towards God:
will cleanse you from all your impurities-----I will
remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart
of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you
to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.’”
chapter 36, verses25-27).
represents the ‘new birth’, being ‘born again’ through
faith in Jesus; and the only people who can feed on
Jesus are those who are ‘born again’---who have been
circumcised in the heart. Hence, only those males who
had been circumcised were allowed to feed on the Passover
lamb---the connections are endless!
said, ‘when I see the blood I will pass over you’. Those
households under the protection of the blood of the
Passover lamb would not see death; they would be safe
from God’s awful judgement. It is the same now, on an
individual, personal, level when it comes to the judgement
of God regarding each one of us, it is still---‘when
I see the blood, I will pass over you’.
our Passover Lamb has already been offered in sacrifice---even
Corinthians chapter 5, verse 7, Weymouth Translation).
we have faith in Christ, we are indelibly marked with
the blood of God’s true Passover Lamb; and God’s wrath
will surely pass over us.
LAMB OF GOD
next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said,
“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the
chapter 1, verse 29).
Christians will understand the connection with Jesus
as the Lamb of God; most who are not Christian will
not realise the relevance of this title. It is a connection
made repeatedly throughout the Old Testament history
of the nation of Israel. It is to do with sacrifice
and Eve sinned in their disobedience to God, and, as
they had been warned, they died spiritually and eventually
physically also. All of their descendants, which include
you and me, have been tainted by that hereditary sinfulness,
and we ‘all fall short of the glory of God’. We all
come into this world alive physically but dead spiritually.
We all leave this world dead physically but not all
dead spiritually; for some, the most terrible punishment
for sin---eternal spiritual death and separation from
God---does not apply. Someone took the punishment we
deserved. While we were beyond help and beyond hope,
Someone died that we might live---but not just anyone.
Someone who was just a good man or even a great man
would never do. However good or great, in human terms,
they may have been they still ‘all fall short of the
glory of God’; they are all tainted with hereditary
sinfulness. Adam and Eve sinned before they ever had
children. Because of sin Adam and Eve were imperfect;
they are the ‘parents’ of all mankind, and it is impossible
for imperfection to produce perfection, so, we, like
our first ‘parents’, are also imperfect.
man cannot make a perfect sacrifice unless he is perfect
himself---not man’s idea of perfect either, but God’s.
the history of ancient Israel God made ways, laws, rules
and regulations, which were written down by His chosen
and Holy Spirit-inspired prophets, to make the people
aware of their own sinful tendencies. Without God’s
help men cannot know themselves. It was like that then,
and it is like that now.
get it into men’s psyche that sin was deadly and not
acceptable to a Holy God, there had to be the spilling
of blood, the taking of life, the ultimate penalty.
So sin, every sin, had to be atoned for. God allowed
the sins of the people to be placed on the animal to
be sacrificed, and so all could see that the innocent
animal, the lamb, would pay the penalty called for by
God’s perfect justice. God could then forgive the people
without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
chapter 9, verse 22).
must try to understand how perfectly pure, clean and
holy God is. He does not have the slightest stain of
sin, nor can He bear sin of any sort in His presence.
Sinful man would just shrivel out of existence if he
came face to face with such unimaginable holiness.
we can be brought back into a close and lasting relationship
with God, He has to teach us, to bring us to an understanding
of our filthy, lost state. God chose to do this by creating
a special nation, Israel, (Israel means ‘he struggles
with God’). From this chosen nation would come God’s
laws, His prophets, the Bible (His written word), and
Jesus Christ. All the world worshipped idols and gods
of their own imaginations, which were no gods at all.
So, God would teach men, and those who learned would
be lead back to Him. But, it would be a long process
for mankind, over many centuries; and the regular sacrifices
of animals for sins would be at the beginning of the
process---the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son would
be the end, the fulfilment of it all. In fact, the whole
idea of centuries of animal sacrifices was to lead to
the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God:
law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming---not
the realities themselves. For this reason it can never,
by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after
year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If
it could, would they not have stopped being offered?
For the worshippers would have been cleansed once for
all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their
sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of
sins, because it was impossible for the blood of bulls
and goats to take away sins.
chapter 10, verses 1-4).
after day every priest stands and performs his religious
duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices,
which can never take away sins. But when this priest
(Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time
he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because
by one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those
who are being made holy.
chapter 10, verses 11-14, brackets mine).
was never happy with animal sacrifice, He said it was
abhorrent to Him; He knew the blood of animals could
never take away sin from a man’s heart. But, in those
earlier times, man was not yet ready for the sacrifice
of Christ. God’s plans and timing are perfect, and Jesus
would come at the most exact moment in history. There
had been centuries of animal sacrifice; there had been
all the necessary prophecies about the Messiah; the
Greek language was the richest, and, at that time, the
dominant written language; the Roman Empire ruled the
world stage and was in its most vital phase for the
spread of the Gospel; and all the characters for the
most amazing event in history were present. And, we
should bear in mind that it was always God’s plan to
send Jesus to the cross to purchase our salvation. It
was in God’s plan at the outset:
you know that it was not with perishable things such
as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty
way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,
but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without
blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation
of the world, but was revealed in these last times for
Peter chapter 1, verses 18-20).
was a Lamb without defect, a Man without the slightest
stain of sin. Because of His great love for His sheep,
He willingly gave His life as a ransom. Through all
the murderous threats, accusations, mistreatment and
beatings, to His agonising nailing and lifting up, He
accepted it meekly, with dignity and with a kind and
forgiving heart. Below is part of a prophecy from
the Old Testament, written hundreds of years before
the birth of Christ:
was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his
mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and
as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did
not open his mouth.
chapter 53, verse 7).
we enter the book of Revelation we see many references
to the Lamb of God. But, this is the last book in the
Bible, and Jesus is seen in heaven in great power and
glory. He is seen returning to judge the earth as KING
OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (yet another title for Jesus).
But, for all the ages to come, the sacrifice He made
as the Lamb and the reason He made it, will always be
remembered and honoured, especially by those He came
to save. You see, the Lamb knew who belonged to Him;
He had a book with their names written in it:
inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast---all
whose names have not been written in the book of life
belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation
of the world.
chapter 13, verse 8).
Lamb has not changed one iota regarding His meekness,
His gentleness and His loving kindness, but, like His
Father, He will not tolerate sin. It will in no shape
or form enter His heaven. He still calls out to people
to come to the foot of His cross and to be cleansed
for ever by His precious blood. There is no other way.
In some of the very last verses of Scripture He says:
is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him
take the free gift of the water of life.
chapter 22, verse 17).
Lamb has the loving heart of the Father, and He has
the power of Almighty God. No wolf can take Him
on, and no fox can sneak past Him. Only those whose
names are in His book will enter in:
I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the
throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened,
which is the book of life-----If anyone’s name was not
found written in the book of life, he was thrown into
the lake of fire.
chapter 20, verses 12, 15).
say ‘I don’t believe in a God that can do such things!’
But, they cannot have given much thought to what it
cost God the Father to send His only Son to suffer and
to die; or what it cost the sinless Holy One to be pressed
down with the immeasurable weight of mankind’s sin,
and to be murdered by the very ones He came to save.
Make no mistake---we, our sinfulness, murdered Him.
Yet, because of His great love for us, He accepted the
awful price. Do we not feel any remorse as we consider
these things? Do we not want to at least say ‘sorry’?
Do we not want to seek out His forgiveness? If we do---then
all can be made well.
simply say ‘I refuse to believe in God at all’. Our
choosing not to believe in God, or in a God who doesn’t
seem to measure up to our own ‘standards’ or fit in
with our reasoning, will not make the real God disappear,
and no-one will miss their appointment with Him. It
will be no excuse whatsoever when standing in front
of God to tell Him we didn’t believe in Him or we thought
He should have done things our way.
way of guaranteeing our salvation is truly beyond human
comprehension, only faith can grasp it; His Son, the
Lamb of God, is loaded down with our sins, and is killed
and cast down into hell; He receives all that is due
makes a wonderful, but apparently, very lop-sided transaction;
a transaction weighted very much in our favour. He places
our guilt on His Son and punishes, in perfect justice,
the Sin Bearer. Then, for we, who, in faith, believe
in Jesus, He places the righteousness of Him on us.
Here is the most wonderful, the most awesome transaction
ever---the Lamb of God takes our filthiness and gives
us, in exchange, His righteousness:
made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in
him we might become the righteousness of God.
Corinthians chapter 5, verse 21).
especially for any readers who are not yet ‘in Christ’,
I must emphasise that the above transaction does not
take place for everyone regardless of what they believe,
nor does it take place in unbelief. It becomes a reality
on an individual basis, and that always, and only, through
a personal faith in Jesus:
that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having
a righteousness of my own-----but that which is through
faith in Christ---the righteousness that comes from
God and is by faith.
chapter 3, verse 8-9).
before the birth of Christ, God gave Abraham a supreme
test of faith. He asked him to take his beloved son,
Isaac, and to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham
took his son to a mountain in the region of Moriah.
Isaac was carrying the wood, and Abraham carried the
knife and the fire, then:
the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and
said to his father Abraham,
my son?” Abraham replied.
fire and the wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where
is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
answered, “God himself will provide the lamb-----”
chapter 22, verses 6-8).
‘God himself will provide the lamb’; and that is exactly
what happened in the great plan of salvation, the sacrifice
of Jesus. Human imagination could never have dreamed
up so rich and perfect a plan, and mere mortals could
never have carried it out. Man was, and is, totally
incapable of adding or providing anything to assist
in God’s righteous act of redemption. God provided the
Lamb, His dearly beloved Son---the perfect, spotless,
sinless Lamb of God.
we leave this section I would like to bring in two powerful
verses from Charles Wesley’s ‘And Can It Be’. I see
them both as relevant to what we have been looking at
in this chapter. The first emphasises our personal part
in our Lord’s suffering and death, but, it also shows
God’s unspeakable love for us in that He did it all
can it be that I should gain
interest in the Saviour’s blood?
He for me, who caused His pain?
me, who Him to death pursued?
love! How can it be that Thou,
God, shouldst die for me
last verse speaks of the wonderful benefits bestowed
on all, who, by faith in Jesus, have their part in the
divine transaction we have spoken of above. The Lamb
of God who took our sins to the cross, and who was slain
for us, did it all.
condemnation now I dread;
and all in Him, is mine!
in Him, my living Head,
clothed in righteousness divine,
I approach the eternal throne,
claim the crown, through Christ, my own.