The Lamb of God in the Old Testament

 

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament by Karen Jurgens

Is there anything more adorable than a sweet little lamb? When my daughter Meg was a toddler, my mother brought her a special gift—a soft, cuddly lamb. She named it Leemie, and this stuffed toy became her constant companion day and night. She would drag it along with her blanket, take it on every outing in her stroller, and snuggle with it at night. I can’t begin to count the times Leemie had to take a bath in the washer. Even today, she sits atop pillows in a guest bedroom waiting for Meg when she comes to visit.

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament by Karen Jurgens

Leemie is a very special lamb to our family.

I wonder if God also loved lambs and counted them as special? I think so because He sent His Son, the Lamb of God, to reestablish our relationship with the Father. To understand this, we need to trace it back to the beginning, the Garden of Eden.

The First Atonement

Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world until the serpent deceived them to eat fruit from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. After God discovered the couple hiding, ashamed and covered with fig leaves, God Himself provided clothing to cover their nakedness.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them ~ Genesis 3:21 NASB.

This act of God required shedding the blood of an innocent animal to cover man’s sins.

I’ve often wondered…why couldn’t God have taken care of forgiving sins in heaven? Why did He have to shed the blood of innocent goats, rams, bulls, and lambs in Old Testament times?

Click to tweet: There is no blood in heaven

As I pondered this in prayer, God enlightened me with a startling fact. There is no blood in heaven. Heaven is a spiritual place without flesh and blood. When we die, we leave our mortal flesh behind to return to dust as our spirits are released into eternity.

Therefore, since only innocent blood can cover and forgive sins, a sacrifice had to be performed on earth, not in heaven.

Do you recall the story of Abraham and Isaac? Just when Abraham, directed by God, was about to sacrifice his son, the Lord stopped him, saying, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’  He said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me’ ~ Genesis 22:11b-12 NASB.

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament by Karen Jurgens

God’s test was not only about Abraham’s faith but also a foreshadowing of God’s sacrifice of His Son, our Messiah, for the ultimate forgiveness of mankind’s sins many years later.

The Passover Lamb

Fast-forward from Abraham to the Book of Exodus. God used Moses to deliver the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt and establish the everlasting tradition of Passover. It’s interesting to me that the tradition involves every family taking a sweet baby lamb into their house and treating it as a pet before it became their sacrifice. Here are God’s directions:

‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.  Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.  Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover.  For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord.  The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt ~ Exodus 12: 3, 5-7, 11-13 NASB.

Click to tweet: The doorposts and lintels covered with blood are in the shape of…

Did you realize that lamb’s blood covering the doorposts and lintel is in the shape of a cross? Not only did the lamb’s blood protect each family from God’s judgment, but also the families, standing with sandals on their feet and staffs in their hands, roasted and ate their lamb before fleeing to the Promised Land.

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament by Karen Jurgens

The Law of Atonement

What procedure did God establish in the Old Testament for the forgiveness of sins? God created the Law of Atonement, outlined in Leviticus 16. Once a year, the high priest would take two goats and cast the lot to see which goat God chose to be a sacrifice and which to be a scapegoat. The one died on the altar, and its shed blood atoned for the sins of the people from the previous year. Here’s what happened to the live goat:

‘When he finishes atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness’ ~ Leviticus 16:20-22 NASB.

Barred from the camp, the scapegoat wandered in the wilderness until it starved and died, and with it, all of Israel’s sins.

The lamb, along with goats and other sacrificial animals, is central throughout the Old Testament, beginning in the Garden of Eden and continuing with the Laws of the Mosaic Covenant.

IMG_1141[63747] Lamb edited

Have you ever wondered…

How does Passover relate to the Cross of Christ?

Why don’t we sacrifice animals for the forgiveness of sins now?

How did God establish His New Covenant through Christ?

Where is the Lamb in Revelation?

We’ll explore these answers in the next post of The Lamb of God in the New Testament.

Until then…be blessed!

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament by Karen Jurgens

Do You Need a Heart Check-Up?

heart pic 2

Do you or someone you know suffer from heart trouble? It’s miraculous what the field of medicine can do today—from stents to a complete transplant. Patients who would have certainly died now have a second chance at a longer life thanks to these advanced developments.

From those well-known—such as former Vice-President Dick Cheney— to my personal family, heart surgery is commonplace. If stents had been available in 1977, my grandmother would have probably lived much longer than 75, but fortunately for my 93-year-old mother, they saved her life in 2010.

dr. barnard bing.com

I recall December 3, 1967, when Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first human heart transplant in Cape Town, South Africa. Although his patient survived only 18 days, this news catapulted to the same importance as the first lunar landing just two years later—man’s first scientific steps into these unknown worlds, where their advancements still continue to multiply.

Amazing stuff.

Hopefully, you may never need a physical heart transplant. But do you know that we are all in need of a new spiritual heart? Due to Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, our spirits are born in sin. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12 NASB).

Jeremiah 17:9 describes the heart as being …more deceitful than all else and [is] desperately sick…(NASB).

Mark 7:21-23 spells it out: For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man (NASB).

Wow, what a mess. How do we fix this problem? In our own power, it’s impossible. But with God’s power, all things are possible.

God has prepared a new heart for those who believe in Him. And it’s a doozy. Ezekiel 36:26 promises us that moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (NASB). 

heart of stone

In Psalms 51:10, David pleads to God after he acknowledges his sin with Bathsheba: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (NASB).

Jesus Himself enlightens us when he preached the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8 NASB).

The salvation we receive through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross and our new heart assures us of our eternal home in heaven. All we have to do is repent, believe, and receive. It’s a free gift.

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Think about it—if you needed a physical heart transplant, would you ask the surgeon to postpone it? No, the issue of life versus death prompts immediate action.

So, what about your spiritual heart check-up? If you’re already saved, you’ve received your new heart. But what about those who haven’t accepted Jesus yet?  Remember, we’re not promised tomorrow.

Listen, now is really the right time. Now is the day of salvation! (2 Corinthians 6:2 ISV).

heart desiray@wordpress

Photos courtesy of Bing.com and morguefile.com