Jesus Christ



31. Why is Jesus Christ called ‘the Lamb of God’ or ‘the Lamb’?



To understand the reason why Jesus Christ is called ‘the Lamb of God’ or ‘the Lamb’, we need to know what God commanded the Israelites to do when He commanded them to keep the feast of Passover in Egypt. Here is what the law says: “And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD's passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:1-13). As you can see, every man had to take for himself a lamb (from the sheep or the goats), according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household; he had to kill it and put some of the blood of the lamb on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they ate the lamb, and that blood would be a sign for the Israelites on the houses where they were, for when the Lord would strike the Egyptians, seeing the blood, He would pass over the Israelites, so the Israelites would escape the terrible judgement of God by that blood. Now, that Passover Lamb foreshadowed the Messiah, who would come into the world in the fullness of the time and would set men free from their sins through His blood (and thus He would reconcile them to God), and they would escape not the physical death but a worse death, that is, the second death, which is the lake which burns with fire and brimstone because this is the punishment awaiting all those who have not washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb of God (Revelation 21:8). That’s why, therefore, one day John the Baptist said about the Lord Jesus: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 – NKJV), and the apostle Peter says that we were redeemed from our aimless conduct received by tradition from our fathers “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times” (1 Peter 1:19-20 – NKJV) for us.

However, it must be said that under the Old Covenant the Messiah was foreshadowed not only by the Passover Lamb but also by all the sacrifices that the priests had to offer for their own sins and for the sins of the people (read the book of Leviticus and you will now more things about these sacrifices). Those sacrifices foreshadowed the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah, for as through those atoning sacrifices the sins of the Israelites and of the priests were forgiven, so through the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah we would be forgiven; however, unlike the blood of the old sacrifices, the blood of the Messiah would take away sins, and that’s what happened, thanks God for that.

Therefore when we read that Jesus is the Lamb of God, we must understand also that He is the One who is able, through His atoning sacrifice, to take away sins from man’s conscience (which is something that the sacrifices of the Old Covenant could not do) and thus to make him perfect in regard to the conscience (Hebrews 10:1-14)