Lamb - 25 September 2020
By Ben Fourie
Sacrifices and offerings to God are known from very early on in the Bible. Genesis is not the oldest written book in the Bible but tells the oldest stories, like the one about the offerings made by Cain and Abel. Most known religions of ancient times had the custom of sacrifices or offerings that could have been anything from agricultural products to animals and even humans. It was mostly done to win the favour of a specific god.
The very first offerings we read about in the Bible were made to thank God for something received. There were different ones like fellowship offerings or offerings when a vow was made, and voluntary offerings as a way of thanksgiving for a good harvest. Although it might have been done previously, the first time we find a full description of sin offerings is in Leviticus 4 and 5. In contrast to other religions, where offerings were usually made to appease the god and turn his/her wrath away from the individual, those to God were meant to restore the relationship between the individual and God after something wrong had been done.
In many instances, a lamb was specified as the preferred sacrifice, but many other animals were also used. Since the Exodus from Egypt, the slaughtering of a lamb for the Passover meal became prominent in Jewish religion. The blood of the lamb that was slaughtered for the first Passover, was to be placed on the doorposts of each house as a sign for the Angel of Death to “pass over” that house.
In the New Testament, Jesus is called the Lamb of God quite frequently. In John 1:29 we read: “There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” When Jesus was “slaughtered” on the cross, he was the Passover Lamb whose blood had the same function as the blood on the doorposts. His blood was shed so that God would also “pass over” the punishment for all our sins. As He, as the Lamb of God, carried away all our sins on the cross, he received the right to the power, wealth and wisdom as stated in the above verse from Revelation. He is not the sacrificial lamb any more but the all-conquering One. The Moravian Church used this idea of the Conquering Lamb to great effect on their emblem. Have a look at it on the Internet.
Prayer: I do not fully understand the why’s and how’s of your death as the sacrificial Lamb, but I want to thank you for dying for me. Amen