The Old Testament has many symbols that point forward to the coming Messiah. Maybe the most obvious and most frequently seen is the lamb.
In the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned, God clothed the first couple with skins. There is no doubt in my mind that the skins were those of a lamb. The fig leaves weren’t adequate. Something had to die, blood had to be shed. “According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22, CSB). The death of the lamb points forward to Jesus’ sacrificial death.
In the Book of Exodus, the tenth and final plague was the death of the first-born. God gave instructions to Moses. “Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they must each select an animal of the flock... You must have an unblemished animal, a year-old male; you may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight. They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them” (Exodus 12:3–7, CSB).
Did you ever bring a puppy home? A few years ago, the Martin family did. It didn’t take four days for the whole family to become hopelessly attached to Angel, the tiny white ball of fur. In Egypt, each Israelite family was instructed to choose a little lamb on the tenth of the month. The unblemished lamb was to remain in the home for four days. Then, on the fourteenth, the lamb was slaughtered, and its blood applied to the home. The blood of the sweet little lamb is beautifully symbolic of the redeeming death of the Sinless Son of God.
In Genesis twenty-two, God instructed Abraham to take Isaac to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him. “Take your son ... your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about” (Genesis 22:2, CSB). Abraham, the father of the faithful, obeyed. On the top of Moriah, Isaac was bound and laid upon the altar. As Abraham raised the knife, “the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham! ... Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from me.’ Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son” (Genesis 22:11–13, CSB). The lamb died so that Isaac could live.
The Old Testament lamb points forward to the New Testament. John the Baptist saw it clearly. “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, CSB).
Jesus, the Lamb of God, died in my place. He died so that I can live.
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor