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Bible verses about Lamb Symbolism
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 12:3-11   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God told each Israelite family to choose an unblemished lamb on the 10th day of the month Abib. On the 14th day at twilight (just after sundown as the 14th began), they killed the lamb, putting its blood on the doorpost and lintel of their homes. Then they roasted and ate the lamb.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Holy Days: Passover


 

Exodus 12:3-14   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Notice in verse 3 that on the tenth day each person was to take a lamb for himself. In verse 5, the lamb must be without blemish and a male of the first year.

Think of Jesus in reference to these instructions. The meat could be either from the sheep or the goats. Jesus is a type of both sheep and goat. In the atonement offering, one of the two goats typified Jesus.

Verses 6-8 show that the innocent lamb bled to death. Scripture also says that the bones were not to be broken, and it must be roasted whole. Jesus' bones were not broken either.

Through these verses, we see that Jesus was the perfect antitype of this lamb that was slain at the Passover service. By means of the blood that was smeared on the lintel and the doorposts, Israel was saved from the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn. The blood of the lamb redeemed, bought back, the firstborn of Israel. Otherwise, they too would have been killed.

Jesus' ghastly death and the terrible scourging He endured do the same for us; it redeems us, buys us back. Some Protestants say He died of a broken heart, but that is not true. Like the Passover lamb, He bled to death; His blood spilled onto the earth, and He expired an innocent and pure man. He had never sinned, just like the lamb without blemish and without spot.

Therefore, we call Him our Savior and Redeemer. Once we accept Him as our Savior, because He was sinless and He died for us, His blood covers our sins. He redeems us from the second death—from the death angel.

He is the firstborn among many brethren, and we are called the firstfruits. We are the firstfruits of spiritual Israel that are protected from that death angel, the second death.

God often works in dual stages, as shown here. The first is the type of the lamb slain at Passover, and the second is the antitype or the perfect fulfillment in Jesus Christ. For the type of the Passover lamb to be fulfilled perfectly and completely in the antitype of Jesus Christ, His crucifixion and death had to occur on Nisan 14. There is no other day in which the type would have been fulfilled because that is the day of the Passover.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Christ's Death, Resurrection, and Ascension


 

Exodus 12:12-13   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The blood was a sign to the death angel to "pass over" their homes when it went through Egypt. Because of it, Israel's firstborn were saved, while Egypt's firstborn died.

The yearly ritual of Passover represents the death of Jesus Christ, who was God in the flesh. The innocent lamb had to be without blemish because it represented the only Man who ever lived a perfect, sinless life. Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God who gave His life and shed His blood so that we may be saved from eternal death by paying the penalty for our sins. Through faith in His sacrifice, we receive forgiveness of sin and come into a right relationship with God. Because His life was worth more than all human life combined, His sacrifice paid the price for all sin. He redeemed us from the penalty that the breaking of God's law imposes and freed us to live righteously.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Holy Days: Passover


 

Exodus 12:40-42   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Exodus 12:40-42 is describing the Night To Be Much Observed, not the Passover night. There is a reason why God established two different festivals. The first, Passover, on the 14th of Nisan, begins in the evening, that is, at the beginning of the day with the killing of the lamb.

The killing of the lamb has a specific focus, the death of the Savior, showing that we have a part in His death. The second part of the ritual, the eating of the lamb, emphasizes the more important continuance of the relationship. When a person ingests food, he receives energy, and his life is sustained. This is the symbolic meaning of eating the lamb.

Nisan 15—the First Day of Unleavened Bread, when the exodus occurred—emphasizes the action required to keep the relationship going and growing. That is our part. We have to get up and do something; we have to leave Egypt, a type of leaving sin.

We are dealing with two different festivals with two altogether different focuses.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Night to be Much Observed


 

Psalm 23:1-3   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"The LORD is my Shepherd." Could we not also say that this psalm applies to the Lamb of God, as if written from His standpoint? The Lord was His Shepherd too. Jesus said He went through what He did for all righteousness—for God's name's sake, for His glory! Consider Christ's work, His life, in these first three verses. Verse 4, then, reminds us of His death.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Christ's Death, Resurrection, and Ascension


 

Matthew 26:2   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Two days before Jesus fulfilled the Passover, He prepares His disciples for His death by telling them that after two days would be the Passover and that the Son of Man would be delivered up and crucified. Thus, He was crucified on the Passover. For further proof of that, John shows that it was preparation day for a high day, the first day of Unleavened Bread (John 19:31). Obviously, preparation day for the first day of Unleavened Bread is the day of Passover, the fourteenth day of Nisan/Abib.

Christ is specifically named as "our Passover" in I Corinthians 5:7. Jesus is called "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). John the Baptist, when he first saw Him after He began His ministry, as He approached the River Jordan for baptism, said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). It is easy to see the strong connection between Jesus and the lamb killed at Passover.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Christ's Death, Resurrection, and Ascension


 

Matthew 26:26-29   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus told His disciples to partake of unleavened bread and wine during the New Testament Passover service. Through this command, He charged His followers to observe it as a memorial of His death for all time. Since Christ's death completely fulfilled the symbolism of killing a lamb, we no longer need to slaughter a lamb in keeping the Passover.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Holy Days: Passover


 

Hebrews 10:1-4   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Perhaps one might think of this as being a rather minor affair, but God shows that He had—and so we must have—respect for the life of an animal. God, in the instructions regarding the regular sacrifices, says not to eat the blood! He says this out of respect for the animal because its life was in its blood. The blood had to be drained on the ground, not imbibed by a human being.

Animals have at least a low level of feeling. They experience fear; situations can frighten them. What animal owner does not think that his pet, his dog or cat, has a special relationship or special feeling for him? Can we extend that out—that a bullock, a goat, a sheep, a kid of the goats, or a lamb might have feelings too? Not human feelings, certainly, but they have life and they symbolize—every single one of them—the life of Jesus Christ. How many animals had to give their lives to make a witness, an example of that? We will never know, but just to help us understand, Josephus records that one year during his lifetime, the Romans took a census of all of the lambs that were killed in Jerusalem, and 256,000 lambs were killed on Passover alone—256,000 lambs on one Passover just to teach a lesson to Israel and to us.

Perhaps it would help us to understand why God told the Israelites in Exodus 12 that keeping Passover was to be a family affair. It was not done at the Temple or the Tabernacle. God commanded that everybody killed his own lamb—every family. He wanted to make the point to all that each person is responsible for the death of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ!

Consider that Israelite families were not rich. Most of them had small herds and flocks—just a few sheep and lambs. They lived, in most cases, with their animals, and when they put a lamb to death on Passover, it was very likely the family pet! They killed and ate something that was very close to them—something that they had treated like part of the family. This was an object lesson, and God allowed millions of them to occur!

As far as God is concerned, nothing is too great a price to pay for us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Awesome Cost of Salvation


 

Revelation 13:4   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This is a system that puts people in fear. It manipulates and controls to its own advantage—not to the good of the governed, but its own. It has an attitude that hates people and likes destruction. It is adversarial.

Now contrast that with sheep, and especially with a lamb. They must be the most docile of all animals. Biblically, a lamb symbolizes gentleness, innocence, sometimes a childlike vulnerability. It is not aggressive. It is easily led and controlled by a shepherd.

Christ symbolically is the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36). "Lamb" is used in reference to Jesus Christ twenty-seven times in the book of Revelation. The Beast is an adversary of Christ, and exudes not gentleness, not goodness, not kindness, not innocence, but all of the opposites of those traits.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Spiritual Mark of the Beast


 

 




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