John 1:29 – The Lamb of God
Filed under: Jesus' Sacrifice For Sin, Justification, Seed of Abraham, Spiritual Death
On the next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! — World English.
and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” — World English.
(This study is not yet completed and many edits still need to be done)
The words of John the Baptizer as recorded in John 1:29 do not refer to the sins of the world in the plural, but to the sin of the world in the singular. “Sin” nevertheless, in the singular, refers to the sin that is in the world which, from the Divine standpoint, that sin had its beginning in one act of disobedience on the part of Adam, resulting in the wages of sin being exacted upon the whole world of mankind. (Romans 5:12-19) “Sin” has gradually affected and undermined mankind’s powers, mental, moral and physical, until as a result imperfection, weakness, depravity, sin, is somehow associated with almost every word and deed of the children of men. For instance, one cannot watch most TV shows without some form of depravity, whether in words, such as cursing or swearing, or in deed, will presented by the actors. Indeed, for most people, they have become so accustomed to hearing such, that they do not actually realize that any “sin” is involved. Since most people tend to imitate that which they sea and hear, they may find themselves performing the same sins to which their minds have been accustomed to hearing and seeing in TV programs, music, literature, etc. In some measure the world is responsible for this general depravity but in the general sense it is not responsible, because these tendencies toward sin were inherited.
Nevertheless, the first man Adam did not have any inherent tendency to sin, and yet God gave him the freedom to exercise his will to either obey or disobey; God told him what the wages of disobedience would be, that is, death. (Genesis 2:16,17) The command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad shows that Adam had a choice; he was not born so that he HAD to sin, as some have claimed.
We should note that in the original creation of man, the first man was not a living soul until after God formed his body from the dust of the ground, and then blew into that body the spirit, the breath, of life, and then Adam became a living soul (Genesis 2:7); before Adam became a living soul, he had no consciousness. Adam, thus, knew what death would mean: the absence of life; he knew that he would become a “dead soul” (Hebrew, transliterated, “meth nephesh” – Leviticus 21:11; Numbers 6:6; 9:10; 19:11,16; 2 Chronicles 20:24; Psalm 79:2; 110:6; Haggai 2:11), a soul that no longer has sentiency. We should note also that God did not say that Adam would be dead for a few days, or for a few years, or even for many thousands of years, and that then he would be brought back to life. Nor did God say to Adam that the wages of sin would be to spend an eternity in conscious torture. The death sentence would bring Adam back to the very condition that he had been in before Adam was created, a condition of oblivion. (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) The sentence was, transliterated from the Hebrew, “muth temuth” – to die, you will die.
See the study:
Was Adam Sentenced to Spiritual Death?
We know from the Biblical record that Adam and Eve did disobey (Genesis 3:1-6), and thus, in that very day, God took them away from the trees of life that were in the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24), so they began to die until they finally died (Genesis 5:5), and their flesh returned to the dust, while the spirit of life – the spark of life – that God had given to them returned to God who had given it. (Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 12:7) As a result of Adam’s disobedience, sin came into the world, the whole creation of mankind that had been made through Logos, as spoken of in John 1:10, were made sinners in Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12-19), bringing the death sentence upon all mankind. Romans 5:12-19 also shows that there was no sin the world until Adam disobeyed, thus there was a period of time that Adam was sinless. God had made man upright [just, straight – Ecclesiastes 7:29], and man could have remained in that upright condition had he chose to obey, but man, as represented in the first man, Adam, chose to disobey, and thus did not remain with that original sinless upright condition.
Mark the apostle’s words on the subject – “sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned.” (Romams 5:12) Note again the statement of the Psalmist, which reflects upon us all: “I was brought forth in iniquity. In sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5) We, as Adam’s offspring, are not individually responsible therefore for the general fact that we have inherited these blemishes, but we are responsible to the extent we may have cooperated with sin, and intensified its blight in our own persons and in our children.
Thank God that the light of divine truth, which light was expressed earlier in the Law Covenant with Israel (Proverbs 6:23), and then which was expressed in the sinless life the one the Baptizer applied the symbol of “the Lamb of God”. (John 1:4,5,9; 9:5; 2 Timothy 1:10) To whatever extent that light has had any effect amongst the people, it has had the effect of blessing in proportion as its influence has been accepted. Civilization as we know it would certainly have become much worse than it is had it not been for such influence of the Bible. But, alas, how unsatisfactory our civilization is! How far from purity is the kind of “Christianization” that we generally see! How few there are today who could say with the apostle, brother, “Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) Indeed, how few there who are even reckonedly, in the spirit of their minds, in their daily life, in their daily course, are walking not after the flesh but after the spirit. (Romans 8:4; Galatians 5:16-26) Today, with the great influx of non-Biblical philosphies, the Bible exerts very little influence on the greater masses of people at all!
General Sin and Personal Sin
The scripture says that “through the one man’s disobedience the many [the entire human race in Adam] were made sinners.” (Romans 5:19, New American Standard) Thus, we should discern that there is a general sin in the world, that it is in our blood, in our organization from birth, and the child of but a day is a participant in this sin, in this sinful condition that God disapproves and has declared to be unworthy of eternal life – worthy of death. In other words, our race is not worthy of perpetuation, is the Divine decree. The general penalty against this universal condition of sin is the one originally pronounced against father Adam, and still resting upon the world of mankind in general — “dying you shall die.” (Genesis 2:17, Green’s Literal Translation) Death is upon all because all are counted as sinners under this general sentence pronounced in Eden. As already intimated, it is possible for the individuals of the race to either strive against this downward tendency in which they were born or to fall in line with it, and hurry down the broad road of destruction more rapidly. (Matthew 7:13) The responsibility before God that one has as related to sin varies, depending on the degree of light that the sinner has. Even the heathen, the apostle tells us, has some light in his conscience regarding what is right or wrong. (Romans 2:15) Thus, as such run in the way of sin, practicing iniquity, there is additional responsibility, which will need to be accounted for in the coming day of judgment. (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Romans 2:16; Jude 1:14,15) For some in that day of judgment, the chastisements will be easier to endure than for others, and, in that judgment day, for some whose will it is to sin, they will not be able escape coming under the second judgment of the lake of fire. (Matthew 10:15; 11:22,24; 12:36; 23:3; Mark 6:11; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 20:15) However, in this age, sowing to the flesh reaps the rewards of their wrong course under what we sometimes term “natural laws”. As, for instance, the licentious man in many instances brings upon himself temporal and distressing sickness, which hastens his death and increases his sorrows and troubles.
For more regarding the “day of judgment”, see:
Day of Judgment Resource Page
In many other instances, however, the innocent suffer through laws of heredity as much as do the willful transgressors; it is still true today the proud are set up on high and given greater privileges than are those who do not exalt themselves; indeed, the proud often seem to escape much of the sorrow and anguish of the humble, often at the expense of those upon whom they trod. (Job 21:7-15; Psalm 49:18; 73:3-12; Jeremiah 12:1; Malachi 3:15) Yet, God has promised that these things will always be so. (Isaiah 40:4; Ezekiel 21:26) There could be no evening up of matters to an exact point of justice were there no provision for a future life, a future probation, that is separate from the judgment and general condemnation that is upon mankind through Adam. – Romans 5:12-19.
Today, however, the infant of a day suffering from some loathsome disease often unjustly shares with its parents the penalty upon wrong-doing. The divine law might have left us in this position as a race and have done nothing for us. Justice could offer no plea on behalf of the suffering infant or others, because the decree of justice against Adam and all of his posterity is that by disobedience and by inherited blemishes they are found unworthy of everlasting life – worthy of death. Hence, without some way to balance justice, justice decrees that any and everything which tends to hasten death amongst mankind is working out the sentence of justice, “Dying, you will die.” (Genesis 2:17) If, however, what God has made crooked cannot be made straight, then what hope is there for mankind?
Redemption and Regeneration
It would be a sad state of affairs if our Creator had no good reason for condemning the whole human race in one man. If one does not follow through to see God’s love in his purposes, one might be led by his own reasoning to conclude that God has surely been unjust in condemning all mankind in one man. Nevertheless, the Bible does reveal why God has done this, but, although this not hard to understand and appreciate, God has, in his wisdom, hidden the truth from most of mankind until his due time for the world to understand.
First, we should note that it was never God’s intention to leave the world in the groaning condition as it now is. And this has to do with the expression that the Baptizer used as relayed in John 1:29. If one, with a righteous heart attitude, follows the scriptural presentations carefully and diligently, however, to whatever extent that God desires one to understand, then that one will understand. (Proverbs 2:4,5; 8:17; Mark 4:33) On the other hand, if God does not wish one to appreciatively understand, then, no matter how diligently we may present the scriptures, that one will not appreciate such truths until God permits him to do so. Unless God allows one to the understand in a way that can appreciated, the truth will still be a mystery to that person. – Mark 4:11; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10.
See our study:
Understanding Kingdom Mysteries
Many realize that the sacrifice of Jesus, in some way, takes away the sin of believers in Christ, although most do not actually understand how this can be so. We should note that the Baptizer, by the words recorded in John 1:29, does not discuss this matter of taking away the sins of the believers, but on the contrary deals with sin as a whole and the world of sinners as a whole. John 1:29 points us to the fact that our Lord’s mission is to take away the sin of the world – to take away the general blight and curse of death which came upon all mankind through Adam’s disobedience. To accomplish this work two steps were necessary: Justice must be satisfied, and a legal redemption must be effected. When we look out over the world and note the billions living today, and reckon up the thousands of millions who have died without having received an understanding of God’s purposes as found in the Bible, our hearts would fail us as we would think of how a recompense could be made to Justice which would offset the obligation, the sins of all these billions of people.
But man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. As we look into the Bible, we find that divine wisdom and divine love combined had foreseen the entire matter and had arranged for it in advance; man’s sin does not at all thwart either God’s wisdom, His justice, nor His love regarding His creation. (Psalm 89:1,2; 104:24; Proverbs 3:19; Isaiah 28:29; Acts 15:18; John 3:16,17) In the final end, therefore, we should expect that God’s justice, His wisdom and His love can be seen as vindicated in the plan he has chosen for man. Let us reason concerning this: If each individual of our race had been personally sentenced for his own misdeeds, his own shortcomings, then indeed, for God to be found just, it would have required as a corresponding price that some one should die for each individual in order to release that one from death. This would be an awful proposition — that many billions of sinless men would have to die as redeemers for the many billions of sinners. Where would such redeemers be found? Nowhere. Not a man on earth was found sinless, or capable of being his brother’s redeemer. As we read, “There is none righteous, no not one;” and again, “all have sinned and come short;” “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Romans 3:10,23; Psalm 49:7) Where, we ask, is the remedy, the hope?
Giving attention to the divine message as given through the Bible, we hear its statement that our Creator has, in His love, decreed that all mankind were tried and condemned in the sin of one man, Adam, so that only one man would be needed to satisfy his justice, so they He would remain just, while justifying the sinner. (Romans 3:26) Thus, the payment of Adam’s death sentence would not only redeem Adam from the curse, but likewise redeem all who are in him when he came under that death sentence. How amazing the divine wisdom and love! This very fact, that once in our blindness we supposed was injustice toward us, is really an evidence of divine foreknowledge and divine mercy. God condemned the race as a whole that he might have mercy upon the race as a whole. (Romans 11:32) “As by man came death, so also by man came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” – 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22.
The meaning is very plain, very simple. We know how we all inherit sin and death conditions through Father Adam. We see the imperfections all about us, we feel many of them in us; and now we learn that as we have thus inherited blemishes and sins and imperfections and death, another one has acted on our behalf, has paid the penalty; and that by coming into relationship with him, by being regenerated, begotten again, born again, we may inherit eternal life through him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.
Taking Away the Sin
From the foregoing we should note that there are two steps necessary to the release of humanity from its present thraldom to sin and death: (1) It was necessary that the penalty against Father Adam should be paid to justice. (2) It is necessary that Adam and any of his posterity to be blessed must come into relationship to the Redeemer – must be regenerated, obtain a new life. The first father or life-giver, Adam, not only failed to keep the life bestowed upon him in his creation but failed to hand it down to his posterity. His children have been produced under sin-and-death conditions, suffering and dying.
The scriptures tell us that the satisfaction of Justice for the sin of the world was somehow connected with the death of our Lord Jesus Christ – that, “he died the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18) He has died, yet, as we can well observe, the world has not yet been brought to God. Indeed, amazing as the proposition may seem, the world as a whole gets farther away from God day by day. Counting all the population of lands often referred to as “Christendom” as though they were Christians — though many of them are really as much without God as the poor, ignorant ones whom we designate heathen — we find that those who are put down in statistics as the heathen people of the world are several times as many as they were a century ago, although the past century has been the most remarkable of all the world’s history in the endeavor to carry the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth. How shall we understand this matter? Is the Divine plan miscarrying?
No, we answer. Other scriptures must be allowed to assist in clarifying our views of how the great plan of God is outworking. Other scriptures assure us that before the times of restitution of all things, before the time of the blotting out of the curse, when there will be no more curse, no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying (Revelation 21:1-5; 22:3), before that time shall come, God proposes the election or selection of a seed (Galatians 3:29), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), associated with the Redeemer in His work of glory that is to bless all the heathen (Genesis 22:18) during the millennial age, when the heathen will no longer be under the influence of Satan. (Revelation 20:3) The members of the seed of Abraham are — in the Scriptures — very properly called both a “peculiar people”. (Titus 2:14; Luke 12:32) The work of their selection began with our Lord’s ministry, and especially at Pentecost.
However, those who believed in Christ were, before such belief, still under the condemnation of sin, as all men. Paul says that they “were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Ephesians 1:3) They themselves needed to first be regenerated; they had to become a new creation, a creation that is not of the world that is condemned in Adam. Thus, before they can be members of that seed in the covenant made with Abraham (Genesis 28:14; Galatians 3:29), they have to first receive the blessings of the one who becomes their head in the seed of Abraham, that is Jesus. (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18; ) Jesus is the one who is primary one of that seed (Galatians 3:16), and, as we have seen, it is his sacrifice that counts in giving new life to world, bring the foretold blessings of the promise made to Abraham. Likewise, before the believer can become members of that seed so as to be co-workers with Christ in the regeneration of the world, they, themselves, must first have received the blessings that is to come upon all nations as given in that promise to Abraham. (Luke 22:20; Galatians 3:6-9) How can this be done, if those blessings do not come to the heathen until the millennial age?
The scriptures tell us that this is done through their acceptance, by faith, in Jesus’ sacrifice now. (Romans 3:25,26; 5:1) Paul tells us that this done in the manner that God calls things that are not as though they were, thus, reckonedly applying the justification of Jesus’ sacrifice to them before it is applied to the world, similarly to the way it was applied to Abraham because of his faith. (Romans 4:17-25) Thus, for the new creature in this age, the old creation condemned in Adam (Romans 5:12-19; 8:20-22) is reckoned as though already passed away, and they are reckoned as of the new creation, as of that millennial age to come, when all the old creation will have passed away. (2 Corinthians 5:27; Revelation 1:1-5) To become sons of God in this age, they, in effect, partake of the power of “the [millennial] age to come” (Hebrews 6:5), so that they are a kind of “first fruits” of the new creation. – James 1:18.
Joint-Heirs With Christ
The purpose, however, of calling people to be of the seed of Abraham, is that they may attain the resurrection from dead, being found in this age worthy of that resurrection, that they may become joint-heirs with Christ. (Luke 20:35; Philippians 3:11; Romans 8:17) While all who believe in Christ become sons of God through faith, and while all of the sons are therefore heirs according to the promise through Abraham (Galatians 3:29), not all the sons of God become joint-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17) Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi that he believed he had not (at the time of the writing) yet attained the “mark of the prize” of their high calling. (Philippians 3:12-14) Thus, he indicates that there are two levels of those who are justified believers: (1) those who are sons of God, but who had not yet obtained the mark of the prize, and (2) those who have obtained that mark, and thus receive the prize for which they had been called. Evidently, very few believers actually ever make the second level, and therefore only a very few actually become joint-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom. Such as who reach that goal, however, Jesus says will sit with him on his throne, just as he, Jesus, has overcome so as to sit down on the throne of his God. – Revelation 3:12,21.
Long and Careful Choosing
The selecting work has since progressed, and we have reason for believing that the number of the joint-heirs is almost complete, that the time of the permission of evil for their testing in faith and obedience is nearly at an end. When completed the joint-heirs as the bride of the lamb will be glorified as joint-heirs with Christ, to sit upon His throne. – Revelation 21:9.
We see, then, that it is the divine purpose that these joint-heirs, now being selected from amongst the world shall have the spirit of Christ – the spirit of self-sacrifice, the spirit of love for righteousness, the spirit of hatred for sin – to such an extent that they will rejoice to lay down their lives with their Master, in his cause, in cooperating with Him, under His direction and guidance. Thus we believe that, while the merit was in our Lord and in His sacrifice for sins, nevertheless, the world is waiting for the completion of, and the revealing, not just of the joint-heirs with Christ, but all the sons of God. (Romans 8:19-22) Nevertheless, before any son of God can receive the glory of joint-heirship, they must be tested, they must be also joint-sacrificers with Christ.
In harmony with this is the scriptural exhortation, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [in providing the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, including your sins, and in giving you a knowledge of His grace in advance of the world], that you present your [sinless] bodies [reckoned as being given from God in heaven as new creatures, having a crown of glory on the same level as Adam before Adam sinned – Psalm 8:4,5; Luke 3:38; 1 Corinthians 15:38,39,40; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 2:6-8] living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God and your reasonable service.” Therefore, before the believer can have the glory of joint-heirship, he has to sacrifice the glory as a human that has been provided by means of the sacrifice of the Lamb.
God’s Permission of Evil
More importantly, however, before the blessings that have been secured through the sacrifice of Jesus can be applied to the world at large, it is God’s purpose to allow man to try out all of his own schemes (Ecclesiastes 7:29), which is why the scriptures tell us that God has subjected man to vanity. (Romans 8:20) Paul also stated: “we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now”. (Romans 8:22) Does this mean that God himself is the cause of all the suffering now taking place? No, but it does mean that God has lifted his protective care so that he is allowing mankind to experience what it is like to be estranged from him. It was no idle pessimistic exclamation when Solomon expressed the fact: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) He was expressing the simple truth as can be seen all around us.
Nevertheless, if one has not comprehended the divine purpose behind God’s allowing the permission of evil, again, one might reason that God has certainly been unjust in allowing the misery and suffering of his human creation. Many have often compared God’s work in his human creation to the work of a building under construction. If one is has no knowledge of how such a building is constructed, as that one sees a crew as they begin to construct the building, it may appear that they destroying rather than building. It may appear that the building crew is in chaos, rather than working toward a common goal. Likewise, God’s wisdom is making use of the present permission of evil to teach, not only his human creation, but all present and future creation, a lesson that will stand for all eternity as a touchstone relating to any desire to again strike out into disobedience to the Creator, and try their own schemes.
At present, however, the human creation is still in the condition that Solomon expressed, when he stated:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Is there a thing of which it may be said, “Behold, this is new?” It has been long ago, in the ages which were before us.
The world that was made through Jesus (John 1:10), although it was originally created upright — straight, not crooked, good – soon was taken over by the rulership of the serpent, Satan the Devil. (Genesis 1:31; 3:1; Revelation 12:9) As a result, the world of mankind in general have become the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15), sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:2) Only through faith in God’s promises have any been reckoned as having been justified – made straight – in the sight of God, He who calls things that are not as though they were. (Luke 20:38; Romans 4:3,6,17-22) Only the justified walk in a path that is different from the path of the world that is around them. (Proverbs 4:18; Isaiah 26:7; Matthew 7:13) Thus, there are two seeds that are spoken of in Genesis 3:15, the seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman, the serpent representing Satan and His works (Revelation 12:9), the woman representing God’s promise (covenant), especially as expounded upon in God’s covenant with Abraham for a seed. – Galatians 4:22-25; Revelation 12:1,17.
The Salvation of the World
Returning, however, to the sacrifice of Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Jesus tells us that he did not, at his first advent, come to the judge the world, but rather that he had come to save the world. (John 3:17; 12:47) The prophecies speak of the promised Messiah as being a judge. (Psalm 72:2,4; Isaiah 11:1-4) Paul tells us that God has appointed a day in which to judge the world by means of the one whom he has ordained. (Acts 17:31) This is an reference to Psalm 96:13 and Psalm 98:6, wherein we read that Jehovah comes to judge the world. Thus, from Acts 17:31, we understand that Jehovah comes to judge the world in that appointed day by means of Jesus. That it is Jesus whom Jehovah has ordained can be seen from John 5:22,23.
Nevertheless, we also read that, with Jesus, the saints will also judge the world. (Daniel 7:22; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4) Thus, many Bible students believe that the “man” whom God has ordained is a figurative composite man, made up of Jesus as the head and all the saints who rule and judge with Jesus as the body of the one ordained. – Romans 12:4,5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 4:12; 5:23; Colossians 3:15.
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GOD’S WAY PERFECT
A few moments ago we noticed that had not the Divine plan made provision for a resurrection of the dead, there would have been no evening up of accounts as between those who in the present life have sought to live justly and honorably and those who on the contrary have deliberately violated right principles. But in the arrangement which we find scripturally set forth there is a provision whereby those who now seek to walk in the ways of righteousness will then find their blessing for having so done, while those who have wilfully transgressed will now find a retribution. Not merely believers in Christ and consecrated followers in his footsteps have sought to stem the downward tendencies of the fallen flesh and to rise to higher and nobler conditions of mind and deed. Yet only the church, the sanctified believers, get the blessing for which the Lord is now calling the little flock, the peculiar people.
Even amongst the heathen there have been some wonderfully noble characters- Confucius, for instance, as an illustration, an example. Likewise in civilized lands many noble people have never seen with clearness the reasonableness of a full faith in and a full consecration to the service of the Lord Jesus. Such, having sought to live justly and honorably in the world, will be advantaged in the coming [HGL886] age; they will come forth on a higher plane proportionately; mentally, morally, every way they will be superior to what they would have been had they not put forth efforts for righteousness. It still shall be required of them that they go on to perfection, but they will have fewer rungs of the ladder to climb than if they had misused their opportunities and privileges. Similarly those in the present life who have misused their opportunities, and degraded themselves and brought degradation upon others, in proportion as they knew better they will undoubtedly, as the Master declared, receive stripes or punishments. That is to say, they will find themselves that much nearer the foot of the ladder, and with that many more efforts necessary to be put forth to gain its topmost round, eternal life, perfection.
How much mom reasonable this scriptural view is than would be any of the usual thoughts on this subject amongst Christians. Roman Catholics, with their view of purgatory and varying terms of incarceration and varying degrees of suffering, have gone outside of anything that is set forth as a basis of faith in God’s word. Besides, their thought that the saying of prayers will relieve from these and cancel years of suffering is inconsistent with anything found in the scriptures. Protestant views, that only those fit for heaven go to heaven and that all others go to an eternity of woe, are thoroughly inconsistent, especially when they claim that there is no hope of relief, no hope of mitigation. If only those who are fit for heaven are received there, how few will enter in! It will be a little flock indeed.
Contrast such unreasonable propositions with the simplicity of the divine plan: The church, the sacrificers, the bride of Christ, glorified with him in his kingdom, rewarded for all their sufferings and self-denials, exceedingly and abundantly more than they could have asked or thought. The world, coming forth to a fair and equitable trial, in which the conduct of the present life will have its weight and bearing on the advantages of the future life, and all with the prospect, if they will, of reaching life eternal through the merit of him who, as the Lamb of God, died for the cancellation of their guilt, and shall at his second coming under the blessed influences of His kingdom, lift them out of sin and degradation and death conditions up to full human perfection, restoring to them the Edenic home and utterly destroying in the second death such as will not hear and obey the laws of His kingdom.
THE LAMB OF GOD
It is not the sacrificing of the church that takes away the sin of the world. We have nothing to sacrifice that would be acceptable at the bar of justice except those blessings which are counted ours through faith in Christ. Our sacrificing therefore, is merely a test of our loyalty and devotion; the merit of the sacrifice for sins is all in the Lamb of God-all in our Lord Jesus. And so the scriptures everywhere differentiate between the Lord and His perfection and the Church, which comes into Divine favor through Christ’s robe of righteousness, under His merit. The highest honor declared respecting the church is that she shall occupy a position which figuratively is described as that of a bride and joint heir. She is to be “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Having attested her loyalty to principles of righteousness by suffering with her Master now in the present time, she shall be counted worthy to share with him the honors of his throne, as he declared, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.” ‘Rev. 3:21.
The expression, “Lamb of God,” is a very forceful one. Man would not choose such a symbol as Divine inspiration has chosen. Look at all the emblems of heraldry and note how various ferocious beasts and birds are used as symbols of the earthly great; some have the lion, some the unicorn, some have dragons, others eagles, others foxes, others wolves, tiger’s heads, etc., emblems indicating the ferociousness and rapaciousness of the character behind, when it even did not intend to tell of its ungainly qualities, but sought rather to glorify itself. But look at our Lord’s emblem, a meek, innocent, gentle lamb. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, tells us that he was specially commissioned of God to bear this witness at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry-that Jesus was the “Lamb of God,” that he was the gentle, patient, unmurmuring one who would die on our behalf, that we by his stripes might be healed; that through his paying for us the death penalty, ultimately the whole world of mankind would be released from death, and so many of them as will would be brought up out of sin and death conditions to the full perfection of life everlasting.
John cried, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Let us behold him-not as the Pharisees and Scribes did with eyes of malice and envy and hatred. Let us look at him in the light of the Divine revelation, and perceive that he was without spot or blemish- that “in him was no sin” -that “he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” How came it that all this perfection should be found in Jesus?
The scriptures answer our query, and assure us that he was not born like others of the race-that while he received his human organization from his mother, the life principle was from above, and that by the selective processes of perfection even in his embryo condition he maintained himself in mind and every attribute perfectly. The scriptures tell us that he was thus born of a woman, separate from sinners, was previously with the Father, from before the foundation of the world- indeed that he had been the Father’s special representative in the creative work, as it is written, “All things were made by him, and without him was not one thing made that was made.”
The more we look into the Divine word the more astonished are we with the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love and wisdom, justice and power of God which are being revealed to us through his Son and through the great plan of salvation. It will do us good, dear brethren and sisters, not only for the week beginning, I trust, but for the remainder of life, to frequently hearken to thew words of the prophet, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Day by day we may behold him, more hilly more completely, as the eyes of our understanding open more and more widely and as we become more and more informed respecting the Divine plan of which he is the hub, the very center. And as we learn of him. and come more to admire him, let us not forget that all who are to be members of his bride clan, joint-heirs with him in the kingdom, must in order to attain this position, become copies of God’s dear Son.
Who Offers the Lamb in Sacrifice to God?
Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased Yahweh [Jehovah] to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand. – World English
It has been claimed that Isaiah 53:10 shows that it was Jehovah (Yahweh) who offered up his son in sacrifice. Thus, it is claimed that since of other scriptures show that Jesus gave himself in sacrifice for our sins (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:2,25; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Titus 2:14), that Jesus is therefore Jehovah (Yahweh).
The fact is that Jehovah (Yahweh), the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 3:14,15), speaks of things that he allows, or permits, as being his work. Thus, we read, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11) Did Paul mean that God Himself would personally delude people? No! The statement is made in the sense that God permits Satan to delude people, as can be seen from 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
Jehovah also said concerning bringing the children of Israel out of Eygpt:
Exodus 1:7 Yahweh said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.
Exodus 1:8 I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey; to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
Thus, Jehovah spoke of Himself as the One who was deliver them out the hand of the Egyptians. However, a few verses later, Jehovah said to Moses:
Exodus 1:10 Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.
And we read of Jehovah:
Exodus 12:51 It happened the same day, that Jehovah brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.
Deuteronomy 32:12 – Yahweh alone did lead him [Israel/Jacob – verse 9].
However, of Moses, we read:
Acts 7:36 This man led them forth, having worked wonders and signs in Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
Exodus 15:22 Moses led Israel onward from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
Does this mean that since both Moses and Jehovah both delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, that this must mean that Moses is Jehovah? No one seriously claims that Moses is Jehovah, yet according to the reasoning of those who wish to use similar arguments to prove that Jesus is Jehovah, it would seem that these scriptures should definitely prove that Moses is Jehovah. Of course, in reality, Jehovah often takes the credit for what his servants do in his name. (see scriptures below) Just because one scripture says Jehovah did this or that, and another scripture says that Moses, Gideon, Jesus, or another of God’s servants did the same, does not mean that any of these are Jehovah.
So how is it that it can be said that both Moses and Jehovah delivered Israel? Taking the Bible as a whole we learn:
Psalm 77:20: You [Jehovah] led your people like a flock, By [by means of] the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Hosea 12:13 – By [by means of] a prophet Yahweh brought Israel up out of Egypt, And by [by means of] a prophet he [Israel] was preserved.
In the same way that Jehovah provided Moses to deliver Israel, so he also has provided His Son to deliver us from sin. This does not mean that Jesus is Jehovah (Yahweh).
It was Satan who, through his lie to Eve, led man into sin. (Genesis 3:1-6) It was man who sinned, and brought death into the world. (Romans 5:12) And we read that God turns man to destruction, and yet, he also brings them out that destruction. (Psalm 90:3) This God did by preparing a sinless body of flesh for his Son to offer, to offset the sin of Adam. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Hebrews 10:5,10) Thus, it was God who provided the sacrifice, but it was not God who offered up the sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2.
The sacrifice itself had to be that of a sinless man, not God, since it was a man — not God — who sinned. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) To prove God just (Romans 3:26), that sacrifice could not be “God in the flesh” as some claim, for if the man was “God in flesh”, it would have proven that Adam would have needed to have been “God in the flesh” in order to obey God. (Genesis 2:17) Since Adam was certainly not “God in the flesh”, such an offering of “God in the flesh” would have, therefore, justified — rather than condemn — sin in the flesh. – Romans 8:3.
Nowhere do we read that God “gave himself” to God for our sins, or that God offered the lamb to himself for our sins. Rather than proving that Jesus is Jehovah, the fact that Jesus gave himself as a the man Christ Jesus to God (Ephesians 5:2; 2 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 9:24; 10:10,12) for our sins shows that Jesus is not Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. – Exodus 3:14,15; Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Acts 3:13-26.
See the study:
Is Jesus the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?
Was Jesus His Own Shepherd?
It is being claimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God, and that therefore Jesus was his own Shepherd and was his own sheep. In the expression, “the Lamb of God”, the word “God” designates only one person, and the Lamb is designated as being of that one person. We read, “to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things [literally, “the all”]” (1 Corinthians 8:6) Jesus, as the Lamb “of” God, is therefore “of” the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and therefore being the Lamb “of” Jehovah, it is Jehovah who is his shepherd. Indeed, as we have pointed out before, in Psalms 23:1, David is prophetically relating the words of the Messiah, in that is the Messiah who states, “Jehovah is my shepherd.”
Thus, the Lamb of God is led by his Shepherd through God’s spirit. – Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1.
The Lamb of God always obeys his Shepherd (John 8:29), is therefore spotless, without sin. – Hebrews 4:15; 2 Peter 1:19.
The Lamb of God was obedient to the words – the voice – of his Shepherd even to the point of death. – Isaiah 53:17; John 15:15; Acts 8:32; Philippians 2:8.
It is claimed that Jesus was the Shepherd of Israel. We can agree that Jehovah did send His son to shepherd His people, Israel, if that is what is meant. – Ezekiel 34:23; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6.
The sheep of Jesus are given to him by the unipersonal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jehovfah is the Most High Shepherd; Jesus is the “genuine” (Greek, transliterated, Kalos, Strong’s #2570) shepherd appointed over the sheep by the Most High Shepherd, as opposed to the false shepherds. The Most High Shepherd Jehovah shepherds His sheep through, by means of the genuine shepherd whom he has appointed. — Psalm 23:1; 96:13; 98:9; Ezekiel 34:2-24; John 5:22,23; 10:11-17,29; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Romans 2:16; 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10.
However, only a remnant of Israel proved to be sheep in this age. – John 1:11,12; Romans 11:5.
It is claimed the Shepherd, Jesus, became one of his own sheep. We, of course, have no scriptural reason to agree with this.
It is claimed that in John 1:10, it is clear that Jesus is presented as becoming one of his own creation. John 1:10 states:
He [the Logos] was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn’t recognize him.
Actually, there is nothing in John 1:10 that says that Jesus became one of his own creation. John 1:10 is clear that Jesus came into the world of mankind that God made through Jesus, that is true. It does not say that he became one of his own creation; elsewhere, however, we are told that Jesus is not of this world that was made through him, nor are those who become new creatures in Christ of this world that was made through him. – John 8:23; 15:19; 17:14,16; 2 Corinthians 5:17.
If Jesus had been a part of this creation, then he would have been under the same condemnation that this world has come to be under. – Romans 5:12-19
Likewise, the new creature in Christ is not of this world, else the new creature would also be condemned in the sin of Adam. – John 3:18; 17:14,16; Romans 5:6; 8:1.
Additionally, if Jesus did become a part of the creation that was made through him (John 1:10), he would have been under the same subjection to vanity that this creation has been subjected to, and he would be just as crooked as all other men, and he could not have justified himself. – Ecclesiastes 1:1,14,15; 7:13; Romans 3:20; 8:20; Galatians 2:16; 3:11.
Nevertheless, Jesus, while in the days of his flesh, did take on the outward appearance of being a slave to sin, in that he suffered as though he was under the same condemnation as all mankind, as though he were under the bondage of corruption, and yet proving himself obedient even to death, that he might pay the wages of sin for Adam and all who are dying in Adam. – Philippians 2:6-9.
If Jesus had become part that creation, he would have then been under that condemnation; he would have been “made” a sinner as all mankind (Romans 5:19), and he could not therefore have been an offering for sin. Jesus, therefore, did not at all become part of the creation that had been made through Jesus, but his God prepared a body for him, and he was not begotten in the womb of Mary without the taint of Adam’s disobedience. (Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 1:10) His being created as new human creation, in other words, was actually totally apart from that creation that had come into existence through him, for, since God has subjected that old creation to vanity, there is no new creation that can come from that source. – Ecclesiastes 1:2,9,10,13-15; 8:20.
The Seed of David
One tells that Jesus is still the Lamb after he was raised. Does this mean that Jesus took back his sacrifice, or that God gave back to Jesus that which he had sacrificed?
No, the word “Lamb” is a symbol, not actually Jesus Himself. Jesus is not literally a “lamb”, neither while he was in the days of his flesh, nor after his resurrection. John the Baptizer used the masculine form of the Greek word for “lamb”, “he”, in reference to the symbolism of a Lamb that was yet to be sacrificed; in the Revelation, however, the Greek form used for the word “lamb” is neuter, “it”, rather than “he”. Jesus was raised from the dead, not in the flesh, but in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18); nevertheless, Jesus was still himself, but he was then the lamb that had been slain. – Revelation 5:6.
Hebrews 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near.
Hebrews 10:2 Or else wouldn’t they have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins?
Hebrews 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a memory made of sins year by year.
Just as the sacrifices made each year continued to typically cover sins for each year, so the sacrifice that Jesus gave of his human body is eternal, as we read:
Hebrews 10:10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever.
Thus, Jesus is forever the symbolic lamb that was slain for our sins, the lamb representing the sacrifice that Jesus gave once. Just as the passover lamb could still be referred to as the passover lamb even after it had been slain, so Jesus is the eternal lamb that was slain, for there is no more sacrifice for sin. Nothing in this means that God gave back to Jesus what Jesus sacrificed; the sacrifice itself was Jesus’ human soul, his human body, his human flesh, his human blood. Indeed, he has no reason at all to retain being a human being, since there is no need of any more sacrifice for sin. Thus, “Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin.” (Hebrews 9:28) He does not appear as a human being, since he has already “offered one sacrifice for sins [his human body – Hebrews 10:10] for all time,” (Hebrews 10:12). Indeed, we read, “there remains no more a sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26) Thus, there is no need for Jesus to retain the body that he sacrificed.
Does this mean that Jesus will never appear again in a physical form? We cannot answer this either yes or no; we can only say that, as best as we can determine from what God has revealed through his spirit by means of the Bible, we see nothing that indicates that he will ever again he been seen in his former body, since, after his ascension, Jesus presented his body and its blood (representing his human soul) to his God and Father in heaven. Thus, if Jesus appears again in physical form, we should not expect that he would take back what he had sacrificed, but that he would appear in a form of man in the same way that angels did so as we find recorded in the Bible. Those angels, being spirit creatures, were not actually men, but they had appeared in a human form, and thus, because they appeared as men, were called “men”.
Originally published June 10, 2013; Updated and republished July 4, 2015.
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