25 Names of Christ: Lamb of God

John the Baptist introduced Jesus as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

David and Jo Ann Seely, Instructors in Ancient Scripture at BYU, provide a number of insights into the practice in which Lambs were offered as sacrifices on sabbaths, special feasts and holy days and how these practices pointed to Christ:

THE PASSOVER

“Shortly before the children of Israel were freed from bondage in Egypt, the Lord commanded them to “take to them every man a lamb, … without blemish, a male of the first year” (Exodus 12:3,5). Each family chose a lamb on the 14th day of the first month and sacrificed it… They took the blood of the animal and daubed it on the door frames as a token of their obedience to the Lord’s commandments. In return for their obedience, the Lord promised He would “pass over” them and spare their firstborn (Exodus 12:13). After the Israelites escaped from Egypt, they continued to celebrate Passover each year.”

“The elements of the Passover meal—especially the lamb—pointed to the coming of the Messiah and the redemption He would offer from death and hell… the Last Supper occurred the day before Passover; thus the Savior was likely bound and crucified at the same time the Passover lambs were being sacrificed at the temple (see John 13:1).”

WITHOUT BLEMISH

In Leviticus 1:3,4, the Lord instructed the men of Israel to bring their sacrifices “without blemish” of their “own voluntary will”; each man placed his hand upon the head of his lamb, and the lamb was “accepted for him to make atonement for him”.

The Apostle Peter taught the early Saints that they were redeemed through “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19). As part of the ancient ordinance, only a lamb without blemish was acceptable as a sacrifice. Jesus Christ’s perfect life meant that He was ‘without blemish’ and therefore worthy and able to give himself as a sacrifice for all mankind.

THE BINDING

“Traditionally, an animal’s legs were bound before it was sacrificed. In Jewish literature the story of Abraham and Isaac is known as the Akedah, or “The Binding,” in reference to Abraham binding his son. …After Jesus suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, John records that the Savior was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, and the soldiers “took Jesus, and bound him” (John 18:12), which reminds us of the Akedah… and symbolizes a bound sacrifice.”

NO BROKEN BONES

As part of the Passover, care was taken to ensure that none of the lamb’s bones would be broken. This was according to the word of the Lord “neither shall ye break a bone thereof.” (Exodus 12:46)

“John also recounts that when Pilate ordered the soldiers to break the legs of those being crucified to hasten their deaths, the soldiers instead pierced Jesus’s side to make sure He was dead. Just as the lambs of Israel were sacrificed without breaking any bones, so the Son of God was sacrificed and the scriptures fulfilled: “A bone of him shall not be broken” (John 19:36; see also Psalm 34:20).”

WORTHY IS THE LAMB

“After the Savior fulfilled His role as the sacrificial Lamb, He rose from the tomb and ascended to heaven, where He stands “on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). Those who “[come] out of great tribulation, and [wash] their robes … in the blood of the Lamb” are welcomed into the presence of God, where “the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:14, ).”

“We join with the angelic praise recorded by John the Beloved and immortalized by George Frideric Handel in his oratorio Messiah: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. … Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:12-13).”

Sources:

Behold the Lamb of God– David Rolph Seely and Jo Ann H. Seely

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2013/04/behold-the-lamb-of-god

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