How can a king also be a lamb? Don’t those two roles seem to contradict each other? Isn’t a lamb meek and mild? After all, it is a helpless animal lacking much in insight and smarts. It can be difficult to envision how Jesus can embody the qualities of both a lamb and a king. But once you get to the know the Lamb of God as He is to be fully known in Scripture, you will come to see that the Lamb is actually a fierce and mighty King. In fact, the Lamb is the name to which you should appeal when you wage your most challenging wars. The Lamb is worthy of your greatest honor, fear, and respect.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s start where the role of a lamb originated and see how Jesus fulfills it before looking more closely at the warrior Lamb who will one day rule. Unfortunately, far too many people want to skip the beginning and the importance of the sacrificial Lamb, and that is why they never come to discover the power of the Lamb in their everyday lives.
When Adam and Eve first sinned in the garden, they tried to fix the problem themselves. Sewing some fig leaves together, they then tied those leaves around their bodies to try to cover their shame. But God did not accept that covering. The sewing of fig leaves did not satisfy the demands of a holy God. As a result, God had to slay an animal Himself and shed blood in order to provide a covering for Adam and Eve that He would accept (see Genesis 3:7,21). This one act then led to an entire sacrificial system that took place throughout the Old Testament by which the wrath of God could be temporarily assuaged.
The main centerpiece of this program, an event called the Passover, can be found in Exodus 12. When the people of Israel were preparing to leave their bondage of slavery in Egypt, the last plague God performed involved taking the lives of the firstborn in the land. In order for the Israelites to bypass what God had said He would do, they were instructed to take the blood of an unblemished lamb and paint it on the doorposts of their home. When the Lord came by their home, He would recognize the sacrifice and pass over that home, leaving everyone inside it still alive. We read about this in Exodus 12:13.
The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
In other words, the blood would avert judgment based on God’s justice. The reason why it had to be blood on the doorposts rather than anything else is because of this principle found in Scripture: “The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). If a person loses too much blood, they lose their life. And God says there must be the shedding of blood in order to avert His wrath.
A Sufficient Sacrifice
God is holy. God is just. He is not merely reactional when it comes to His response to sin. He doesn’t just lose it and get mad. Rather, God’s wrath is tied to His justice, and His justice is part of His nature. And while God doesn’t prefer wrath, He can’t skip justice. He has to exercise it. Thus, out of His great mercy and grace, He came up with a way to avert His wrath.
This temporary solution in the Old Testament involved the slaying of the lamb as well as other prescribed sacrifices. When God saw the blood, He accepted it in what we might compare to a “layaway plan.” Animal sacrifices never provided full payment for the problem of sin, although they delayed the full punishment. The reason they never provided full payment was because they were not equal sacrifices. In other words, man was the sinner, but the lamb was the sacrifice. The sacrificed being had to be equal to the nature of the one for whom the sacrifice was for in order for it to accomplish the full payment (Hebrews 10:4).
The sacrifice needed to be spotless, sinless. It had to be perfect, without disease. It couldn’t have anything wrong with it.
Tony Evans, The Power of Jesus’ Names (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2019).
We have just released a new Bible study on topic of The Power of Jesus’ Names. This study supplements Tony Evans’s book by the same name.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Part 1: Power in His Positions
2. Alpha and Omega
4. Lamb of God
5. Great High Priest
Part 2: Power in His Person
7. I Am
11. Son of God, Son of Man