So, I'm studying Revelation 5 today, and I come to the amazing account of over 100 billion angels, plus the 24 elders and the four "living creatures," singing "worthy is the Lamb..." This is the last of three great "lamb statements" in the Bible.
Check it out.
"Where is the lamb?" Isaac to Abraham (Genesis 22:7)
"Behold the Lamb!" John the baptist (John 1:29, 36)
"Worthy is the Lamb." 10,000x10,000 and thousands of thousands (Revelation 5:12)
Okay, so, I turn back to Genesis 22 to refresh myself on the story. It is utterly amazing... I'll give you some specifics in a paragraph or two. Anyways, as I go to turn back to Revelation from Genesis I completely randomly turned right to Isaiah 53, which is nowhere near Revelation. Here's a sampling: "...He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities..." (v. 5) His soul was made an offering for sin (v. 10), "...it pleased Yahweh to crush Him" (v. 10), "...My righteous Servant [shall] justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities" (v. 11), "...He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (12)...
Is there a more perfect chapter to turn to, from "where is the Lamb?" to "worthy is the Lamb that was slain," than the one chapter which is entirely dedicated to detailing the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for the sins of the world?! The answer is no. The Lamb which John the baptist introduces will "take away the sin of the world," and Isaiah 53 is an in depth prophetic account of how He would accomplish that weighty task...
Now, check out some pretty amazing nuggets from Genesis 22, but first I need to tell you about something called the "law of first mention." This is basically the premise that the first biblical occurrence of something significant will set a standard for that particular topic. You will see what I mean momentarily.
Genesis 22, in reference to the account of Abraham offering Isaac, is the first time in the Bible you find the following words and phrases:
1) love - אהב - 'âhab
2) only son - יחיד בּן - bên yâchı̂yd
3) worship - שׁחה - shâchâh - this is actually the 3rd occurrence of this word, but it's the first time it means worship in the sense that we understand it. The first two times it just means to bow down.
Is anyone else thinking of John 3:16?
In the story Isaac carries the wood he would be sacrificed on up the hill, but not only that, Abraham laid that cursed wood on Isaac; the Father laid the cross upon the Son.
While Isaac carried the wood, Abraham carried the fire.
Moses tells us that Abraham "took the fire in his hand" as well as a knife; the instruments with which to kill and offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Levitically, fire is linked with judgment. We talk of fiery wrath... what we read in Isaiah 53:10 that it "pleased Yahweh to crush Him" and then in Mark 15:34 Jesus asks the Father, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani," which means "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" The picture is clear that, while it was the Son's task to make Himself an offering for sin, it was the Father's task to dispense His wrath against sin upon His Son, and that it pleased Him to do so... and that, my friend, should cause you to rejoice... but first, pain.
Peter wept bitterly when at last he was made to realize the gravity of His sin against His Master. It was because of our sin that the Son had to die, and it was our sin which compelled the Father to lay our sin to Christ's account, and then to punish Him, the Just for the unjust, so that we could gain what we could not earn - eternal life.
Here's the conclusion: When Isaac asks Abraham "where is the lamb?" Abraham responds, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb..." What happens next is commonly known. The Angel of the Lord (the pre-incarnate Lamb!) stops Abraham just short of dropping the dagger. Then a ram is found caught in a thicket... a ram, not a lamb. Then, and this is the thrust of the story, Abraham names the mountain "Jehovah-jireh" which means "Jehovah will see to it," for "in the mount of the LORD it shall be provided."
What shall be provided?
The immediate context is that the Lamb is what will be provided. What the LORD will "see to" is that a lamb is provided, and He will do it on that spot.
Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you that on the very same hill (a place now called Calvary) some 2,000 years later God did indeed see to it that a lamb was provided. The Son, the only Son whom the Father loved, carried the wood He would be sacrificed on up that hill. There also the Father took up the fire, He laid it upon His Son, and there, in the very same place, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world laid down His life and was crushed under the wrath of the judgment of God for all sin for all time.
"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Corinthians 5:21