Leviticus 1 ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’
This Week’s Focus Passage: Leviticus 1
‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’
Our readers may read, in their own copies of the Word of God, in Genesis 22:1-2, of the ‘proving’ or ‘tempting’ of Abraham by Jehovah. It is rather startling to consider that God would require anyone to offer a human sacrifice, but this is precisely what we read in that particularly astounding passage:
And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham; and he said, Here am I. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Just what has God commanded of Abraham regarding his son, Isaac? There is no question but that He has directed Abraham, this father of faith, to offer his son, Isaac, for a burnt-offering upon a mountain to which God would direct the patriarch. What is it that is entailed in making a burnt-offering? That Scripture is the Interpreter of Scripture is cited once and again. Seeking the answer therein, we will discover that the first reference to burnt-offering is to be found in Genesis 8, in the continued account of Noah and the flood, where we are informed that after the flood had subsided, Noah offered thanks unto God as recorded in Genesis 8:20, where we read:
And Noah builded an altar unto Jehovah, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar.
This may well be the first occasion of burnt-offerings recorded in the Bible for us, unless we presume some sort of sacrificial offering that provided the coverings of skins for Adam and Eve intimating a restoration of a relationship with God. But that being apart, the first actual reference to a burnt-offering seems to be this of Noah, and that after the flood. The occasion which confronts us in Scripture next is that of Abraham offering Isaac, referenced above. But to discover more concerning what is involved in a burnt-offering, we have to consider the book of Exodus. In this second book of Moses, we may read in the 29th chapter, and verses 15-18, where we learn more detail about this sacrifice. We read in that passage, the following:
Thou shalt also take the one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands upon the head of the ram. And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take its blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar. And thou shalt cut the ram into its pieces, and wash its inwards, and its legs, and put them with its pieces, and with its head. And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt-offering unto Jehovah; it is a sweet savor, and offering made by fire unto Jehovah.
Reminding ourselves that this language of God in His directive to Abraham contains that very statement regarding Isaac, offer him there for a burnt-offering. Is it possible to draw any conclusion other than that of Abraham’s being commanded to cut his son, Isaac, into pieces, et cetera, et cetera?
And when we read the account of this patriarch following the orders of God, taking his son, along with wood for the fire, and traveling this three-day journey to the land of Moriah in obedience unto his God, must we not equally infer that he has fully determined to follow this pattern for burnt-offerings? The author of the book of Hebrews has informed us that he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son as a burnt offering. Therefore, returning to Genesis 22, we envisage Abraham taking the wood he had brought with him, laying it in the proper order; binding his son, and laying him upon the wood. Following the pattern for all burnt-offerings in these matters, we can expect nothing else but that he would continue following the pattern. Indeed, in verse 10, we read, And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. We then witness God’s intervening provision for this father and his son, when the Angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I knowest that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me. That which follows is, of course, the ‘ram caught in the thicket,’ which is taken, most appropriately, by Abraham who then offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son, upon which, Abraham called the name of the place Jehovah-jireh, ‘the Lord will provide. This is taken, and rightly so, by virtually every commentator, or writer, to be a foretaste, or type, of ‘the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.’ Matthew Henry may be considered as representative of these writers. In his commentary on this Genesis passage, he has written about the ram in the thicket, “Reference must be had to the promised Messiah, the blessed seed. Christ was sacri-ficed in our stead, as this ram instead of Isaac, and his death was our discharge.” This ram caught in the thicket is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed in our place.
If we must take from this that Abraham was being called to sacrifice Isaac in this same manner as we have seen described of the burnt-offering, must we not also take from this that the Son of God, even as the son of Abraham, was destined to be treated in the identical fashion as the ram in Exodus 29:15-18? And was He not? Yes, and while His body was not cut into its pieces, and so on, His blood was surely sprinkled round about the altar; especially as we view the Cross and Golgotha itself as the altar of God upon which His Son was sacrificed to provide atonement for each individual soul that God had placed in Him from before the foundation of the world.
Even as Isaac, the only begotten son of Abraham, willingly, obediently, carried the wood for his very own burnt-offering, so the only-begotten Son of God, the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, willingly, obediently satisfied every particular with regard to His being ‘The Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the World.’ The Great Shepherd laying down His life for His sheep that they perish not.
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
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