Christian Churches of God
The Death of the Lamb
(Edition 1.0 19980314-19980314)
Many Christians do not fully appreciate what is happening over the period of the Passover and the timing and significance of the death of the Messiah as the Lamb of God.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA
(Copyright ã 1998 Wade Cox)
(Summary edited by Wade Cox)
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The Death of the Lamb
Numerous papers have been written with regard to the many aspects of the Passover, its timing, the crucifixion and resurrection and the constituent parts of the Lord’s Supper. See paper Nos. 159, 98, 99, 100, 103.
The Passover is a commanded ordinance of God and was kept by Israel up until the end of the temple period in 70 CE. Every aspect of this activity was performed in accordance with prophecies, the plan of God, His timings and laws.
The Passover ordinance is one of the two sacraments of the Church and baptism is the second (see paper Nos. 52 and 150).
Leviticus 23:4-14 covers the ordinances and shows the constituent parts of the Passover. The time for the sacrifice, 14th Nisan, the days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the timing of the Wave Sheaf Offering, thus determining the day of Pentecost (see paper No. 173).
The original Passover was the meal eaten on the evening of the 15th Nisan and followed the sacrifice of the lamb on the afternoon of the 14th Nisan, from the Ninth to the Eleventh hour (i.e. from 3 pm to 5 pm) see Josephus (Wars of the Jews, Bk. VI, IX, 3).
The blood was sprinkled on the lintels of the doors in the Israelite community and thus the dwellers were "passed over" and not killed by the death angel at midnight, as were the first born of man and beast in Egypt (Ex. 12:1-14, 29-36).
That evening was to be kept as a Night to be Much Observed forever, as a memorial, and pointed to the salvation of the world by the blood of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Ex. 12:42).
On leaving Egypt the ordinance was of necessity altered as can be seen in Deuteronomy 16:1-8.
The blood of the first Passover as protection for Israel in a foreign land was carried in symbolism over to the occupation of the Promised Land under Joshua. The red thread from Rahab’s windows protected her and family in the siege of Jericho (See Paper No. 142).
When Israel came into its inheritance, the Passover had to be killed and eaten outside of their homes. Also any clean animal of the herd could be slaughtered, although the Passover has always been symbolised by the lamb. This points directly to Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Lamb of God, His crucifixion and His sacrificial blood that cleanses from sin and saves the individual.
Messiah and the apostles went into temporary accommodation as is required by the ordinance in Deuteronomy 16:5-7.
Messiah is identified as the Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29-37). John states here, also, the pre-existence of Jesus Christ, and follows on from John 1:18, where Jesus Christ is revealed as the only born God (monogenes theos). His status was as the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world.
The change in thrust of the lamb in prophecy comes from Isaiah 16:1-5. The text is used to indicate that the followers of the lamb will dwell with Moab, who is asked to cover them from the face of the spoiler. The task here was to hide the followers of Messiah among the Gentiles, and to be judged because of this. This text forms a basis for the parable of the sheep and the goats given in Matthew 25:31-46.
Isaiah 53:1-12 covers many of the prophecies regarding Jesus Christ which are fulfilled in the Passover period of 30 CE by the sacrifice and behaviour of Jesus Christ, as Scripture cannot be broken (repeated in Acts 8:32-33; cf. Jn. 1:36).
Messiah was arrested at the contrivance of the priesthood (Jn. 18:12-14), and the Sanhedrin was used in the trial, which was unlawful on a number of counts. The details are covered in papers 159 and 217, and other Passover papers.
One of the disciples went into the palace of the high priest with Messiah and that disciple also brought Peter there, and his tests began.
In fulfilment of Isaiah 53, we now see the suffering and indignities begin to be inflicted as shown in John 18:19-24. Christ replied in verse 23, and was not breaking the law of Exodus 22:28, Acts 23:5, 2Peter 2:10, but He was refuting that charge, and that of sin being attributed to Him as He was sinless.
The answers he gave were effective in providing examples in behaviour before authority, and the gospels had to set an example according to biblical law.
Peter was again tested (Jn. 18:25-27), and this is a lesson to us in looking at the trials of the Church and brethren and how we support them or not.
Matthew 26:58 to 27:2 takes up the narrative of Christ’s trial from John 18:27-28. It is a disgraceful disclosure made in Matthew 26:59,60 that the chief priests, elders and all the council conspired as they did, in breach of the Law, to gain their ends – the death of Messiah.
Peter’s test is ended, as Christ said it would.
Matthew 27:1-2: Christ is condemned to death illegally by Judah and the Sanhedrin acting at the behest of the Pharisees and the ruling class. They stand judged under the Law of God (Ex. 23:1-9).
Under the punishment for perverting the law, judgment was removed from Judah and the Sanhedrin and given to the Church (Lev. 19:15,16). There will be judgment with justice, Deuteronomy 16:18-20.
It was the prerogative of the Sanhedrin and the priesthood to judge. But it must be just judgment or captivity ensues (Deut. 17:8-13).
John 18:28-40: In this sequence we see Messiah turned over to the head of the Gentiles for trial. In verse 37 Christ tells Pilate the purpose for His incarnation, and Pilate then went out to the Jews and said: I find in him no fault at all.
The Jews were thus given a chance to take back their dishonest judgment, but cried out for the release of one murderer Barabbas. Bar Abbas means son of the father.
The symbolism here was that Christ died in order that we might be set free as a son of the Father.
John 19:1-7: Pilate again tries to persuade them, and realises he is dealing with a religious matter (verse 7) and he is afraid.
The blasphemy of the Jews was that Jesus claimed to be a son of God, and this is a true statement of Malachi 2:10: Have we not all one Father? Christ defended himself before the charge was even laid – John 10:33-38.
These were evil charges against Jesus Christ made by Jews ignorant of the law, and the plan of God.
Pilate again tries to release a man in whom he found no fault (Jn. 19:8-11). God gives power of rule. Thus all government is allowed of God over the elect.
John 19:12-16: The Jews reject Jesus Christ as King, and continue to do so, and proclaim Caesar as such.
The crucifixion text is well known (Jn. 17:17-22).
In Psalm 22:1-8 we see the statements of Christ listed in prophecy. From verse 1 we see his cry upon the stake. We see Psalm 22:8 quoted in Matthew 27:43.
Prophecy, in Psalm 22:18, continues to be fulfilled as the crucifixion proceeds and his garments are parted for lots.
In Psalm 22:22 we see the prophecy quoted which is uttered in Hebrews 2:12. We see from this Psalm that God did not forsake him, but saved him.
Hebrews shows the reason for the sacrifice (Heb. 2:10-18). Thus the Lamb was allowed to be killed because by his death many would be given eternal life through their belief and faith.
Why then did the Lamb of God have to divest himself of his pre-existent spiritual nature, become a man, and humble himself unto death? (cf. Phil. 2:5-8 RSV). Did God desire sacrifice? Not according to Hosea 6:4-7, 1Samuel 15:22, Ecclesiastes 5:1 and Micah 6:8. It is obedience that is necessary for eternal life. All have sinned and earned the death penalty. Thus, reconciliation is necessary, and it is the obedience of Christ unto death, and by his blood that we can be reconciled to God. That is the function of the death of Messiah. Christ’s voluntary sacrifice was essential for the reconciliation of the creation of God – both the heavenly and the earthly creations.
The elect are also required to lay down their lives for others, as Christ did. In Hebrews 13:5-16 Paul discusses the question of sacrifice and its role with the elect.
The entire sacrificial system was put in place to point towards the elect and Messiah as the leaders of the government of God, which God wants. God wants obedience to His laws. Eternal life will not be conferred on those who disobey. That is why there are two resurrections (cf. Rev. 2:4-15). Faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:20-26) and we by our works show our faith (Jas. 2:18). Our works are obedience to the living God as Messiah demonstrated.
On that Passover day in 30 CE the entire world and its fate rested on the shoulders of that one sinless sacrifice.
John 19:25-42 shows the sequence of Christ’s last activities as a man. He handed his mother to the care of John, who would be able to care for her into old age.
One of the prophecies required Christ to be pierced (Zech. 12:8-14). And this was fulfilled in John 19:28-37, and he gave up the Holy
Spirit. We see from the text in Matthew 27:39-54 that when this happened the veil was torn in two, opening the Holy of Holies to the elect. We can now go directly to the throne of God, and make intercession for others as Christ made intercession for us.
After this, his body was taken down and buried, as the Holy Days were about to begin (Jn. 19:38-42).
He was the lamb and his body remained in the tomb for three days and three nights from the beginning of 15 Nisan at 6 p.m. Wednesday in that year of 30 CE until Saturday evening at 6 p.m. being the end of 17 Nisan in preparation to ascend into heaven at 9 a.m. Sunday morning as the wave-sheaf offering.