OT Background to Revelation’s Lamb Imagery (Part 1)

OT Background to Revelation’s Lamb Imagery (Part 1)

by Jason DeRouchie, Tom Kelby, and Jack Yaeger


JY: Welcome to Gear Talk, a podcast on biblical theology. Today, Jason and Tom continue their consideration of major figures in the book of Revelation. Today they focus on Jesus as the Lamb. Why is the Lord Jesus described as a Lamb? Jason and Tom talk about John’s use of this term in Revelation. They then turn to the Old Testament and walk through Lamb imagery appearing from the beginning of Genesis. This is the first part of a two-part series on Jesus as the Lamb. When you’re done listening, check out the show notes for links to resources connected to today’s episode.

The Lamb in Revelation: Slain yet Conquering

TK: Welcome to Gear Talk. I’m Tom and I’m with Jason.

JD: Delighted to be with you again.

TK: So Jason, today we are finishing up something we started last week, well not finishing, finishing up a part of what we started last week. We talked about the Lion-Lamb imagery in Revelation chapter 5, but we didn’t really focus on the Lamb. We focused on the Lion.

JD: That’s right. So, we are amid a discussion of key figures in the book of Revelation, and we’re starting with the chief protagonist in the book, this Lion-Lamb figure. So last week, we looked at some of the Old Testament background to this language of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David. And this week we want to develop the image of the Lamb, the slain Lamb, who by his blood ransomed some from every tribe, tongue, people and nation and gains victory—he conquers through his sacrifice. And we want to consider some of this Old Testament—the Old Testament background to this imagery that is so dominant in the book. Indeed, Lamb refers to Christ twenty-six times in Revelation. And it only occurs one other time in the entire book, the term, and that’s in relation to this second beast, known as the false prophet, who has two horns like a lamb, yet speaks like a dragon. And it really stands as a counter, even a counterfeit to the true Lamb, who rules and reigns in this book and who works judgment and salvation.

TK: We made a point last week—John hears about a Lion, and when he looks, he sees a Lamb. And this actually helped me a lot, seeing that this happens throughout Revelation. We talked about it with the city, for instance. John will hear one thing and it’s almost like he turns and looks and he sees something that is that thing, but it’s surprising the way it comes about. Now he hears about a Lion, but he looks and he sees a Lamb and one of the points here is we shouldn’t think this Lamb is weak then. This Lamb is a Lion.

JD: That’s right. And the book is so clear. This Lion has conquered, and he has done it as a Lamb that was slain. That is the means. And this Lamb is strong. This Lamb is indeed in the very throne of God. He is in heaven, overseeing and orchestrating all things, and he alone, as it says in Revelation 5, is worthy to open the scroll that includes the very words of God by which he brings about all of his purposes. He does it through his word. The very words of God, that detail the salvation, the good news that will bring saving grace to all the world and this good news within the book. What the dominating image is—a God of judgment who’s going to overcome the enemies who’ve been standing against the saints, who’ve been standing against the Lamb. And when God brings that ultimate vindication and brings justice, it indeed is good news. And in this book he’s doing it through the Lamb, the Lamb in this book is not seated but standing. In the majority of the book, the Lamb is standing ready for action and then in Revelation 19, we’re going to see him on a white horse bringing judgment.

TK: So he’s different than, for instance, the Lamb portrayed in Isaiah 53. Because this Lamb is one that has been slain.

JD: That’s right. The sacrifice has already been accomplished and that provides the grounds for his ability to carry out the saving purposes of God in the world. And earlier books in the New Testament clarify he’s doing that through his church. That’s how it is being accomplished. Or in Genesis 22:17–18 is this figure, this offspring of the woman and offspring of Abraham that Genesis 3:15 already said would conquer the serpent, though he himself would have his heel struck—this very figure, it says will multiply like the stars of the sky and like the sand on the sea. So, this one figure this offspring of the woman and offspring of Abraham will become a people. And then it’s with the result that, that is through the people, he will indeed—this offspring of the woman—will claim the gate of his enemies. And this offspring will be the agent through whom all the nations of the earth will regard themselves blessed. But he will do it ultimately through the church, through all the great numbers that he has multiplied into—the one will become the many, and then through the many the one will overcome enemy turf and be the agent of blessing. So, you’ve got an image even right there in Genesis 22 of this figure that we’re going to see as we begin to walk through the Old Testament. From the beginning, there is this this vision that the conquering will only come through tribulation. And yet in Genesis 22 the conquering is declared, and it’s being accomplished through a people. But as the people are working, it is his kingdom, this individual’s kingdom that is expanding. And enemy turf is being claimed. And, as this people expand, it is this individual that is recognized as the decisive agent of the world’s blessing. So, we see that being unpacked within this book, the decisive conquering has been done. He is a Lamb slain, and, as it declares in Revelation 12, those who identify with him have conquered “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of his testimony.” This individual, who is just portrayed in such glorious ways throughout this entire book of Revelation, is leading a people and, because of what he has done already, definitively in space and time, the people are gaining victory. As you said last week, the term, a term you used often was courage. They have courage to conquer and they’re doing it through the strength supplied in the Lamb’s sacrifice, by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of his testimony, they stand upright and therefore are not under the accusatory condemnation of the great Dragon, the serpent.

TK: They are not afraid. Yep.

JD: And now they’re not afraid because they have been washed, they have been cleansed, in the words of Revelation 5, they have been ransomed by the blood, and have become a kingdom and priests to God. And now this people, this multiethnic community, every tribe, every language, every people, every nation, this new Israel, have now been gathered. And we as the church are reigning, or rather, will reign with Christ on the earth, but he has already conquered, and he is now readying in this book to—and then, even in the book, it goes all the way through when he does bring judgment. He is readying for judgment in his standing, and then he brings judgment, seal by seal, he opens and the judgments of God are poured out on the earth. And as they come, it’s good news for the saints, because God does take sin seriously and those of us in this world need to take it seriously as well.

TK: The Lamb imagery isn’t just a Lamb. So, what it says is he has seven horns and seven eyes and then it says which are the seven spirits God sent out into all the earth. So, when we imagine the Lamb, we are not imagining a powerless creature. Seven is a picture of strength here.

JD: It’s a picture of strength. It’s a picture of completeness. He has all the authority he needs. This image of a ram—I mean of a of a horn rather, we’re to be thinking of an instrument of power all throughout the Old Testament the horn is that instrument of strength, and in this instance it’s sovereign strength. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David. He is in the throne room of God. It says in verse six of Revelation 5. And he’s being worshipped as the sovereign one who alone is worthy to open up the saving purposes of God. These horns truly do display sovereign strength. You had a good thought about these horns as we were reflecting before the podcast opened Tom, that takes us back to Jericho. Just reflect for a second on your thoughts.

TK: Well, I think Revelation is replaying so many things we saw in the Old Testament. For instance, the ten plagues in Egypt replayed on a worldwide scale in Revelation. The conquering of Jericho is replayed in this book. We have a city set against the people of God, Jericho. And we have God’s people who are seen on the offensive. But one of the parts of that story is the priests were blowing seven horns and—seven ram’s horns, actually—and that was instrumental in the walls coming down. So just thinking about imagery and saying, wait a minute, there’s another spot in the Bible where seven horns are associated with a city opposed to the people of God coming down and becoming no more.

JD: This entire book of Revelation is detailing the Day of the Lord. And the Day of the Lord is less an extent of time and more an event in time. It portrays the time when God rights all wrongs and brings—restores peace to his world. And we see intrusions of the Day of the Lord reaching all the way back into the Old Testament, and one of those is at the conquest when God is destroying the Canaanites. It’s a microscopic picture of the Day of the Lord when he is overcoming his enemies. And so it’s very natural that a book like Revelation would reach back to even Old Testament imagery of the battle of Jericho to elevate, in this instance, the ultimate conqueror, the Lamb himself, who’s now bearing seven horns. And what’s intriguing to me—an element is intriguing—is that in this book the warrior-Lamb will show up in Revelation 19, with the sword coming out of its mouth. Now we might think that’s a weird way to fight a battle, and yet what it declares is that simply by speaking, will he accomplish his victory.

TK: That’s really good.

JD: And he simply—that’s all he has to do is open his mouth and it becomes—thinking back to our reflections on the servant songs where in his mouth, it’s like a sword, Isaiah 49. And that’s the one we’re talking about here. This Lamb will ride and bring great victory and just like at the battle of Jericho, the seven horns simply had to be blown, and God brought the walls down. The swords did not have to be raised. God won the victory through his saints. And so too, in this book, these representative horns—and then you have also have seven churches, right? And there may be a connection here that the Lamb has all the strength he needs in order to protect his people. And these churches, representative of all the Christian churches throughout the world, the seven Spirits of God which are the seven eyes that this Lamb has. I mean, it’s weird imagery if we try to draw it, but all of it is simply symbolic for something greater and meaning that Christ is—as the sovereign one—is able to see in all directions. He knows what is going on and he is bringing his sovereignty to bear in such instances, so you have his sovereign strength and the working of the Spirit.

TK: So to say it kind of in a simple way, it would be almost like a church saying we’re such a small church in in such a remote location. Surely the Lord doesn’t think about us. He would care about churches in major places. And somebody might say, wait a minute in Revelation there are seven churches, but the ram has seven eyes—the Lamb does. He sees clearly all of them, and he has seven horns. Surely, he has a horn for our church. And that sort of picture—he has strength for us. We can make it, we can conquer. Jason. I’m thinking about—because we will get there, not today, but Revelation paints pictures of a beast, for instance. And you talked about a Lamb-beast combination coming up and the dragon. The Lamb appears first and it is intended to encourage the Saints, but as we think about the Lamb appearing throughout Revelation, the imagery here that we talked about is not passive imagery. It should encourage the church. The Lamb in his imagery is presented as doing something and strong and very active. Would you agree with that?

JD: Absolutely, as you said this—we would think the Lion is the one who’s bringing the conquering, but in this book it is the image of the Lamb that is dominant. The Lamb is the one who, for example, unleashes his wrath on his enemies. It is the Lamb who will conquer. For example, in chapter 6 verse one, “I watched the Lamb, when the Lamb opened, one of the seals, a voice came forth like thunder. And it said come and I looked, and behold, there was a white horse, and its rider had a bow.” So here you have the Lamb opening a seal and out is coming a message of judgment.

TK: That does not seem weak at all.

JD: No, not weak at all. In 17:14, we read that they’re going to make the war on the Lamb, all the enemies of God, and yet the Lamb will conquer them. Why? For he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called chosen and faithful. The Great War of the centuries is going to be brought against the Lamb, and yet he is King of kings and Lord of lords, and he will conquer them, and with him will be the saints who are called, chosen, and faithful. This is the portrait of the Lamb, a victorious Lamb who saves. I think of chapter 15:3—it’s so beautiful and hopeful—he leads the saints in praise to God. It’s not only the song of Moses, it’s the song of the Lamb. And then it says “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God Almighty, just and true are your ways, O King of the nations” (Rev 15:3). So, the Lamb is King of kings and Lord of lords, and yet he is leading the saints in praising his own father, who is the Great One. It is this Lamb—what we call the marriage supper of the Lamb. So, he’s the one who is readying his bride, and that bride is the church, the New Jerusalem, and he’s going to gather us in. It is this Lamb, it says, who will shepherd his people and guide his saints. Just two verses here, 7:17, it says, “The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd and he will guide them to springs of living water.”

TK: This should comfort us.

JD: Oh man, this should comfort us. In 14:4, it says that of the 144,000—and I anticipate us talking about this among the key figures within the book. Who are these 144,000? I believe it is the true new Israel of God, which is a multiethnic people redeemed from the earth. And it says it is these who have not defiled themselves. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.

TK: He’s going somewhere. He’s doing something.

JD: He’s going somewhere, he’s doing something. He’s leading, he’s guiding, he is shepherding. And if you’re on his side and you’re one of his followers, this book brings us great hope.

Old Testament Lamb Imagery: A Wounded Conqueror in Genesis 3:15

TK: I love it. I think the courage we get from this book—meeting this Lamb, who is the most fierce warrior in the book, should bring great hope and courage to the church to persevere in hard days, because I’m with the Lamb, I will make it. Hey, Jason, I would like to, I think, spend the rest of our time if we could in the Old Testament, does that work for you? Just the Lamb imagery, because we said it last week, John in Revelation uses the Old Testament more than any other New Testament author, but he doesn’t do it like other authors do, and there’s not a right or a wrong, it’s just the way of apocalyptic literature like Revelation. You’re not going to say something like as it says in Isaiah, and then quote it. Instead you will use it and you’re expecting the readers will know something, but you’re not going to introduce it like that. So if we could look at a little bit—Lamb imagery and why would this be so prevalent in Revelation? So, where should we start?

JD: What we are going to start in the book of Genesis, this is where it all begins and over and over again—this is Gear Talk, biblical theology—we are constantly finding how foundational the entire book of Genesis is for understanding the rest of Scripture. And the very Lamb that we are talking about it, I think, it finds its roots—the imagery finds its roots in Genesis chapter 3 where—just the imagery when we’re thinking about an imagery, we’re thinking about sacrifice within the framework of the book of Revelation. He is a Lamb like one that was slain. So where does that image of sacrifice of substitution, where does it start? And I mean we we’ve got a good list of verses here, so we can’t—we’re not going to read them all, but we’ll try to touch on most of them. But I just want to take us right back, remembering the foundational gospel promise right in the context of the original fall episode. The very first confrontation God makes is against the serpent himself, that ancient serpent, the devil, as Revelation 12 refers to him. This red dragon is in the garden and we’re told the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field—that’s going to become significant as a backdrop for why Revelation talks about the beast alongside the Dragon because he’s in the Dragon’s image rather than imaging God. But then there’s the Lamb, and the Lamb looks like God himself. Indeed, he’s called the son of Adam, or the son of man. But in the context of judgment, God confronts the serpent, and says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman”—so, between the serpent and the woman who’s the source of the coming offspring—“I’ll put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring, serpent.” So there’s gonna be serpent of the devil—sorry—there’s going to be offspring of the devil, but there’s also going to be offspring of the woman and there’s going to be animosity between the two—“between your offspring and her offspring, he”—so he is the woman’s offspring—“shall bruise your head serpent, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15). What this suggests is there’s going to be a conflict. The serpent is on the ground and it’s going to strike the heel of the woman’s offspring. This is a male offspring, a he. “He shall bruise your head. You shall bruise his heel.”

TK: I’ve often thought about this. Where we live, we don’t have poisonous snakes here, so in our context it can sound like, oh that would be unfortunate. Or that would be painful to have a snake bite my heel. But in certainly the global south, most of the world’s a snake and certainly this serpent should be seen as a poisonous snake. So, a bite on the heel would likely be fatal.

JD: Would likely be fatal, and yet this is the means by which the ultimate serpent himself is going to be crushed on his head. And so all of this suggests that if the serpent was the means by which the old creation is cursed and moves toward destruction, what would happen if an ultimate image bearer of God were to strike the serpent on the head, to do to the serpent what Adam had failed to do? This individual offspring of the woman is being portrayed as a new Adam, who would—the original Adam was called to serve and guard the land. Now we have—and yet he failed to do just that—now we have a new individual, a new Adam figure who is indeed guarding, and he is striking the key enemy. And putting a death blow to that enemy. Yet at a sacrifice to himself. That’s all that we get at this moment. But it’s only this is verse 15, it’s only seven verses later that God is making animal garments, animal skin garments and clothing Adam and Eve, as if he is re inheriting them, declaring them to be his royal children. And how does it happen? Through the sacrifice of animals.

TK: “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). They were, strangely, they were already clothed with clothing they made for themselves out of plants.

JD: But now God is clothing them.

TK: Right. Right. I sometimes think of like when you are listening to music or hear—or watch a movie perhaps. And a certain character, a certain thing happens and you get a type of music or a little melody that goes with it. It’s almost like a certain melody was introduced in 3:15 of the new Adam, sacrificially saving the people and dealing with the serpent. And imagine that same melody being played in verses like the one we just thought about. That I should say, wait a minute, I’m hearing a version of the same thing right here in 21.

JD: I think so. Many scholars will say you’re reading something into the text that is not there, but what’s missed is that, I believe what’s missed is that for many of us, when we think about the Lamb imagery that takes us to Moses, it takes us to the Passover. It takes us to the Tabernacle. And we’re going to get there momentarily. That is exactly right. That’s where the context of substitutionary sacrifice, where, where.

TK: Well, it’s made explicit there.

JD: It’s made explicit there. It is the context in which we gain clarity that the wrath of God is against sin and sinners, and that God, in order to make things right, that is to atone for sin, he must either slay the sinner or slay the substitute. So, we’re going to see that that’s where it’s made clear. But the same Moses who gives us the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy is the one who gives us the book of Genesis. That is, Genesis is crafted, the story of Genesis 3 and 4 is crafted in such a way to awaken images in the minds of the readers who are living in the context of the Passover and the Tabernacle.

TK: That’s really helpful.

JD: Even though the story of Adam and Eve takes place centuries before we ever get to Mount Sinai, we have to remember that the story itself is being written for us in light of Mount Sinai and the readers themselves would have been reading these hints that we’re talking about right now, I think, in relation to their framework, which is God takes sin seriously. He judges and punishes sin by death. And yet he has provided a way somehow for the blood of bulls and lambs to stand in our stead. How this is possible, I don’t know, they might say at this point, but the fact is this imagery of animal skin garments and of an individual being struck in the context of battle, it would be raising images of war and that’s what’s happening in Leviticus. That’s what’s happening in the Passover Lamb, it’s war. God’s war against sin. We’re going to see that when we get to Exodus and recognize that the Passover sacrifice is in the context of God’s war against Egypt.

TK: And certainly Revelation, that ending part of this story we’re talking about. But Jason, this makes sense that if I was living and first hearing what Moses had written, if I’m part of the wilderness generation and the tabernacle is a part of my daily thinking, and I’m hearing the Abel story, for instance, in Genesis chapter 4.

JD: That’s right.

TK: I would already have formed thoughts about God being pleased with Abel’s sacrifice. They wouldn’t be a surprising thing to me that that sort of sacrifice would please him.

JD: It—if what’s at stake is indeed sin, then they would know fruit is not able, offering fruit to God—it’s not that that’s a bad thing to offer to God, but that doesn’t cover sin. That can be part of a peace offering where you’re giving the fruit of the lamb—fruit of the ground rather—as part of the meal that will be enjoyed in the midst of the fellowship of the community at the Tabernacle. But vegetables are not a means for dealing with sin and Abel’s offering is the pleasing one to God. He offers the first born of his flock, and that would have been a signal, I think, to the reader. Yeah. Abel’s offering is the one that can satisfy, Cain’s offering cannot.

TK: So they would, they would have thought this when Noah left the Ark as well, wouldn’t they?

JD: They would have. You’ve got here a host of clean animals, seven of each type of clean animal, and we find out why is it that among the unclean there’s only a pair, a male and a female. But among the clean God said bring seven of each. Why? Because after the flood the wickedness of man’s hearts were the same as they were before the flood. The eight people on the ark had the same kind of hearts as all the rest of the world that died under the judgment, the watery judgment of God. The only thing that could allow God to let them continue to live was a blood sacrifice in Genesis 8:28—where is it 20 and 21—Noah offers this sacrifice, and it is a pleasing aroma to God, and it’s in this context that the entire covenant—common grace covenant—is clarified and by common grace I mean that God, rather than wiping out rebels, he gives rain to both the just and the unjust. He lets the sun shine on both evil and on the good. He lets evil people flourish. He says, I’m not going to pour out a watery judgement on the world again. And what this does, due to a blood sacrifice, it provides a context for saving grace to be operative. Because God is withholding his judgment, his bow is pointed up rather than down on the world because of that it gives a context for the cross. It gives a context for Jesus to show up and save the world. And the context of Noah, what it suggests is the sacrifice, which itself anticipates the cross—what Jesus was doing was ultimately paving away for the saving grace to be operative by purchasing common grace. And you’re right, the Noahic flood also is setting a stage for the readers to be thinking about substitution, for we as readers of Revelation to be seeing a backdrop for the Lamb imagery. Why is it that through the Lamb’s death, an entire multiethnic people around the world is ransomed freed from the bounds of the Dragon?

TK: Yeah, your mind goes to so many stories.

JD: So many stories.

Old Testament Lamb Imagery: A Substitute Ram in Genesis 22

TK: So Genesis 22, Jason, let’s move there. Because I—we’re obviously going to get to the Passover, but we have a stop first in Genesis 22, the Abraham-Isaac story.

JD: It’s no light stop. God had said in Genesis 21 through Isaac, the offspring, the offspring of the woman, the offspring of Abraham, will be reckoned. Isaac is not the offspring, but it’s through him God is going to raise up this victorious offspring who, by his own sacrifice—his heel will be struck—he will gain victory over the serpent. That’s the hope of Genesis. And that’s what stands in the backdrop. It’s through, Isaac, that your offspring will be reckoned yet God has told Abraham, go to the mountain a three-day journey. And sacrifice your son. Abraham believes he knows that his son will be sacrificed. It’s as if he’s already dead when Abraham leaves. And three days later, his son will be resurrected.

TK: So Jason, you’re a an Old Testament professor here and some of us, we read things, believers read things in the Old Testament and we read them and feel like we see the gospel, but then maybe we read notes in our study Bible and they won’t say anything. So a three-day journey and we say, hey, that reminds me of something, could that be intentional? But then it’s almost like we’re talked out of thoughts like this. Seems like the gospel story. Can you talk about that for us a second? Do you get what I’m the question I’m asking?

JD: I think it’s so important to remember what Paul says, he opens the book of Romans this way: that he is a servant of God called to be an apostle, “set apart for the gospel of God”—so it’s good news, it’s gospel—God’s gospel, he is the source of it. “The gospel of God, which was promised beforehand by the prophets in the sacred writings concerning his son” (Rom 1:1–3). So many who write study Bible notes don’t recognize enough that the Old Testament prophets were proclaiming the gospel concerning—the gospel of God concerning his son.

TK: Even way back in Genesis.

JD: That’s right. In John chapter 5, Jesus himself says Moses wrote about me. And the scriptures testify about me. That’s John 5. Moses is the author of Genesis. Jesus, says in John 8, Abraham saw my day, he rejoiced and was glad. Abraham saw it. And this is one of those texts where I think Abraham saw it. He saw the day and if there’s an inclination in the heart of our listeners, I’m reading this text in Genesis 22 and I’m wondering is this a signal? Well, wrestle with it, and if you can establish warrant from the text itself, then keep walking ahead until something in the scripture says no, this isn’t right. What you’re looking for is warrant. I can justify my interpretation is I’m—say you’re preaching this week—I can justify my interpretation for the people from the biblical text itself and we can’t forget in this particular instance, we want to think about Paul’s words in Romans chapter 8. He said, he’s quite forthright and I think he has Genesis 22 in his mind when he said, God, who—“he who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” (Rom 8:32). I think Paul has in mind the Abraham story. What Abraham is doing for Isaac is what God is doing for us. Jesus is called God’s beloved son. This is my beloved son, listen to him.

TK: So that’s the start. I’m not looking at it right now, but as I remember at the start of the passage, it says take your son, your only son whom you love, take him to one of the mountains in the region of Moriah that I will show you. That description, even for a believer, it rings bells in you and like you said follow that trail then.

JD: Follow the trail.

TK: An example I use with the church is sometimes it’s like a thread and you’re pulling on a thread to see what happens. Like, huh? What will happen when I pull on this?

JD: That’s right. We’ve talked about typology. I think the beginning of this Isaac story is filled with predictive, indirect prophecy called typology. Where the symbolism, the figures, the actions, the characters are actually pointing ahead to the person and work of Christ. And then what we’re going to see is when we get to verses 16 through 18, the typological prophecy turns into direct prophecy. About the coming of the Messiah, he is the offspring of Abraham who will possess enemy gates, and it is through that offspring that all the nations of the earth will regard themselves blessed. Those are the kinds of warrants that I’m talking about. But in this context, in route to Mount Moriah, which 2 Chronicles chapter 3 is going to tell us is where the very temple of God is—think about sacrifices—the very temple of God—think about the throne room—the very temple of God is going to be made. It’s the only two places in all the Bible where Moriah is mentioned. That’s where we’re at and in route it is Isaac who says, Father, I see the wood for the burnt offering, but where is the lamb? This is the very first time where it’s clear burnt offering, before we have the building of the Tabernacle, is the only sacrifice for sin. And it’s the first time in Scripture where we see that that burnt offering is directly associated with a lamb and God supplies a substitute. Isaac is not going to be sufficient to pay for the sin represented in the burnt offering. God gives a ram, and that contrast ram is a more specific term, lamb is a broader category and it’s lamb that Revelation is going to draw on. And, intriguingly, we can just jump ahead really quick. It’s in Isaiah 53 that the suffering servant is going to be like a Lamb led to the slaughter, and I think it has in mind the same imagery that is associated with Genesis chapter 22. It’s that substitute, but in Isaiah 53 it’s not an actual lamb, it’s a person who represents, who’s acting like a lamb. He is the substitute, and that suffering servant is Jesus himself, the king, the anointed conquer that Isaiah celebrates. But before we get to Isaiah.

TK: Yeah, just a thought, Jason. Let’s, if we could, conclude with the—you mentioned direct prophecy coming up, but I want to conclude this one and we’ll pick up next time and move forward to the Passover. But the statement, “On the mount of the Lord, it shall be provided.” So, there’s a statement after Isaac’s question. And after the deliverance, so can you just talk about that. It’s verse 14 of Genesis 22. “So Abraham called the name of the place the Lord will provide, as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord, it shall be provided.’” So there’s a people who are saying this saying, and the author is just, Moses is making that comment. People say this to this day.

JD: This is foundational to why I believe this whole Isaac episode is indeed typological prophecy that Abraham understood and that Moses, as the writer understood. So what we learn is that what God—what happens at the mountain in God providing a ram in the place of Isaac, it gives a certainty to Abraham that there is a future provision that will take place. It doesn’t say Yahweh has provided it very explicitly in the Hebrew text, says Yahweh will provide, and then Moses comments, as it is said to this day, so.

TK: Yes, because it’s a little strange, Jason, because it should have said—Abraham seemingly should have called it Yahweh provided, past-tense because he provide us a substitute, but he went future.

JD: That’s right. Because he he’s able to see that what God is doing at Mount Moriah is a foretaste of a greater provision. He—it’s as if Abraham knew that the blood of a ram ultimately could not take the place of human sin. If humans have sin, then a human has to die, whether as the one who was the violator or as a substitute. But if—but the only type of substitute that will work is an unblemished substitute, and no human on earth, no mere human on earth can stand as that substitute. All Abraham says here is what we’ve just seen is indeed a prediction of a future provision that God will supply on the mountain. And then Moses affirms it. And in his day—in a day when there were all those more sacrifices happening—in his day, Moses is still himself looking ahead to a future provision at a future mountain.

TK: He’s not saying, then, what we’re doing right now is sufficient. He’s saying no, I’m looking ahead.

JD: The narrator himself says, “As it is said to this day. On the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided.” And so I believe you’re absolutely right. This is indeed true prophecy about a coming provision and in the context, what is it about? It’s about the offspring promise through Isaac, the offspring will be reckoned and offspring that will come from Abraham. And as we saw last week, it’s an offspring that will come through the line of Judah as a lion. But here it’s being portrayed—the provision will come like a lamb. So I think it is a good place to stop. It sets us up and in our next podcast we have many more Old Testament texts that stand as the backdrop to this imagery of a victorious Lamb figure and how we’re to think about him in relation to the royal Lion figure. That’ll be next week.

TK: I can’t wait. All right. We’ll see you next time. Thanks for listening.

JY: Thank you for listening to Gear Talk. Check the show notes for helpful resources from Hands to the Plow.