Then we read that the Lamb opens one of the seven seals and GOD's judgments follow in swift
succession, until men cry in terror, asking the very mountains to fall on them and hide them from
the wrath of the Lamb (6. 16). But the redeemed, an innumerable multitude, stand before the
throne and before the Lamb arrayed in white and sing His praise; for the Lamb in the midst of
the throne is their SHEPHERD and GOD wipes away every tear (7:10, 17).
A little later we read how they overcame in the fight, against the accuser of the brethren, through
the blood of the Lamb (12.11) and because their names were written in the Lamb's book of life
Again we see the Lamb standing on Mount Zion (14:1) and the undefiled follow Him because
they are the first fruits purchased from among men unto the Lamb (14.4); but those who worship
the beast are tormented in the presence of the same Lamb (14:10). The victors sing the song of
the Lamb (15.3) but the rebellious war against the Lamb (17.13) who also overcomes them, for
He is the Lord of lords and King of kings.
After this we hear the voice of a great multitude in Heaven singing hallelujahs, for the marriage
of the Lamb is come (19. 7). "
Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of
Who can resist the cumulative evidence from these passages that JESUS as the Lamb of GOD
is the Saviour of sinners, the REDEEMER of the world, the King of Glory, the Supreme
JUDGE, the RULER of the nations, one with the Father, in the essence of His being, the
attributes of His power and the majesty of His dominion
And all this was latent in the words that the Baptist first used by the banks of the Jordan when he
saw the sinless Nazarene, numbered with the transgressors at His baptism, but crowned with
glory and honour in the voice from Heaven: "
This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well
" (Matthew 3.17).
John surely did not use the words without being conscious of their significance to those who
heard him. He was not speaking in riddles but alluded to the MESSIAH of type and prophecy;
the SERVANT of JEHOVAH, in Isaiah 53, who bears the iniquity of us all and is led as a lamb
to the slaughter.
To make the words refer to the gentleness and meekness of JESUS (as some modernists attempt
to do in recent writings) without reference to His atoning sacrifice is doing violence to all the
other parallel passages. As Godet remarks: "No doubt it was this contrast, vividly felt between
himself and JESUS, which, amid all the Messianic designations which the Old Testament might
have furnished him, led him to prefer this: '
The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of
It is remarkable that this title Lamb, under which the evangelist learned to know JESUS for the
first time, is that by which the Saviour is designated preferentially in the Apocalypse. The chord
which had vibrated at this decisive hour within the very depths of his being continued to vibrate
within him to his last breath."
And the music of that chord was in harmony with CHRIST's own and earliest teaching; namely,
that He came to give His life a ransom for others and that even as Moses lifted up the serpent in
the wilderness so the Son of Man would be lifted on the Cross for our redemption.
No other name of CHRIST occurs more frequently and repeatedly in the liturgies of the
"O Lamb of GOD: that takest away the sin of the world
Grant us Thy peace.
O Lamb of GOD: that takest away the sin of the world
Have mercy upon us."
Purgatorio, voices are heard in unison chanting the same prayer for pardon:
"Only Agnus Dei were their preludes:
One word there was in all and measure one,
So that all concord seemed to be among them."
John the Baptist rivets attention to the person of CHRIST, "Behold!" using the singular number
although many were present. Each one of us must look to JESUS individually for the removal of
his own guilt, although He taketh away the sin of the world. "
He is the propitiation for our
sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world
JESUS of Nazareth had no regal robes or royal crown. He was the carpenter's son. But John
beheld in Him the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
He is the Lamb of GOD. It is the genitive of origin and of possession.
GOD sent the SON and GOD loves Him. In this sacrifice it is not man who offers; it is GOD
who gives His own, His very best.
Ecce Homo! said Pilate pointing to JESUS crowned with thorns, and the bruises of the scourging
covered with a purple cloak. Ecce Agnus Dei! said John of JESUS just after his baptism and at
the opening of His ministry. Behold the man who is the Lamb of GOD!
The world has beheld Him ever since; for He fills the horizon of history. He cannot be hid. But
men gaze on Him and turn away, or gaze on Him and follow Him to the end. It is with deep
insight that Studdert Kennedy describes JESUS as He appears to the modern world:
He looks as contemptible as ever with His ragged rabble of a Church that shouts Hosanna on
Sunday and runs from the Garden of Gethsemane on Friday; that protests like Peter and then
betrays, that disputes who shall be greatest and thinks it is extravagant to wash men's weary
feet; with His crowd of wretched parsons, poor human fools like me, who preach the Gospel and
cannot lit it, who try to be loving and are not even amiable. He is as ridiculous as ever, just the
same CHRIST that sat with a dirty purple horse-cloth on His bleeding back, and a crown of
thorns set sideways on His head, with a mock sceptre in His hand, and the spittle of a drunken
soldier rolling down His face, just the same CHRIST, but I am afraid of Him, as in his heart of
hearts, I believe the modern man, the fiercest of the beasts of prey, is frightened of Him. He is
disturbing, unnerving. He saps self-confidence and murders pride. He makes men want to go
down upon their knees, and no strong man should do that except to the ALMIGHTY
CHRIST is the Lamb which GOD provides as propitiation and sacrifice for sin.
In JESUS, as the Epistle to the Hebrews teaches so distinctly, we have fulfilment of all the Old
Testament teaching concerning the blood that atones for sin.
Here is the great antitype to all the sacrificial ordinances and rites of humanity. The Lamb of
GOD who is the desire of all nations.
Contrasting the glory of Mount Sinai and the giving of the moral law with the greater glory that
is found for us in Mount Zion, the writer to the Hebrews comes to an astonishing climax. "
," he writes, "unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to
innumerable hosts of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first born who are
enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect
and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant and to THE BLOOD of sprinkling
How does the shedding of blood give remission of sin?
What is the origin of sacrifice?
Whence its universality?
Not only in the religion of the Semites but in the sacrificial rites of all nations we find three
fundamental ideas in the propitiation, namely, substitution, satisfaction and sufficiency.
The same is true of the sacrifice of JESUS on the Cross. CHRIST died in our stead just as truly
as the ram was the substitute for Isaac on Mount Moriah. CHRIST's death gave satisfaction for
sin, appeased justice, purchased pardon, more than the blood on the lintel did when the avenging
angel slew Egypt's first-born.
CHRIST's death is sufficient. He dieth no more. He made on the Cross by His one oblation "a
full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world."
Trumbull, in his interesting study of the "Blood Covenant," gives an excellent summary of early
Semitic teaching, with many parallels from the Old Testament, to show that to these people
without the shedding of blood there was no remission of penalty and no peace of
To understand what John meant when he called JESUS the Lamb of GOD, we must read the Old
Testament Scriptures that are at the basis of all New Testament thought.
To take a single example from this wide realm of Semitic religious thought, we find in Islam a
primitive custom, approved by Mohammed, and called the 'Aqiqa sacrifice. It is well-nigh
universal, from Morocco to China, and is based on orthodox tradition. We read in tradition that
Mohammed made the 'Aqiqa sacrifice not only for his two grandsons, Hasan and Husain, but for
himself ('Aqiqa 'an nafsihi). The prayer used to-day in this propitiating sacrifice of lamb or kid
presented for the seven-day old child reads: --
"O God, this is the 'Aqiqa sacrifice of my son so-and-so, its blood for his blood, its flesh for his
flesh, its bone for his bone, its skin for his skin, its hair for his hair. O God! make it a redemption
for my son from the Fire, for truly I have turned my face to him who created heavens and the
earth, a true believer. And I am not of those who associate partners with God. Truly my prayer
and my offering, my life and my death, is to God, the Lord of the Worlds, who has no partner,
and thus I am commanded, and I belong to the Moslems."
Among Moslems, as in the case of the Paschal lamb, not a bone of this sacrificial victim must be
broken! It is John who refers to this detail in the fulfilment of prophecy at the time of the
Crucifixion (John 19.36) for again he saw on Calvary "
the Lamb of God that taketh away the
sin of the world
The Gospel for the Moslem and for the non-Christian world is contained in that one short
The Cross of CHRIST is indeed the missing link in the Moslem creed.
The death of CHRIST, its necessity, its historicity, its implications, its results, its pathos and its
power -- these things are hidden from the wise and prudent in the world of Islam, but GOD
reveals them unto babes. When the inquirer comes to the Cross and sees the Crucified, he finds
an answer to all his difficulties.
Mysticism in Islam at its best always failed to reveal the mystery of the Cross. This is the
tragedy of many a soul's pilgrimage, ever pressing on without reaching the goal.
Ghazali, Sha'arani, Jalu-ud-din-ar-Rumi, Ibn-al-Arabi, and many other seekers after GOD,
travelled a long and steep way. Their teaching of sin and repentance, forgiveness and the vision
of GOD, contains much that may be used as a preparation for the Gospel, but it never rises to
Here the Prodigal Son of Arabia utterly missed the road -- and in consequence led many astray.
We too shall miss the road unless we follow the blood marks all the way from the earliest
promise in Genesis to the foot of Calvary.
"The apostles," says Principal Forsyth, "never separated reconciliation in any age from the Cross
and the blood of JESUS CHRIST. If we ever do that (and many are doing it to-day) we throw the
New Testament overboard. The bane of so much that claims to be more spiritual religion at the
present day is that it simply jettisons the New Testament and with it historic Christianity. The
extreme critics, people that live upon monism and immanence, rationalist religion and spiritual
impressionism, are people who are deliberately throwing overboard the New Testament as a
whole, deeply as they prize it in parts."
When men speak of redeeming the old order of society or transforming life from sordidness into
sainthood, without the Cross, they follow a forlorn hope.
We may well be optimists when we see GOD's purpose of grace for the world being
accomplished. When we face new eras and new opportunities. But when John came preaching
repentance, the fullness of time was also at hand.
Revolutionary changes were taking place in the whole Roman Empire and in the Jewish church.
There had been much preparation.
There was great expectancy.
There was deep despair of the old order.
But John ushered in the new epoch by proclaiming a new Redemption:
Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."
It is a redemption of the old order that we desire, but it must be redemption by the Blood.
The Cross of CHRIST is the only hope of the world. Our constant danger is that we cry, Behold
this new opportunity. Behold our new methods. Behold our human-brotherhood, and forget to
Behold the Lamb of GOD!
There is a remarkable painting of CHRIST on the Cross as the only hope of the world; it
startlingly depicts in vivid colours something of the universality and efficacy of the atonement in
a way that cannot be forgotten. The story of the picture is as follows : -- Blater Heroni, who was
president of the Mixed Court at Adis Ababa in Abyssinia, received his education in a Swedish
mission school. He also prepared a version of the New Testament in Amharic and rose to
prominence during the war. He was sent to Paris, representing Abyssinia, at the time of the
Treaty of Versailles. Meditating on the future of world peace the thought occurred to him that
only through the sacrifice of CHRIST was this possible and his Abyssinian mind conceived the
idea of representing this in symbolism. He sought out a Paris artist and gave him his ideas. The
result is the famous painting of the Crucifixion so weird in its conception, so real in its symbolic
significance, strangely attractive and compelling in its message.
The Saviour is hanging on a Cross which rests between two globes of the Eastern and western
hemispheres against a cloudy and lurid sky. A halo of coming victory already rests above the
thorn-crowned head of the Sufferer who looks down upon two worlds for which He died. Blooddrops
from His pierced hands colour every continent and island red! It is a vision of the whole
world redeemed by the blood of CHRIST. Underneath the painting one can read in three
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON
THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE
" (John 3:16).
~ end of chapter 7 ~