YHWH, Provider of the Lamb
Couldn’t God have saved us without sacrificing Jesus?
Without delving into deep theological issues which are beyond our pay grade anyway, the long and short of it is that God could not compromise His holiness and perfect justice through the use of a punitive shortcut.
On the one hand, God's holiness demanded a sinless sacrifice. The full price for the sin of man, yours and mine, had to be paid though a perfectly holy sacrifice.
On the other hand, His mercy and love would not leave us damned to Hell for eternity. Since man is not sinless and is therefore incapable of meeting God's standard for that sacrifice, God sent us His One and Only Son to be that Sacrifice.
Where the First Adam had failed to follow YHWH's orders to the letter, God would send a Second Adam Who would obey Him, no matter the personal cost.
Where the First Adam had been unable to resist temptation and live sinlessly, God would send a Second Adam to do it.
Where the selfishness of the First Adam brought death into the world, the selfless Second Adam would bring us life in abundance through His sacrifice.
Jesus put it best when He said,
16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3
This coming Perfect Sacrifice was preceded by big hints throughout the millennia, the clearest of which was Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. We find that story related in Genesis 22. The passage has been shortened for brevity. Italics are mine:
“Here I am,” he answered.
2 “Take your son,” He said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
7 Then Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, “My father.”
And he replied, “Here I am, my son.”
Isaac said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Then the two of them walked on together.
9 When they arrived at the place that God had told him about, Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood. He bound his son Isaac and placed him on the altar on top of the wood.
10 Then Abraham reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
He replied, “Here I am.”
12 Then He said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.”
13 Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as a burnt offering in place of his son.
14 And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, so today it is said: “It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.”
As we have already alluded to, under the Old Testament, only a Perfect Sacrifice was allowed for the forgiveness of sins. The sacrifice was not to have a single spot or blemish, a symbol of the perfect sinlessness and holiness of Jesus the Christ.
Jesus was the Perfect Sacrifice Who permanently defeated Satan, sin and the grave by the blood He sacrificed on the cross. It was done once... and for all. Because of what Jesus did on Calvary, even we, the worst of sinners can find redemption, forgiveness and new life in Him.
“God Himself will provide the lamb..."
“God Himself will provide the lamb..."
Abraham saw that God had provided a ram whose horns were stuck in a thicket as a sacrifice to replace Isaac. God provided a ram, while Abraham had prophesied that God would provide a lamb.
Well, the Lamb Who had been prophesied came to earth about 2,000 years later, when John the Baptist saw Jesus and said,
Could Scripture be any clearer?
It was supposed to be me and you on that cross, not the sinless, pure and innocent Jesus, but nonetheless, Jesus went willingly because He is...
2 "... the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne." Hebrews 12
Because He had done all that was needed to restore mankind to our Creator. With His resurrection 3 days later, Jesus fulfilled His mission on earth completely.
Jesus was sinless and perfect in every way, and because He died once for all and rose again from the dead, no further sacrifices were necessary. In 70AD, Herod's Temple was totally destroyed and the animal sacrifices stopped. Today, 2,000 years later, the Jews have still not been able to rebuild their Temple and resume their sacrifices.
I don't think so. I think it's because...
God has already provided a Lamb!
Here's a glimpse of what is happening in heaven even at this very moment:
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands.
12 They said with a loud voice:
The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing!
13 I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say:
Blessing and honor and glory and dominion
to the One seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb, forever and ever!
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. Revelation 5
Worthy is the Lamb to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!
But returning to our question at the top of the article:
If God had wanted to save us, couldn’t He have done that without sacrificing Jesus?
Transliterating, it could be paraphrased thus:
"And Abraham named that place 'YHWH Will Provide (or Jehovah Jireh)' so today it is said: “It will be provided on the mountain of YHWH.”
Abraham did not have to provide.
Isaac did not have to provide.
Because YHWH Himself did it.
And so to answer the question, we will borrow from the words of YHWH to Abraham in verse 12:
Who Needs Sacrifices to Honor God?
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