Follow the Lamb

BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR

Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls. —Jeremiah 6:16

As Reformed believers we understand the whole of Scripture through the lens of covenant theology. Reading through the Bible, we see God’s spotlight illuminating the Covenant of Grace, lighting the way through the history of redemption. One way to follow the path of the covenant through the scriptures is to look for the shadows cast by God’s spotlight. These symbols and figures point forward, signifying greater spiritual truths and realities. Examples of such symbols are garden and tree, water and bread, bride and groom, priest and king, wilderness and cities.

While the covenantal types and shadows may be familiar to us as Old Testament symbols, neither the symbols nor their significance diminish in importance on this side of the cross. Under the Old Covenant, believers looked forward to the coming of Christ, and in these last days, Christians await his return. But we still need encouragement to look forward. I’d like to encourage you, Dear One, based on God’s covenant promises, to find rest for your soul by looking forward in faith to the Lamb of God.

But First, Look Back

Let’s begin by looking back at the ancient path. In the book of Genesis, God made a covenant with Abraham, graciously promising to give him offspring as numerous as the stars through his son Isaac. Abraham believed this covenant promise so thoroughly that when God commanded him to sacrifice his son—his only son, whom he loved—Abraham obediently set out first thing in the morning (Gen. 22:1–3). By faith, Abraham considered that even if he sacrificed his beloved son, God was able to raise him from the dead (Heb. 11:19).

As they approached the mountain, Isaac, seeing the fire and the wood but no offering, asks, “where is the lamb?” Abraham answered that God would provide the lamb for the offering himself (Gen. 22:7–8). Sure enough, God intervened and provided a substitute.

Isaac’s question continues to echo down through the Scriptures.

Where, indeed, is the Lamb?

We are familiar with the Lamb typology in the Passover (Exodus 12) and the Old Covenant sacrificial system when every single day, morning and night, the priests offered a lamb, accompanied by God’s covenant promise that he would dwell among the people of Israel and be their God. They would know that he was the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that he might dwell among them (Ex. 29:38–46).

Unsurprising also are the echoes of the Lamb throughout the writings of the prophets, as Israel first wandered and then boldly marched rebelliously away from the Lord their God. Yet, God mercifully spoke through the prophets, calling them back to his Covenant of Grace. No matter how many lambs they slay, as long as their hearts were hardened to him, the multitude of their sacrifices brought him no pleasure (Isa. 1:11).

God therefore promised to provide for himself a Lamb. Foretold in Isaiah (Isaiah 53) and introduced in the flesh by John the Baptist, Jesus Christ is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). God’s Son—his only Son, whom he loved—was sacrificed on the cross, shedding his blood to cleanse us of our sins and bring us near to God, and was raised on the third day for our justification (1 Cor. 5:7; 1 Jn. 1:7; Eph. 2:13; Rom. 4:25). Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb slain for us. After his resurrection, he ascended to heaven where even now he is at the right hand of God, interceding for us (Rom. 8:34).

The Way Forward

Having investigated the ancient paths, let’s look forward to the book of Revelation. There we find the exalted and triumphant Christ, the Lamb who alone is worthy to open the scroll of God’s will, therefore revealing and bringing to pass the gloriously redemptive purposes of the Sovereign Lord.[1] Weeping in Heaven explodes into joyful worship as the innumerable choir, assembled from every tribe and language and people and nation, rejoice in Christ their Redeemer (Rev. 5:1–10). The covenant promises made to Abraham are on display in the fullness of their accomplishment.

Next we find the vast multitude of the church triumphant, clothed in robes of righteousness, gathered before the throne of God, crying out in worship, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” This is both our spiritual reality now, and the glorious future that awaits those who have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:9–14).

Finally, we find the covenant promises brought to their eternally glorious fulfillment. The Lamb has become the meeting place where believers will dwell with God and the light by which we will walk in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22–27). No more separation; no more darkness: because of the Lamb of God, we will dwell in the brilliance of the presence of the Lord forevermore.

Be encouraged, Christian, and find rest for your soul. The covenant promises are yours in Christ. And behold! He is coming soon!

Amen, come Lord Jesus!

 

[1] I am indebted to Richard D. Phillips and his masterful commentary for these glimpses into the book of Revelation: Revelation, Reformed Exegetical Commentary series, (Phillipsburg, NJ: 2017).

About the Author:

Barbaranne Kelly

Barbaranne reads, writes, cooks, runs, and shoots an occasional photo in Texas.  She and her husband Jim are the parents of five of the neatest people they know and grandparents to the first two of (hopefully) many grandchildren.  She has been blogging ever since she accidentally signed up for a blog while attempting to comment on a friend’s blog post and figured, “Why not?”  She now blogs at Grateful and Women of Purpose, a ministry of the women of her church. Barbaranne and Jim are members of Christ Presbyterian Church in New Braunfels, Texas, where she leads a Bible study for women in the hope that she and they may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.

 

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