Job waited for his coming Redeemer
As we approach Christ’s coming, the prophecies of the Messiah intensify, such as we find in the Book of Job.
The Book of Job is believed by most scholars to have been written about 600 BC, but it speaks of a much earlier time.
Job spoke of the coming Redeemer: “Even now, my witness is in heaven; my advocate is there on high” (Job 16:19, Complete Jewish Bible). “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end He will stand on the earth” (Job 19:25).
Without the Christ’s sacrifice, God could not fellowship with any man. The blood of Jesus Christ has been the righteousness of God’s saints, from the beginning of creation.
Even though the saints of the past offered up sacrifices to God, these sacrifices could not remove their sins. The writer of Hebrews told us “it is not possible that the blood of goats and bulls could take away sin”(Hebrews 10:4). Jesus Christ is the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins.
The Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World
Jesus Christ has always been the image of the invisible God, the speaker of God’s words—the Word, the mediator between God and man, and the Lamb upon the throne, “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
Christ died not only for our sins but for the sins of the whole world, (1 John 2:2) in the past, in the present, and in the future.
All of the Apostles echo the most significant truth, that Jesus’ death had been established from the foundation of the world:
- The Apostle Peter told us Christ was foreordained as a Lamb from the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19;20).
- Paul said, “He died to sin once for all” (Romans 6:10). Meaning all those in the past, present, and the future.
By the future, we mean that even after our resurrection, Jesus continues to be described as the Lamb. The Apostle John describes Christ as the Lamb 20 times in the Book of Revelation, and Jesus Christ continues as the Lamb even after the judgment day, which we see in Revelation 21:22, and 22:1 and 3.
God gave His only begotten Son
Perhaps the most startling prefiguration of God’s sacrifice was made by Abraham, whom God asked to sacrifice his only son—“take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering . . .” (Genesis 22:2).
In fact, we know that Isaac was not Abraham’s only Son, just as Jesus would not be God’s only Son. However, like Jesus, Isaac, was a “unique” Son. And so it should be no surprise that the Greek word μονογενῆ (monogene), translated as “only begotten Son,” bears the primary meaning of “unique” begotten Son. Nonetheless, today Christ is God’s “only begotten Son” in the meaning of begotten explained by Acts 13:33: When Christ rose from the dead, He became God’s only begotten Son.
Abraham brought his “only son” up the mountain in accordance with God’s instructions and set him on the wood to be burned. But, of course, God spared Abraham’s son Isaac, after his faith had been tested, providing a “ram” in his place for Abraham to sacrifice.
This story is related to us in Hebrews 11:17, which is one of three places where we find the expression “only begotten Son.”
This phrase was first used by Jesus, speaking with Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Most are familiar with this verse. But here we want to highlight that Jesus spoke of this event as if it had already occurred. He spoke in the past tense. Even though He had not yet been sacrificed, from God’s perspective, He had been. So, John called Christ “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
In 1 John 4:9, we find the last use of the expression “only begotten Son.” John told us “God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him.” In God’s mind, Christ had already become the sacrifice for man’s sins.
He was born of a virgin
To take away our sin, Christ needed to be a pure lamb without spot, or blemish. The Bible stresses that He was born of a virgin. Christ was not born “of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).
The Psalmist wrote, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalms 51:5).
But Jesus Christ was not conceived in sin; He was sinless.
God lay on Him the iniquity of us all
God lay the sins of mankind on Christ. He did not take them upon Himself.
This was first prophesied by Isaiah: “And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6; 10-12).
The concept of sacrifice, beginning in the Old Testament, was that sins needed to be removed away from God and laid upon a “scapegoat” or a “sacrificial lamb.” Christ was “the obedient man” through whom we were justified. He became “the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
As Paul wrote:
through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Romans 5:18-19).
This is a significant truth of the Bible’s theology. In the late second century, Tertullian’s primary objection to the Modalism taught by Praxeas was that God Himself could not bear the sins of mankind; they needed to be taken away from God. Christ was the Lamb God provided. Tertullian wrote, Praxeas “crucified the Father”1. If God Himself took on the sins of mankind, this would violate the Biblical principle of atonement.
The need for God to be separated from man’s sins was emphasized when God left Christ on the cross. This was prophesied by the Psalmist: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1). These were the words Christ spoke before He died.
- Tertullian, Against Praxeas ↩