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Holman Bible Dictionary

Lamb of God

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. John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29 ,John 1:29,1:36 ). The meaning of this statement has been greatly discussed. Some regard “the Lamb of God” to be derived from an Aramaic phrase which could mean either “lamb of God” or servant of God.” John's testimony probably should be seen as a combination of both concepts. Acts 8:32-35 identifies Jesus as the servant of God whom Isaiah described as one “brought as a lamb to the slaughter” ( Isaiah 53:7 ), who “bare the sin of many” (Isaiah 53:12 ), and who was an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10 ). The law for guilt offerings (Leviticus 5:1-6:7 ) prescribed a lamb for atonement to be made before the Lord. Peter stressed this sacrificial motif when he described redemption accomplished with “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18 ). John's identification might also entail a reference to Jesus as the scapegoat sent into the wilderness on the Day or Atonement to bear the iniquities of the Israelites (Leviticus 16:1 ) or to the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:1 ). Paul, in fact, referred to Christ as “our Passover” who has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7 ). John 1:29 , therefore, signifies the substitutionary, sacrificial suffering and death of Jesus, the Servant of God, by which redemption and forgiveness of sin are accomplished.

Revelation often refers to the exalted Christ as a Lamb, but never as “the Lamb of God,” nor with the same Greek word for “lamb” as used elsewhere in the New Testament. See Atonement ; Christ, Christology ; Passover ; Redeem, Redemption, Redeemer ; Sacrifice and Offering ; Servant of the Lord

Barry Morgan

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Lamb of God'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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