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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Lamb of God

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(ἀμνὸς Θεοῦ, John 1:29; John 1:36; so of the Messiah, Test. xii Patr. pages 724, 725, 730), a title of the Redeemer (compare Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 1:19, where alone the term ἀμνός is elsewhere employed, and with a like reference). This symbolical appellation applied to Jesus Christ, in John 1:29; John 1:36, does not refer merely to the character or disposition of the Savior, inasmuch as he is also called "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Revelation 5:5). Neither can the appellation signify the most excellent lamb, as a sort of Hebrew superlative. The term lamb is simply used, in this case, to signify the sacrifice, i.e., the sacrificial victim, of which the former sacrifices were typical (Numbers 6:12; Leviticus 4:32; Leviticus 5:6; Leviticus 5:18; Leviticus 14:12-17). So the prophet understood it: "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter" (Isaiah 53:7); and Paul: "For even Christ, our Passover," i.e., our Passover lamb, "is sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7; comp. Peter 1:18, 19). As the lamb was the symbol of sacrifice, the Redeemer is called "the Sacrifice of God," or the divine Sacrifice (John 1:14; comp. 1 John 2:28; Acts 20:28; Romans 9:5, 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13). As the Baptist pointed to the divinity of the Redeemer's sacrifice, he knew that in this consisted its efficacy to remove the sin of the world. The dignity of the Sacrifice, whose blood alone has an atoning efficacy for the sin of the world, is acknowledged in heaven. In the symbolic scenery, John beheld "a LAMB, as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God," i.e., invested with the attributes of God, omnipotence and omniscience, raised to the throne of universal empire, and receiving the homage of the universe (1 Corinthians 15:25, Philippians 2:9-11; 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 10:5-17; Revelation 5:8-14). See the monographs on this subject cited by Volbeding, Index Programmatum, page 52.

In the Romish Church the expression is blasphemously applied in its Latin form to a consecrated wax or dough image bearing a cross, used as a charm by the superstitious. (See AGNUS DEI).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Lamb of God'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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