In John 1:29 we find a declaration made by John the Baptist upon seeing Yeshua:
On the next day John saw Yeshua coming toward him, and said, “see, the Lamb of Elohim who takes away the sin of the world.
Upon reading this scripture most people make the assumption that John the Immerser was talking about Yeshua becoming our Passover Lamb. While He most definitely is our Pesach lamb, is this the Lamb of Elohim that John was thinking about?
There was a promise made of a lamb that would be provided by Elohim, given in the Torah, way before the story of Passover in Exodus. In Hebrew it is referred to as the Akedah (The binding of Isaac).
We should all be familiar with this story. Abraham is told to take his son Isaac and to go to Mt. Moriah to offer a sacrifice (olah – whole burnt offering) to HaShem. Upon reaching the mountain Isaac notices that they have all that is required for the sacrifice except for the lamb. He questions his father about this and Abraham assures him that Elohim will provide for Himself a lamb for the offering. When they reach the spot Abraham binds Isaac and lays him on the altar and raises his knife to slay Isaac. An Angel of the LORD stops him. Elohim rewards Abraham for his unwavering obedience in a very fiery trial.
Could this be the lamb that John the Baptist had in his mind when he made that statement? Most likely! John states that the lamb provided by Elohim would take away the sin of the world. The Pesach (Passover) lamb was not for atonement, or the taking away of sins. The Pesach lamb was for redemption. Would the lamb that Elohim was to provide in the Akedah take away sins? What were its parallels with Yeshua?
The oldest form of sacrifice/offering in the Bible seems to be the olah (whole burnt offering). In this type of offering the whole animal was to be burnt upon the altar. During the tabernacle/temple times only the skin was kept and allowed to be given to the priest (Lev. 7:8). According to scripture (Lev. 1:3-4) the whole burnt offering was to make atonement for sin. So, to answer the question, yes, this lamb would take away sin. I find it interesting that in Genesis 3:21 after Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit and then discovered that they were naked that Elohim clothes them with animal skins; replacing their fig leaf clothes which they had made (Genesis 3:7). Is this when the first animal sacrifice for sins, the whole burnt offering, occurred? Well, I certainly don't believe those animal skins would have gotten off the animal(s) unless they were dead. It appears that atonement with a whole burnt offering had been made for their sin. We find many examples of the whole burnt offering throughout scripture. Even during tabernacle/temple times the whole burnt offering was the most common offering. Even during Yom Kippur two goats were taken as a sin offering and one ram as a whole burnt offering to make atonement for the people (Lev. 16:5, 24). Note that the word “lamb” in both the TeNaKh and Brit Hadashah (New Testament) denote that it is an animal from “one of a flock – lamb, sheep, or goat”.
There are many parallels in the Akedah and the offering of Yeshua as the Lamb of Elohim. Consider these:
Two fathers gave their only sons! Both Isaac and Yeshua were declared to be only sons (firstborn): Isaac - Genesis 22:2 And He said, “Take your son, now, your only son Isaac...” Yeshua - Matthew 3:17 “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” Yeshua - John 3:16 “For God so loved ...that He gave His only begotten Son...”
They were both made to carry their own sacrificial instruments to the altar: Isaac - Genesis 22:6 “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son;...” Yeshua - John 19:17 “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of the skull...”
They were both offered upon Mount Moriah: (Mt. Moriah was more than one mountain) Isaac - Genesis 22:2 Yeshua – The temple stood in the place shown to David (II Chron. 3:1) which was upon one of the mountains of Moriah (the Temple Mount). Most believe this was the precise location of the Akedah but we aren't sure because the Bible doesn't say. Scripture makes it clear that it was upon one of the mountains of Moriah. Yeshua was crucified outside the city walls of Jerusalem. This was per the city walls during the second temple period not necessarily during earlier times. Either way, He was crucified on that same mountain range.
On the same mountain of Moriah - YHVH Provided (YHVH Yireh) or YHVH Sees, and He provided the sacrifice for sins needed for Abraham and Isaac with the ram whose horns were caught in the thicket, and on Mount Moriah thousands of years later YHVH Sees and provides a Lamb, Yeshua, who is needed for atonement to save the world from their sin (Genesis 22:14).
Voices were heard from heaven over both of them: Isaac – Genesis 22:11 “And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven...” Yeshua – Matthew 3:17 “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased”
They were both led as a lamb to the slaughter (Isa. 53:7) Neither Isaac nor Yeshua offered any resistance to their Father's wishes but obediently placed their lives into their Father's hand.
They both returned from the dead. The Rabbi's state that although Isaac's life was spared he was actually as good as dead and was received back from the dead because of the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice him. Yeshua was crucified but rose from the dead on the third day. In Hebrews 11:19 we read about Isaac: “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him back, as a type.”
In Revelation 5:6 we read of the Lamb (Yeshua) who appeared to have been slain:
“..and in the midst of the elders a
Lamb standing, as having been
But they were both received back from the dead.
There was a Lamb who was predestined to be slain.
In the Haggadah: sayings of the Talmud, it is explained that “Not Isaac, but the ram predestined for the burnt offering”. The Rabbi's explain that “the lamb” not Isaac was predestined to be slain since before the foundation of the world. This was of course “the lamb” that YHVH would provide.
Of Yeshua it was said in I Peter 1:19-20
“but with the precious blood of
Messiah, as of a lamb unblemished
and spotless, foreknown, indeed,
before the foundation of the world,
but manifested in these last times for
The “seed” of blessing was made known:
In Genesis 22:16-17, in the story of the Akedah, YHVH declares that because of
Abraham's faithfulness that his “seed” shall be increased as the stars of the heavens and as the sand on the seashore,
and that in his seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.
In Galatians 3:16 the Apostle Paul declares that Yeshua was that promised “seed”.
I believe this was the lamb that John the Immerser was referring to when he declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. The phrase meant that Yeshua was “the son/lamb” that was slain, as provided by Elohim, which would bring about through His substitutionary suffering (Isa. 53), the salvation of the world.
At Pesach He was the Lamb who purchased our redemption but this had nothing to do with forgiveness of sins.