|- Ray & Doris Prinzing -
"I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Omnipotent (Himself) and the Lamb (Himself) are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to give light to it, for the splendor and radiance (glory) of God illuminate it, and the Lamb is its lamp." [Revelation 21:22-23, Amplified].
There is a beautiful progression relative to the "lamb" found in the Scriptures, beginning with that which is slain for an offering, of the animals, to that which was personified in Christ, and ultimately shared by those who become ONE in Him. So perhaps we had best begin at the beginning.
1). A lamb for a man.
"And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering." [Genesis 4:4].
It was an individual sacrifice offering, one lamb given for one man. Cain had also brought an offering, of the fruit of the field, his offering was rejected, and he was not covered by Abel's offering. Each man was on his own, to make his offering to God. This principle has never been cast aside, it still holds good even though there has been an expanding of the coverage. That which applies to ALL must be personally experienced in our own life, believed in individually, and received accordingly.
2). A lamb for a household.
"Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house." [Exodus 12:3].
Israel was about to be delivered from Egypt, and as the commands were given for the Passover observance, it was to be a lamb for a household. A man would offer one lamb, for the covering of his whole family, and all of those within his gates. The head of the house was responsible for all of the house, and was to make sure the lamb was there. The father of the home was effectually the priest of the home, and he could spread his coverage to all of his family, claiming the protection and blessing of God for them all.
As Paul once instructed the jailer, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, AND THY HOUSE." [Acts 16:31]. And he did believe, and was baptized, "HE AND ALL HIS" straightway. It is true, there comes an hour when each one in the household must also personally experience a committal of their faith in God, believe in the lamb offered for them. If they go out from that household, they are assuming the responsibility once held by the head of the house. But as long as their feet are under their father's table, they do come under the coverage of his ministry and blessing― and he well stands before God for them.
This is also symbolically seen today in spiritual matters, when God apprehends an individual to become that "lamb for an household," and they are the only one who believes, receives, and walks on with God in a deeper way, but their life is given as an offering for their family, and they pray and believe for the hour when their entire household will come to God, and receive Him in fulness. Sometimes it is the wife, or a child of the home, and we marvel at how God apprehends just one, purges and purifies them, and they stand out alone from a whole family, to be a lamb for their father's house.
It is a marvellous calling, but a difficult one, to be sure, to become that trail-blazer, to walk alone, unsupported by the rest of the family in a desire to press onward into the fulness of God, to believe the truth and cast aside the errors of tradition and man's carnal creed. We marvel at the uniqueness of God's handiwork in such a life, but we praise Him, for there is indeed, a lamb for a household, and HE is the one who prepares that lamb.
There is the blending of another principle here, for we also read that "if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy." [Romans 11:16]. And when God draws out one to become the FIRST FRUIT of that household, it indicates that the whole household has been marked, set apart unto salvation in due time. A first fruit always indicates there is a whole harvest to follow. The time element remains with God, but fulfillment shall come.
3). A lamb for a nation, Israel.
Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, "Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that ONE MAN should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesized that Jesus should die for that nation. And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." [John 11:49-52].
Interesting to observe that there is a Spirit that accompanies the office, not dependent upon the man filling the office. So Caiaphas, being the high priest that year, was anointed by the Spirit to prophesy concerning the death of Jesus, that it should be ONE MAN for a WHOLE NATION, which was the nation of Israel, and not limiting it to those gathered in the geographical boundaries of the nation, but for all those children of God, the Israelites which were scattered abroad throughout all the nations.
While it is true that God so loved the world, that He gave His Son for the whole world, and ultimately the whole world He shall receive reconciled to Himself again, yet specifically Jesus Christ was sent to a nation, to become the Lamb for that nation. And it will require a further revelation of "the lamb" in a full company, ere we shall see the whole world brought nigh unto God.
Just as each individual in the household must needs come to believe in the lamb offered for them, so also each individual in the whole nation must come to believe, personally, experimentally. But that it shall be so, we read, "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." [Romans 11:26].
The whole nation― in the land, and scattered abroad, thus to include both the circumcision (law keepers) and the uncircumcision (those who forsook the law, and became like the heathen nations among whom they were scattered). "That He might reconcile both unto God in one body, by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." [Ephesians 2:16]. Even as was prophesied, when Ezekiel took the two sticks, one for the house of Judah, and one for the house of Ephraim (the ten northern tribes), and joined them together as one stick, as a prophecy that the time would come when both kingdoms would be joined together into one kingdom unto the Lord, to be His people ― see, Ezekiel 37:15-23. There are natural fulfillments and spiritual fulfillments, but both are assured, for the Word of the Lord is given, and shall come to pass. A lamb was given for the nation, and all shall be brought into the fulness of His life and salvation.
4). A lamb for the world.
"And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. ― Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." [Galatians 3:8,16].
There is a rule followed in the Greek, that where the identifying article "the" is missing, it is speaking of quality, not identity. Such is the case here, where it refers to the seed, which is Christ. There is no identifying article to make it "THE Christ," and thus we literally have it as the quality, to include the whole enchristed company of which The Christ is the Head. All anointed by the same Spirit, for he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. There is a SEED through which all nations will be blessed, it is a single seed, a ONENESS which fulfills John 17:23, "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one." As one body hath many members, "so also is Christ" [1 Corinthians 12:12]. This is the glorious oneness which must become― be fully realized, that God might have a whole lamb-company through whom His salvation shall be ministered to all the world.
And Abraham said, My son, GOD WILL PROVIDE HIMSELF a lamb..." [Genesis 22:8]. Here is one of the most prophetic utterances ever given, filled with precious truth. A lamb is needed, we have the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb? God will provide HIMSELF. For Abraham's present need, when Isaac was about to be slain, God provided a ram, caught in a thicket, and the sacrifice was made. But in due time, God was manifest in the flesh, providing HIMSELF, Emmanuel, God with us, to be the Lamb for the nation. But the need is greater than just one nation, and He is still in the process providing a lamb for them all. Unto Jesus Christ, The Head, "for in all He shall have the pre-eminence." [Colossians 1:18], shall be added the rest of the first fruits company, and this WHOLE NEW LAMB is given for the world.
To see this company is not to magnify man, but to exalt Christ, for they are totally conformed to HIS image, and partakers of HIS divine nature. And when we read, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," [John 1:29], we know that HE is the pre-eminent One, and it is HIS LIFE which is given, and He takes away the sin of the world. "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened He not His mouth." [Acts 8:32]. And we know that we are redeemed, "with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." [1 Peter 1:19].
But we also know that He is to be "the firstborn among many brethren." [Romans 8:29]. And so we follow in His steps, the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable to His death. In our humiliation our judgment also is taken away, and there is none to declare our generation. We are cut off from this world, separated unto God, purged and purified until we are to be without spot and without blemish, to be presented faultless before His throne. To be holy as He is holy, yes, "be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." [Matthew 5:48]. Such qualifications are too wonderful for us, we cannot attain them in ourselves, but His grace abounds to work in us, and to fulfill all that He has purposed.
"And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's." [Obadiah 21]. There is a uniqueness of this oneness in the Saviour, so that the total identity is HIS, even though each member has their own individual characteristics which cause them to differ. But they are all united in Him, He is the HEAD, and each member of the body joined to make up the whole, which bears HIS NAME. Just as a hand can be distinguished from the foot, so each member is an original piece of God's handiwork, but all of ONE LIFE, all of ONE SPIRIT, to make up the composite body of the HIMSELF CREATURES. "HE is the Saviour of the body," [Ephesians 5:23], and yet the whole body combines to become the "saviours" which come up on mount Zion. He has, and is begetting after His own kind, and thus THE SAVIOUR is producing those which shall be "saviours."
Now we read that "The Lord Himself and the lamb are the temple." This we have quite well covered in the previous chapters on the temple, but we could include here the verses, " And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: IN WHOM YE ALSO ARE BUILDED together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." [Ephesians 2:20-22].
There is, in the Greek text, a word for lamb which literally means, a little lamb, or a lambikin, and such is the word that is used here. The LORD HIMSELF takes care of our "Lord Jesus Christ," and then the "lambikin" refers to that whole company which become a part of The Lamb.
Yet, while this is a little lamb, there is also a mark of maturity and wholeness about them, because they are come to the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ. Revelation 12 speaks of a "manchild" company, which holds this same thought of being newly born, and yet full grown and strong to bear. Kept in the "womb of the morning," separated unto the Lord, and nourished, instructed, developed and disciplined, this company will emerge in the NEWNESS OF LIFE, yet mature in spirit, at the appointed hour of the manifestation of the sons of God.
The Lord Himself and the lambikin also are the light. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." [John 8:12]. "That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." [John 1:9].
But it also reads, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the use. LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE BEFORE MEN that they may see your good works, AND GLORIFY YOUR FATHER which is in heaven." [Matthew 5:14-16].
Oh, for this light to shine which will glorify the Father, such is the characteristic of the lambikin― becoming heavenly luminaries, they are to shine in the dark places, bring light to those in the shadows, and the whole process to be to the glory of God. "I will also give thee for a light to the nations, that thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth." [Isaiah 49:6].
HE IS the Lamb of God, and joined to Him is a lambikin company. All the qualifications of The Lamb must now be found in this people with a purpose. "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." [Ephesians 1:4]. "A glorious church (called-out), not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." [Ephesians 5:27].
"Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves." [Luke 10:3]. The world will be at its worst, chaotic, confused, corrupt, with gross darkness covering the people, when God opens the womb of the morning of His new day, and brings forth His lamb company, with the glorious ministry, ''as though God did beseech by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." [2 Corinthians 5:20]. They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. This world desperately needs a company of saviours, to minister the LIFE OF THE SAVIOUR unto them, to in His stead entreat men to be reconciled to God. He will undergird and support His lamb-company all the way. "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon day. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation." [Psalm 91:4-9].
There is a place of absolute security in Christ, because of this great ONENESS, to where we are covered over with the canopy of His power and life. The process of coming into this place is not an easy one, for it entails the stripping away of all our own human resources that we might in utter weakness come to receive totally from Him. Even as Paul wrote, "But He said to me, My grace― My favor and loving-kindness and mercy― are enough for you, (that is, sufficient against any danger and to enable you to bear the trouble manfully); for My strength and power are made perfect― fulfilled and completed and show themselves most effective-in your weakness. Therefore I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities that the strength and power of Christ may rest-yes, MAY PITCH A TENT OVER AND DWELL― upon me!" [2 Corinthians 12:9, Amplified].
Hebrews 9:26 speaks of how The Christ came "to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." If we could be indulged with a slight play upon words, it also bears out the truth that if ever we are to become a saviour in The Saviour, and ready to be used to bring life to others, it will also necessitate the absolute sacrifice of our "self," until there is no more selfish motive, self-interest left. And as Christ, in the garden prayed, so shall we, "Not my will, BUT THINE, be done." Self, with all its will is placed upon the altar. And the ministry that follows is of the highest order of divine love, which is completely self-sacrificial in its nature and expression.
Freely, gladly, joyfully Jesus Christ faced the hour of sacrifice, of pouring out His life, that it might be diffused and spread over the whole earth. Now God's elect are being brought to the same consecration, so that they give everything, for the joy of beholding others receive Christ. Without any thought of condemnation, without any feeling of what self has suffered in the reproaches of the past, or present, but with deep compassion to spend and be spent, until love has conquered all, and creation is restored back into perfect harmony with its Creator .
There is a work that is totally of The Christ, finished at Calvary, which does not have to be re-enacted or duplicated. HE gave His LIFE for the world. Now, this lambikin company, which is joined to Him, having received of that life, can freely give it to another. That is also why the ministry of reconciliation is "NOT imputing their trespasses unto them." [2 Cor. 5:19]. For Jesus Christ, "Having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." [Colossians 1:20]. Calvary demonstrated to the world that God was and IS RECONCILED TO THE WORLD. Now the ministry of the lambikin to beseech the world to be reconciled to The God who is already reconciled to them. He has already forgiven their sin, and He will not impute sin to their account, nor charge them with guilt. What is forgiven is forgiven. Now man must needs be emptied of his rebellion towards God, and become reconciled to the God who already loves him.
The Lamb beautifully took care of all the work on God's side towards man, and the lambikin will have a beautiful ministry from man's side, to bring things back to God. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but OUR SUFFICIENCY IS OF GOD; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament (full arrangement..." [2 Corinthians 3:5-6]. "And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God." [Hebrews 5:4]. There is a lamb for the world, a company which God is bringing forth out of all ages, a first fruits which shall indeed become saviours, to minister the fruit of His kingdom, which is righteousness, peace, and joy. The outflow of the Spirit's life through those who are ONE IN HIM. This indeed is the purpose of all the travail and processing of a people chosen by God, to become labourers together with Him in the restoration of all things.
We glimpse the glory, we see the vision, but we cannot fulfill it; that is HIS work in and through us. God rules and overrules, we propose and He disposes, often in a different way, and to man's own consternation. But His kingdom shall come, His will shall be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. There are many paths through the sunshine and the shadows, but we learn to see His hand in it all, for He is preparing and fashioning those who shall become part of the lambikin, who are ONE IN THE LAMB, to be given for the salvation of the ends of the earth.
A lamb for a man, a sacrifice,
An offering unto God
Just one to one, a personal score,
And mercy for this clod.
Then for a household see the Iamb,
That all who are therein
May find protection, covered o'er,
A man― and all his kin.
But for the nation, Jesus Christ
Became the Lamb for all,
And though His own received Him not,
He died for great and small.
From nation, to the world, we see
The ministry expand,
Joined to The Lamb, a lambikin
Is giv'n for every land.
To be a light that those now lost
May find their way again,
And turn their steps to Zion's mount―
The Saviour of all men.
To freely give, love's sacrifice,
And more abounding grace,
The lambikin shall see The Christ
Restore each tribe and race.
To God the glory and the praise,
How wonderful are all His ways!
Writings in This Series: