Lamb Slain From The Foundation Of The World

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.  Revelation 13:8
 
The affirmation of this verse is that Jesus was not only the Lamb who was sacrificed for our sins, but He also was selected for this task before the world was created.
 
God the Father looked down through the centuries and determined that His Son, Jesus, would die at some time in the future as an atonement for sin.  Jesus’ death was no accident of history, and no afterthought in the mind of God.  It was the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan.
 
How long did it take for this plan to work itself out?  As long as it took.  This answer may seem nonsensical and ridiculous, but it’s as close as we can get to understanding God and His mysterious ways.  The apostle Peter expresses it like this: “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).


Lamb Of God

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29
 
On two successive days John the Baptist, forerunner of Jesus, referred to Jesus by this name.  Of all the names John could have used-King, Messiah, Prophet-he chose to identify Jesus as the Lamb of God.  Lambs were choice young sheep that were used as sacrificial animals in Jewish worship rituals (see Leviticus 14:11-13; 1 Samuel 7:9).  Thus, at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John realized the sacrificial role that Jesus was destined to fill.
 
The prominence of lambs in the Jewish sacrificial system began with the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, many centuries before Jesus’ time.  The Lord commanded the people to smear the blood of lambs on the doorposts of their houses.  This indicated that they would be passed over when God struck the land with the death of the firstborn (see Exodus 12:21-23).  The Jewish festival known as Passover was commemorated from that day on with the eating of the unleavened bread and the sacrifice of lambs.
 
One of the great messianic passages of the Old Testament predicted that Jesus would die like a sacrificial lamb.  About seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah declared of Him, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
 
On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus picked up on the sacrificial lamb imagery that John the Baptist had used of Him when He began His public ministry.  He gathered with His disciples to eat a meal that was part of the observance of the Jewish Passover.  But He turned it into a meal that we know as the Memorial Supper or the Lord’s Supper.
 
Just as the blood of the Passover lamb had been an agent of deliverance for the Israelites in Egypt, so the shed blood of Jesus would provide divine redemption for the entire world.  As Jesus passed the cup among His disciples, He told them, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).