One of our most cherished, timeless hymns is entitled Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.
The roots of that song go way back.
Let’s first cite several Scripture passages that form the basis of this song.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23
“…for the life of the flesh is in the blood…” Leviticus 17:11a
“…for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
Notice that all of the above passages begin with the prepositional prefix ‘for’ which indicates a causal relationship.
The truth that blood covers one’s sins was first introduced when God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins before they were banished from the garden. The time was approximately 4,000 BC.
Adam and Eve had two sons, i.e. Cain and Abel. Cain was a tiller of the ground and ‘brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD.’
Abel, on the other hand, was a keeper of sheep. And Abel brought an offering of the ‘firstborn of his flock and of their fat.’
‘Fat’ in this context means ‘best’ and ‘finest.’
Abel’s offering was accepted by the LORD while Cain’s was not. Just as Adam and Eve’s attempt to cover their sin with fig leaves was replaced with animal skins, which meant that some living animal had shed its blood and sacrificed its life to cover their sin.
Fast forward approximately 2,000 years to the time of Abraham. God told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham immediately obeyed and took his son to Mount Moriah as instructed.
Upon arriving at the designated place, Isaac questioned his father asking where the lamb was which was to be offered.
Abraham told Isaac that God would provide for Himself the lamb.
Then Abraham bound Isaac on the altar that he had built; and as he took his knife to slay Isaac, God called out to him from heaven not to slay his son.
And sure enough, a male sheep was caught in a thicket to be offered as a substitute.
Abraham had passed God’s test of trust and faith.
Abraham then called the place Jehovah-jireh from the Hebrew ‘Raah’ meaning to perceive, to see intellectually. Approximately 1,000 years later Solomon would begin building the temple on that very spot.
About 500 years after Abraham’s test, God instituted the ‘Passover’ associated with the last plague on the Egyptians immediately preceding the Exodus.
God instructed Moses to tell the people that on the 10th day of the first month each family was to pick a lamb from their flocks to offer to the LORD on the evening preceding their departure.
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year.”
‘Without blemish,’ means ‘whole’ or ‘perfect.’ And ‘first’ means ‘appointed’ or ‘young.’
Then God gave instructions for the chosen lamb.
“Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole… congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” Exodus 12:6
‘Twilight’ has several connotations; however, Josephus reports that the customary time to kill the Passover Lamb at the time of Christ was 3:00 PM.
The blood of the lamb was to be applied to the doors of the Israelites’ houses, and when the LORD saw the blood He would pass over that house and not slay their firstborn.
“And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.” Exodus 12:7
As history progressed another 650 years, the prophets proclaimed that the coming Messiah would suffer in the same manner as the Passover lamb.
“…and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all…He was led as a lamb to the slaughter…for the transgressions of My people He was stricken…My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:6b, 7b, 8b, 11b
‘Laid’ means ‘intercessor.’ ‘Justify’ means to ‘cleanse.’
And note again the prepositional prefix ‘for,’ which explains the causal relationship pertaining to His death.