From the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation, there is only one Gospel: God loves man and wants to live in man. Every word of God is full of power and revelation. The Old Testament is full of great mysteries, and if you are able to dig them out, you will give God praise. The story of Abraham well reflects the theme of this year’s Convention: “The image of the Father: The Lamb.”
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
The first thing to observe here is verse one and verse two. The Father carefully led Abraham into a mystery: He said, “Take thy son, thine only son, take him.” Towards the end of the story where Abraham was to offer Isaac, the story changed (vs 13-18).
Abraham lifted up his eyes on the third day—not his two physical eyes, for he was a spiritual man. He lifted up his eyes and saw afar off. The two physical eyes cannot see afar off; only the ones inside will. You need spiritual eyes to sight spiritual things. In verse 5, Abraham said that he and his son would go to worship and that both of them would come back to God. He knew he was going to come back with Isaac. Abraham saw afar off — he saw the resurrection before it happened. He laid everything upon his son Isaac. Isaac was curious and asked why there was no lamb for the sacrifice but Abraham replied him saying that God would provide ‘Himself’ the lamb for a burnt offering (vs. 8). The Father said He would provide, implying that He Himself will come to be the lamb to be sacrificed. This is the Gospel and cannot be changed. God said, “I will provide Myself a lamb.”
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
As far as God is concerned in the story in Genesis, this journey was the next day. This means the next day, God provided Jesus, the Lamb. John saw Jesus coming and he said to those who just looked but did not see, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes the sins of the world.” The Jews were all looking and wondering where the Lamb was. It had never been in their history that a man could be called a lamb. Yes, they offered lambs for sacrifice and did a lot with lambs but this was way beyond their reasoning. “Behold the Lamb of God!” God turned Himself to a lamb. This is the mystery the Jews did not understand. The key words there are: the Lamb who taketh away the sin of the world. The Jews sacrificed sheep but the sheep could not take away sin; they could only cover sin. Here, John introduced a new lamb which takes away sins.
Our dispensation is a great one where God has done something unbelievable. The soul of man has been jam-packed with sin and cannot be atoned for, no matter how many sacrifices are offered. They would just be counted as rituals. The Sabbath is an example. Concerning the Sabbath, Jesus says that He is the end of the law and the prophet and that includes the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). He called them and told them that He had finished the work they were trying to do and that the only thing left for them was to enter His rest, if only they would see and come to Him.
Matthew 11:28 says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
You may not understand this thing if you have not experienced the weight of sin. The weight of sin leads to hell. “For the wages of sin is death...” The soul of man is heavy because of sin, and every ritual has been trying to take it away. Jesus said that many wash their hands with a lot of soap and at the end dip it into mud again. This shows that there is no ritual that can ever cleanse the soul of man. But there is heavenly detergent that washes whiter than soap. Actually, it does not wash. The lamb does not wash away sin but takes it away. He came to take it away once and for all, putting an end to patching and mending. He came to take it away and give a new one. If you will die in this condition, the sin will follow you to eternity. But if it is taken away, you are saved for ever.
The soul must be changed. It looks so hard for people to do because it involves death. We must die. That old soul must be taken away. One of the apostles understood this very well. A message was sent to Jesus telling Him about His friend who was sick but he delayed. When His friend was four days in the grave, Jesus left to see him. He is all-wise. He waited to cancel and nullify a belief. Before they left, He told His disciples that His friend Lazarus was asleep. They replied that if he was asleep, then he would be okay but when Jesus made it plain that Lazarus was dead, Thomas said to the other disciples, “Let us go and die also with him.” (John 11:11-16) None of these disciples understood what He meant.
Without death, there cannot be resurrection. This is what every Christian must know. It is important that the old soul dies. If you put the earth and your soul on a scale, your soul would weigh heavier. Jesus said: “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” (Mark 8:36) The soul is heavy because of the weight of sin in it. There must be a transformation. The Gospel is the power of God that transforms a man and makes him to stand at the gate to declare that Jesus is Lord.
God is God in His own class and sees all of our zeal and zest to do a lot for Him. One day, the disciples came rejoicing that they cast out demons but Jesus told them not to rejoice in that. We can no longer walk with God with our old soul. As time goes on, the veil is taken away and sight is given. At this point, one will see that he has not even started. Yes, many things happen with all of the zeal and miracles, but how many came to life through all that? The Gospel should bring people into Life. Before now, it looked like we believed but by reason of sight now, everything is working out anew. One can be in the ministry for a long time and not even get close to what it is; but when the Holy Spirit starts downloading all these, we realise that there is still more land to occupy.
The Lamb will be seen by revelation. The ‘first day’ was a day of evangelism but the ‘next day’ was the day of the Lamb. When we experience it, it will shock us and we will jump for Joy, sometimes we even cry. It is necessary to take steps forward today for we have stayed too long in one place. There is hidden manna in the Scriptures that when they are opened, we would eat and shout hallelujah! The Lord already promised He will give us the hidden manna and He has set before us an open door that no man can close. There is a need for us to continue to hear for we have not known anything. He will lead us to some point that will make us cry out like the Prophet Isaiah. When we migrate into this life and space, the Word of God that looks so hidden and upside down will be so clear.
Jesus asked His disciples what name He was called by people, and after several answers, He asked them what they themselves knew Him to be. Peter answered saying, “You are CHRIST, the Son of the Living God” (emphasis added) and Jesus declared immediately that flesh and blood had not revealed that to him, adding that upon that rock would His church be built and the gate of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:16-19).
At another instance, Jesus said He was going to die and Peter rebuked Him by the personality of Satan inside him. There was the manifestation of two personalities here. Jesus immediately spoke against him saying, “Satan, get thee behind me” (Mark 8:33). Do not mix your own idea with the work of the Lord. Here, it was evident Peter did not understand anything. He did not understand God’s work, neither man’s work. Death is necessary. Many at times we get confused about things, we should wait at those points and the Holy Spirit, Who is also our Teacher will lead us into all truth. AMEN.