"The Lamb of God"

The spiritual signification of Scripture, rising above the material, is illustrated in the first chapter of the fourth gospel, where we find John's characterization of Jesus in these words : "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Now John the Baptist was himself the son of a priest, and therefore was thoroughly acquainted with the sacrificial law which called for a lamb as an expiatory offering. At the same time he must have been familiar with the psalmist's words, "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; . . . burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required." The persistence in the Scriptures of the idea symbolized by "a lamb without blemish and without spot" calls for more than passing notice. In Science and Health (p. 590) Lamb of God is defined as "the spiritual idea of Love; self-immolation; innocence and purity; sacrifice." Onpage 334 we read of " 'the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,' — slain, that is, according to the testimony of the corporeal senses, but undying in the deific Mind." Here it is pointed out that the divine idea can never be separated from its divine origin; hence its immortality. It would seem, however, that this great truth has been missed in the religious teachings of mankind, and death rather than life has been given prominence in these teachings.

Nowhere is the oppositeness of material sense and of spiritual understanding more apparent than in the Bible statements respecting the lamb as a type of sacrifice. Through long years men believed that the killing of a gentle animal would free them from the effects of sin, but they evidently did not test themselves in order to find whether the sin had been destroyed when the lamb was slain. Even the Baptist's inspired utterance respecting "the Lamb of God" has been taken to mean that Jesus was to die for the sins of the world, whereas he came to bring life "more abundantly" to all who would accept it, and this he did, not by submitting to death, but by overcoming it both for himself and for others. Here it may be said that death could never have been overcome by one who was in bondage to sin, nor for one who was its willing slave. From his boyhood Jesus was about his Father's business, namely, the unfoldment and establishment in human consciousness of all that expresses God. Paul tells us that Christ Jesus "knew no sin ;" it had no place in his consciousness, which was "without blemish and without spot;" therefore he was fitted to take away the sins of the world, and its sufferings as well.

In all the Bible there is nothing more wonderful than the unfolding to human consciousness of the divine idea typified by the Lamb as presented in the book of Revelation. In the fifth chapter we read of a sealed book which no man was able or worthy to open. Then we are told that "the Lion of the tribe of Juda" would do so, and at once "in the midst of the throne" appears "a Lamb as it had been slain," that takes the book and opens it. Thus we find meekness and might essaying the stupendous task of human redemption which begins with the opening of the spiritual sense of the Word. In following this great drama as given in Revelation we must not lose sight of the fact that the Lamb of God is in each successive act taking away the sins of the world, bringing the redeemed out of great tribulation, leading and feeding them so that they neither hunger nor thirst any more.

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"As thyself"
October 16, 1915

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