The Bible teaches that God never changes. Since God and Jesus are one, 1 we expect that Jesus does not change. Yet in a sense, He did change.
A. As God on earth
# He was the sacrificial Lamb.
He died for the sins of the whole world. John the Baptist announced Him as such, ‘Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’ 2 Jesus fulfilled Isaiah 53:7-8, ‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so He did not open His mouth. In His humiliation He was deprived of justice….’
# He was the Passover Lamb.
The word for paschal lamb in Exodus 12:5 is the same as the one in John 1:29. It was illustrated that Jesus was the Lamb of God because He was sacrificed on Passover day. 3 At the Exodus the lamb died in the place of the first born son and saved him from death. When Jesus was ‘sacrificed’ on the cross, He died in our place to save us from eternity in the lake of fire.
# He was the resurrected Saviour.
The resurrected Jesus was only on earth for forty days. During that time He spoke to His disciples about the Kingdom of God. 4
B. Now in heaven
# He is the ‘new, changed’ Jesus.
In Revelation 5:1-5 we meet Him again, the resurrected Son of God who has been restored to HIs former glory. Now, however, He is different. He is the mighty Conqueror, the only one who can inaugurate the Kingdom of God. Look at the miracle and logic of Scripture:
# He is the One who opens the scroll.
In John’s vision there was a scroll for the end time. Yet nobody could open it. John cried bitterly. Then an angel announced these magnificent, glorious words, ‘…See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals. Then I saw a Lamb….’ 5
# He is a different Lamb.
In Revelation the word ‘Lamb’ has a different meaning than in John 1:29. Jesus will never again be sacrificed. As the Passover Lamb, Jesus delivered us from sin. The ‘new’ Lamb in heaven brings eternal deliverance from the kingdom of darkness. That is why the Greek word for Lamb differs in the book of Revelation. 6
The two different Greek words for ‘Lamb’ demonstrate the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If the Bible was the product of ordinary human beings, would they have had the insight to be so precise to distinguish between the functions of the pre- and post- resurrected Jesus? We doubt.
- John 10:30
- John 1:29
- John 2:13; 1 Corinthians 5:7
- Acts 1:3
- Revelation 5:5-6
- For more information, S Zodhiates, Editor, The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, Baker Book House, 1988