It is here that we encounter the first
impediment to the doctrine of Jesus as the lamb, because it is evident
from a cursory reading that the prophet does not characterize Jesus as
a lamb, but as like a lamb.
It is illogical to identify Jesus as a lamb by applying this prophecy
to him, because the logic presents him as not a lamb.
An example of a similar use of the
word like will explain:
Like the portrait, she is always
This is a sensible statement if we understand that she is not the portrait, but is only
comparable to it in some way. If she is the portrait, the statement
is trivial nonsense. Everything is like itself. So, if Isaiah
meant to identify Jesus as a lamb, he should have said that he was a lamb, not that he was like a lamb. So, taken in the
light of common grammar and logic, rather than identifying Jesus as a
Isaiah makes him not a lamb
by making him only comparable to a lamb in some way. This statement
affirms that Jesus is like a lamb
in only one specific way -- he went silently
to his death
(as a lamb led to the slaughter).
2. Jesus as the Lamb of Sacrifice
The Christians also base their view on the sacrificial system of the
Thus influenced, the Epistle of I Peter falls into this same irrational
conclusion that identifies Jesus as a sacrificial lamb:
 . . . but with the precious blood of
Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
We readily see that this is not an identification -- only a comparison
of the blood of Christ with the blood of a the sacrificial lamb -- yet
a full reading of this epistle reveals that its author also erred in
making comparison to be identification:
is but another echo of Isaiah:
(24) He himself bore our
sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to
righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that
made us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed.
made the comparison, the Prophet, and the early Christians, similarly
erred in making it an identification. Modern Christians follow
without question! They were heavily influenced by the Hebrew
sacrifice rituals, according to which the sins of men were laid on a
lamb of sacrifice, which then presumably bore the sins. So,
having erred in
identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God, they proceed to err in applying
to him all the functions of the sacrificial lamb in the Law of Moses.
3. Just Listen to Jesus
The Christians know that the prophets spoke of Jesus as being like both
a lamb and a shepherd; they also know that he spoke of his death as
being a ransom. Mistakenly believing him to have been a sacrifice
for sin, they see his death as a sacrifice. They therefore
are prone to assert that Jesus is both a shepherd and a lamb, and that
his death was both a sacrifice and a ransom. They err in both
points, for in each case, the paired entities make a contradiction with
the Word of Jesus It is not possible that Jesus was both a
sacrifice and a ransom, neither is it possible that he is both a
shepherd and a lamb.
1. The Sacrifice and the Ransom
Jesus did identify his death (the giving of his life) as a
the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his
life as a ransom for many.
Jesus would not have given his life as a sacrifice for sin, because,
echoing the prophet Hosea,
he clearly asserted that God does not desire a sacrifice:
and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to
call the righteous, but sinners.
It follows that he gave his life a ransom and not a
sacrifice. I have elsewhere
explored the implications of seeking to apply both ransom and sacrifice
to his death, but here let me very briefly show how, if it is one, it
cannot be the other.
ransom is paid to a captor for the release of his captives, whereas a
sacrifice is given to God for the
forgiveness of sin.
2. A ransom is paid to the evil one
-- a kidnapper for example, or to Satan for the release of his
captives. A sacrifice is presented as given to God, the righteous one for the forgiveness
3. A ransom is paid by a non guilty one (the child's parent?). A
sacrifice is offered by a guilty one (the sinner).
4. Summing up, we see that:
A righteous one gives a ransom to the evil . . . . . one for the
release of captives.
A sinful one . . .gives a sacrifice to the righteous one for the
forgiveness of sins.
6. Or, Jesus, the righteous one, gave his life to Satan (the evil one) as a ransom for the release
of his captives.
It was his Jewish enemies and the agents of Caesar, servants of Satan
all, who extracted Jesus' life from him; therefore it was to Satan, the
evil one, that Jesus gave his life for the release of his
captives. I can only conclude that, since Jesus described the
giving of his life
as a ransom, it was not a sacrifice and he was not a sacrificial
lamb. The false idea that one can purchase the forgiveness of God
by sacrificial offerings will be found, on close investigation, to be
of pagan, idolatrous origin. The Hebrew practice of sacrifice
instituted by Moses constituted but one major advance beyond the pagan
practice, in that they
offered their sacrifices to the one God rather than to many. As
Jesus affirmed, God desires of us mercy, and not sacrifice.
It is not possible that Jesus gave his life as both a sacrifice and a
2. The Shepherd and the Lamb
As in the case of the sacrifice and the ransom, we encounter a another
contradiction when we go to apply both of these metaphors to Jesus,
because he was emphatic about identifying himself in his death as a
shepherd -- The Good Shepherd:
 I am
shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Note this carefully: Jesus does not claim to be like a shepherd, but I am the good shepherd!
This is no comparison, but an exact identification.
Simple, Isn't it? He laid down his life not as a lamb, but he is the Good Shepherd
who laid his life down for the lambs.
Christians have it all tragically befuddled. Dying as the Good
Shepherd, he most certainly did not die as a lamb but only like a lamb
Simply by listening to Jesus and believing him, we have
established that he was not a sacrificial lamb and that his death was
not a sacrifice for sin. Jesus was mistakenly identified as such by
most New Testament writers. His death by crucifixion was also
misunderstood by them. This conclusion generates more important
questions that I hope to address in subsequent papers. These
1. What is the basis for the
forgiveness of sins if Jesus did not purchase our forgiveness on the
2. What of the Eucharistic utterances? Didn't Jesus identify his
death as a sacrifice for sin at the Passover meal?
3. What of the Atonement?
As in all cases, we will listen to Jesus as he illuminates these