What do these have in common: a lamb, bread, and a serpent? Very little, yet all are used as likenesses of Christ. All three have their roots in the early history of Israel.
In preparing His people for leaving Egypt, God commanded them to apply the blood of an unblemished lamb to the door frames of their houses.
He told them, “. . . and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).
This is the basis for the Passover—when God passed over the houses of the Israelites, just as He had promised. The Egyptian homes, however, were struck with the death of their firstborn sons.
The New Testament brings out the significance of this. As John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching he announced, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
And Paul writes, “For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Once Israel left Egypt and entered the wilderness, how would they be fed? In response to their needs God provided a special miraculous bread called manna.
Jesus declared, “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died . . . . I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” (John 6:49, 51).
After God sent serpents to punish His people for their faithless complaining, He instructed Moses to erect a bronze serpent on a staff; and that whoever looked at the serpent would not die from the venomous bites (Numbers 21:4-9).
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” Jesus said, “even so must the Son of Man be lifted up . . .” (John 3:14-15).
“”And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
The apostle John then explained, “But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die” (John 12:32-33).
Lamb, bread, serpent
All three pointed to the Christ and the cross.
May God be praised for His great plan to save us—a plan which He forecast centuries before and then so wonderfully fulfilled in the giving of His Son for our sake!
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/
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