December 28, 2021 – Tuesday
Luke 10:3 NIV
3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
John 1:29 NIV
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Revelation 5:6 NIV
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
There are three verses today and what is common among them is the word lamb or Lamb. There are at least three different words for lamb in the New Testament. Each of the verses above has a different Greek word for lamb although two of them are related. In a number of Bibles you will also see Passover lamb as in the NASB, but when you look the word up you are only given an explanation of Passover (G3957 in its Greek dictionary) and here we are interested the lamb. However, it is of interest to note almost all versions of Mark 14:12 has Passover lamb, but at least a dozen does not. Since the verse is speaking of the Passover sacrifice, lamb is added in for clarity and the NJKV indicates this by placing it in italics.
With the above in mind let’s see how each verse above defines lamb. In Luke 10:3, lamb is from the Greek aren (704) which is used only one time in the KJV and is related to the Greek arren (730), a male lamb. Then in John 1:29, Lamb is from the Greek amnos (286), which is used only four times in the KJV, all referring to Christ and is simply defined as a lamb. Finally, we come to Revelation 5:6, where Lamb is from the Greek arnion (721), which is used in the KJV twenty-eight times to refer to Jesus and two times to a lamb and it is defined as a lambkin (a little lamb) and is a diminutive from the Greek aren (704 see Luke 10:3).
Still, what is a lamb, what is the difference between a lamb and a sheep? There are over 150 references to lamb in the Old Testament and at least 40 (NIV) in the New Testament although the Greek words may vary as noted above. One website on farming tells us age is the primary difference between a lamb and a sheep. A sheep is over one year of age whereas a lamb is below the age of one year. Then later adds, Whereas most people use the word sheep and lamb interchangeably, the two are quite different. A lamb heavily relies on the mother’s milk (the sheep). As such, lambs do not eat as much grass as needed by the sheep. Simply put, a lamb is a young sheep in its first year. Another website adds more and deeper information about a lamb that is weaned, [I]t is called a hogg. This is not the same thing as a pig; a lamb is called a hogg when it becomes weaned from its mother’s milk. And It usually takes 60 days or longer for a lamb to wean from its mother. Throughout most of the world today, a lamb is a sheep that is under twelve months of age. At sheep101 we find, The weight of newborn lambs varies by breed, sex of lamb, litter size, and ewe nutrition. The lambs from medium to small breeds are similar in size to human babies, usually between 5 and 12 pounds, with an average of 8 to 10 pounds. At another sheep 101 link we find, The size of the lamb at weaning is generally more important than its actual age. As a rule of thumb, most lambs can be weaned at 60 days of age or 45 pounds, whichever comes first.
Sheep are basically defenseless, and lambs are more so being much smaller in size and obviously with little experience in the world around them. How lambs were used as a sacrifice is well covered here with some good background on the birth of Jesus and the shepherds who greeted Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You gave us Your Son Jesus as a sacrificial lamb to pay the price for our sins. A lamb without sin! Thank You. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton in Beavercreek