In the book of Revelation alone, Jesus is called "the Lamb" 28 times, and this reference to Jesus is almost exclusively in Revelation and in St. John's Gospel. There is an acilliary debate about authorship here, as some believe that St. John the Apostle, who wrote the Gospel, is a different person from the author of Revelation, whom some believe to be a man by the name of St. John the Elder. This latter figure is cited because he was traditionally thought to have been a youth when Christ walked the earth, and knew the Lord personally - the passage in Scripture, for instance, where it says that this John laid his head upon the breast of Christ (John 13:23,25) at the Last Supper referred to a young St. John the Elder rather than St. John the Apostle. Although an interesting debate, that discussion lies outside the scope of this study because the authorship of Revelation is not the focus here. My Orthodox Study Bible though, in its introductory notes on Revelation on page 1706, maintains the historic position that John the Elder and John the Apostle (the Apostle was called "The Elder" in his later years) were the same person, and being this is the historic view of the Church, that is what this study will also maintain. Also, the fact that the title "Lamb" is used of Christ in both the Gospel of John and Revelation suggests common authorship as well, and it establishes a continuity of documentation.
Jesus as the Lamb of God is a central tenet of both the book of Revelation and the Mass, and as such, we know who He is. However, we also need to know what the Lamb is, as well as why we call Him that. Therefore, the focus of that part of our study addresses these issues.
Dr. Hahn utilizes two sacrifices of significance from the Old Testament to give a sort of foundation to this whole image of Jesus as the Lamb, and the first we find in Genesis 14:18-20. In that passage, an enigmatic figure by the name of Melchizedek makes his appearance in the narrative, and the first thing is to talk about the etymology of this guy's name, because it bears some significance on the story. Melchizedek is one of those people whose identity has been disputed by theologians for centuries, and Scripture doesn't directly say exactly who he was. One tradition I recall reading about identified Melchizedek with Noah's son Shem, and the reasoning behind this was that at the time of Abraham, Shem was still very much alive although over 600 years old. It was not uncommon in those days - although our own rationalistic mentality today cannot fathom it - for people to live to advanced ages, and therefore I personally believe Shem did know Abraham and was around at that time. However, whether or not he was the same as the Biblical Melchizedek is not something I would personally have a position on, although it is worth exploring. The important thing about Melchizedek though was that the Church has historically seen him as as foreshadow of Jesus. and the key to that is in his name. The name Melchizedek may well be a title as well, and it comprises two Semitic words (malka "king" + tzedekha "righteous") and he was also the ruler/priest of a place called Salem (from shalom = "peace"), which many Biblical scholars and theologians over the centuries maintained was the early site of where Jerusalem now stands. If you put all that name together, what you then get is this - "Righteous King of Peace." Compare that now with Isaiah 9:6, which many of you know from around Christmas when performances of Handel's beautiful masterpiece The Messiah basically bring these Scriptures to life for us - one of the titles given to Jesus as revealed to the prophet Isaiah was "Prince of Peace." As we read on in the Genesis passage, we see that Melchizedek offers a sacrifice, but it involved no animals! In verse 18, it says that Melchizedek was "a priest of the God Most High," and that after Abraham engaged the king of Elam in a battle to rescue Lot, who was taken captive in a battle between Chedorlaomer the king of the Elamites and an alliance of cities led by the king of Sodom, where Lot lived. Abraham allied himself with the king of Sodom in this battle to rescue and liberate Lot from captivity, and when he did so Melchizedek came out to meet him and offered a sacrifice of bread and wine (v. 18). The reason this is seen by the Church as a foreshadowing of Christ is because Melchizedek's priesthood typified Jesus' role as High Priest, who gives Himself to His faithful in the Eucharist. This sacrifice is seen as a "superior order," and salvation always comes through that means. Therefore, from very early on in the Old Testament, we see the Eucharist established, although it was not fulfilled until Christ instituted it later at the Last Supper.
The second sacrifice of significance is found in Genesis 22, the passage dealing with Abraham's attempted sacrifice of Isaac. In verse 2 of the chapter, God Himself commands Abraham as a test of his faithfulness to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, on Mount Moriah. This must have really baffled Abraham, as it would any loving father, but more was at stake here - I mean, after all, God had called Abraham to be "the father of many nations," and that Isaac, who was actually born to his nonagenarian wife Sarah, would be who would progenate that line through his seed. So, it made no sense whatsoever why God would ask Abraham to do this. But, the why is not what is important to the story, but rather the fact that Abraham, despite any confusion he may have had about what on earth was going on, obeyed, and that was what God was looking for! Now, as for Moriah - where was that?? In 2 Chronicles 3:1, it is identified with the Temple Mount, and therefore with the Law - sacrifice was the rule and norm for atonement, as we will discuss briefly. In earliest traditions of the Church, it has been proposed that the two mounts of Jerusalem (Calvary and Zion/Moriah) where much of the drama of Christ's redemptive plan would be carried out were also the center of the original Garden of Eden, and on those two mounts sat two trees - the Tree of Life is identified with the hill of death (Calvary) and the Tree of Knowledge is identified with the hill that embodied Mosaic law (Zion/Moriah). Mount Moriah, you will also note, is identified as well with Mount Zion, as both represent the future Temple Mount. Going back to the Melchizedek narrative, it is also said that he offered his sacrifice in the same place. This then gives a lot of allegorical similarities to the Passion of our Lord - Isaac was a faithful father's (Abraham) only beloved son (note that Ishmael is older, but the custom didn't allow for Ishmael to be a legitimate heir of Abraham, which is why he isn't mentioned in this narrative), and part of the journey to the place of sacrifice was that Isaac had to carry the wood that he would be offered on up the hill himself. Jesus, too, was God's only beloved son (John 3:16), and also had to carry the wood He was sacrificed on (the Cross) to the place of the sacrifice. Any rate, Isaac was obviously a bright child, because he had a good father that taught him well, and one thing we note from Scripture is that Isaac was perceptive enough to understand that in order to do this, it was important to have the sacrificial animal (!). So, Isaac asks his father, "My Father, look - the fire and the firewood, but where is the sheep for a burnt offering?" (Genesis 22:7, NKJV). Abraham by this time is probably thinking to himself, "Oy!!!" but he answers judiciously, "My son, God will provide for himself the sheep for a whole burnt offering" (22:8. NKJV). Now, here is where it gets really interesting! Dr. Hahn points out in his book on 18 that there was not any punctuation in the original Hebrew translation of this verse, and he proposes an alternate reading of verse 8 that looks like this - "God will provide Himself, the Lamb, for a burnt offering." Whoa!!!!!!! Looking at it from that angle, we see a profound spiritual truth communicated here that gives us a Messianic prophecy of hope in the most unlikely of passages in Scripture, and of course, as we read on, God did provide a ram with its horns tangled in thorns nearby, and of course Isaac was spared. It was a scary but valuable lesson for Abraham of the redemption God was going to bring to humanity via Himself. And, this correlates with Galatians 3:14 - "that in Christ the blessings of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles."
Of course, no study of the Old Testament typologies of the Eucharist would be complete without of course mentioning the Passover. Animal sacrifice of course was a very big part of worship in the ancient world, and in ancient Israel this was no exception - the only difference was that God Himself instituted the system via Moses on the Mount. The animal sacrifice represented, first of all, the recognition of God's sovereignty over creation (note Psalm 24;1). It also represented an act of thanksgiving (eucaristw in Greek or tauditho in both Hebrew and Aramaic), which signified we could only give back what we ourselves have received. Sacrifice also signified a solemnly sealed agreement/oath, otherwise called a covenant. And, it also could signify an act of penance - the animal's life is offered in our place. The pivotal sacrifice of the whole OT is without doubt the Passover, and what marked the Passover was that it was to be celebrated with an unblemished lamb without broken bones. And, this is where it really gets interesting! In the traditional way of preparing the lamb, it was dressed and tied to a cruciform spit, and then dropped into the ground into a pit of hot coals where it was roasted. The spit is of interest - cruciform! A long pole secured the lamb down its length, and then its two front limbs were spread and secured with another pole which were tied where the poles intersected, creating a cross. Today in Israel, the 1000-strong remnant of the Samaritan community still roast their Passover lamb in this way, as this picture shows: