Why did Jesus die? Paul teaches he died to pay for our sins. But the sin offering in Leviticus was a goat, not a lamb. And it was to cleanse the impurity of the sanctuary, not for the sins of the people. The second goat mentioned carried the sins of the people but was not killed but abandoned in the wilderness. How can we reconcile Paul’s teachings with that of the Torah?
Genesis 22:7,8 says, “And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but WHERE IS THE LAMB for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, GOD WILL PROVIDE HIMSELF A LAMB for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together”.
This is the first mention of the word “lamb” in the Bible. It was before the Law was given to Moses. When Abraham was going to offer up a sacrifice to the Lord, Isaac just naturally assumed that the offering was going to be a lamb. When the Lord did provide for the sacrifice, it was a ram. Genesis 22:10-13 says, “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a RAM caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and TOOK THE RAM, AND OFFERED HIM UP FOR A BURNT OFFERING in the stead of his son.”
This is no contradiction, but perfectly acceptable to God, as we see in Exodus 12:1-5, which says, “And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall TAKE TO THEM EVERY MAN A LAMB, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. YOUR LAMB SHALL BE WITHOUT BLEMISH, A MALE OF THE FIRST YEAR:: YE SHALL TAKE IT OUT FROM THE SHEEP, OR FROM THE GOATS.”
So we see that when God was instituting the Passover, He stated that the offering was to be a “lamb,” either from the SHEEP OR FROM THE GOATS. So they referred to a “lamb” as being “of the first year” of either the sheep or the goats.
It is important to note that God allowed more than just sheep to be used in sacrifices. Genesis 8:20-22 says, “And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and TOOK OF EVERY CLEAN BEAST, AND OF EVERY CLEAN FOWL, AND OFFERED BURNT OFFERINGS ON THE ALTAR. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
So after the flood, Noah offered up many different clean animals as sacrifices to the Lord, and the Lord was pleased with what he had done. For a list of “clean” animals, please read Leviticus chapter 11.
Leviticus 12:6-8 says, “And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring A LAMB OF THE FIRST YEAR for a burnt offering, AND A YOUNG PIGEON, OR A TURTLEDOVE, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. And IF SHE BE NOT ABLE TO BRING A LAMB, THEN SHE SHALL BRING TWO TURTLES, OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”
So if a person was too poor to be able to get a lamb, then the turtledove or pigeon would due. That shows us the financial situation of Joseph and Mary. Luke 2:21-24 says, “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” A lamb is not even mentioned in regard to their offering. Obviously, Joseph and Mary were poor.
Animal sacrifices themselves could never take away man’s sin — only the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ could do that. Hebrews 10:4-14 says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
Animal sacrifices were like a check — only covering the purchase until the actual payment was made. That payment was the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is called the “Lamb of God” from prophecy, and directly while He was upon earth. Isaiah
John 1:29 says, “The next day John seeth JESUS coming unto him, and saith, Behold THE LAMB OF GOD, WHICH TAKETH AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD.”