The Lamb of God Was a Goat!
Part 2

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Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
January 14, 1999

Last Updated :
February 15, 2023

Purification Of The Altar, New Instructions For The Feast Of Unleavened Bread And Feast Of Tabernacles, Consistent Use Of Sacrificial Goat As Atonement For Sin, Feast Of Firstfruits, Firstfruits Of The Resurrection, The Firstborn From The Dead, The Firstborn Among Many Brethren, Why Jesus May Be Linked To A Lamb Instead Of A Goat, Both Lamb And Goat Peace Offerings, Peace With God Through Christ, Jesus Is Final Peace Offering, Jesus Died Once For The Sins Of All Men, Jesus Christ Is Our Passover Lamb, Unbelieving Jews Were The Children Of Darkness

Continuing our discussion from part one, hundreds of years later, after the destruction of the first temple by the forces of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, the Lord gave the Prophet Ezekiel new instructions regarding the second temple and the altar. These would be built under the leadership and inspiration of men such as Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah. In describing the seven-day purification process of the altar, the Lord also instructed that a goat be used for the atonement of sin, as we can determine by these verses:

"And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock. When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish. And thou shalt offer them before the LORD, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering unto the LORD. Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin offering: they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish. Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it; and they shall consecrate themselves. And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD."
Ezekiel 43:22-27, KJV

Several chapters later, in describing the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread which followed the Passover, while the number of bullocks and rams being offered had changed from earlier years when first instituted by Moses, the kid of the goats was still being used as an atonement for sin, as we see in the following verses. Not only that, but the Lord instructed Ezekiel to use the very same procedure for the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles which occurred in the seventh month as well:

"In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering. And seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the LORD, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering. And he shall prepare a meat offering of an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah. In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil."
Ezekiel 45:21-25, KJV

What we can plainly see from all of the various feast days and sacrifices which were mandated by the Lord in the Old Testament, is that while bullocks, rams and lambs were used a great deal in all of these offerings, the Bible is very consistent in stating that a goat, and not a lamb, was to be used as an atonement for sin. The Scriptures speak clearly regarding this point. As final proof of this, consider the fact that in Numbers chapter seven, we find the following verses:

"And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them; That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered: And they brought their offering before the LORD, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle."
Numbers 7:1-3, KJV

Following these introductory verses, this lengthy chapter of eighty-nine verses describes a twelve-day period, during which time, one head of each of the twelve tribes of Israel -- referred to as a prince -- offered up his sacrifices each day. On each day, a goat was offered as an atonement for sin. As a result, in this chapter, we find the following identical verse twelve different times:

"One kid of the goats for a sin offering:"
Numbers 7:16, KJV

It should be clear then, that the sacrificial "lamb" for the atonement of sin, is actually a goat, and NOT a lamb.

In trying to understand how Jesus came to be represented by an unblemished lamb in the New Testament, as well as in our modern age, even though the Mosaic Law clearly mandated that a goat be used as an atonement for sin, it seems that part of our answer may be found in the Feast of the Firstfruits. Allow me to share with you once again the following verses which are found in the Book of Leviticus regarding this holy Jewish ceremony:

"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD."
Leviticus 23:10-12, KJV

"And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings."
Leviticus 23:15-19, KJV

In the previous verses, the word "lamb" is derived from the Hebrew word "kebes"; which as we saw in part one, means a lamb, sheep or young ram. It is not derived from the Hebrew word "seh"; which can mean either a young sheep or a young goat. Thus, this unblemished lamb which was sacrificed on the first day of the Feast of Firstfruits, was definitely a young sheep. In similar fashion, those animals which were offered up to the Lord fifty days later, were also young sheep, and not goats. However, let us not forget that a "kid of the goats" was still used for the sin offering; and that in the Hebrew language, "kid" is derived from the word "sa`iyr", which means hairy, he-goat or buck.

One fact which we know with all certainty, is that in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as the Firstfruits of the Resurrection; which makes a clear association with this annual feast. Not only that, but the First Century disciples are likewise referred to as the firstfruits of Him who is the Firstborn of the Dead. Consider the following verses which verify these facts:

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept . . . But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
1 Corinthians 15:20, 23, KJV

"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Romans 8:22-23, KJV

"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
James 1:18, KJV

"These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."
Revelation 14:4, KJV

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Romans 8:29, KJV

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature . . . And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
Colossians 1:12-15, 18, KJV

"To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"
Hebrews 12:23, KJV

It seems then that the New Testament Apostles made a clear association between the unblemished lamb which was killed during the first day of the Feast of Firstfruits, and the Lord Himself, who is the Firstfruits of the Spirit. Perhaps the fact that additional lambs were sacrificed fifty days later, has some deeper significance which we don't yet fully understand.

While this relationship appears to provide us with some evidence as to why Jesus may now be associated with a lamb instead of a goat, by itself, it is still a weak argument. That is because this is not the only feast which the early Disciples associated with the Lord. If you are familiar with the writings of the Apostle Paul, you may also know that he made an association between Jesus and the unblemished lambs which were sacrificed during the peace offerings as well. However, as you will now see, these "lambs" were not always real offspring from sheep. As we saw a moment ago, the two lambs which were offered for a peace offering during the Feast of Fruitfruits, definitely were two young sheep, based upon the actual Hebrew word which is used in the verses. But, in the third chapter of Leviticus, where the Lord also gives instructions regarding peace offerings, we are told that they can be lambs or goats. Consider the following verses:

"And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD . . . If he offer a lamb for his offering, then shall he offer it before the LORD . . . And if his offering be a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD."
Leviticus 3:1, 7, 12, KJV

In the following instructions which are found in the Book of Ezekiel, which the Prophet received about nine hundred years after the Laws were first given to Moses, and approximately six hundred years before the Sacrifice of Christ, the Hebrew word translated here as "lamb", is actually "seh"; which as you may remember, can refer to either a lamb or a goat. This is the same word which was used to describe the Passover lamb. Thus, based upon this evidence, we cannot conclusively say that all peace offerings were made with the offspring of sheep; even though this is what was used in the case of the Feast of Firstfruits:

"And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD. All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel."
Ezekiel 45:15-17, KJV

Notice though that the key point which is being made in the previous verses, is that the purpose of the peace offerings was "to make reconciliation for the house of Israel". As the Apostle Paul informs us in the following verses which come right after his discussion regarding the Firstfruits, Jesus Christ was also a peace offering, because He brought peace between us, and God the Father, by His own Blood which was shed on the Cross. As I have explained before, God is at war against sin, rebellion and unbelief. As Paul also tells us, prior to coming to Christ, God in fact viewed us as His enemies. However, once we are cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb, we are in fact reconciled with God the Father, and our relationship with Him is restored. Consider this group of verses which clarify these points:

"Therefore being justified by faith, WE HAVE PEACE WITH GOD THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST . . . For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
Romans 5:1, 10, KJV

"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
2 Corinthians 5:18-19, KJV

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. FOR HE IS OUR PEACE, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
Ephesians 2:13-18, KJV

"For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, HAVING MADE PEACE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:"
Colossians 1:19-22, KJV

Furthermore, both the Prophet Isaiah, and Jesus, tell us that He -- meaning Jesus -- gives us this peace when we believe in Him, and trust in His Name for our Salvation. We can all have this peace in our hearts, knowing that Jesus has already made the necessary Reconciliation with the Father. It is for this reason that Paul also tells us that we are now able to boldly approach the Throne of Grace. Consider this group of verses:

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Isaiah 26:3, KJV

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27, KJV

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33, KJV

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:7, KJV

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:15-16, KJV

Thus, as I already said, we can each have peace with God the Father, through our faith in the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who is our Prince of Peace. As we have now seen, just as an unblemished lamb or goat was sacrificed for sin during the Old Testament period, Jesus also offered up Himself as a Final Sacrifice for sin. He in fact became our peace offering as well. Furthermore, as the following group of verses make rather plain, Jesus did this one time, and He will not do it again. When He said "It is finished" as He hung dying on the Cross, He meant it. The New Covenant with the Father was in fact sealed by the precious blood of the Lamb of God. As a result, no further animal sacrifices, or any other sacrifices, are now required:

"Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin ONCE: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God."
Romans 6:9-10, KJV

"But this man, [Jesus] because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did ONCE, when he offered up himself."
Hebrews 7:24-27, KJV

"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in ONCE into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."
Hebrews 9:11-12, KJV

"For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself . . . So Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
Hebrews 9:24-26, 28, KJV

"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE for all."
Hebrews 10:10, KJV

"For Christ also hath ONCE suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"
1 Peter 3:18, KJV

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
Hebrews 6:4-6, KJV

As I stated in part one, one of the most obvious reasons as to why Jesus is viewed as being a small, white lamb, is due to the misconception involving the first Passover in Egypt. As we have already seen, the Passover "lamb" was actually a goat or a lamb. This connection between our Lord and that first Passover meal in Egypt is even more profound than you may realize. Upon reading the accounts found in the four Gospels, we discover that our Lord was also sacrificed on the first day of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread; which began with the slaying of the Passover lamb on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month. That is, the month Abib.

Please don't forget that in ancient Jewish life, and even according to the Book of Genesis, the day actually began in the evening, and continued until the next sundown. In other words, when the ancient Israelites slew the Passover lamb on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month of Abib, they were actually beginning the fifteenth day. It was during the first hours of this fifteenth day, that they began to eat the unleavened bread, as well as the Passover lamb, and continued to eat the lamb all through the night until the morning hours of the fifteenth day. Consider the following verses which prove these points:

"The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt."
Exodus 34:18, KJV

"Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night."
Deuteronomy 16:1, KJV

"And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening . . . And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it . . . And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire . . . In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even."
Exodus 12:6, 8, 10, 18, KJV

As you will easily see from the following verses, it was at the same time that the ancient Israelites ate the roasted lamb, or goat, along with unleavened bread in the land of Egypt, that approximately fifteen hundred years later, Jesus would be in Jerusalem sharing the very same Passover meal with His Disciples:

"And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?"
Mark 14:12, KJV

"And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
Luke 22:14-20, KJV

". . . Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me."
John 6:53-57, KJV

It was during the same hours that the Lord was smiting the firstborn of Egypt beginning at midnight, that the wicked Jewish elders sent their temple guards to arrest Jesus by night as He prayed on the Mount of Olives in the company of His Disciples. As Jesus had prophesied only hours earlier, when the shepherd was smitten, His followers fled the scene in fear. As both Jesus and Paul stated, the reason that the Jews performed this act during the dead of night, aside from the fact that it was the safest time to avoid an uproar with the people, was because those Jewish elders were children of the night, and workers of darkness, who were afraid to come to the Light, lest their evil works should be exposed by it. Consider the following verses:

"And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men."
Exodus 12:29-33, KJV

"Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad."
Matthew 26:31, KJV

"And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him . . . Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off."
Luke 22:52-54, KJV

"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
John 3:19-20, KJV

"Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
1 Thessalonians 5:5, KJV

Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.

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