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The Bible referred to Jesus as the lamb of God John 1:29. The lamb was only mentioned as a sacrificial animal at the Passover, and not mentioned for the redemption of sin. The Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30), mentioned these animals as the accepted for redemption - sheep (not lamb), bull, goat, dove or pigeon. The question is, would the lamb have passed for the redemption of sin?

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    Where does the word "redemption" or phrase "redemption of sin" appear in Leviticus?
    – user33515
    Feb 28, 2022 at 14:40
  • He means sin offering, or חטאת, in hebrew. Great question btw.
    – Kapandaria
    Oct 30, 2022 at 17:29

7 Answers 7

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This question is explicitly answered in Heb 10:4 -

because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Heb 10:1 has a similar message:

For the law is only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. It can never, by the same sacrifices offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. See also Heb 10:19.

That is, the sacrificial system was only a means to teach people about the sacrifice of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. The reality was Jesus Himself. See appendix Below.

By contrast, Jesus was the sacrifice of atonement for taking away, or "expiating" sin:

  • John 1:29 - The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
  • Rom 3:25 - God presented Him as the atoning sacrifice through faith in His blood, in order to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had passed over the sins committed beforehand.
  • 1 John 2:2 - He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
  • 1 Cor 5:7 - Get rid of the old leaven, that you may be a new unleavened batch, as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
  • Acts 4:12 - Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus was the great sacrifice for sin and this was typified by numerous sacrifices in the OT such as, Num 29:11, Lev 14:13, 15:25, 7:37, 5:6, 9:7, 15, 10:19, 6:11, 6:26, 4:3, 33, etc, etc.

APPENDIX - Jesus was the fulfillment of the sacrificial system

Jesus was the fulfillment or "anti-type" of the sacrificial system or Levitical covenant in many ways, for example:

  • Jesus was the fulfillment of what the sanctuary/temple typified, John 2:19-21, Heb 9:1-28, 10:1-18
  • Jesus represented the foundation of the temple as well, 1 Peter 2:4-8 (Compare Isa 28:16, Ps 118:22)
  • Jesus’ body was represented by the curtain in the temple, Heb 10:20.
  • Jesus was the bread of life, John 6:35, 41, 48 (compare Ex 25:23-30, Lev 24:8).
  • Jesus was the light of life, John 8:12, 9:5 (compare the lampstand Ex 25:31-39, Lev 24:3, 4, Isa 53:11, Ps 56:13, etc)
  • Jesus provides the water of life, John 4:13, 14 (Compare the laver Ex 30:17-21. See also 1 Cor 6:11)
  • Jesus is the promised seed of the woman Gal 3:16 (compare Gen 3:15, and the Abrahamic Covenant)
  • Jesus was the Passover Lamb and thus the promised Messiah, John 1:29, 1 Cor 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19 (compare Ex 12:1-14).
  • Jesus is the High Priest of the New Covenant in fulfillment of the Levitical covenant, Heb 4:14-16, 5:10, 7:23-28, because He was “pure, blameless, set apart” exactly as the Levites were. See also Heb 9:15, 12:24.
  • Jesus provided the blood of the new covenant of which the communion ceremony was to be a memorial, Matt 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25, Heb 13:20, 1 Peter 1:19 (compare Ex 24:5, 8).
  • Jesus was the anti-type of the “red heifer” (Num 19:1-10) and its associated ashes that “purify our consciences from works of death”, Heb 9:13, 14.
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To take away is not necessarily the same as to redeem. The first could happen without any redemption resulting. To redeem is to pay a price for something, but with Jesus there is no hint of a bribe here, or of any financial transaction. He freely gave in order to legitimately remove something that legally condemned humanity. Jesus took something away, and the way he did that can best be illustrated as a lamb being sacrificed. Once he has given up his life sacrificially, God's righteousness regarding judging sin has been demonstrated, and sin dealt with, once and for all. Then those putting faith in what Jesus did can be saved from just punishment - the burden of their sins being taken up and away, contained in God's hand.

Now, the sacrificed animals in the Hebrew Scriptures did not actually redeem because they only served as a reminder of on-going sin (Heb. 10:4). They served to teach God's people that blood needed to be shed for the forgiveness of sin. Long before the Mosaic law was brought in, the Passover lamb was killed and its blood put on the lintels of the doors - symbolic of the need for shed blood to enable the angel of death to pass over their houses without killing the firstborn. Faith had to be expressed in this symbolism. Those who trusted in that provision of God lived and were set free.

Therefore, when John the Baptist told people to behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, he knew Jesus had not yet given up his life - this was only the start of his earthly ministry! Yet what would happen was assured, for scripture speaks of Christ being the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8 & 1 Pet. 1:18-20). Christ would be sacrificed, giving up his life by shedding his blood, and only then would the sin of the world be dealt with. The giving up had to happen first, before the taking away could result.

That is why it is not until after Christ's resurrection and return to heaven that he is spoken of as looking as a Lamb that had been slain, but is now fully alive and active, there in the midst of God's throne (Rev. 5:6).

This particular 'Lamb' had truly been accepted for dealing with our sin, for all heaven acclaims him and falls down in worship! But no other lamb ever had, for the animals sacrificed previously served only to remind sinners of their need to seek God's way of being spared death and set free, as symbolized by the Passover lamb. No literal lamb's blood ever redeemed from sin but the symbolic Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world literally shed his blood on the cross. It is because of who he is that he could do that - no creature could ever do that.

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  • You say, "with Jesus there is no hint of....financial transaction". Galatians 3:13 has "Christ redeemed us..". & Gal 4:5 redeem/exagorazo/buy up at the market place. Relevant?
    – C. Stroud
    Jan 24 at 12:25
  • Yes, he redeemed with his shed blood (Eph.1:7). As shown in Psalm49:7-8, the value of a human soul is so precious, it is impossible for any monetary ransom to redeem it. When it comes to sinners being redeemed, there had to be an exchange. In the market place money was used to purchase, but payment in kind could also be accepted (bartering). I understand Jesus' sinless life to be the great exchange; infinitely more valuable than all the money in the world! Money cannot even begin to come into it, is my view.
    – Anne
    Jan 24 at 12:55
  • Thanks. Are you saying "his shed blood" is not money, or, it is not the price he paid?
    – C. Stroud
    Jan 24 at 13:03
  • His shed blood was the acceptable price to God. Hebrews 10:4 shows that Christ came to do God's will, as a sacrifice "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ." Heb.9:11-14 "by his own blood he obtained eternal redemption... If the blood of bulls and of goats sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
    – Anne
    Jan 24 at 13:12
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    I have asked, "What does "redeem" mean in "to redeem those under the law" in Galatians 4:5?" I wonder if it covers what you call "this angle"?
    – C. Stroud
    Jan 25 at 17:52
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John 1:29 deliberately hyperlinks to many ideas contained in The Old Testament regarding sacrifices. The main two being the Passover lamb and the goats of the Day of Atonement. John ends the book in similar fashion, where he describes Jesus again as the Passover lamb and the Yom Kippur goats.

John 19: 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

John 20 (Jesus' place of rest described as the ark of the covenant, and the bloody cloths as the blood of the goat on the mercy seat):

5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. ... 11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

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The lamb of God, Which became a sin offering is for deliverance from sin. He takes away the sin of the world.

.>Christ came to Put Away Sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:26

It was sin in that was condemned in Jesus's flesh.

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh fen Romans 8:3

"What man needs is deliverance-Not from the penalty of sin, But from sin itself, And this is what " God in Christ " Does for us in the atonement.

For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood he likewise took part in the same; (For what purpose?). That through death he might destroy him that had the power, that is the adversaries, and deliver all them who threw the fear of death we're all their lifetimes subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15

What was the purpose of the atonement under the law? Just exactly what it is under the gospel; "to put away sin." The bullock and two goats were a "sin offering" That is to say they represent it the sin that was to be "put away." They did not represent the penalty, nor did they represent a substitute who was to receive the penalty in the place of the sinner , neither were they a gift to appease the one sinned against; but they represented the sin itself that was to be slain, destroyed and put away.

The three animals were one sin offering, each one representing a different aspect of the same sin offering, And the anti-type of all three: Aaron's bullock, the Lord's goat, And the "scapegoat, "are Jesus Christ. All of the sacrifices find their fulfillment in the Lord Jesus. Here is the proper understanding of the atonement in a type or anti-type in the law of the gospel; The sacrifice represents the sin.

The only possible cause of trouble and suffering in God's universe is sin. .. The scapegoat represented the sin of the people and when it was sent away it represents what will ultimately done away with sin." Arthur P Adams

Behold the lamb of God which beareth away (Like the scapegoat) the sin of the world. John 1:29

Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree. 1 Peter 2:24

He did not bear away our penalty for sins as our substitute, but he bore away our sins. In Him out sins were destroyed; The key to understanding this whole subject is to remember that the sacrifice represents the sin, not the center and the penalty, but the sin.... It is killed, carried away and utterly destroyed. In the future the final result of this redemption will show the curse is gone. Rev. 22:3. Quoted from Arthur P. Adam

" He was made Sin for us" 2 Corinthians 5:21

God wad in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. When you think about it, Christ's pure innocent body that knew no sin, and then became sin for us, Sin was then condemned in His flesh, His death reconciled the books. Sin was buried and left behind and in His resurrection there is no more sin. It has been taken away, it's gone!

This was the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

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  • Is a lamb part of the animals designated to be used as a sin offering according to the law? This is the scope of the question. Thanks for you input.
    – ken4ward
    Mar 5, 2023 at 19:37
  • @ken4ward. There were times lambs could be used under the law for a sin offering, it only covered sin, never took it away. (Exodus 29:38–42 ). Shows how they were sacrificed morning and evening. They were also be used to redeem a firstborn animal or firstborn child. (Ex 13:11-13)
    – Sherrie
    Mar 8, 2023 at 22:19
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The lambs taken to the Temple were ritually slaughtered and the blood on the altar rendered them to the Lord.It was for a celebration meal of Passover. It is the understanding of Kosher today.It was not a sin offering.

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The question as I understand it is asking if Jesus was the sacrificial lamb for our sins (redemption of sin) according to John 1:29?

No at best it is contradictory to the teachings of Jesus

John 1:29

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

The general assumption is that Jesus as the Lamb of God was sacrificed for our sins. The passage appears to support this and is supported by some other passages.

1 John 2:2 - He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Hebrew 9:12

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.

1 Cor 5:7

Get rid of the old leaven, that you may be a new unleavened batch, as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

1 Peter 1:19

but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot.

Hebrews 9:22

And without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Based on the above, one can quite easily come to the conclusion that Jesus was sacrificed for our sins.

However, when scrutinised with other passages, clearly this cannot be correct.

Jesus was not a sacrificed lamb who dies for our sins

John is the only gospel that portrays Jesus as the "Lamb of God" but Jesus never applied the title to himself. Augustine developed the titles for the Roman Catholic Church; he also developed the original sin (see my answer at Does Romans 5:12 say that we inherit the sin of Adam and Eve?).

The apostles never claimed Jesus was God-incarnate, let alone God's lamb. There was a Jewish sect called the Ebionites who accepted Jesus as the Messiah.

Jesus denied sacrifice

Matt. 5:17-20

Do not think that I have ***come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill *** them.

Matthew 9:13

But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Hosea 6:6

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Deuteronomy 24:16

Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.

Psalm 40:6

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire but my ears you have opened burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.

Deuteronomy 12:31

You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.

Deuteronomy 18:10

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,

2 Kings 21:6

He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, arousing his anger.

Leviticus 20:1-2 Punishments for Sin

1 The LORD said to Moses, 1 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death. The members of the community are to stone him.

2 Kings 16:3

He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.

Psalm 106:37-39

37They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods. 38 They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. 39 They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves.

Jeremiah 19:5, 6

5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. 6 So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.

Ezekiel 23:36-37

36 The LORD said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices, 37 for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them

Ezekiel 18:20

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of he father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Isaiah 1:11

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.

Proverbs 21:3

To do justice and judgment [is] more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Isaiah 43:25

God can easily forgive sins, we don’t need human sacrifices: "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

Psalms 103:8

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Exodus 34:6

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness

Based on the above it is clear that God would not sacrifice his son.

Note: General information of interest

The Church borrowed the pagan title and gave it to Jesus: examples - The Mexicans, preferring a full-grown sheep, had their "Ram of God." The Celts had their "Heifer of God," and the Egyptians their Bull of God."

(Tom Harper, The Pagan Christ, pp. 45-46)

It needs to be better known that the true sign of Christianity for the earliest centuries of Church history was not a crucifix---a cross bearing the figure of Jesus---but either a bare cross or one with a lamb fastened to it. In the entire iconography of the catacombs, no figure of a man on a cross appears for the first six or seven centuries of the era. It will come as a surprise to many that the first known figure of a god on a cross is a likeness of the sun god Orpheus from some three centuries B.C.E. The crucifix on the amulet on the cover of The Jesus Mysteries, by Freke and Gandy, clearly depicts this image. Not until 692, in the reign of Emperor Justinian, was it decreed by the Church (through the Trullan Council) that the figure of the historical Jesus on the cross should supersede that of “the lamb, as in former times”.

Human sacrifice is a pagan ritual that dates back thousands of years. Jesus could not have been a ‘human sacrifice’ because the practice was not Jewish, but pagan. The Jews believed they’d crucified Jesus to prove he was false (Deu. 13:5, 21:23), yet God saved Jesus from the cross (Psalms 20:6).

see Note 2 below – was Jesus Forsaken

The worship of suffering gods was to be found on all sides, and the belief in the torture of the victims in the rites of human sacrifice for the redemption from sin was very general. The gods Osiris, Attis, Adonis, Dionysos, Herakles, Prometheus, and others, had all suffered for mankind; and thus the Servant of Yahweh was also conceived as having to be wounded for' men's transgressions. But as I say, this conception had passed into the background in the days of Jesus (The Paganism in Our Christianity, Arthur Weigall, 1928, p106)

Gospel Of The Holy Twelve Lection 33

  1. And Iesus answered: No blood offering, of beast or bird, or man, can take away sin, for how can the conscience be purged from sin by the shedding of innocent blood? Nay, it will increase the condemnation.

see links

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What fellowship hath the wolf with the lamb? so the sinner with the godly. Sirach 13:17 KJA

The phrase "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" is an idiomatic expression and the terms that make up the phrase take on different meanings than the words have in the Old Testament alone. Thus, the interpretation is captured globally: Jesus is the godly man who preserves the people of Israel from their sins.

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    'Take on different meanings' ? 'Captured globally' ? What do these phrases mean ? How do this relate to the question ?
    – Nigel J
    Mar 2, 2023 at 6:33
  • It is also important to look at the use of certain words by the context in which they appear.
    – Betho's
    Mar 2, 2023 at 21:13
  • Context does not change the meaning of words. Certain words (in Greek, for example) have a broad concept and are (questionably) translated by a variety of contextual English words. But the better way is to perceive the concept and to label it (with a word) then use that label throughout. Exegesis should perceive the underlying concept. But to alter the meaning of words due to context is thoroughly wrong.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 3, 2023 at 10:57
  • I agree, perhaps Jeremiah was mistaken in using the term young lamb (ἀρνίον) in Jeremiah 11:19 as a symbol of humility.
    – Betho's
    Mar 3, 2023 at 11:27
  • The Hebrew which Jeremiah used,, see Biblehub Interlinear stresses docile lamb (see also Green's Literal) or 'trained lamb' (see Young's Literal). The meaning is a matter of submission.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 3, 2023 at 12:53

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