Newborn spring lamb (Petr Kratochvil / PublicDomainPictures.net)

Of Lamb and Goats: God’s salvation memorialized in Passover Lamb Selection Day and Day of Atonement

Lamb Selection Day is closely connected with Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonement). Both occur on the 10th day of their respective months: first month for Lamb selection day and seventh month of Yom Kippur.

And the words of the herald for the Mashiakh (Messiah), Yokhanan the Immerser (John the Baptist), that Yeshua was “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29) further connects these two memorials of God’s salvation plan.

There’s also a connection between the days of Unleavened Bread and Sukkot. These feast days are bookends and mirrors of one another.

We’ll look closely at what John the Baptist says about the Lamb of God, repentance and Christian maturity.

Revelation also has a lot to say about the Lamb of God and how Christians grow in maturity.

The history of Lamb Selection Day is found in Ex. 12:3-13. It is intimately connected with the 10th plague against the first-born in Mitsraim (Egypt) — including the people of Yisra’el, who had been exempted from the other plagues.

This lamb that was chosen and watched over from the 10th day to the 14th day, when its blood was put on the door posts. Those special lamb or goats slaughtered for the first Pesakh protected Israel from the Destroyer against the firstborn boys in Egypt.

The focus is the identification of a lamb whose life-blood the Lord would find acceptable to block His vengeance of deliverance on those who enslave and kill His people.

There’s a lot more faith being exercised here than one might think. This is not about works but about faith.: They had to have faith that the simple act of painting the entry of a home would block the Lord’s wrath, to cause it to “pass over” that home. The Hebrew this reads as וּפָסַחְתִּי עֲלֵכֶם pasakhti ’aleykhem‎ (Ex. 12:13): I will pass over y’all. According to the HALOT lexicon, use of פסח pasakh with עַל ’al means to limp by, pass by, spare. God as Destroyer will “hop over” or “limp over” — be thwarted — by the blood of the Pesakh.

  • That protection required belief that the LORD existed.
  • That protection required belief that the LORD was sending such wrath.
  • That protection required belief that the only salvation from that wrath was the life-blood of a perfect lamb selected for that role four days earlier.
  • That protection required belief that the LORD was more powerful that the deities worshipped in Egypt. That protection was open to all households in Egypt — Israelite and Egyptian — because the wrath would come to all homes in Egypt — Israelite and Egyptian. Heredity offered no protection; only faith did.

It’s the day that all Israel was to focus attention on the Pesakh (Hebrew for Passover) lamb, paying close attention over the next four days to choose an “unblemished” lamb. God as Destroyer will “hop over” or “limp over” — be thwarted — by the blood of the Pesakh.

On one Lamb Selection day, in Jerusalem, Yeshua was chosen as the Lamb by the people of Israel. How do we know when this actually happened? After all, the Christian calendar tells us that this incident, commonly called “The Triumphant Entry” occurred on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before the resurrection.

How do we know when Yeshua entered the Temple on the 10th day of the first month?

“Iesous, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Beit Ani (Bethany)where Lazarus was, whom Iesous had raised from the dead.” (John 12:1)

This is the first book end of Yeshua’s itinerary. He was in Beit Ani on the ninth day of the first month. Bethany was within a day’s walking distance from Jerusalem.

We know that Passover begins on the end of the 14th according to Ex. 12:6. We can count the interval days. Counting intervals of days in the Bible can include the starting and ending days.

For example, the interval between Yeshua’s death and resurrection:

  • “in three days” (Mt. 26:61; 27:40; Jn. 2:19–20)
  • “after three days” (Mt. 27:63; Mk. 8:31)
  • “on the third day” (Mt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Lk. 9:22; Acts 10:40; 1st Cor. 15:4)
  • “three days later” (Mk. 9:31; 10:34)
  • “the third day since” (Lk. 24:21; female disciples found the tomb empty that morning, vv. 22–23)
  • “the third day” (Lk. 18:33; 24:7, 46)

So, “six days before” could be the ninth day of the first month.

“On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Iesous was coming to Ierusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “ ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.'” (Jn. 12:12–13; quoting Psa. 118:26)

Given that Yeshua came to Beit Ani on the ninth day of the first month, then “the next day” would be the 10th day of the month. That’s the day families of Israel selected their Pesakh. Yeshua did everything “in the fullness of time.” The  events leading up to His death on the cross were no accident. The order of events were not a coincidence.

There’s a blending of the messianic language from Sukkot here when the people said, “Hosana to the Son of David! Hosana! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” We also see this language in the holiday of Hanukkah, which was, in a sense, a make up Sukkot.

This is how the holiday of Sukkot in the First Century had become a nationalistic celebration of Jewish independence, just as the 4th of July is in America. They were looking for God to come with power at this time. They are calling on Yeshua to be their leader, their conquering king. The people thought Rome was their biggest threat. They wanted Him to fight against Rome but Yeshua came, in a sense, to fight against God’s wrath. God’s gift would come to fight against God. Little did they know that this king, would be fighting, not against Rome, but against God. That is what the first Passover was about. They didn’t understand that God’s wrath was their biggest threat.

The word Pessach, where we get the word Pascha and Passover from, has a verb form, which means to skip or limp, being forced to change how you walk. It’s used in Exodus in the sense of “leaping over” something.

The Pesach was “leaping over,” “limp over” or “skip over” something. Something is blocking something else. In Exodus 12, it is the destroyer, the power of God is coming through Egypt. The lamb’s blood on the doorpost causes the destroyer to “limp over” or “skipping over” that particular home. The Lord’s Pesach is blocking the Lord. The blood was never put on the doorpost again after it was done in Egypt. It was a one-and-only sacrifice, in a sense, just as Yeshua’s sacrifice is once and for all.

One of the things to remember, is that Lamb selection day was a very important day. Josephus talks about this day at length. This was a big day on Israel’s calendar. You had to be in Jerusalem by this day to pick your lamb. If you weren’t there to get your lamb, you didn’t get a lamb.

As we look onto the messages of Yokhanan the Immerser, we’ll start in John 1:19-36. Our first stop is John’s message of “making straight the way of the Lord.” John the Baptist references Isaiah 40 in his message and when you think about it, not much had changed between Isaiah’s time to the first century. You see the same conditions in the first century.

One of the messages of Isaiah 40 is that all people are like grass and God breathes fire on the grass and it burns away. That’s an important message to juxtapose with the Lamb of God who blocks God’s wrath. It was a fortunate choice that the people of Israel chose Yeshua for that job.

Why is it important to block God’s wrath? Why is it important in the first century or the 21st century to care about this? This is ancient history? Not if you believe that he is going to do in the future.

Both Yokhanan’s, the Immerser, the one preparing the way, and the Apostle Yokhanan, the author of the Gospel were both ambassadors of the Messiah. One to prepare the way before the Messiah and the other to proclaim His message into the future.

Yokhanan the Immerser brought a message of repentance, “making straight the path of the Lord” from John 1:23 and Isa. 40:3-5.

But his boldest message was “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

As we move on with Yokhanan’s declaration, we see this not only in Isaiah 40 but also in Isaiah 52, which begins with the promise to release Israel from a great bondage.

God’s people were to be “taken away” [לקח, laqakh H3947] and held in Babylon, as they were captive in Egypt and Assyria (Isa. 52:1-5).

“‘Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no longer come into you. Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus says the Lord, ‘You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money.’ For thus says the Lord God, ‘My people went down at the first into Egypt to reside there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. ‘Now therefore, what do I have here,’ declares the Lord, ‘seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?’ Again the Lord declares, ‘Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long. Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, “Here I am.”‘”(Isa. 52:1–6)

his text comes right before Isaiah’s message about the Suffering Servant. We see here references to “leaving out in haste” and “as fugitives” in Isa. 52:12 seem to harken back to the first Passover and deliverance through the Red Sea (Exodus 12-15). “But you will not go out in haste, Nor will you go as fugitives; For the LORD will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Isa. 52:12)

In the first Passover, they left in haste but all subsequent Passovers were not celebrated in haste, just as the subsequent Passovers did not include putting blood on the doors.

In Isa. 52:10, that ישועת אלהינו yeshuat eloheinu (“salvation of our God”) would be “My servant,” described in Isa. 52:13-53:12. The Lord’s Servant is identified as lamb submitting to arrest and slaughter to block the wrath of the Lord the rebellion of Israel: “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away [לקח]; And as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?” (Isa. 53:6-8)

Many reject Yeshua as Messiah because, they assert, He didn’t physically establish Zion in Yerushalayim. In the First Century, they thought this meant throwing off Rome. They were focused on the conquering king and ignoring all the texts that the Suffering Servant would have to come first.

Let’s consider the word lamb and some of it’s derivations. Consider the root meaning of the Hebrew word translated as “lamb” in Ex. 12:31 is the Hebrew word  ‏כֶּשֶׂב‎ keseb (Strongs H3775); by transp. The female lamb or ewe lamb is ‏כִּשְׂבָּה‎ kisbah (Strongs H3776). From there we derive these other words:

  • ‏כֶּבֶשׂ‎ kebes (Strongs H3532) another word for lamb, usually a male lamb.
  •  ‏כָּבַשׁ‎ kabash (Strongs H3533) which means “to subdue”, “bring into bondage:: or trample upon.
  •  ‏כֶּבֶשׁ‎ kebesh (Strongs H3534) which means footstool:—footstool(1).
  • ‏כִּבְשָׂה‎ kibsah or ‏כַּבְשָׂה‎ kabsah (Strongs H3535) another word for a female or ewe lamb.

Just as Egypt “put the kabash” on Israel, the Passover lamb was “brought under subjection” by the qahal (congregation) of Israel, which was to “take” (laqakh 3947; “seize,” “take hold of,” “take away”).

Similarly, the Lamb of God put Himself under subjection of the qahal of Israel.

Interestingly, how did Israel “take hold of” Yeshua from the 10th day til the evening of the 14th, as foretold here in Exodus? He certainly entered Yerushalayim on the donkey on the 10th and was physically “laqakhed” as the 14th was getting started.

In the Book of Revelation, the Lamb moves from being a subject to being slain to an instrument of God’s wrath, a method of subjection of the world to the rule of the LORD. A seemingly helpless lamb is blocking the power of God. It is the lamb of God blocking the wrath of God. There is no “Plan A” v. “Plan B.” There was one plan and this is it.

The lamb in its weakness will become the ruler of all.

“Why do you say, O Ya’akob, and assert, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God’? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. 29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” (Isa. 40:27–31)

Yokhanan the Immerser knew that this itinerant Rabbi, who didn’t even have any students yet, was the “Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.” Yokhanan was telling his disciples that this Itinerant Rabbi was The One! The one who “takes away the sins of the world” is the language of the Day of Atonement as you see in Lev. 16.

There were two identical looking goats, chosen by lot to either be the one that was killed or the one sent away. Both of them dealt with the sin issue in a different way. There is in Yom Kippur, there’s two types of removal, one of covering and one of banishment.

The goat for the Lord gave its blood for covering. The other goat, the goat for Azazel, had the sins laid upon it by hand. The goat for Azazel would carry the infractions of the people from the House of the Lord out of the community, never to return (see Leviticus 16 and Isaiah 53).

On that eventful Lamb Selection Day, they chose Yeshua unknowingly as the one who would block God’s wrath for them.

Yeshua became the ultimate rejected of God. The wrath of God was taken outside of the congregation, taken away. You see this in these texts:

“About the ninth hour Iesous cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ” (Mt. 27:46; cp. Mk. 15:34; quoting Psa. 22:1)

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning [lit. roaring]. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest.” (Psa. 22:1–2)

Yokhanan pointed his disciples to the Lamb, and his disciples had to learn that following the Lamb involved spiritual growth beyond repentance and salvation. At least two of Yokhanan’s disciples did leave him to follow Yeshua.

There are those who shake their fists at God and hate authority yet they have a sense that there has to be a better way than the stumbling path they are living. Once you realize you are a dead end road, you are ready to find the right path.

This hopelessness is spoken about in Numbers 15:28-31. Some think that “sinning willfully” equated with the “unpardonable sin” means something akin to “the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil I don’t want” (Rom. 7:14-25).

We see discussions about unintentional sins as compared to transgressions and iniquities. The iniquities is in the realm of the defiant. It’s also discussed in Heb. 6:4-6 and Heb. 10:23-27.

Some people are under the impression that if the forget to pray one day they have committed the “unpardonable sin” but Heb. 6:4-6 gives us guidance on this issue. “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” (Heb. 6:4-6)

The phrase “crucified to themselves” is worthy to note here. The Apostle Yokhanan talks about the “sin that leads to death.” If you go so far away from God and rebel so far that you don’t even want to come back, that is what it means to “desipse authority.” “… the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.” (2nd Pet. 2:9-10).

If you still recognize God and are crying out to Him without defiance, this not rebellion. The question is not, what can you do to come back to God, the questions is, are you going to look to Yeshua? God wants to help us, He sent His Son as the Lamb, as the Goat of Yom Kippur. It is far more dangerous to despise authority than to make mistakes. God takes the ugliness out.

Rev 5:1-10 connects the salvation and restoration themes of Pesakh and Yom haKippurim in its references to “the Lamb.” This lamb with seven eyes sees everything. This seems to tie into the prophecy from Zechariah to Zerrubabel in Zech. 4:1-10 that compared the seven lamps of the menorah to the eyes of God.

What do these seven eyes see? They are to read a scroll.The sevenfold sealed scroll parallels the prophecy of the scroll given to Ezekiel in Ezek. 2:8-3:3. The eating of the scroll and the sweetness of the taste parallel’s the “little book” Yokhanan was instructed to “eat” in Rev 10:8–11.

This also shows the parallel between Matzot and Sukkot (on the 15th to 21st days of the first and seventh months, respectively), as eating unleavened bread symbolizes the taking in of the words of God and the Messiah, that God may “dwell” among the people of God. God’s words are edible. Yeshua’s words are edible. We take them in. This is how Yeshua Messiah dwell in us. We talk a lot about the death of the first born because God killed the firstborn of Mitzraim to redeem Israel.

This is why the Bible talks so much about the redemption of the first born. The world is at war with God and many are in rebellion against God. There is a lot of lamentation and woe in the world because of it.

The picture on the other side is revealed in Rev. 6:9-11, “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.”

One of one hand, we have the blood of the lamb blocking the wrath of God on earth. On on the other hand, we have witnesses of God who have to suffer the evil one’s wrath until all of those who God wants to save are saved. There have been many innocent people who have died because of people’s anger against God. Our persecuted brethren around the world are bearing the brunt of this. How many dead martyrs will it take for the world to wake up? Eventually God will say enough is enough and will put this martyrdom to an end.

Conclusion:The people of Jerusalem picked Yeshua, not knowing what they were doing. Why have we chosen Yeshua as our Pesach? What has resulted from this? Trust in God. We need to take care that we do not take Yeshua’s blocking of God’s wrath for granted or assume that God owes it to us.

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy.


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