Wrong day, wrong method, wrong people, wrong place… Is there anything in the Old Testament to show that Jesus would’ve been an acceptable sin sacrifice, and how do we know whatever evidence given from the Old Testament in answer to this question isn’t being taken out of context?
This is a very good question. Let me start by telling you that I have published a book on the topic you are bringing up. The title is From Shadow to Reality (available at www.ipibooks.com
). The subject is types, prefigures and foreshadows in the Old Testament which find their fullfillment in the New Testament.
The answer is yes, Jesus is the perfect sacrifice–the one who fullfilled every single one of the prophetic symbols of the Messiah in the Old Testament.
You show good insight when you notice that the Messiah ought to fulfill the prefigures established on Yom Kippur by the work of the high priest. In fact, Jesus fulfilled perfectly the ministry of the High Priest. He is the great Hight Priest through whom we gain access to the real Holy of Holies in heaven by his own blood. You can read about this in Hebrews 4:14-5:10 as well as in Hebrews chapter 7 and 8. Jesus is our Great High Priest by the virtue of his perfect life and the fact that he can relate to us. When Jesus died on the cross, his blood led the way so that we can enter the Holy of Holies with great confidence. Remember that when he died the curtain was ripped in two, symbolizing the new way in to the presence of God. We enter the Holy of Holies, as on Yom Kippur, except every day, in great boldness, through the blood of Jesus. You can read about this in Hebrews 10:1-22.
About the Passover, the parallels, types, prefigures and foreshadows of Jesus are truly specacular. The people were in slavery. The firstborn were under a sentence of death. Moses gave the solution. A perfect "Passover" lamb had to be sacrificed and its blood spread on a wooden beam so that they would be saved. After this Passover, the people were set free, along with their "saviour" Moses, who led them through water, at which point they left their slavery forever.
This is the story of Jesus, our perfect Passover Lamb. We too, as sinners, are all slaves to sin (John 8:31f). We, too, are under the sentence of death (Romans 6:23). But our perfect Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ was killed. Jesus was unblemished in that he was without sin. After the shedding of his blood on a wooden beam, we were given access to being saved from slavery and death. Our Moses, Jesus, leads us out of slavery to sin. We, like Israel, leave our slavery to sin, when we pass through the water of baptism.
So the life of Jesus perfectly fulfilled the symbolism of both Yom Kippur and the Passover.
Jesus, like the Passover lamb, was killed on the Passover. This was no coincidence. God planned all along for the lamb to symbolize Jesus. They ate the Passover lamb and Jesus commands us to "eat my flesh and drink my blood." (John 6:53) You mentioned that the lamb was young. Yes, the lamb was in the prime of its life, as Jesus was killed in the prime of his life. And Jesus was killed at Jerusalem, also fulfilling a symbol.
Jesus was not killed in the Jewish temple because the sin offering was not offered in the Tabernacle, but outside the camp. This, too, fulfills a prophecy, as Jesus was killed outside "the camp."
Right day (on the eve of the Passover), right method (blood sacrifice, blood on cross beam, crucifixion(Psalms 22), , right people (killed by his "brothers" as prophesied in the life of Joseph) , right place (outside the city, as all sin offerings were made). In order for you to see the consistent picture here, I strongly urge you to get a copy of my book "From Shadow to Reality."
John Oakes, PhD