If Jesus is our atonement, why did He die at Passover instead of the Day of Atonement?

When looking at the various Old Testament animal sacrifices, it is worth noting that each of the different required sacrifices typified Christ in some way. The Passover, also known as paschal, sacrifice was a metaphor of Jesus Christ as the perfect Lamb of God. The criteria for the paschal lamb was that it had to be a pure and unblemished male without any bone being broken. Jesus Himself fulfilled this criterion, being a perfect human male. When Jesus was crucified, none of His bones were broken, further completing the picture of Him as our Passover Lamb (John 19:32–36). The Israelites by faith applied the blood sacrifice of the Passover lamb to the doorposts of their homes. In a similar way, today, we by faith apply the blood of Jesus Christ to our heart's "doorposts," making Him our Passover Lamb.

Sometimes, there is an objection to considering Jesus as the Passover sacrifice, the argument being that the paschal sacrifice was not for atonement, but the sacrifices made on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) were. When we look at the original Passover, there was also atonement involved, because the sacrifice made provision to save people's actual lives from death (Exodus 12:23).

The blood of the Passover lambs provided atonement to the Jews on a night that brought judgment on the Egyptians and redemption for the Israelites. Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra connects Passover with atonement: "The mark of blood was designed as an atonement for those within the house who partook of the paschal offering, and was also a sign for the destroying angel to pass by the house" (Soncino Chumash, pg. 388). Both the Yom Kippur and Passover sacrifices served the purpose of atoning for human sin by removing it from God's sight.

John the Baptist recognized Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God when he announced His arrival by saying: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). The New Testament refers to Jesus as "our Passover lamb" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Within His body, Christ was quiet in the face of His accusers (Isaiah 53:7), carried the weight of God's wrath for our sins (1 Peter 2:24), and experienced death (Hebrews 2:9). The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was better than any other sacrifice because His sacrifice was for forever, making provision to remove our sins once and for all (Hebrews 9:8–14).

Related Truth:

What is the Passover Lamb? How is Jesus our Passover Lamb?

What is the meaning of substitutionary atonement?

What was the purpose of animal sacrifices in the Old Testament?

Why was a blood sacrifice required in the Old Testament sacrificial system?

How can I be saved?

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