“Farm animals are substitutes.
They might be sinfully fashioned as replacements for God, like a golden calf or a bull’s head.
They might represent people in worship, like a ram rising as a smoky offering into the presence of God.
They might take the consequences of sins upon themselves, like the two goats on the Day of Atonement.
But they are imperfect substitutes. They cannot measure up to the reality they represent.
They don’t offer themselves willingly; they have to be sacrificed over and over again, day after day, year after year, giving us a regular reminder of how sinful we are; and although they can cleanse us externally and ritually, they cannot cleanse us internally as well, making us perfectly holy and releasing our consciences forever.
For these reasons, “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). Livestock always fall short.
Except the Lamb.
There is one farm animal who is worshiped not just by a handful of idolatrous Israelites but by every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Rev. 7:9–10).
There is one farm animal who offers Himself so willingly, sheds His blood so unreservedly, and ascends to God so permanently that He is able to take billions of people with Him, straight into the presence of God.
There is one farm animal whose substitutionary offering for sin is so perfect that it can save anyone, cleanse the conscience, and last forever.
In Genesis, a ram substituted for one young man (Gen. 22:13).
In Exodus, a lamb substituted for each family (Ex. 12:3).
In Leviticus, a goat substituted for the nation (Leviticus 16).
In the gospel, a Lamb substituted for the entire human race.
‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29)”
–Andrew Wilson, God of All Things: Rediscovering the Sacred in an Everyday World (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2021), 31-32.