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Monday, 18 October 2010

Reply To A Rabbi. Why There Can Be No Forgiveness Without Blood Sacrifice

I read an article which was written on a Rabbis website. This article was attempting to prove that Jewish people have never believed that blood ALONE was necessary for God to forgive. He gave examples from the Bible showing that God many times forgave without the sacrifice of animals. His comments were related to Leviticus chapter 17.  (Incidentally, please click on this shortcut link   Why God Required Animal Blood Sacrifice, In The Bible?  which is a full answer to why God DID ALWAYS require blood for forgiveness). I decided to write to the rabbi refuting his arguments.

He surprisingly replied to my email with further comments and questions (not specifically answered within the article I quoted above). I then sent another email replying to his questions. I would like to show the contents of the questions and answers because it illustrates the truth proving how the Jewish people (like all people) can find  eternal forgiveness of sins in no other sacrifice than the one done by Jesus (Yeshua).
This was my email: 
Dear Rabbi F,

I have  answered your questions in the format: question, answer, next question, next answer etc. Your questions are in black followed by my answers in blue.  My original email message is at the bottom. Well ...... here we go:

Q.  Regarding Leviticus 17:11, did you notice the verse before it? Did you read the verse after it? The whole paragraph regards not eating blood that is meant for the altar. Christians rip the verse out of its context and come up with a meaning, and interpretation that is UnBiblical.

A.  I read the whole chapter and compared it to passages throughout the Tenach because I always ensure I read in context.

Q.  Lev 17:10  And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
Lev 17:11  For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. 

Lev 17:12  Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. 
The verse is saying that IF one chooses blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, as there were other ways to obtain forgiveness, then the blood goes on the altar, not in one's mouth. 

A.  Out of those 3 verses where does it use the word “IF”? Actually the whole passage is talking about why blood should be treated seriously. The blood represents something very holy and significant and because the life is in the blood. For these reasons the blood should not be handled carelessly eg eating it. 

Q.  That is all it is saying, and it does not limit forgiveness to only blood sacrifices as my web site shows.

A.  Firstly, the ancient sages disagree. They translated Leviticus 17 to state in the Septuagint that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.

Secondly, the Torah states repeatedly that the sacrifices were to make atonement as does the rabbinic tractate YOMA.

Thirdly, when there was no temple or interest in it in the post captivity period, the prophets Haggai and Ezra both gave The Word of HaShem to rebuild it and reinaugerate the sin sacrifices.

Q.  And when was the blood of your human jesus poured on the altar?

A.  At the crucifixion. The blood of Jesus was first sprinkled over the (cross) altar through the nails, then culminating in the spear that was stabbed in His side resulting in the blood pouring out  upon the base of the altar.  The altar was outside the temple to show that forgiveness was now available to everybody – not just a select few, that is why the curtain of the Temple was torn from top to bottom to reveal the way into Gd's presence is now available to all.

Q.  You claim that Gd never changes. Okay, then when did Gd change His mind from, "Everyone shall be put to death FOR HIS OWN SIN," of Deuteronomy 24:16 to your christian belief that Jesus the man died for the sins of all?

A.  I do not believe that Gd changes His mind. I do believe that His plan of redemption is eternal. He knew from beginning to end (as an everlasting Gd) what His plan was. He knew that Adam would sin. He knew that ALL men would sin, but that He loves us all and wants us to have the same relationship that Adam had at the beginning (before the disobedience). I see these things:

* His eternal plan revealed throughout the scriptures
* how He made a covenant with Abraham NOT based on the Law but by faith.
* how Gd’s people were forever failing even within this covenant.
* how Gd introduced the Torah for His people to set them apart and train them to be a light to the gentiles
* how Gd knew they needed guidelines to live and how to deal with sin
* how the Torah provided a way for forgiveness 
* but I also see how the ultimate plan of Gd was for an ultimate sacrifice which would forgive sins once and for all time.
* that there would be a new covenant with Israel based on a new Law written on peoples hearts. Jeremiah 31:31-34

Gd did not change His mind – it was His plan at the very beginning of forgiveness though blood.  His plan that everyone was responsible for his own sin would last until the time came for the ultimate sacrifice whereby all could be forgiven eternally

Q.  When did Gd change His mind from Hosea 11:9, 'For I am Gd and not a man,' to your Christian belief that Jesus the man was also Gd? 

A.  Let’s look at this in context: 
Hosea 11:7(a) says My people are determined to turn from me.” 
eg, of how man behaves and thinks

11:8-9(a)  How can I hand you over, Israel?  How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger” 
eg, how Gd behaves and thinks.

In context Gd is saying that He is not like man in the way He thinks and behaves. It is not (in this verse) saying that Gd could never live within a sinless, perfect and holy man. It is talking about gd’s nature compared to man's nature. We do not believe that Jesus the man became Gd. We believe that God (the Son) has eternally existed but supernaturally entered the womb of Mary to enter a human "tabernacle". We believe Gd's glory entered a human body.

We believe that the tabernacle (followed by the temple) were a foreshadow of the Tabernacle (or body) of Jesus which was to come. Gd told David that Heaven is His throne and the Earth His footstool. He said what building is sufficient or suitable for My omnipresence?

However, He chose to reveal Himself within this tabernacle within the Holiest of Holies. This was a picture of Gd being pleased to restrict Himself to one place in the same way as He did in the body of Jesus which was the fulfillment of the tabernacle (or temple).

Regarding the Son, the Tenach is full of references. Here are a few:

Psalm 2:7 "I will proclaim the decree of the LORD : He said to me, "You are my Son ; today I have become your Father"

Psalm 2:12  "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him"

Psalm 110:1  "the Lord said to my Lord sit at my right hand".

Note: Elohim has a plurality meaning, and Gd said "let us" in Genesis 1.

Q.  You claim that you are interested in my thoughts on the matter. You will pardon my disbelief. Most of what i get are those who just wish to sharpen their debating skills. I am not here to debate, just to explain what Jews believe.

A.  I appreciate the time you have given to this. I DO find it interesting to know what Jews believe and how they interpret scripture. I am not one for debating per se, unless I am passionate about a subject and feel I have something good to share with others, to be a blessing to them. I write these things because of our mutual love of the scriptures.

Q.  No, the blood was never poured on the animal sacrifices, that was an idea invented by Christian polemicists. Besides, the text never says it is the animal sacrifice below that did the atoning, but rather the flour itself, even if there was animal sacrifices below it. But there is nothing to show that the blood was poured over animal sacrifices, except in the mind of Christians who need to think that in order to maintain their unBiblical beliefs.

A.  I never stated that the blood was poured upon the sacrifices. I said (as per the scripture) that the flour was placed upon the sacrifices, which would surely be still bloody? Therefore the flour would get mixed in with the blood on the animals to make the sacrifice acceptable. So even here forgiveness comes through blood. Why else does it say to place the flour onto the other sacrifices rather than it be a separate sacrifice of itself? Regarding the pouring out of blood: I read throughout Leviticus the same thing said over and over again   "take some of the blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar."

Q.  Again i ask, when was the human blood of Jesus poured over an altar?

A.  As explained above, the body of Jesus was actually the complete fulfillment of everything within the Temple and WAS the whole temple in physical form. So His blood was poured upon the base of the altar at the foot of the cross when the spear was thrust into His side. As the whole Earth is Gd's footstool the temple of Gd (ie the body of Jesus) was at the place of crucifixion.

It was just outside Jerusalem to ALSO fulfil the requirement of the sacrificial goat being burned outside the camp. Jesus WILLINGLY lay His life down for us to bear the full brunt of punishment for our sins. Jesus fulfills and completely satisfies all requirements of a perfect sacrifice (as a lamb of God taking away our sins forever) and fully satisfying the requirements of a Holy, Just and Righteous Gd for atonement for sin. 
To explain further about this, please read my article within this shortcut link: 

Significance Of The Scapegoat On Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Revised

Q.  The fact that Solomon felt he could pray that prayer, means that he knew it was acceptable, and therefore not in his mind that Gd had to have a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. It is just not a Biblical idea that Gd demands a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.

A.  In answer to this I will repeat something I said earlier:
"Firstly, the ancient sages disagree. They translated Leviticus 17 to state in the
 Septuagint that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.

Secondly, the Torah states repeatedly that the sacrifices were to make atonement as does the rabbinic tractate YOMA.

Thirdly, when there was no temple or interest in it in the post captivity period, the prophets
 Haggai and Ezra both gave The Word of HaShem to rebuild it and reinaugerate the sin sacrifices.
If blood was not required why is it that at every possible opportunity the sacrificial service was reinstated throughout BCE? Whenever Israel repented and returned to the Lord they reinstated the sacrifices. It was part and parcel of repentance and the need for cleansing and forgiveness.

As I understand it they are still sacrificing chickens in Israel today for the blood. They also want to reinstate Temple worship and sacrifice again. From my sources, I hear that everything is ready for rebuilding the Temple. They are waiting to find a red heifer and for a Political "go ahead". So if all Jewish people believe blood is not required why are these things being put in place? 

Q.  Furthermore, Gd explicitly states that human sacrifices are an abomination to Him, and something He hates. So who died on the cross? Was it Jesus-the-god or Jesus-the-human? If it was Jesus-the-god, like Dionysus, then, sorry, Gd cannot die. If it was Jesus-the-human then all you have is a human sacrifice.

A.  Have already answered some of this, but will say a bit more:
The body of Jesus died on the cross, but the divinity did not die. Jesus said "it is finished". He then said "into your hands I commit my Spirit".

It is a complete mystery what happened on the cross, but what is clear when we compare all the scriptures together is that "the Word became flesh", The Son Of God took on human form. When He died the divinity left the body and the body died.

So that means that "God" did not die, it was the body (the sin stained body – because OUR sins were laid upon Him, the perfect one) that died.

But to show that Jesus had dealt with sin and death once for all, He needed to re-enter that DEAD body on the 3rd day, raise it from the dead, transform it from a sin stained body (because the sacrifice had been fully completed) into a glorious  one except for the marks (on his body) resultant from the crucifixion. As a testimony to us all, He amazingly retains that body (although now glorified) for all eternity

Q.  And what Jews practiced animal sacrifice until 70? Only those Jews in Israel. The vast majority of Jews never went back under Cyrus of Persia, as i wrote on the web site, and could not have cared about the Temple, because they knew that they didnt need a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, as we are taught in Hosea 14:2.

A.  Hosea 14:2 does not specifically say that they did not need blood to atone for their sins. It could simply be taken as read that blood was required so did not need to be mentioned. What I am saying is that you cannot assume from that specific verse that blood was not required.

Besides, many prophets foretold of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. This sacrifice was an eternal sacrifice, so it was inevitable that Gd would shortly destroy the Temple as the fulfillment of the Temple had already come. There would be no further need for sacrifice. These prophets talked about forgiveness without blood because they "saw" the death and resurrection of the Messiah in the future.


Tony Cox said...


Truly an excellent article. Thanks for sharing - I work with several Israelis and we talk about things from time to time - this is a great piece to share with them.

Expected Imminently said...


As I said in my email - cool! :) Excellent piece of work, and so informative.


Unknown said...

Thanks to you both for those kind comments.

You are very welcome.