Sunday, August 2, 2009

A New Model for Levitical Propitiation [Comments Wanted!]

I hit upon an interesting model for how God's wrath was addressed in Mosaic covenant. I wanted to put it out there for comments. I think this model matches scripture better than the most commonly rendered ones.

Good scholarship on the cultic sacrifices is hard to find due to how long ago they were instituted and the intra-church politics involved. If someone knows of solid scholarship on the matter, please let me know.

Note: This model is strictly one dealing with propitiation, not the much more important notion of protecting the Temple from defilement. That is to say, this model looks at how danger to the individual sinner is addressed, not the effect the sin has on the sanctuary. The purification and protection of the sanctuary is an altogether different matter. Indeed, if one looks through all the references to sin offerings, it should become clear that this was their intended purpose: to purge the Temple and make ritually clean those who would enter there. This understanding harmonizes Hebrews 9:22 with the rest of scripture. (Since, as I point out below, there were any number of ways to attain forgiveness in general without resorting to blood sacrifices.)

Quick Critique of Common Models
Before moving forward, I wanted to give some indication as to why a better model is even needed. To do this, I'll just fire off some problems with the two most common ones. (If you are only interested in the model I'm kicking around, skip down to the "New Model" heading.)

Model 1: Propitiation through Payment
One model of propitiation is that someone "pays back" God or appeases God through the "soothing aroma" of the sacrifices.

Overall, this is not such an untenable view. The sacrifices were seen originally as a type of "food and drink" for God, and there are many discussions of a "soothing aroma." Furthermore, this model at least explains all the instances where someone could gain forgiveness without sacrificing a living creature (unlike Model 2, below). However, it does have some problems:

The first problem for this viewpoint is that the details of the various sacrifices suggest the opposite. If the goal of the sacrifices were to appease God, we would expect the "sin offering" and "guilt offerings" to be the ones where the entire creature is burned up to provide a "soothing aroma" to God. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. The regulations are very strict and clear that the sin offerings and guilt offerings (as opposed to the "burnt offerings") had only a very small amount burned up to God. These offerings look to be instead payments to the priests, who were allowed to eat the meat. The offerings that were given wholly to God on the altar were the "burnt offerings" instead, which had different regulations.

Similarly, the phrase "soothing aroma" shows up time and time again with regard to the offerings of the Levites, but only 1 of the 13 examples of offering for particular sins use this phrase. This phrase was much more associated with the burnt offerings (which makes sense, for that was the offering where the animal was fully given to God.)

The second problem with this model is that it does not adequately explain why the sacrificial aspect of the ritual is the same for sin offerings made for individual sins as it is for purification offerings where there was no sin in sight...or even offerings meant to consecrate the Temple. [This gets back to the sin offerings being designed to purge the Temple, not by themselves address the guilt for specific sins.]

The third problem with this model is that the wording in Leviticus 19:20-22 [sacrifice for quasi-adultery], presents the offering as a type of fine or punishment itself. Rather than seeing the sacrifices as an effort at "paying God back," it is perhaps more reasonable to see it as a deterrent introduced by God for the good of the society.

The fourth problem with this model is that it is clear from scripture that righteous people can intercede for pardon without any sacrifice at all. As James says, the prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much [James 5:16]. Since righteous people could interceded for sinners without any sacrifice present, it is hard to understand why a sacrifice was needed by statute for forgiveness or pardon. [Once again, this is no longer a problem if we see the sacrifices as primarily intended to cleanse the Temple.]

In addition to these, there are a few passages that would look odd were this the proper model for atonement [see the "My Model" section for examples.]

Model 2: Vicarious Punishment
The second model commonly given is that the animal being sacrificed received the guilt/sin of the person who gives it. Then the animal receives the punishment for the sins it has been made forensiccally guilty of.

The biblical problems with this model are so obvious and easy to articulate that a simple bullet list suffices.
  • If the animal received the guilt/sin of the person, its very presence would defile the Temple and the Altar.
  • The treatment of the animal's remains shows the animal maintained its innocence throughout [sin offerings for sins made by the whole congregation had to be discarded to a clean place, the other sin offerings had to be eaten in a clean place and actually made the eaters clean...hardly possible if the animal had become guilty.]
  • There is no indication whatsoever that the sins were laid on the animal. The exception to this, of course, was the scapegoat which was not sacrificed in the Temple. In the case of the scapegoat, the scriptures make clear the iniquity is put on the animal...and yet such verbiage is unseen anywhere else for those sacrifices killed in the Temple.
  • The Bible specifies the priests, not the animal, bore the guilt of the people.
  • Obviously, if this was the way that guilt was defused, it would not explain how grain, silver, incense, etc. could procure propitiation.
  • Other examples where God's wrath is clearly in view show that this wrath is not turned away by its execution. For example, God's wrath was upon all of Israel in Numbers 25:7-8, and is turned away by Phinehas by killing the guilty party. This is clearly not Phinehas being the agent of God's wrath, for God's wrath was "turned away" and had been upon all of Israel, not just one person. Phinehas turned away God's wrath through showing the same jealousy for righteousness that God has [see Numbers 25:11], not by simply being the hatchet-man for God.
  • An extention of the last: God does not need a priest to execute God's wrath. God has shown God is perfectly capable of executing wrath Godself. Hence, when a priest does a sacrifice, he is not executing God's wrath.
  • Once again Leviticus 19:20-22 provides a problem. The text goes out of its way to specify that some punishment is required, but not the full punishment of adultery [which would be death]. However, the "propitiation by vicarious punishment" view would suggest that death was, in fact, the fitting punishment for the sin involved. This is not an isolated incident, for there were other sins where the punishment was specified as something less than death [for example, barrenness of womb in Leviticus 20:20], yet those who claim the creature recieves the punishment for someone's sin have to say that all sins have death as the only punishment. Indeed, the penal substitution interpretation gets everything backwards because the sins requiring a sacrifice were less offensive than those that were punished by barrenness of womb, yet the vicarious punishment interpretation would indicate the opposite. [Of course, if we see the sacrifices as a fine, this all makes sense...for losing a lamb is less a punishment than dying childless, and the offences specified for loss of a lamb are less than the offense specified for dying without children.]
My Model [Provisional, of course]
In my model, all propitiation is through intercession by a righteous party. Sometimes that intercession includes components that speak to the righteousness involved [for example, Phineas' killing of the rebel (Numbers 25:11) or Moses' command to light the censers in Numbers 16:46.]

This is the model:
The priests are chosen by God to be linked to Israel as a whole [just as the Temple is linked to the nation as a whole, so that sins by the people can bring impurity to the Temple]. This means that the priests share the burden of iniquity [Leviticus 10:17] when the people sin. But this link goes both ways, so that the sin of the high priest brings guilt upon the entire nation [Leviticus 4:3]. (Compare that to the sin by the political leader which does not bring guilt upon the entire nation: Leviticus 4:22-26.)

This notion of sharing the burden of guilt (without actually the sin itself) in an effort to turn away wrath is seen in Moses' own intercession (which required no sacrifice) before God. "But now, if You will, forive their sin - and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written" (Exodus 32:32).

The priests are charged with continually offering up prayers for the community and "making intercessions" (as Jesus is said to do as the High Priest of the new covenant in Hebrews 7:25). Paul's wording in 1st Timothy 2:5 probably gets at this as well... indicating that the earthly priests are no longer the mediator between God and man. Samuel's remarks in 1st Samuel 12:23 suggest something similar.

So, the priests share in the burden of iniquity, and by their righteousness and purity turn the wrath of God away [as Moses did]. This situation creates two problems:
i) Obviously, if the priests are intercessing before God, they are not earning their own bread...which means both they and their families are without food.
ii) While the priests are sharing in the guilt, they are also tending to the Temple, which requires cleanliness and purity from sin.

The Sin, Guilt and Grain offerings appear to serve both these goals!

The sin, guilt, and grain offering regulations specify:
i) The meat could be eaten by any priest. This provides a payment "in return for bearing the iniquity of Israel" (Leviticus 10:17)
ii) Eating the meat and the grain actually cleanses the priests who eat it. (Leviticus 6:18, 27) We see an interesting demarcation here. The grain, sin, and guilt offerings in Leviticus 6:14-7:7 (and reiterated in Numbers 18:9-10) can only be eaten by male descendants of Aaron and they make pure those who eat them, whereas the other offerings [peace, votive, etc.] can be eaten by anyone in the priest's family who is clean.

This idea that the eating of the sacrifice contributes to the priest's cleanliness might seem bizarre to us, but there are other places where holiness or cleanliness is conferred in such a way [obviously it goes the other one has a problem with the notion of uncleanliness being communicative]. Isaiah 6:7 shows such an example, Matthew 9:21 is a NT example. Indeed, the consecration of the Temple itself shows this, the blood of clean animals confers holiness to the Temple.

The Lynchpin

There is one event in the Old Testament that, I believe, gives very strong credibility to this setup. After Phinehas' righteous deeds in Numbers 25:7-8, God makes a covenant with him that his descendants would serve him forever. We see a declaration that this covenant has become nullified by Eli's sin in the prophecy recounted in 1st Samuel 2:28-36.
This is shown again in God's words to Samuel in 1st Samuel 3:12-14, where God tells Samuel to tell Eli "On that day I will carry out against Eli everything that I spoke about his house --- from start to finish" and this is summaried in a single phrase "Therefore I swore an oath on the house of Eli, 'The sin of the house of Eli can never be forgiven by sacrifice or grain offerings.'"

Later this prophecy is fulfilled in 1st Kings 2:27 when Solomon dismisses Abiathar as priest.

Now, the odd thing here is if the punishment upon Eli is the loss of the priesthood from his house, why is the version Samuel given simply "the sin of the house of Eli can never be forgiven by sacrifice of grain offerings"?

If we think of the sacrifices and offerings as designed to forgive the sin of everyday people in Israel, this makes little sense. However, if the forgiveness of sin through offering and sacrifices is synonymous with being a priest, it makes perfect sense. Note how the curse given in the 2nd chapter dwells so much on the house of Eli losing the position and allottment of the priests while still remaining in the temple itself. It ends with a description of how they must beg for work in the temple to receive a scrap of bread. This all makes more sense if we see the grain, sin, and guilt offerings as the payments to the priests, where the eating of the sacrifices cleansed them from the iniquity they bore for the entire society.

If we read what caused this curse in the first place, we also see why this bit about "sins will not be taken away by sacrifices or grain offerings" refers to the eating of those offerings --- that was the thing that caused the curse in the first place! Eli's sons were eating part of the offering that they were not supposed to be eating. It thus makes sense for the punishment to be that they were no longer given the privilege of doing so.

Relation to Eucharist
Seeing these sacrifices as cleansing by eating allows the eucharist to make sense in an entirely new way. A major problem with understanding the Eucharist is that it appears to create a situation where we drink the blood of a sacrifice. That was a major no-no in ancient Judaism, and it is hard to understand how anything that is remotely related to the drinking of blood could have become a ceremony in early Christianity [which was entirely Jewish]. Indeed, the proscription against drinking blood is one of the regulations agreed to in Acts 15 as being relevant to Gentiles as well as Jews.

However, if we understand the eating of the sin offering as part of the cleansing of the Temple, things become clearer.

In the Sin Offering, the blood of sacrifice was put on the horns of the altar to cleanse it and the rest was poured out at the side of the altar. The meat of the offering was given to the priests to cleanse them. Hence we see the flesh and blood as the ways in which the Temple and its denizens were cleansed. The Eucharist, then, becomes a perfect parallel to these sin offerings. The temple "drank the blood" and the priests "ate the flesh" in the old covenant, and each of these actions sanctified the item. Now we are the temple and we are the priests, and the sanctifying sacrifice is Christ.

Summary and Bigger Picture
The above model would work well in the following general understanding of what each of the sacrificial elements meant:

i) The sinner brings the sacrifice to the Temple: This represents a confession of guilt [e.g. Leviticus 5:5--keep in mind that most of these offerings were for unintentional sins or sins done unwittingly.] It also represents a loss to the person, for he will receive nothing from the offering (the priest will end up being the one who eats his ram/goat/lamb). This loss is a deterrent and memorial that sin is a serious issue with serious consequences. It is also an easement of sorts --- the priests are bearing the guilt of the community that he has contributed to. They are praying on the behalf of the community. Thus his sacrifice both subsidizes their work and is meant to undo some of the damage (for the priests that eat of the sacrifice will be sanctified.)

ii) The animal is killed and the blood is applied to the altar: This cleanses the altar (and by extension the temple) from the taint of the individuals sin. This makes the temple a more fit house for God's spirit to rest in.

iii) A very small amount of the animal is burned up (the fat, kidneys, and appendices): This represents "God's share" of the payment to the priests. The sinner has given the animal to the priests as a payment for bearing their sin. The blood and fat are God's portion. This goes back all the way to Abel [Genesis 4:4] and is part of the submission lifestyle priests had to live. It was the breaking of this regulation that caused the curse on Eli (1st Samuel 2:16 and later). Eli's sons were eating the meat before the fat had been boiled off. Note that by now the original sinner is out of the picture. The fat is given to God because the priest gives some part of everything to God, regardless of what kind of sacrifice it is [c.f. Leviticus 2:2 5:12, 6:15].

iv) The priest makes atonement for him, and he is forgiven. The priest intercedes on his behalf, praying for the wrath to be turned away. Moses said "perhaps I can make atonement for your sin" in Exodus 32:30 before going to pray for his people, when the Levitical accounts say "The priest will make atonement for him" it refers to the same.
Note that in the case where the High Priest himself sins, no such intercession is possible and there is no atonement. (Compare Leviticus 4:3-12 with the other 12 descriptions of offering in response to a particular sin.)

v) The priests eat the sacrifice. It is not only a form of sustenance, but an act of sanctification to balance the sin whose guilt they have born.


sweetdreams said...

the flaw with all atonements is that they begin with the premise that God is angry and we need to turn away his wrath via some ritual.

The Catholics use a daily eucharist to keep him at bay, they call it a daily sacrifice.

You ask how a blood drinking ritual ever entered the early church. Jesus spoke about his bread and compared it to his body. Earlier we learned bread was his teaching.

Wisdom in Proverbs 8 sets a table with bread and wine. So Jesu was saying if you keep on eating my teaching and if you taste the wisdom there it will intoxicate you to action and that is eternal Zoe life now and in the age to come.

Jesus never suggested God needed to be propitiated or used atonement language or called himself a lamb (so he is not a passover lamb). He would not identify with the goats for they are the symbols of evil doers.

All this Passover/atonement theology comes from the non-gospel writers of the NT who grossly thought they were supposed to enact the last supper to get eternal life, as if flesh and blood could give life "The flesh and blood profit nothing my words are spirit and zoe life.

You are correct in rejecting all previous atonement theories for they all at heart are a blasphemous accusation against Father. He gets blamed for killing Jesus. Satan loves the atonement theory because it switches the blame from him to Yah.

Jesus called himself a ransom, a ransom is not a sacrifice to propitiate an angry God, a ransom is when a good person pays an evil one to set someone free.

Sacrifices are when bad people try to bribe God to not punish them.

All this confusion comes outside of the teaching of Jesus. You are on the right track trying to determine what is Gospel and what is not. What Jesus said is Gospel and what the apostles wrote is commentary and often bad commentary.

Just my two cents worth.
Robert Roberg

Rachel Marszalek said...

I need to very prayerfully work through this and my education is not where it needs to be yet. However, i am captured by your points ii and iii. I am at present so aware of a God who is love, my atonement theology is uncertain, It is not fixed and I am trying to ask for a teachable spirit. Thanks for all your thinking. I will keep mulling it over, sorry not to be of more help - I hope to look at this again over the next two yrs - I've been asked to do an Mth at college and feel as though I need to return to a topic which I have struggled with so far so I will watch this space

David Rudel said...

Dear Rachel,
Thanks so much for taking the time, sister. All my best wishes to you!

Dan Martin said...

Dave, I'm going to have to chew over this before considering my response remotely complete, but some first thoughts:

1) You seem to be presupposing that God's response to sin is wrath. While it is true that in many specific Biblical instances that is true, I think it's an overstatement to generalize that point to all sin. I don't know if you have kids--I do. It's true, sometimes I'm pissed (wrathful) at their disobedience, but my real displeasure is at their failure to be (or be becoming) what they are intended to be. Therefore my primary concern, both in punishment and instruction, is not remedying the "sin" that has been committed, but the conditions that will lead to future behavior. Your suggestion of sacrifice as a fine more than an atonement is helpful in this regard, by the way. But the notion that God's wrath (while genuine) is the real issue in dealing with sin is, itself, missing the central point.

2) I think you are inappropriately conflating the notions of "holy" and "righteous." The priests were to intercessorily carry the sins of the people before God, and they were consecreted, sanctified, set apart to do this. But that was a selection, a designation, a job description if you will, for which certain preparations were prescribed. But it was not that the priest had to be sinless before he could intercede, it was that he had to be designated, approved by God, and set apart from the people to do so. The Levitical passages you cite refer sometimes to "consecration" and other times to "cleansing" but I do not see evidence that these terms should be considered synonyms.

This is important (and I don't see you lifting it out as I might hope) in our lives today, where we as a kingdom of priests under our High Priest (Jesus) are to be interceding for, bearing the burdens of, and ministring the grace and reconciliation of God to each other and the world around us.

3) I grant that the Eucharistic interpretation of these cleansing elements is compelling if you accept the presupposition (not supported by scripture IMO) that what Jesus was doing at the last supper was actually instituting a Eucharist. I suppose it's inevitable given my Anabaptist leanings that I don't buy that interpretation. It's dangerous (intellectually, not eternally) to tie together concepts such as Jesus' symbols of the bread & wine, and the sacrifices of the OT, in ways that are, I would submit, scripturally tenuous at best.

I suppose if there is a lynchpin to my own thoughts on this matter, it would have to be that sin and salvation as dealt with in the O.T. were fulfilled in Jesus, and there is (due to Jesus' finished work) no real need for us to theorize and analyze how and why they worked, other than historical curiosity. The way of Jesus calls us out of the whole sin-propitiation paradigm to a life of discipleship and service distilled in Jesus' simple command to "follow me."



Dan Martin said...

By the way, housekeeping point Dave: I appreciate your calling my attention to this post, and I welcome your doing so over at my blog, but I'd prefer you did so in a thread that was actually discussing atonement. I deleted the comment in the Biblical Inspiration thread but I would welcome you to re-post on one of the atonement ones.

Anal, maybe (and feel free to delete this post once you get it) but I'm trying to keep some topical organization to things. Thanks for respecting this, and please be free to come back and post!


David Rudel said...

Two quick points:

I think it is perfectly fine to consider "consecrated" and "holy" and "cleansed" as more or less synonyms, indeed the same word is often used for all 3. The "cleansed," recall referred to becoming "ritually clean" to enter the Temple and not defile its holiness.

[you are right to separate cleansed from righteousness, except it does seem to go at least one way...most anything that someone did that was a sin would also make that person unclean.]

Secondly, with regard to the eating of the meat. I think it is important to note the timing here. The priest is constantly bearing the sin and has just given intercession for a particular sin...but the eating of the meat is an active verb. The eating "consecrates" him. He does not eat the meat before giving the sacrifice....or even before the person gets forgiveness. He eats the meat and becomes consecrated after these things...suggesting it is meant as a remedy of sorts since the wording there is different than the wording in others sacrifices.

David Rudel said...

Two more points ;)

i) I wrote on the post I did because I forgot that you have commend moderation on. I didn't want to find an appropriate post and end up flying under your Radar. My bad.

ii) I don't think this presupposes God's wrath...the text clearly says "and it will be forgiven him" over and over could just as easily say I am answering the question "why did this forgiveness happen?"

Dan Martin said...

Hey Dave,

I don't think this presupposes God's wrath...

Then why did you open your post by saying "I hit upon an interesting model for how God's wrath was addressed in Mosaic covenant?" Do you really mean "how sin and sacrifice were related in the Mosaic convenant?"

I think it is perfectly fine to consider "consecrated" and "holy" and "cleansed" as more or less synonyms

I don't have a concordance handy so I can't check, but really? "Consecrated" and "holy," yes. Either is to set apart for a special purpose. "Cleansing" is different, though. A lot of things are cleansed that are not by that process consecrated...witness Lev. 21:1-4, where a (consecrated) priest (though not the high priest, v. 10ff) can "make himself unclean" for the rituals of a close dead family member. He is not, in his uncleanness, unconsecrated--he's still set apart for the LORD, but he will require cleansing when his mourning period is done.

Conversely, Leviticus 10:52 (and surrounding verses) describe the cleansing of an infected house...but it's not being consecrated.

What I'm getting at is that cleansing is a necessary, but not sufficient, element of consecration.

I'm not sure where you are going with your response on eating meat. My point was that the priest was performing an intercessory duty before God, but he was nothing but a conduit. He was expected to be clean and set apart himself, but his righteousness was not necessary to the forgiveness of the people, it was merely a condition of his being allowed to serve the role on behalf of the people. Maybe I'm hearing a different message than you are advocating, but your choice of words almost suggests to me that the priest's righteousness was somehow imputed to the rest of Israel. I don't see the case for that...

Dan Martin said...

Nevertheless the larger issue, which is separate hence my separate response, is to question the need for a complex analysis of the Levitical provisions for forgiveness/cleansing/sanctification/whatever. If I correctly read the N.T. writers, Jesus fulfilled whatever requirements there were in that system on behalf of the Jews who were under that system, but that does NOT mean (Evangelical theology notwithstanding) that it had then or has now any bearing upon us Gentiles. The new covenant is not modeled after the old, and the old is only PARTIALLY a foreshadowing of the new.

This is why I am convinced that we need to debunk the major atonement theories (PSA primary among them), but we DON'T need to replace them with a new theory, but rather with a focus on Jesus who's trying--desperately and it seems somewhat unsuccessfully--to pry us out of our self-focus and get us to the job of following him and ministering to the broken.

Josh said...


Fascinating thoughts on the atonement that--more than anything else--show the complexity of the ancient sacrificial system described in the OT. My initial response is simply to be thankful that we don't follow this system anymore!

Regarding the models you describe, Stephen Finlan writes: "Since atonement builds on sacrificial theology, one of the roots of atonement lies in the ancient idea of actually feeding the god with the smoke of the burning animal, strongly attested in the first four books of the Pentateuch. The priests' job is to 'offer the Lord's offerings by fire, the food of their God...the food of your God' (Lev 21:6, 8). YHWH demands 'the food for my offerings by fire, my pleasing odor' (Num 28:2).... It is a pacifying aroma, mollifying God: 'when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of humankind" (Gen 8:21).... 'Propitiation' is a term often used by scholars to designate this business of appeasing someone who is angry" (Options on the Atonement in Christian Thought, pp. 8-9). Finlan thinks religions have simply evolved beyond animal sacrifices to angry deities.

Similarly, Paul Fiddes notes, "In the popular Greek philosophies of the [first century] there was a reaction against what were felt to be crude concepts of deity implied by blood-sacrifices, and though such sacrifices were rarely rejected completely there was a tendency to put prayer and moral living in their place. But Christians gave another reason for dispensing with animal sacrifice: the true blood-sacrifice had taken place [Hebrews 10:12]" (Past Event and Present Salvation: The Christian Idea of Atonement, p. 68). Jesus corrected the sacrificial system we find in the OT by putting an end to it. He gave Christians an extra and decisive reason to take what in the first century was a progressive view on the subject of animal sacrifice.

sweetdreams said...

Jesus said God does not want sacrifice.
Jeremiah m said when I took you out of Egypt I gave you no commands regarding burnt offerings and sacrifices

Go learn what that means:

Mercy not sacrifices.

David Rudel said...


I think you are taking that first bit out of context. If it is the passage I am thinking of, God is saying "When I first brought you out, I never mentioned sacrifice. They were only added after you sinned."

God is referring to how the plan was for Israel to be righteous, not assume a model of ungodliness mixed with sacrifice is acceptable.

David Rudel said...

We can use whatever words we like for it, but the OT clearly describes that people will "bear their guilt" [or the punishment thereof] unless there is atonement made for it. You can call that wrath or whatever, but there is certainly within the rituals described the notion of "forgiveness" [or something similar.] There is an indication that these ceremonies were specifically designed to stave off God's wrath [but what is not clear is whether that wrath is God's natural wrath or merely the following through of the covenant specifications. See Numbers 8:19]

You indicated that all this discussion of atonement in the OT may not have any relevance for us. One of the things that was not clear from my presentation here is that it fits into a larger claim that intercessions has always been the way for sins to be forgiven [outside of repentance]. I am just showing that to be the case even in the place where we most might think otherwise.

Regarding "cleanse" and "consecrate." It is important to note that, unlike us, Hebrew did not have separate words for "consecrate" versus "sanctify." The same word was used for someone initially being set apart as was used for the process of making that separation functional and active [sanctification.]

Cleansing something was the way of making it "holy" or achieving this operational consecration, though it obviously had other meanings as well. Leviticus 16:19 is a pretty good proof of this: the altar "was consecrated" (or, "sanctified," as it had already been set apart) by the cleansing of the taint of sin.

Josh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh said...

"It is from the sacrificial system of ancient Israel that we have inherited the whole terminology of atonement, expiation, propitiation, reconciliation; and it seems to me that after a long and puzzling story we find that system reaching in the Christianity of the New Testament a climax in which it is completely transformed into the idea of an atonement in which God alone bears the cost. The whole subject of sacrifice in ancient Israel is both complicated and controversial" (D.M. Baillie, God Was in Christ, p. 175).

Perhaps sacrifice in ancient Israel was not understood uniformly and completely. Maybe they had a fuzzy idea that forgiveness is costly, and this idea has come into sharper focus on this side of the incarnation and the cross. Hermeneutically, what I have in mind is progressive or unfolding revelation.

With this hermeneutic, there is no need to find a consistent attitude toward and understanding of the sacrificial system throughout the OT. One can then read the later prophetic critique of this system without attempting to harmonize it with earlier writings. So Baillie observes this prophetic message: "God will freely forgive even the greatest sins, if only the sinners will repent and turn from their evil ways. Nothing else is needed, no expiation, no offerings, for God has everything already. Sincere repentance is enough, and a real turning from sin to God; and then the sinner can count on God's mercy" (Ibid., p. 176). Baillie quotes Isaiah 55:7 as support.

Jesus (as sweetdreams has noted) picked up this prophetic critique of the sacrificial system. His death fulfills (puts an end to) this system. Moreover, earlier understandings of sacrifice are transformed (corrected); now it is revealed that the only sacrifice that matters is that of God in Christ, in whom "the victim and the priest are one" (Ibid., p. 178). The cause of this self-sacrifice is loving mercy toward sinners.

While I am intrigued by David's re-reading of Leviticus, I'm not sure it is necessary. It seems to me that the theory of penal substitution can be more easily impugned on hermeneutical grounds. Penal substitution proponents who make appeal to books like Leviticus may ignore later revelation, most importantly Jesus.

Dan Martin said...

While I am intrigued by David's re-reading of Leviticus, I'm not sure it is necessary. It seems to me that the theory of penal substitution can be more easily impugned on hermeneutical grounds. Penal substitution proponents who make appeal to books like Leviticus may ignore the later revelation, most importantly Jesus.

Substitute "may" with "completely" and you're closer to the truth.

David Rudel said...

Thanks for your continued contributions here.

I just wanted to make a quick note that I agree that looking for a clearly described schema for the sacrifices might be fishing for words in alphabet soup. I was quite daunted as I was studying them carefully. At one point I thought there was a clear division between sacrifices meant to cleans the altar and sacrifices meant to forgive the sin [the lynchpin for this is the turtledove sacrifice in Leviticus 5:7-10], but I found that it was hard to make that work.

It's also unclear what the difference is between a guilt offering and a sin offering [and it doesn't help that the Hebrew for each is just "sin" or "guilt," causing translational issues.]

Anyways, I think this understanding best explains the curse on Eli and the fact that the same offerings appear to be called for whether there is any particular sin involved or when just purification/consecration of the altar is in mind.

I further agree that repentance was always an available method of forgiveness of sins, but that might get back to our understanding of what "forgiveness" really meant for the Hebrews. If the fundamental purpose of the sacrifices were to cleanse the temple [and provide a deterrent to wickedness] that would explain the existence of the sacrifices in the face of the simpler solution of repentance.]

It's also possible that the availability of repentance was actually a change in course. Note that the most important passage validating repentance as a solution [The ones in Ezekiel, like Ezekiel 18] ALSO represent a departure from previous "rules." [Previously, the iniquity of a person could descend to children, but that is changed in Ezekiel 18.]

Dan Martin said...

Dave, I appreciate what is obvious in your posts and comments, that you are approaching this subject with a genuine desire to re-examine the common presuppositions. I don't want my comments to suggest that I don't recognize your genuine wrestling with the concepts.

That said, I think that missing from your commentary is an indication or recognition that, if Jesus' and Paul's words rather than subsequent theologians, are the authority here, then perhaps all of this, while historically interesting, is unnecessary due to it's having been superceded/fulfilled in the complete work of Jesus. By this I mean, as you already know, that while an understanding of the Levitical model may be interesting, it is in fact entirely peripheral to the salvation offered through and in Christ Jesus.

What I'm shooting at, of course, is that by spending too much effort in the minutiae of Levitical law (which may or may not be germane to soteriology as we define the word), we may still be granting the PSub-ers point that it's part of the equation...when I suggest (as I hear Josh may also be suggesting) that the latter prophets had already demonstrated a better way, long before Jesus' incarnation.

In short, we must be careful not to let theologians incorrectly frame the question, which of course leads inevitably to incorrect answers...

David Rudel said...

In short, we must be careful not to let theologians incorrectly frame the question, which of course leads inevitably to incorrect answers...

I like that. :)

I also think you'll like the next "model" post I plan on writing...perhaps seeing it as more applicable.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Josh - a lot of what you are saying is making sense to me. Thank you.

Josh said...

This conversation has been interesting. It has inspired me to start a series on the atonement on my blog. I hope to have the first post up soon, and I hope folks here will participate.

David Rudel said...

I can hear Dan saying "Oh, no, not another one!" ;)

Dan Martin said...

I can hear Dan saying "Oh, no, not another one!" ;)

Only partly, Dave. I really do think the dialog is good. I just hope at some point we can get over it, and let ourselves be "dead to sin and alive to Christ" without getting our knickers in quite so much of a twist over how it happened. I don't think this is a problem of present company, but in general I think the church concentrates on issues such as this to the exclusion (or very extreme reduction) of the question "how then shall we live?"

Plus, I really do feel sorry for Paul, the way his efforts have been hijacked and flown in the opposite direction from the one in which he was headed... ;{)

Bailey said...

Hello brother David,

Consider if those in 1st century CE had known what 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice' meant, they would not have murdered Joshua - nor condemned all of those who were/are innocent.

In a response to one of sweetdreams comments you stated, 'I think you are taking that first bit out of context. If it is the passage I am thinking of, God is saying "When I first brought you out, I never mentioned sacrifice.They were only added after you sinned."'

After following your writings and admiring how the Father is moving in your life, this notion of yours rather surprised me.

The issue is, the idea that '{Sacrifices} were only added after {Yisrael} sinned', after all, is not what the scripture texts testify to.

Thankfully, the notion that 'animal sacrifices were not ordained when the people came out of Egypt, but rather later' is a very common apologetic dodge waged against the Prophetic traditions that is most effectively debunked through a cursory glance at scripture.

Within the seventh chapter of Leviticus, the summary of Levitical regulations contained in the law books clearly states that ...

7:37 ~ This is the law for the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering, the ordination offering, and the peace offering sacrifice,

7:38 ~ which the Lord commanded Moses on Mount Sinai ON THE DAY HE COMMANDED THE YISRAELITES TO PRESENT THEIR OFFERINGS to the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai.

This Levitical decree is in certain opposition with the version of events given by the Prophet Yirmiyahu within the seventh chapter of his booklet, as was pointed out. Brutha Yirmi makes his condemnation of the law books explicit in the passage the following passage (8:8) ...

8:8 ~ 'How can you say, ‘We are wise, and our Father's ToRaH is with us’? Lo & behold, certainly the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie'.

According to Yirmiyahu, when the Father spoke to Brother Yirmi's ancestors after bringing them out of Egypt, the Yisraelites were not given commands regarding burnt offerings and animal sacrifices.

It is further stated that 'the lying pen of the scribes has certainly made the ToRaH into a lie'.

When Yirmiyahu's ancestors were brought out of Egypt, they were requested to 'Obey {the Father}, and {the Father} will be {their/our} God and {they/we} will be {the Father('s)} people. Walk in all the ways {the Father} command(s) {them/us}, that it may go well with {them/us}'.

The issue is, they - as well as many modern practitioners, did not - and still do not, like that that request ...

Yirmiyahu 7:24

But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.

25 ~ From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets.

26 ~ But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their forefathers.

27 ~ When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer

I would caution those who wish to add their own words to the witness of the Prophets by suggesting that 'God is saying "When I first brought you out, I never mentioned sacrifice. They were only added after you sinned."'

Such a testimony is not found in the plain evidence as portrayed within the text of our each of our bibles.

In the name of our Lord, Joshua the Anointed One, peace be with you brother David.

One Love

David Rudel said...

Hi Bailey,
Thanks for pointing out Leviticus 7:38 and its apparent conflict with Jeremiah 7:23-24, but is it not possible that Jeremiah 7:23-24 refers to the second giving of the covenant after the golden calf?

That would allow both passages to be reconciled, that God ordered sacrifices as early as Sinai, but only after Israel had proved its unfaithful bent the first time Moses went up.

Bailey said...

Hello brother David,

I am truly flattered to have had you thank me - lol

Yet, while I'm glad to have been able to recognize the highlights of these opposing testimonies found between the Levitical and the Prophetic traditions, if their is any glory to be had - the glory be to our Father.

While the Father requesting sacrifices as early as Sinai, but only after Yisrael proved their unfaithful lack of patience while Moses first traversed the mountain, may seem to allow both the traditions - as well as various passages, to be reconciled, it does not appear to be the testimony delivered within the plain text of scripture.

As to whether it is possible that Yirmiyahu 7:23-24 refers to the second installation of the Mosaic covenant after Aaron formed his golden calf-god, let the Father be true, and every man a liar.

Before even the ratification of the first Mosaic covenant or Aaron's folly with his sacred calf-god, within chapter twenty - at the twenty fourth verse, the reader of Exodus will find that Moses is instructed by his Lord that he 'must make for {Moses Lord} an altar made of earth, and {Moses} will sacrifice on it {Moses'} burnt offerings and {Moses'} peace offerings, {Moses'} sheep and {Moses'} cattle.'

Again, Leviticus 7:38 asserts that the laws of burnt offerings and animal sacrifices were implemented 'on Mount Sinai on the day {Moses} commanded the Israelites to present their offerings to the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai.' Whether the sacrificial system was implemented even one day later, is not implied.

For clarity, Yirmiyahu 7:22 testifies that 'When {the Father} spoke to {Yisrael's} ancestors after {the Father} brought them out of Egypt, {the Father} did NOT give {the Yisraelites} commands regarding burnt offerings and animal sacrifices'. Yirmiyahu does not easily reconcile with Levites, as can be seen by their throwing him headlong into a cistern after vandalising the scroll he presented to the King, who then threw the reprimand within a fire.

There is the sense that Brother Yirmi may be echoing Isaiah's question posed within the first chapter of his prophetic booklet - at the eleventh verse, which inquires of those Yisraelites who were steadfast within their sacrificial ritual ordinations, 'Who has required {the multitude of your sacrifices} from your hand?'.

Within these same verses, Isaiah refers to these practices as 'abominations' and he, like the author(s) of various Psalms, Yirmiyahu, Hoshea, Ezekiel, Micah, Joshua the Anointed One, as well as Paul the blessed Pharisee - who refers to them as 'dung', equates them with rebellion.

After asking Peter whether he loved him - not once, but rather as many times as it took to soften Peter's pride, Joshua then asked the Apostle to go and learn what this means - 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice'. It is as if he is reiterating the message previously delivered - and ignored by the audience that Hoshea spoke unto.

As was stated earlier, according to Joshua himself - again at a later verse (Matisyahu 12:7), if those in 1st century CE had known what 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice' was indeed meant to convey, he would not have had to refuse aggressive defense and allow himself to be murdered on a torture stake - nor would those who were innocent need have been condemned by the leaders of the early church who claim to be a sort of reincarnation of ancient Yisrael.

Perhaps it time we all learned what this saying means ...

In the name of our Lord, Joshua the Anointed One, peace be with you brother David.

One Love

David Rudel said...

Brother Bailey,
You are very much in the right regarding my earlier hypothesis. The Torah rather plainly shows the altar and its sacrifices are discussed prior to the golden calf.

However, looking back at the Jeremiah verse, does it not seem to you that it is a reference to Exodus 15:26? In particular with reference to 7:23-25.

Is it not not possible that the stubbornness described refers to the murmurings that occurred prior even to Sinai?

I don't agree that Philippians 3:8 can be considered targeting the sacrifices themselves.

Bev Parks, who may be interested in this discussion and your views on this, has the view that "works of the Law" refers specifically to the OT sacrifices. I hold that they refer to the various ordinances [circumcision, dietary laws, feast days] in general.

sweetdreams said...

David ,
Bailey quotes Jeremiah 8:8 ~ 'How can you say, ‘We are wise, and our
Father's ToRaH is with us’? Lo & behold, certainly the lying pen of
the scribes has made it into a lie'.
The implication is staggering. If as I contend, Jesus was teaching that God never asked for sacrifices, that means about a a third of the OT has been added by lying scribes and all the NT references to sacrifices are off.

Dan Martin said...

I agree that Jeremiah 7:22-23 comports with other prophets, for example Isaiah 1:11-20 or Amos 5:21-24. These passages and others make it pretty clear that, while God certainly accepted sacrifices as a form of worship, and even defined how they were to be done, it was obedience to his standards of conduct in holiness, purity, and love that God really wanted from his people, not the blood of animals per se.

However, I do not believe it's a correct exegesis to suggest that Jeremiah 8:8 is claiming that the existence of instructions for sacrifice are evidence of the corruption and the "lying pen" of the scribes. Rather in context, the "lying" of the scribes is the overall distortion of the way of God to satisfy the itching ears of a people who had clearly abandoned his ways while claiming that they still enjoyed his favor.

When one states that sacrifices were never the condition for God forgiving sin (true), one does not therefore need to state that all sacrificial language in the Old Covenant was therefore wrong, distorted, or added by liars (false). The issue is not that God did not--in former times--accept sacrifices as a form of worship to himself, for in fact he did so, as the clear testimony of scripture states. The issue is, however, that the whole model of sacrifical atonement and Jesus being tied into it is a flawed model: one superimposed upon scripture after a variety of presuppositions have been made.

Jesus fulfilled--and therefore ended--the use of sacrifice under the old covenant. This can still be (and is) true without accepting the penal-substitutionary, vicarious-death atonement model so popular among Christians. It can also still be true without being the CENTRAL or PRIMARY purpose/effect of his death. Part of the error so common in these discussions is the assumption of a binary reality. . .

Dan Martin said...

. . .the binary reality I'm suggesting is assumed is "Either Jesus' death was the penal-substutionary sacrifice in our place, or else it had nothing to do with our sin."

Incidentally, the notion of "Jesus dying in our place" and "substitutionary atonement" are often--erroneously--assumed to be synonymous. This needs unpacking, because in fact the two concepts are contradictory in that (1) capital punishment was never offered as a means of forgiveness for the condemned; and (2) sacrifice was not an option to relieve the capital criminal from his punishment.

David Rudel said...

Proponents of Psub do not think of it that way. It is not that we are "forgiven" so much as the charges have been dropped [or, actually, re-appropriated.]

Dan Martin said...

Proponents of Psub do not think of it that way. It is not that we are "forgiven" so much as the charges have been dropped [or, actually, re-appropriated.]

Careful ones don't, you're right, Dave. But there are a lot of sloppy ones. Just yesterday in my Evangelical church I heard both statements--Jesus as propitiation and Jesus dying "in our place." Such imprecise usage is actually fairly common in my experience.

David Rudel said...

Dan, Since "propitiation" is not [necessarily] synonymous with "forgiveness," I'm not sure that language is sloppy for the reason you give.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I would say it is sloppy due to the general misuse of the term "propitiation," which never meant "to deal with wrath by having it vented on another."

See here what has happened...Psub people have caused us to argue linguistics amongst ourselves due to their own misuse of words...terrible! ;)

David Rudel said...

Given that Christ told one of the people cleansed of leprosy to "give the priest what Moses commands," [Matthew 8:4, Mark 1:44, Luke 5:14], I don't think we can claim that the Levitical sacrifices were lies written by scribes.

By the way, I am really glad we've been able to discuss these things in a civil often when people debate theology things become rather miry.

Dan Martin said...

See here what has happened...Psub people have caused us to argue linguistics amongst ourselves due to their own misuse of words...terrible! ;)

LOL you're absolutely right, Dave! But you know at least as well as I that sloppy thinking and sloppy vocabulary permeate contemporary church teaching in a big way. We're trying to address it differently, and we certainly don't agree at all points, but one of the values of discussions like this is to get us a little more careful in our own terminology. This is a good thing ...

Peace, bro!

sweetdreams said...

I too appreciate that we are able to discuss this with civility and I for one do not insist everyone sees this my way. This is a complicated topic and I make no claims to special knowledge. I do feel God's characterd is at stake in that I do not see God standing in need of propitiation or that sacrifices ever removed sins despite the weight of OT words to the contrary.
I appeal to Jesus who never equated himself as a lamb or goat or bull but only as a shepherd. The atonement was actually a goat offered to the devil (Azazel).

I surely wouldn't put Yah in that camp and I believe that is exactly what the evil one wants. He wants to have us see Yah as a child sacrificing monster.

As to telling the lepers to make the offering for lepers does not mean he is endorsing the sacrificial system it means they need to go get a paper from the wicked priests which will declare them clean so they can once again enter towns and return home. Just as Jesus payed his temple tax when he said it is not required.

sweetdreams said...

I fall into the binary mode since I dwell in a binary universe and as shocking as it may sound I do not think his death had anything to do with sin removal.

Jesus poured out his wisdom to teach us how sins are removed.
If you forgive others the father will forgive you (no blood required), repent and confess your sins (no blood required), Though her sins were many they are forgiven because she loved much (no blood required).

Jesus never called himself a sacrifice but said he had come as a ransom. Bad people make sacrifices to a good god, but ransom are paid by good people to evil ones.

The ransom was a living sinless man in exchange for our release from the grave (the opening of the gates of death) on the judgment day. The cross was not to pay a penalty. It was the gladiator's ring where Jesus defeated Satan by refusing to give in to sin.

Dan Martin said...


I don't disagree with any of those comments. If you follow my link back to my blog, or read my many comments on Dave's site, you'll see I'm a solid Christus Victor guy. However, it's still true that Paul, among others, tells us that "Christ died to save sinners..." 1 Tim 1:15.

Now I believe that Paul can be absolutely right, in a Christus Victor view of the atonement, because what Jesus did when he "saved sinners" was to defeat the power of Satan and his minions, and their weapon which is death. I also believe that the apostles clearly teach that Jesus' death fulfilled whatever needs the sacrificial system had previously addressed, just that those needs were not the payment of penalties for sin. (See this post in particular for further detail).

In other words, the choices aren't only PSub on one hand, and Jesus' death having nothing to do with (or no effect on) sin on the other. That, I maintain, is a false dichotomy.

David Rudel said...


The "atonement sacrifice" was not merely a goat released to Azazel. As the letter to Hebrews describes in detail, the sacrificed goat was also part of that ritual (which is clear from the Levitical regulations in any regard.)

Revelation and John the Baptist's testimony both describe Christ as a lamb, so I don't think you can say Jesus never referred to Himself as a lamb. Note that Christ claims John's testimony about Him was true [John 5:30ff]

There is also the matter of Christ saying that the wine of his passover meal was "my blood given for the forgiveness of sins."
[though I suppose it is possible that the "forgiveness of sins" part is a later addition...Christ describing his blood as "given for you" and "mediating a new covenant" certainly counts for something even if He did not there call Himself a lamb/goat.

Bailey said...

Hello brother David,

While I understand that all of us are not yet on the same page, that is likely where we will one day wind up, and so, in that spirit, if I may, I'd like to take a moment to clear the air regarding my earlier comment ...

In regards to Paul the Pharisee and his reference concerning 'dung' and/or 'so much rubbish' within Philippians, I, as well, do not hold that he targeted or designated the sacrifices themselves completely worthless, in and of themselves. Rather, it seems to me, he was promoting the idea that the utilization of the written code, along with the entirety of the ritualistic sacrificial system, were no more than exercise and imagery - them being only helpful as a constant reminder, as he came to perceive, in pointing out each of our own natural inefficiencies and, perhaps, prone to corruption.

So then, it was the tendency of these methods - exploiting of deficiencies, along with any other form of doing so ('... count{ed} all things to be loss'), imho, that he found as 'dung', when compared to his newly found model of striving towards the abundance of examples set forth by the Anointed One - which far surpassed any other model - including the one he was highly trained up in, when it came to the task of attaining the state of perfection that he perceived as the end of these various means.

In the name of our Lord, Joshua the Anointed One, peace be with you brother David.

Bailey said...

Hello brother David,

I must first say thank you to everybody for all of your time, efforts and devotions. They are unbelievable to me at times and, consistently, an amazing inspiration!

Moving on, I would quickly agree that Brother Yirmi's testimony regarding our Father's original request (7:23) - perhaps finely tuned by Joshua in Matisyahu 22:35-40, may indeed be said to reference the likes of Exodus 15:26. However, as an aside, the proposed reprimand set forth in this Exodus passage does not testify to the imminent threat of a sacrificial system as a consequence of disobedience (or perhaps of their tendency of grumbling), but rather 'the diseases ... which' were 'put on the Egyptians'.

It is, then, difficult for me to suppose that the stubborness described in the following passages of Yirmi's (7:24,25) refer to the pre-Sinai murmurings displayed in the wilderness trek, as - at that point, there is the sense that one may as well relate the stubborn inclinations to the murmuring's of Exodus 2:14. While these remarks were made against Moses - as opposed to the Father, and they were, as well, made very early in the Exodus process, the fact is, the Yisraelites always murmured and grumbled, as we all do at times in our moments of human weakness. Within my heart, a line has been drawn ...

Now, the neck snapping of Exodus 13:13 seems to be a fine example of the sorts of dogmatic tendencies that led Yisrael to move 'backward and not forward', as well as the sacrifices of 13:15 and other such ordininations, seeing as they were not requested by the Father, but rather plainly inserted by a man after the Father requested certain sanctifications - not to be at all confused with sacrifices of any sort, in 13:2. It should prove reasonable to contend that to 'be holy, be set apart, be distinct' - and in this particular stem, to be 'sanctified and set apart' did not necessitate any sort of murder or execution.

It is all but clear to me that these types of ritual ordinations are the '... worship' that 'consist{ed} of nothing but man-made ritual', which Brother Isaiah referred to at the thirteenth verse of his twenty-ninth chapter and that are elsewhere spoken against by those within the Prophetic tradition, which various brethren have had the priviledge of pointing out within the growth of this discussion. Much like the third chapter of Ezekiel, the Father seems to have made some of our foreheads as hard - if not harder, than the hardness encountered by those who promote the latter sacrificial rites that have become all to popular and promoted. As it is written, 'I have made your face adamant to match their faces, and your forehead hard to match their foreheads ...'

That said, if I may be so bold, there is a heir of contention - pun intended - that suggests our Father does not issue sacrificial rites for being human; however, there is a requirement placed on the family that expects each member to put forth a certain effort which shall counter our childish and devious inclinations, if we are to perform as desired and progress towards the Father's heart. In the same token, as the author of the Psalm has declared, 'The Father does not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; their is no pleasure taken on your behalf concerning burnt offerings ... Indeed, animal sacrifice and oblation you do not desire, but my ears you have pierced, O' Father; burnt offerings and sin offerings you do not require.'

In the name of our Lord, Joshua the Anointed One, peace be with you all ...

sweetdreams said...

thanks for reminded us what David said. He understood that God (Yah) did not want offerings. As I wrestled with his ear piecing it struck me that he means you have opened my ear. I hear you now. I hear you loud and clear.
"I will take no bull-calf from your stalls, nor he-goats out of your pens; for all the beasts of the forest are mine, the herds in their thousands upon the hills. I know every bird in the sky, and the creatures of the fields are in my sight. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the whole world is mine and all that is in it. Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?" (Psalm 50:8-14:)

If Yah does not want the blood of animals why would anyone think he would want the blood of Jesus (Yahshuah)?

Yah didn't even want incense,
"I have not burdened thee with a meal-offering, Nor wearied thee with frankincense." (Isaiah 43:23).
Peace and love to you Bailey.

Theodore A. Jones said...

You've got things backwards friend by assuming that the Bible is constructed as an empirical positive. It isn't. The OT sacrificial system does not point to or teach you why Jesus was crucified. 1 Cor 2:6-8 is a very plain statement that says if the true reason for Jesus' crucifixion could have been known before he was crucified he would have never been crucified. The actual reason for Jesus' crucifixion was a secret of God and was not revealed to the apostles until after Jesus crucifixion. So then what ever the conclusion derived from OT reasonableness is an error whenever that conclusion is used to explain the reason for Jesus' crucifixion.
1. God's law does NOT allow anyone to obtain a direct profit for themselves by a sin.
2. The crucifixion of Jesus is the sin of murder caused by bloodshed.
3. The issue of guilt relative to sin remains as the outstanding issue AFTER Jesus' crucifixion and is the unilateral condition. Jn. 16:8.
The question you need an answer for is what is the Way this outstanding issue is to be resolved?
Regarding that the gate into the kingdom of God is small, narrow and is only found by a few it is a good thing you are looking for this gate.

"It is NOT those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who OBEY the law who will be declared righteous." Rom. 2:13
For "the law was added so that the trespass might increase." Rom 5:20 Regarding that God made an addition to the law by adding a word upon Jesus being made the high priest after the order of Melchisedec. See Heb. 7:12b So then the righteousness of God established by the crucifixion of Jesus and confirmed by the two immutable things, a law, and God's oath is only a benefit to you by the faith to obey God this Way.
"And for Your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from EACH man too I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man, Emanuel."
Therefore the only Way the Lord's command given through the apostles can be obeyed is by the faith of confessing with your mouth directly to God that you are sorry Jesus life was taken by bloodshed and be baptized into this Way for the forgiveness of ALL sins. However if you refuse to obey God this Way, since it is the law, you commit a sin against God for which there is no forgiveness. EACH man too does not miss anybody does it?

sweetdreams said...

I am not sure what you are saying. I think you are packing more in your message than my pea sized brain can handle.
You wrote
1. God's law does NOT allow anyone to obtain a direct profit for themselves by a sin.

2. The crucifixion of Jesus is the sin of murder caused by bloodshed.

3. The issue of guilt relative to sin remains as the outstanding issue AFTER Jesus' crucifixion and is the unilateral condition. Jn. 16:8.
This is where you lost me. Jn 16:8 "When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt."

Are you saying Christians have guilt?

You speak of a secret. That sounds like Gnostism.
You wrote:
1 Cor 2:6-8 is a very plain statement that says if the true reason for Jesus' crucifixion could have been known before he was crucified he would have never been crucified.
"None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."

The rulers were the demonic archons that rule the planet, they did not know , but are you suggesting Jesus did not know himself what the plan was????

Theodore A. Jones said...

As to three. I did not make the 1 Cor. 2:6-8 statement. Paul gets credit for that and by your reasoning he must have been a Gnostic by your reasoning. See Deut. 29:29 and slander a celestial being of being a Gnostic. 1 Cor. 2:6-8 disallows all conjectures of assuming the actual reason for Jesus' crucifixion is noted and reasonably discovered from the OT text. In other words all conjectures derived from OT to explain the actual reason for Jesus' crucifixion are in error.
As to one of your other posts in this series about the Lord's table. God has promised Jesus that he will make all of Jesus' enemies a footstool for Jesus' feet. These enemies are identifiable by "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." And doesn't this table sit right down front center of every Christian church house in existence? This is not much of a secret is it?

Anonymous said...

Could be the BEST read that I read this month :D