Christianity teaches that Jesus, the perfect sinless lamb-of-Gd had to die for our sins so we can be forgiven and eventually go to heaven. Christianity also touts that it is only through a blood sacrifice a person can receive atonement for any sin, whether intentional, unintentional, past or future sin. It is propagated to congregants that all of us, whether Jew or Gentile, are eternally doomed unless we believe Jesus is the Messiah who died and overcame sin and death through the resurrection. Guilt, condemnation, and fear are the key ingredients while dangling promises of heaven and eternal life to motivate people to believe and cough up cash in the offering plates. These beliefs come from various places throughout the New Testament, which just by cleverly labeling it the “New” Testament sends the message anything before it is old news, invalid, and irrelevant. Out with the old, in with God’s new and improved way of doing things. And yet, Malachi 3:6 clearly states God does not change. We do. With that said, let us explore what the “Old” Testament, or Hebrew Bible, has to say about sin, sacrifices, forgiveness, believing in the Messiah to be saved, etc.
While it is true that all of man sins eventually as the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 3:23 and it is true sin has consequences as he further explains in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.”, it is not necessarily death or blood of an animal or blood of a human in Jesus’ case that can make it right or to put in Biblical terms, make atonement. It can be confusing, however, when a Christian cherry-picks verses, as they (formerly we) seem to specialize in doing in order to propagate a doctrine. Christian missionaries and ministers often point to Leviticus 17:11 which in part states, “For it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” That is their AH-HA GOTCHA moment. And yet, when studying sacrifices and other passages found in the Hebrew Bible, we see God provides a variety of methods to teach His people a tangible lesson about sin and forgiveness; moreover, He provides grace and mercy well before Jesus and still today regardless of Jesus.
First, understand, there are many different types of sacrifices, most of which are a form of praise and worship and have nothing to do with sin such as the burnt offering, peace offerings, the daily morning and evening offerings, various offerings during the feasts of the LORD, etc. In fact, the sin offering and trespass, also known as guilt offering, is only for unintentional sin, meaning you, your household, the congregation, or the nation accidentally violated God’s law without realizing He had a law against said thing. By the way, did you know according to the Christian Bible or New Testament, it defines sin as breaking God’s law or His Torah (see 1 John 3:4)? Oddly enough, most Christian circles teach God’s laws are irrelevant and can be freely broken. Hence, ham sandwiches for Easter! See what God has to say about pork in Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14, and Isaiah 65-66. Is it not strange Christianity purports someone had to actually suffer and die for the forgiveness of their sins, but it is perfectly OK to keep sinning by abandoning God’s laws after believing in such things? What a self-centered and disrespectful theology!
Second, please study and know there is no sacrifice for intentional sin. Understanding this concept is critical. I encourage you to get a Strong’s Concordance or Google the terms unintentional and intentional in the Bible. You will not find any sacrifice for intentional sin for if you knowingly and purposely sinned, you went through God’s judicial process and would have been eventually stoned or cut-off (same thing) should the account of two or three witnesses manifest. The sin offering sacrifice is for if a sin was unintentionally committed against the LORD whereas the trespass offering was if a person unintentionally sinned against another person and by default the LORD as well. You will notice in Leviticus 4-6, which is the primary chapters discussing these concepts, those who unintentionally sinned against their brother/neighbor/another person had to make restitution to the person they accidentally sinned against. Hence, love God, love others concept taught in both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. While reading about the trespass offering, notice in Leviticus 5:6-13, God’s word says that if a person cannot afford to bring a lamb, goat, turtledoves or a pigeon, they can instead simply bring flour for forgiveness. Flour for forgiveness?! What? Had the Church marketed that concept, many more would probably be filling the pews. Bake sales come to mind! Ha ha! My point is there is no blood in flour so based off Christian theology, how could that person be forgiven? Nevertheless, Scripture reveals that person shall be forgiven indeed (see vs. 13). The overall message, God is teaching His people is, yes, sin has consequences, and He uses the concept of sacrifices whether it be ideally a costly sacrifice of an animal or even flour to reveal even unintentional sin is not to be taken lightly and yet forgivable upon repentance. Now learn your lesson and don’t let it happen again.
A sacrifice in of itself cannot save you no more than taking communion saves you. While on that topic, is it not odd Christianity, particularly the Roman Catholic Church and some other denominations, teach that cracker is literally Jesus’ body and the wine is literally his blood, and yet Leviticus 17:12-14 clearly states anyone who eats blood is to be cut-off? Moreover, do you think the Creator of animals and the One who had humans eat veggies in the Garden of Eden really desires us to kill animals? No, He wants us to want to obey Him in both our private and public life. See Psalm 40:6-10, which the anonymous author of Hebrews seriously twists and misquotes to fit their agenda of making it seem like a human sacrifice was required, which is just a copy of the pagan religions since before ancient Israel existed and carried on for thousands of years (and still today). Compare Hebrews 10:5-8 to the Psalm he is allegedly quoting in Psalm 40:6-8. So much for the “inerrant” word of God! The sin sacrifice of animals is simply a tangible physical means God uses to reveal His righteousness. God loves memorials and using things to help us remember His instructions for living – see Numbers 15:37-41 as another tangible physical reminder.
But let us return to the lesson of the sin sacrifices. Just as you take away your kids’ electronics or TV time when they sin, you are insisting they sacrifice something with the hopes of teaching them what they did is not permissible in your eyes and they ought not to do it again. You, like our Heavenly Parent, hopefully are fair and just upon deciding what they must sacrifice on an age appropriate and offense appropriate level or affordability level. Flour.
Third, understand sacrifices cannot be made in your backyard or just anywhere you please, but rather can only be made in the place the LORD chooses being in the Temple in Jerusalem (see Exodus 20:24; Leviticus 17:3-6; Deuteronomy 12:13-14, 16:5-6), which at this point in time does not exist. Nevertheless, notice what King Solomon proclaims in a prophetic prayer as he dedicates the first temple. In 1 Kings 8:22-53, but especially highlight verses 44-50 for it is there we see Solomon describes a variety of scenarios for both Jew and Gentile to get forgiveness including when Jews are dispersed in various lands, taken captive, etc. with no capability of accessing the Temple, all they must do is repent and God will forgive them! Lamentations 3:22-26 as does Psalm 50-51, Psalm 103, Isaiah 1:16-20 and numerous other passages throughout the Hebrew Bible clearly state all one must do is pray to God and repent for their sin and He will gladly forgive them! I dare you to search this out for yourself. Explore terms like sin, forgiveness, salvation, etc. in the Hebrew Bible – an enlightening picture will unfold. You may want to read my article about how the Christian and Hebrew Bibles define “salvation”.
Fourth, research and know there is not one place in the Hebrew Bible stating one must believe in a Messiah in order to be saved; however, there are numerous places stating those who obey God’s commands are literally physically saved (see Psalm 50 as one example) while other passages indicate rewarded in the World-To-Come or what some may refer to as the Messianic Era or even the New Heavens and New Earth. In fact, Isaiah 56 seems to indicate non-Jews also known as foreigners have an even higher status should they choose to honor and obey God’s holy covenant. Judaism teaches that this passage of Isaiah 56 as well as other examples such as Ruth or Caleb are referring to Gentiles who convert to Judaism and strive to obey God’s covenant given to Israel at Mount Sinai. Furthermore, have you ever considered what Israel, or the Jewish people, were actually chosen for? Chosen to do what exactly? Jews, as God’s chosen people, are chosen or commissioned to be the light of the world, bringing Torah to the nations (see Isaiah 2:3, 42:6-7, 49:6; Proverbs 6:23; Psalm 119:105-106 as a few examples) primarily by leading in love since the Torah defines how God wants us to love Him and others as well as promoting social justice according to concepts found in Torah (Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 11:1; 16:20).
Did you know in the Messianic Era or World-To-Come, the world is shocked to discover the Jews, who have been afflicted and hated for thousands of years, had it right and will be elevated one fine day (Jeremiah 16:19-21; Isaiah 52:13-53:1; Isaiah 60) so much so that many will grab onto a Jew recognizing God is with them wanting to know more (Zechariah 8:23) and that Torah will be taught by an anointed ruler, which is often referred to by many as a “Messiah” (which really just means “anointed one”), and Torah will also be taught presumably by Jews to the world (Isaiah 2; Micah 4)? Moreover, the nations must also comply with Torah, God’s voice, His law one day INCLUDING keeping sacrifices and if they don’t, their land won’t see rain and therefore will have no crops and suffering economy (see Zechariah 14:16-21). Additionally, please study Ezekiel 36-48 where it describes the resurrection of the dead, the regathering of Israel, all twelve tribes, to the land of Israel, God’s Torah being established and obeyed, as well as sacrifices being held and even led by the prince, presumably what some refer to as the Messiah (see Ezekiel 44-46). Notice in Ezekiel 45:15-25, the “prince” makes sin offerings for the people, but only for unintentional sins as discussed previously. If Jesus is the one and only Messiah or “prince”, the perfect sinless lamb of God who made a sacrifice once and for all as the anonymous author of Hebrews proclaims, why does the Tanakh prove otherwise? This Messiah figure, which Messiah simply means “anointed one” and was used very rarely to describe kings, priests, and prophets and even a Gentile king (see the Hebrew of Isaiah 45 and Daniel 9) rather than one singular “Messiah”. This prophecy of sacrifice in the final temple discussed in Ezekiel is made by the resurrected prince/king David (see Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24; Jeremiah 30:9; Isaiah 9:7; Hosea 3:5) and is undeniably in the New Covenant, where we will no longer need to teach one another about the LORD (Jeremiah 31:31-34) because His Name, His Presence, His Light/Torah, His Voice/Torah are publicly made known and not up for dispute or discussion at that time and David, the prince/king is reigning once more. Also, you will find there is no sinless Messiah described in the Tanakh for it clearly states there is no one without sin according to 1 Kings 8:46 and Ecclesiastes 7:20. Moreover, if we currently are in the New Covenant, as Christianity teaches, why are we still having Bible Studies- that contradicts both Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 8 misquote of Jeremiah 31? If we are currently in the New Covenant, when did the massive resurrection occur? If we are currently in the New Covenant, why aren’t all Jews dwelling in Israel as the prophets repeatedly describe? Why isn’t the whole world obeying Torah? Because it hasn’t happened yet, obviously.
Lastly, while still in Jeremiah 31, notice verse 30 where it says, “But every one shall die for his own iniquity.” That’s strange don’t you think? Why doesn’t it say but Jesus died for everyone’s iniquity and now we live happily or heavenly ever after? Why doesn’t it say this here in Jeremiah 31 particularly when it is discussing the World-To-Come or during the New Covenant? The entire chapter of Jeremiah 31 is prophesying the future full regathering and restoration of Israel one fine day in the Messianic Era and yet still speaking of people dying for their own sin (not Jesus) – being responsible for their own sin not trusting in Jesus to do it for them.
You see, had the Church studied the Hebrew Bible, instead of conveniently attempting to do away with it to sell the avoidance of hell, while elevating themselves and lining their pockets, they would know no one can die for another person sins. The law and prophets clearly speak to this several times as if giving plenty of advance warning of a false religion that will teach such concepts – most likely because this concept of human sacrifices has been a pagan practice since before ancient Israel even existed! Please review Deuteronomy 24:16, 2 Kings 14:6; Psalm 49:7; Ezekiel 18 and 33, all of which speak to the concept of a human cannot die for another human’s sins. Every one is accountable to God for themselves. So why do we think Jesus, a human, can die for our sins? Also, now knowing the law and prophets speak nothing towards such concepts of a Messiah dying for our sins, nor we need to believe in a Messiah to be saved, and we now understand human sacrifice for atonement of sin is forbidden, plus forgiveness is granted simply by repenting when a temple is not in place, and when it is in place, flour can be used as a substitute for blood, etc. and if God does nothing without revealing it to His prophets first as Amos 3:7 states, why would we suddenly think God changed not only His pure language (see Zephaniah 3:9) from Hebrew to Greek, did away with His instructions found in Torah, and yet didn’t reveal it to His prophets of such dramatic changes or that a person must believe in His Son, the Messiah, in order to be forgiven and saved?
Ironically, I discovered this and so much more when I attempted to write an article proving Jesus is the Messiah using only the Old Testament. Needless to say, upon doing so, over many astonishing and grievous months, Abba Father “flip-flopped” my faith as His word clearly declares Jesus Did Not Die For Anyone’s Sins but his own!
Carrie R. Turner, 8/30/2020