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Christianity teaches that Jesus, the perfect sinless lamb-of-G!d had to die for people’s sins so they can be forgiven and make it 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. 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 G!d’s new and improved way of doing things. And yet, Malachi 3:6 and 1 Samuel 15:29 clearly state G!d 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 G!d 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, meal offering, the daily morning and evening offerings, various offerings during the feasts of the LORD, etc. In fact, the sin and trespass offerings, also known as the purification and guilt offerings, are only for unintentional sin, meaning you, your household, the congregation, or the nation accidentally violated G!d’s law without realizing He had a law against such a thing.
Second, please study and know there is no sacrifice for intentional sin only unintentional 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 G!d’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 or purification offering is for if a sin was unintentionally committed against the LORD whereas the trespass or guilt offering was if a person unintentionally sinned against another person and by default the LORD as well. You will notice Leviticus chapters 4-6 states that those who unintentionally sinned against their brother, neighbor, or another person had to make restitution to the person they accidentally sinned against. Hence, love G!d, love others concept taught in both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. While reading about the trespass also known as the guilt offering, notice in Leviticus 5:6-13, the Torah teaches 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?! And yet, there is no blood in flour so based on Christian theology, how could that person be forgiven? Nevertheless, Scripture reveals that a person shall be forgiven indeed (see vs. 13). The overall message, G!d 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 (pun intended) and yet certainly forgivable upon repentance. Now learn your lesson and don’t let it happen again.
The Book of Hebrews, along with other New Testament books, replaced words from various Scriptures found in the Hebrew Bible to lead the reader to believe the doctrine being peddled. Consequently, Christians are led to believe G!d required a human sacrifice to put an end to animal sacrifices. Compare Hebrews 10:5-8 to the Psalm he is allegedly quoting in Psalm 40:6-8. We can see in this example the anonymous author of Hebrews twisted and misquoted the Psalm to fit their agenda of making it seem like a human sacrifice was required, which is just a copy of the pagan religions before ancient Israel existed and carried on for thousands of years (and still today in some cultures).
Rather, the sin sacrifice of animals is simply a tangible physical means G!d uses to reveal the concept of consequences and accountability for ourselves and one another. G!d recognizes humans need physical, tangible memorials to help us remember Him and His instructions for living – see Numbers 15:37-41 as another tangible physical reminder. G!d commanded the Israelite men to wear tzits-tzits, strings from the hem of their garment to remind them to obey G!d’s commands.
Similar to the lesson of the sin sacrifices, as a parent, at times you take away your kids’ electronics or TV time when they sin. Upon doing so, it’s not because you need their electronics, rather 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. This is the only reason sacrifices are not currently happening. 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 receive 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 G!d 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 G!d and repent for their sin and He will gladly forgive them! I implore you to search this out for yourself. Explore terms like sin, forgiveness, salvation, etc. in the Hebrew Bible – an enlightening picture will unfold.
Fourth, did you know that Torah, G!d’s teachings, will be taught to the entire world from Jerusalem? Several passages such as Isaiah 2; Micah 4; and Ezekiel 44 reveal Torah will be taught. Moreover, the nations must also comply with Torah, G!d’s voice, His law one day INCLUDING worshipping G!d on the Jewish Sabbath according to Isaiah 66:22-24 AND bring sacrifices, according to Zechariah 14:16-21.
Fifth, please study the future prophecies found in Ezekiel 36-48, which include the resurrection, regathering, and restoration of all twelve tribes of Israel to the land of Israel. Within those incredible chapters notice the prophet Ezekiel shares that not only will G!d’s Torah be willingly obeyed by the House of Judah and the House of Israel, but that sacrifices will once again resume. What’s fascinating is these sacrifices are being led by the prince, presumably what some refer to as the Messiah, or an anointed ruler (see Ezekiel 44-46). Notice in Ezekiel 45:15-25, that the “prince” makes sin or purification offerings as well as all the other offerings on behalf of himself and 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 G!d who made a sacrifice once and for all as the anonymous author of Hebrews proclaims, why does the Hebrew Bible prove otherwise?
Also, you will find there is no sinless Messiah described in the Hebrew Bible for it clearly states there is no one without sin according to 1 Kings 8:46 and Ecclesiastes 7:20.
Lastly, in Jeremiah 31, the chapter that predicts the new covenant, notice verse 30 says, “But everyone shall die for his own iniquity.” That’s strange don’t you think? Why doesn’t it say that Jesus will be the final sacrifice as he will die for everyone’s iniquity and the world will live happily or heavenly ever after? Why doesn’t it say this here in Jeremiah 31 particularly when it is discussing the New Covenant? The entire chapter of Jeremiah 31 is prophesying the future full regathering and restoration of Israel one fine day in the New Covenant and yet is still speaking of people dying for their own sin – being responsible for their own sin not trusting in Jesus to do it for them.
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. Everyone is accountable to G!d 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 do we need to believe in a Messiah to be saved, and we now understand human sacrifice for the 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, and if G!d does nothing without revealing it to His prophets first as Amos 3:7 states, why would we suddenly think G!d 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 one and only 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, G!d “flip-flopped” my faith as His word clearly declares Jesus did not die for my sins, your sins, or anyone’s sins but his own!
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