Christian Discrepancies With God’s Word: #8 Jesus did not bring peace.

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Center for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William J Jackson

So where did Jesus earn the title “Prince of Peace”?  Simply said, it is because of the Messianic Prophet – Isaiah.  You see, Isaiah earned his nickname because he recorded many of the prophecies for the coming Messiah. Through him, many Christians qualify their Jesus as The Messiah.  One of Isaiah qualifiers in  Isaiah 52:7 is that the Messiah will be a messenger of peace ushering a new world without violence and war.  In addition, Isaiah tells us earlier, evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his (the Messiah’s) leadership (Isaiah 11:4).  So we can deduce from these prophecies that we will know the Messiah has arrived when we are living in a world of peace.  Yet, as Richard F. Ames, a writer for “Tomorrow’s World” tells us

“The United Nations recently reported that there are more than 35 major conflicts going on in the world today, and that there have been more than 250 major wars since World War II. Three times more people have been killed in wars in the last 90 years than in all the previous 500.”

Viewing these facts, we would have to concede that the promised of peace has not been fulfilled yet.  This being the Tanakh’s (Old Testament) prophetic litmus test, we thus can say the Messiah has not arrived.

However, to all Christians, Jesus is the epitome of peace.  So to say that he didn’t bring peace appears, on the surface, as a fallacy. Nonetheless, his own book, the New Testament, stands as a witness against him.  For example, Matthew 10:34 quotes Jesus as saying:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Also, in Luke 12, Jesus starts off by stating ““I have come to bring fire on the earth…” (v. 49) then from here up until verse 53 he goes into detail about how his mission is to divide the world against itself even down to the family unit. This certainly does not sound like “The Great Unifier” prophesied in Zechariah 8:23.  

So, in order for Jesus to be able to usher in the prophesied era of peace, Christianity came up with the second coming. As we look at the gospels, Jesus does talk about a Messiah coming in Matthew 24:30 and Luke 21:27 but he doesn’t proclame that it is him. Here he appears to be supporting Isaiah’s prophecy. Actually, the first time we see the claim of a second coming is after the gospels in Acts 1:11.  Bear in mind, the book of Acts was written between 80 and 90 CE 1, 2 over a half century beyond the crucifiction of Jesus. In the space between Jesus’ crucifixion and the book of Acts many things happened. In 66 CE the Jewish population rebelled against the Roman Empire. Four years after that Roman legions under Titus retook and destroyed much of Jerusalem and the Second Temple 3. Thus, it would be hard for new Christians to convince Jews of that day that Jesus was the Messiah when he failed the test of peace.  So, now Acts gives Jesus a second chance and a second coming. To the readers of the New Testament it appears these events happened in seamless succession, but we need to understand that the book of Acts was written more than a decade after the gospels.  

Additionally, Christianity has their messiah returning as a “Righteous Warrior”.  This is thought to be the reason for a violent Jesus.

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” – Revelation 19:11-15   

Although to many Christians Revelations has been billed as an endtime prophecy, conventional understanding is that Revelation was written to comfort beleaguered Christians as they underwent persecution at the hands of a Roman emperor. Additionally, it was meant to convect those Christians who were willing to compromise with Rome and it’s pagan religions. In truth, many of the figures and symbols used in Revelations can be linked to historical events in the first century 4.  

As we study out the arrival of the Messiah, we do not see the figure of a warrior but one of a diplomat who advocates peace:

  • Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance (Isaiah 2:4).
  • He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10).
  • He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 52:7).
  • Nations will recognize the wrongs they did to Israel (Isaiah 52:13–53:5).
  • The peoples of the world will turn to Israel for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23).
  • The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55).
  • Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9).

Conclusion:

If we believe there will be a future Messiah, you need to stick to the pedigree of the Tanakh (Old Testament) for answers. Not only does history not reveal for us the peace of the Christian messiah, Jesus speaks of violence not love. The true Messiah will be a Prince of Peace.        

References

  1. Charlesworth, James H. (2008). The Historical Jesus: An Essential Guide. Abingdon Press. ISBN 9781426724756.
  2. Burkett, Delbert (2002). An Introduction to the New Testament and the Origins of Christianity. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00720-7, page. 195.
  3. Rome, By Bruce Johnston in. “Colosseum ‘built with loot from sack of Jerusalem temple'”
  4. Gumerlock, Francis X. Revelation and the First Century: Preterist Interpretations of the Apocalypse in Early Christianity. Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2012.
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Why Animal Sacrifices?

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Center for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William Jackson

As we read through Leviticus we become introduced to animal sacrifices.  This strikes many of us as barbaric. We ask ourselves “how can God ask for the blood of innocent animals to compensate for our sins?”.  The answer to this question may be more practical than you think.

offerings noah_gallery

Firstly, the history of animal sacrificing towards God goes back to the beginning of time.  These events are captured in the pages Torah. Every time there is a pivotal milestone with God’s people, there is an animal sacrifice to mark it. Going back to the the first off springs of the first couple’s we have Genesis 4:3-4.  Afterwards, we see a sacrifice which commemorated the new post flood word (Genesis 8:20-21).  Later on when God makes His legendary Abrahamic covenant to those that are His, we have it codified with the sacrifice of several animals (Genesis 15:7-18).  Then, triumphantly, we have a animal sacrifice after the Israelites made their momentous escape from Egypt (Exodus 18:10-12). Interestingly, all of these historical sacrifices appear to honor God and none seem to atone for sin.  

Later, in the book of Exodus and throughout Leviticus, we see the formation of a priesthood, approved methods of worshiping and mandates to live by. This marks the beginning of God creating structure for those in pursuit of a relationship with Him. In doing so, we have Leviticus 1 through 7 which gives us the sacrificial system.  This brings us to the burning question “Why kill innocent animals for the lack of our own innocence?”.  We first need to realize that the majority of the animal sacrifices had nothing to do with deliberate sins 1.  Actually, most of the sacrifices would have been for those same things that we prayer for i.e. praising God, to become closer to Him, to express thanks to God, love or gratitude and celebrating the holidays and festivals 2. Only the Christian New Testament seems to infer sacrificing was the only method to cover sin (Hebrews 7:27, 13:11-13, Romans 6:10).    

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As for the purpose behind animal sacrifices, the answer can be found in the history of civilizations. In antiquity, we have the Agricultural Revolution.  This was the wide-scale transition of general human cultures transforming from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement 3. Domestic animal slaughter was necessity then and still is.  The major difference between then and now is that most of today’s carnivores have never intentionally killed an animal.  Yet, it would have been a common part of one’s lifestyle until just recently (last 200 years). So with or without animals being killed for God, they were still being processed for human consumption.  In early times while doing these slaughters, it was common practice to do it towards a god or gods. In Monte d’Accoddi, Sardinia there  is one of the earliest known sacred centers in Europe.  Here we have evidence of the sacrifice of sheep, cattle and swine as part of ritual sacrifice.  This may have been common across Italy about 3000 BC 4.  

So with or without the Levitical sacrifice system, Israel was going to kill and eat from their herds. By God facilitating an outlet towards Him, God would have removed the opportunity to sacrifice to foreign gods during the animal slaughter. Remember Israel did have a tendency to worship other gods even though they were directly under God’s’ tutelage (Genesis 31:34, 35:4, Exodus 32, Deuteronomy 4:28). So, like Nehemiah posting guards on Jerusalem’s gates to prevent trading on the Sabbath (Nehemiah 7:3), God put His own controls in place.  Additionally, by adding a formality to the occasion of these sacrifices the community of Israel would have taken their worship of the one and only God more seriously.  As the Torah tells us 39 times from Genesis 8:21 to Numbers 29:36, these sacrifices were a pleasing aroma to God.  As God, imagine your followers going through an elaborate worship just in your name, how could it not be pleasing?  In addition, this certainly was not an event of frivolous waist.  Even though it was God who was pleased by the worship, it was the people who eat the meat.  

Conclusion:

There are many possible reasons for the animal sacrifice system prompted in Leviticus. As I established here, my top two educated guesses are that they could have been done to deny pagan worship, while showing a earnest praise towards God.  Still, there is much we do not know about Torah. For example, recently we are seeing scientific evidence of the effects of prayer, even to the point that the US government is willing to support research 5. Still other studies prove that clothing has a frequency that affects the body and that pure organic linen has extreme benefit. This might be why God had His priests in linen (Exodus 28:5, 39, 42, Leviticus 6:10).  Likewise scientifically mixing wool and linen collapses its capabilities, which is also addressed in Torah (Leviticus 19:19, Deuteronomy 22:11).  So, at the end of the day, science is just getting started when it comes to understanding God, and realistically may never get there.  Regardless of us defending God’s motives, He had His reasons and we don’t always need to know the “whys”. This is where loyalty comes in (Deuteronomy 10:12, 11:8, 28:1, Proverbs 3:3). Regardless of our understandings, one thing is for certain, we will be going back to animals sacrifices (Isaiah 56:6-7, Jeremiah 33:17-18, Ezekiel 43:18-46:24) in the new Temple (Ezekiel 40 -44).

References

  1. Jackson, William J. “True Sacrifice for Intentional Sin.” Center for Tanakh Based Studies. March 03, 2018. Accessed March 24, 2018. https://center-for-tanakh-based-studies.com/2018/03/03/true-sacrifice-for-intentional-sin/.

 

  1. Judaism 101: Qorbanot: Sacrifices and Offerings. Accessed February 15, 2018. http://www.jewfaq.org/qorbanot.htm.

 

  1. Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth. trans. Peter Bing. Berkeley: University of California. 1983. ISBN 0-520-05875-5.

 

  1. Jones O’Day, Sharyn; Van Neer, Wim; Ervynck, Anton (2004). Behaviour Behind Bones: The Zooarchaeology of Ritual, Religion, Status and Identity. Oxbow Books. pp. 35–41. ISBN 1-84217-113-5.

 

  1. Dembner, Alice. “The Healing Power of Prayer?” The New York Times. July 28, 2005. Accessed March 25, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/28/health/the-healing-power-of-prayer.html.

 

  1. Mincolla, Mark, Ph.D. “Linen Study.” Life-Giving Linen. 2003. Accessed March 25, 2018. http://www.lifegivinglinen.com/linen-study.html.

What to eat and not eat the week following Passover/Pesach.

Oat flakes, seeds and branCenter for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William Jackson

The week of unleavened bread (Chag HaMatzot) starts at the ending of Passover.  During this seven days, those people that are following God’s laws will not partake of anything with Hametz/Chametz (Exodus 12:15, 19, 20, 13:3, 7, Deuteronomy 16:3). The consequences of eating Hametz during this week is to be cut off from Israel (Exodus 12:15, 19). Now begs the question, “What is Hametz?”.  It starts off as anyone of five grains which can ferment and become hametz.  These are:

  1. Wheat
  2. Barley
  3. Spelt (also known as farro)
  4. Oats
  5. Rye

Interestingly, these are also the only grains that can be made into matzah. So why is matzah not only allowed but encouraged by Scripture during the week of unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8, 15, 17, 18, 20, 39, 13:6, 7, 23:15, Deuteronomy 16:3,8)? It is because these five grains in and of themselves are not Hametz.  You see Hametz is a stage in the transformation process. It is often translated as “leaven”.  Basically, Hametz is when wheat, barley, oats, spelt, or rye have become wet for a set period of time (at least 18 minutes). This begins the leavening process 1. Matzah is not cooked beyond 18 minutes, thus making it safe for consumption during the week following Passover. So in theory we can have these five grains for this week, but they cant have started the leavening process.   

Complicating the Process:

When we use the actual Hebrew to understand Torah the mandate for this week is both simple and realistic.  However, about 700 years ago the Ashkenazic Jews have convoluted this observance.  They added to it by expanding the list with rice, millet, and legumes. These are collectively known as kitniyot, from the Hebrew word katan (little) 2. Aside from burdening an otherwise simple task, it is adding to God’s Word which is in violation of Deuteronomy 4:2, 13:1.

So what can I eat during this week 3 ?  As Hametz is removed from this list, so isn’t the Ashkenazic Jewish observances. These items are good for consumption during the week of unleavened bread:
Matzah/Matzo

– All fruit

– All vegetable

– Meat in accordance with Leviticus 11:3-8 and Deuteronomy 14:3-8

– Eggs and egg whites

– Nuts, nut flours, and pure nut butters (avoid additives)

– Dairy products

– Spices

– Herbs

– Broth from biblically pure meats and vegetable based.

  • Wine (Yeast which is the product of grapes, or its sugars, is not considered hametz 4 ).

 

Please enjoy this holiday week which reminds us of the Exodus each and every day.  

 

References

 

  1. Hillel Ben, David, Rabbi. “What Is Chametz?” Chametz. Accessed March 31, 2018. http://www.betemunah.org/chametz.html.

 

  1. Spitzer, Jeffrey. “Kitniyot: Not Quite Hametz.” My Jewish Learning. Accessed March 31, 2018. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/kitniyot-not-quite-hametz/.

 

  1. Avey, Tori. “What Foods Are Kosher for Passover?” Tori Avey. Accessed March 31, 2018. https://toriavey.com/what-foods-are-kosher-for-passover/.

 

  1. Zaklikowski, Dovid. “Why Is It Permitted to Drink Wine on Passover When It Is Fermented with Yeast?” Passover. Accessed March 31, 2018. https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/508672/jewish/Why-is-it-permitted-to-drink-wine-on-Passover-when-it-is-fermented-with-yeast.htm.

 

Four Years Past the Cross (Happy Pesach)

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BY: TCLeach
https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies/

My favorite time of the year is here!

Pesach (Passover)  2018 will mark four years since I walked away from Yeshua (Jesus) and all things Christian. As most of you know, I chronicled my first year right here at the “Center for Tanakh Based Studies” site. I was so astounded to find that Jesus wasn’t the only thing different once one has ripped the “new testament” out of the back of the Bible. Everything is different! I wanted to share everything I was learning and to encourage others who questioned the doctrines in the Christian writings.

And then I got real quiet. I realized I had no magic key to Heaven, I was only a girl relating the best I could to a God no one has all figured out. I stopped writing publicly about something as personal as my walk with my Creator.

Many of you have reached out since my “Walking Past the Cross” series ended, and I appreciate that so much! I think of y’all often, too, and so I thought I’d drop by and say hello, and wish every one of you a meaningful and peaceful Pesach!

And to fill you in on how life looks after all the dust that rises when one walks away from the cross settles.

Just because I do not post all the time about God, it doesn’t mean He isn’t at the center of my life. As a matter of fact, He is bigger and more real to me now than He was when I flashed Jesus as my “stay out of hell free” card. Oh, I remember how afraid I used to be of hell! LOL! Perhaps that’s part of the draw to Jesus for some people. They, like I used to, believe that someone else’s good merit can pay for their sin.

To think we wouldn’t be held accountable for our own actions by a loving and just God makes me giggle now.

To think He is small enough to only have one path to Him makes me giggle, too. The more I walk this path, the more I see truth in the old quote by Kahlil Gibran that says…

“God made the truth with many doors to welcome every believer who knocks on them.”

Of course, He did!

Who are any of us to think we know the only way to be a child of God?

I best relate to Him as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I am not Jewish, nor will I convert, but I do “get” their Scriptures, and can see so much in history that backs it up. I lean toward Kabbalistic teachings these days, which use the Torah (First five books Scripture) and Judaism as their base. I glean wisdom there, as well as from Rabbis and the Sages. I worry less about the rules and rituals and more about walking in a way that honors God and benefits other people. After all, the bottom line of any Godly religion is what we do, not so much what we believe at any given point in our lives.

And so I say less and post less these days, and do more. God is the force that drives me, and I will walk in His way, His Truth and His Light (Torah) all of the days of my life.

Happy Pesach, friends! May the Creator of all draw you ever nearer to Himself.

~Terrie C

Biblical proof that the Sabbath starts at sunset, not sunrise.

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By William Jackson

Center for Tanakh Based Studies

When many of us gravitated closer to Torah, we found that those ahead of us on this journey started their Sabbath worship on Friday night instead of the morning of Shabbat. It did seem a little odd at first.  But, there were a lot of changes, for example, we were now dedicating a full 24-hour period to worshiping God verses just an hour church service. Still, we return back to that nagging question, “why the Sabbath starts at dusk instead of dawn?”.

The easy answer can be found in the first chapter of the Torah.  The answer is repeated six times.  As God was creating the earth He put the first full days into motion:

“… it was evening and it was morning, one day” – Genesis 1:5.  This is said five more times for each of the preceding days (Genesis 1:8, 13,19, 23, 31).  As each day is marked, each begins with an evening.   

Still the average “Joe” sees dawn as the beginning of a day. Yet, if you really thought about it, the secular world does not.  Case in point, when we move from one block on the calendar to another block that line we cross which brings us into a new day is directly after midnight. Some might say that this is considered morning. They are right, but it is still night. So why is midnight that magical phase line that brings us into the next day? It all started with the development of that first “hour”, as we know it.  In truth, this first hour led to the 24-hour day.  It was developed by the Egyptians about the time of Israel’s Exodus 1. Later, the concept of midnight would be developed by the Romans. It was these Romans who would create the concept that midnight marked the beginning of a new day. Interestingly, when Rome occupied Israel, Romans in Israel adhere to God’s concept of the new day starting at evening. Also we should note that Israel was not the only nation to follow the new day starting at dusk concept, Ancient Greece did as well 2 .

So, history backs up the idea that the day starting at midnight was a later concept adapted for Rome’s civil purposes such as guard duty. However, if we dig deeper into the Tanakh (Old Testament).  We find more evidence of the day starting at dusk.  For example, Leviticus 23:32:

“It is a *complete day of rest for you, …from evening to evening, you shall observe your rest day.

Yes, this is talking about Yom Kippur, but Yom Kippur is a *Shabbat and like all other Sabbaths it starts on an evening and ends on an evening.  Shabbat starting in the evening is further reaffirmed in Nehemiah 13:19:

“Now it came to pass when the gates of Jerusalem *cast shadows before the Sabbath, that I commanded, and the doors were closed, and I said that they should not open them until after the Sabbath, and I stationed some of my youths over the gates so that no load should enter on the Sabbath day.”

Here, around 432 BCE, Nehemiah was quite desperate.  He was trying to keep temptations from his people, the Israelites.  He did not want a repeat of the Babylonian captivity which was the result of Israel continuing to sin (Isaiah 5:13, 52:3, Jeremiah 7:15). So, he posted guards at the gates right before Sabbath, so the Israelites could not trade with the merchants.  As the verse says he shut the gates of Jerusalem when *shadows were cast before the Sabbath.  It is not too hard to figure out this would imply right before dusk.

Conclusion:

Many of us studied ourselves out of other religions, but the studying should never end.  Do not blindly go into a 24-hour Sabbath starting at dusk without knowing why.  We are so much different than the rest because we choose not to put men between us and God. Remember, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line and the clearest message comes straight from the source.  Be true yourself and the study of His Word.

References:

 

  1. Gerhard Dohrn-van Rossum, History of the Hour, University of Chicago Press, 1996.

 

  1. Michael Petrus Josephus van den Hout, Marcus Cornelius Fronto, A commentary on the Letters of M. Cornelius Fronto, Page 83, 1999.

 

The Apostle John says that Jesus was just a symbol.

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By William Jackson

Center for Tanakh Based Studies

As we know, John was more than an apostle to Jesus of Nazareth.  He was in Jesus’ inner circle of followers (Mark 5:37,9:2, 13:3, Matthew 26:37) and the author of no fewer than five New Testament books.  He was also bestowed the title “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23-25, 21:20). Yet, this apostle contexts the Christian messiah as just a symbol who is to lead people to God, but who is not to be worshiped.  This seems contrary to the Christian religion. Yet, we know this bold declaration is true because John makes it at the beginning of his book titled for his namesake – “John”.  Here he says,

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up” – John 3:14

To us today this statement seems confounding, but any Jew, back when this statement was made, would have known exactly what John was talking about.  He was making a Torah reference. For us, we will need to look at the place he was referencing – the book of Numbers. So, let us skip back over 1,400 years to understand “the snake” John was referring to.   

In Numbers 21:4-9 the Israelites are tromping through the desert engaged in their favorite pastime – “kvetching”,  which is yiddish for complaining. Here they were complaining about God, about Moses, they were even complaining about the food.  So is kvetching a bad thing? It is when you are making it about God. As Numbers 12, 16, Deuteronomy 9:7;and   Joshua 1:18 tells us, this is a sin because it equals challenging God. So, God sends poisonous snakes.  God always seems to get stuck sending destruction in one form or another to get His people back into the fold. He has done it in the form of famine (Ezekiel 14:21) , plague (Jeremiah 21:6, Ezekiel 33:27), war (Isaiah 13:4, Jeremiah 21:4-5, 32:5) captivity (Jeremiah 37:8-10, Lamentations 2:7) and here as snakes.  Yes, there are those that ponder why such a caring God would punish His people. However, being upset at punishment is comparative to getting mad a the traffic cop, instead of yourself for speeding.  Simply said, if Israel would not sin, than there would be no reason for ruin. Thus in Numbers 21, after the people were bit they went to Moses for a solution.  Moses then goes to God and God tells Moses to put a bronze snake on a stick.  When the people get bit they are to look upon the bronze snack and they would be healed.  So, did the actually bronze snake heal them – “no!”. It was God who had Moses create the snake and it was God that healed those whose sin brought them ruin.  So, did the people start doing the right thing and learn to rely directly on God? Not immediately. .

You see, around 700 BCE, King  Hezekiah finally destroyed Moses’ bronze snake on a stick (2 Kings 18:4). That is right, over 700 years later.  That means that Israel continued to revere this symbol for seven centuries. Was King Hezekiah a bad king for destroying this icon? No, Hezekiah was a good king, as quoted “He did what was right from Adonai’s perspective, following the example of everything David his ancestor had done” – 2 Kings 18:3.  In contrast, at the same time, King Hoshea controlled Northern Israel, and because of his and the northern tribes violation of the covenant, God allowed Assyria to take them captive.  Yet, all the while Hezekiah’s kingdom, in the south, was protective and prospered because of its devotion to the covenant. You see, Hezekiah’s removal of the snake and detractors seems to have invited a direct relationship with God.

The snake referred to in scripture was only a image that people looked upon to connect to God.  If we were to take another example from scripture we could use the tzitzit. The Torah states in Numbers 15:38: “Speak to the Children of Israel, and say to them, that they shall make themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and they shall put on the corner tassel a blue-violet (Tekhelet/tzitzit) thread.”. As for the “why” for tzitzits, the next verses explains it.  They are to be worn to remember God’s commandments and not to sin. But, what if somebody just wore the tzitzits thinking that act alone met God’s requirement? Meaning they didn’t follow the commandments, they kept sinning, they just felt wearing tassels exonerated them from guilt.  This would silly, kind of like valuing the messenger and not the message, which is a violation of the second commandment “You are to have no other gods before me” – Exodus 20:3.  This is the same as making the apostle’s boss a deity and minimizing the one true God.  We need to remember that Jesus’ deity was voted on 300 years after the apostles at the Council of Nicea 1 2 . In early Christianity he was only seen as a mortal prophet.  But, at Nicea the Roman Government needed their new religion prophet to be a deity to give it weight. For Rome it wasn’t hard to make a man a deity, even their Emperor was one. So, it is easy to understand how three centuries earlier John would have made Jesus out to be the pointer not the point.  It was because the early Christians saw Jesus as a great messenger, great but not immortal.

The bigger pictures is that the Tanakh (Old Testament) serves as a blueprint for our future.  As the prophets forecasted, there will be no other religions in the ending days. The whole world will simply worship the One God of Israel (Isaiah 2:11, Zechariah 3:9, 14:9) and His knowledge will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9, 52:10, Habakkuk 2:14).  In this paradise there will be a direct relationship to God and no reason for the bronze snake talked about in John 3.    

References:

  1. Whipps, Heather. “How the Council of Nicea Changed the World.” LiveScience. March 30, 2008. Accessed March 10, 2018. https://www.livescience.com/2410-council-nicea-changed-world.html.
  2. Did Constantine Invent the Divinity of Jesus?, Beliefnet, Inc, Accessed March 10, 2018.http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/2004/04/did-constantine-invent-the-divinity-of-jesus.aspx?p=2

 

True sacrifice for intentional sin.

Center for Tanakh Based Studies

By: William Jackson

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Contrary to popular belief, the Tabernacle and later the Temple sacrifice systems were not designed to forgive intentional sin.  Actually, the majority of the sacrifices would have been for those same things that we prayer for i.e. praising God, to become closer to Him, to express thanks to God, love or gratitude and celebrating the holidays and festivals 1.

Nonetheless, in this sacrifice system there were two areas that did deal will sin, the one was unintentional sin the other was the guilt sacrifice. Now unintentional sin didn’t mean a regrettable sin.  The Hebrew word used was “shegagah” and can mean error or mistake. So, the sin was literally a mistake.  If we looked at this in a modern-day analogy it would be the equivalency of you eating an unknown dish at a potluck just to find out later it had pork.  Another example would be if you cut the grass one morning only for your wife to remind you it is the Sabbath – “Oy Vey!”.  Conversely, unintentional sin is not when you cuss out a parent and blame it on losing your temper or any sin you just simply regret.

As for the other sin sacrifice, which is a “Guilt Offering”, this would be for crimes dealing with monetary theft.  The culprit would pay back the financial worth plus 20% and then make a guilt sacrifice (Leviticus 7:2).  This could be considered a sin offering, but only for some sins.  We need to remember that restitution for sins involving tangible theft are correctable, whereas most sins cannot be corrected, i.e. the debt can be paid back with the offender being penalized (20%). Conversely, if someone kills, betrays God or commits adultery there is no materialistic way to erase the crime.  In truth, by replacing something stolen and paying a penalty one has performed the final step of Teshuvah (repentance), which is restitution 2.  Sadly, most other intentional sins cannot be as easily resolved.

So, what about the other intentional sins?  For this there was no benefit of an animal sacrifice, the sinner would be cut off from the community.  As an example, here are a list of sins from the Torah that would have someone cut off:

  1. Not being circumcised (Genesis 17:14).
  2. Eating leavened bread during the week of unleavened bread (Exodus 12:15, 19).
  3. Replicating Holy Anointing Oil (Exodus 30:33, 38).
  4. Working on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14).
  5. An unclean person eating a peace offering (Leviticus 7:20-21).
  6. Eating animal fat from an offering (Leviticus 7:25).
  7. Slaughtering without making it an offering (Leviticus 17:4).
  8. Giving an offering without going to the Tabernacle (Lev. 17:8).
  9. Eating blood (Leviticus 17:10, 14).
  10. Unwholesome sexual relationships (Leviticus 18:6-29, 20:5-6,17-18).
  11. Child sacrifices (Leviticus 18:21,29, 20:3).
  12. Eating a peace offering after the third day (Leviticus 19:5-8).
  13. Anyone who is unclean and handles anything Holy (Leviticus 22:1-3)
  14. Not denying yourself on Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:28-30).
  15. Failing to observe Passover (Numbers 9:13).
  16. Touching a corps (Numbers 19:13).
  17. One who remains unclean (Numbers 19:20).

Although the Torah goes into painstaking detail about what one can be cut off for, it appears that any intentional violation of God’s ordinances would mean someone was cut off (Numbers 15). Also Numbers 15:22-31 is pretty clear between the differences of unintentional and intentional sin.  It indicates, unintentional sin requires an offering and intentional sin means being cut off.  This begs the next question, if someone is cut off, can they return?

Our first example is in Numbers 12, where we see Miriam gossiping about Moses’ wife, “the Cushite woman”. Not only is this in violation of Leviticus 19:16, but it infuriates God. Consequently, God gives Miriam leprosy thus making her unclean which causes her to be separated or cut off from her peeps. As we read, she did appear sincerely remorseful of her sin.  After serving the seven days in quarantine she was allowed to return to her people.  Then we have Korah, who about a year after Miriam’s momentary exile, led a rebellion against Moses for the Priesthood (Numbers 16).  For these actions Korah and his 250 were cut off, but not as nicely as the one week “time-out” that Miriam got. The ground literally open up and swallowed Korah and his posse.  So why such a difference in consequences?  It could be that Miriam’s sin was against humanity (against another human) whereas Korah and his followers sin was directly against God (It was God who established Aaron as the high priest –  Exodus 28:1).  Although some might say that all sins are equal, they are not.  The proof of this is illustrated in the Torah several times.  For example, saving lives (preservation of the 6th Commandment – Exodus 20:13) trump’s lying (violation of the 9th commandment – Exodus 20:16). Abraham lied to save his own life twice (Genesis 12:11-13, 20:11) and Isaac once (Genesis 27:7), even at one point Hebrew midwives were rewarded by God for lying to Pharaoh because they were saving the lives of Hebrew babies (Exodus 1:15-21).

Additionally, Miriam and Aaron appear regrettable about her sin possibly performing Teshuvah/Repentance.  Whereas Korah and his minion seem very indignant towards Moses who actually gives them opportunities to recant. So, it also appears to be the earnestness in repenting that allows someone to return.  This method of returning after being cut off is is further amplified by the Prophets:

Isaiah 1:27 Tziyon will be redeemed by justice; and those in her who repent, by righteousness.

Jeremiah 31:18 Yes, I turned away; but later I repented. When I had been made to understand, I struck my thigh in shame and remorse, bearing the weight of the disgrace acquired when I was young.’

Ezekiel 18:21 “However, if the wicked person repents of all the sins he committed, keeps my laws and does what is lawful and right; then he will certainly live, he will not die.

Conclusion:

Many are wrapped around the axle believing sin was absolved through animal sacrifice.  In fact, the entire Christian religion is based on this.  Their messiah took on the words sins in place of animal sacrifices by offering himself (John 1:29, Romans 3:25, 8:3, Hebrews 9:14-22, 1 Peter 1:18-21).  Sadly, if this were true, their messiah would have died for “unintentional” sins. This would equate to a crucifixion just because I mistakenly ate a sticky bun during the week of unleavened bread. Again, to crystallize our point, just look towards Nineveh.  In Jonah 3 Nineveh is saved not through sacrifices but repentance.  This was about 760 BCE at a time Temple sacrifices were being performed and seven centuries before Christianity.

References:

  1. Judaism 101: Qorbanot: Sacrifices and Offerings. Accessed February 15, 2018. http://www.jewfaq.org/qorbanot.htm.

 

  1. Rabbi Yehudah Prero, Teshuva – Four Steps to Greatness, Torah.org, Accessed February 16, 2018, https://torah.org/learning/yomtov-yomkippur-yksurvival2/