The bible tells us clearly that no one can die for our sins. We are each responsible for our own actions. Read D'varim / Deuteronomy 24:16 "Fathers shall not die [through the testimony] of their sons, and sons shall not die [through the testimony] of their fathers, since [in any case] every man shall die for his sins."
G-d's judging of us is done as a father correcting his child -- in the hope that the child learns and becomes a better person.
"The wicked shall give up his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts, and he shall return to HaShem, Who shall have mercy upon him, and to our G-d, for He will freely pardon." Y'shayahu / Isaiah 55:7.
"Do I desire the death of the wicked? says HaShem G-d. Is it not rather in his repenting of his ways that he may live?" Y'chezkel / Ezekiel 18:23.
When G-d judges us, He does so with mercy. As King David once said "let us fall now into the hand of HaShem; for His mercies are great; but into the hand of man let me not fall." Shmuel 2 / 2 Samuel 24:14.
Yet many missionaries will grasp onto the Jewish concept that "the death of the righteous atones" and try to equate this concept to "Jesus dying for your sins." For example, Michael Brown's Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus Volume 2, page 156 - 157 goes to great pains to equate the death of the righteous atoning with Jesus' death being an atoning sacrifice.
Since the bible forbids anyone dying as a sacrifice for the sins of another (again, note D'varim / Deuteronomy 24:16) what does it mean when Jews say that "the death of the righteous atones"?
It certainly does not mean, as Christians insist with Jesus, that G-d required (let alone wanted) the death of Jesus to somehow wipe out the sins of OTHER people! Read T'hillim / Psalm 116:15 "Grievous in the eyes of the L-rd is the death of His pious ones."
The Christian concept of vicarious atonement is completely foreign to Judaism. Yet, it is at the very heart of Christianity which says there is no atonement without believing in Jesus. While some Christians think repentance is part of their atonement (not all do), the primary requirement is to "believe" in Jesus as dying for your sins.
Jews say that repentance (being truly sorry for what you did) is at the heart of atonement. G-d forgives those who turn to Him and seek forgiveness (both from those they wrong and G-d) and to try to not repeat the sins. Atonement is an ongoing process througout our lives -- and it is for a reason. Only through making mistakes, getting up and learning from them, do we grow in knowledge, wisdom and holiness.
Do you see why no one else can do it for you?
When man repents, G-d forgives.
Read Bamidbar / Numbers 35:33 "And you shall not corrupt the land in which you live, for the blood corrupts the land, and the blood which is shed in the land cannot be atoned for except through the blood of the one who shed it."
Thus Jesus' blood could not atone for anything -- human blood corrupts the land!
Read D'varim / Deuteronomy 24:16 "Fathers shall not be put to death because of sons, nor shall sons be put to death because of fathers; each man shall be put to death for his own transgression." and M'lachim / II Kgs 14:6 "But the sons of the assassins he did not execute, as it is written in the book of the Torah of Moses, which the Lord commanded saying: "Fathers shall not be put to death for sons, nor shall sons be put to death for fathers, but each man shall be put to death for his own sin." and Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 31:29 [30 in Christian Bibles] "But each man shall die for his iniquity; whoever eats the unripe grapes- his teeth shall be set on edge." Along with these read Y'chezkel / Ezekiel 18 and T'hillim / Psalm Ps 49:7 -- all state clearly that we are responsible for our own sins, no one can die for your sins and human blood (sacrifice) is forbidden -- human blood corrupts the land.
Which brings us back to -- if no one can die for your sins and vicarious atonement is forbidden what DO Jews mean when we say that the death of the righteous atones? The Talmud, Moed Katan 28a, says: "The death of the righteous atones [for the generation]”.
The examples of B'reshit / Genesis 9:5-6 and Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:5 show that a key belief of Christianity -- that you have to have faith in Jesus to have your sins forgiven -- are rejected by those two examples, and so many others. There is no concept of "belief" in the T'nach or rabbinical writings that even comes close to a core belief of Christianity -- belief in Jesus for atonement.
To read more on this topic Mesora has an interesting article entitled "Atonement: Jesus Dying for Sins vs Death of the Pious Atoning." Also read "The Rabbinic Concept of the Death of the Righteous Atones" by R' Moshe Shulman. In the latter the Rabbi makes one more excellent point on which I will close this blog post: "There is another issue of significance that needs to be kept in mind when looking at the Rabbinic teachings. This is the distinction between ‘national’ sin and individual sin. The idea of national sin appears throughout the prophets and the basis for it is found in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 where God says that he will punish the nation if they sin and do not follow His commandments. This involves the suffering of the nation and eventual exile from the land of Israel. Individual sin, on the other hand, effects the individual alone in this world and also the next.
What I believe will become obvious after examining these passages is that with regards to individuals and the death of the righteous, we are dealing with atonement, in the normally understood manner, which is type 1 above; and that under specific circumstances an individual’s sins are atoned for. With regards to Israel and its national sin, it is atonement as in the 2nd type, where it has to do with the suffering of Israel as a community."
Christianity teaches that Jesus' death and resurrection atoned for the sins of all mankind. G-d disagrees.
Micah, chapter 6:
With what shall I come before the Lord, bow before the Most High G-d? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Will the L-rd be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the L-rd demands of you; but to do justice, to love loving-kindness, and to walk discreetly with your G-d. The voice of the L-rd calls out to the city, and the wisdom of the Torah, the one who sees Your name; hearken to the staff and Who appointed it.
Let's repeat -- G-d does NOT want human sacrifice. He does not want the firstborn to be sacrificed for the sins of anyone.
G-d wants, no G-d DEMANDS, people who are good, just, kind and those who walk with Him knowing that He would never demand the murder of a human being to atone for the sins of anyone. The whole idea of Christianity's dying god "for their sins" is an insult to Him.
Also read T'hillim / Psalm 106:
They worshiped their idols, which became a snare for them. They slaughtered their sons and daughters to the demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters whom they slaughtered to the idols of Canaan, and the land became polluted with the blood. And they became unclean through their deeds, and they went astray with their acts. And the L-rd's wrath was kindled against His people and He detested His inheritance.
Having shown in the post "Is Blood Necessary for the Atonement of Sin?" that it is NOT required, and that only two fairly minor forms of wrongdoing could be atoned for with blood sacrifices, the missionary may often retort "but although SOME sins may be atoned for with out blood you need blood to atone for the SOUL." At which point they quote Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 (mistranslated):
" For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." King James Version translation.
Their point being that your immortal soul cannot be forgiven without blood (see Romans 9:22) -- even though the T'nach tells us time and again that the sin sacrifice ( חַטָאת קָרבָּן chatat qorban), teshuva (repenting of your sins and returning to G-d) and tzedakah (doing good for other people, aka "charity") atone for sins. The Torah also tells us that the חַטָאת קָרבָּן (sin sacrifice) only atoned for mistakes (a "missing of the mark" -- you tried to do the right thing and "missed." Intentional sins could be forgiven with acts of charity and repenting -- but not with blood (sin) sacrifices).
The only other type of blood sacrifice which atoned for wrongdoing was the אָשָׁם / asham (guilt / trespass) sacrifice.
A third sacrifice people think had to do with sin (but it did not) was the עֹלָ֖ה / olah.
An עֹלָ֖ה / olah was not a טָּאת / sin sacrifice or a אָשָׁם / guilt sacrifice. An עֹלָ֖ה / olah, translated as "burnt sacrifice," was a voluntary sacrifice generally brought to G-d as a donation to G-d or to seal a vow. . . but sometimes brought for impure thoughts, not deeds).
The חַטָּאת / cḥattat (accidental sins) and אָשָׁם / asham sacrifices were PRIVATE offerings brought by INDIVIDUALS, not “atonement” offerings on behalf of the entire nation. Also, no individual sacrifice could be brought for someone else or in advance. The type of offering was specified (female goat or lamb being the most common, but sometimes a bull, birds or flour) -- only domesticated (not wild) kosher animals were fit for sacrifice. Human sacrifices (Jesus anyone?) are totally forbidden by the Torah. Read Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 5 to learn about the אָשָׁם / asham (guilt / tresspass) qorbanot (sacrifices) and the very few things they covered:
Read Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 5 to learn about the אָשָׁם / asham (guilt / tresspass) qorbanot (sacrifices) and the very few things they covered:
The אָשָׁם / asham (guilt / tresspass) qorbanot also atoned for stealing things from the altar.
You also brought an אָשָׁם / asham if you weren't sure if you'd sinned -- or what sin you might have committed. If you weren't sure you'd sinnd you'd bring an asham, instead of a חַטָּאת / cḥattat (accidental sins). This is because a חַטָּאת / cḥattat (accidental sins) means an admission of the sin, and you'd be punished for it. If a person brought an asham (because they weren't sure they'd sinned) and later discovered that he had in fact committed the sin, he would have to bring a chatat at that time.
Those are IT as far as blood sacrifices for individual sins, so what about that claim mentioned in the first paragraph? What about the missionary assertion that ONLY blood atones for the soul?
First of all, the word in Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 is not "soul." This is a mistranslation. Some more modern Christian translations are correcting this mistranslation. The NIV has "it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life" -- which is more accurate.
Not immortal soul, but rather the "life force." What is the life force? It is the blood coursing through your veins, carrying oxygen to your body -- it is the "stuff" that keeps your body alive -- in Hebrew this is the נפש / nefesh.
נפש / Nefesh translates to life force, not immortal soul. Yet most missionaries think that Leviticus (Vayikra) is speaking of the immortal “soul” since many of their translations do translate נפש / nefesh as "soul." This misleads innocent Christians into thinking that the atonement spoken of in Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 is for the immortal soul, when in reality it is for your life-force.
To understand Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 being with line 10 and ending at 14. "If any person, whether of the family of Israel or a proselyte who joins them, eats any blood, I will direct My anger against the person who eats blood and cut him off [spiritually] from among his people. This is because the life force of the flesh is in the blood; and I therefore gave it to you to be [placed] on the altar to atone for your lives. It is the blood that atones for a life, and I therefore told the Israelites, 'Let none of you eat blood.' A proselyte who joins you shall [likewise] not eat blood. If any man, whether of the family of Israel or a proselyte who joins them, traps an animal or bird that may be eaten and spills its blood, he must cover [the blood] with earth. [All this] is because every living creature has its blood associated with its life-force. Tell the Israelites not to eat any blood, since the life-force of all flesh is in its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off [spiritually]." Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11-14.
To paraphrase, it is saying that no one should eat blood because the thing that keeps you alive is the blood coursing through your body. Therefore the only use for blood is to bury it in the dirt or use it for one of the few blood sacrifices permissible in the Torah (none of which allow human blood or human sacrifice).
Did you notice that it says "only blood atones for the life force?"
Neither did I.
Because it does not say that at all.
Did you also notice to be [placed] on the altar ? This clearly says that a kosher animal's blood only "makes atonement" when it is "applied to the altar. Jesus was not a kosher animal and his blood was not placed on the altar (which is the only way blood can atone at all).
Hebrews 9:22 misleads Christians into thinking you need blood to atone because it says “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” This is not biblical -- Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 isn’t speaking of the immortal soul, and it nowhere says that sins can’t be forgiven without blood.
Read most Christian translations and you’d never know this.
Jewelry atones (exact same word) for the life force (nefesh) as does blood. "We therefore want to bring an offering to G-d. Every man who found any gold article [such as] and anklet, a bracelet, a finger ring, and earring, or a body ornament [wishes to bring it] to atone for our souls (life force) before G-d." Bamidbar / Numbers 31:50.
Notice that Bamidbar / Numbers 31:50 uses the exact same word as Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11, לְכַפֵּ֖ר. Thus both the blood of a kosher animal on the altar and jewelry atone for the nefesh (the life force).
The Hebrew word that is translated as "atonement" is כַּפָּרָה, from the verb-stem כפר and is related to כִּפּוּר kippur and its plural כִּפֻּרִים kippurim (“atonement”), and also כֹּֽפֶר kofer (“atone,” “pitch”, “tar”, and “ransom”). The term occurs 18 times in Sh'mot / Exodus, 7 times in Vayikra / Leviticus, once in B'midbar / Numbers and once in Divrei Hayamim / Chronicles. The root כפר is usually used in the pi'él and pu'al conjugations in the sense of “to atone” or “to effect atonement”, but it also occurs occasionally with meaning of “to cover” (in the physical sense), e.g. in B'réshıt / Genesis 6:14.
The Hebrew verb כפר “atone” is related to כֹּֽפֶר kofer which is often translated as “ransom” (which occurs in Sh'mot / Exodus 21:30, 30:12; B'midbar / Numbers 35:31,32). "Ransom" in ancient times had a different meaning than it does today, and in modern English this is not a good translation for the term. Thus, most modern Jewish translations often translate it also as "atone."
Another related word is וְכָפַרְתָּ v'chafarta “and you are to cover it with a layer of...” in B'réshıt / Genesis 6:14; for this reason, the word כֹּֽפֶר kofer is also used for “pitch”, the tar-like substance formerly used for caulking (water-proofing) ships.
Translating כֹּֽפֶר kofer as “ransom” is very misleading -- the words are not really identical (translations rarely have an exact "match" in meaning). In modern English "atone" is a better translation for כֹּֽפֶר kofer than “ransom.” Take a look at the following Christian translations of Sh'mot / Exodus 30:12 (which use "ransom") and contrast them to two modern Jewish translations which use the word "atone."
"When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the L-RD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them." King James Versions Exodus 30:12.
"When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the L-RD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them." NIV Exodus 30:12.
Among the Christian translations reviewed only Young's Literal translation gets it right "atonement for his soul." Now here are some Jewish translations:.
"When you take the sum of the children of Israel according to their numbers, let each one give to the L-rd an atonement for his soul (nefesh - life force) when they are counted; then there will be no plague among them when they are counted." Judaica Press Translation Sh'mot / Exodus 30:12.
"When you take a census of the Children of Israel according to their numbers, every man shall give HaShem an atonement for is soul when counting them, so that there will not be a plague among them when counting them." Artscroll Stone Edition, Sh'mot / Exodus 30:12.
Translations are tricky things -- it is hard to translate something from Hebrew into English with accuracy -- but when a translator chooses a different word which changes the meaning for no good reason (other than to make a "proof text" appear to apply to their theology) it should make a bible reader question that particular translation, and perhaps begin to learn Hebrew to ensure they are not being misled (either by accident or purposefully).
The Christian concept of sacrifice is very different from what the Torah tells us and what Judaism teaches. Sacrifices did not begin with the Temple or at Mount Sinai -- they go much farther back than that. Noah brought more pairs of kosher animals to sacrifice to G-d on board the ark than he did non-kosher animals (not fit for sacrifice). Sacrifices are not a snare -- they are a gift from G-d to mankind.
The purpose of sacrifice is to give up something of value and feel badly about what we did. The PROCESS of sacrifice brings us to a realization and a cleansing. In other words -- sacrifices are a gift from G-d to us as ONE way to atone.
Stop thinking of קָרְבָּן - qorban (sacrifices) in terms of sin. Sin has very very little to do with sacrifices. Start reading the Jewish bible about sin, repentance and atonement for what IS there and you will see for yourself that what I've told you is true. Most qorban is given as an offer to G-d (it actually means drawing nearer to G-d), and has nothing to do with sin or atoning for sin.
When we speak of sins that qorban does atone for we must separate communal sins from individual sins (Jews are judged both as a nation and individually). Here is a short list of things that atone for wrongdoings.
2 Samuel 12:13-14 is a cheit (David admits to sin before Nathan the prophet and repents)
Jonah 3:10 has to do with the sins of Nineveh (unspecified, just identified as "evil" in 1:2), the people repented and G-d forgave
Leviticus 26:40-42 speaks of avon and repentence atoning for it
Ezikiel 18:21-32 speaks of chatat (21), pesha (22), chatat (24), pesha (28), pesha and avon (30) are all atoned through repentance
Proverbs 16:6 an avon is atoned for with kindness
Daniel 4:24 is chatat and avon by showing mercy and kindness
PRAYER (accompanied by repentance)
Hosea 14:2-3 teshuva (turning to G-d) and 1prayer atones for avon
1 Kings 8:46-50 include chatat, avon, rasha (wicked or evil) and pesha are atoned for by prayer
Daniel 9:5-19 include chatat, avon, and rasha are atoned by prayer
Isaiah 27:9 both chatat and avon are atoned by removing idolatry
Isaiah 40:1-2 avon is removed by punishment
Lamentations 4:22 avon is removed by punishment
Isaiah 22:14 avon will surely not be atoned until you die.
Leviticus 5:1-13 for specific ashams (guilts including not testifying honestly, touching something ritually unclean, if one makes an oath one doesn't keep, he must confess, and he must bring a guilt offering which should be a female sheep or goat, but if he can't afford it he may bring two turtle doves (one as a chatat and one as an olah). If he cannot afford the turtle doves he may bring flour as a chatat (sin offer)
Exodus 30:15-16 to atone for the life-force (similar to blood in Leviticus 17:11)
Numbers 31:50 to atone for the life-force (similar to blood in Leviticus 17:11)
Numbers 17:11-12 atonement for the Israelites "for there is wrath" Per Rashi (a Jewish sage) this secret was given over to him by the angel of death when he went up to heaven, that incense holds back the plague… as is related in Tractate Shabbath (89a).
Read King Solomon's dedication of the first Temple found in 1 Kings 8. King Solomon is dedicating the very place for sacrifices, and he mentions that there will be a time when the Temple will not exist, or Jews will not be near it and can not bring qorban (sacrifices) -- and says that without sacrifices HaShem will hear our prayers: "When your people Israel. . . turn back to you and confess your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel. . " Without blood. Without a Temple. . .
So, no blood is not needed for atonement of sins, and blood is not needed for the atonement of your immortal sou.
The Christian bible seems to think that you need blood for your sins to be forgiven. At the Last Supper Jesus says: "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins," Matthew 26:28. See also Luke 22:20 and John 6:54.
"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them." John 6:56. Also see 1 Corinthians 11:25. The Christian bible speaks of drinking Jesus' blood - something totally forbidden to a Jew. The Torah strictly forbids consumption of blood at any time to Jews and proselytes (Vayikra / Leviticus 3:17, 17:10-12, and D'varim / Deuteronomy. 12:23).
Drinking blood is forbidden because blood is identified with life - it is the "life force" in all living creations. Some of our Sages (e.g., in the Talmud and also the commentator Sforno) explain that there was a belief that, through eating blood, one could cultivate the companionship of demons (the demons are invisible beings who get their sustenance from consuming blood). Thus pagan religions often drank blood as part of their religious observance -- but it is strictly forbidden in the T'nach (Jewish bible).
Justin Martyr (early church father 100 - 165 CE) wrote in "First Apology" that the drinking of blood was a rite performed by the pagan Mithraites (the pagan god Mithra had many similarities to Jesus). He wrote " He (Jesus) said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done."
The idea of eating blood, forbidden in the Torah, was common to the pagans and the Christians seem to have incorporated this practice into their worship.
Romans says "G-d presented (Jesus) as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness." Romans 3:25. and "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of G-d’s grace." Ephesians 1:7.
Blood, blood, blood.
Repeatedly the Christian bible insists that without blood there is no remission of sins. It goes on to say that this is found in the T'nach -- the Jewish bible. "the law (Torah) requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Hebrews 9:22.
This is totally false -- 100% incorrect.
Even in bringing a sacrifice there were many things that added up in the atonement process. Sacrifice without obedience was useless. Obedience without sacrifice when sacrifice was required and possible, was useless. Obedience without sacrifice when sacrifice was never required or when sacrifice wasn't possible - was and is sufficient in and of itself, since it's all that G-d requires when sacrifices cannot be offered (see Hoshea / Hosea 14:2-3, Yechezkel / Ezekiel 18/33).
There were both communal sacrifices for the entire nation of Israel and individual sacrifices for personal wrongdoings. The Christian bible ignores the fact that the worse individual sins could not be atoned for with blood sacrifice. Only the חַטָּאת chatat (a mistake, a "missing of the mark" -- you tried to do good but missed) and the אָשָׁם asham (guilt / tresspass sacrifice) could be brought as a sacrifice for sins / guilt. The asham was for:
More serious wrongdoings could NOT be atoned for with a blood sacrifice -- totally refuting Hebrews 9:22 which says that "nearly everything" needed a blood sacrifice for atonement.
Wrongdoings which could not be resolved with a blood sacrifice include the עוון avon (iniquity) or the פֶּֽשַׁע pĕsha (transgression, willful rebellion against G-d).
עוון Avon (translated by Christians as iniquity) is an impulsive act of lust or uncontrollable urges (could not be atoned for with a sacrifice). An avon (unless it falls under the asham talu or asham g'zelot) cannot be rectified with a qorban, and neither can a pesha. Repentance and turning to G-d to seek forgiveness for sins against G-d and seeking forgiveness to any person that might have been harmed from that person are the methods of atonement;
פֶּֽשַׁע pĕsha' is usually translated by Christians as "transgression." It means to willfully go against G-d. It means "rebellion" (could not be atoned for with a sacrifice) -- but other things in this life do atone for them. 1 Kings 8:46-50 include chatat, avon, rasha (wicked or evil) and pesha are atoned for by prayer.
Yechezkel / Ezekiel 18:21-32 speaks of sin, iniquity and willful rebellion against G-d all being forgiven through repentance. chatat (18:21), pesha (18:22), chatat (18:24), pesha (18:28), pesha and avon (18:30) are all atoned through repentance."By loving kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for..." (Proverbs 16:6).
"If you return to G-d you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent...then you will delight in G-d..." (Iyov / Job 22:23-27).
This whole fixation on blood, blood, blood by missionaries is not supported by the Jewish bible. The missionaries take the statement that blood can atone for SOME sins and somehow morph it into "you need blood for sins to be forgiven." This is akin to eating a slice of pizza because you are hungry and then insisting that the only type of food that exists in the world is pizza. How crazy is that?
The idea that you need blood to atone for your sins is part of Christianity's pagan roots. It is NOT Judaism. It is NOT Torah for all that missionaries keeps trying to force fit the angry evil pagan god who delights in blood onto the Jewish G-d.
The prophet Amos wrote "Did you offer Me sacrifices and meal-offerings in the desert forty years, O house of Israel?" Amos 5:25.
Yet Moses, Aaron, Miriam -- they were loved by G-d. Contrary to the Christian bible they did not need blood for their sins to be forgiven.
"Son of man, if a land sins against Me by trespassing grievously, I shall stretch forth My hand upon it and break its staff of bread, and I shall send famine upon it and cut off from it [both] man and beast. 14. Now should these three men be in its midst-[namely] Noah, Daniel, and Job-they would save themselves with their righteousness, says the L-rd G-d." Yechezkel / Ezekiel 14: 13.
Daniel was righteous without a Temple or sacrifices. He lived in exile and could not bring sacrifices.
Yet the T'nach (bible) tells us that Daniel saved himself with his righteousness.
This mistake that atonement of sin requires a blood sacrifice comes from a mis-reading of Vayikra / Leviticus 17 where Jews are forbidden from EATING blood and told its only purpose is on the altar or to be thrown away into the dirt. Read the entire chapter of Leviticus and the order to not eat blood is repeated time and time again (again, the exact opposite of the Christian bible telling Jesus' followers to drink his blood, even symbolically).
Vayikra / Leviticus 3:17
This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.
Vayikra / Leviticus 7:26
And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal.
Vayikra / Leviticus 7:27
If anyone eats blood, that person must be cut off from his people.' "
Vayikra / Leviticus 17:10-11
If any person, whether of the family of Israel or a proselyte who joins them, eats any blood, I will direct My anger against the person who eats blood and cut him off [spiritually] from among his people. This is because the life-force of the flesh is in the blood; and I therefore gave it to you to be [placed] on the altar to atone for your lives. It is the blood that atones for a life,
Vayikra / Leviticus 17:12
Therefore I say to the Israelites, "None of you may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood."
Vayikra / Leviticus 17:13
Any Israelite or any alien living among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth,
Vayikra / Leviticus 17:14
because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, "You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off."
So the Christian bible says you need blood and there is no atonement without blood -- but Torah and G-d disagrees.
The biggest mistake in the Christian bible is thinking G-d is a pagan god that needs blood (e.g. is "blood thirsty"). G-d needs nothing and He is loving, not cruel. קָרְבָּן / Qorban aka "sacrifice" (and prayer for that matter) is for US, not for G-d. G-d needs nothing.
Humans began giving gifts to G-d as early as B'reshit / Genesis chapter 4 when Cain and Abel bring sacrifices to G-d. Very few sacrifices had to do with sin -- most were a way to connect closer to Him by turning our focus away from the mundane to the holy.
The false idea that only blood atones gives the excuse Christians need to explain how their all powerful man-god (Jesus) could be killed. Not only does it explain that he could be killed, but it explains that Jesus HAD to be killed to be the "perfect" sacrifice.
This is pagan nonsense, the opposite of what the Torah teaches us.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O G-d, you will not despise. [T'hillim / Psalm 51:16-17]
To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Eternal than sacrifice. [Mishlei / Proverbs 21:3]
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. [T'hillim / Psalm 40:6]
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. [Mishlei / Proverbs 28:13]
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. [Divrei Hayamim II 7:14 / 2 Chronicles 7:14]
But if from there you seek the Eternal your G-d, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. [D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:29]
He prays to G-d and finds favor with him, he sees G-d's face and shouts for joy; he is restored by G-d to his righteous state. [Iyov / Job 33:26]
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. [T'hillim / Psalm 34:14]
Take words with you and return to the Eternal. Say to him: "Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may we will pay oxen [with] our lips." [Hoshea 14:2 / Hosea 14:2]
Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Eternal a man avoids evil. [Mishlei / Proverbs 16:6]
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of G-d rather than burnt offerings. [Hoshea / Hosea 6:6]
With what shall I come before the Eternal and bow down before the exalted G-d? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Eternal be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Eternal require of you? Only to do Justice, and to love Mercy and to walk humbly with your G-d. [Micah 6:6-8]
The key to atoning for our sins is sincere repentance and trying our best not to repeat the mistake, willful disobedience, etc. Isaiah puts it very well in the very first chapter of the book of Isaiah. Isaiah tells us that G-d is sick and tired of empty, insincere prayers and the endless parade of “sacrifices” offered by people just "going through the motions" -- sinners who have not really repented, but who insincerely offer sacrifices or even prayers, but without true repentance in their hearts--
“What use to Me is the huge number of your sacrifices?” says Hashem; “I am fed up with olah-offerings (burnt / elevation offers) of rams and the offals of fattened calves, and the blood of oxen, lambs and goats does not give Me any pleasure. When you come to appear before Me—who asked this of you, to come trampling through My courtyards? Do not bring your meaningless mincḥah-offerings (A mincha is a gift to G-d, not a sin or atonement sacrifice. It is not life, it is just flour and oil. It signifies food and sustenance, or the fruits of a person’s labor, but it is not intrinsically powerful) any more—I find it a disgusting stench... Rosh Ḥodesh (the new month), Shabbat (Sabbath), even the Festival assemblies—I cannot tolerate crookedness mixed with service. And when you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you, even when you pray at length, I do not hear; your hands are full of blood. Wash, cleanse yourselves, remove the evil of your deeds from before My eyes, cease to do evil. Learn to do good, seek justice, strengthen the robbed, perform justice for the orphan, plead the case of the widow. “Come, please, let’s discuss this rationally,” HaShem says; “even if your sins are like bright crimson, I will bleach them as white as snow—even if they are as red as crimson dye I will make them [as white as] wool!” (Y'shayahu / Isaiah 1:11-18).
Back in 2010 UriYosef, administrator at Messiah Truth, wrote a very succinct sentence worth repeating: Atonement is a process that must be initiated by the one who commits the sin/offense/transgression, the purpose of which is to obtain forgiveness; whereas forgiveness is one in a set of optional one-time actions by the party on the "receiving end" of the sin/offense/transgression.
The purpose of sacrifice is to give up something of value and feel badly about what we did. The PROCESS of sacrifice brings us to a realization and a cleansing. In other words -- sacrifices are a gift from G-d to us as ONE way to atone. Sacrifices are not 'magic' and one life does not substitute for another (as such). Rather it is the emotional act of bringing this sacrifice -- as a gift, or an atonement -- what have you -- that creates that emotional link FOR THE PERSON to G-d.
Christians tend to think of קָרְבָּן - qorban (sacrifices) in terms of sin. In reality sin and atoning for sin has very very little to do with sacrifices. Start reading the Jewish bible about sin, repentance and atonement for what IS there and you will see for yourself that what I've told you is true. Most qorban is given as an offer to G-d (it actually means drawing nearer to G-d), and has nothing to do with sin or atoning for sin. There is nothing magical in blood. There is nothing magical in incense or flour either. Human sacrifices are forbidden (so Jesus could never have been a "sacrifice").
Prayer, repentance -- all these things have always been available to us. Keep in mind that after the Exodus and prior to Sinai there were NO sacrifices yet G-d forgave the sins of the Israelites many, many times during that period. G-d also forgave our sins during the Babylonian exile. Likewise there were no sacrifices in Egypt prior to the paschal lamb (although Moses asks to bring them).
So, no, blood is not necessary for the remission of sins. Sacrifices, when they were brought had very detailed rules around different forms of sacrifices -- and if the offer was an animal it had to be a kosher, domestic animal without blemish. Human sacrifices were forbidden. Jesus' death was not and could not have been an atoning sacrifice. In D'varim / Deuteronomy 12:30-31, G-d calls human sacrifice something that He hates, and an abomination to Him, Link.
Recently the blog has focused on how Jews know that Jesus was not the messiah (he did not have the correct parentage, he did not fulfill the prophecies and human sacrifice is forbidden. The Torah also teaches us that no one can atone for the sins of another -- each of us is responsible for his / her own sins. That last topic -- our personal responsibility -- brings me back full circle to the intention of this blog.
The focus of this blog is not on Jesus (as a person or a god). The goal of this blog is to explain what Jews believe and to show how these beliefs are based firmly in the Jewish bible (primarily the Torah, the Five Books of Moses). The other books of the bible (Prophets and Writings) do nothing more but re-enforce what G-d already taught us in the Torah. We are forbidden from adding to or subtracting from the mitzvot of the Torah. Think about it -- the prophets spent most of their effort trying to return Jews to Torah observance!
This blog exists to help teach uneducated Jews and interested non-Jews the teachings of Torah (and thus Judaism) -- and to refute the assumption by many a missionary that Judaism and Christianity are "the same" -- except they believe the messiah has come (Jesus) while the Jew still awaits the messiah.
This assumption is false. There are far more differences between Judaism and Christianity than there are similarities.
Let's just list a few differences, Remember: what one Christian believes another will reject -- some Christian reading the list will say "I don't believe in "original sin" or "faith over works", but the list of what Christians believe is based on a majority of "normative" Christian teaching and beliefs:
A Jew cannot be Christian and remain Jewish. A Jew accepting the beliefs of another religion (gods) and rejecting those promises we made to G-d to do and to hear is endangering his or her immortal soul. A Jew can never stop being a Jew, and thus turning to עבודה זרה / avodah zarah (strange / foreign worship, aka idolatry) is cutting that person off from G-d and the Jewish people. That person is an apostate to the Jewish people until such time as he or she returns to G-d and repents of their idolatry.
The term idolatry in Judaism means any form of worship we did not know at Sinai, and any thinking Christian must realize that the Jews of Sinai did not pray to or through Jesus.
The website Simple to Remember puts it well. Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
(What exactly is the Messiah?)
Recently we discussed the fact that Jesus could not have been the messiah because he is missing the most basic criteria: if he was a "virgin birth" and if Joseph, Mary's husband, had not contributed the sperm to create him, then Jesus had no tribal status and may well have been a mamzer (disqualifying him not only from kingship, but limiting his marriage pool in the future). If Joseph was his father the two totally different lineages given for Joseph in the Christian bible would both disqualify both Joseph and Jesus from the right to kingship (being the messiah).
Not to mention the fact that neither man ever WAS a messiah (an anointed king of the Jews). . .
Let's look at the other end of the spectrum Could Jesus' murder by Roman crucifixion (like about 50,000 other Jews) constitute a sacrifice?
The Torah vehemently FORBIDS human sacrifices.
Vayikra / Leviticus 18:21; "you shall not give any of your offspring to pass through for Molech. And you shall not profane the Name of your G-d. I am the L-rd." (Molech was a false god, but the point is that human sacrifices profane the name of G-d and are forbidden).
Vayikra / Leviticus 24; "if a man strikes down any human being he shall be put to death.. . . one who strikes a person shall be put to death. . . One law shall be exacted for you, convert and resident alike, for I am the L-rd, your G-d.
Got that? Jesus' murder by the Romans was not legal per Jewish law. The Jews had lost the right to pass the death penalty and Jesus (per the Christian bible) had not committed a crime warranting the death penalty. The trial of Jesus as described in the Christian bible could never have happened -- it went against Jewish law (we can discuss the trial at another time). The point being that a human death is NOT a sacrifice, it is an abomination to G-d.
See also D'varim / Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Jeremiah 7:31, 19: 5; Ezekiel 23:37, 39). These all speak of how G-d hates human sacrifice.
Bamidbar / Numbers 35:33; "you shall not corrupt the land in which you live, for the blood corrupts the land, and the blood which is shed in the land cannot be atoned for except through the blood of the one who shed it."
D'varim / Deuteronomy 24:16; "Fathers shall not be put to death because of sons, nor shall sons be put to death because of fathers; each man shall be put to death for his own transgression.
Melachim II / II Kings 14:6; "it is written in the book of the Torah of Moses, which the L-rd commanded saying: "Fathers shall not be put to death for sons, nor shall sons be put to death for fathers, but each man shall be put to death for his own sin."
See also Sh'mot / Exodus 32:31-33; Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 31:29 [30 in a Christian Bible]; Yechezkel /Ezekiel 18:4,20; and T'hillim / Psalms 49:7.
Aside from the fact that human sacrifice is forbidden, Torah tells us that a proper sacrifice must be of a kosher, domestic animal (the animal is often identified as a bull, a seh (goat or lamb), etc (see Sh'mot / Exodus 13:13; Vayikra / Leviticus 22). Jesus, being a human (or even a demi-god) was obviously not a kosher animal and thus was unacceptable as a sacrifice.
The sacrificial ritual must be administered by a Jewish Priest (see Vayikra / Leviticus Chapters 1-7). According to the accounts in the Greek Testament (Christian Bible), Jesus was crucified by Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:33; John 19:18, 23). Some Christians may say that Jesus was a priest "like Melchitzedek" -- but Jewish sacrifices had to be brought by Jewish priests who were of the tribe of Levi and descended from Aaron (Moses' brother) -- which would exclude Jesus (see Sh'mot / Exodus 29:9 and Bamidbar / Numbers 25:13 for two of many references).
Many missionaries state that Jesus was a "sin sacrifice." In Hebrew a sin is a mistake -- you tried to do the right thing and you "missed." It is important to note that only accidental mistakes by individuals and a few, fairly minor, wrongdoings by individuals could be atoned for with the few types of sacrifices that atoned for "sin" and "guilt."
The חַטָּאת cḥattat (accidental sins) and אָשָׁם asham sacrifices were PRIVATE offerings brought by INDIVIDUALS, not “atonement” offerings on behalf of the entire nation. As mentioned the חַטָּאת chatat was for a missing of the mark (a חֵטְא / cheit -- you tried to do good but missed) and the אָשָׁם asham was for three different types of violations:
Torah further tells us that the blood of the (חֵטְא / cheit / sin) sacrifice had to be sprinkled by the Jewish Priest on the veil of the sanctuary and on the altar in the Temple (e.g., Vayikra / Leviticus 4: 5-6). Christian Bible evidence clearly shows this was not done.
Then it tells us that cheit / sin) sacrifice must be without any physical defect or blemish (e.g., Vayikra / Leviticus 4:3). According to the various accounts in the Christian Bible, Jesus was beaten, whipped, and dragged on the ground before being crucified (Matthew 26:67, 27:26, 30-31; Mark 14: 65, 15:15-20; Luke 22: 63; John 18:22, 19:1, 3). Moreover, as a Jew by birth, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after being born, a ritual that leaves a scar ("sign of the covenant"). According to the Christian Bible, circumcision is tantamount to mutilation (Philippians 3:2, Galatians 5:12).
Torah says that the Passover sacrifice be a male-goat, be offered on an individual (per household) basis (Bamidbar / Numbers 28:22), not as a communal offering. According to the Christian Bible, Jesus’ death (termed a “sin sacrifice”) expiated the sins of mankind (Romans 6:10; Hebrews 9:12, 10:10, 10:18 ).
Torah goes on to say that the Paschal seh (goat or lamb) was NOT to be offered for the removal of sins. It was a commemorative/festive offering. The sacrificed Paschal seh (goat or lamb) had to be roasted and eaten, and in the first instance in Egypt its blood was used to mark the side-posts and lintel of the doors (Sh’mot / Exodus 12: 7-8). There is no record in the Christian Bible that this Jesus was eaten or that his blood was put on the door posts (lest it be suggested that Christianity promotes cannibalism).
Torah says that there were individual and communal sacrifices .
Torah teaches that sacrifices can only atone for sins committed PRIOR to the offering of the sacrifice. No sacrifice could ever atone for sins committed AFTER the sacrifice was offered. Thus, no sacrifice could ever atone for people born after the sacrifice was offered.
So, as you can clearly see that the death of Jesus could never atone for any sin, much less all sins of all people for all time? NOT AT ALL, NEVER! The story is pagan in its entirety and breaks all the laws of Jewish sacrifice.
The missionaries who say that Jesus was a human sacrifice whose death "atoned for the sins of the world makes a common mistake regarding sacrifices. They seem to think that G-d needed them (bloodthirsty god perhaps?) Missionaries seem think there was some "magic" in blood sacrifices and this is not supported by the Jewish bible. Indeed sacrifices were not so much for G-d as they were a gift from G-d.
The Rambam explained this when he told us that G-d doesn't need sacrifices.
In other words, the Jews were used to bringing sacrifices and this is why G-d permitted them. Sacrifices gave man a way to feel closer to G-d by giving Him something of value (be it money, flour, an animal, etc.).
In pagan religions the gods were bloodthirsty and needed blood to be satisfied. In Judaism G-d permitted man to bring sacrifices because man needed them -- He needs nothing.
The Rambam's "The Laws of Repentence": "If a person violates any mitzvot of the Torah, willingly or unintentionally. . .he must repent. . .Similarly, people who are sentenced by the Rabbinical court to be executed, or to be lashed, do not attain atonement through their death or lashing unless they repent and confess. . .
Now that the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) is not standing, and there is no sacrificial altar for atonement, we are only left with repentance. Through repentance, G-d forgives our sins, and no mention is made of these sins even if one sinned one's whole life and repented only in his final moments. As it is written, "The wickedness of the wicked will not cause him to stumble when be turns back from his wickedness." (Ychezkiel / Ezekiel 33:12)."
Sacrifices were not magic -- they were a gift of G-d to help us truly atone by giving up something of value to Him. G-d forbids and abhors human sacrifice. The death of Jesus (if he ever even lived) couldn't have atoned for the sins of anyone, he was simply murdered by the Romans as were tens of thousands of Jews.
Sophiee Saguy has been countering false missionary claims about Judaism and the T'nach (Jewish bible) for nearly twenty years. You may find her on FaceBook and at the Messiah Truth forum.