A missionary wrote to me: "there is NONE righteous NOT one" " I saw the bodies of those who rebelled against Me... and their worm never died and their fire not quenched" WHY would a Holy being ALLOW unholiness near Him and WHAT would be the currency that would permit such a union ?"
This question is nearly at the center of the difference between Christianity and Judaism.
Most Christians believe they are not good enough. That humans are somehow filthy -- a worm that is unholy and unworthy of G-d. Jesus had to die for them because they weren't good enough to "save themselves."
The phrase "there is none righteous, not one" is found in Romans 3:10, but it is not found in the T'nach. The closest to this one will find in T'hillim / Psalm 14:3 and 53:4 says "no one does good, not even one."
The Hebrew here is ט֑וֹב -- good. Not righteous. . . good.
The book of Romans is misquoting the T'nach.
When the psalms say "no one does good" does it mean that there are no good people in the world? Does it mean that it is impossible to be a good person?
Read it IN CONTEXT. "The degraded one says in his heart, "There is no G-d!" They have acted corruptly and abominably (in their) action; there is no doer of good."
The degraded one does no good.
Not all people.
There are hundreds of verses that stress we can do good and amend wrongs. Perfection is neither expected or required!
Romans 3:10's anonymous author reverses the bible! Romans states that there are no righteous people in the world. Romans 3:9 - 12 says "For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks G-d. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”"
People ARE righteous.
People DO understand.
People seek G-d (isn't that why you are reading this blog?).
While some reject G-d, many seek Him and do not turn away.
How dare the anonymous author of Romans 3 reverse G-d's eternal word and say that His creation, mankind, is worthless?
Why does Romans make it seem as if no human alive does good -- not even one -- when the psalmist makes it clear that he is speaking of a select few -- the degraded -- who "do no good"?
Christianity teaches that people should be perfect, and because Adam and Chava (Eve) sinned the whole world is damned to not being perfect -- meaning that according to Christian doctrine G-d screwed up and screwed up badly.
Why would anyone want to worship a god capable of making that bad a mistake -- right from the start? Why would such a god deserve respect let alone worship?
To make things worse, Christianity then claims that in order to fix the mistake -- mess -- that this god made He commands the painful murder of himself to himself to "atone" with human blood for his screw up.
One of the verses most devastating to Original Sin is B'reshit / Genesis 4:7, where G-d tells Cain that he can overcome temptation. Cain is envious of Abel because G-d accepts only Abel's sacrifice. Cain is tempted to murder Abel. G-d says, "if you do not do good, sin crouches at the entrance. Its desire is for you, but you can rule over it."
Right from chapter 4 we are told that we can rule over sin.
The bible also tells us that G-d created everything -- good and evil are His. G-d does not make mistakes.
Let's return to the claim. Since the two psalms do not say that no one is righteous, but rather "no one is good" -- what does it mean?
Obviously a lot of people do good -- so we must first as ourselves -- to whom is this addressed -- everyone in the world or a select population which is not good?
It is actually NOT everyone in the world. T'hillim / Psalm 14:3 is about Nebuchadnezzar. Rashi says that Nebuchadnezzar was destined to destroy the Temple -- and that not one man would try to stop him.
Let's start with recognizing that T'hillim (Psalms) are 150 poems. POEMS. Most of them were written by Dovid HaMelech (King David) and they were sung in the Temple as prayers. Some praise G-d. Some thank him, some plead to Him -- and some even speak of human fears and how G-d's love transcends our fears. The psalms deal with real human issues and real human lives. These are not the words OF G-d, these are our words TO G-d.
Here is T'hillim / Psalm 14:3: "For the conductor, by David. The degraded one says in his heart, "There is no G-d!" They have acted corruptly and abominably (in their) action; there is no doer of good. 2 From heaven HaShem gazed down upon mankind, to see if there exists a reflective person who seeks out G-d. 3. Everyone has gone astray, together they have become depraved; there is doer of good, there is not even one. 4. Do they not realize -- all those evildoers, who devour my people (those seed of Nebuchadnezzar per Rashi) as they would devour bread, who do not call upon HaShem -- 5 (that) there they will be struck with terror, for G-d is with the righteous generation? 6 You shame the poor man's counsel, that HaShem is his refuge. 7 O', that out of Zion would come Israel's salvation! When HaShem restores the captivity of His people Jacob will exult, Israel will rejoice." T'hillim / Psalm 14, Artscroll Stone Edition Translation.
None of those people helped -- not one looked for G-d. But the day will come when G-d will restore us Jews and we will rejoice (when the messiah comes, the Temple is rebuilt and global knowledge of G-d is here -- along with worldwide peace).
Remember: G-d created everything... and He did so for a purpose.
He created us imperfectly, but with the ability to make mistakes and learn from them. He MADE US this way. He gave us free will to choose good over evil -- but without evil how would would humans have anything to choose FROM?
Nowhere in the T'nach (bible) is it even hinted that man is expected to be perfect. Indeed the T'nach tells us "there is no righteous person who never sins." (Kohelet / Ecclesiastes 7:20).
Righteous people sin. Sin is part of G-d's plan. G-d does not expect perfection -- He expects us to try, to fail, to pick ourselves up and to try again.
The bible itself tells us we can do it! "It is not in heaven, to say 'Who will go up for us to heaven, and acquire it for us, and teach it to us, and we will do it?' Nor is it across the sea, to say Who will cross the sea, and acquire it for us and teach it to us, and we will do it?' For the matter is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it." (D'varim / Deuteronomy 30:11).
My last post on this blog discussed the Jewish legal system, which G-d gave to us Jews -- instructing us to establish courts of law.
Some people seem to think this means that this eliminates G-d from the equation, and nothing could be further from the truth.
G-d is our creator, and is the ultimate judge of us all. G-d is constantly judging us (tempered with extreme mercy). One of the first names (descriptions) we have for G-d describes Him as a judge and ruler (אֱלֹהִים / elohim means princes, rulers and judges). . .
We mention judgment during תפילת העמידה, Tefilat HaAmidah, "The Standing Prayer." This is the central prayer of the daily four services: shacharit (morning), mincha (afternoon), maariv (evening), and mussaf (additional). We say: "Blessed are you HaShem, the King who loves righteousness and judgment."
Let's repeat that "the King who loves righteousness and judgment."
פרקי אבות / Pirkei Avot (The Ethics of the Fathers) -- which contains quotes from our sages who lived over 2000 years ago -- tells us that: "Rabbi Shimon the son of Gamliel would say: By three things is the world sustained: law, truth and peace. As is stated (Zechariah 8:16), "Truth, and a judgement of peace, you should administer at your [city] gates.''
Thus justice is one of three things sustaining our world. G-d has a special love of justice -- as shown in תפילת העמידה / Tefilat HaAmidah and re-enforced in the words of פרקי אבות / Pirkei Avot.
G-d's judgment is loving and tempered with mercy. It is not a harsh, cruel thing. Rather, G-d's judgment is pure and good, as in Abraham's words to G-d in B'reshit / Genesis 18:25: "It would be sacrilege even to ascribe such (harsh and unjust actions to) You (G-d) - to kill the innocent with the guilty, letting the righteous and the wicked fare alike. It would be sacrilege to ascribe this to You! Shall the whole world's Judge not act justly?"
King David put it beautifully when he wrote in T'hillim / Psalm 19:8-12: "The Torah of the L-rd is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the L-rd is trustworthy, making the simple one wise; the orders of HaShem are upright, gladdening the heart; the command of HaShem is clear, enlightening the eyes; the fear of HaShem is pure, enduring forever, the judgments of HaShem are true, altogether righteous. They are more desirable than gold, than even much fine gold; and sweeter than honey, and drippings from the combs. Also, when your servant is scrupulous in them, in observing them, there is great reward."
T'hillim / Psalm 96 tells us that G-d judges the world, and in the time of the messiah He will judge the entire world. Again, this is not a thing to be feared, it is a blessing not a curse. In the messianic age all nations of the earth will recognize G-d and no longer practice idolatry. Peace will reign over the entire world, and all men will sing His praises, finally acknowledging the one true G-d. As the psalm says: "He will judge the peoples with fairness. The heavens will be glad and the earth will rejoice, the sea and its fullness will roar; the field and everything in it will exult; then all the trees of the forest will sing with joy before HaShem, for He will have arrived, He will have arrived to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and peoples with His truth."
T'hllim / Psalm 97 continues this theme, stating that "Hashem has reigned, let the world rejoice. . . Humiliated will be all who worship idols, who pride themselves in worthless gods; bow to Him, all you powers."
G-d judges the world -- but as Abraham said, the judge of the world acts justly.
He tempers judgment with mercy.
G-d warns us of the consequences of evil deeds, but He begs us to repent of our sins and turn to Him. The Torah speaks of His compassion, love and mercy hundreds and hundreds of times -- making it clear that His judgment is not harsh or vindictive, but is full of benevolent generosity and loving kindness. These attributes of G-d are mentioned hundreds upon hundreds of times in the T'nach.
G-d is our judge, G-d is our King -- but foremost G-d is our Father.
"You shall know in your heart, that just as a man chastises his son, so does the L-rd, your G-d, chastise you." D'varim / Deuteronomy 8:5.
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.
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.
The Torah, the Jewish People and even G-d Himself speak a different language than Christians – even when we use the same words the meaning is usually quite different..
Take the English word “sin.” To the average Christian “sin” means “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” It doesn’t matter if that immoral act was an accident or “on purpose.” (see Dictionary.com).
Yet for Jews the Hebrew word translated as “sin” is a mistake (a missing of the mark). You tried to do the right thing (it wasn't willful or knowingly doing something wrong). How could "sin" have to do with immoral acts – surely one would KNOW if one committed immorality! What you tried to do something moral and wound up doing something immoral??? Is that even possible???
"Sin” is a חֵטְא / cheit -- an unintentional sin through caelessness — a “missing of the mark."
Making mistakes (trying to do the right thing and missing aka sin) is all about learning from your mistakes and making up for them via apology, repayment, etc. G-d tells Cain way back in Genesis 4 that he can over come sin (this is "after" Adam and Chava (Eve) sinned, so OOPS there goes the idea of "original sin").
G-d clearly tells Cain that he can rise above sin!
So to a Christian the word "sin" generally means 1 John 3:4: “Whosoever breaks the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." Hmmm, this would be the very law (Mosaic) that they later say you don't have to follow?
But John seems to change his mind. 1 John 5:17 says: “All unrighteousness is sin . . .”
Neither definition is the Torah definition of sin. Let me give you an example from the T'nach. Shoftim / Judges 20:16 says that archers are so good with shooting arrows that they can "aim at a hair and not חֵטְא / cheit (miss)."
Another example is in 1 Melachim 1:21 / 1 Kings 1:21. Bat Sheva, King David's wife, comes to him as he lays dying and says: "when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, and I and my son Solomon shall be [considered] חַטָּאִים / chetaim.." She is saying that when David dies Solomon and she will have missed thier opportunity, their potential -- because David's other son, Adoniahu, was trying to take David's place even though David had promised the kingship to Solomon. Rashi's commentary says: "they (Bat Sheva and Solomon will always be lacking and restrained from any greatness."
Examining one word, "sin" shows how Jews and Christians often use the same words in English – but mean very different things! As the title of my page says: Judaism is not Christianity minus Jesus!
What about the Christian contention in Hebrews 9:22 that "the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."? Totally false.
There are many qorbans (translated as "sacrifices", but in Hebrew the term means offers to G-d meant to bring the person closer to G-d). Most qorbans had nothing to do with atoning for anything -- and blood was not required. If one was too poor for an animal, then flour could be substituted for the חַטָּאת / chatat (sin sacrifice).
Many qorbans specified money, incense or flour as well as burnt offers or blood offers.
There were only two types (the chatat – which is for a חֵטְא / cheit – translated as “sin” and meaning a “missing of the mark – you tried to do good but “missed” and the second type of qorban (sacrifice) which could be brought for wrongdoing were the אָשָׁם / asham qorbans which are translated as “guilt” but that is a poor translation. 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:
Vayikra / Leviticus 5:1 If he is bound by an oath [to give evidence in court], where he was a witness who saw or knew [something], and he does not testify
Vayikra / Leviticus 5:2 The same is true] if a person touches anything ritually unclean, whether it is any dead non-kosher animal, wild or domestic, or any dead unclean creeping animal, and then commits a violation while forgetting that he was unclean.
Vayikra / Leviticus 5:3 if he comes in contact with any ritual uncleanliness stemming from a human being, which renders him unclean, and then forgets about it,
Vayikra / Leviticus 5:4 if a person makes a verbal oath to do good or bad, no matter what is expressed in the oath, and then forgets about it.
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.
As shown above, it was also if you broke your word (a breach of trust) that was an asham.
Ashams were eaten by the priests.
The only types of individual sins that could be atoned for with blood sacrifices were these two types: חַטָּאת / cḥattat accidental missing of the mark) and the אָשָׁם / asham PERIOD. Any other type of sin (like willfully doing something wrong had to be atoned for with repentance, charity, turning to G-d, etc. Sacrifices didn’t work at all). Hebrews 9 lied (or whoever wrote it was woefully ignorant of Jewish law including those surrounding sacrifices).
In the next few days I'll be discussing other words that both Christians and Jews use -- but both have very different definitions for them. We'll also discus more about sacrifices, why they existed (G-d doesn't need or want them), and more on words that Christian and Jew use that mean very different things to each.
How are Jews OK with G-d since there is no Temple and no sacrifices?
Jews are obeying the mitzvot by NOT bringing sacrifices! G-d commands that they only be brought when there is a Temple, without one we would sin by doing bringing sacrifices. Human sacrifices were never permissable -- and where and how and when they were brought was critical (which is another reason Jesus' murder by the Romans was not a sacrifice).
Just think for a minute. . .
Moses couldn't bring sacrifices in Egypt. Do you think Moses didn't have a relationship with G-d?
Daniel couldn't bring sacrifices in exile. Do you think Daniel did not have a relationship with G-d?
Blood atonement was NEVER the only way to be forgiven. "G-d said to Cain, 'Why are you so furious? Why are you depressed? If you do good, will there not be special privilege? And if you do not do good, sin is crouching at the door. It lusts after you, but you can dominate it.'" B'reshit / Genesis 4:6-7.
Sacrifice isn't even mentioned -- but G-d tells Cain that if he lives a good life all will be well. Read to the end of chapter 4 and hear about the first prayer to G-d: B'reshit / Genesis 4:26 "A son was also born to Seth, and [Seth] named him Enosh. It was then initiated to pray with G-d's name."
Prayer -- B'reshit / Genesis chapter 4.
So now if a missionary tells you that the rabbis "replaced sacrifices with prayer" you will easily be able to disprove the lie. Prayer has always been an important part, actually a far more important part, of communing with and atoning to G-d.
"He will pray for you, and you will live." B'reshit / Genesis 20:7.
"Abraham prayed to G-d." B'reshit / Genesis 20:17, Br'eshit / Genesis chapter 24:12, 24:42, 25:21, 32:10, 32:12, etc.
Until the Temple is restored we are not allowed to bring sacrifices (qorbanot), but we can (as Hosea put it) offer the sacrifices of our lips -- we can bring our prayers. Jewish tradition characterizes prayer as avodah sheb'lev - "The [Temple] service of the heart." To recall the sacrifices we cannot perform we remember them in prayer.
The Torah says that blood atones -- it doesn't say that ONLY blood atones. This concept was added by the Greek Text to explain the need for Jsus to die for them. It is like saying "pizza is food -- ergo the only food in the world is pizza."
Many, may things atone. There is atonement through:
repentance (II Samuel 12:13-14, Jonah 3:10, Lev. 26:40-42, Ezek. 18:21-32, 33:11-16)
kindness (Prov. 16:6, Daniel 4:24)
prayer (Hos. 14:2-3,I Kings 8:46-50, Daniel 9:19)
removal of idolatry (Is. 27:9)
punishment (Is. 40:1, Lam. 4:22),
death (Is. 22:14)
flour offerings (Lev. 5:11-13)
money (Ex. 30:15)
jewelry (Num. 31:50)
and incense (Num. 17:11-12).
Here is what G-d has always required:
Deuteronomy 4:27-31 - (29) . . .seek the L-rd your G-d, then you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (30) When you are in distress, and these words will find their way to you; in the end of days, you will return to the L-rd your G-d, and you will obey him; (31) For the L-rd your G-d is a merciful G-d, He will not forsake you and will not destroy you; and He will not forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.
Turning to G-d (teshuvah), and communicating with G-d (tefillah) have always been a REQUIREMENT for the forgiveness of sins -- with or without a Temple.
G-d has revealed to us that He is not a man or a son of man in whom there is no salvation. "Do not trust in princes, or in the son of man, who has no salvation." (Psalm / T'heillim 146:3). The Christian bible calls Jesus the "son of man" over 77 times. It is not the Jews who are blind! Human beings cannot be sacrificed -- by the high priest or anyone else. BTW the only lambs sacrificed for sin were FEMALE.
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). The so-called priesthood of "Melchitzedek" is non-existant (the King of Salem was a king of righteousness -- which is what the words "malki and tzedek" mean). The King of Salem (Shem) in B'reshit / Genesis was NOT Jewish ergo his priesthood had nothing to do with Judaism or Jewish sacrifices! In Psalm / T'hellim 110 where the phrase is used again it is simply referring to King David who was also a king of righteousness (malki - tzedek).
Torah further tells us that the blood of the (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 the (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 animal was to 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 ). It was not a sacrifice -- it was a celebratory offering to G-d (read the bible!).
The phrase the "lamb of god" is pagan. Read up on Greek gods. . . the Jewish sacrifices of bulls, goats, sheep, birds, etc. were all of pagan gods to show the power of the real G-d over false gods. . . they are for us (not for G-d) -- a gift from G-d to man. . . more on that if you desire an explanation.
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.