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).
Some mistranslations are innocent -- and others appear self-serving.
Nowhere in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53 is there a mention of sin -- yet various Christian translations use that word, perhaps because so many want to believe that Jesus was without sin, and yet a sin sacrifice and use this famous passage to support that belief.
They are being lied to, plain and simple.
Consider Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:5 in the following Christian translations:
"He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed." NET Bible.
"But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed." Douay-Rheims Bible.
"He was wounded for our rebellious acts. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from his wounds." G-d's Word Translation.
Yet the word for "sin" does not appear in this verse.
The Hebrew is מֵעֲוֹנֹתֵ֑ינוּ (for our impulsive, lustful wrongdoings). Most Christian translations choose the word "iniquity" here, and that is more honest than the translations above. An avon / עוון / transgression is when a person does whatever he wants, but not to anger G‑d. The sinner is intent on enjoying forbidden things he desires -- he knows it is wrong but does it any way. . . Thus an avon is worse than "sin."
The Hebrew word translated as “sin” is חֵטְא / cheit -- a mistake (a missing of the mark). You tried to do the right thing (it wasn't willful or knowingly doing something wrong). "Sin” is a חֵטְא / cheit -- an unintentional sin through carelessness — 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 B'reshit / 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").
An avon / עוון is not a mistake (it is more serious than sin) -- it is a knowing violation of the rule of law -- the commission of a crime from an impulsive (think lustful) action.
Translating avon / עוון as "sin" is not only incorrect -- it has to be intentional as the words are not at all similar.
Note, too, that most Christian translations of verse five say: "he was pierced for our transgressions" NIV.
The Hebrew word translated as "pierced" is מְחֹלָ֣ל. It is conjugated in a singular 3rd-person masculine passive verb form commonly translated as "he was wounded". A similar term, - m'holelet, conjugated in a singular 3rd-person feminine active verb form is found in Isaiah 51:9. It is commonly translated as "[she] wounded." Pierced is a stretch -- but the general meaning has to do with being wounded by a sword, so pierced is a possible, but not a preferred, translation.
Far more misleading is "he was crushed for our iniquities" NIV.
The verse does not say, “He was wounded for our transgressions and iniquities -- which might lead a reader to "he died FOR my sins." The proper translation is “He was wounded because of our transgressions, and crushed because of our iniquities.” The servant is suffering because of the evil done by others, not "for" them as an act of vicarious atonement. Hebrew uses prepositional prefix-letters ב (b), כ (k), ל (l) and מ (m) to convey prepositions. In this passage the preposition is a מ (mem) in the word מִפְּשָׁעֵנוּ mip'sha'énu. It is never translated as “for” which would incorrectly indicate a vicarious atonement.
There are additional places in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53 where many Christian translations use the word "sin" although it does not appear in the text.
"All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left G-d's paths to follow our own. Yet the L-RD laid on him the sins of us all." New Living Translation, Isaiah 53:6.
Again, the word in verse 6 is עֲוֹ֥ן / avon (iniquity / impulsive wrongdoing) -- not חֵטְא / cheit (sin). The sentence itself (that G-d laid on him the sins of us all) infers vicarious atonement (e.g., Jesus dying for your sins) -- and it is yet another mistranslation. The verse actually says "We all went astray like sheep, we have turned, each one on his way, and the L-rd accepted his prayers for the iniquity of all of us."
The fact that prayers can atone for iniquity does not "fit" the Christian concept that Jesus has to die for your sins, ergo the passage is mistranslated.
Want proof? The verb לִפְגֹּֽעַ literally means “to encounter” or “to come across by chance”, but it can also mean “to beg”, “to plead [with]”or “to pray [to]”. It takes an indirect object governed by the preposition ב־ (compare the usage in B'réshıt / Genesis 28:11 and Y'rmyahu / Jeremiah 7:16). The word בּוֹ literally means “in him”, “with him”, “through him” (or, in the context of Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53, “in them”, “with them”, “through them”) etc, and the meaning of וַיְיָ הִפְגִּֽיעַ בּוֹ אֵת עֲוֺן כֻּלָּֽנוּ in verse 6 is “We all went astray like sheep, we have turned, each one on his way, and the L-rd accepted his prayers for the iniquity of all of us." See also Rashi's commentary.
Some Christian translations use the word "sin" in association with sacrifices in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:10.
This is perhaps the worst of the misuse of the term "sin" in all of Isaiah 53 as the word "sin" does not appear, let alone a sin sacrifice. Yet the NIV has: "the L-RD makes his life an offering for sin." and the KJV has "thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin."
This is translated to say that the servant is a SACRIFICE -- an offering for sin. This is totally unbiblical and a terrible distortion. Yet again the word for sin does not appear in the text at all.
The word mistranslated as "sin offering" is אָשָׁם֙ / asham. An אָשָׁם֙ / asham is not a "sin offering." The various sacrifices are discussed in the book of Vaykira / Leviticus. A sin sacrifice is the חַטָּאת / chatat was for a missing of the mark (you tried to do good but missed). It is discussed in Vayikra / Leviticus 4.
Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:10 does not speak of the sin sacrifice at all. The word which is used is אָשָׁם / asham.
The word אָשָׁם / asham can be translated as "guilt" (as in you are guilty of something) or to speak of the guilt sacrifice. It is quite clear from the context of that the use of in this verse means "guilt" and not "guilt sacrifice."
How can we be so certain that Isaiah is not speaking of the guilt sacrifice? Because there are only a few violations that one could bring a guilt sacrifice to atone. None of them "fit" the suffering servant. An avon/ עוון (unless it falls under the אָשָׁם תָּלוּי / asham talui or or אָשָׁם גְּזֵל֣וֹת / asham g'zelot) cannot be rectified with a qorban (sacrifice). So what are these two sacrifices which can be brought for an avon/ עוון? They are discussed in Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 5.
Those were the only two types of Avon / עוון (translated by Christians as iniquity) which a person could bring a sacrifice for (an asham / guilt sacrifice). Any other type of Avon / עוון must be atoned for with other actions including charity, prayer, repentance.
Knowing this take a look at the use of the word אָשָׁם / asham in Y'shayahu / Isaiah 53:10. "G-d desired to oppress him and He afflicted him. If his soul would acknowledge guilt, he would see offspring and live long days, and G-d’s purpose would succeed in his hand."
One may now understand why Christian translations have either "offering for sin" or "guilt sacrifice" instead of the proper translation that the servant must admit his own guilt to have the reward of having children and living a long life.
Jesus did not admit guilt.
Jesus did not have children.
Jesus did not live a long life.
Read about the אָשָׁם / asham for yourself. Check the passage and see that the word used is in fact אָשָׁם / asham and not "sin." Look up the אָשָׁם / asham sacrifices for yourself and see if any of them fit the concept most Christians have about "sin" or Jesus atoning for sin. . .
In other words, folks, use this blog as a starting point. Do your own research.
If so many errors, so many seemingly on purpose and self-serving to make this passage seem to "fit" Jesus, in Isaiah 53 are apparent, how many more passages are being used to mislead innocent Christians seeking G-d into a form of idolatry worshiping a man as G-d?
Many missionaries say that "Jesus was without sin." They say this because how could the "perfect sacrifice" be perfect if he sinned? Yet the Christian bible is replete with examples of Jesus sinning -- from lying, to breaking various mitzvot, to dishonoring his parents, to stealing.
Yes, and encouraging his followers to steal as well.
"Not far away there was a large herd of pigs feeding. 31 So the demons begged Jesus, "If you are going to drive us out, send us into that herd of pigs." 32 "Go," Jesus told them; so they left and went off into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the side of the cliff into the lake and was drowned. 33 The men who had been taking care of the pigs ran away and went into the town, where they told the whole story and what had happened to the men with the demons." Matthew 8:30-33.
Here we have a clear case of Jesus stealing a herd of pigs. Why do I say he stole them?
Well, ask yourself: did these pigs belong to Jesus?
Those pigs didn't belong to Jesus per the Christian bible.
Are pigs wild?
No, they are domesticated meaning they belonged to someone.
Were they running wild?
Also “no.” The Christian bible tells us "Those tending the pigs ran off” Matthew 8:33.
So clearly the pigs belonged to someone -- they were being tended. They were not wild. They belonged to someone! Destroying those pigs without buying them first constitutes STEALING.
I’ve had Christians say to me
“but the men were possessed! Jesus saved them!”
Surely a third of a triune god could kill the demons without destroying some innocent person’s property and thus stealing it (breaking the law against stealing). Why couldn't he simply destroy the demons? Why not just command them to leave?
And the Christian bible says there were two men possessed and a “herd” of swine. A “herd” indicates more than two, so why kill the whole herd? Why not just put the demons into two pigs and be done with it? (Still stealing, even if just two!).
Here is what Torah says about stealing:
Sh'mot / Exodus 20:15
"You shall not steal."
Sh'mot / Exodus 21:37
"If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep."
The Christian bible says Jesus left town.
He didn’t pay restitution for the theft of the pigs.
The rule of four-fold and five-fold payments applies only to a bull and a lamb. [From B.K. 67b], but the Torah it says that a thief must return the stolen property at all costs -- and Jesus did not return the stolen pigs (they drown!) or repay the cost of them. . .
Let's say that Jesus was not "all knowing" (not much of a god!) and the “theft” of the pigs was unintentional. . . after all he was trying to get rid of those pesky demons! Even in the case of an unintentional theft, such as someone who has borrowed money or an item from someone else and forgotten to repay it, we remain with the Din of the Torah that the owner or lender must be located at all costs and the buyer or borrower must bring the item or money to him.
Jesus never compensated the man for the monetary loss of those pigs!
Theft is theft.
This isn't minor. It isn't a gnat. It is a perfect example that Jesus SINNED and stole a man's private property without paying for it. Whether the theft of those pigs was intentional or not (and Jesus knowingly put those demons into pigs owned by someone else) he was obligated to make sure that he is paid at all costs, and even if he would have had to travel to the seller’s home at a higher expense than the amount owed, he was obligated to do so.
And he didn't.
There is a second story in the Christian bible where Jesus condones theft. Remember the donkey Jesus told his followers to steal? . . . Well, everyone but Matthew says it was a donkey. With typical contradiction found constantly in the Christian bible Matthew says Jesus stole a donkey and her colt).
“. . . Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the L-rd needs them, and he will send them right away. . .7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.” Matthew 21:1-7.
A donkey (and or colt) who are tied up obviously belong to someone. Jesus also obviously did not own them or have permission to “borrow” them since Matthew clearly says “if anyone asks you. . .” So Jesus told his men to steal a donkey and / or colt “take them” not “pay for them.” So I guess if you’re caught stealing say G-d wants them!
The Christian bible says Jesus left town. He didn’t repay five head of swine for every pig he killed. So he broke another law – he didn’t repay five fold.
Vayikra / Leviticus 19:11
" 'Do not steal. " 'Do not lie. " 'Do not deceive one another."
D'varim / Deuteronomy 5:19
"You shall not steal.
Some missionaries say "but Jesus was (fill in the blank: god, the son of god, the messiah, etc.) so it wasn't a sin! The Christian bible says differently: "G-d sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law." Galatians 4:4. The law he was born under was JEWISH law (he was Jewish, remember?).
To read more about biblical requirements regarding repayments for theft, please see the article "Theft and Robbery" at the Jewish Virtual Library website (link).
So much for the sinless Jesus. This is simply one example. There are many more. The Torah tells us to honor our parents -- Jesus left his parents for days without telling them where he went. He refused to see his mother very rudely, he lied to his brothers. . . he even told a man whose father was dying to leave his father and go with him. Matthew 10:37 goes so far as to say "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." This is a sin! The bible does not say "honor your father and mother, but honor Jesus more"!
These two (stealing and not honoring parents) are just two from a long list of sins of Jesus -- but even one sin shows that Jesus was not "without sin."
Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, begins at Sundown on Tuesday night. This holy day is misunderstood by many a missionary who seem to think that only on this day can Jews be forgiven for our sins. Missionaries often think that without blood there is no remission of sin. More than once I have been asked "How do Jews atone for sin without sacrifices?"
Sacrifices have never been necessary to atone for sin -- it was only one way to atone for some very specific sins (mostly minor). One can atone and repent at any time. The purpose of Yom Kippur is G-d's gift to us -- a day which atones whether we seek forgiveness or not. It is the day G-d comes to US rather than waiting for us to come to Him.
"For on this day G-d shall effect atonement for you to cleanse you. Before the L-rd, you shall be cleansed from all your sins.” Vayikra / Leviticus 16:30.
G-d shall effect atonement.
The day itself atones.
Rabbi [Y’udah HaNassi] says: Yom Kippur atones whether one repents or one does not repent. Talmud, Shevuot 13a.
The key to understanding the difference between Yom Kippur and every other day of the year is that we can turn to G-d at any time. On Yom Kippur G-d comes to us. Normally we bring sacrifices, or prayers, or acts of charity to G-d. We go to Him and we thank Him, or ask Him to forgive some wrong we did. We can do this at any time, all through the year. This is the difference between the Yom Kippur sacrifices and those mentioned in Vayikra / Leviticus 5-6 (4, too). All of those are about us going to Him. On Yom Kippur He comes to us.
The difference with Yom Kippur and all other days of the year is that instead of US asking Him for forgiveness -- He seeks us out and in His infinite kindness and mercy forgives us -- the day itself is the atonement.
Even in the days of the two Temples the various blood sacrifices did not atone for major sins and wrongdoings of the Jewish people. There are two major categories of sacrifices -- communal (those for the nation) and individual (for each person's wrong doings). . .
There was no sacrifice on Yom Kippur where an animal was sacrificed and this cleansed the Israelites sins. The offer brought on Yom Kippur that cleansed sins was the one where the scapegoat was not sacrificed. It was sent ALIVE into the wilderness.
The key to understanding the difference between Yom Kippur and every other day of the year is that we can turn to G-d at any time. On Yom Kippur G-d comes to us. Normally we bring sacrifices, or prayers, or acts of charity to G-d. We go to Him and we thank Him, or ask Him to forgive some wrong we did. We can do this at any time, all through the year. You asked about the difference between the sacrifices mentioned in Vayikra / Leviticus 5-6 (4, too) -- this is the difference. All of those are about us going to Him. On Yom Kippur He comes to us.
The difference with Yom Kippur and all other days of the year is that instead of US asking Him for forgiveness -- He seeks us out and in His infinite kindness and mercy forgives us -- the day itself is the atonement.
"On Yom Kippur, the day itself atones... as it is written, For on this day, it shall atone for you." Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance 1:3
It isn't the sacrifices which atone on Yom Kippur -- or even our prayers. It is the day itself which atones -- and this is what makes Yom Kippur so special. This is the day G-d comes seeking us (rather than the other way around).
There were individual and communal sacrifices on Yom Kippur described in Vayikra (Leviticus) 16 that atoned for very specific things -- but not for the sins of all of Israel. There was a sacrifice brought by the kohein gadol (high priest) for himself and his family. One for the kohein gadol and the other priests. . .The חַטָּאת cḥattat (accidental sins) and אָשָׁם asham sacrifices were PRIVATE offerings brought by INDIVIDUALS, not “atonement” offerings on behalf of the entire nation. The חַטָּאת chatat (sin sacrifice) was for a missing of the mark (you tried to do good but missed) and the אָשָׁם asham (guilt / tresspass sacrifice) was for three different types of violations:
1. unintentionally taking and using something from the holy Temple. The person must return the items, add 1/5th in restitution and bring an asham;
2. asham taluy is for when you aren't sure if you sinned or not, so just to be sure you bring an asham taluy. If later you discover that you did commit a cheit (accidental sin) you bring a chatat (sin offer);
3. asham g'zelot if you lied under oath defrauding someone of his things or money. In this case again you have to return the stolen things and add 1/5th to it as well as bring the asham g'zelot.The communal Yom Kippur (“Atonement Day”) ceremonies are detailed in chapter 16 of Vayikra (Leviticus), wher AN OX was offered for the kohein gadol (high priest) and all the other priests (verses 3, 6, 11) and two GOATS were offered for the nation (verses 5, 7-10, 15). As I already mentioned, the one sent away into the desert, and NOT killed was the one who symbolically “carryied away” the nation's sins.
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. Qorban 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.
Maimonides, aka the Rambam, suggested that qorban (sacrifice) was ordained as an accommodation of man's primitive desires. In his Guide to the Perplexed (3:46), the Rambam explains that the nations of the world that worshiped animals generally worshipped one of three domestic animals: either sheep (as did the Egyptians, Targum Onkeles Sh'mot / Exodus 8:22), goats (as in Vayikra / Leviticus 17:7) or cows (as in India, until today).
In order to remove any reverent thoughts for these animals from Jewish minds, Hashem commanded us to take specifically these three animals, and to slaughter them and burn them on the Mizbe'ach. (In ch. 3:32 of the Guide, the Rambam offers yet another approach to the matter of sacrifices).
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 key to understanding Yom Kippur is that man may atone for sins at any time -- through various means (prayer, repentance, kindness, charity. . .). On Yom Kippur G-d, in His infinite mercy, forgives us without our even asking. On Yom Kippur it is the day itself that atones (not goats, bulls, etc.).
Vayikra / Leviticus 16 speaks of the various sacrifices brought on Yom Kippur.
Vayikra / Leviticus 16:16 speaks of a specific sacrifice made for accidental defilement of the Temple (not general sins let alone "all" sins). Notice the use of the the word "unclean."
"He (the high priest) shall then slaughter the people's sin offering goat, and bring its blood into [the inner sanctuary] beyond the cloth partition. He shall do the same with this blood as he did with the bull's blood, sprinkling it both above the ark cover and directly toward the ark cover. With this, he will make atonement for the Israelites' defilement, as well as for their rebellious acts and all their inadvertent misdeeds." Vayikra / Leviticus 16:15-16.
The Torah says לְכָלחַטֹּאתָם, חַטָּאַת which means an unintentional sin. Here is Rashi's commentary:
"from the defilements of the children of Israel-. [i.e., atoning] for those who, while in [a state of] uncleanness, had entered the Sanctuary, and it never became known to them [that they had been unclean], for it says: לְכָלחַטֹּאתָם, חַטָּאַת denotes an unintentional sin. - [Torath Kohanim 16:42; Shev. 17b]and from their rebellions. [i.e., atoning] also [for] those who, in a state of uncleanness, willfully entered [the Sanctuary, thereby defiling it]. - [Torath Kohanim16:42; Shev. 17b]He shall do likewise to the Tent of Meeting.i.e., just as he had sprinkled from [the blood of] both [the bull and the he-goat] inside [the Holy of Holies, with] one sprinkling above and seven below, so shall he sprinkle from [the blood of] both [the bull and the he-goat] on the dividing curtain from the outside once above and seven times below. - [Torath Kohanim16:43; Yoma 56b]which dwells with them, [even] amidst their defilements. Although they are unclean, the Divine Presence is among them. - [Torath Kohanim 16:43; Yoma 56b]."
Likewise the priest sacrificed a bull for himself and his own household for the very same reason:
"When Aaron (the first high priest) enters [this inner] sanctuary, it must be with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. Aaron shall present his sin offering bull, and make atonement for himself and his (fellow priests)." Vayikra / Leviticus 16:3-11.
Most missionaries fail to mention the BULL's BLOOD that is sprinkled on the ark cover to atone for the priests' sins. If the goats blood covers "all" of the Jews then why do the priests have to bring this sacrifice?
Doesn't that blow the idea that somehow the goat sacrifice atoned for "all sins?" After all it is the blood of the bull which atones for any unintentional sins by the priests. It seems that most missionaries are skimming the chapter rather than reading it for the details.
They also miss the far from minor detail that it is the LIVE goat which carries away sins big and small:
"Aaron (the first high priest) shall press both his hands on the live goat's head, and he shall confess on it all the Israelites' sins, rebellious acts and inadvertent misdeeds. When he has thus placed them on the goat's head, he shall send it to the desert with a specially prepared man. The goat will thus carry all the sins away to a desolate area when it is sent to the desert." Vayikra / Leviticus 16:21-22.
No blood sacrifice!
Here is a link to R' Aryeh Kaplan's translation of Vayikra / Leviticus 16 (link).
Hopefully you've noticed that although there are indeed blood sacrifices brought on Yom Kippur when a Temple is standing (this is the only place G-d designated for sacrifices) -- the "big" sins did not have a sacrifice, even in the days of the Temple itself. The "scapegoat" was sent alive into the desert per the Torah. (The Talmud tells us that this goat was sent off of a cliff to its death to avoid it wandering back into town bringing back all the sins! But, this is NOT a "sacrifice" -- it is one of those rabbinical fences missionaries do not "believe" in).
From 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. . .
1:2] The goat that is sent to Azazel is (likened to a sacrifice) for forgiveness for all Israel;therefore, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) recites a verbal confession that includes all Israel, as it is written, "And he shall confess on it, all the transgressions of Israel." (Leviticus 16:21).
This goat atones for all transgressions in the Torah: both those punishable by death and not punishable by death; intentional sins and unintentional sins; those the transgressor is aware of, and those of which he is unaware. This applies only if one repents. If one does not repent, the goat atones only for the light sins
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 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. The Day of Atonement is not the "only" day sins could be forgiven -- sins can be forgiven at any time. It is a special day when G-d comes to us, and when the day itself atones.
Since "sin" in Hebrew means a missing of the mark (you tried to do right and you "missed") what does G-d say about more serious wrongdoings? If they aren't sin, what are they?
What happens if a person commits manslaughter (or theft, or beating someone up) -- acts that were impulsive actions people know are wrong but they "just can't help themselves." These are not "sin" -- there is another term for them in the bible. These are called Avon / עוון (impulsive, lustful acts -- a person couldn't control their urges).
But if Jesus "died for your sins" (totally unbiblical) then he died for your mistakes and not your "big" transgressions. The Christian bible doesn't say that Jesus died for your Avon / עוון or even worse actions!
What about things worse than sin or Avon / עוון? What about things like pre-planned murder, or other evils that are wilfful wrongdoing in defiance of G-d (you know it is wrong, you know G-d forbids it and you defy Him). These are called pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע in the T'nach.
Again, Jesus (per the Christian bible) did not die for your avon / עוון or your pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע --- but just for your mistakes???
In reality human sacrifices are forbidden. No one can die for your sins, your avon / עוון or your pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע. More serious wrongdoings could not be atoned for with blood sacrifices at all
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 (sacrifice), and neither can a pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע. 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; The generic Hebrew word for any kind of wrongdoing is aveira / עבירה. This is a feminine noun (nouns are either feminine or masculine in Hebrew)..
Cheit / חטא (translated by Christians as sin) translates to a mistake -- a person tried to do the right thing and "missed." For individuals a In Shoftim / Judges 20:16 a group of men are described as "All these could sling a stone at a hair-breadth and not miss." A cheit / חטא could be atoned for with a sacrifice. It was only one of two types of wrong doings which could be atoned for with sacrifice.
Avon / עוון (translated by Christians as iniquity) is an impulsive act of lust or uncontrollable urges. An avon/ עוון (unless it falls under the אָשָׁם תָּלוּי / asham talui or or אָשָׁם גְּזֵל֣וֹת / asham g'zelot) cannot be rectified with a qorban (sacrifice). So what are these two sacrifices which can be brought for an avon/ עוון? They are discussed in Vayikra / Leviticus chapter 5.
Those were the only two types of Avon / עוון (translated by Christians as iniquity) which a person could bring a sacrifice for (an asham / guilt sacrifice). Any other type of Avon / עוון must be atoned for with other actions including charity, prayer, repentance (see the list below). If the sacrifice for either a sin sacrifice or guilt sacrifice was brought it had to meet the following criteria:
1. Is an animal which is physically without blemish; a ram for the Asham (Vayikra / Lev. 5:14); a female goat for the Chatat (sin offering) (Vayikra / Lev. 4:28); male animals or birds for the Olah. (Vayikra / Lev. 1:3, 10, 14). (Olah, translated as "burnt sacrifice" was a voluntary sacrifice generally brought to thank G-d, but sometimes brought for impure thoughts, not deeds).
2. They are all slaughtered in the holy area of the temple and their blood is poured around the outside altar (Vayikra / Lev. 1:4, 4:30; 7:2);
3. Parts of the Asham and Chatat (sin offering) are burnt on top of the altar. All of the Olah (elevation / burnt offering) is burnt there. (Vayikra / Lev. 1:7-8; 4:31; 7:3-5) 4. The Asham and Chatat (sin offering) must be eaten by the priests as opposed to the Olah. (Vayikra / Lev. 6:19; 7:6-7) which is consumed by the fire.
Jews eat kosher animals only – and humans are not kosher. The asham sacrifice can NOT BE A PERSON.
Now, what about the wrongdoings which are worse than making a mistake (the "sin") or a lusftul action you didn't control (guilt)?
Pĕsha' / פֶּֽשַׁע 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. 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;
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), cheit (18:24), pesha (18:28), pesha and avon (18:30) are all atoned through repentance.
"By loving kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for..." (Mishlei / 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..." (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.
Here is a list showing different things that atone for different types of wrongdoing that disprove the statement in Hebrews 9:22 that
without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
2 Shmuel 12:13-14 / 2 Samuel 12:13-14 is a cheit (David admits to sin before Nathan the prophet and repents)
Yonah / 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
Vayikra / Leviticus 26:40-42 speaks of avon and repentence atoning for it
Yechezkel / Ezekiel 18:21-32 speaks of chatat (21), pesha (22), chatat (24), pesha (28), pesha and avon (30) are all atoned through repentance
Mishlei / 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)
Hoshea / Hosea 14:2-3 teshuva (turning to G-d) and 1prayer atones for avon
1 Melachim 8:46-50 / 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
Yeshayahu / Isaiah 27:9 both chatat and avon are atoned by removing idolatry
Yeshayahu / Isaiah 40:1-2 avon is removed by punishment
Eichah / Lamentations 4:22 avon is removed by punishment
Yeshayahu / 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)
Sh'mot / Exodus 30:15-16 to atone for the life-force (similar to blood in Leviticus 17:11)
Bamidbar / Numbers 31:50 to atone for the life-force (similar to blood in Leviticus 17:11)
Bamidbar / Numbers 17:11-12 atonement for the Israelites "for there is wrath" Per Rashi 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).
Hopefully this post shows that "sin" is not defined in the bible as Christians have come to define it. It also shows that blood is not necessary for the remission of sin, and that serious wrongdoings could never be atoned for with blood sacrifices, but that prayer, repentence and other methods have always atoned for wrongdoings -- both accidental and intentional.
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.
No where does the Jewish bible state we have to be perfect or keep the mitzvot "perfectly." G-d MADE us imperfect just as He created good and evil -- so that we could choose the right path and learn. If we do not sin (if we were perfect) we would not grow -- and G-d would not even have made us!
From a post quoting R' Yisroel Blumenthal (in response to a missionary named Michael Brown):
No where does the Jewish bible state we have to be perfect or keep the mitzvot "perfectly." G-d MADE us imperfect just as He created good and evil -- so that we could choose the right path and learn. If we do not sin (if we were perfect) we would not grow -- and G-d would not even have made us!
The missionary assumption is that unless one attains absolute perfection (which he cannot), all is lost. Brown should read the verse again. It says,
"There is no RIGHTEOUS person..who never sins."
The person who does a sin is still righteous!
One of the verses most devastating to Original Sin is 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."
G-d's majestic statement of man's ability to overcome evil is brushed aside by Dr. Brown, and his answer is terrible: "But it is one thing to overcome a particular sin. It is another to be free from the grip of sin in general" (p. 193).
If Cain can free himself from this sin, why can't he free himself from any sin? Also, what is meant by "the grip of sin in general"? If he means that no one is 51% righteous, this is manifestly not true. Must one be 70% righteous (or 80%, or 90%) to transcend "the grip." Perhaps Dr. Brown believes that a 99% righteous person is under "the grip of sin", but would he justify a teacher who failed a student with a 99 average?
This belief that absolute perfection is required is the real backbone of Original Sin, as Dr. Brown admits that people can do much good. What is the Scriptural proof that only perfection earns G-d's favor? There is none whatsoever. It can be asserted only by a faulty reading of Deuteronomy 27:26. It says, "Cursed is one who does not uphold (yakeem) the words of this Torah to do them."
Since no one fulfills Torah with total perfection, all are damned and require "salvation." This missionary interpretation cannot make sense of the eleven curses (applied to eleven specific sins) that appear before this verse. If Deuteronomy 27:26 sets a curse for any single violation of Torah, the eleven prior curses are totally superfluous (Samuel Levine).
Missionaries also make a subtle but devastating grammatical error. While y'kayaim means to fulfill, yakeem is a different construct meaning "cause to stand up", "confirm", "uphold". This verse is not saying that unless one fulfills Torah flawlessly, he is cursed. One who does not accept the mitzvot, in whole or in part, fails to "uphold" the Torah, but the commission of a specific sin is not the subject here. This reading is faithful to the grammar and is totally consistent with Torah's frequent injunctions to choose good and make amends for wrong behavior. The missionary viewpoint paints G-d as an anti-Semite who curses Israel with commandments they cannot obey (Samuel Levine).
At no point does Dr. (Michael) Brown attempt to integrate the verses he cites with the many hundreds of verses that stress free will, the opportunity to do good and amend wrongs, and descriptions of righteous people who earned G-d's favor. Let us cite only one of them: "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 ('varim / Deuteronomy 30:11)."
Dr. Brown provides not a single verse to support Original Sin. There is also no support that one must be a perfect individual to earn G-d's favor. Original Sin was unknown before Christianity, not because ancient Jews did not read carefully but because Original Sin is not in the Hebrew Bible at all.
Rabbi Blumenthal's original post and many other excellent thoughts may be found on his blog "Your Pharisee Friend."
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.