"For you don't want sacrifices, or I would give them; you don't take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; God, you won't spurn a broken, chastened heart. Psalm 51:16


Reflections - Tel Aviv

Reflections - Tel Aviv

In Sacrifice, we discussed the various sacrifices specified in Leviticus 1-5.

We noted that, although some were offerings for sin and involved placing one's hands on the animal's head as it was slaughtered, to give atonement, the whole burnt offering (for instance) is a voluntary, free-will offering.

So, does that mean atonement is optional; if the sacrifice is a matter of free will?

No! But atonement can only be made after the sin has been acknowledged and repented of; once one has made a decision to turn away from the sin and not do it again.

Think about all the times the prophets said that God does not want their sacrifices or even, that he can't stand their sacrifices?

1 Samuel 15:22 Sh'mu'el said, "Does Adonai take as much pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying what Adonai says? Surely obeying is better than sacrifice, and heeding orders than the fat of rams.

Isaiah 1:11 "Why are all those sacrifices offered to me?" asks Adonai. "I'm fed up with burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened animals! I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls, lambs and goats!

Hoshea 6:6 For what I desire is mercy, not sacrifices, knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Micah 6:6 "With what can I come before Adonai to bow down before God on high? Should I come before him with burnt offerings? with calves in their first year? Would Adonai take delight in thousands of rams with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Could I give my firstborn to pay for my crimes, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" Human being, you have already been told what is good, what Adonai demands of you — no more than to act justly, love grace and walk in purity with your God.

Amos 5:22 If you offer me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; nor will I consider the peace offerings of your stall-fed cattle.

Psalm 40:6 Sacrifices and grain offerings you don't want; burnt offerings and sin offerings you don't demand. Instead, you have given me open ears; so then I said, "Here I am! I'm coming!

Psalm 51:16 For you don't want sacrifices, or I would give them; you don't take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; God, you won't spurn a broken, chastened heart.

The secret lies in the fact that no sacrifice can provide atonement unless there has first been repentance.

Repentance (teshuva in Hebrew) means turning around - a complete change of direction from doing what was wrong.

The confession of sins over the head of a sacrificial animal is not sufficient unless there has been a decision to break with the sin. If you go through the ritual while planning to carry on sinning, it achieves nothing. You can't be made right by going through a ritual while still planning to go on sinning!

This must also be true of the sacrifice Yeshua/Jesus made for us. We must repent as we claim the forgiveness available to us due to his sacrifice.

Check out the story of Manessah, Israel's worst king, (2 Chronicles 33:10) but he repented and was restored.

We Christians often say, "How can Jews be forgiven without the sacrifice of Jesus to atone for them?" but it is not that simple. Repentance is what really counts.

Is this to say that Dual Covenant theology is OK?

I don't think so because that would mean that Jews will be made righteous by trusting in the Covenant of Moses and following all of its commandments, something that proved impossible. The other problem is that legalistic keeping of Torah commands leads to self-righteousness, and God can't stand that.

Also, Moses himself spoke of a prophet like himself, and the need to obey him; not just rely on Moses.

Deuteronomy 18:15 " will raise up for you a prophet like me from among yourselves, from your own kinsmen. You are to pay attention to him,"



Posted 14/03/16

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