Referenced Messianic Jewish Review Blog

The official blog of the Referenced Messianic Jewish Review. The Referenced Messianic Jewish Review studies the history, composition and theology of the Messianic Jewish movement.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Temple Sacrifice Versus Jesus

One of the great errors of the Messianic movement is claiming that Jesus' death was a sin sacrifice. In truth, there is nothing remotely similar between Jesus' death and the actual sacrifices at the Holy Temple. Biblical law is entirely clear that Jesus' death is not a legal form of sin sacrifice. For a sin sacrifice, the only allowable items were cows, sheep, goats, a few types of birds and flour. Yes, the Bible allows flour as a sacrifice for the poor-the entire idea that a "blood sacrifice" was necessary is simply un-Biblical. Humans were not on the list of sacrifices. The sin sacrifice ceremony was done by the Kohanim, the priests, and the Bible prescribes the details of the ritual with specific laws. The sacrifice was done at the Holy Temple, or prior to the Holy Temple being built, at the Tabernacle. The sacrifice was for past sins. All of the above are the mandatory laws of Biblical sin sacrifice.

Now, let's look at Jesus. He was a man who was killed by the Romans on a cross away from the Holy Temple. If we compare his death to a sacrifice, there are many Biblical legal problems. The sacrificial item is Biblically illegal. The ceremony was incorrect and done by the wrong people at the wrong place. Moreover, Messianics claim that his death removes sin that occurred roughly 2000 years after his death. Biblical law prescribes that sacrifice removes past sins, not future sins.

When I point this out to Messianics, I have gotten the response that I am being too "legalistic." But do you think G-d gave these laws for no good reason? Do you think that G-d gave them to be ignored? I, and the rest of true Judaism, believe that G-d gave laws because G-d wanted them followed.

Let me finish with a comparison. Let us compare the legality of Jesus' death as "sacrifice" to legal driving. To be as off on legal driving as Jesus' death is to a real sacrifice, you would have to have an underaged child driving a non-street legal vehicle backwards down a sidewalk. In the driving analogy, there is clearly the wrong person driving the wrong vehicle, using the wrong method of driving and in the wrong location. All of these were also wrong with Jesus. With Jesus' death we see the wrong sacrificial item (Jesus), wrong people offering sacrifice (Romans), wrong method (cross) and at the wrong place (away from the Temple). Plus, the idea that a sacrifice can be applied to sins centuries after the "sacrifice" was made is Biblically wrong.