Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FacePlant of the Day - Debunking Christianity: Why the Crucifixion ofJesus was a Waste and Rejected as Atonement by Yahweh (God)

Harry McCall has written a blog post that attempts to show that Jesus' crucifixion does not atone for sin because it does not fit the Old Testament paradigm. This is an important issue that should be closely examined.

A. The Roman method of crucifixion, which included the beating Jesus received before he was nailed to the cross, was done by non-consecrated pagan gentile men who were not set apart as holy in God’s sight. Plus the fact that Jesus’ beating and crucifixion generally was not any different from the thousands of other rebels and criminals the Romans made examples out of. (1)

The closest Old Testament sacrifice that most closely foreshadows what Jesus did is the Day of Atonement. Those rituals are where one should look to see the parallels. The day-to-day sacrifices was offered for an individual by an individual through a priest. The Day of Atonement was performed by the High Priest on behalf  of the whole Jewish nation. The fact that Jesus was killed by Gentiles shows that the sacrifices is about all people not just Jews.

B. There is no recorded sacrificial animal in the Hebrew Bible that was ever tortured or made to suffer as atonement to God. The animal was ritualistically sacrificed with a knife, and bled to death quickly. Afterwards, its whole body was brunt (or only its fat and organs burnt) with the sweet smell in the form of smoke of the burning flesh rising up to God.

Of course the animal was not mean  not mean to be sacrificed. The wrath of God was not being poured out on the animal.  The animal was a stand-in for the person. This was a substitution. Death was not enough. It had to be be a man. Blood innocent of all sin because animals could not justly take our place.  Not sin offering! Not all sin offering were burnt offering. Notice in Numbers 6:11 there is a distinction made between burnt offering and sin offerings. They are not always equivalent. Jesus as a sin offering offered in propitiation for us.

By contrast, Jesus was purposely made to suffer under pagan gentile Roman law (not under God’s law as found in Leviticus 1-18). Jesus was neither quickly killed by proper bleeding, nor was his body burnt as recorded in the Gospels. Also even the innocent women, children and babies who were slain with the sword at Jericho and Ai died quickly and then their bodies were burnt so Yahweh could enjoy the sweet aroma of cooking flesh (Joshua 6: 21 & 24).

The people killed at Jericho and Ai were not sin offerings. 

Counter to this fact, Jesus’ death failed to qualify as a consecrated sacrifice under any of the Priestly laws of the Hebrew Bible. Again, Jesus’ body was not burnt as a human sacrifice as set by the examples in the in the Hebrew Bible (the Book of Leviticus), and thus Yahweh (God) could not feast upon the smell of its smoke.

There is nothing that says that a sin offering must be a burnt offering. 

C. No sacrificial animal, be it human or beast, could still be alive (that is resurrected) after the act of sacrifice was completed and still be a true offering to God. Its life (as carried in its blood) was drained and the victim was sealed in death to God forever in the heavens by the rising smoke from the burning sacrificial flesh.

No where does the Bible say that - Old or New Testaments. Jesus' Resurrection is the guarantee that his sacrifice was accepted. 

Keep in mind that the sacrificial system was always meant to be replaced by something greater.

“The multitude of your sacrifices—
    what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
    of rams and the fat of fattened animals; 
I have no pleasure 
    in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. - Isaiah 1:10-12

It was a stop gap. A picture of Jesus. 

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but a body you prepared for me; - Hebrews 10:3-5

D. No one single one time offering ever atoned once for every sin of the Jewish people, much less all those of the entire future gentile world (contra Paul’s theology in Romans). Plus the fact that Jesus is said to be sinless is only a subjective truth: To the educated religious Jews, he was a Godless blasphemer. To the Christians, he was the perfect sinless lamb of God. .

See Hebrews 10. I don't see how Jesus' see how Jesus' sinlessness could be subjective. Either he kept the law or he didn't. No one dared bring up a single fault. Even Pilate found no fault in him. Those same "educated Jews" knew Jesus was blood innocent. He had done nothing wrong. For proof look at their reaction when Judas tried to give back the money they had given him for betraying Jesus to them.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”[a - Matthew 27:3-10

E. There are also two other major factors that would reject the death of Jesus as a sacrifice:
1. Jesus’ blood was shed away from the Temple’s altar on non-consecrated ground.

There are several examples  of examples of God accepting sacrifices that had nothing to do with the Temple's altar. For example: Elijah's sacrifice on Mt Carmel. And what about all the sacrifices offered before the temple was even built? What? Aaron's sacrifices as Israel's first High Priest didn't count? Better try that one again.

2. The theology of the late Priestly School that compiled the Levitical Law which controlled the Torah, would have never allowed nor accepted any human sacrifice.

It's not really a question of what the Levitical Law would allow or accept. What does God allow and accept? The thing to remember is that none of us are good enough to atone for our sins. It is like trying to pay off the national debt with a penny. We owe a debt we could never pay and Jesus paid that for those who will accept that gift. 

Plus another problem for the early Christians who were seeking to validate the life of Jesus with proof texts from the LXX (and Hebrew Bible) was the fact that the Jewish scriptures (Deut. 21:22 - 23) condemns a person who is hung on a tree as a sinner rejected by God. This problem gives us an insight into just how Paul’s hermeneutics (Gal. 3: 13) reworked the plain meaning of this text when dealing with Jesus.

Finally, the problem of Jesus bleeding to death as he was crucified between two criminals (who were also executed in the same exact same manner) caused a major theological problem. To counter this, medieval artists painted the two other criminals as being simply tied to their crosses (in contrast to Jesus who was the only one the artist depicted as nailed to his cross). This church art work was often commissioned to leave no doubt that it was and could only have been Jesus who shed his blood as a sacrificial atonement for the sin of the world.

So because some people changed the situation to on the cross to fit with their sensibilities, we should accept that as proof that Jesus' was just killed and his death held no greater significant. That is a real poor argument. Contrast that with what Paul said. 

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” - Galatians 3:13

Perfectly fits with scripture
End Notes
1. See Josephus, The Jewish War Book 2, Chapter 308 and Philo In Flaccum 72; 84-85.
2. J. Milgrom, Sacrifices and Offering in the Old Testament in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible: Supplementary Volume, edited by K. Crim ( Nashville, Abingdon Press 1976) pp. 763 - 771).
Harry McCall 

The reason why the Resurrection is so important is that it validates the fact that the sacrifice was accepted. 

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead,freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.25 David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
    Because he is at my right hand,
    I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    you will not let your holy one see decay. 
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence.’[e]
29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.”’[f]
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” -Acts 2:22-36

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