Jesus the Sin Offering and the Priest

Part of this post is an excerpt from my book He Who Bleeds available on amazon.com

Is God angry, raging and vengeful? Animal sacrifice? What a barbaric custom!  Gruesome, even cruel.  No wonder many Christian theologians separate the angry God of the Old Testament from the loving God of the New Testament.   

Who is Who?

There is a gospel in the Old Testament.  Jesus opened the Old Testament scriptures to the disciples on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection.

Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  Luke 24:27

What is animal sacrifice?  I mean, what is it all about?   I know it is representative, but who is who?  I mean, who is the animal representing?  Maybe he is representing me, and I should die for my sin, but the innocent animal dies in my place so God can forgive me.  Is this really what is going on?

What if, in the gospel according to the First Covenant, the sacrificial animal takes the representative role of the victim of that sin?  To find the answer we must look into the ceremony of Atonement.

Atonement is a Legal Term

The Hebrew word in the Strong’s concordance is #3722 kaphar[1].  An example of kaphar as a legal term is in Isaiah 28:18 “your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand;” A covenant is a legally binding agreement, like a contract.  Disannulment  brings the contract to a legal end.  Disannulment frees the signers from further contract liability.  Disannulment is atonement, kaphar.

Atonement as referred to in Mosaic Law is the waiving of the required legal punishment.  Sins for which atonement is made are covered.  They are covered from the punishment of the law.  The process of atonement does not negate the need for repentance and restitution.  On the contrary, confession, repentance and making restitution are necessary steps to atonement[2].  According to Leviticus, after these first steps had been accomplished, then the priest shall make an atonement for him.

The Priest is the Acting Intercessor

How did the priest make an atonement for the sinner?  What did the priest do?  

In a case where the sinner confesses and repents to the victim, as long as the victim is satisfied with the repentance, they may declare peace with one another, and the incident is over. Like Jesus said in Matthew 5:25,  Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him.  There is no need for the law to step in and provide an intercessor.   But what if the sinner repents, and still the victim refuses to make peace?  Then there is need for the law to provide an intercessor.  The intercessor acts in the place of the defrauded victim and makes an atonement for the repentant sinner.   

The earthly pattern that God gave Moses for atonement had two parts.  These were two actors, so to speak, in this earthly pre-enactment of the necessary action in the heavens.  The sacrificial animal and the priest both represent the victim of the sin.  The animal loses his life as the victim who has been defrauded of a portion of his life.  The priest, in the place of the victim, makes atonement, in other words, waives the charges against the sinner. 

            Ceremonially, two actors were needed because the animal could lay down his life, but could not intelligently waive the charges.  The priest could waive the charges, but could not die or suffer equal defraudment for every sin he atoned.  So, the priest was required to eat the sin offering[3] to make himself one with the animal who was taking on the position of the victim.  It was imperative upon the priest that he eat the sin offering, and only the priest who offered the sacrifice was allowed to eat it. 

Because the priest representatively becomes the victim of my sin, he has the right to press charges against me or to waive the charges.  

What did he do?  The priest waived the charges in the stead of the victim and atonement was made.

            Jesus was able to be both sin offering and priest.  Jesus was “touched with the feeling of our infirmities[4].  He accepted the weight of pain and grief caused by every sin ever committed bearing it in his own body on the cross.  He is the Victim of all our sin, and He could choose to press charges or to waive the charges against us.  Thank God, he chose to intercede in the proceedings that were against us making atonement for our sins, not pressing the charges.  Only the victim or one who legally stands in the victim’s stead can do that.  Jesus is the True Victim who holds the right to forgive every sin; and he is our High Priest who “ever liveth to make intercession for us”.[5] 

Let’s go back to where we started.  Is this a barbaric picture of animal sacrifice?  Gruesome, even cruel?  Maybe; but who is cruel, God? or the sinner? 

Sin is cruel, and Jesus came to take away sin.

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29  

[1] 3722  kaphar {kaw-far’} From Strong’s Concordance
Meaning:  1) to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch 1a) to coat or cover with pitch  1b1) to cover over, pacify, propitiate 1b2) to cover over, atone for sin, make atonement for 1b3) to cover over, atone for sin and persons by legal rites 1c1) to be covered over 1c2) to make atonement for 1d) to be covered
Origin:  a primitive root
Usage:  AV – atonement 71, purge 7, reconciliation 4, reconcile 3, forgive 3, purge away 2, pacify 2, atonement…made 2, merciful 2, cleansed 1, disannulled 1, appease 1, put off 1, pardon 1, pitch 1; 102

[2] Leviticus 6:4-7  Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found,  5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.  6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest:  7 And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.

[3] Leviticus 6:26  The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.

[4] Hebrews 4:15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

[5] Hebrews 7:25  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

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Passing the Inheritance to Little Brothers

Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven…” 

God is not only Jesus’ father; He is our father also.  He is Father in many ways.  As the Creator, He is the father of all His creation.   He is the father to all humankind because He created man in His own image, as it says “male and female created he them.”  He is our father because of creation, and in that sense we are his sons.   He is the father of Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God. Now we are getting to the point.  A father gives his inheritance to his children. The inheritance of the Creator is everything that the creator owns, and God is the estate owner of all heaven and earth.  God has given His inheritance to His Firstborn, Jesus Christ.  Jesus by inheritance is the owner all things.

 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth… Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, … And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. … No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. … Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.  … And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.  … Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: …  Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.  … The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,  … He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
 The above quotes are found in order as follows: Genesis 1:1, Exodus 20:11, Genesis 1:31, John 1:18, Hebrews 1:4, Hebrews 9:15, Matthew 25:34, Colossians 3:24, Ephesians 1:18, Revelation 21:7                 

Estate Owners

What happens when an estate owner dies? The executor reads the will and testament of the one who died and must remit the inheritance to the heirs.  Before his death, the estate owner owns all things.  The heirs may not take their inheritance until the death of the owner.  Death is required before the inheritance may be disseminated.

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Matthew 17:5 

Jesus is the only begotten son of Father God.  Twice during his life on earth God said, This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.[1] Jesus was the fully matured son, the son who was ready to take over his father’s business.  He owned and had authority over all the estate of God the Father. Because Jesus was the True Firstborn, the only full heir of the Father under the First Covenant, at his death he had the authority to bequeath that same inheritance to his many brethren[2] under his own will and testament, the New Covenant[3].

 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal  inheritance.  For where a testament [a will] is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament [a will] is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Hebrews 9:15-17

Jesus is the Testator, the Estate Owner, of the Second Covenant who had to die as the son over his own house[4] to bequeath the eternal inheritance to His many brethren. In His death as the Testator of the Second Testament, he bequeathed the promise of eternal inheritance to all who would come to God by him.

 Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.   1 John 3:23  

He is the firstborn of many brethren,[5] and this is the inheritance bought for us by redemption through His blood.[6]

[1] Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5
[2] Romans 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
[3] Hebrews 8:7  For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
[4] Heb.3:6
[5] Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
[6] Colossians 1:14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

The Word of Reconciliation

For Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement

Only one who has accepted the pain of suffering can understand the forgiveness of reconciliation.

 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Philippians 3:10-11

To forgive without the requirement of repentance is the beginning of reconciling the world to God.

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;
and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Scenario: A wife is falsely accused by her husband. (It makes no difference if the matter is small or great.) She recounts the facts to him as she knows them. He disregards her words and makes more cutting statements.
She may:
1. grow angry and hold him to pay by her angry coldness until he admits his wrong at which time she will forgive him.
2. forgive his sin not holding him to its charges.

What will become of this husband? What will become of this wife? If the wife makes the choice  of forgiveness # 2, the husband will be committed to the merciful justice of God, instead of being held to the punishment of the lawful charges of the wife. The wife, in taking the second choice, is committing herself to Him who judges righteously, according to I Peter 2:23.

Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not;
but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.

NO NEED TO FEAR
There is nothing in this world or the next that can induce Father God to ignore the suffering of the innocent.
He will avenge the innocent, but He is just.

Will He allow the perpetrator to fall into double jeopardy?

REQUIRE VENGEANCE  OR  RELEASE VENGEANCE

Either the victim will require the vengeance of the Law, or the victim will release vengeance into the hands of The Righteous Judge. Reconciliation of the earth can only be accomplished through all vengeance being released into the hands of Him who said, “I will repay.”(1) The prescriptions of the Law are weak (2). They cannot purge sin from the conscience of the sinner. Only the Merciful Almighty can find the individual prescription that will purge each sinner(3). Only He can bring the sinner to complete repentance. His vengeance will not stop short of a purged conscience.

He has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

FOOTNOTES:

(1)Romans 12:19for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

Psalm 94:1  “ O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.”

(2)Romans 8:3  “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”

(3) Hebrews 9:14  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The Ashen Altar – A Poem for the Day of Atonement

Let me live in the fire of the Ashen Altar,
Living sacrifice accepted above,
Laying my life down that others may live;
Just like my Lord has done.

“Follow me,” he calls, “in Death is Life.
The Fire has Resurrection power.
Your life laid down shall rise again
And multiply heavenly deeds.”

The title, Upon the Ashen Altar,  refers to the pile of ashes outside the camp of Israel where the ashes from the Altar of Sacrifice were dumped.  On the Day of Atonement each year, the bullock and the goat of Atonement were burned, outside the camp, upon those ashes.
(see Leviticus 4:12 and Leviticus 16:27)

Hebrews 13:10-13
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.   For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin [on the Day of Atonement], are burned outside the camp.   Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.   Let us go forth therefore unto him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.

The Warrior Maiden – A Poem

Brandishing burnished Sword
Transparent in armour of Light
There stands the Warrior Maiden
Prepared for the darkest of night.

A curtain sliced through;
A way opened up;
Enters the Maiden
And drains the bloody cup.

Her life on the Altar
Long now has lain,
But up she has risen
Atonement to gain

For those who have hurt her
By whom she was slain.
She calls to the Judge,
“Forgive them my pain.”

Light pierces through;
The Earth opens up;
Stands forth her Beloved,
“You have drunk of my Cup.”

The two who are one
All infirmities feeling
Now spread out their hands
In forgiveness and healing.

Ector Ward, copyright 2006

Thank you Thursday Poets Rally for the Perfect Poets Award.

I nominate Harry Nicholson for the next award.