Answering Rabbis

 written 2002



Answers to issues raised by Jewish anti-Christian arguments. The quotes in purple are from Rabbi tovia Singer.




Can you keep the law?
You try and keep the law but you cant keep it, then you add lots more insignificant laws and make it even harder. However God has made it clear that what He really wants from us all is love and faith. “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen more than the fat of Rams.” 1Sam 15,22. We should obey out of love and faith and not just duty. That is why David was given repentance and not Saul. Laws are only an approximation of what God really wants from us.
What if God were to help us to please Him by giving us His own perfect attitude to replace our own efforts and self centered motivations? What if God were to wipe out all our sins, clean our conscience and actually replace our heart with one that beats like His own? This is prophesied in Ezekiel twice. “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,” Eze 11,19.
Lord Jesus said if we eat Him we get spiritual life and if we drink the water He gives us we will never thirst.
He said He was like the true Vine and we were to be like branches in Him, trusting Him for goodness and power.
He said He would lay down His life for us and take it up again.
He told us the work we do is to believe in Him, He fulfilled the laws and the prophets, therefore if we follow Him we also keep the law and do much more than just keeping the law.
Abraham was also justified by faith before he had the law and circumcision.

When will the Messiah come?
It has been about 3300 years since Moses, and about 2000 since God performed notable works or miracles in Israel or produced great prophets. After the exile to Babylon God drew the hearts of His people back and gave them prophets. They were only in exile for 40 years. After the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 one would expect God to have brought back the Jews fairly quickly to their land., after all, most Israelites at that time were law abiding and the sacrificial system was in place. Did they really deserve such judgment?
In recent times We have seen God helping Israel again but why the silence for 2000 years?

Don’t you think the Messiah should have come by now and changed a few things; like deliverance from sin and Satan, as well as deliverance from physical enemies?

We can see through the torah a pattern in the way God deals with people. Initially only 2 people knew God. When they became independent of God then only the first born descendants of Adam were blessed by God. After Abraham only a ‘people group’ were blessed by God. Something needed to happen to fulfill the prophesies that the gentiles would trust in the God of Israel.

The temporary nature of Ordinances
The laws and ordinances put in place were obviously temporary and were meant to be upgraded when the Messiah came. Traditions like, the Temple, sacrifice, having the king and war, pointed symbolically to a greater reality.
There is a duality or a tension between what Israel had to do then and what God really wanted and intended for His people in the future.

Temple: “Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool, what house you will build for me”; God wanted his Holy presence to live among and in His people, but in a non permanent transient way.

Monarchy: God preferred to control His people more directly though judges and prophets to, but they wanted a king. God Gave them one as the kings would bring in the Messiah’s rule.

Sacrifice: “I desired mercy not sacrifice..” God wanted His people to bring sacrifice with the right heart and with repentance, but God also wanted more than this as animals can never really pay for our sin. Again this points to Christ.

War: God did not enjoy the way that Israel had to kill thousands and wipe out people groups. God showed He cared about the ignorant and evil Ninavites and sent a reluctant prophet, who had to get eaten by a fish before he could save a nation from destruction. Israel on the whole was not capable of helping other nations to repent so they had to judge them instead. But God wanted more than this; a covenant where His people can help the Gentiles.


Dual Prophesy?
 “The text in seventh chapter of Isaiah does not imply a second fulfillment. The notion of a dual prophecy is thoroughly unbiblical.

Did God intend for his inspired Scripture to have a secondary (or tertiary) hidden meaning, not intended by the writer?
With reference to Isaiah 7:14-16, God calls this child a sign, and calls his name Immanuel (God with us). I agree this prophesy was not intended by the writer to be specifically about the Messiah, but it is a bit too coincidental to dismiss. I don’t know if Isaiah him-self knew that chapters 53, 11 and 59; 20-21 were about the Messiah, but all these writers received revelation from the Lord’s Spirit to write about things which they sometimes did not understand, whether the context was Messianic or not. There are so many Scriptural descriptions of Jesus that they cannot just be accidental.

Why should it seem out of Character to have a more profound, dual interpretation? We need God’s revelation to look through the apparent and to see what is behind. Jesus used parables to teach so that only people in whose heart God was working could understand them. Of course this does mean that prophesy can be misconstrued to suit the wrong motives of the selfish individuals.

There are not many passages that specifically state that they are about the Messiah, so how do you know they are, and what sort of Messiah are you expecting? Even in Isaiah 9;6 which is obviously describing the Messiah, the words ‘Messiah, Christ or Anointed One’ or similar are not used. Verse six describes a child who is born to rule for ever and name is basically God! Isaiah 11 is one of the clearest passages in scripture about the Messiah, (contrasting the meekness and kingliness of Christ) but here the only name we have for Him is “shoot from the stump of Jesse”; which is a metaphor.

Even if we ignore all of the dual prophesies we still have Isaiah 42; 1-4 and Isaiah 52/53, Isaiah 9:6 and a few others that only have one meaning and application. Isaiah 42 is a little, seemingly out of place snippet of prophesy which speaks directly about the messiah and only has one meaning. It cannot be about anyone else because of verse 4.


“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations.  2,  He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;  3, a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.  4, He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. “

God injects patterns of something higher in all His deeds, creation is full of symbolism and patterns. We have the number 3 used particularly with reference to revival and new life. Some examples:
Hosea 6:2 – third day revived
-2Kings 19:28-30 – third year fruitful
-Jonah 1:17- Jonah being delivered from the fish on the third day, and the Lord Jesus’ resurrection.



Psalm 22 – Both David and Jesus?

“The opening verse explicitly names King David as the author.  Consequently, this is a historical psalm rather than a messianic one.  The author does not consider himself someone who can provide salvation, and certainly not one who is divine! Rather, he calls himself a worm (Ps 22:7[6]) whose only salvation can come from G-d.”

Psalm 22 describes Jesus’ Sufferings on the tree or cross very well, it could almost have been written by Him. Did Jesus’ disciples read this and deceitfully describe the events of the crucifixion or did Jesus read them and design the events of His life in order to accomplish the prophesies? Both scenarios are unlikely especially as they would have known in themselves and would not have believed their own words.

This is obviously David writing from personal experience, but God is capable of ordering his Psalm writing in such a way that it can apply to someone else. Having said that, it is hard to imagine David having experienced such things; e.g. when were his clothes divided and gambled away and when were his hands and feet injured?

“Ps 37:25(KJV) – I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. This would then imply that, since Jesus complained to G-d about being forsaken, he was not righteous, i.e., he was not without sin”.
It seemed like God had forsaken David and Jesus temporarily to fulfil a purpose and after that God came to their rescue. God forsook lord Jesus because He was placing all our sin on Him. Jesus was praying for salvation and help as most of us would, although He was submissive to his Father’s will in His Spirit and Soul. God answered His prayer and rescued Him from Hell when His Body had died.

I will briefly point out some similarities between these two peoples experiences:

Jesus said the exact same words as in the opening of this Psalm, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me”.

The writer calls Himself a worm in verse 6 because at that moment He feels like the lowliest and most despised man on Earth.

They mocked Him like in verse 8 saying something similar to Let him rescue him, since he delights in him.

Jesus joints would have been, or felt like they were dislocated because of the position in which he was hanging. His heart would have been weak (14) because of loss of blood and they say that He literally died of a broken heart because when the spear was stuck in His left side water and blood came out (medically possible).

His tongue would have stuck to the roof of His mouth because of dehydration.

It does not matter whether the word used in verse 16 means pierced or not, this describes wounds to his hands and his feet.

Jesus could have counted His bones as his head would have hung and his chest would have stuck out.

They divided Jesus clothes and cast lots.

The rest of the Psalm indicates that God has answered his prayer and the God has raised him.

Let God speak to you.  God uses veiled messages and parables very frequently. 


Was Psalm 40 miss-quoted in the NT?6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire. You have opened my ears: Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come. It is written about me in the book in the scroll.
8 I delight to do your will, my God. Yes, your law is within my heart.” –
Ps 40
“5 Therefore when he comes into the world, he says, Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, But a body did you prepare for me;
6 In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of me) To do your will, God'”.
“8 Previously saying, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you did not desire, neither had pleasure in them” (those which are offered according to the law). 9 then he has said, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He takes away the first, that he may establish the second”. –(Heb 10). The extra line inserted in the letter to the Hebrews 10;5 could have been ‘bracketed’ originally. The writer is paraphrasing what Jesus might have been saying when He came into the world. Again in Heb 10; 8-9 the same verses are paraphrased, but differently, this time with a different extra line inserted and between parentheses. These writers were not deceivers, and encouraged disciples to read the scriptures for them-selves. (Acts 17:11) The Writer of this letter might have added this line from another source not included in the biblical canon. The New Testament writers used the Greek Septuagint translated in the second century BC when quoting the Old Testament scriptures. The present day OT scriptures are translated from different texts. This could account for some general differences in translation.


Descended from both Judah and Levi?


“It is impossible for the same person to be a descendant from both the tribes of Levi and Judah.”

They can be if they are a new creation without ancestry; “I will be his Father, and he will be My son. I will never take My love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. ” 1Chro17

Both Jesus’ parents were descended from Judah and God is capable of creating a life inside Mary’s womb who was genetically similar to His parents and who probably looked like them, and was a Jew, and yet who did not have a single drop of His parents tainted blood. God never promised that the Messiah would be descended from Levi, but He does promise descent from Judah. Jesus is not descended from Levi because a new priesthood is required for the new covenant, as the old high priests were imperfect, died, and could not make us perfect in God’s sight, nor help us overcome death.

A new line of kingship was not required, nor of prophets. Jesus has no decent or offspring; He is a High Priest of a NEW ORDER; non Levitical, and of a new covenant. The Law and the High Priest were upgraded as opposed to being scrapped. “For there is an annulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and uselessness.” Heb 7;18.

There is scriptural evidence of a different priestly order “You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” Ps110; 4.

King David at times fulfilled both roles as priest and prophet, though he was from the tribe of Judah – and Jesus followed after.
In that great little Psalm 110, God is both talking to David – the contemporary application, and prophesying about the Messiah – future application.

Did David know that God was speaking to him about the Messiah? How could Melchizedek have been a priest before God had anointed Aaron; and yet he was. Melchizedek prophesied and blessed Abraham, so he too was prophet, priest and king. Was this “King of righteousness”, as his name means, a normal man? (Gen14; 18 and Hebrews 7).

The Lord Jesus is our High Priest and we are His priests. Christ rules His people in His Spiritual Kingdom and soon He will extend it to the physical realm and rule from Jerusalem, then there will be peace, righteousness and justice on the Earth.

The New High Priestly order is better than the old because those in Christ, within them-self’s – in their spirits are no longer affected by their past sins. God delivers them and no longer remembers their sins. God can now come into the temple of their heart, and through the fellowship of His Holy Spirit we can enter His presence; the Holy of Holies.

The New covenant is better than the old because those in Christ no longer follow set rules in order to earn righteousness, but God Himself teaches us though Jesus words and though the Holy Spirit. He shows us righteousness in our inner parts; He gives us His righteousness.
Jeremiah 33:

15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause a Branch of righteousness to grow up to David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is [the name] by which she shall be called: Yahweh Our Righteousness.
17 For thus says Yahweh: David shall never want a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel;
18 neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to burn meal-offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.


Should we eat Lamb or Bread?

“If the lamb was the antitype of Jesus, as John insisted, why is it that when the synoptic Gospels described the communion at the last supper, Jesus raised the matzo saying, “This is my body”? He should have raised the Paschal lamb. At mass priests should be giving their parishioners lamb chops rather than a wafer for communion”.

The wine represents sacrifice and death and the bread represents life which must be first broken then taken into us for it to be effective. Bread is simple and involves no ritual. It is a daily necessity (for most people) and needs to be broken to be eaten.
If Christians ate lamb at communion it would be like going back to the law of Moses where a lamb is repeatedly killed for atonement. Jesus died once for all. Lord Jesus said that He is the living bread which come down from Heaven and who was broken. His body gives us Spiritual food and His Blood gives us forgiveness.
It’s only a metaphor anyway so physical properties matter little. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” John 6;63.
(This website is written from a ‘Protestant’, Biblical fundamental point of view, ‘Jews for Jesus’ are the same. Mass and Wafers are Catholic terms.)


Accuracy of the Gospels

“Even the four Gospels do not agree on the last words of the dying Jesus on the cross”.

Luke 23:46 – And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
John 19:30 – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Luke wrote, “when Jesus had cried”. Maybe this cry was actually “it is finished”.
Jesus Probably made both statements and maybe more. They were not all intended to be recorded in the New Testament. Each Gospel writer picked up on certain statements according to the theme that the Holy Spirit was bringing out.
The Gospels were not written as a systematic, scientific documentary of everything Jesus did, but they are an accurate and truthful angle on Jesus Christ’s person and mission.

Some of the stories told by Jesus are different in each of the Gospels. Jesus probably told the same story more than once as he travelled around, this is why the parables and stories which are slightly different from Gospel to gospel, as He may have told them slightly differently each time.
A good teacher reinforces his message by repeating Him-self.


Resurrection Happenings
Contradictions between John and Matthew?

“Every element of the resurrection narrative is recklessly contradicted by another”.

Firstly when studied objectively these accounts are not glaringly contradictory, they are accounts given from different perspectives. The fact that they are different in approach shows that the Apostles did not get together to contrive a story to fool people, if they had one would expect their stories to be quite parrot fashioned and one sided.
As a matter of interest, no-one has yet come up with a water-tight argument as to what happened to Jesus’ body if the Gospel writers were wrong about it. (see ‘Evidence that demands a verdict’ vol2 by josh Mc Dowell, if you like that sort of thing.)
The process of dying, being buried and rising took roughly three days. The judgment and torture on the Friday was also part of this three day period.

Below is a brief narrative of the sequence of events on that Sunday morning. All four Gospels should agree with it. This is just one possible solution, there are a few others.

This is the order:
1. The women, arriving with spices at sun rise, find the sepulcher open and empty. Mary M left immediately and would not have seen the Angels.
2. The remaining women see the Angel inside that had rolled away the stone sitting on the right. There was one other Angel on the left side who was silent. These other women left and searched for the disciples.
3. MM is the only one who actually tells Peter and John about the empty tomb at that time.
4. Peter and John then run to the tomb but only find the grave clothes and they leave as the women arrive back at the tomb, having only walked. The other women soon leave, leaving Mary Magdalene.
5. Two Angels appear when Mary Magdalene looks inside the tomb, then Jesus Greets her- His First appearance.
6. As the other women are walking back they too meet Jesus – Second appearance.
7. A little later in the day the Lord Jesus appears to Peter on his own, (1Cor 5;5) then to two on the road to Emmaus, and then to the ten disciples, Thomas being absent.

Mathew implies that the same Angel appeared again after the women had come. There could have been an unspecified period of time between v’s 4 and 5 in Matt 1.
Mary M still thought that Someone had taken away the body when she talked to the two Angels, perhaps this was because she did not see the first angel or the truth had not sunken in because she was troubled. There is no mention of the Angels or of the other women in John 20. It does not say if they all came together, they probably came from Galilee according to Luke 23;55.
Mathew and Luke give us a general, version of the story in a ‘nutshell’, and Mary Magdalene is not singled out in Mathew like she is in Mark and John. It was not only Mary who did not recognize Jesus so He must have looked different and she probably did not fully believe the Angel. The Apostles had nothing to gain and everything to lose by concocting a false story; they all died for their faith.

Sometimes these writers omitted facts, but that does not mean they are saying that they did not happen, e.g., no mention of the soldiers in John and no mention of Peter in Matthew; they emphasized different aspects of the story. Its not hard to see why Matthew and Luke simplify things by basically saying; “the women arrive, see two angels, tell the disciples, peter and John look, then the women see Jesus”.


Did Jesus Claim To Be God?

“The problems this verse creates for Trinitarians are staggering. If Jesus were coequal with the Father, how could the Father have information that Jesus lacked? …if, as some Trinitarians persist, the son was limited by his human nature, why didn’t the Holy Spirit know?”

“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mark13;32)”.
Lord Jesus was a man and needed to be taught just like us, so if God had not revealed the date of the ‘tribulation period’ then He would not know it…until the Holy Spirit revealed it. Jesus did not say that the Holy Spirit did not know everything.

Jesus said that His Father was greater than He was because He had willingly humbled Himself and put off His glory. He was submissive and dependant on God and served mankind. He had to obey His God his Father like we do.
In effect God might say about Jesus, “This is my great offspring who is not only associated with me like Adam was in the beginning, but has been a part of me always”. Part of Him was created and part has always been.

Jesus said “he who has seen me has seen the Father” and He claimed to be the only way to the Father, as the “Good Shepherd” who “lays down His life for the sheep”.  Jesus also forgave sins. He didn’t merely say God forgives you, but He said “your sins are forgiven, go in peace”.
The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many”. Mark 10; 45.
He said He is greater than the Judges who were called gods in Psalms 82. They were like little gods but He was greater because God had sanctified Him and sent Him into the world as His Son – the Perfect Spiritual offspring of God in a Jewish body. He is God’s perfect representation; not in appearance, but Spiritually.

There is possibly a hierarchy of authority within God him-self. (This point is speculation and is not mainstream theology) The Father purposes and loves etc, his Son expresses that and his Spirit fellowships and empowers all God’s purposes. This is consistent with His creation where nothing is ever on the same level, even our construction; we are living souls primarily, but we are made of body and spirit. Our spirit perceives and guides, our souls make the decisions and our body expresses those decisions. (I am not making a direct contrast between our souls and God’s nature.)

We are all His offspring. God is the Father of Spirits. When God creates He starts with Himself as He is the source of all things. What He makes reflects Himself and is intimately linked with Him. Adam and Eve broke this spiritual link when they ‘divorced’ God; they became isolated. They did not want simplicity and dependence or God’s ways.

The trinity, (if it should be called that) is difficult to grasp and needs to be revealed over time, a bit like the way it is revealed in the Bible. Christ’s deity is taught in the New Testament, for example, John 1;1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Jesus’ words in John 8 give us further insight into who He is;
“56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad…
58 Jesus said unto them, Truly, truly I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

Micah 5 gives a very brief overview of Christ’s coming and dominion particularly verses 2-4.
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

There are other religions and mythologies that have stories of demi-gods and maybe even of self sacrifice, but that is not a problem for us as we know that Satan always has his counterfeits of the truth. What ever God is doing or about to do the Devil copies in more than one way usually. 


How Can God Die?

Simply; God did not cease to exist, the part of God that was a man lost His earthly body, went to Hell, then took the keys of Hell and death from Satan and God rescued Him and gave Him a glorious, resurrection body.
When the WORD became flesh, God was in heaven and God was on earth and God was also everywhere. Its surprising…but not out of Character. You believe that God is a Spirit, who is one and yet is everywhere, so why should His Word and expression, not inhabit a body in order to reveal Himself to us, and still be God in heaven? Jesus’ humanity died, His soul was judged and found righteous.
The Father thinks it, – The Son Says it – The Spirit does it.

God’s Word was physically heard by men of God in the old days and Moses and Elijah both caught a small glimpse of the physical glory of God. So God prepared a means of physically communicating with everyone who would listen and look to Christ.
You can see this in Genesis 1 where the Spirit of God MOVED on the surface of the waters, later God SAID let there be light, and there was light – the Spirit and the Word working together.

Ezekiel 18 is where God promises that sons will not being punished for the sins of their Fathers, everyone must bear their own punishment. 
Jesus is no ordinary man. He is the second Adam and was perfect. His willingness to die and to atone for others means that Ezekiel 18 would not apply.  Those words were written because the people thought it was unjust for the sons to be affected by the sins of their fathers.


Does the Old Testament call for a suffering, atoning Christ? “…nor does scripture ever tell us that an innocent man can die as an atonement for the sins of the wicked”.

Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac and Joseph’s sufferings are pictures of Christ’s Deliverance:
1. The picture of Abraham’s faith; his willingness to sacrifice his precious, promised son, and his statement “God will provide for Himself a Lamb.” God provided a substitute, as He did during the exodus from Egypt. Abraham would have killed him if he had not been prevented, but he received him back from God – alive.
2. The sacrificial life of Joseph: saving his family (and many others) from death through his righteousness, symbolic death and elevation in glory. He was rejected by his own people and considered dead, he received his Brothers and ruled the World as second in command.

We can see all the way through the Torah that God considers sin to be punishable by death. No one is perfect so blood must be shed to pay for it. This does not really satisfy God as it is only a symbol. Animal blood is not enough to compare with the physical, mental and Spiritual death and separation from God that we all deserve.

Do you merely want a Messiah who merely stamps out His physical enemies, who becomes your strong, manly king and who exalts Israel’s dominance over the world? Christ now rules His people and spreads His dominion over Satan in our lives. He leads us by His Spirit and we instinctively know what is right as His law is in our heart. He has delivered, and is delivering us from the root cause of sin in our nature. (Not all Christians live like this though because they have not given them-selves completely to God.)

What sort of Messiah are you expecting? This is how the Scripture looks forward to Christ coming: “1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hah anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;”
Jesus Christ fulfilled all of this. Did He fake the raising of the dead or the deliverance from demon possession?
“For behold, I am bringing forth My servant the Branch….And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day”. (Zach 3:8-9). Compare this with Jer 33;15.

The old testament was about physically resisting God’s enemies but in the New we resist evil and Satan through faith in what Christ has accomplished for us. A Spiritual kingdom is more necessary at this time than a physical kingdom.


Illegal Atonement?

There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that God stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac simply because He does not accept Human sacrifice. He was testing Abraham’s faith (Gen 22;12). The scripture references of the OT forbid sacrificing innocent blood of children or murder; but they do not forbid a man willingly laying down his own life. When one dies and goes to hell they are sacrificing their life in the next world to pay for their rebellion.
Jesus offered himself willingly, taking the role of High Priest. Its not because God rejects the idea of a Human atoning sacrifice that He forbids human sacrifice to idols; He forbids idolatry and shedding a child’s blood. You cant take someone else life but you can lay down your own.
God Him-self made the sacrifice as a man.

In Summery: Jesus Christ, an adult, offered Him-self willingly, the rulers judged Him as a criminal, and once He was on the cross He was being judged by God as if He was a sinner. So there in no contradiction with scripture.
Moses him-self had the idea of offering him-self to save Israel as his righteous life meant so much to God; but God did not rebuke him for this suggestion, even though He did not accept it.
“Yet now, if you will, forgive their sin– and if not, please blot me out of your book which you have written.” (that is, from the Book of the Living)
Yahweh said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. (Exodus 32;32-33).

“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin,…” “and he shall bear their iniquity’s”. (Isaiah 53.10+11)

If this is not referring to Jesus then who is it referring to?


Did the paschal Lamb atone?

“The Torah never implies that the Passover sheep or goat atones for sin”.
The Passover lamb represents substitution, the lamb was killed and not the first born.
This is further shown by the fact that Hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood on the door post in Exodus. Hyssop was often used when sprinkling blood for atonement and cleansing. Lev 14,50-53 demonstrate the use of Hyssop, also the way in which one bird has to die so the other can go free demonstrates atonement, Like the two Goats used on the day of atonement.

50 And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:
51 And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times:
52 And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:
53 But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.

God is showing the importance of blood and that sin leads to death. It was so important that they are told to remember the Passover forever.
The idea of atonement had not really been openly taught at this time, perhaps that’s why there is no great explanation of the significance of what they were doing during the Passover.

It is more speculative to think that this is merely a demonstration of their fear of the Almighty God over-coming their fear of the Egyptian Ram gods, although this is also plausible.


 Mercy Not Sacrifice
Did God demand animal sacrifice as the only means of atonement?

Does this verse mean that God did not want the Jews to sacrifice animals from that time on?
Lord Jesus quotes Hoseh 6;6 in Matthew 13:

12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

God does not want empty sacrifice from people who think they are righteous but He wants repentance from the submissive humble heart. He wants to show merci and to change a bad person to a good one. Then their sacrifice, when they need to make one, will be genuine. If they had known forgiveness they too could have been forgiving and gracious to other people.

He is saying that God does not like meaningless ritual. God is not as interested in people keeping elaborate rituals as He is in us repenting and wanting to love, understand and please Him. These laws were a framework to motivate and guide those in the covenant. The laws and traditions were laid down partly because people naturally need physical religious symbols to help them understand. God is not just concerned about outward religion but about inward, even though He enforced these laws. As the covenant has been upgraded and its symbols. Now God not only lo-longer wants animal sacrifice, but He has scrapped all OT rituals in favor of their fulfillment in Christ. The OT Scriptures find their meaning in Jesus Christ.

He gave us the principle of animal sacrifice to show the terribleness of sin and that we deserve death for our sin. These are two scriptural examples:
Abel’s better offering of animals rather than Cains;
s use of animal skins to cover Adam and Eve instead of fig leaves:- clothed in Gods goodness rather than their own efforts. God’s way required a death.

The reality is that sin and death have been defeated by Jesus’ death, ironically; the death of a sinless man. Evil must be fought with good, and the supreme good is to give your life and death for the benefit of an enemy so that they can become your friend. In the light of this how can you think that God wants you to make ritual sacrifices and keep a vast number of ridged laws, e.g. not cooking on the Sabbath?

Laws provide a general pointer toward what God is like and expects from us, and the show us how imperfect we are. Now God wants us to understand, to follow the Law of the Spirit of life(Rom8;2). We listen to His Spirit and the words of His Son. God Himself is the measure of our morals, as seen in His Son. We are finally defeated and we rely on Christs victory. We are not to draw on our own recourses for Goodness and life, but on Him.

The few examples in Numbers 31;50 where Israel sought atonement through offering other things apart from animal sacrifice shows Gods willingness to forgive and the importance of repentance and personal sacrifice. God does not say that he prefers them though and it does not nullify the importance of the principle of a life for a life. God desires a pure, humbled heart and obedience and faith. God’s symbolism was always that another’s blood should be shed instead of ours. Just as it is unjust to ignore a guilty man’s sin, so it is unjust to punish the innocent. This is why God showed so much mercy in judging The expression of Himself in a Humbled Human form – His WORD.

Leviticus 17 and Blood sacrifices

God commands the use of blood sacrifices in Lev 17;11, together with repentance and sanctification when His people want to find His forgiveness. In contrast, God gives permission to only bring tithes and offerings of a non blood nature because of the lack of freedom they experienced in captivity.  

Leviticus 17;11(two different versions)

11.For every creature is dependant on blood, therefore I have given it to you on the alter to atone for the life of man, let life come and atone for the life.

11. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life”. 

A quote from a book by Michael L Brown gives us further insight into this passage:

“In other words the reason that blood sacrifices played such a central role in the Torah is because they operated on the principle of substitution, i.e., on the principle of life for life. An ancient midrash on Leviticus 1;2 states: when you voluntarily offer a KORBAN OLAH (i.e., a burnt offering) and it is slaughtered and its blood sprinkled upon the alter, I consider it as if you had offered your very selves. Similarly, Rabbi J.H. Hertz, commenting on Leviticus 17.11 observed,  the use of blood, representing life, in the rites of atonement represents symbolically the complete yielding up of a  worshipers life to God, and conveyed the thought that the  surrender of a man to the will of God carried with it the assurance of Divine pardon.

No temple= no sacrifice = no forgiveness. God did not forgive the nation and hid his face from them though this is a painful thought. Jer 7;16,  11;14, 14;11. God was merciful though and still heard their cries and brought them back to faith, repentance and sacrifices”.

(Answering Jewish objections to Jesus. Vol 2, Michael L Brown. Baker Books.)


Abraham – Justified By Faith

God’s dealings with Abraham set out an ideal. God wanted to justify people by their FAITH and LOVE for Himself. This was not generally possible at the time because few people in this world can be like Abraham!
God gave the law; but not so we could impress God with how good we are. Abraham BELIEVED God’s promises and therefore obeyed, and he was justified by God BEFORE God had given the law and before he was circumcised.
There is a certain freedom experienced by those who don’t know right and wrong- those who don’t have God’s law. They don’t have to live by a rule book they make their own decisions, even if they are mostly wrong.

The Early Men of God were few and far between because they had to be exceptionally good. As the new and better covenants were introduced, so more people could find God and His forgiveness and walk before God.
Abraham needed his past sins forgiven and to live perfectly in order to be near God during this life, and after death. Abraham was made righteous by His faith (Gen 15:6) in God’s goodness. He believed God would multiply him, against normal reasoning, and he followed God’s directions and walked before Him, (in the light of His presence).

Why is faith so important to God? Faith in God requires submission and a pure heart, because its believing in His provision and its an act of worship. It was Adam’s lack of faith that caused ‘the fall’ in the first place. Adam and Eve trusted their own thought and will and doubted God, they acted in their own strength in order to better them-selves. God has found a better way to get mankind to please Him than asking them to keep laws in their own strength. (even if they do keep them because of their faith.)
Abraham’s justification was a foretaste or a pattern of things to come; God will justify you through repentance and faith, in His atonement and His help to be righteous…. both problems solved. The whole point is that God wants to GIVE us mercy and to GIVE us righteousness; don’t underestimate God’s goodness, but to take hold of this we must repent; as was Jesus’ first message.

“This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, I will put My laws in their minds and write it on their hearts” – this is the work of the Holy Spirit who reveals to our hearts what is perfectly right. This is only possible when He has taken away our iniquities and remembers them no more (Jerem. 31:31-34).

Forgiven through Christ’s death, and given Spiritual new life through Christ’s resurrection life. Our ‘flesh’ or physical abilities cannot keep the law. A Christian is in Christ Jesus; so their flesh is rendered inactive or passive, and they follow the fellowship that exists between God’s Spirit and theirs, in His truth and grace.


These pages are largely, but not exclusively, a response to anti-Christian objections made by Rabbi Tovia Singer, on the web site:

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