TAAM: Torah Answers for Anti-Missionaries

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Objections & Questions : from Messianic Believers

(Last Update:  7-jan-12 )


In Lev. 16:30 the Torah states, "It is on this day that atonement shall be made for you; you will be clean from all your sins before the L-rd". Then is Hebrews it states in 10:1-4 that " For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin". 

So how do I reconcile those two statements??  Did the rules change? If the blood of the sacrifice was sufficient as it states in Lev then why did Yeshua suffer and die?  If they had no effect, then why bother with them?


Good question, and one that not enough believers ask about!

The sacrifices of Yom Kippur, like all the sacrifices commanded in Torah, were "a shadow and copy" of something going on already in Heaven.  The writer of Hebrews states this, and also gives the Torah support for it (Heb.8:4-5):

Now if He [Yeshua] were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by G-d when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, "SEE," He says, "THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN" [quoting Ex.25:40].

When the people of Israel were obedient to offer these according to the pattern given to Moses, and used them as a time to repent, they were accepting the spiritual principle of atonement being made for them in that Original "true tabernacle which the L-rd pitched and not man" (Heb.8:2); or as it says elsewhere, "the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation." (Heb.9:11)  The earthly offerings were memorials of that Heavenly provision.

We believe that Israel once knew this as an established teaching.  It's the only explanation for why Nathan the prophet was so quick to say David's sins concerning Bathsheba were forgiven the minute he repented:

Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the L-RD." And Nathan said to David, "The L-RD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die." - 2 Sam.12:13

We need to remember that in the Law of Moses there was NO sacrifice available for adultery and murder:

If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. - Lev.20:10

If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him even from My altar, that he may die. - Exod.21:14

Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. - Num.35:31

Even in cases where a sinner could be forgiven through the blood of goats, rams, etc, the sin wasn't atoned by these animals.  It was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev.13:8) that took away sin.  He was both sacrifice and Priest:

But when Messiah appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. - Heb.9:11-12

The "memorial" commanded in Torah not only looked backward, but also forward to that time when Yeshua would bring this Heavenly provision down to earth - expressed by the limited access to the Holy of Holies, where "only the high priest enters once a year" (Heb.9:7).

The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time.  Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience... - Heb.9:8-9

Heb.10:1-4 goes on to elaborate that the Korbanot could not "make perfect those who draw near" (v.1).  In other words, the worshipers needed to be made "complete", no longer having "conciousness of sins". The yearly repetition of Yom Kippur was required because sin was ongoing, and the cleansing was done after the fact each year as a reminder that they were yet in their sins.

Yeshua died so that we could put away the old man, providng us with a "new Adam" that we can put on instead.  But this does not mean we have a "blank check" for any sins we feel like committing when it's convenient.

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment. - Heb.10:27

The New Covenant is specific about sins that will remove us from His Kingdom - and the standards are higher than in the so-called "dead works of the Law"! (Go here for a comprehensive list.) The believer should be living with the Lord in such a way that he has only sins of ignorance to deal with.

After Yeshua established this truth on earth, what meaning did the Temple sacrifices have?  They continued to be a memorial, looking back to the Heavenly provision as well as its earthly revelation.  This explains why the apostles continued going to the Temple to pray during the sacrifices, and even offered sacrifices themselves (Acts  3:1, 21:26, 22:17).

If the Temple sacrifices were reinstated today (and someday they will be), this is how we as Yeshua's disciples would be called to relate to them.

Even in rabbinic teaching, the ceremony of Yom Kippur sacrifices was understood to be a memorial of something already done.  On the surface they attached it to the Akedah (sacrifice of Isaac), which is profound in itself. But beyond that, the prayers for Yom Kippur that survive in the orthodox Machzor hint that someone back then understood there was a heavenly thing going on behind Isaac.  It sneaks out in the Hebrew here and there, but in a vague way that very few pick up on, unless they have been given "ears to hear".



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