Did the Jews believe the sacrifice made on the Day of Atonement would remove ALL sins including what we Christians call “mortal sins”?
According to the Oral Torah as inscribed in the Talmud, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) covers only sins committed by Man directly against G-d. For sins against one’s fellow man, one must seek forgiveness before Yom Kippur. Further, the sin sacrifice had to be accompanied or preceded by sincere prayer asking forgiveness from G-d; otherwise, the sacrifice alone had no meaning or power.
I don’t understand the logic behind the sacrifice, specifically how it could suffice as an atonement to God. God is infinite, all his creatures are finite so how could a finite sacrifice atone for an infinite offence?
God is the one offended, hence it’s an infinite offence. The sacrifice of animals and sincere prayers of individuals added together are still finite.
Finite sacrifice + finite prayers, does not = infinite atonement to the infinite God.
How do Jews explain this?
I’m not debating just unsure of the logic behind this…
Since I’m not Jewish, I can’t speak to that. But my understanding of God’s relationship to us and our sin, is as a banker to his debtors. Since God is infinite, and we are bankrupt, anything we offer is unable to pay the debt, or even a portion of it. But we can make interest payments on our sin/debt, if we are truly contrite. And if we sincerely ask forgiveness, our debts can be forgiven.
That’s not perfect justice. Justice is one of God’s attributes. He cannot neglect any of his attributes in the slightest otherwise he would be lying to himself and hence would be a false god. God cannot lie.
I didn’t say anything remotely implying we can attain perfect justice. I simply said we can make offerings, akin to interest only payments. Only Christ can balance the scales of justice. Or in the Jewish sense (by the way I understand it), one can sincerely beg forgiveness while offering a sacrifice as a token of his sincerity.
Is what I said so difficult?
No – forgive me if the tone of my post was over the top, that was not my intention
I understand your point. I’m still interested to see how our Jewish brethren explain how Yom Kippur can suffice as an atonement for sin…
Ask and you shall receive. It is forgiven. I’m interested in the Jewish view as well. I can’t help but think it is similar to mine.
As I stated, the sacrifice per se is not the main form of atonement. It is the external manifestation of the atonement of the heart by means of prayer and seeking forgiveness from G-d. During the Yom Kippur service, there is a brief period of silent meditation and reflection in the synagogue, which I regard as the holiest time of all. In the Ancient Temple, there were many different kinds of offerings in addition to personal sin offerings, including offerings of thanksgiving, trespass offerings, communal offerings, burnt offerings for evil thoughts before misdeeds were committed, and so on. All of them had to be preceded by prayer to G-d. Judaism does not believe that G-d expects perfection from any of us since, as our Creator, He knows we are only human and will make mistakes. It is the effort that counts, the “turning away” from sin, the attempt to do better the next time and the time after that. In the Kol Nidre, we ask G-d to break all our vows for the year to come in advance since we realize we will often be unable to fulfill them. G-d is a G-d of infinite mercy despite our wrongdoings.
I understand that. We can do only as much as God has given us and God is indeed merciful…having said that is not the satisfaction to his justice still unsatisfied? The justice owed to him is neglected. How can he just let it go without lying to himself?
I would not necessarily equate G-d’s justice with human justice. G-d’s justice is always tempered by mercy and the fact He knows what we can and cannot do and that we are trying our best. In some ways, those who sin and recover (partially) draw even closer to G-d than those who are more holy to begin with.
I see. Thanks for explaining
When the Messiah comes, how will he set up his Messianic reign?
We do not have all the specific information about the details so, of course, there are different hypotheses within the Jewish community. (And not all Jews even believe in the coming of the Messiah or a Messianic Age although it is one of the thirteen articles of faith according to Maimonides.) One of the things Judaism affirms is that the Messiah will re-establish the Temple and there will be an in-gathering of the Jewish people in Israel to worship in the Temple and present offerings of thanksgiving rather than sin offerings, which will no longer be necessary. It is also believed all nations will come to recognize the truth of the one G-d and His Torah without the need to convert to Judaism. The Torah will remain in effect as always; in fact, more Jews will follow its teachings than is presently the case. There will be peace among the nations of the world and, as Isaiah states, the lion shall lie down with the lamb. There will also be, according to Maimonides, a physical resurrection of the dead although the physical nature of the resurrection is contested by others. In short, however, peace on earth will be established by the Messiah.
I remember you talking about this in another thread…I was going to ask what if people sinned again, but I remember you mentioned that the Messiah would set up a kind of new utopian era where there would be no desire to sin. Is that right?
I believe so, but again the details are unclear. The Torah would provide guidance to all the people.
Meltzerboy, would it be a fair observation that, to say somehow His mercy is reflected in His justice in the Jewish view?
I think sometime Christians separate His mercy from His justice when they may actually be far more closely linked and expressed together or even as one.
Not an “either/or” reality.
Not sure if that makes sense.
I think you’re right, Marie. The justice and mercy of G-d are interwoven rather than separate entities.
I agree. Many times the most just response is the merciful one.
To be justified is to declared legally righteous. It is a divine act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins. It is not that the sinner is now sinless, but that he is “declared” sinless. The sinner is not made righteous in that his soul is changed or that his soul is infused with God’s grace. Instead, justification is a legal act of imputing the righteousness of Christ to the believer (Rom. 4:11; Phil. 3:9). This justification is based on the shed blood of Jesus, “…having now been justified by His blood…” (Rom. 5:9). When God sees the Christian, He sees him through the sacrifice of Jesus and “sees” him without sin. This declaration of innocence is not without cost for it required the satisfaction of God’s Law, “…without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness,” (Heb. 9:22). By the sacrifice of Jesus, in the “one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men,” (Rom. 5:18, NASB). In justification, the justice of God fell upon Himself–Jesus. We receive mercy–we are not judged according to our sins. And grace is shed upon us–we receive eternal life. This justification is a gift of grace (Rom. 3:24), by faith (Rom. 3:28) because Jesus bore our guilt (Isaiah 53:12).
The animal sacrafices only covered sins, the New and better Covenant forgive sins because Yeshua appeased the wrath of YHWH when He atoned for the elect.
Heb 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
Heb 8:8 For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Heb 8:9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Heb 8:11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
Heb 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.