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"What Can Wash Away My
The Fallacy of Christian Redemption Theology
By Shlomo Phillips © 12.29.2010 (last updated 09.01.2013)
There are two primary areas where Christian theology establishes a vast gulf between itself and Judaism:
The latter is topic of this study.
- Its rejection of biblical monotheism.
- Its rejection of biblical redemption.
The Christian Concept of "The Blood of Jesus"
There are some Nicene teachings that are so deeply rooted in the Christian psyche that for those seeking authentic biblical religion getting beyond them is very difficult, even with the Light of Torah. One of these is the "Blood of Jesus" dogma. The famous Christian hymn declares this central Nicene belief clearly:What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me white as snow?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
The Christian dogma of blood atonement and the Torah's Way of Redemption are mutually exclusive! If one accepts Torah one must reject this dogma.
Some Christians claim that the Torah of HaShem has been "nailed to the cross" and made irrelevant despite Y'shua's (Jesus') clear statement that such a thing could never happen (Matthew 5:8)! Y'shua the Jew would surely have been appalled by the Christian Atonement dogma.
The Bible Clarifies Everything:Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: Every man shall be put to death for his own sin.When you sin you alone must answer to HaShem.
That this truth has never changed is made clear by Paul who said:Galatians 6:5 For every man shall bear his own burden.It has always been this way:Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.As I discuss elsewhere there are two essential impulses that drive the human race: yetzer tov and yetzer hara. As Prophet Ezekiel says, the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. The idea of an atonement wrought by someone else's righteousness would completely undermine this primary human responsibly and denigrate the very purpose of human existence. HaShem is Just and He judges each of us according to our deeds.
18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
The notion that another person might bear our sins is even ridiculed by Prophet Micah:Micah 6:6 Wherewith shall I come before Adonai, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?This clearly negates the Christian Atonement dogma.
6:7 Will Adonai be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what Adonai requires of thee, only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.
Y'shua taught the same thing:Matthew 12:36 But I [Y'shua] say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.He does not say that by accepting his upcoming execution one would be justified (saved), nor that by rejecting it one would be condemned. Nor does he mention a supernatural element in redemption. He simply says that each person will have to give an account for what is done. This is standard Jewish teaching.
12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
And Paul agrees:Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.And as James the Elder warns:James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.Friends, each of us will give an accounting before HaShem for our actions, for our choices.
2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?.....
2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.Deuteronomy 4:40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which Adonai thy God giveth thee, for ever.You and I are responsible for our actions, be they positive or negative. No one else can answer for nor for atone for our sins. The Bible is clear on this.
What About the Blood of the Lamb?
We are commanded to "rightly divide the Word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). From the above verses and scores of others it is evident we are responsible for our own actions. Rightly dividing the Word of Truth requires us to seek harmony in the Scriptures. We know therefore that whatever this phrase means it must be harmonious with Torah and other Scriptures. As usual, context reveals all.
Difficult passages must be understood in their context. Here's an oft cited one:Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.In context this verse is discussing the martyrs that will lay down their lives during the Tribulation Period rather than submit to the coming global despot (the Rex Mundi). The previous verses tell us that this is a select group of people comprised of "a great multitude of Goyim" and 144,000 righteous Israelites (12,000 from each of the Twelve Houses of Israel).
Of these people we read:Revelation 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?In context these people come out of the seven year tribulation period as martyrs. These are they who will reject the emerging New World Order System by pouring out their own blood in death (Revelation 3:20). This has nothing to do with the rules of standard redemption. I discuss these matters in my Prophecy section if you are interested in this.
The Symbolism of Blood
Why blood?Genesis 9:4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.Blood in Scripture represents life. The life force is 'contained within the blood'. This idea is central to all Middle Eastern peoples and is in keeping with modern medical understanding in many ways. Blood is the 'juice of the vine of life,' hence the wording contained within the Erev Shabbat Kiddish:Baruch atah, Adonai,This blessing is about more than wine. It is giving praise to HaShem for the life's blood that makes material existence possible.
Eloheinu melech haolam,
borei p'ri hagafen.
Blessed are You Adonai our God
King of the Universe
Who creates the fruit of the vine
Recall that Moshe warned Pharaoh that his failure to repent and humble himself before HaShem would result in Adonai turning the waters of Egypt into blood (Exodus 4:9)!
Such a powerful symbol that the life blood of Egypt (the Nile River), the source of their culture and existence, would suffer because of his refusal to acknowledge HaShem's authority and might! Blood as metaphor is common throughout Torah.Exodus 29:12 And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar.So now we can grasp that the sacrifices were intended to reflect how the blood (the life force) of the animals was being shed on our behalf. When making sacrifices the Israelites were to be cognizant of the pouring out of innocent life due to their sins against HaShem. This was intended to shame them into teshuvah (repentance). Try and grasp this significant quote from Rabbi Ya'akov Feldman of the Nishma Journal:Teshuvah is often misunderstood. Rather than an unfortunately necessary response to our weaknesses, teshuvah is the very life-blood of Torah. It is the power than enables this world to be our platform for growth, for development, and for change.Consider:Leviticus 3:17 It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.
This symbolic sanctity and respect for life is observed and remembered in the Kosher laws that forbid eating life, which is in the blood. We are allowed to consume the flesh of clean creatures, but not their life force, which is in the blood.
Why is this?Leviticus 6:30 And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall be burnt in the fire.Its because ALL life exists in the hands of HaShem. All life is sacred and utterly dependent on HaShem alone. All life is worthy of honor, respect and protection.Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no God with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.HaShem alone is our Savior and our Redeemer. It is solely by His Mercy that we exist and move and have our being. HaShem interacts with the material creation in various ways. Chief among these is through His Torah. Torah directs our steps. By observing Torah we submit our will to His Will. Through Torah observance, with emunah (faith) we will be redeemed and the present age will be replaced with the Olam Haba, the World to Come. We will discuss this in the conclusion of this study.