Salvation

 

 

The way of ‘salvation’ according to Judaism

 

 

 

According to Judaism man has two inclinations, one good (yetzer tov) and the other evil (yetzer hara), which are both created by God (Berakoth 61a). However, while the evil inclination is in the human being since his birth, the good inclination begins to manifest itself when the human being is thirteen years old. The good inclination prompts man to do good, while the evil inclination prompts man to do evil. Therefore the reason why a man keeps the commandments which God gave to Israel on Mount Sinai is that he follows the good inclination which is in him, while the reason why man transgresses the law of God is that the evil inclination deceives him into doing evil things (Sukkah 52b). Judaism recognizes that often the evil inclination prevails over the good inclination, however man is able to master the evil inclination, for he is able to choose whether to follow the evil inclination or the good inclination. Jewish rabbis quote the following Talmudic saying: ‘Everything is in the hands of Heaven, except the fear of Heaven’ (Berakoth 33b), in order to show that it is man who chooses whether to fear God or not. So, according to Judaism, man is not born inherently evil or sinful or in need of a personal Saviour who may deliver him from the bondage of sin. Man is born sinless (Joma 22b), and even though during his life he often does evil things, he is still able to master the evil inclination which is within him. At this point, you may ask, ‘How can a man obtain the forgiveness of sins, according to Judaism?’ Well, Judaism teaches that a man can be forgiven through repentance – called theshuvah - (which must be sincere and followed by good works for the Talmud says: ‘And these are man's advocates: repentance and good deeds’ Shabbath 32a), for repentance makes atonement for his sins. Repentance – as a means to expiate one’s sins – has replaced the atoning sacrifices which were offered according to the law of Moses to make atonement for one’s sins, for after the destruction of the second temple (which took place in 70 A. D.) they could not be offered any longer. The Talmud says about repentance: ‘Great is Teshuvah, for it enables a person to reach the throne of God,’ as it says 'Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God’ (Masechet Yoma: 86a).

However, it must be said that repentance alone does not suffice to expiate certain sins, for the Talmud says: ‘There are four different modes of Atonement. If a man fails to fulfil the duty incumbent upon him in case of a sin of omission, for him repentance suffices, as Jeremiah (iii. 22) says, 'Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding.' If he has transgressed a prohibitory law - a sin of commission - the Day of Atonement atones: of him the Law says, 'On this day He shall atone for your sins to cleanse you' (Lev. xvi. 30). If he be guilty of crimes such as entail the death penalty and the like, repentance and the Day of Atonement cannot expiate them unless suffering works as a purifying factor: to this the Psalmist refers when he says, 'I will visit their transgressions with the rod and their iniquities with stripes' (Ps. lxxxix. 33 [A. V. 32]). And if the crime amount to a desecration of the name of God and the doing of great harm to the people at large, nothing but death can be the penalty; as Isaiah (xxii. 14) says, 'Surely this iniquity shall not be atoned for you [A. V. "purged from you"] till ye die, saith the Lord God of Hosts'" (Talmud, Yoma, 86a; compare Mishnah Shebu. i. 1-6). As you can see, in order to obtain the forgiveness of certain sins repentance is not sufficient, for a Jew must wait for the Day of Atonement (on which the Jews humble themselves before God, fasting and confessing their sins to God) which atones for all the sins of commission the Jews have committed (sins against God); furthermore there are certain sins – crimes such as entail the death penalty and the like - which are expiated through suffering, and there is a particular sin, that is, the profanation of God’s name, which is expiated only through death. That’s why Jews when dying or in peril are called to say: ‘Let my death make atonement for all my sins," (Berachoth 60a; Sanh. vi. 2).

 

Confutation

 

The Holy Scriptures teaches that man is born evil, for David said: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5 – The NIV reads: “Surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me”), and God, after He punished the ancient world through the flood, said about man that “every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” (Genesis 8:21 – NIV). Therefore, man’s nature is evil and sinful, that is, corrupt, from his birth. That’s why it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18). The reason why men are born evil or sinful is that Adam, the first man, sinned and through him all his descendants were made sinners (cf. Romans 5:19).

Man is a slave of sin, as it is written: “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34 – NKJV). Sin masters man for it is stronger than man, as it is written: “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast” (Proverbs 5:22 – NIV), so man needs a Saviour, that is, someone who is able to deliver him from the bondage of sin. Since man is a slave of sin he is not able to do all the things prescribed by the law which God gave to Israel on Mount Sinai, therefore he is under the curse of the law, for the law of Moses says: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (Galatians 3:10 – cf. Deuteronomy 27:26 – NKJV). So he needs to be redeemed from the curse of the law.

Man is a transgressor of the law, for he breaks continually the law of God, and the transgressions of the law he commits repays him with death, for “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23); therefore man is dead in trespasses and sins and he can’t have fellowship with God, for the sins he commits separate him from God, as Isaiah said to the Israelites: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2 - NIV). So a man needs to be made alive in order to be able to have fellowship with God.

Man is deeply in debt, for every transgression of the law he commits is a debt. He is unjust in the sight of God, that is to say, he is an enemy of God.. Therefore he needs to be justified so that he might be reconciled to God.

That’s the spiritual condition of man in the sight of God. Now, how can a man be saved from his sins, redeemed from the curse of the law, made alive, and justified? The answer is this: by faith in Jesus of Nazareth, for He is the Messiah (that is, the Anointed One), whom God sent into the world in the fullness of the time (about two thousand years ago) to save us from our sins, to redeem us from the curse of the law, to make us alive, and to justify us. How did Jesus accomplish all these things? Through the offering of His body, that is, through His atoning death He tasted for all of us on the cross.

Here is what God said through the prophet Isaiah about the atoning death of the Messiah: “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:2-12).

The above mentioned words of Isaiah were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. For those who dwelt in Jerusalem and their rulers condemned Him (even though He had gone about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him) and asked Pilate, governor of Judea, that He should be put to death. Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested, even though he had found no reason for death in Jesus. So Jesus was brought to the place called Golgotha, which was outside Jerusalem, and there He was crucified with two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. After He breathed His last, He was laid in a tomb which belonged to Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus who was a rich man. But the story of Jesus of Nazareth did not end with His death, for on the third day God raised Him from the dead, that it might be fulfilled what was spoken by David, saying: “My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:26-27: Psalm 16:9-10 - NKJV). After He rose again He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem; and after those days He was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God, so that it might be fulfilled what David said by the Spirit: “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’ ” (Matthew 22:44; Psalm 110:1 – NKJV).

Now let me explain to you how Jesus, through His death, has saved us from our sins, redeemed us from the curse of the law, made us alive, and justified us, who were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hating and hateful one another, children of wrath just as the others.

Jesus has saved us from our sins because through His death on the cross He nailed to the cross the law of commandments contained in ordinances which was against us (cf. Colossians 2:14; Ephesians 2:15), that is to say, He nailed to the cross the strength of sin, for it is written that “the strength of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56 – NKJV). Jesus was able to nail to the cross the handwriting of requirements which was against us because He was born sinless and lived a sinless life. Jesus, having borne our sins (all the transgressions of the law we committed) in his body on the cross, put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and we by faith in Him were freed from the power of sin. The apostle Paul said to the Romans that ‘our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7 – NKJV). That’s why the angel of the Lord who appeared to Joseph, Mary’s husband, said to him: “…. You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 – NKJV), for Jesus is the Saviour. Therefore those who want to be saved must put their trust in Jesus Christ.

Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law because He became a curse for us, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” (Galatians 3:13; cf. Deuteronomy 21:23 – NKJV). By faith in Him we have been delivered from the curse of the law and blessed with believing Abraham, for just as Abraham was justified through his faith when he believed that God would multiply his descendants as the stars of the heaven, so we also were justified when we believed in Jesus, that is, when we believed that Jesus died for our sins and rose again for our justification (cf. Romans 4:24-25). We are blessed along with Abraham, for the Scripture says: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin” (Romans 4:7-8 – NKJV). Therefore all those who cease relying on the works of the law and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ receive the blessing of Abraham.

Jesus has made us alive through His death because the result of His death was justification that brings life for all men. The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans: “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness [His death] was justification that brings life for all men” (Romans 5:18 – NIV). So, in the light of this, our spirit is alive because of the death tasted by Jesus Christ. We were once dead in our trespasses and sins, but now we are alive, and thus we can have fellowship with God. So just as the fellowship between God and Adam was broken through one trespass, so the fellowship between God and men was restored through one act of righteousness, that is, the death of Jesus Christ.

Jesus has justified us through His death because – as we saw before – He bore our iniquities in His body on the cross, and consequently the result of His death was justification. So when we believed that He died on the cross for our sins and rose again for our justification, our faith was accounted to us for righteousness. So it was fulfilled in us the Scripture which says: “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4 – NKJV). You, being a Jew by birth, may ask me now: ‘Did God not say in the law: “You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgements, which if a man does, he shall live by them” (Leviticus 18:5 – NKJV)?’ Yes, He did say those words. However, the point is that no one keeps the things written in the law, for David says: “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt, there is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3 – NIV). Therefore, all are under the curse of the law, for God said: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (Galatians 3:10 – cf. Deuteronomy 27:26 – NKJV). The law – according to the apostle Paul – “entered that the offense might abound” (Romans 5:20 – NKJV), therefore the purpose of the law was not to justify man. The law entered also that we might become conscious of sin, as Paul says: “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20), and also: “I would not have known sin except through the law” (Romans 7:7 – NKJV). That’s why no one can be justified in the sight of God by observing the law. However “now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ …” (Romans 3:21-22 – NKJV). So all those who believe in Jesus are justified from all things from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses (cf. Acts 13:39). So, you who are Jews by birth, know this, that by repenting of your sins, by confessing them on the Day of atonement, and by doing good deeds to expiate your sins, you can’t be justified before God. What you must do in order to be justified is to repent of your sins and to believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, who died on the cross for our sins and rose again for our justification. The mistake you are making is this: you seek the law of righteousness not by faith, but as if it were by the works of the law. So, I say to you, stop seeking to establish your own righteousness – which is like filthy rags in the sight of God –, and submit yourselves to the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus, the promised Messiah, who is “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4 – NKJV). You are attempting to expiate your sins through your good deeds, not knowing that Jesus, the Messiah, atoned for our sins by the offering of His own body when He was crucified. So what you must do in order to obtain the forgiveness of your sins is to repent of them and to put your trust in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth and in His resurrection. Only then will you be able to affirm in full assurance of faith: ‘We are forgiven!’

I know very well that you say that Jesus of Nazareth is not the Messiah, however you are greatly mistaken because you don’t know the Scriptures. Examine carefully the prophetic Scriptures of the Old Testament which speak of the Messiah, and the Scriptures of the New Testament which speak of Jesus of Nazareth, His life, His ministry, His death, His resurrection, His ascension to heaven, and you will realize that Jesus is really the Messiah. Read my teaching on the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth, which shows that the prophetic biblical passages written in the Old Testament, which speak of the Messiah, were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.

 

The sin offerings offered on the Day of Atonement

 

The atoning death of the Messiah was not only foretold by God through the prophets but also foreshadowed by the law through the sin offerings which were to be offered on the Day of Atonement by the High Priest. Here is what the law says: “And the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on. And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there: And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people. And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar. And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung. And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp. And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Leviticus 16:1-34).

As you can see, on the Day of Atonement the high priest had to kill a bull for his sins and for his house, and a goat for the sins of the people. Then he had to enter the Most Holy Place with the blood of those animals – which were offered as a sin offering - and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. In that way he made atonement for his sins, for the sins of his house and for those of the people. However, since the law has a shadow of the good things to come and not the very image of the things (for God had said to Moses when he was about to make the tabernacle: “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain” Hebrews 8:5; Exodus 25:40 - NKJV), those sacrifices which were offered continually year by year could not make the worshipers perfect in regard to the conscience. Do you not think that if those sacrifices had been able to cleanse the conscience of the worshippers, they would have ceased to be offered, for the worshippers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there was a reminder of sins every year, for it was impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. So God sent the Messiah into the world – that is, Jesus of Nazareth, who was born of a virgin and thus sinless - so that He might offer His own blood for our sins once for all, and through His blood we might be made perfect in regard to the conscience. Yes, for His blood cleanses the conscience of those who believe (in Him) from dead works. Therefore, while under the Old Testament in the atoning sacrifices which were offered continually for the people’s sins there was a reminder of sins every year, now under the New Testament God remembers no longer the sins of those who have been sanctified through the blood of Jesus Christ, for their sins have been blotted out from their conscience.

So, you who are Jews by birth, I exhort you to repent of your sins and to put your trust in the blood of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, which He shed on the cross for the remission of our sins, so that you may obtain the remission of sins. Do not rely on the works of the law, for the works of the law cannot atone for your sins nor cleanse your conscience from your iniquities, but put your trust in the precious blood of Jesus for it can cleanse your conscience from all your dead works.

 

 

 

 

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