What Everyone Should Know About The Meaning of Sacrifice

Continued from Part 27

The servant’s rewards for faithfulness to God

In verse 12, God speaks of the servant, who, as a result of his selflessness, is willing to give up all that he possesses in the service of God.  This is the meaning of sacrifice within the context of our discussion.

The alleged sacrifice of the Christian Jesus is greatly exaggerated.   There is a gross misuse of the concept of “sacrifice” where one who is alleged to be a supernatural being knows that by giving up a flesh-and-blood existence, something essentially unimportant to him, he will receive in return a position of eternal exaltation and power.  Jesus’ death cannot be called a sacrifice.  On leaving his transitory human lifespan behind him, Jesus, it is alleged, returned to heaven to once more become part of the eternal Godhead in its proper heavenly setting.  Is this what Christianity calls “the Lamb of God,” a sacrificial offering?

Rewarding one’s self for obeying one’s self  

The biblical sacrifice is slain unaware and unknowing and without reward for the service it provides.  Why should Jesus be rewarded for his alleged sacrifice, for doing what he himself, as God, wanted done?   There is no point for God, of whom Jesus is allegedly a part, to say:   “I will divide him a portion with the great” as an actual reward to Himself.   Such reward can be properly given to one who is all-human, but not to one who is at the same time a supernatural being,

 Dividing the spoil with the mighty

Parallel with God’s promise to “divide him a portion with the great” is the phrase, “he shall divide the spoil [shalal] with the mighty.”   The term “the mighty,” or “the mighty ones,” refers to the mighty nation, the descendants of Abraham (Genesis 18:18).  The Hebrew word shalal, “spoil,” is the term used for booty of war (Genesis 49:27, Numbers 31:11, Isaiah 10:6), and always means physical wealth wherever it is used.   In Proverbs shalal is used to connote an increase of wealth which does not result from one’s personal labor (Proverbs 31:11).

He shall divide” indicates that the division of the spoils will be done in an orderly fashion by the governing authorities.  The entire nation of Israel will share the spoils of war (Zechariah 14:14).  “He,” that is, Israel as a national unit, will evenly distribute the spoils of war among “the mighty ones,” all the Jewish people.   It will not just be those who actually fought that will partake in the division of the spoils, but the spoils will be equally shared among all Israel (cf. Numbers 31:27, Joshua 22:8, 1 Samuel 30:24-25).  If Jesus is God, who can be great enough to share the spoil with him?   Is it conceivable that one who is God could possibly have only “a portion” comparable to that of mere earthly rulers, or that “he shall divide the spoil” with anyone?   Even if this could be rationalized, it would then run counter to what is stated in Psalm 2, which Christian commentators claim refers to Jesus.  In that psalm, God offers, to the person in question, the entire earth for a possession (not a portion) and all rulers are told to give homage to that person (verses 10-12).  Isaiah 53:12 and Psalm 2 could not literally be referring to the same individual

© Gerald Sigal