Analysis of Jesus Claiming To Be Pure And Sinless

Continued from Part 21

Making the unsuitable suitable New Testament style

It is alleged that Jesus was spiritually pure and sinless and that his supposed sacrificial death was prefigured in the Jewish Scriptures by images and types (e.g. Isaiah 53, Psalm 22).   But who says he was spiritually pure and sinless?  Who says his death was prefigured in the Jewish Scriptures?  Only the tendentiously self-serving authors of the New Testament and their adherents!

But, why do the New Testament authors make these claims when they are not in the Jewish Scriptures?  The answer is clear:  How else can they explain Jesus being completely unsuited as a biblical atonement sacrifice other than to go on the offensive and contend that the biblical sacrificial system was a “shadow” which only prefigured him but did not apply to him?

Hebrews alleges:  “For the Law … has a shadow of the good things to come [and] not the very form [literally image] of things” (Hebrews 10:1, see also Colossians 2:17).  But this is a claim unsubstantiated except in the minds of those who unquestioning accept the New Testament as if it were true.

Blood shed and vicarious suffering:  The Torah view

The blood shed is all-important in the symbolic ritual of animal sacrifice done in the Temple, but forgiveness of sin can be obtained without the sacrificial aspect.  The sin-offering can help make atonement by being part of the Temple ritual, but it is not required for forgiveness.  Only repentance is required.  Repentance is a turning point of the heart and mind from sin.  This is made clear in Psalms 30:2-3; 40:2, 7 and Micah 6:6-8.  Any suffering undergone by the sin-offering either leading up to or at the time of death itself is not what achieves the atonement.

Atonement is never vicarious.  The suffering of one being cannot atone for the sins of another (Ezekiel 18:20-22, 26-28).  Neither the servant, nor a sacrificial animal, nor Jesus, can literally take on the punishment of another.  They need not and they cannot vicariously atone.   Only the sinner can suffer for, or repent from, his sins.  Hebrews claims that Jesus fulfilled that which the animal blood supposedly only foreshadowed (Hebrews 9:12-14). Jesus execution simply does not fulfill fundamental sacrificial requirements set by the Torah.  The crucifixion preparatory treatment, the national origins of his executioners, the fact that he was a human being, the geographic location of his death, the lack of a death caused by a literal shedding of blood respectively would render any potential offering as unfit for consideration as a fulfillment of a biblically required sacrifice.   If the New Testament is a continuation of what Christians call the “Old Testament,” it must harmonize with the “Old Testament”—false comparisons will not suffice.  The New Testament authors picked and chose what suited them in order to make it seem as if Jesus was a valid sacrifice and that he willingly offered himself as a guilt-offering.

© Gerald Sigal