The Claim: The Bible Teaches Men Die For Their Own Sin
The concept of one man dying in another person's place is not consistent with the Bible and the teachings of Judaism.
Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin. (Deuteronomy 24:16)
However, he did not put their children to death, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, which the LORD commanded, saying, "Fathers shall not be put to death for sons, nor sons be put to death for fathers, but each shall be put to death for his own sin." (2 Chronicles 25:4)
The concept of the "suffering of the righteous" is well documented throughout Rabbinic Jewish literature. The idea goes something like this:
- G-d is a just judge. He rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked.
- So why do the wicked appear to prosper in the midst of their wickedness and the righteous appear to suffer in the midst of their righteousness?
- This must be because there is a "world to come"... a "hereafter" in which the wicked will be fully punished and the righteous will be fully rewarded according to G-d's righteous judgment.
This logic is used to explain the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous in this world, however, it was deemed an incomplete answer. Further study by the Sages of Israel developed the idea that the suffering and death of the righteous brings atonement for others.
The Sages asked, "If suffering results from sin then why do the righteous suffer?"
Their answer: "When the righteous suffer it must be for the sins of others."
Believers well know that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). This concept is thoroughly established in Judaism as well.
The Sages asked, "Why do the righteous die if they are righteous?"
Their answer: "They die for the sins of others."
The Talmud teaches that the suffering and death of the righteous brings atonement for others.
Believers know that there are none who are righteous, "no not one" (Romans 3:10 quoting Psalm 14:3). G-d alone is righteous and when He came in the form of man He was the only Righteous One who suffered and died for the sins of all others.
The suffering and death of the Messiah is entirely consistent with the teaching of Scripture and the theology of Judaism.