The Claim: Jesus Was Not a "Kosher" Sacrifice

This claim comes from multiple sources and usually includes a mixture of the following.

G-d's Law:

  • Requires sacrifices to be offered in the Temple. Jesus was not sacrificed in the Temple but was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem.
  • Requires sacrifices for sin be offered by Levitical priests.  Jesus was not from the tribe of Levi.
  • Requires the blood of the sacrifice to be splashed on the altar. Jesus' blood was not splashed on the altar.
  • Requires sacrifices to be sheep, goats, bulls, cows, pigeons, or turtledoves.  Jesus was not one of these animals.
  • Requires animals that are to be sacrificed to be unblemished. Jesus was torn, bloodied, pierced and was not unblemished.
  • Requires the sacrifice to be as clean and as painless as possible for the animal. Jesus' death on the cross was not clean and painless.
  • Forbids human sacrifice for sin (or any other reason). Jesus offered himself up as a human sacrifice for sin.

 

These are the requirements that G-d Himself established in His Law so why would He break His own Word in requiring the bloody and horrific sacrifice of His own son?  He would not.  Such action would be contrary to His nature, His character, and His own Word.

 

The Response

All of these points are 100% correct.

Jesus was not sacrificed in the Temple.  He was not a bull, ram, or pigeon.  He was not sacrificed by a Levite.  His blood was not splashed on the altar.  His sacrifice was not clean or painless.

Although Messiah was called "the Lamb of G-d" (John 1:29) and described as a "sin [offering] on our behalf" (2 Corinthians 5:21) His sacrifice was not compliant with the Levitical service.

His sacrifice was never intended to be compliant with the requirements of the Levitical service.

 

The disciples and those who read their writings were familiar with the Levitical priesthood and sacrificial system.  The disciples leveraged that experience and knowledge to depict Messiah's work.  However, that exact same knowledge would have prevented the disciples from understanding or teaching that Messiah was a literal Levitical sacrifice or sin offering.

There are numerous parallels between the Levitical sacrifices and Messiah's sacrifice but each sacrifice was performed for entirely different reasons by entirely different priesthoods! (See this article entitled Why the Sacrifices?)

The writer of Hebrews reminds us that Messiah was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests (Hebrews 7:14).  Messiah's work was performed in the heavenly Temple and, after He offered one sacrifice for sins for all time,  He sat down at the right hand of G-d. (Hebrews 10:12)  Hebrews also reminds us that, if Messiah were on earth, He would not be a priest at all! (Hebrews 8:4)

Although His death occurred on earth, His work was performed in the heavenly realm as a priest in the "order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 5:10, 6:20, 7:11, etc) and about that priesthood the Law of Moses provides neither requirement nor restriction.

Messiah is our Great High Priest and performed His work perfectly.

Oh, LORD, may your Name be praised!

 

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Torah Portion

תצוּה (Tetzaveh)

 

 

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Today is

Yom Rishon, 3 Adar, 5778

Sunday, February 18, 2018

 

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