Jews: a few questions for you…?

The first question I have is regarding the idea of an inclination to evil. I had begun to comprehend from reading several posts on this website that Jews don't believe man has a natural inclination towards evil similar to that which Christians describe man as having. However, I was reading the following article: http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/yomkippur/vol4no12.html And I noted that there was a mention not only of 'evil entering the world through Adam' but also a particular mention of something called 'the Evil Inclination'. Is this website not presenting Orthodox Jewish teaching or do you actually believe these things? Please can you explain this... I was also trying to do some reading around Yom Kippur and I noticed frequent mention of something called 'Kapparah'. This was specifically linked to atonement of man's sins against God and not related to his sins against another man. I know that this is not always regarded as orthodox or practiced by all Jews but I could not see where it originated. I was intrigued to notice that Jews might practice a ritual of sin transference when I so often hear here that Jews don't believe in such things. I was particularly intrigued by the prayer that accompanied the scapegoat bird: This is my substitute, my vicarious offering, my atonement; this cock [or hen] shall meet death, but I shall find a long and pleasant life of peace. Could you please explain this further and most particularly how it fits in with Jewish custom in certain places and where the practice originated? I have done a bit of research but could not find anything concrete. Thanks - here's a link to 1 of the places where I found this practice talk abouted: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Yom_Kippur/Overview_Yom_Kippur_Theology/Repentance/IsForgivenessNecessary.htm Also, I was wondering what your thoughts were on why God instituted a series of various sacrificial animal offerings and asked for the spilling of blood which formed a part of various ceremonies and was certainly included among the things listed for making atonement (Passover, Yom Kippur, etc). If, as I so often hear many of you say, forgiveness of sins is available apart from blood by recognition, repentance, restitution, remorse and confession then why have blood at all in relation to sin and guilt sacrifices? What is the purpose? I could see why offerings and tithes might include animals but sin and guilt sacrifices? Why, if there is a different and all encompassing other way that would avoid the shedding of animal blood? Also, on the subject of blood, why does a covenant need to be sealed by its shedding as Moses was commanded when the law was first given? None of this is intended to try and 'catch you out'. Indeed, you can check with certain Jews here (such as Kosherninja) that I am legitimate in my questions and tying to comprehend more about the richness of your faith and ceremonies. As such I would really appreciate respectful answers that aren't argumentative but seek to inform someone who truly is interested in your faith and practices. Many thanks in advance for your helpful answers on these topics. Every blessing. Thanks to those of you who have answered thus far (except science is my religion... not really much of an answer more a rant). I am still wanting to know more about the blood sacrifice aspect. Please do not answer this in a 'counter Christian way' but assume that I have no knowledge of any religion when you answer it. Imagine I am a five year old who has asked the question and you are trying to explain it to me (although obviously my intellectual capacity somewhat exceeds that of a five year old so you do not have to keep it too simple or avoid theology completely) Also, and this is just a question, if we were all created good (God saw His creation and proclaimed it to be good) then why this evil inclination? Do you believe Adam had this too or is such an inclination only present since the fall? If a person is born with it then could this be the same a what a Christian means when they say we're all slaves to the evil nature needing to be freed from it and our strivings against it? Michelle - sorry, just noticed my unhelpful wording regarding the blood issue. I know Passover has nothing to do with sin and it is my comprehending that orthodox Christian teaching agrees with this as well. We might consider it an antitype of the 'passover' when God judges the world but we don't comprehend that it related to personal sin only to marking those whom God has chosen to be spared. That Jesus might be described as the 'Passover/sacrificial lamb' should not be confused for thinking that Christians believe Passover has anything to do with atonement. I also acknowledge that many blood sacrifices are pertaining to offerings and I can comprehend why this might be so. My question was your thoughts regarding its use for atonement of sins. I had thought I might get an answer that it was a Mitzvoh commanded by God that might perhaps have reasons and might not - I was merely wondering if Jewish thought had come up with any such reasons. Thanks for your helpful comments though I also feel obliged to correct what seems to be a miscomprehending of orthodox Christian teaching. The Devil is not so different from the Jewish Satan. Romans seven very clearly shows that Christians also believe 'own worst enemy' and that sin comes from within. Those who see a devil behind every doily are not holding an orthodox doctrine. The difference is that while I comprehend Satan only accuses in Jewish thought, Christians also believe that he tempts as well - not that he causes evil, only that he can tempt us to it. There is more obviously and I know there are differences but I thought I'd clear this 1 up so we do not need to continue talking about it. Thanks :o) Kosherninja: My point wasn't so much about 'yetzer ra's existence per se, more why does it feel easier to do the wrong thing? Why are we attracted to it and why is our natural inclination to be selfish rather than selfless? Obviously I know there is a Christian doctrine which tells us why (that distinguishes between freedom of will - i.e., ability to set our whole being, desires and will either towards God or towards ourselves - and freedom of agency - i.e., our freedom to choose our decisions) but that is not what I'm interested in - I'm interested in the thoughts of Rabbis about why human experience is that 'yetzer ra' is so much easier and more attractive than its counterpart (at least on some occasions). Why did God make doing evil so much easier than doing good? Is there teaching in Jewish thought about why we cannot ever truly set our will toward God, why we cannot ever truly seek Him and desire to follow Him with all that we're and have? Cher, thanks for your helpful additions and the link - which I agree clearly demonstrates that Blood sacrifice is not REQUIRED for God to forgive the sin of mankind - it was there for the unintentional sins only. However, I still am not clear (and perhaps never will be) why God would institute such a practice in the first place. If charity could atone for unintentional sin then why not have this in Leviticus Four 5? It just makes no sense to me at the moment why the (admittedly imperfect and poor) system of sacrifices was needed... Perhaps I worry about this too much and I should overlook this section and replace the sin animal offerings with charity? If the temple were reinstated today would this be your temptation or would you rush to present sin offerings again? I'm just curious, that's all... Kosherninja - thanks for your additions and links - I think I might just do that (ask a Rabbi that is)... You're right, it might be an enjoyable experience! As to your point about expending effort to do evil - that is so true... But still, why is it easier to do what I think is good and right rather than fully accept what God said is good and right and do that? Anyway, I am becoming more and more convinced that radical Christian evangelicals do Christ's name more harm than good... And some of the radical teachings that emerge out of balance from the whole of our canon are frightening! If we really did start out with the Jewish faith as our basis for Christianity then surely we should at least find some consistencies on most parts - save the divinity of Christ of course... ;o) Blessings to you!

9 Comments on “Jews: a few questions for you…?

  1. OK, let’s start with ‘evil’.

    Judaism talks of a ‘yetzer ra’, or ‘evil impulse’, and also a ‘yetzer tov’, or ‘good impulse’. We all have both of these and our task, as decent humans, is not to give in to the ‘evil’ impulse. But really, ‘evil’ is not a satisfactory word, because we do not mean it in the sense of ‘demonic’ or anything like that. It can also mean ‘superficial’ or ‘immature’ or ‘materialistic’.

    So we view ‘evil’ as more of an internal force, not something embopassed away in a demonic figure, as we see in various other faiths.

    KAPPAROT

    – I am not well versed on this topic at all, so I’ve starred your post as I know my Orthodox Jewish friends will know a lot more. From what I can gather, only a tiny minority of Jews still practise this, and it involves something to do with swinging a chicken (?) around one’s head. I think I’d better stop there in fact – I worry that my lack of knowledge is going to seriously misrepresent this custom!!!

    SACRIFICE:

    Simply put, this was a method of getting closer to G-d. There is no belief in Judaism that *blood* in and of itself does anything. In fact, the Jewish G-d *forbids* blood sacrifice of the type that Jesus represents for Christians. No man can die for the sins of another. It just is not possible, according to the Jewish G-d and according to ALL groups within Judaism.

    Sacrifices were only ever 1 route to atonement; never the main route. They were used for specific sins and often, no live creature was even involved; rather, burnt flour would be offered, from what I comprehend.

    Again, this is not an area that I know a great deal about, so I hope I’ve offered a few basics and I’ll email a few of my fellow Jews who DO know lots on this topic 🙂

    SCIENCE IS MY RELIGION:

    Sweetie, I realise this will come as a huge shock for you, but here is the thing: what *you* think matters not. We have endured recently numerous of your spiteful very little interjections, but I think it’s getting really boring, really FAST now. So go and find someone else to irritate.

    ***** have emailed a few other Tribe members for some kosher back up!!! 🙂

    KAPPAROT – PART 2!

    – taken from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/

    What is kapparot?

    Kapparot is a custom in which the sins of a person are symbolically transferred to a fowl. It is practiced by some Jews shortly before Yom Kippur. First, selections from Isaiah 11:9, Psalms 107:10, 14, and Seventeen 21, and Job 33:23-24 are recited; then a rooster (for a male) or a hen (for a female) is held above the person’s head and swung in a circle 3 times, while the following is talkedn: This is my exchange, my substitute, my atonement; this rooster (or hen) shall go to its death, but I shall go to a good, long life, and to peace. The hope is that the fowl, which is then donated to the poor for food, will take on any misfortune that might otherwise occur to the 1 who has taken part in the ritual, in punishment for his or her sins.

    What is the history of this rite?

    Kapparot is not mentioned in the Torah or in the Talmud. The custom is first talk abouted by Jewish scholars in the ninth century. They explain that since the Hebrew word gever means both man and rooster, punishment of the bird can be substituted for that of a person.

    According to the Encyclopedia Judaica (Volume 10, pages 756-757), several Jewish sages strongly opposed kapparot. Rabbi Solomon ben Abraham Aderet , 1 of the foremost Jewish scholars during the 13th century, considered it a heathen superstition. This opinion was shared by the Ramban (Nachmanides) and Rabbi Joseph Caro, who called it a foolish custom that Jews should avoid. They felt that it was a pagan custom that mistakenly made its way into Jewish practice, perhaps because when Jews lived among pagans this rite seemed like a korban (sacrifice) to some extent

    However, the Kabbalists (led by mystics such as Rabbi Isaac Luria and Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz) perceived in this custom mystical significance which strongly appealed to many people. This greatly enhanced the popularity of the kapparot ritual down to the present day.

    Why did some Jewish sages oppose kapparot ?

    Some Jewish leaders felt that people would miscomprehend the significance of the ritual. The belief that the ceremony of kapparot can transfer a person’s sins to a bird, and that his or her sins would then be completely eradicated, is contrary to Jewish teachings. For, if the ritual could remove a person’s sins, what would be the need for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement?

    The Mishneh Brurah, an eminent contemporary commentary on Rabbi Joseph Caro’s classical codification of Jewish law, explains the significance of the ritual. Judaism stresses that a person can’t obtain purity from sin, and thus obtain much higher levels of perfection, without repenting. Through God’s mercy, we’re given the Divine gift of repentance, so that we might abandon our corrupt ways, thereby being spared from the death that we deserve for our violation of the Divine law. By substituting the death of a fowl, 1 will (hopefully) appreciate G-d’s mercy and be stirred to repentance. By no means, however, does the ritual and the slaughter of the bird eradicate one’s misdeeds, even though the bird is donated to the poor.

    *********************************************************

    edit

    In response to your query of *why* there is a ‘yetzer ra’ in the first place:

    Because G-d created us with free will. If we only have the ‘good impulse’, and can never be tempted or swayed or led astray, then making the RIGHT choice is meaningless.

    It’s only meaningful to CHOOSE the right thing when there is *another* choice also on offer, i.e. the ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ choice.

    So an integral part of human nature is to have the ‘yetzer ra’. Also, in Judaism, we do not believe any human can ever be perfect. Only G-d can achieve ‘perfection’.

    ———————————————————–

    A great website that I think you will find interesting:

    http://www.chabad.org/

    YOUR MOST RECENT EDIT

    – Ah, but you see, in Judaism, we are taught that we *can* indeed draw closer to G-d and that achieving *this* is not impossible, not at all. Now, I may be wrong, but I think most if not all Orthodox Jews would tell you that when they observe the strict rules of keeping the sabbath, for example, when they pray 3 times daily, when they follow the mitzvot, they ARE indeed setting their will towards doing the ‘good’ thing, the thing that G-d wants them to!

    Also, in Judaism, we’re not expected to be ‘perfect’. It’s not a case of doing things perfectly – or failure. We try the best we can. Sometimes we get it right. Sometimes we don’t. And when we don’t, this doesn’t make us ‘bad’ or ‘evil’. We are just being human.

    Now, to your question about why it ‘feels easier’ to do the ‘wrong thing’ – I do not even know in all honesty if this is a Jewish attitude I’m now expressing, but I’d argue it DOESN’T feel ‘easier’ to do the wrong thing a lot of the time!

    Sometimes it does, but certainly not always or even mostly. And when you think of the truly ‘evil’ people throughout history – LOOK at all the tremendous effort and energy they had to expend DOING the evil thing!

    As for what a Rabbi would say – LOL LOL, you could ask 5 Rabbis and get 6 opinions or ways of expressing it! I suggest that you actually ask a few Rabbis, you will find it an enjoyable experience, I suspect, you can contact a number of Rabbis at these sites:

    http://www.askmoses.com
    http://www.chabad.org/

    Seriously, ask them 🙂

    They will be happy to answer. Oh, another GREAT Rabbi: Rabbi Tovia Singer, an American Rabbi (I’m a British fan!), his website is fab – http://www.outreachjudaism.org/

    – go to his site, head for the Q&A forum, you can submit a query and read others, many are from non Jews, they’re fascinating 🙂

  2. So we view ‘evil’ as more of an internal force, not something embopassed away in a demonic figure, as we see in various other faiths

    Well, I think the result is the same !

  3. Yes, Jews DO believe in the *evil inclination.* We do NOT believe in original sin and that it requires a human blood sacrifice. We’re born as a blank slate and change according to the choices we make. Judaism is about LIFE, not the afterlife!

    Yes, we do have a tradition of casting off our sins, but it does not necessarily involve *blood.* Many of us cast bread on running water, symbolically casting off our sins. It has nothing to do with blood atonement of sin for entry into eternal life. We cast off our sins and start each brand new year with the blank slate.

    In those days, *sacrifice* meant drawing closer to God. It was not meant as giving up something valuable, it was simply a way to honor God and to draw closer to Him. After the fall of the 2nd Temple when sacrifice was no longer possible, Christians replaced sacrifice with 1 final perfect human sacrifice while Jews replaced sacrifice with prayer. Jews of today pray at the times previously designated for sacrifice.

    You might find this book interesting:
    “A Portable God: The Origin of Judaism and Christianity” by Risa Levitt Kohn and Rebecca Moore

    Great link from Plushy-bear!
    It’s a custom that doesn’t appear anywhere in the Talmud, but whose origin seems to come courtesy of several 9th century rabbis.
    .

  4. To address the issue of Kapparot – check out this site (you were close!): http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/kapparot.html

    I still remember my father talking about HIS grandparents doing Kapparot; he thought it was a ridiculous custom. It reminds me of an old parable – this recently married woman was making a roast and cut it in half. Her husband asked why and she replied I do not know. My mother always did that. She called her mother to ask about why she always cut the roast in half. Her mother replied I do not know. My mother always did that. She then called HER mother who replied My oven was too small!.
    Seems that many rituals are the same; it’s not in the Torah, it’s not in the Talmud, but it exists among a small group of Jews.

  5. Ok, I will chime in on this. I will say that you have Paperback, L’Chaim and Plushy have all given great answers. However, I will say that my community does participate in Kapparot. In fact the picture on my blog is just that.
    Kapparot is not Torah or Talmud based but is more a custom that came from Eastern Europe. Some, including the Rambam saw it as Pagan custom and were against it. However in many Chabad communities (my parents were Lubavitch), it is still practiced. It is considered to have deep Kabbalistic signficance. I am not old enough to study Kabbalah so I don’t quite comprehend it. I do know it is a custom that I really have a few questions about. I still participate but it is probably the thing I do that bothers me the most.

    What that article said was that Adam commited the first sin and thus he did. That doesn’t mean we believe, as Christians do that evil is now thrust upon every child henceforth. Adam was asked to do 1 thing by G-d, not to eat from the fig (or fruit or apple depending on what you belief). He failed and because he sinned he was lost.

    The question of evil gets very complicated and probably YA R&S is not the best forum to attempt to explain and I am far from an expert but I will try.

    Nothing that takes G-d’s will is evil. Period. G-d gave people free will and that free will is whether or not man acts with G-d’s will or not. We were given the world as a gift and we can act as G-d desired or not. It is up to us just as it was up to Adam. If I lie to my friends, steal, bully, murder, rape etc. we can safely say I have lost my way. If I try but make mistakes as we all do, then I too have used my free will but the mistake was not intentional. Yes, we all make mistakes and yes we all do intentional things that are against G-d’s will but do we lose our way? Adam lost his way more or less. He was off course and without a path.
    I decide my actions. There is no Satan, devil, beast etc who makes me do those things. I do them or I don’t do them. It is my choice and mine alone.
    You question was a very good 1 and made me think. I have done a terrible job of answering it but Paperback, L’Chaim and Plushy did wonderfuly.
    The easy short answer (I know its too late for short answer LOL) is that the ritual of Kapparot is very controversial even amongst us that undertake it but the nature of evil is not. Evil comes from within the person, not from without.

  6. You’ve become some great answers already, so this may be beating a lifeless (sacrificial) horse 😉 – but there is a difference between what Judaism believes and what Jews believe. By which I mean that we have no Pope, no unifying leader, and very little in the way of definitive doctrine – the Talmud itself is an ongoing talk aboution and argument about how to correctly interpret the laws – while there are some interpretations and practices that are considered to be definitive (fasting on Yom Kippur, the larger parameters of what tefillin look like, how small a sukkah can be), there are also many areas where different communities differ in how they interpreted the law, and how they practice as a result. The differences between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews are fairly well known, while the differences between Chassidic and mainstream (mitnagged) Orthodox groups are generally more subtle and harder to know if you’re not inside 1 of those groups.

    The reason I mention this is, kapparah is a folk tradition, not halacha (Jewish law). Only a handful of communities ever practiced it – it’s considered accepted practice because they were sizable communities, but there are also plenty of religious Jews who reject the concept (Lithuanian Jews, or Litvaks, who make up a large percentage of religious Jews, have very little good to say about practices that are spiritual or supernatural in nature – this is a good example of one). For the record (I think someone else’s source mentioned this), now many groups give money to charity instead of using a live bird, and those who do use the chicken then donate the bird to the needy – it is killed and eaten, not sacrificed as a blood offering.

    The concept of a yetzer ha-ra (Evil Inclination) is another concept that icame from rabbinic writings and not directly from the Torah. It is not an inclination that makes man inherently evil, however – it’s more like the very little devil on your shoulder in cartoons who tells you to do bad things — and there is also a yetzer ha-tov (Good Inclination) that acts as its counterpart. It’s not even seen as an entirely bad thing – there is a well-known Talmud quote that the yetzer ha-ra can be seen as a good thing, because without it no 1 would make a good living, get married, have kids, or any of the other good things that come from desire. It’s seen as a normal impulse toward making wrong choices, which all people have, not a demon that drives us and that makes us bad people if we listen. It’s a subtle difference, but I think an important one.

    When it comes to animal sacrifices, or the covenant of circumcision, I can’t give you an answer as to why we had/have them, any more than I can answer why we have kosher laws. Anthropologists probably have many potential ‘reasons’ (the same way that they point out that eating kosher would have been healthier), but as far as the Torah is concerned, we offered sacrifices because G-d asked us to. And that’s the only reason. The truth is, though, that very few animal sacrifices were sin-related. Most were offerings – the Passover sacrifice had nothing to do with sin at all (despite Christian teachings to the contrary), but is linked to the miracles and celebration of the holiday. Only a tiny number of specific sins required an animal sacrifice – most required restitution and repentance, the same as they do today. The vast majority of sacrifices were tithes or celebratory offerings. And as you know, without a Temple we’re no longer allowed to make any sacrifices, and prayer (combined with charity and repentance in the case of sins) is considered a sufficient substitution.

  7. Wow, very extensive question. I’ll summarize an answer, seeing as how these questions can be answered in so many different ways and you’ve received so many good responses.

    Inclination to Evil. The difference between Judaism and Christianity, is that Christianity states that an EXTERIOR force [devil, the beast, demons, etc…] which push you to doing evil. Judaism does not teach this. Instead its teaching resembles the phrase, you are your own worst enemy. Our struggle is from within. We all given free choice and everything we do is a result of OUR decisions, not because someone else pushed or tricked or seduced me into doing it.
    The Inclination to Evil in hebrew is called yetzer hara and does not necessarily mean EVIL. Instead it is an inclination that makes me do Natural things, such as eating, sleeping, sexual urges, etc…… None of which are evil, but if used inappropriately, or done in excess lead to evil.
    Just so you know, even though Adam was perfect, he still had this ability to choose his actions, which is what explains his actions.
    Evil did not enter the world the way christianity sees it, mainly that ALL children are born with original sin. What was introduced were the consequences that the Evil did.

  8. I haven’t read through everything so hopefully this isn’t a repetion of what was already said.

    ======

    Even in Temple days of sacrifice, there was always an alternative of flour for the animal. There was NEVER a BLOOD requirement. That is a Christian taught concept about Judaism that’s incorrect.

    This site has a good explanation of that http://www.whatjewsbelieve.org One of the left hand items is specifically on this topic.

    =====
    In Judaism people are born neutral/good. It is through our free will that we choose good & poor choices. It is not inherent in us to be so evil that something power is neeed external to us to undo that. It was in the garden of eden that adam & eve lose their innocence & learn of good & evil & it is then that they gain free will & responsiblity. It is not the Christian reading that they gained inherent sin.

    God doesn’t expect perfection from us & doesn’t demand it. He does expect trying, which includes taking time to be look inside & see what we’ve done wrong & can better — both towards other humans & world, & towards God. In this way sin is not the focus, but self assessment for trangressions is important.

    For those trangressions against others we ask forgiveness from & make amends to those involved. For God, we pray & ask forgiveness. However, in Temple days that could be done with sacrifices. For the rich they brough animals, but for the less well of, flour was acceptable. The point isn’t the blood at all, but the act of contrition… Which can be accomplished through prayer.

    ============
    To try on that last puzzlement:

    This will not give an answer from a God angle, but consider that in those days the priests mantained the Temple. This was common in lots of religions. For the priests to eat, animals were sacrificed. It was basically a BBQ with blessings to God for all we have, & a chance to do it with the priests skill. Maybe God commanded it because it was a natural lead in from the lifestyle that already existed but gave it brand new clear meaning in a more God-moral way (that it was for atoning, but not appeasing for favor of the Gods.). (Also, maybe commanded because it a practical way it was needed.)

    There is a subtle theme in Judaism of taking the older & taking the other ancient religions & adjusting them to respect God & bring a brand new set of concepts to the similar actions. For example, while human sacrifice was outlawed by the Abraham-Issaic experience, Succot is clearly a continuation of a harvest holiday & certainly was in Temple days, but with the bringing in of God in very specific ways.

  9. Your question is addressed to Jews and not Christians, but I am a Christian who would like to respond to 1 aspect – the shedding of blood. You wrote However, I still am not clear (and perhaps never will be) why God would institute such a practice in the first place. If charity could atone for unintentional sin then why not have this in Leviticus Four 5? It just makes no sense to me at the moment why the (admittedly imperfect and poor) system of sacrifices was needed…

    God didn’t institute this practice because it pleased Him to do so, nor could this practice under the Old Covenant deliver us from sin forever. But as to the shedding of blood from the Old Testament to the New, there is a key in Psalm eighty five – Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed

    In a world where men are born with the nature of Adam – a nature that responds to God in 1 of 2 ways…it either hates and actively rejects Him, or it passively turns away and never bothers to seek Him – a nature that is no longer of God, but born of sin……how can the Holy, Righteous JUST God who is, also justify and excuse the ungodly whom He loves? How can there be righteousness and peace between us and God where sin exists? How can He have mercy toward us even as He reveals the truth of the sin nature that is inside us? One way – through the shedding of the blood of another, to atone for the sin and extend life to the sinner.

    Just as someone who loves children must hate abortion, God who loves His creation so much must also hate that which destroys it – the very sin that Adam embraced and spiritually passed away to that day in the garden…passing that sin nature onto each 1 of us.

    Thus, sin must be atoned for by the shedding of blood – just as a murderer must pay with his life in our judicial system today, death is the wage of our sin. Except those whose sins are atoned for are not the ones who pay the price.

    Under the Old Covenant God made provision for His people, the Jews, through the blood of bulls and goats. This provision temporarily covered sin, but it didn’t remove sin by creating a brand new nature within, as the blood of Jesus does. Think of it as having a book lying on a table in front of you….you cover the book with a cloth. The book itself is still there – just as the sin nature remains where sin is merely covered. But now if you remove the book from the table completely and toss it away forever….that book isn’t simply out of sight, it’s out of mind. It’s gone. Erased from your existence. When God said I will remember their sins no more, it is because where there is the remission of sins through the shedding of the blood of Christ, there is no longer an offering for sins, because like that book that was thrown out, that old sin nature is lifeless and gone, washed away through the blood of Jesus.

    Why was the imperfect type and shadow of the blood of bulls and goats given? Like the law itself – the law was not given to enable us to draw near to God, but show us the true sin nature we were born with, and our need for a Savior. The sacrifices of bulls and goats were not given to ultimately deliver us from sin because they could not….but they do point us to the One who would erase those sins completely and give us a brand new nature within….those who are in Him are born of God and now able to fellowship directly with Him. Not through the blood of animals, or through a high priest who could only enter an earthly copy of the Holy of Holies once a year….but through the incorruptible blood of His only begotten Son, who entered THE heavenly Holy of Holies not made with hands – entered with His own blood once for all.

    I am not evangelizing here, but pointing out that the only way a Holy Righteous God could remain just and also justify the ungodly through His love is by providing us with a Savior…a Savior who not only bore our sins and sickness in His own body on that tree, but who bore the wrath of God against sin on our behalf, by shedding His blood for us. Jesus is the propitiation (mercy seat) that God set forth to demonstrate both His righteousness towards sin AND His abundant love towards us…..and the imperfect system that dealt with outward rituals and fleshly ordinances had to be given until the appointed time where the perfect New Covenant that dealt with the inner man would be accomplished.

    The imperfect system covered His people for a time, but as a type and shadow it also pointed to the New Covenant which now is – a plan which is incorruptible, perfect, imperishable.

    The perfect standard of the law (including the sacrifice of bulls and goats) was so impossible for Adamic man to keep, it would require 1 who was sinless (and thus born of the Divine, born of a virgin through the Holy Spirit so the sin nature of Adam would not be within) to fulfill this law on our behalf and claim those rewards for us, as Jesus did.

    Again, I am not evangelizing anyone, but the answer to your question lies in the types and shadows which point to Christ, as well as the superiority of the New Covenant compared to the old. Since God’s plan of redemption was formed before the foundation fo the world, it is not accurate to say that the Jewish faith is the basis for Christianity….Christ is that foundation, and He was before the earth was formed, before the giving of the Jewish law, before any religion which now is.

    I appreciate the depth of thought to your questions, and your diligent search for the truth. As well as your respect for others. I heartily agree that many evangelicals do Christ’s name more harm than good…….but that usually comes from a failure to know God’s Holy Word, and a propensity to let other men, foolish men, tell us what they THINK His Word says, rather than knowing what He truly says. Just because we fail to know Him in truth – Jew or Christian or unbeliever – our misperceptions don’t change who He truly is.

    I pray His blessings upon you, and the light of His truth to shine within you. Shalom –

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