Last Updated on
A Study of the Hebrew Tanakh (Old Testament)
Here is a partial list of reasons for why the death of Jesus on the cross couldn’t possibly have served as a valid sacrifice – any one of these would render a sacrifice as unacceptable for the purpose of expiation of sins.
GIVEN that, at the time of Jesus’ death, the Second Temple was still standing in Jerusalem and the Hebrew Bible was the Scripture in force, here are some of the reasons why the death of Jesus on the cross cannot be a valid sacrificial offering:
FIRST, the Hebrew Bible requires that the sacrificial ritual be administered by a Priest (see Leviticus Chapters 1-7) — according to the accounts in the New Testament, Jesus was crucified by Roman soldiers (Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Lk 23:33; Jn 19:18, 23).
SECOND, the Hebrew Bible requires that the blood of the (sin) sacrifice had to be sprinkled by the Priest on the veil of the sanctuary and on the altar in the Temple (e.g., Lev 4:5-6) — there is no evidence in the New Testament that this was done.
THIRD, the Hebrew Bible requires that the (sin) sacrifice be without any physical defects or blemishes (e.g., Lev 4:3) — according to the accounts in the New Testament, Jesus was beaten, whipped, and dragged on the ground before being crucified (Mt 26:67, 27:26, 30-31; Mk 14:65, 15:15-20; Lk 22:63; Jn 18:22, 19:1, 3). Moreover, as a Jew by birth, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after being born, a ritual that leaves a scar (“sign of the covenant”). According to the NT, circumcision is tantamount to mutilation (Phil 3:2, Gal 5:12).
FOURTH, the Hebrew Bible requires that the Passover (sin) sacrifice, a male-goat, be offered on an individual (per household) basis (Num 28:22), not as a communal offering — according to the New Testament, Jesus’ death (termed a “sin sacrifice”) expiated the sins of mankind (Ro 6:10; He 9:12, 10:10, 10:18).
FIFTH, the Hebrew Bible directs that the Paschal Lamb was not to be offered for the removal of sins — it was a commemorative/festive offering (see also under “Fourth” above and “Sixth” below). A more appropriate time for a sin offering would have been on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement; Num 29:11 [individual sin-offering — male goat]; Lev 16:15 [communal sin-offering — male goat]).
SIXTH, the Hebrew Bible requires that the sacrificed Paschal Lamb had to be roasted and eaten, and it’s blood used to place markings on the side-posts and lintel of the doors (Exod 12:7-8) ? there is no record in the New Testament that this was, in fact, done (lest it be suggested that Christianity promotes cannibalism).
SEVENTH, the Hebrew Bible states that the sacrificial sin offering could only atone for unintentional sins, with few notable exceptions as stated in Lev 5:1-6, 20-26 [Lev 6:1-7 in Christian Bibles] (e.g., Num 15:27-31).
EIGHTH, the Hebrew Bible teaches that sacrifices can atone only for sins committed prior to the offering of the sacrifice; no sacrifice could ever atone for sins committed after the sacrifice was offered and, thus, no sacrifice could ever atone for people born after the sacrifice was offered (e.g., Leviticus 1-7). So, even if it were true that Jesus was some kind of super-sacrifice that atoned for all sins of all mankind, then his death could only atone for the sins committed before his death, not for any sins committed after his death by people who were born after he died.
NINTH, the Hebrew Bible strictly forbids (human) vicarious atonement (e.g., Exod 32:31-33; Num 35:33; Deut 24:16; II Kgs 14:6; Jer 31:29 [30 in Christian Bibles]; Ezek 18:4,20; Ps 49:7).
TENTH, the Hebrew Bible strictly prohibits human sacrifices (e.g., Lev 18:21, 24-25; Deut 18:10; Jer 7:31, 19:5; Ezek 23:37, 39).
It is simply astonishing that so many people believe what their preachers “feed” them, as well as how the New Testament writings contradict the teachings of the Hebrew Bible.