Sunday, November 22, 2015

Did the Messiah Have to Die for the Sins of Israel?

"The answer to your question is simple. Jesus could not die for anyone’s sins, whether they were committed intentionally or accidentally. To begin with, the Jewish people were strictly prohibited from offering human sacrifices under any circumstances. There is not one place throughout the entire corpus of the Jewish Scriptures where human sacrifices are condoned. In fact, over and over again, the Bible warns the Jewish people that it is a grave sin to bring a human being as a sacrifice. In the Book of Leviticus, only distinct species of animals are permitted for use in blood sacrifices," Rabbi Tovia Singer, responding to the question "Could Jesus' Death Atone for Any Kind of Sin?", from:
 In the excerpt above, Singer is making the argument that the Messiah did not need to die for the sins of Israel...which is odd given that both Scripture and, more interestingly, writings of Rabbinic Judaism attest that the Messiah had to die and be a sacrifice for the sins of Israel.

First, let's look at Scripture.  We see in Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 12:10 that the Messiah had to be like a lamb sacrifice:

"1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and theLord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors," Isaiah 53 
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn," Zechariah 12:10

Next, let's look at what the writings of Rabbinic Judaism have to say about the Messiah in the above passages.  
"The fifth house [in the heavenly Paradise] is built of onyx and jasper stones, and inlaid stones, and silver and gold, and good pure gold.  And round it are rivers of balsam, and before its door flows the River Gihon.  And [it has] a canopy of all trees of incense and good scent.  And [in it are] beds of gold and silver, and embroidered garments.  And there sit Messiah ben David and Elijah and Messiah ben Ephraim.  And there is a canopy of incense trees as in the Sanctuary which Moses made in the desert.  And all its vessels and pillars are of silver, its covering is gold, its seat is purple.  And in it is Messiah ben David who loves Jerusalem.  Elijah of blessed memory takes hold of his head, places it in his lap and holds it, and says to him:  'Endure the sufferings and the sentence of your Master who makes you suffer because of the sin of Israel.'  And thus it is written:  He was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities (Isa. 53:5)--until the time when the end comes.
     And every Monday and Thursday, and every Sabbath and holiday, the Fathers of the World [i.e. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] and Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, and the prophets, and the pious come and visit him, and weep with him.  And he weeps with them.  And they give him thanks and say to him:  'Endure the sentence of your Master, for the end is near to come, and the chains which are on your neck will be broken, and you will go out into freedom,'
     And even Korah and all his company entreat him every Wednesday and say to him:  'How long until the miraculous end?  When will you bring us back to life and bring us up again from the depths of the earth (Ps. 71:20)?
     And he says to them:  'Go and ask the Fathers of the World.'  And they are ashamed and return to their place.' (Mid. Konen, BhM 2:29-30)" Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts, pgs 114-115
The passage reiterates a common theme in Rabbinic writings, the belief that Messiah ben Yoseph had to die and "[e]ndure the sufferings...because of the sin of Israel."  And note that in this particular passage, the Rabbis identify Messiah ben Yoseph as the Messiah in the Isaiah 53 passage.

In another passage associating the Messiah ben Yoseph with Isaiah 53, the following passage from the Zohar explains that the Messiah died for the sins of Israel ("...because they neglected the Torah..") but also further explains that the Messiah takes over the role of the Temple sacrifices:
"The souls which are in the Garden of Eden of Below roam about on every New Moon and Sabbath, and go to that place which is called Walls of Jerusalem, where there are many officers and detachments which watch-over those walls....And they go to that place, but do not enter it until they are purified.  And there they prostrate themselves, and enjoy that radiance, and then return to the Garden.  [And again] they go forth from there and roam about in the world, and they see the bodies of the sinful suffering their punishment....And then they [continue to] roam and view those afflicted with sufferings and disease, and those who suffer for the Oneness of their Master, and then they return and tell [all this] to the Messiah.  In the hour in which they tell the Messiah about the sufferings of Israel in exile, and [about] the sinful among them who seek not the knowledge of their Master, the Messiah lifts up his voice and weeps over those sinful among them.  This is what is written:  He was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities (Isa. 53:5).  Those souls then return to their places.  In the Garden of Eden there is a hall which is called the Hall of the Sons of Illness.  The Messiah enters that hall and summons all the diseases and all the pains and all the sufferings of Israel that they should come upon him, and all of them come upon him.  And would he not thus bring ease to Israel and take their sufferings upon himself, no man could endure the sufferings Israel has to undergo because they neglected the Tora...As long as Israel dwelt in the Holy Land, the rituals and the sacrifices they performed [in the Temple] removed all those diseases from the world, now the Messiah removes them from the children of the world....' (Zohar 2:212a)" Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts, pgs 115-116
Again and again in Midrash we read that Messiah ben Yoseph died for the sins of Israel ("...their sins will in the future force you into an iron yoke..." Pes. Rab. & "...'Ephraim, our True Messiah!...Do you want that our children should enjoy the happiness that this happiness the Holy One, blessed be He, allotted to Israel, or perhaps, because of the great sufferings that have come upon you on their account, and because they imprisoned you in the jailhouse, your mind is not reconciled with them?'" Pes. Rab. ch 36).

And, lastly, we should note that the Rabbis believed that this Messiah ben Joseph, the Messiah who had to die for the sins of Israel, is the same Messiah depicted in Zechariah 12:10, the Messiah of whom G-d says, "they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son..." (see note below).

In conclusion, it seems that Singer is wrong to argue that the Messiah did not need to die for the sins of Israel.  Scripture tells us that the Messiah did indeed have to die for the sins of Israel.  Furthermore, we can see from the writings of Rabbinic Judaism that the Rabbis understood this as well.




"Talmud - Mas. Sukkah 52a And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart.1 Is it not, they said, an a fortiori argument? If in the future2 when they will be engaged in mourning and the Evil Inclination will have no power over them,3 the Torah4 nevertheless says, men separately and women separately, how much more so now5 when they are engaged in rejoicing and the Evil Inclination has sway over them.6 What is the cause of the mourning [mentioned in the last cited verse]?1 — R. Dosa and the Rabbis differ on the point. One explained, The cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph,7 and the other explained, The cause is the slaying of the Evil Inclination. It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, since that well agrees with the Scriptural verse, And they shall look upon me because they have thrust him through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son;8 but according to him who explains the cause to be the slaying of the Evil Inclination, is this [it may be objected] an occasion for mourning? Is it not rather an occasion for rejoicing? Why then should they weep? — [The explanation is] as R. Judah expounded: In the time to come9 the Holy One, blessed be He, will bring the Evil Inclination and slay it in the presence of the righteous and the wicked. To the righteous it will have the appearance of a towering hill, and to the wicked it will have the appearance of a hair thread. Both the former and the latter will weep; the righteous will weep saying, ‘How were we able to overcome such a towering hill!’ The wicked also will weep saying, ‘How is it that we were unable to conquer this hair thread!’ And the Holy One, blessed be He, will also marvel together with them, as it is said, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, it shall10 also be marvellous in My eyes.11 R. Assi stated, The Evil Inclination is at first like the thread of a spider, but ultimately12 becomes like cart ropes, as it is said, Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart-rope.13 Our Rabbis taught, The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to the Messiah, the son of David (May he reveal himself speedily in our days!), ‘Ask of me anything, and I will give it to thee’, as it is said, I will tell of the decree etc. this day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give the nations for thy inheritance.14 But when he will see that the Messiah the son of Joseph is slain, he will say to Him, ‘Lord of the Universe, I ask of Thee only the gift of life’.’As to life’, He would answer him, ‘Your father David has already prophesied this concerning you’, as it is said, He asked life of thee, thou gavest it him, [even length of days for ever and ever].15" from:


  1. Peter, very timely - I am publishing a post on Monday about Messiah ben Joseph. It has been some time in the making.

    1. Gene,

      If you had any good responses to the points raised above you would've provided them here. : )

    2. Peter, this morning, my new post, "Is Jesus “Messiah ben Joseph” of Jewish mysticism?", was made live:

    3. Gene,

      Just read it and I'll comment there as well. The problem with your post is that it's intellectually dishonest. Here's why:

      There are a variety of Jewish opinions on the Messiah expressed in Rabbinic Judaism. But you dismiss the fact that there are authentic Jewish opinions recorded throughout the writings of Rabbinic Judaism that express the belief that Israel needs a Messiah who will die for the sins of Israel. These opinions exist! Yet you fail to inform your readers that these opinions exist, that it is a valid belief in Judaism to affirm that Israel needs a Messiah who can die and suffer for the sins of Israel--an atoning and suffering Messiah.

      Why can't you admit that Scripture and the writings of Rabbinic Judaism affirm that Israel needs a Messiah who will suffer and die for the sins of Israel? Be intellectually honest and admit it.

    4. Gene,

      Just finished commenting. Let me know if it doesn't come through.



    5. Hi Peter, I am kinda tire of hearing about Isaiah 53. I mean, it is the only bible verse that can be quoted from. Let's again start at Isaiah 53:1.

      To whom has the arm of the L-rd been revealed Peter? Check for yourself,... A clue, Isaiah 52:10. Yes to the nations, not to Israel as Paul tries to say. If the nations are speaking, it does not fit your theory. Just to add to it, having a theory based on one single bible verse (that is, the messiah dying for someone else sin) is foolish, especially when that "messiah" requires your total devotion and worship.

      For Zechariah 12:10, please don't just use one verse out of context:

      The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

      10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit[a] of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13 the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives.

      The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first: When did that happened on Jesus time? Never

      On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. Again, that has nothing to do with Jesus on the cross. Looking at one bible verse and take it out of context cannot prove Jesus.

      Finally, let's look at the "They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him "

      Who is the "me" and who is the "him". There are two people here... and John knew fair well "They will look on the one they have pierced". How can John change scriptures! Doesn't he have respect for the Tanakh?

      Just take things out of context and say it was for Jesus.

      Finally, Male lamb were never EVER used for sacrifices! NEVER. So, please let's be serious, was a sacrifice necessary. You may want to look in the Talmud or any Jewish text for your proofs, but you don't believe in those texts. Will you do the same than the New testament writers and take the Talmud out of context to prove Jesus.

      You arrive with your verdict (Jesus is the messiah) before you go for the trial. You are already ready to die for Jesus, how can you be a good judge? You are totally bias in your point of view. And you are asking others believe in your twisted "proofs"...

  2. This is a question that I chew on and at least you folks have at least addressed it
    if the levitical sacrificial system shows that is was for unintentional sin. this was a one time fix. and had nothing to do with intentional sin .if that's the pattern then yeshua died only for unintentional sin ?. Ezekiel shows that repenting and not returning was the the only way to remove sin.
    yeshua says ive only come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel ....not for everone ??
    or yeshua says ive not come for the righteous but the lost ...meaning some were righteous enough ?
    thanks for your comments

  3. "Ezekiel shows that repenting and not returning was the the only way to remove sin."

    That's exactly correct, Jeff. That's how it was before the Temple was built and after it was destroyed it (how else was Daniel forgiven and considered righteous while in exile?) was the same - only repentance and G-d's direct forgiveness propitiates for intentional sins. Sacrifices in the Temple were for ritual purification from either unintentional sin or from ritual impurity to allow people to come into G-d's present when the Temple stood. Sacrifices without repentance meant absolutely nothing in G-d's eyes.

    And of course, in goes without say that no human sacrifices were ever authorized by G-d for forgiveness of sins (and it made clear in Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5; and 32:35 that it never even entered his mind to sacrifice children for sins of others). No human sacrifices would include "G-d's own son Jesus" if he was actual one in reality, that is a son other than the people of Israel - which is G-d real son according to G-d himself in Exodus 4:23). A sacrifice of a person would not have any affect, including a ritual effect on a sin of anyone.

    1. "Behold the lamb of G-d who takes away the sin of the world"

      "This was the true light,
      which gives light to everyone entering the world.
      He was in the world — the world came to be through him —
      yet the world did not know him.
      He came to his own homeland,
      yet his own people did not receive him.
      But to as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of God, not because of bloodline, physical impulse or human intention, but because of God.

      The Word became a human being and lived with us,
      and we saw his Sh’khinah,
      the Sh’khinah of the Father’s only Son,
      full of grace and truth.
      Yochanan witnessed concerning him when he cried out, “This is the man I was talking about when I said, ‘The one coming after me has come to rank ahead of me, because he existed before me.’”

      We have all received from his fullness,
      yes, grace upon grace.
      For the Torah was given through Moshe;
      grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah.
      No one has ever seen God; but the only and unique Son, who is identical with God and is at the Father’s side — he has made him known."

    2. Try quoting from the scriptures next time, not the Greek Testament.

    3. Or maybe you meant

      "Behold the Passover lambs of G-d who were sacrificed because the Egyptians worshipped lambs. Since when male lambs were for sacrifice? never... Remember, you shall not add to the word of that Law. If no lamb were used, then you are adding by saying a lamb/human can be used for sacrifice...

  4. "And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

    Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

    Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,
    And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land."

    "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

    Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

    Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it."

    I will never believe the scriptures concerning your blindness is a lie, and I will not believe you have kept the law. You lack G-d and his righteousness. Repent.

  5. "To you (Hashem) shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit. Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!” (Jeremiah 16:19-20)

    So it will be with you, Merciful - when you one day realize that you have worshiped an idol for all these years and drawn others after him, a man-god who doesn't save. The "righteousness" you thought your dead idol gave you will vaporize as soon as you will realize the gravity of your sin before the Eternal G-d, the sin of idolatry, the betrayal of your Creator.

    Will your "son of man" save you? Will your prince and king Jesus rescue you? Don't count on it - read what G-d warns instead:

    "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help."(Psalm 146:3)

    Jews will not go to you to find out about the true G-d of Israel - you, along with others who currently worship your idol, will seek out Jews, as the Jewish scriptures foretell:

    "Thus saith the L-RD of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you." (Zechariah 8:23)

    Yes, they heard - those masses who were supposedly already evangelized by Christianity will one day realize that they were in error, deceived by their forefathers to worship an idol, a dead human being, and not the Eternal Maker of heaven and earth. They will turn to Jews to learn about the real G-d of Israel. To seek real righteousness.

    1. Gene, You do not believe or follow Moses, and you do not believe or follow Yeshua.

      The days when men take hold of a Jew's skirt saying "we will go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you" has already been fulfilled. That Jew is Yeshua.

      As for you, Yeshua said "Leave them alone, they are blind leaders of the blind"

      "You hypocrites! Yesha‘yahu was right when he prophesied about you,

      You probably can't understand this "scripture" you want me to quote from, do you know this is about *you*?

      ‘These people honor me with their lips,
      but their hearts are far away from me.
      Their worship of me is useless,
      because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines.’

  6. So when G-d asked Abraham to sacrifice his "only son", why didn't Abraham remind G-d that sacrifices were not people and were for ritual purity and unintentional sin? Why would G-d ask him to violate His law? How did Abraham know G-d would provide the sacrifice?

    1. Jason, excellent questions, now *that's* worth meditating on.

      May we all be thankful each and every day for the true manna, the flesh and blood of Messiah only G-d could provide, giving eternal life to those He draws and causes to see.

      " ...we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

      But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

      Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

    2. Jason...

      "So when G-d asked Abraham to sacrifice his "only son", why didn't Abraham remind G-d that sacrifices were not people and were for ritual purity and unintentional sin? "

      The whole thing was obviously just a test of Abraham's faith - G-d stopped the sacrifice, as you well know, because again, it was only a test, and G-d never intended it to be an actual human sacrifice at all (which is, of course, G-d made clear later in the prophets).

      Abraham didn't object nor was he about to violate G-d's Law, because 1) Torah with its forbidding of any sacrifices other than what G-d specified in places and manner G-d has prescribed was not yet given. 2) Abraham's completely trusted G-d's earlier promise that his offspring would be numerous and they would be through Isaac- which is why he was confident that this would be a test and this is why he could say that G-d would provide for Himself another sacrifice. After all, Abraham was prophet of G-d and G-d spoke to him. Abraham passed the test with flying colors.

      Also, there's no indication that the sacrifice of Isaac was going to be for any sin. Isaac was not pure and sinless like an animal would be - so, he wouldn't be a valid sacrifice even according to Christian theology (so, why would G-d actual intend it, other than for a test?). Also, when Abraham foretold that G-d would provide for Himself a sacrifice, he wasn't thinking of Jesus (as Christianity dubiously claims), that's for sure - the story is clear that G-d has indeed provided another sacrifice in place of Isaac, right there and then - a ram that was caught in the thicket by its horns (Genesis 22:13).

    3. Hi Merciful, let me reply, I am not part of the "blind" Jews. I am not Jewish at all... Let me put it simple for you to understand. Worshipping Jesus is Idolatry. The L-rd was not Jesus. You put your trust in Jesus when you acknowledge you were a sinner and now, you are blinded by your idol.

      So is everyone who trusts in them (They have ears, but they do not hear) O Israel, trust in the Lord (not Jesus)

      See, it's easy to prove Jesus was not G-d. It's also easy to prove you that you should not worship Jesus. The only problem, you won't listen, because your devotion is toward him.

      Did Thomas, Peter, John or any other disciple's father worship Jesus?

      No, they did not even know who he was!

      If your son secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers,... you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. (Deuteronomy 13)

      Simple you are actually worshipping "new gods, new arrivals
      That your fathers did not fear." Deuteronomy 32.

      And if you want to say that Jesus is the L-rd, "you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire" Deuteronomy 4 And the L-rd, forbade the children of Israel to worship anything else that they did not see at mount Horeb. And Jesus, because he was born of a woman, was a created thing.

      Now, I know you won't believe me, but beware that you are the blind and the Jews have been killed by Christians and they preferred to die rather than worshipping your Jesus. Because they love the L-rd. And now, you are telling me they are in Hell because they keep the covenant that they made with G-d to keep what is written in the book of the law and not to worship other gods. Because of zeal that they had for the living G-d, they refused to worship Jesus, thus according to you, those who refused to worship Jesus for love of G-d are now burning in hell forever.

      the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Jeremiah 16:19

  7. P.S. maybe "Merciful" you should change your name... It really does not fit your comments.