Repentance

Reflections on Romans 7

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:20-23 (NASB)

That’s the last set of verses from my previous reflection on Romans. Paul is addressing his Gentile readership in the synagogues in Rome that when they were still pagans, they were slaves to sin but “free” from righteousness, however, as they were deriving benefit from shameful things, the outcome they were facing was death. Coming to righteousness through faith in Jesus (Yeshua), they became freed from sin but enslaved to God resulting in sanctification with the ultimate outcome of eternal life.

Paul states the wages of sin is death. Then he continues:

Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

Romans 7:1-3 (NASB)

He’s speaking to those who know the law. Does he mean he’s shifted the focus from Gentiles to Jews? What law? The Torah or the Law of Sin? Let’s look at Paul’s metaphor of the married woman. Let’s say the woman is “married” to a pagan life of sin. She is bound to her “husband” while he lives, but when he dies she’s free to “marry” another. Turn the statement around and you have a person dying to sin and living to righteousness. Turn it around again and if you are married to righteousness and continue to consort with your former “spouse,” to sin, then the “wife” is an adulteress.

The word of the Lord which came to Hosea the son of Beeri, during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And the Lord said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”

Hosea 1:1-5 (NASB)

An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.

Matthew 16:4 (NASB)

When the ancient Israelites were disobedient to the commands of God and particularly when they sought after other “gods,” the Almighty referred to them as “adulterous.” In a very real way, the covenant ceremony at Sinai was a “marriage” between God and Israel in which Israel swore an oath of fealty much like a wedding oath. Any time Israel pursued pagan “gods”, they were likened to a harlot or an adulterous wife.

Paul seems to be saying something similar about Gentile believers (assuming he hasn’t shifted audiences in his letter as I suggested above) who have come to faith in Messiah but who continue to go after their former pagan lifestyle…or at least Paul is warning them against such a return. In any event, they should have no reason to return to idolatry.

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Romans 7:4-6 (NASB)

newPaul says his readers have died “to the Law through the body of Christ,” but given the current context, he can’t be talking about the Torah for two reasons. The first is that he’s (most likely) writing to Gentiles so they were never obligated to the mitzvot before coming to faith in Messiah. Pagans don’t observe the Torah of Moses. The second reason is that he is still talking about the “Law of Sin,” not the Torah, so it makes more sense that he is saying these former pagans have “died to the Law (of sin) through the body of Christ,” since as believers, they have shared in Messiah’s death to their former lives even as they share in the promise of eternal life. Now he urges them to “bear fruit for God,” which could be interpreted as performing good works in His Name. Paul keeps toggling back and forth between their former lives under the Law of Sin and Death and their current lives in the “newness of the Spirit.”

“…we serve in the newness of the Spirit and not the oldness of the letter.”

This suggests to most Christians that the Spirit (and grace) are new and the letter (of the Law/Torah) is old, meaning the Spirit has replaced the Torah. But again, given the context and the main object of Paul’s commentary, it is the oldness of their former lives, the letter of the Law of Sin that is done away with and replaced by the newness of their lives in Christ through the Spirit.

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be!

Romans 7:7 (NASB)

Paul seems to have made a quick shift in which Law he’s discussing.

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Romans 7:7-12 (NASB)

I don’t think we know enough about Paul’s relationship with his audience to understand how they would have followed the shifts of topic in his letter, moving from the Law of Sin to the Law of Moses, but this section seems to clearly be talking about the Torah since it quotes the Torah (“You shall not covet”). Paul actually seems to be talking (still) about both “laws” since one law took the “opportunity through the commandment” to produce coveting “of every kind.” While the commandments of the Torah are designed to produce life, the law of sin produced death. Paul says “the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good,” but when we choose to sin and disobey the commandment, the Law of Sin produces death.

It would seem that once we have a definition of right and wrong, which the Torah provides, we have a clearer choice and as we are brought closer to righteousness by obedience, we must be ever more mindful of the temptation to disobey, to sin, which leads to death. By accepting God’s righteous standards upon our lives, we are more accountable for our behavior (not that pagans won’t be judged in the end) and the higher we climb in our life of faith, the farther we have to fall should be let ourselves be tempted and sin.

Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.

Romans 7:13 (NASB)

the-divine-torahBut make no mistake, that accountability has been increased does not mean the Torah is bad. “May it never be!” Sin is bad and the Law of Moses shows us clearly the terrible consequences for sin, which we did not know when we are still slaves to sin. Through the commandment, we see sin for what it really is. Then we have no excuse if we return to sin. We know what we’re doing. Our eyes have been opened.

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

Romans 7:14-20 (NASB)

Paul is describing the struggles of every person of faith, the struggle between a Heavenly ideal and human fallibility and frailty.

“See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?

Deuteronomy 4:5-8 (NASB)

God obviously expected the Israelites to keep his statutes and judgments and didn’t consider them to be too difficult to observe. More than that, He wanted Israel and their obedience to Him to be an example to the nations around them, to be a light to attract other people groups to Hashem, God of Israel, that they too might believe and obey, for the statutes and judgments are righteous.

But if Paul is writing to a bunch of Gentiles in Roman synagogues who are mixing with Jesus-believing and unbelieving Jews (and maybe getting a little arrogant that they can have equal co-participation in Jewish communal life without undergoing the proselyte rite and converting to Judaism), why is Paul leaning so much on the Torah as the counterpoint to the former pagans’ lives of idol worship and sin?

Of course, as I mention above, the one thing all people of faith have in common is the struggle between our human natures which draw us into sin and our values and ideals which come from God. Even Paul experienced this struggle and it obviously pained him greatly.

But as a man of faith, he could differentiate between the sin in him, that is, his human nature being the cause of his misbehavior, and his will and desire, which was for God.

But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

Romans 7:20 (NASB)

We all do what we don’t want to do because sin dwells within us. It always will until the resurrection when we will be perfected in Messiah’s Name by the Holy Spirit.

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Romans 7:21-25 (NASB)

WrestlingHere Paul makes it even clearer that he is talking about two different laws, the Law of Moses, which is holy, spiritual, good, and a delight, and the law of sin and death which is waging war within Paul, making him a prisoner of the law of sin. He saw himself as a “wretched man” who could only be set free through “Jesus Christ our Lord,” yet like all of us, he was still standing between serving the law of God with his mind and the law of sin with his flesh.

Remember, Paul didn’t write this epistle with chapters and verses in mind, so even though the chapter ends, Paul’s probably still in the middle of a thought, and if you peek ahead to chapter 8, you’ll see this is correct…

…but that will have to wait until next week. I’m still looking for a way to understand Paul comparing the Torah to the Law of Sin in a letter to a non-Jewish audience. What could he be telling them about their lives in relationship to the Torah?

“May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Reflections on Romans 7”

  1. Hey James,

    Thanks for all your help with the blog yesterday, i really appreciate it! 🙂

    The Chovot Halevovot writes in Shar Hayichud that the greatest challenge in life is the struggle with oneself. The evil inclination attempts to deceive us at every step of the way. The Evil Inclination causes people to divert their minds and weakens their Faith, so can one imagine how much worse is for a person without Faith? An individual who is accustomed to sinning as easy as he breaths air is truly a slave without even noticing it.

  2. Interestingly, Rav Eliyahu Dessler (Michtav me-Eliyahu, vol.2. pg138) explaining the struggle with the evil inclination from Genesis 3 says thus:

    “Before eating the fruit, “you” (you = the yetzer hara) tried to get me to sin. After eating the fruit, it is “I” who wants to sin.”

    The yetzer hara used to be external before Adam and Eve sinned, they were not predisposed to sin. But after eating from the tree of good and evil, the yetzer hara entered them (humanity) and the battle has been ranging ever since.

  3. No worries about helping out, Rey. It’s all good.

    The person who is without faith and sins habitually is not in a struggle because there’s nothing to struggle against. In some ways, those who cling to the God of Israel have the larger fight, since, as Paul said, we struggle between knowing what’s right and doing what’s right.

  4. I read something that goes along with what we are discussing:

    Free Or Slave?
    The world-at-large mistakenly associates freedom with being allowed to follow the dictates of the yetzer hara. Their understanding could not be farther from the truth. What is the true difference between a slave and a free man? A slave is subordinate to the will of his master. Even should the master be kind and considerate and not overburden the slave with hard labor the way Pharaoh did, in the final analysis it is the master who determines the course of the slave’s life, not the slave himself. A free man, on the other hand, dictates his own path in life, he does as he wishes and is not subjugated to the wishes of anyone else. According to this, we can say that one who follows the dictates of his yetzer hara is nothing more than a slave. It may appear to him that he is a free man, but in truth he is a slave. Why? Because what my yetzer hara wants is not necessarily what I want. My yetzer hara is not “me”, rather another entity – outside of “me”. My soul, the G-dliness in me, is the true “me”. What my soul wants is the opposite of what my yetzer hara wants. Therefore, if I allow my yetzer hara to dictate my life, I am nothing more than a slave to it, and it is my master. On the other hand, if my actions follow the dictates of my soul and not those of my yetzer hara, then I am not a slave but I am a free man in control of my actions.

  5. Sha’ul wrote to the Jews in the Diaspora first, and then also to the Gentiles, trying to make all of those that were relying on their performance for salvation see that they were missing the point of the Torah, and the Torah made Flesh…Yehoshua, and His sacrificial death.

    The Torah reveals man’s inability to stay in righteousness through the Torah outside a Temple Sacrificial System, and that even within it one could not help but sin…one was merely forgiven for the lapses due to Human inability by making sin offerings. The Jews at least knew that the sacrifices were no longer being accepted in Jerusalem after Yehoshua’s death, (the Crimson banner no longer turned white on the walls of Jerusalem showing that G-d had accepted the sacrifices when offered by the High Priest), and so the Jews would be just as concerned about why keeping Torah alone did not work.

    Sha’ul was not writing about the Torah being old, out of date, and unnecessary as some Christians put it, but the righteousness of the sacrificial system being superseded in Yehoshua made a better sacrifice, and given once for all, did not need to be made again. Consequently, keeping Torah does not become outmoded…only which sacrifice one trusts in for righteousness.

    Sha’ul is not saying the Torah is not necessary, and replaced in the New Covenant…he is saying that the sacrifice made by Yehoshua, and our trust in it for salvation and forgiveness is always present and now – ongoing…always the only sacrifice that counts. Torah is how one lives in trust of Yehoshua’s constant sin offering, to continuously receive G-d’s forgiveness by faith in the sacrifice of Yehohsua, and to do so knowing that the mitzvoth we omit or commandments that we break were already laid on Yehoshua, and that He felt every one of them.

    This alone should keep us all striving to do as G-d has commanded in all the Scriptures. Every sin causes pain or trouble or suffering…to ourselves, or to others, and Yehoshua, having died for the sins we are yet to commit, still suffers each hurt as it is given. It isn’t pertinent that we cannot, as humans, keep the laws in perfection…only that each one that we do keep does not pain Yehoshua.

  6. Questor,

    I disagree. You said, “The Jews at least knew that the sacrifices were no longer being accepted in Jerusalem after Yehoshua’s death, (the Crimson banner no longer turned white on the walls of Jerusalem showing that G-d had accepted the sacrifices when offered by the High Priest), and so the Jews would be just as concerned about why keeping Torah alone did not work.”

    Do you think this was the first time the Jews where without a Temple? The Torah is essential in all it’s aspects. For any son of the Covenant it is the way of life.

    you aslo said, “Sha’ul was not writing about the Torah being old, out of date, and unnecessary as some Christians put it, but the righteousness of the sacrificial system being superseded in Yehoshua made a better sacrifice, and given once for all, did not need to be made again. Consequently, keeping Torah does not become outmoded…only which sacrifice one trusts in for righteousness.”

    G-d commanded that the sacrifices be instituted as an everlasting statute, are you saying He (G-d) made a mistake? Yeshua’s sacrifice and mode of atonement ‘Does Not’ replace the Levitical sacrificial service. The Torah explicitly says that laws regarding the priesthood, the Temple, and the sacrifices are “eternal statutes.” According to the Law, the priesthood belongs to Aaron and his sons as “a statute forever” – (Ex.29:9; Deut.18:5). The Torah describes the Aaronic priestly garments, the use of the laver for washing hands and feet, the tending to the menorah, and other priestly functions as statutes “forever to be observed throughout their generations.” Similarly, the commandment for the rituals of the Day of Atonement, including the sacrificial services, are called “a statute forever” (Lev.16:34). The Torah also calls the prohibition on offering a sacrifice except in the Temple with an Aaronic priest “a statute forever for them throughout their generations” (Lev.17:7). Leviticus 23 identifies the appointed times with their prescribed sacrifices as statutes to be observed forever. Numbers 19 declares the ritual of sacrifice of the red heifer and the sprinkling of its ashes as a “perpetual statute” (Num.19:10) and “a statute forever for them.” According to Numbers 18:23, “the Levites shall do the service of the tent of meeting… It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations.”

  7. Yeshua’s sacrifice, atonement and covering in his blood has a lot of metaphor that must be understood. Surely the author of Hebrews “KNEW” that human sacrifice is forbidden (Lv 18:20), and that Yeshua didn’t die in the Temple by priests with a kosher slaughter, Yeshua is not an actual lamb. So this within itself shows that we cannot equate what Yeshua did with the prescribed animal sacrifices of Leviticus, as D.T Lancaster says these are in two totally different venues.

  8. Just a point about the Old (Sinai) and New Covenants (and I make this point repeatedly). The Sinai Covenant was a simple statement of relationship whereby God says “If you obey me, I will be your God and you will be my people.” That’s the Covenant. The conditions of the Covenant are the Torah commandments, that which the Children of Israel were to obey to hold up their end of the bargain.

    The New Covenant is like the Old in that it describes the relationship between God and Israel. Even the conditions are the same, that is, obedience to the Torah commandments. The only difference is where those conditions are written. In the Old Covenant, they were written on external tablets and scrolls and Israel would read and (attempt to) obey but not always be successful, bringing down God’s wrath (usually in the form of war and exile) when they failed.

    But in the New Covenant, the conditions (that is, the Torah) is written on Jewish hearts and made part of their intrinsic nature, so that it will become natural for them to obey. They won’t sin and all of the sins they did commit will be forgiven.

    But please keep in mind that the commandments don’t change between the Old and New Covenants. Messiah is the mediator of the New Covenant just as Moses was the mediator of the Old. The sacrificial death of the Master doesn’t take the place of the Temple service and in Messianic Days, there will be a Third Temple and the Levitical priests will be offering sacrifices there again. The Messiah’s death was the sacrifice of the world’s greatest tzaddik (righteous one) to atone not only for the sins of a generation, but of all generations, as part of God’s plan of redemption for Israel and through her, the world.

    Thus Messiah’s sacrificial death applies in the Heavenly Tabernacle where he operates as High Priest, but the Heavenly Tabernacle and the Earthly Temple have often operated in parallel rather than one replacing the other. In the Messianic Age they will do so again.

  9. Sha’ul is presumed to have died in approximately 65 A.D. He went up to Israel for the feasts, as any good Jew would. He even made offerings for sin…or at least paid for them to be made, just before his arrest in the temple.

    The Temple still stood, and the sacrifices went on, the Priests performed their rituals, and all was well…except for the fact that G-d was not accepting the sacrifices given on the day of Atonement for the redemption of Israel as a Nation, and perhaps none of them were valid for sin offerings any more. There is no knowledge of whether G-d accepted the non-Believing Jews’ offering for sin in between Days of Atonement. But Israel was fully out of G-d’s favour as a nation, and the Temple was besieged, then destroyed, with the Jews either massacred, enslaved, or dispersed in 70 A.D., and again in 135 A.D.

    Torah was not changed. The Priesthood was not altered. I am very sure that the Jews repented, and fasted. I am positive that every sin offering made was from the heart. And yet, we have sacrifices that are rejected by G-d from Yehoshua’s death until the Temple was destroyed.

    If Torah is intact, as it is, and the Priests of the line of Aaron are priests forever, as they are, then ONLY the sacrifices, on the Day of Atonement were unacceptable because Abba did not value them as He had before Yehoshua’s death.

    There was a better sacrifice that had been made…a personal self-sacrifice by G-d for the sins of all mankind through trust in Him as Yehoshua. All Believers trust and lean on that fact for their redemption. We do not trust and lean on the sacrifice of the blood of a lamb, or goat or ox, so why should G-d accept it, when He Himself had made a better offering for that purpose?

    Is there a perpetual promise that sin offerings would always be that of an animal in the New Covenant? Can G-d not change the symbolic offering that was made in earlier days in anticipation of the Messiah, just as He changes the Covenant? I G-d no able to show by another symbol after the Messiah has already come, and died for the sins of the world, what Sacrifice He now wanted? Why did Yehoshua ask that He be remembered by the taking of Bread and Wine?

    Israel as a nation was being put to the test again. After Yehoshua’s death, they were back in the wilderness, refusing to believe, and after forty years, Israel was evicted from the Promised Land for their unbelief.

    When the 3rd Temple is rebuilt, then defiled by the Anti-Christ, and then re-dedicated by Yehoshua in the Messianic Age, I have no doubt that sacrifices will resume, and sin offerings will be made as before, not merely as a penalty to be paid for each sin committed, but if Yehoshua so desires, they may also be offered in remembrance of His death at the stake, just as we take Bread and Wine for communion in remembrance of Yehoshua’s death, and resurrection.

    The sin offerings in the Messianic age may even be only an offering of Bread and Wine.

    If Torah is intact, as it is, and the Priests of the line of Aaron are priests forever, as they are, then ONLY the sacrifices, on the Day of Atonement were unacceptable because Abba did not value them as He had before Yehoshua’s death.

    There was a better sacrifice that had been made…a personal self-sacrifice by G-d for the sins of all mankind through trust in Him as Yehoshua. All Believers trust and lean on that fact for their redemption. We do not trust and lean on the sacrifice of the blood of a lamb, or goat or ox, so why should G-d accept it, when He Himself had made a better offering for that purpose?

    Is there a perpetual promise that sin offerings would always be that of an animal in the New Covenant? Can G-d not change the symbolic offering that was made in earlier days in anticipation of the Messiah, just as He changes the Covenant? Is G-d not able to show by another symbol, after the Messiah has already come and died for the sins of the world, what Sacrifice G-d would in future accept, and what the symbol would be? Why did Yehoshua ask that He be remembered by the taking of Bread and Wine?

    Israel as a nation was being put to the test again. After Yehoshua’s death, they were back in the wilderness, refusing to believe, and after forty years, Israel was evicted from the Promised Land for their unbelief.

    When the 3rd Temple is rebuilt, then defiled by the Anti-Christ, and then re-dedicated by Yehoshua in the Messianic Age, I have no doubt that sacrifices will resume, and sin offerings will be made as before, not merely as a penalty to be paid for each sin committed, but if Yehoshua so desires, they may also be offered in remembrance of His death at the stake, just as we take Bread and Wine for communion in remembrance of Yehoshua’s offering of His body and blood for our salvation and redemption.

    The sin offerings in the Messianic age, offered by the Priests of Aaron’s line in the Temple, may even be only that of Bread and Wine.

  10. @Questor — I suggest you re-read Mt.5:17-18, which indicated Rav Yeshua’s desires and his re-iteration that the entirely of the Torah remains valid as long as the current heavens and earth endure (see also Jer.33:19-21). Since the new covenant incorporates the same Torah as will remain valid and effective throughout this entire span, the answer to your question about animal sacrifice is affirmative. There is no change in the covenant, except to internalize it as metaphorically inscribed on the heart rather than merely on external media such as stone or animal skin. When the earthly sanctuary is in operation, it parallels the operation of the heavenly sanctuary, receiving its authorization from the superior sacrifice offered therein. The “change” or difference between them that is cited in the Hebrews letter is one of changed perspective that shifts our view from the earthly to the heavenly. It is not a replacement or denigration of the earthly, merely because of its limitations. The symbolic use of bread and wine is not in place of earthly sacrifices; it invokes them even inasmuch as it invokes Rav Yeshua’s symbolic sacrifice — but it is merely a reference to either the heavenly sacrifice or the earthly ones, and it is not in itself a sacrifice.

    I recommend also that you not overestimate the implications of the scarlet cord coloration at Yom Ha-kippurim during the last four decades of the second Temple. The symbolism undoubtedly has meaning, but not the one you suggested; and the “eviction” you cited did not occur merely forty years after Rav Yeshua’s martyrdom, but not for another 65 years, placing it more than a full century beyond Rav Yeshua’s time. As for the particular sins to which this exile may be attributed, there is some rather intensive analysis in Jewish literature, making Jewish response to Rav Yeshua more a symptom or example rather than any sort of direct cause. We must also not neglect the fact of widespread Jewish acceptance of Rav Yeshua, as indicated by the tens of thousands of Torah-zealous messianists in the Jerusalem area alone at the time when Rav Shaul paid to sponsor the completion of Nazirite ceremonies for four of them. Thus we must avoid the kind of facile analysis that has been common in traditional Christianity for far too long.

  11. @Proclaim Liberty

    Thank you for your response, I was hoping that you would reply to my comment, as you are the most knowledgeable among the commenters I know here in regards to Torah and Israeli History.

    Exodus 30:10 (CJB)
    10 Aharon is to make atonement on its horns once a year — with the blood of the sin offering of atonement he is to make atonement for it once a year through all your generations; it is especially holy to Adonai.”

    Matthew 5:17-18 (CJB)
    17 “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete.
    18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened.

    I do not argue that the offering was made, or should be made. I am stating that the sacrifices on the day of Atonement were not accepted by G-d. Every year the entire nation was in prayerful hope that the sacrifices would be accepted, and that Israel would have a good year. That didn’t happen…for the forty years that sacrifice could be made. And when sacrifices could no longer be made, the Jews must have been in doubt that their sins would be forgiven, having no sacrifices they could make, for the Temple was destroyed. Those that walked in Torah still walked in trust of YHVH, but did not claim the only permanent sin offering open to them.

    And since the hardening of the hearts and blinding of understanding was done by G-d so that many would not see and understand what Yehoshua’s visitation, and death meant, Abba showed them year by year that they were blowing it in some way. Yehoshua always called for obedience to Torah…Israel was not obeying Torah. Their blindness and lack of understanding is not, for the most part, a fault on the Jew’s part. G-d does not punish people for what they do that He causes. Still, Israel was in massive disobedience to Torah as a nation, led in corruption and lack of understanding.

    You said, ” There is no change in the covenant, EXCEPT to internalize it as metaphorically inscribed on the heart rather than merely on external media such as stone or animal skin.”

    That is still a change, an exception, even if only in perception, and that is what I am talking about, however clumsily. I am speaking about the meaning behind the sacrifices as redemptive, for after Yehoshua, I do not see how they could have been. However, I do know that YHVH would take the offerings made in earnest repentance quite seriously, as that is part of the covenant of obedience to Torah. Did the Sanhedrin really repent of their corruption, and their personal interpretations of Torah? Did they turn from their sins? As leaders of the Israel, they did not. They sought to survive in power over Israel under an occupying nation, and never grasped that had them been walking in the Torah, YHVH would have blessed them anyway.

    The sacrifices, at least on the day of Atonement, were not accepted for 40 years. And as a nation, Israel continued to walk their own way, and not in Yehoshua, and evidently not according to Torah either, which Yehoshua represented in the flesh. The thousands that believed, recalled Yehoshua’s teaching about there being a need to get away from Jerusalem when it was surrounded by enemies. They did, and survived. They also rejected bar Kochva, and were probably not in the vicinity of Jerusalem that time either, or any other city being besieged, and probably moved farther and farther from the troubled areas as they were able to. Certainly the surviving non-Believing Jews were enraged by those Believers who did not fight for Israel, nor accept another messiah in Yehoshua’s place because they accepted the warning from Yehoshua not to accept that other men would claim to be messiah.

    I also stated that the 40 years of being told by YHVH that their sin offerings on the day of Atonement were a time of testing, and that they were the reverse of coming into the Promised Land, and occurred because the people were disobedient. Being killed, enslaved, exiled, and dispersed from the land over time is a mirror reflection of how the Israelites came in, taking the land bit by bit. They also left it, bit by bit.

    Yehoshua came and told people to repent. A lot of Jews did not change anything in the least, and were punished for it, in accordance with Torah, and prophecy. Had not YHVH used the Roman Empire to be the chastisement for Israel’s continued disobedience, it would have been because Israel returned to Torah. Israel as a nation did not.

    As to Torah not being changed by a jot or tittle until the New Earth and Heavens are brought in…I stated that if Yehoshua so desired, in the Millenium, the meanings of the sacrifice might change to reflect the remembrance of the true Paschal Lamb, even as the Paschal Lamb is offered in remembrance of the first Passover in Egypt, where the first born were spared. Yehoshua is our ultimate Rabbi, and interpretation of the Torah varies from Rabbi to Rabbi, does it not?

  12. @Questor — Actually, no, the authoritative interpretation of Torah does not vary from rabbi to rabbi, as you suggest. In reflection of this week’s parashat Shoftim, interpretation and application of Torah for the Jewish people as a whole is not done by each individual, but is actually an aggregated result of some key, highly-respected “poskim”. As for the “meanings” of sacrifice, there is no need for change, because the “korbanot” or “approaches” (for a sin sacrifice, in particular) always were intended to signify that the offerer had repented of some particular shortcoming with respect to HaShem’s Torah instructions and the negative effect such shortcomings have on the quality of life for the individual and for the people around them.

    Other kinds of sacrifice were expressions of gratitude; and some of the rabbis of the Talmud speculated that in the messianic kingdom (after Torah had been written on the heart) these might be the only kind of sacrifices that would ever need to be offered. In the same vein, one may speculate that an additional depth of understanding, that would have become common after the Messiah ben-David had established his kingdom and was ruling from Jerusalem, would also clarify his role as the ben-Yosef Messiah and a Melchitzedekian priest on yet another level of operation — such that even these sacrifices would carry overtones of additional meaning relevant to this operation.

    The meaning which an offerer brings along with his sacrifice is infinitely variable, and always has been so. His depth of understanding and appreciation characterizes the quality of his offering and the effect it has upon him. This is why, in the period of the Prophets, it was emphasized that going through the motions of sacrifice without the proper motivation of heart was meaningless. We may therefore speculate that part of the problem in Israel during the period leading to the Hurban was a similar failure in the aggregate to focus proper kavanah on the sacrifices and on the behavior that they should influence, making them unacceptable. Therefore the attitudes of factionalism increased, including denigration of Rav Yeshua’s disciples and the spiritual movement they represented. The social conflict was likely very similar to one that is much closer to us in the time-stream, which was during the rise of ‘Hasidism when they were so resented by those who were called Mitnagdim because of the resistance they represented to this movement. Not all ‘Hasidim successfully reflected the values of Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge (from the acronym “Habad”), and thus one may well understand why they were resisted. Such shortcomings are not entirely resolved even today. Nonetheless, resistance to the first-century Rav-Yeshua ‘hasidim and other factions can be similarly explained, though it is inarguable that such factionalism left the occupied nation of Israel vulnerable to increasing Roman oppression and depredation — with the end result that is familiar to us in the period spanning from the siege of Jerusalem to the failed Bar-Kokhva revolt. It is only reasonable, then, to infer that offerers of sacrifices in the messianic era will almost certainly apply a greater depth of understanding to their sacrifices, which would of course include messianic inferences.

  13. Nothing I can add to this conversation at this point except a reminder that while Yeshua inaugurated the New Covenant in his first coming, we are still living in Old (Sinai) Covenant times until he returns and the resurrection occurs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s