Hebrew Vision News Exclusive
by Miykael Qorbanyahu aka The End Time Scribe
That the death of the righteous atones is learned from II Sam. xxi. 14, which says that after the burial of Saul and Jonathan “[Elohim] was entreated for the land” (Pesiḳ. xxvii. 174b). “Where there are no righteous men in a generation to atone for the people, innocent school-children are taken away” (Shab. 33b). So also does the suffering of the righteous atone; as in the case of Ezekiel (Sanh. 39a) and Job (Ex. R. xxi.). R. Judah haNasi’s suffering saved his contemporaries from calamities (Gen. R. 96). [Elohim] is the King whose wrath is, in Prov. xvi. 14, referred to “as messengers of death,” and the wise man who makes Atonement for it is Moses, who pacifies Him by prayer (Ex. R. xliii.). The death of Israel at the hands of his persecutors is an atoning sacrifice (Sifre, Deut. 333).
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your lives, for it is the blood that makes atonement for the life.
The contemporary process of effectuating atonement in Israel presents one of the most controversial topics among the nation. The reason for this controversy centers around the roles of the Temple, Altar and the lid of the Ark of the Covenant now that none of these structures have been present with us for nearly two millennia. For many Israelites, since the aforementioned structures are not present, it is believed, nonetheless, that atonement is able to be achieved without their vital presence through the bloodless acts of teshuvah (תשובה), tefillah (תְּפִלָּה) and tzedakah (צדקה), or repentance, prayer and charity, respectively. While the acts of repentance, prayer and charity are central tenants that are to be carried out by the righteous, redeemed members of Israel, it nevertheless is not formulaic, according to Torah, for bringing forth the state of atonement. Therefore, in spite of the various passages found in the Prophets and Writings which lists these three acts as undertakings to bring forth atonement, it is the absolute authorization of the Torah mentioned in this week’s parashat that definitively lays out the prognosis for this most intensive accomplishment. What this reflection will ultimately seek to convey is that the Torah necessarily requires the shedding of blood for effectual atonement to be wrought for Israel.
To be sure, when taking into consideration the Hebrew word for atonement, which is kaphar (כָּפַר), we find that it has as its definition to cover over, atone for sin and persons by legal rites. In addition, it also carries with it the idea of to deny…the effects of the transgression, thus ending its presence or hold…via forgiveness. The first instance of a Scriptural covering atonement is found just after Adam and Chawwah ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil when יהוה provided skins for the couple to cover them after they had discovered that they were naked. Also, there was a spiritual covering that took place as the blood from the animal which was slaughtered to provide them with the skins covered their sin. We will see through the course of this writing, that from this instance, not only did יהוה provide humanity with the initial atoning act, but the Most High also provided humanity with the ultimate and final act for atonement as well some 4000 years following the first atoning act.
From the days of our ancestors wanderings in the wilderness after leaving Mitzrayim to just a few decades prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE by the Romans, the method of producing atonement for Israel was carried out yearly on the Appointed Grounds of the Tabernacle or Temple at the Appointed Time of Yom Kippur. This week’s double portion, Acharei Mot/Kedoshim, which translates to After the Death & Holiness/Apartness, respectively, details the extensive and intensive process by which the priesthood, and most especially, the High Priest was to carry out the rituals necessary for atonement to be brought about for himself and the people. The process is described by the Jewish Encyclopedia as follows:
The Day of Atonement, according to Biblical tradition, is one in the cycle of holidays instituted by Moses. It occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month, and is distinguished by abstaining thereon from food (“afflicting one’s soul”; compare Isa. Iviii. 3, 5) and by an elaborate ceremonial. The details of the ritual, in accordance with rabbinical interpretation (Sifra and Rashi on Lev. xvi.; Mishnah and Gemara Yoma; “Yad” Hil. ‘Abodat Yom ha-Kippurim; Asheri), proceed about as follows: In the early morning the high priest, in his robes of office (described Ex. xxviii., xxxix.), offered the daily morning sacrifice (Num. xxix. 11; Ex. xxix. 38 et seq.) and performed the ordinary morning rite of dressing the lamps, which was accompanied by an offering of incense (Ex. xxx. 7). Next in order was the festival sacrifice of a bullock and seven lambs (Num. xxix. 7 et seq.). Then began the peculiar ceremonies of atonement, for which the high priest put on special vestments of linen (Lev. xvi. 4). With his hands placed on the head of a bullock (contributed from his own means), he made confession of his own sins and of those of his nearer household (verse 6, see Rashi). The two goats contributed by the people (verse 5) were placed before him, being designated by lot, the one for a sin offering “for יהוה,” and the other to be sent away into the wilderness “for Azazel” (verses 7-10). Once more the high priest made confession over his own bullock, for himself and his wider household—his brother priests (verse 11a). After killing the animal (verse 11b) and receiving its blood [called kabbalah-Hebrew Vision’s emphasis] into a vessel, he took a censer full of live coals from the altar of burnt offering (Ex. xxvii. 1-8) and two handfuls of fine incense into the sacred recess behind the curtain, the Holy of Holies; there he placed the incense on the coals, the cloud of incense enveloping the so-called “mercy-seat” (verse 12 et seq.), and offered a short prayer (Yoma v. 1). He returned for the vessel containing the blood of the bullock and reentered, sprinkling some of it with his finger eight times between the staves of the Ark (verse 14; Ex. xxv. 13-15). He then left the sacred compartment to kill the people’s goat (marked “for יהוה”); with its blood he reentered the Holy of Holies, there to perform the same number of sprinklings in the same place (verse 15).
While this ritual took place yearly after its institution in the national life of Israel for roughly a millennia and a half, a most significant event took place the last forty years of the Temple’s existence which greatly distressed and troubled the priesthood. According to both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud, four peculiar events took place every year surrounding the Yom Kippur service from the year 33 CE up until the Temple was razed in 70 CE by the fourth beast of Daniel, who is identified as Rome. Jacob Neusner, in his translation of the Jerusalem Talmud, provides this account for the reader of these happenings;
Forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the western light [of the Menorah] went out, the crimson thread remained crimson, and the lot for יהוה always came up in the left hand. They would close the gates of the Temple by night and get up in the morning and find them wide open [the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE].
Jacob Neusner, The Yerushalmi, pgs.156-157.
For 1516 years, the Tabernacle and the Temple edifices were the focus of Israelite worship and the methodology by which atonement was experienced. However, as we have just read, something fundamentally system altering had taken place in order for such foreboding, ominous signs to have presented at the Temple precinct prior to its destruction. What took place was an event so radically transformational, that the entire fabric of time was reset and from that moment forward, years would be demarcated from that point forward to the very present. Prophetically, an event was foretold that would take place within a certain time frame which would affect the very nature of atonement, as the sacrificial system was to be done away with for a time within a prophetic 70 week window, so as revealed to the prophet Daniel. To bring this matter to light, a quote from Todd Peterson, Ph.D., which he wrote in his book The Creator’s Window, says the following;
First, [Yahoshua] refers to the end time period when a world leader will commit acts similar to those of Antiochus. But this takes the assumption that [Yahoshua] completely understands Daniel’s writings because: he fulfills the role of suffering servant, is the Messiah, the Anointed One, and [Elohim]’s Arm revealed to the [Israelite] people. If true, then [Yahoshua] has the authority and knowledge to say that Daniel’s words will be fulfilled in the future. A key point to remember is that Antiochus preceded the appearance of [Yahoshua]…The prophecy of 70 weeks of years must have a precise beginning (Daniel 9:25-27)—historically initiated by the decree for the reconstruction of Jerusalem after the [Judean] captivity in Babylon. The calculation thus leads to two points in time—one concludes the reconstruction of the city, the other identifies the Messiah’s appearance—with one seven year period saved for the end of time (Daniel 9:27). Thus 69 times 7 years span a time from the beginning of the calculation until the time when the Anointed One is ‘cut off and will have nothing’ (Daniel 9: 26). The end of the 69 weeks reveals a direct reference to the Messiah’s ministry and death (i.e. ‘cut off,’ Plate VII, 8)…The following description of the calculation is provided in Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict: ‘Multiplying the sixty-nine weeks by seven years for each week by 360 days gives a total of 173,880 days. The difference between 444 B.C. and A.D. 33 then is 476 solar years. By multiplying 476 by 365.24219879 or by 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45.975 seconds [there are 365 1/4 days in a year], one comes to 173,855 days, 6 hours, 52 minutes, 44 seconds, or 173, 855 days. This leaves only 25 days to be accounted for between 444 B.C. and A.D. 33. By adding the 25 days to March 5 (of 444 B.C.), one comes to March 30 which was Nisan 10 in A.D. 33. This is the triumphal entry of [Yahoshua] into Jerusalem.’
Prophecy is revealed in the construct of time and history serves as the witness to its fulfillment. That the fulfillment of the ultimate offering for atonement would be prophetically undertaken by the Suffering Servant of Israel is confirmed in the epic work The Messiah Texts by Raphael Patai. In the chapter titled The Suffering Messiah, he quotes an excerpt from Peshitta Rabbah, stating
[When He created the Messiah,] the Holy One, blessed be He, began to tell him the conditions [of his future mission,] and said to him: ‘Those who are hidden with you [your generation], their sins will in the future force you into an iron yoke, and they will render you like unto this calf whose eyes have grown dim, and they will choke your spirit with the yoke, and because of their sins your tongue will cleave to the roof of your mouth. Do you accept this?’ The Messiah said before the Holy One, blessed be He: ‘Master of the World! Will that suffering last many years?’ The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: ‘By your life and the life of my head, it is a septenary of it that I decreed upon you. But if your soul is troubled, I shall banish them as from this moment.’ He said before Him: ‘Master of the Worlds! With gladness in my soul and with joy in my heart I accept it, so that not a single one of Israel should perish; and not only those who will be alive should be saved in my days, but even the dead who have died from the days of Adam the first man until now. And not only they, but even the stillborn should be saved in my days; and not only the stillborn, but even those to whose creation You gave thought but who were not created. This is what I want, this is what I accept!’
Peshitta Rabbah pgs. 161a-b
My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.
This act of selflessness is indicative of the spiritual maturity and development of consciousness within the individual. As Yahoshua’s selfless example exceeds all others preceding him, it is not with precedent. The spiritual corollary of this selfless sacrificial act is that of the Akedah binding of Isaac. The legend surrounding this episode is that Isaac, then a young man of 37 years old, disputed with his brother Ishmael over the matter of his being circumcised at the age of 13. To display his faithfulness to יהוה and loyalty to his father Abraham, Isaac stated that he would willingly and joyfully accede to being brought up as a human sacrifice if יהוה were to tell Abraham to do so. The legend continues that as the Most High heard this boasting retort of Isaac’s, he found it good in His eyes to try his father Abraham in this very matter. To make this long story shorter, as Abraham and Isaac were on their way to fulfill this most trying command, a profoundly prophetic response is made by Abraham to his only unique and promised son when asked by Isaac where the victim was for the offering. The book of Genesis records these most powerful words;
Elohim does provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went together.
With these most remarkable words, a stunning prophecy was made that would provide humanity with the ultimate solution for the problem of sin. But before we address how this prophecy was forecast for a distant offering of a similar nature, let us take a moment to examine why blood is required for expiation and atonement of the soul that has sinned.
In the book A Living Tree, Elliot Dorf and Arthur Rosett make a most profound observation about Israel’s cultic mechanisms to restore the guilty and to provide restitution to injured persons; a true matter of what is known as working out atonement. In the book, they state the following:
Modern law treats crime in a very matter-of-fact way: breaking a law requires penalties and, in some cases, restitution to the aggrieved party. Biblical law recognizes a wholly different element in the transgression of law. Since the law comes from [Elohim] and is as much a part of nature as physical law, transgression is an affront against [Elohim] and nature. A taint is produced by sin, a disturbance of the natural order. Punishment of the wrongdoer or even restitution will not set things right: the contamination must be cleansed, the world put back in order. To do that the Bible prescribes cultic mechanisms, especially sacrifices. Blood is the sign of life in the Bible (see. Deut. 12.23), probably because it moves more than any other part of the body. Sprinkling blood can therefore symbolically bring life back to a part of the world that has been deadened by the transgression. Moreover the sacrifice is a compensatory balance; something is given up as an equivalent to the wrong. Through these symbols the Bible expiates guilt, compensates for the breach of the natural order, reconciles the sinner and society to each other, and restores the integrity of the world.
A Living Tree. Dorf & Rosett. pgs. 78-79
While sacrifice is the mechanism by which atonement is made, it should be understood that innocence and oneness of humanity with one another and nature is the desired Will of יהוה. Therefore, it must be made known that Psalm 40 offers a most profound insight into this process of atonement which was to be carried out by the figure of Mashiyach, who is the son of Elohim and both the primordial and second Adam. That the crimes of the Israelite nation were to be atoned for by the work of Mashiyach, as we have stated before in this article, is a principle that the rabbis have well perceived for over 2000 plus years. Therefore it would behoove us to comprehend the words of the Psalmist who prophesied of the Father desiring faithful devotion and obedience instead of sacrifice and thus sent His Son to fulfill a most daunting mission of redeeming Israel from their sinful ways;
Slaughtering and meal offering You did not desire; You have opened my ears; burnt offering and sin offering You did not ask for. Then I said, “See, I have come; in the scroll of the Book it is prescribed for me. I have delighted to do Your pleasure, O my Elohim, and Your Torah is within my heart.”
Desirous to fulfill the mission that he was given, it was the pleasure of Mashiyach to perfectly observe the Torah which created a twofold reality; one, it brought forth the role of Mashiyach being presented as the unblemished victim to be offered once and for all time; and secondly, to become the mediator of the covenant of promise. And it is in this capacity, as the mediator of the covenant of which Mashiyach was instituted as high priest according to the order of Melkitzedeq (Psalm 110.4), that he goes about bringing forth national atonement for Israel unto יהוה. This is the fulfillment of the prophetic words spoken by Abraham to his son when he informed Isaac that it would be יהוה who would provide the lamb for the olah offering, once and for all, which would be the Son of the Most High through seed of Abraham.
Consequently, what justified this course of action that Yahoshua undertook as Mashiyach was not only the rabbinically accepted principle of the suffering of the righteous for the entire nation as mentioned in the preliminary quote that opened this article, but also the Israelite reality of Mashiyach Yahoshua resurrecting from the dead because of his innocent and set-apart life. For it was his perfect observance of Torah that allowed him to overcome death, being that in his life he overcame sin, thus nullifying the law of sin and death. As a result, it was with the resurrection of Yahoshua that the Father of all spirits instituted a new law; one which was originally intended to be experienced by Israel in the first place, a principle that rav Shaul of Tarsus identified in his epistle to the assembly at Rome as the Torah of the Spirit of the life in Messiah יהושע [which] has set [humanity – Hebrew Vision’s emphasis] free from the law of sin and of death.
However, for us to more fully ascertain a working knowledge of the blood offering of Mashiyach, the epistle to the Nazarene community of Hebrews provides us with a succinct epistemology of the Messianic sacrifice and martyrdom of Yahoshua so as carried out by the order of Pontius Pilate at the urgent pleas of the apostate leadership of Israel. The epistle goes on to show the connection between the ritual surrounding Yom Kippur and the Messianic offering by stating the following,
But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for sins of ignorance of the people, the Set-apart Spirit signifying this, that the way into the Most Set-apart Place was not yet made manifest while the first Tent has a standing, which was a parable for the present time in which both gifts and slaughters are offered which are unable to perfect the one serving, as to his conscience, only as to foods and drinks, and different washings, and fleshly regulations imposed until a time of setting matters straight. But Mashiyach, having become a High Priest of the coming good matters, through the greater and more perfect Tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, entered into the Most Set-apart Place once for all, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, having obtained everlasting redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sets apart for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of the Mashiyach, who through the everlasting Spirit offered Himself unblemished to Elohim, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim?
What makes this matter of the Messianic redemption bringing forth atonement for Israel even more of an intense reality is when we take in to consideration the groundbreaking discovery by amateur archaeologist Ron Wyatt in January of 1982. Covered up by Israeli government authorities for both political and spiritual implications, the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant has presented something of a challenge, to say the least, for the religious leaders of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian world. Not only did this archaeologist claim to have discovered the Ark, but it was also proclaimed that a dark substance was found on the lid of it which he believed was the blood of someone who was killed at a site above this location which is called Golgotha. An article entitled The Ark of the Covenant Found in Jerusalem goes on to say this about this most powerful discovery,
Ron Wyatt noticed a dried, black substance in an earthquake crack in the roof, above the Ark of the Covenant. He noticed that this black substance was also on the lid of the cracked stone casing. Obviously, this substance had dripped from the crack in the roof, and provision had been made for it to land on the Ark of the Covenant, as the stone lid had been cracked and moved aside. Ron Wyatt wondered what substance could be so sacred, that [Elohim] made provision for it to land on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. He remembered the earthquake crack at the foot of the [stake] hole, and suddenly an awesome realization as to what had happened came over him. Ron Wyatt traced the earthquake crack, and indeed it was the same crack as the one at the [stake] hole. The dried black substance in the crack was tested and proved to be blood, apparently the blood of [Mashiyach Yahoshua]. The Bible says that when [Yahoshua] died there was an earthquake and the rocks were rent (Matt. 27:51). A Roman soldier speared [Mashiyach] in His side in order to make sure He was dead, and blood and water poured out (John 19:34). Ron Wyatt discovered that this same blood and water poured down through the earthquake crack and fell upon the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant.
If this shocking statement is true, which we at Hebrew Vision accept to be so, then what took place in the Temple prior to its destruction for forty years ensuing the death of this most controversial character of the early first century, whose name was Yahoshua ben Yoseph, may very well be the deciding factor of Heaven which caused such unlikely events to occur in the Temple for 40 years prior its destruction.
One must truly consider, in light of this articles presentments, that the Father יהוה is capable of working wonders in the affairs of man and bringing forth paths of salvation out of seemingly impossible ways. It is Hebrew Vision’s firm testimony that the circumstances which this article has brought to light are, in Spirit and in Truth, the process that יהוה has set forth for the ultimate atonement and redemption of humanity which we must individually work out unto our deliverance. For it is the life, death and resurrection of Mashiyach Yahoshua ben Yoseph that has allowed for the reconciliation and restoration of Israel in covenant relationship with יהוה to occur, as it was the blood of this righteous, innocent and divinely appointment and anointed man whose offering evolutionized the rituals for the Day of Atonement. Of this most profound reality, the epistle to the Nazarene Hebrews precisely gives a most insightful drash of this matter, stating that Mashiyach Yahoshua’s selfless act and the shedding of his righteous and innocent blood for Israel was, indeed, what changed the very essence of the sacrificial system to bring forth atonement.
And because of this He is the Mediator of a renewed covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance. For where a covenant is, it is necessary for the death of the covenanted one to be established. For a covenant over those dead is firm, since it is never valid while the covenanted one is living. Therefore not even the first covenant was instituted without blood. For when, according to Torah, every command had been spoken by Mosheh to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which Elohim commanded you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with blood both the Tent and all the vessels of the service. And, according to the Torah, almost all is cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
- Thus, Oxford professor Geza Vermes, one of the foremost Jewish scholars of the Dead Sea Scrolls, stated that “according to Jewish theology, there can be no expiation without the shedding of blood: ‘en kapparah ‘ella’ bedam.” 176 Similarly, Professor Baruch Levine, in his commentary on Leviticus for the Jewish Publication Society wrote, “Expiation by means of sacrificial blood-rites is a prerequisite for securing God’s forgiveness. As the rabbis expressed it, ein kapparah ‘ella’ be-dam, ‘There is no ritual expiation except by means of blood.’” 177 – Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, p. 109
Footnote 176: Geza Vermes, “Redemption and Genesis xxii: The binding of Isaac and the Sacrifice of Jesus,” in his Scripture and Tradition in Judaism, Studia Post-biblica 4 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1961), 193-227 (here, 205) with reference to b. Yoma 5a. Interestingly, Vermes adds, “The antiquity of this Talmudic rule is attested by the Epistle to the Hebrews ix. 22: xoris haimatekxusias ou ginetai aphesis, ‘without the shedding of blood there is not remission’” (ibid., 205, n. 4).
Footnote 177: Hartley, Leviticus, 23, with reference also to b. Yoma 5a. Although I have assembled these references on my own, I was interested to see that the Talmudic quotes together with the citation from Baruch Levine, were also cited in a Jews for Jesus web site refuting the erroneous position of Rabbi Tovia Singer. See http://www.jews-for-jesus .org/CASE/BIBLICAL/Sin.html.
To further emphasize the vital connection between blood and atonement, let me cite the observations made by the two most important Talmud commentaries (Rashi and Tosafot) to this Rabbinic dictum that “there is no atonement without blood.” Rashi states that “the fundamental principle (‘iqqar) of atonement is in the blood” (b. Yoma 5a). Tosafot, also discussing the Talmudic statement that there is no atonement without blood, makes reference to a passage found elsewhere in the Talmud (b. Pesahim 59b) that indicated that the priests had to eat certain specified sacrifices if those offering were to have their atoning effect. 180 Tosafot then concludes, “But in any case, the fundamental principle [again, ‘iqqar] of atonement doesn’t exist without blood.” (b. Zevahim 6a). – Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, p. 109-110
Footnote 180: See Exodus 29:33, cited above; this verse, however, which we just cited above, refers only to the sacrifices offered in the ceremony of the consecration of the priests.