Eternal Life

How to Share the Good News With Jewish People, Part 3

“Bubbe, please shake hands with Dr. Kaplan,” said Sarah.

“I’m honored to meet you, Mrs. Levy,” said Ben as he extended both his hands and warmly grasped both of hers.

Jenny Levy appeared to be in her mid to late 60’s. She was tall and had an athletic build and striking facial features. Her thick iron gray her was arranged in a French twist. She wore a dress that was attractive yet modest. Airs of pride and arrogance seemed distinctly absent. Inner strength and dignity were clearly present.
“Please, call me Jenny.”

“I will. And please call me Ben. Josh and Matt are also here today. They are two of Sarah’s classmates. How are you today?” asked Ben as he guided Jenny to a comfortable chair with a small table next to it that held a glass and a pitcher of water.

“I’m not so good today, Ben. My husband Isaac died suddenly a few weeks ago. We were getting ready to celebrate our 45th anniversary,” said Jenny as a tear ran down her right cheek.

“Is there anything that we can do for you Jenny?” asked Ben.

“Possibly. I need peace, personal peace, and I don’t have it. I’ve never had it. But I’ve never needed peace like I do now, since Isaac’s death,” said Jenny.

“I’m so sorry to hear about Isaac. Would you mind telling me about your family?” said Ben.

“I had two children. Barbara, Sarah’s mother, is alive and well. I had a son, Bradley. He died 20 years ago in a car crash. He was 21 years old. I miss him terribly and I have tremendous guilt in my heart concerning him, Ben,” said Jenny.

Tears were now streaming down Jenny’s cheeks. She was sobbing softly.

“Could you tell us why you have this guilt?” asked Ben.

“Brad lived at home with us. When he was 19 and at college he was suffering from depression. He was even thinking about suicide. He told me that he had no hope for himself. He didn’t know why. We sent him to see a psychiatrist but that didn’t help. Our Rabbi even met with him a few times to counsel him. That didn’t help either. Then he went to a Jews for Jesus meeting on campus. A few weeks later he accepted Jesus, Brad called Him Yeshua, as his Lord and Savior. The depression lifted. Brad seemed to be transformed. He was full of joy. He had been having trouble at school. After he accepted Yeshua he was able to focus on his studies and he became a “A” student,” said Jenny.

“It sounds like good things happened to him after he accepted Yeshua,” said Ben.

“I agree. But then trouble started, a few months later. Brad joined a Messianic Jewish congregation and he was baptized. He told Isaac and me that baptism represented an outward sign of an inner change. He told us all about his new faith and Isaac became enraged. Isaac told Brad that he was a traitor to his people and that he was no longer a Jew, that Jews don’t believe in Jesus. He called Jesus a mamzer and he called Brad an anti-Semite. He ordered Brad to leave our home and to never come back. Isaac told Brad that if he ever came back he would kill him. Brad left and I never saw him again,” said Jenny.

Mamzer means someone of illegitimate birth, a bastard, in Hebrew. It’s translated as misbegotten in Deuteronomy 23:3,” Ben explained to the group.

Deuteronomy 23:3 No one misbegotten shall be admitted into the congregation of the LORD; none of his descendants, even in the tenth generation, shall be admitted into the congregation of the LORD1.

“Jenny, how did you feel about what happened?” asked Ben.

“Terrible. I didn’t agree with what Isaac did but I was afraid to stand up to him. He was a very inflexible man and he had a terrible temper. He changed our phone number and made it unlisted,” said Jenny.

“Jenny, what’s past is past. What do you want to do now?” asked Ben.

“I don’t know what I can do. I know that I want peace. I’m afraid of dying. And I want to see Brad again. I think he’s in heaven,” said Jenny.

“Jenny, what do you know about Yeshua?” asked Ben.

“Brad shared a lot with me after he was baptized but that was a long time ago. I know that Yeshua was Jewish and that those who follow him believe that He was the Messiah and equal to God,” said Jenny.

“Do you have any thoughts about why Brad changed after he accepted Yeshua as his Lord and Savior? You said Brad seemed to be transformed,” said Ben.

“I don’t know why Brad changed but I know that the change was miraculous. It was as if he had hope, irrepressible hope. I remember wondering at the time what power could have caused it. It had to be a good power,” said Jenny. “Ben, I want that hope, the hope that Brad had.”

“Jenny, what do you know about sin?” asked Ben.

“Sin? I know that none of us are perfect,” said Jenny.

“Do you believe in God, Jenny?” asked Ben.

“Yes. My parents believed in God and they taught me that He is real and that there is a heaven and a Book of Life. My father sometimes read Bible stories to me and we celebrated the Jewish holidays,” said Jenny.

“Jenny, God is real. He is alive today. His Son Yeshua who is our Messiah is also alive today. God loves you, Jenny. He also loved Brad. He sought Brad out and rescued him. That’s why Brad changed. God wants to do the same thing for you, Jenny,” said Ben.

“Ben, you asked me a moment ago if I know about sin? Does sin have something to do with this?”

“It does, Jenny. Do you know about the Ten Commandments? Would you mind if we read them now?” asked Ben.

Jenny looked nervous. She was clenching and unclenching her hands. The color had drained from her face.

“It’s OK, Ben. Go ahead.”

“Matt, there’s a Jewish Publication Society Tanakh in the bookcase behind you. Would you grab it please and show Mrs. Levy where the Ten Commandments are?” said Ben. “Jenny, would you please read the verses?”

Jenny read: 2

Ex. 20:1 God spoke all these words, saying:

Ex. 20:2 I the LORD am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage: 3 You shall have no other gods besides Me.

Ex. 20:4 You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I the LORD your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject Me, 6 but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Ex. 20:7 You shall not swear falsely by the name of the LORD your God; for the LORD will not clear one who swears falsely by His name.

Ex. 20:8 Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God: you shall not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, or your cattle, or the stranger who is within your settlements. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth and sea, and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

Ex. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land that the LORD your God is assigning to you.

Ex. 20:13 You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Ex. 20:14 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house: you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female slave, or his ox or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

As Jenny finished reading tears were streaming down her face. She was convulsed with sobs.

Ben got up and stood in front of her. He took her head and shoulders in his arms and gently hugged her.

“Bubbe, why are you crying?” asked Sarah.

“Because I’m guilty of breaking those commandments. I don’t think I could ever keep them all. Ben, I think I understand what sin is now. Is there any hope for me?” asked Jenny.

Ben went back to his chair.

“There is, Jenny. There most definitely is. Jenny, you’ve just read the Ten Commandments. You’ve confessed that you have broken them. Moses said that righteousness or salvation can only come through the Law if you obey the Law perfectly. Nobody can do that. We are all guilty of breaking God’s laws. The penalty for that is death, eternal separation from God. That’s why we all need a Savior. Jenny, you need a Savior. That Savior is Jesus, Yeshua, the Lamb of God,” said Ben.

“Ben, I know that I need a Savior. I’ve known that for years now. Now is the time. If Jesus can save me so that I can go to heaven when I die, I’m ready to accept Him and follow Him as my Lord and Savior,” said Jenny.

“He can save you Bubbe. He saved me and Josh and Matt and Dr. Kaplan. He is the Jewish Messiah,” said Sarah.

“I believe that now, Sarah,” Jenny said as she smiled through her tears. “Would you take my hand and kneel down with me?”

Jenny and Sarah knelt together with their hands joined. Kneeling behind them, Ben, Josh, and Matt put their hands on Jenny’s and Sarah’s shoulders. Jenny prayed.

“Yeshua, I know now that you are my Messiah, my Savior, and my Lord. Thank you that you died on the cross for me. I know that your blood paid for my sins and I know that I can never repay you for what you did for Brad and for Sarah. Please save me now. Thank you Lord.”

Joyful hugs and shouts of Hallelujah followed!

Posted by Art in Jewish Evangelism

Am I Still A Jew After I Accept Jesus?

The weekly meeting was about to start and Sarah was agitated.

“Dr. Kaplan, I just told a Christian friend that I’ve accepted Yeshua as my Lord and Savior and he asked me a question.  “Sarah, when did you convert from being a Jew to being a Christian?”  Frankly I was flustered and didn’t know how to answer.  I know that there are many Jewish people today who would tell me that I’m no longer a Jew because I believe in Jesus, but I did not expect this from a Christian.

“Dr. Kaplan, what should I have said to my friend?” asked Sarah.

“Is your friend Jewish?” asked Ben Kaplan.

“No,” replied Sarah.

“Is he a believer in Yeshua?  Has he been born again?” asked Ben.

“Absolutely, Dr. Kaplan,” said Sarah.

“Did you sense any animosity toward the Jewish people in your friend’s question?” said Ben.

“No.  Jordan loves the Jewish people and has stood up for them at a cost to himself,” said Sarah.

“Sarah, your friend Jordan and many other Christians don’t understand that a Jewish person doesn’t stop being a Jew when he or she accepts Jesus as Savior.  This misunderstanding is in part due to Galatians 3:28 and several other verses like it in the New Testament,” said Ben.  “Let’s look at that verse.  I think the New International Version translates it best.”

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

“Sarah, you are still a Jew because you are a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  You are now a Jewish believer in Yeshua, or Jesus.  Some people would call you a Messianic Jew.  Others might call you a Jewish Christian or Christian Jew, or just a Christian.  When I am asked what I am, I usually say I’m a Jewish believer in Jesus, so I’m a Christian or better yet, I’m a follower of the Messiah, but I’m OK being called a Christian.  I haven’t stopped being a Jew.  That would be impossible.  Do you get the idea, Sarah?” asked Ben.

“I’m not sure,” Dr. Kaplan.

 “But what about Galatians 3:28?” asked Matt.

“Matt, the Bible divides all people into two groups.  The two groups are Jews and Gentiles.  When a Jew or Gentile accepts Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior he or she is converted from a Jewish or Gentile unbeliever into a Jewish or Gentile believer in Jesus and there is then spiritually no difference between members of these two groups.  They are both members of one body,” explained Ben.  The key phrase in Galatians 3:28 is in Christ Jesus.  

“So Galatians 3:28 is saying that there are no differences between Jews and Gentiles, in Christ Jesus and since all born again people are in Christ Jesus there is no difference between them in Him.  Jews and Gentiles are both saved the same way, through faith in Jesus, and God hears all of our prayers the same way.  However the verse is not saying that there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles,” said Ben.

“I’m confused, Dr. Kaplan.  Can you explain further?” said Sarah.

“Sarah, you are a woman, and Matt, Josh, and I are men.  In a physical sense we are quite different.  However, in a spiritual sense we are not different.  Does that help?” said Ben.

“Yes,” responded Sarah.

“Before we continue with our discussion we need to briefly digress.  I need to say something now, about the sexes, that even a dozen years ago I would not have needed to say.  The Bible recognizes a person as being either male or female.  There are no other sexes.  God did not create transgender people and He assigned our gender to us before we were born.  God also did not create homosexuals or bisexuals.  This is not our focus today but it is important and you all need to remember it,” said Ben.

“Got it Dr. Kaplan.

“So just as there are differences between the sexes, there are differences between Jews and Gentiles although those differences are not physical and are not as obvious as the differences between a man and a woman.  But in Christ Jesus, meaning spiritually, there are no differences,” said Josh.  “Is that right, Dr. Kaplan?”

“Exactly right, Josh!” said Ben.  “In fact Paul’s letter to the Romans talks about an Olive Tree.  It’s a spiritual Olive Tree.  It has natural branches which are Jewish believers and wild branches that have been grafted in which are Gentile believers.  We believers in Jesus are all branches in the same Olive Tree.”

“So what are the differences between Jews and Gentiles, Dr. Kaplan?” said Matt.

“Dr. Kaplan, can I just ask one other question before you answer Matt’s question?  Do some believers fail to understand that there are differences between Jews and Gentiles, even born again Jews and Gentiles?” asked Josh.

“Yes, Josh!  Sarah’s friend Jordan is one of them.  There are many people who fail to understand that there are differences,” said Ben.

“Does what they say or think matter?” said Matt.  “I mean, are we making a big deal over nothing?”

“No, Matt, because God made certain everlasting promises to the Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and God is going to keep those promises,” said Ben.  “He did not make those promises to Gentiles,” said Ben.

“Do the promises have to do with the Jews being God’s Chosen People?  What exactly does that mean?  And are the Jews still the Chosen People?” asked Josh.  

“Before the Jews entered the Promised Land the LORD, through Moses, said this to them:

Deuteronomy 7:6 (NASB)  For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

“And He said it again:

Deuteronomy 14:2 (NASB)  For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

“And this Chosen status of the Jewish people has never been taken away.  God has not canceled it,” said Ben.

“Now I’m going to say something that sparks outrage on the part of many Jewish people when they hear it.  But I have to say it because it’s true and Jewish people need to know this truth.  If they don’t know this truth they could spend eternity separated from God.  They could perish.  And we do not want that to happen!

“This truth is that  not all of the Chosen People are Jews in God’s eyes.  A Jew in God’s eyes is a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who has had circumcision in the flesh as well as circumcision of the heart,” said Ben.  “A Jewish person who has not had his or her heart circumcised will not inherit the things that God promised to the Jewish people.  Moses spoke about this as did the prophet Jeremiah and the prophet Ezekiel, ” said Ben.

“Can you please give us the Biblical evidence for this, Dr. Kaplan?  I mean, this is really heavy stuff.  I have a Mom and Dad and two sisters who need to know and understand this.  I don’t want them to perish,” said Sarah.

“Sure, Sarah.  Let’s start with three verses from the Old Testament,” answered Ben, as he adjusted the computer projector to bring the verses up on the screen.

Deuteronomy 30:6 (NASB)

“Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

Jeremiah 4:4 (NASB)

“Circumcise yourselves to the Lord

And remove the foreskins of your heart,

Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,

Or else My wrath will go forth like fire

And burn with none to quench it,

Because of the evil of your deeds.”

Ezekiel 36:26 (NASB)  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

“Wow!  Those verses are pretty clear!  Circumcision of the heart is equivalent to being born again!  Are there any verses that talk about this in the New Testament?” asked Sarah.

“Yes, Sarah.  Let’s take a look at Romans 9:6-7, where the apostle Paul is anticipating an objection or question that some readers of his letter will raise.  I’m going to paraphrase the question.  Why are the Jewish people, the Chosen People, seemingly no longer in God’s favor as they were in the time of Moses, King David, King Solomon, etc?  Did God’s promises  to His Chosen People, given in the Old Testament, fail?  Did God renege on His promises?” Here is Paul’s answer:

Romans 9:6-7 (NASB)  But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.”

“Paul is saying that Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, but Abraham’s descendants were named only through Isaac.  The same principle applies to God’s Chosen People, Israel.  God is saying, through Paul, that not all who are descendants of the Chosen People are Chosen.  In this very same chapter of Romans, Paul quotes from the prophet Isaiah,” said Ben.

Romans 9:27 (NASB)  Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;

“Wow!  Are you telling us that there is a subgroup within the Chosen People, the remnant, that are the true Israel, the true Chosen People and that only they will be saved?” asked Matt.  “They are the ones with circumcised hearts, right?”

“Exactly, Matt.  You’ve got it,” said Ben.

“Doesn’t that seem unfair?” said Sarah.

“It’s not unfair, Sarah.  God is never unfair except in His grace to us.  He graciously does not give us what we deserve, which is eternal separation from Him because of our sins.  That’s why He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins,” answered Ben.

“But what about Christians?  Are all Christians truly Christian?  Is everyone sitting in church on a Sunday morning a Christian?” asked Sarah.

“Now that’s a great question!  In fact, not all who claim to be Christian are Christian.  Many, maybe even most, sitting in church pews are not Christians.  They are not born again and they will spend eternity separated from God.  This overall group who profess to be Christians can be referred to as Christendom.  Only a subgroup, a remnant, of Christendom will be saved.  Christendom is in a way comparable to the Chosen People.   Only a remnant of the Chosen people will be saved.

“Many Jewish people say “I was born a Jew and I will die a Jew”.  That is true.  But many who say this don’t understand that a Jew who is not saved, who is not part of the remnant, will spend eternity separated from God.  Jewish people need to know this truth,” said Ben.

“What do we do with this knowledge, Dr. Kaplan?” asked Josh.

“That’s another great question!  Let’s look at what Jesus said about that in Luke’s Gospel.

Luke 19:12-13 (ESV)  He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’

“Jesus is speaking a parable and it has to do with the fact that He went away, back to heaven, 2,000 years ago and He is going to return, soon.  He has given each of us gifts, represented by money in the parable, and He expects us to “engage in business” until He returns.  I understand that to mean that we are to share the Good News of Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, the Gospel, with everyone He calls us to share it with, until He, Jesus, returns.  We are to share this Good News with Jews and Gentiles and we are to share with Jews first whenever possible just as the Apostle Paul did,” said Ben.  “And we must share this Good News because it is the only way a person, any person, can be saved.”

Romans 1:16 (ESV)  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

“How do we do that Dr. Kaplan?” said Sarah.

“Let’s make that the focus of our next meeting, OK?” said Ben.

“We can’t wait!” said Matt.  Josh and Sarah nodded their agreement.

Posted by Art in Salvation

The Cure for Death, Part II

If you read the last post then you know what a person must do to be saved, to be born again (The Cure for Death).  But I want to tell you something more about the cure for death and that is the purpose of this post.

As we have already discussed, please remember that we are all sinners.  There are two reasons for that.  The first reason is that we were all in Adam when he sinned and when that happened Sin, as a principle or essence, entered us and became part of each and every one of us.  The second reason is that having that inborn sin nature causes us to walk in sin, to sin continuously (The Cause of Death).

But maybe you don’t believe that you are a sinner.  Maybe what I have been saying is just all a bunch of nonsense to you.  You look at the Ten Commandments and say to yourself “I have never broken any of those.  I’ve never stolen or lied or murdered or dishonored my father and mother.  I’m a good person”.  Well, how about this one: You shall have no other gods before me?  That is the first commandment.  Did you know that an electronic video game and the cell phone that contains it is a god to many people?  It demands more of their attention and energy than anything else and so they make it more important than everything else in their lives.  It is an idol to them which is another way of saying it is a god to them.  People can also make idols of money,  jobs, cars, houses, their children, and other things too.  Do any of these apply to you?

Well, I’m not going to go through the first nine commandments in  detail with you right now and I’m not going to go through the rest of all the other commandments in the Torah with you right now either.  But I do want to make sure that you know that there are a total of 613 commandments or mitzvot in the Torah.  That’s 603 commandments in addition to the famous Ten Commandments.  My Jewish brothers and sisters, please believe me.  You’ve broken many of these commandments.  After our people returned to the Land from Babylon, the Law was read to them and they wept.

“And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law.”  Nehemiah 8:9

Why did the people weep?  They wept because as the Law was read and then explained to them they realized how many of God’s mitzvot they had failed to keep without even realizing it.  That was the case because most  of the people had not had God’s law or instruction, the Torah, read to them for a long time, perhaps never.  That applies to many of us today.

But just to make it absolutely clear to you that you and I are sinners, that we’ve broken at least one commandment, let’s take a look at the 10th commandment:

““You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.””  Exodus 20:17

“You shall not covet.”  What does that mean?  It means to want something that does not belong to you.  Now I want to be very clear here.  Coveting does not mean taking something that is not yours.  That would be stealing.  Or in the case of sexual desire it would be adultery or extramarital sex or premarital sex.  Coveting, if it proceeds no further, is a sin of the mind and the heart.  It’s a desire.  It could even be secret.  Maybe nobody but you knows that you desire some particular thing that is not yours.  And by the way, if nobody else knows about your secret desire, that probably means that you have also broken the commandment which forbids you to lie.

Let me show you an example of coveting.  Perhaps you desire to have your boss’s job, or to have your neigbor’s Mercedes.  Or perhaps  you desire your wife’s best female friend or your husband’s best male friend.  Now you might never act on this desire.  You might never progress from desire for another woman or man to actually having an affair with her or him.  But by coveting you’ve broken the 10th commandment.  Have you never desired to have something that is not yours?  I very much doubt that.  And according to God’s Law, by breaking this 10th  commandment you’ve broken all 613 commandments.

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”  James 2:10

Now, my Jewish brother or sister (and please remember that I’m Jewish too),  you may say to me once again that this is a verse from the New Testament and therefore you don’t believe it.  Do you think that the Hebrew Scriptures, even the Torah (the first five books of  the Bible, also called The Five Books of Moses), says something different?  I’m sorry to tell you that we can’t pick and choose which commandments to obey.

“if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will visit you with panic, with wasting disease and fever that consume the eyes and make the heart ache. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.”  Leviticus 26:15-16

God is saying that He wants you and me to do all His commandments and if we don’t do them all there are serious consequences.  It sounds very much to me that God is saying that if we’ve broken one commandment it is the same as breaking them all.  And there are many more verses from the Torah that make it clear that God expects all His commandments to be obeyed.  My friend, you can’t help but break at least one of the 613 commandments and neither can I.

So what is the answer?  What is the cure for Death?  A substitutionary sacrifice is needed.  Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.  This was mentioned in the last post.  The shed blood of an animal provided a covering for sin, but permanent forgiveness of sins could not be provided by an animal sacrifice.  Only the blood of Jesus could do that.

Now you may quote the following verse to me and tell me that a blood sacrifice is no longer required:

““What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.”  Isaiah 1:11

This is what the LORD wants from us:

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”  Isaiah 1:16-17

God never eliminated the requirement of a blood sacrifice for the remission of sins.  There is no way that the LORD would tell us about the need to provide sacrifices for the remission of sins in verse after verse after verse in the Torah, in exquisite detail, and then later tell us that sacrifices are not needed for the remission of sins.  God does not contradict Himself.   But God will not accept sacrifices from those who do not have contrite hearts, from those who do not repent.  Here is what God did do:  He sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to die for us, to shed His precious blood.  He did this one time and that was enough.  All of the sacrifices described in the Torah were a foreshadowing of the once for all permanent sacrifice that Yeshua would make.

My fellow Jewish brother and sister, you may also tell me that Jonah went to Nineveh to preach the message that God gave him for the Ninevites, to save them.  They repented and 120,000 were saved right then.  There was no shedding of blood.  How could that be?  Here’s how:

“Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”  Hebrews 9:15

Are you familiar with the New Covenant that the LORD spoke about through the mouth of the Jewish prophet Jeremiah?  It’s in Jeremiah chapter 31, in the Hebrew Scriptures.  Yeshua inaugurated that covenant many years later at The Last Supper which was a traditional Jewish Passover seder.  The  blood that Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, shed was so efficacious that it provided effective atonement for the sins of those who loved God and had contrite hearts even before Yeshua came to earth to die on the cross.  That would include people such as Abraham, Moses, King David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and many others.  God operates in the sphere of eternity and He can even provide permanent forgiveness of sins for those who died before Jesus came.

There is yet more to talk about under the title of The Cure for Death.  The blood of Jesus provides for even more than just the forgiveness of our sins.  It provides for our justification.  Justification is a forensic term.  It makes us think of a courtroom, a judge, and a defendant.  When this defendant, who represents you and me, accepts the judge’s, i.e., God’s, free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, God justifies us.  This means that we are not only pardoned for all our sins but we are are considered by God to be one who never sinned in the first place.  Jesus took all the punishment for all our sins and gives us His perfect righteousness.  How could that be?  It can be because God made the provision for it and because God declares it to be the truth.  It’s better than a pardon.

But, you ask, why then does the person who is saved still commit sins?  Thank you for that very important question.  We will address that in an upcoming post.

Posted by Art in Death, Eternal Life, Justification