Utilizing the national park of Timna in southern Israel for that necessary air of authenticity, we see Juergen Buehler of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) explaining the ‘priesthood’ of Israel in bringing salvation to the Nations. The backdrop of national park of Timna is where there is a replica of the Tabernacle God commanded the children of Israel to build in the wilderness.
Having watched the video of Juergen Buehler titled “WORD FROM JERUSALEM: THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM Episode 29”, I am left with a number of reservations. Particularly as the brief description states that the video shows “the exciting parallelism between the sacrificial system and the atonement of Jesus at the cross”. Now at this stage you might well say “what you can expect from a Christian video”. The problem however, is that the video is done in the intention of blessing and loving Israel which unfortunately misrepresents the custom, practice, history, understanding of the Jewish people and the plain meaning of words of scripture itself.
Going back the ‘priesthood’ of Israel in bringing salvation to the Nations of the ICEJ we are introduced to the idea that the Jewish peoples’ task as priests was to kill Jesus. Paradoxically the killing of Jesus is the rejection or disbelief of the Jewish people which brought about ‘salvation’ to the rest of the world. The killing of Jesus by the Jews was of course done in ignorance and represents the ‘mystery’ aspect of the gospel which was presented to Israel and the Jewish people for centuries before Jesus in the ‘typology’ of the tabernacle, with the story of Joseph and further with the binding of Isaac by Abraham. The convenient back drop of the replica of the Tabernacle in Timnah, Juergen Buehler uses to emphasize the sole focus of Christian theology projected back onto the Jewish scriptures. The sole focus of Christian theology of course is the universal sacrifice of Jesus for sins. In a nutshell the Jews for centuries were duped by their G-d into thinking that this is what he required of them:
12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? Deut 10
6 With what shall I come to the LORD And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? 7 Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? Michah 6
22 Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. 1 Sam 15
So in the above verses and indeed in many others it is plainly clear that G-d requires obedience and not sacrifices. Moreover, the idea that a human being, a first born son given as a sacrifice to atone for sins is not what G-d wants at all either.
Now here at this point it is important to emphasize the importance of putting animal sacrifices in their proper context. Animal sacrifice has always been permitted and post Sinai only under extremely limited and controlled circumstances as to time, place[Lev 17:2-5] and intention as detailed by the Torah. Certain sacrifices are brought purely for the purpose of communing with God and becoming closer to Him. Others are brought for the purpose of expressing thanks, love, or gratitude to God. Others are used to cleanse a person of ritual impurity (which does not necessarily have anything to do with sin). And yes, some sacrifices are brought for purposes of atonement. The messianic era does have sacrifices if Jeremiah 33:15-18 is considered.
1 Thus says the LORD: The heaven is My Throne, and the earth is My Footstool, where is the house that you may build unto Me? And where is the place that may be My resting-place? 2 For all These things has My hand made, and so all These things Came to be, says the LORD, But on this man will I look, even on Him That is poor and of a Contrite Spirit, and Trembleth at My word. 3 He That Kills an ox is as if he slew a man, he That Sacrifices a lamb, as if he broke a dog’s neck, he That Offers a meal-Offering, as if he Offered swine’s blood, he That makes a memorial-Offering of frankincense, as if he blessed an idol; according as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations;
Isaiah 66 is talking primarily about sacrifices without repentance and chapter 66 resonates with the opening chapter 1 of Isaiah:
You shall no longer bring vain meal-offerings, it is smoke of abomination to Me; New Moons and Sabbaths, calling convocations, I cannot [bear] iniquity with assembly. (Isaiah 1:13)
Animal sacrifice in the above is circumscribed with the clear teaching that without proper and sincere repentance it is as if one has killed a man, offered swine’s blood and blesses an idol (see verse 3) all of which from G-d’s perspective have always have been and always will be unacceptable at any time or place!
The Sheep/ Elephants in the Room
The problems with Juergen Buehler of the ICEJ are his attempts to morph the historical biblical events into Jesus, the New Testament and New Testament theology. A case in point is the morphing of the Passover sacrifice with the Day of Atonement and the supposed universal sacrifice of Jesus! The most obvious points being that sacrifices have very strict rules as outlined by the Torah. In every case Jesus and his supposed universal sacrifice fails to tick any of the boxes concerning meeting the rules and requirements of sacrifices according to Torah. Jesus and his supposed universal sacrifice simply does not fit and why does it not fit?………Well for starters as pointed out above and elsewhere, G-d does not want, does not require human sacrifice. The question is what more could G-d have said to make it anymore clearer that human sacrifice is not required let alone a universal human sacrifice?
So what is the point and where is the harm? The point is that nowhere in the Jewish Scriptures is it ever intimated or suggested that the Passover sacrifice is a sacrifice for atonement. Indeed sacrifices of any kind from the time of Cain and Abel to the birth of the nation of Israel emerge in the Torah as man-initiated events, without any reference to sin! One possible exception to man-initiated events is the near sacrifice of Isaac commanded by G-d. Despite heated debate within Judaism about the meaning of the binding of Isaac, Abraham on his own initiative, subsequent to G-d telling Abraham not to sacrifice Isaac, sacrifices a ram (Gen 22:13), even though Abraham tells Isaac that G-d will provide a lamb (Gen 22:8). Either way, both possibilities of lamb and/ or ram are not commanded by G-d! Moreover, in the binding of Isaac there is no mention that the purpose of sacrifice is for atonement of sin either! Additionally, the binding of Isaac, a typology used by Messianics and Christians like Juergen Buehler, attempt to create a correlation between the “Binding of Isaac” (Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac) and God’s sacrifice of Jesus. Unfortunately the correlation breaks down practically before it ever begins. The Christian typology says that God sacrificed His own son just as Abraham would have sacrificed his own son, had God allowed the act to be completed. However, Abraham was sacrificing his son to God, which showed Abraham loved God more than he loved his son Isaac, something that even God acknowledges in the text:
“He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” (Gen 22:2)
So who did God sacrifice Jesus to? Did God sacrifice Jesus to mankind in order to show mankind that He loved mankind more than he loved Jesus? Is mankind God’s god? God needs mankind’s approval in order to be God? Does this make sense? Of course it does not make sense. Indeed, sacrifices as man-initiated events are confirmed in the book of Jeremiah 7:22
For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. 23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’
So troubling is the above to the promoters of Christian theology, that the New International Version (NIV) of Jer 7:22, 23, adds an extra word to the translation which the Hebrew does not support:
22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.
The extra word ‘just’, parachuted into the NIV translation of verse 22 gives the reverse idea that G-d did command the Israelites to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings for sins. Indeed this inserted ‘just’ further establishes the falsity of the NT and NT theology that sacrifices are G-d’s central focus which G-d has deliberately kept his people ignorant about for centuries before Jesus! Instead it is all billed as a mystery in the NT. The New Testament has 28 such mysteries and the whole Jesus thing is the mystery that has been “kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people” [Col 1:26]. Which means that nobody prior to Jesus knew about the whole divine/ human sacrifice atonement, eternal BBQ thing or else until Jesus came on the scene. God had been keeping it hidden for ages and generations apparently. In stark contrast the man initiated sacrifices found in the Torah (prior to Sinai) are without reference to sin! Moreover, in the above Christian mangling of the text of Jeremiah the ‘but’ of verse 23 renders verse 22 in the NIV illogical!
The major foundational component of atonement that is missing from Christianity is how Teshuvah (repentance) is initiated at least by the death and/ or suffering of someone else or even a nation. Suffering of a righteous someone or a nation is always to defer punishment to initiate a process of Teshuvah/ repentance. Suffering of a righteous someone or a nation is never vicarious or substitutionary, however! Teshuvah of the Kings of nations, as with case of Isaiah for example, is elicited by virtue of the Kings witnessing the death and/ or suffering of the servant nation Israel. Therefore, in God’s plan, Israel’s sufferings have been to the benefit of the other nations at least in part to an acknowledgment by the nations that Israel has been the true servant of God all along and thanks to Israel, the nations punishment has been deferred in order in the long term to get the nations to repent!
In sum and in other words, the notion as presented by the NT and Juergen Buehler that Israel and the Jewish people collectively as the priests of G-d ignorantly served the function of killing Jesus for the universal vicarious salvation of the Nations is patently false. The earliest expression of a vicarious human substitutionary atonement for universal sin at one specific point in time, ONLY occurs within the New Testament [see Romans 5:18; John 1:29 and 1 John 2:2] and not within the Hebrew Bible. Instead the Hebrew bible clearly portrays the ongoing role of the priesthood of Israel and the Jewish people in bearing the iniquity of the nations.
Certain of the prophetic specifications, which Christians often view as pointing exclusively to Jesus, are in fact borrowed from biblical descriptions of Israel’s experience. For example, in Isaiah 53:7 the servant of the L-rd is said to be like a flock led to the slaughter. In Psalms 44:22 Israel is said to be like a flock led to the slaughter.
“For on your account we are killed all the day; we are considered as a flock for the slaughter.”
To give another example, Isaiah 53:11 says “my righteous servant shall make many righteous.” We have just such an expression in the Book of Daniel regarding Daniel’s people Israel. Daniel 12:1b-3.
“At that time your people will escape, everyone found written in the book. Many among those sleeping in the dust of the ground will awake, some to the life of eternity and others to shame and to the contempt of eternity. And the prudent will shine like the brilliance of the firmament, and those who make many righteous like the stars, for eternity and ever.”
To give another example, Isaiah 53:11 says “my righteous servant shall make many righteous and carry their iniquities.” This language comes from the operation of Israel’s sanctuary. It was the duty of Israel’s priests to carry the iniquity of others. Leviticus 10:16-17.
“Concerning the goat of the sin-offering Moshe diligently inquired. There it was ― ablaze. He was angry with Elazar and with Itamar the surviving sons of Aaron. He said, ‘Why did you not eat the sin-offering in a sacred place, for it is most holy? And it was given you in order to carry the iniquity of the congregation, to make expiation on them before the L-rd.’”
Numbers 18:1 is also explicit in this connection.
“The L-rd said to Aaron, ‘You, your sons, and your father’s house with you shall carry the iniquity of the sanctuary; you and your sons with you shall carry the iniquity of your priesthood.’”
Carrying the iniquity of others is also a prophetic gesture. Ezekiel 4:4-6.
“And you shall lie on your left side and place the iniquity of the house of Israel on it, the number of which you lie on it you will carry their iniquity. I have given you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of days, three hundred and ninety days. And you shall carry the iniquity of the house of Israel. And you shall finish these, then you shall lie on your right side, and you shall carry the iniquity of the house of Judah, forty days, a day for a year, one day per year I have imposed on you.”
During the exile, the children of Israel complain that their punishment is too severe, because they’re carrying the iniquity of previous generations.
“Our fathers sinned and they are no more, and we are carrying their iniquities.” [Lamentations 5:7]
In sum, the Hebrew bible clearly portrays the ongoing role of the priesthood of Israel and the Jewish people in bearing the iniquity of the nations till eventually in the end, the Nations who are really the ones in ignorance will see the light and repent!
Lord, my strength and my fortress,my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good. 20 Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!” 21 “Therefore I will teach them—this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the Lord. Jer 16
 “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant2 Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. 17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Acts 3
 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? Rom 11:15
 Leviticus 18:21 – And you shall not give any of your offspring to pass through the fire for Molech, and shall not profane the name of your G-d; I am the L-rd. [See also Deut 18:10, Jer 7:31, Ezek 23:37-39.]
31 Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God; for every abomination to the LORD, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters do they burn in the fire to their gods. Deut 12
Deuteronomy 24:16 – Fathers shall not be put to death because of children, nor shall children be put to death for fathers; each person shall be put to death for his own sin. [See also Exod 32:31-33; Num 35:33.]
 “Kings shall shut their mouths at him. For what was not told them, they shall see. And what they did not hear, they shall observe. ‘Who would have believed our report? Upon whom has the arm of the L-rd been revealed?’ He arose before him like a sucker, like a root out of dry ground. He had no visage and no majesty. ‘We saw him, and there was no appearance that we should find him pleasing. He was despised and shunned by men, a man of sufferings and familiar with sickness; like one who hides his face from us. He was despised, and we held him of no account.’” (Isaiah 52:15b-53:3)
 3. The goat [of the Day of Atonement] that was sent [into the wilderness] (Ley. xvi. 20, seq.) served as an atonement for all serious transgressions more than any other sin-offering of the congregation. As it thus seemed to carry off all sins, it was not accepted as an ordinary sacrifice to be slaughtered, burnt, or even brought near the Sanctuary; it was removed as far as possible, and sent forth into a waste, uncultivated, uninhabited land. There is no doubt that sins cannot be carried like a burden, and taken off the shoulder of one being to be laid on that of another being. But these ceremonies are of a symbolic character, and serve to impress men with a certain idea, and to induce them to repent; as if to say, we have freed ourselves of our previous deeds, have cast them behind our backs, and removed them from us as far as possible. CHAPTER XLVI, THE GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED, BY MOSES MAIMONIDES.