Finding Jesus / Yeshua in your prayer book and even your instant soup is nothing these days when one considers the barrage of nonsense which sporadically plops out of the organs of the messers of so-called Messianic Judaism. Most stuff that plops out is often re-cycled, however, some stuff may be relatively new and of course points out what has been obvious to the Rabbis for centuries. The Rabbis of course were just too blind to see it!! Then again some folks make such embarrassing attempts of fitting Jesus into almost anything Jewish, one really does wonder if it is worthwhile responding. The lack of response to such embarrassing attempts of fitting Jesus into almost anything Jewish is often translated as yet again the Jews are blinded or do not have answer to such startling revelations.
Then of course there are the more sophisticated attempts, what I call the nudge nudge wink wink say no more (NNWWSNM) approach. To the not too discerning reader, the NNWWSNM approach of course reveals expressions and deliberate silences in ‘messianic’ narratives which are often used to convince readers of the crimes of Rabbis and their deceptions. Fortunately it does not need much IQ to realize an ulterior motive of the messy article at hand.
The latest offering of course coming at the time just before Yom Kippor courtesy of First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ). FFOZ the highly financed and slick publisher of ‘authoritative’ information disguised in the very best traditions of the NNWWSNM approach. Here is pointed out that during the Yom Kippor service in the Synagogue:
The intensity of Mussaf reaches its most climactic moment at the prayer called the Kedushah, in which we raise our voices in concert with the angelic multitudes who constantly surround God throne, crying, “Holy, holy, holy!” Thus we sanctify God’s name on earth just as it is sanctified by the angels in heaven.
Here, at the Kedushah, is the moment that catches you by surprise. The prayer leader (called the chazzan) suddenly begins to describe how the Messiah, through his intense suffering, piercing, and wounds, procures forgiveness for our sins.
Now comes the all too familair blind Rabbi/ congregation bit:
The rabbi does not stir or act alarmed. The congregation continues in fervent prayer as if nothing unusual has happened. That is because this is a portion of a common Yom Kippur prayer called Az Milifnei Vereshit  that has been used in synagogues for centuries.
To add authenticity, to the idea that the ‘blind’ congregation continues in fervent prayer as if nothing unusual has happened is supported by an honest admission at least:
The existence and use of this prayer does not prove that Yeshua is the Messiah and that the rabbis have known it all along. Rather, it shows that the concept of Messiah’s suffering is intrinsic to historic Jewish thought. Anti-missionaries “set a stumbling block before the blind,” so to speak, when they deny the idea that Judaism teaches that the Messiah suffers and bears our sin.
Does the prayer include direct reference to Isaiah 53? Of course it does! Is there a smattering of Rabbinical sources to indicate that parts of Isaiah 53 refer not only to a messiah but to other biblical characters such a Moses and even post biblical characters? Of course there are[1a].
Do Jews from their own sources know what Isaiah 53 refers to, of course they do! Jews know the sources are replete in the vast majority of cases to identifying the Servant as Israel by direct references to scripture:
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 order to end the exile, the L-rd calls his righteous servant to resume Israel’s original mission task of carrying the iniquity of others. This is what priests do, and Israel is a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6).
Understanding the context of sacrifices and the wider understanding of what sacrifice achieves and what it does not helps us to understand the dangers of other non-Israelite and/ or Christian ideas, with respect to sacrifices. A danger being that of idolatry by worship of created things instead of the creator by making the sacrifice and ‘the blood’ the sole object of worship. The Jewish scriptures clearly teach against the idea of a substitutionary atonement and instead, stress the importance of an individual’s and a nation’s responsibility for sin and taking appropriate action.
20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them. 21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked (?), declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? Ezek 18:20-22
The earliest ‘biblical’ expression of a vicarious substitution for universal sin ONLY occurs within New Testament [Romans 5:18; John 1:29 and 1 John 2:2] and not within the Hebrew Bible. It is however, the Christian’s prior doctrinal commitments projected onto and applied to the Hebrew Bible in general and Isaiah 53 in particular which Christians assume is G-d’s message to every sinner and to the Jews especially. To add to the mix the Christian’s prior doctrinal commitments are now being projected onto Jewish prayer books.
In contradistinction, Christianity makes belief in Jesus doing all the work for the sinner on the cross the sole basis for its religion. The reality and truth are that nobody ‘takes it’ for anyone with respect to sin, rather each and everyone is responsible for their sins and Teshuvah (as evidenced by subsequent righteous things they have done) is what brings life NOT some inherent magical power in death, blood, flower and incense etc..
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 someone else or a nation to initiate Teshuvah 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!
Animal sacrifice has always been permitted and post Sinai only under extremely limited and controlled circumstances as to time, place 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 Jer 33:15-18 is considered.
So what about human sacrifice?
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)
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 have always have been and always will be unacceptable at any time or place!
The question is when will these messianics cease to project their essentially Christian prior doctrinal commitments onto our people, our books, think we Jews are blind and are incapable of knowing what our books say? What have we been saying all along in our prayer books every morning, do messianics and Christians think we do not know?:
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it. When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people; He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; Saying, Touch not my messiahs (בִמְשִׁיחָי), and do my prophets no harm. Psalm 105:11-15 See 1 Chron 16:22 and Artscroll weekday Siddur page 61)
The concept of a sole Messiah’s suffering being intrinsic to historic Jewish thought is erroneous when Jews as G-d’s Messiahs throughout history are ignored and eclisped by a Magic Messiah imposed upon them through the nonesense proposed by so called Messianic Judaism. The job description of any Messiah is to lead people to a closer connection with G-d and not to be a replacement for G-d by the Magic Messiah a la messianic Judaism/ Christianity.
1a. The first book of the Talmud – Brachot page 5a (compiled between app 220 and 300 CE) applies Is 53 to the people of Israel and those who study Torah; Sanhedrin 98b in the Babylonian Talmud applies Is 53:4 to the Messiah and applies Is 53:12 to Moses in Sotah 14a; The Jerusalem Talmud (Shekalim 5:1) applies Isaiah 53:12 to Rabbi Akiva.
1. FFOZ translation of Az Milifnei Vereshit:
Then, prior to creation,
he established the Temple and Yinnon.
The Talpiot above from the beginning,
he prepared before any people or language.
He decided to let his presence reside there,
to guide the mistaken in straight paths.
If the wicked are reddened (by sin),
let them wash and be cleansed beforehand.
If (God’s) fierce wrath is incited,
the Holy One will not awaken his full rage.
So far, our wealth has depleted,
but our Rock has not touched us.
Our righteous Messiah has turned away from us;
we have acted foolishly and there is no one to justify us.
Our iniquities and the yoke of our transgressions
he bears, and he is pierced for our transgressions.
He carries our sins on his shoulder,
to find forgiveness for our iniquities.
By his wounds we are healed,
forever a new creation; the time of his creation.
Bring him up from the circle;
lift him out of Seir.
To summon us to the mount of Lebanon
a second time through Yinnon.
2.Flour to atone (Lev 5;12-15), Incense to atone (Num 17:11-13), Charity (Prov 10:2, 11:4, 16:6, 21:3, Hos 6:6, Dan 4:27), Silver (Ex 30:15), Repentance (Lev 26:40-42, Ezek 18:21-32), Jewelry (Num 31:50), Righteousness and Charity (Dan 4:24, 9:18), Post Temple period without blood and Jesus (Isaiah 27:9, 40:1, Ezek 33:11-16).
3. “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)