Human Sacrifice

Human Sacrifice

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©Menashe Dovid

PassionMovie_CrossThe blood, welts, cuts and drizzling spit from his hair and beard, just how graphic can it get? Up until recently pretty ghastly when one considers the many films on the subject but Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’ eclipses them all! Where could such a spectacle have come from? Perhaps what may be seen in at least most Roman Catholic Churches, for sure….yes! Such high emotion, theatrical license and drama serves a very useful purpose in the guilt laden trip agenda set by Christian theology imposed over the masses for just less than two thousand years.

A typology as invented by the New Testament (especially the book of Hebrews) has set a whole agenda of having folks believe that the whole sacrificial system as outlined in the Torah is fulfilled to a tee in Yeshua and/ or Jesus.

The Torah fulfilled to the smallest detail in Yeshua and/ or Jesus even extends to things Jewish outside of the New Testament further on in time to include the post Jesus Rabbinical teaching aids of the Passover Seder. Messianics are quick to point out that Jews unwittingly fail to see the major significance of the pierced holes and stripes of the Matzos, a ‘trinity’ of three Matzos used in the Seder and why the middle Matzo ‘Jesus’ is broken and hidden only to be ‘resurrected’, to be found later! The irony for most Jews not ‘in the know’ but according to many who believe Jews without Jesus are ‘spiritually blind’… there is no lamb Jesus, no sacrifice ‘crucifixion’, only a burnt egg and a shank bone on the Seder plate! Who would have known that all of this is tied up to a historical event 3500 years ago and traditional rabbinic visual aids of the Seder Plate, wine and now modern day machine baked Matzos providing the holes and the stripes!

An error on the part of messianics who are strictly ‘Karaite’ or those who use arbitrarily ‘rabbinical Judaism’, is the failure of the messianics toPassover understand what the Passover Sacrifice was all about. Ad infinitum will they insist that that the sacrifice of the Passover was a substitutionary sacrifice for atonement of sins!

The lamb in the context of the Passover story was a god (amongst many) for the Egyptians. Indeed some of the ten plagues were with respect to the other idols of the Egyptians (frogs, river Nile, wild animals for example). Tellingly, the lamb, a sign of fertility, was killed in the middle of the month of Nisan (Aries in the zodiac corresponds to the time of Nisan and has the sign of the sheep) and the blood of the lamb placed on the door lintels of the Israelites’ dwellings. A biblical proof that the lamb was a god of the Egyptians is by consideration of Exodus 8 which concerns Moshe’s request of pharaoh to allow a sacrifice in the desert. Considering verse 22:

22 And Moses said: ‘It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God; lo, if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? Exodus 8

A question may be asked if the sacrifice (lamb/ sheep) was an abomination to the Israelites or the Egyptians. The answer to the rhetorical question asked by Moshe causes us to consider what would the basis be for the Egyptians to stone the Israelites, if not for Israelites sacrificing the god of the Egyptians?

ariesThe spiritual force of this Egyptian lamb god, in the middle of the month of Nisan (Aries in the zodiac) was supposed to be at its most potent then! The Israelites brazenly chose to go out of Egypt, painting their lintels and eating their lamb sacrifice, something never done before with respect to sacrifices of animals!

In contradistinction, the actions and thoughts behind the actions of the Israelites with respect to (but not only) slaying of the Passover lamb, where saving actions and thoughts by virtue of the Israelites choosing the G-d of Israel over the lamb god of the Egyptians! The Passover Lamb was a sacrifice to show ones’ allegiance to the G-d of Israel!

Obedience to the word of G-d is more valuable to G-d than sacrifice [1 Sam 15:22, Jer 7:23 & Amos 5:25]. And where one does need to bring a sacrifice for sin as commanded in the Torah, a primary prerequisite is teshuva or in the not so accurate English term repentance. Judaism considers the prerequisite teshuva or repentance to achieve atonement and not the idea of a penal human substitutionary atonement which the Jewish scriptures clearly teach against [Ezekiel 20:20, 21, Deut 12:31].

sorryWithout teshuva any sacrifice for sin is worthless otherwise! With the prerequisites of teshuva in place and obedience to the word of G-d being preferable than sacrifice, the sacrificial sacrifice[1] aspect of Torah is placed in its proper context.  Without the sacrificial sacrifice aspect of Torah in its proper context, Christianity makes sacrifice for atonement alone the sole basis of its religion without any reference to a personal effort to get closer to G-d.

However, with Passover we are talking about something altogether different. Passover is a sacrifice of allegiance not a sacrifice of atonement.

Human Sacrifice

Given a wider understanding of what sacrifice achieves and what it does not, one may already conclude in the case of Passover, that the Passover sacrifice draws us closer to G-d and each other by virtue of eating the sacrifice. Here also in the Passover sacrifice a vehicle is provided to express mans’ desire to forsake idols, enslavement and choose G-d exclusively.

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

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 is 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 the (death, blood, flower, incense etc)[2].

Repentance_Tough_On_Sins_FullThe 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[3] 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[4] 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!


[1] Korban (קרבן) in Hebrew has its root in the concept of ‘to draw near’ to an unfathomable G-d.

[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)

[4] Speak to Aaron and to his sons, and to all the children of Israel, and say to them: This is the thing the Lord has commanded, saying: Any man of the House of Israel, who slaughters an ox, a lamb, or a goat inside the camp, or who slaughters outside the camp, but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to offer up as a sacrifice to the Lord before the Mishkan of the Lord, this [act] shall be counted for that man as blood he has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people; in order that the children of Israel should bring their offerings which they slaughter on the open field, and bring them to the Lord, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, to the kohen, and slaughter them as peace offerings to the Lord. (Lev 17:2-5)

23 thoughts on “Human Sacrifice

  1. Fact: 17 “As for you, human, Adonai Elohim says that you are to speak to all kinds of birds and to every wild animal as follows: ‘Assemble yourselves and come, gather yourselves from all around for the sacrifice I am preparing for you, a great sacrifice on the mountains of Isra’el, where you can eat flesh and drink blood! 18 You will eat the flesh of heroes and drink the blood of the earth’s princes — rams, lambs, goats and bulls, fattened in Bashan, all of them. 19 You will eat fat till you are gorged and drink blood till you are drunk at the sacrifice I have prepared for you. 20 At my table you will be satiated with horses, horsemen, heroes and every kind of warrior,’ says Adonai Elohim.” – Ezekiel 39:17-19 Complete Jewish Bible — HaShem himself prepares the human sacrifice in these passages, as is plain to read. Shalom.

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  2. @ Ron Williams, Plain to read in Eze 39 is the FACT that Adonai is telling the prophet to speak to the birds and the beasts of the field. It is they who will eat the flesh and blood of the heathen…well outside of the context you are attempting to place those verses in…try again.

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  3. Manashe: HaShem, blessed be His Name, calls it “sacrifice” four times in those verses – He said it, not I. I guess you can explain it to Him that his use of the word “sacrifice” and His Words in these passages were simply an allegory, even when He Himself says something plainly.
    Leland: HaShem doesn’t sacrifice to animals. All acceptable sacrifices are only to Him and for Him. Please check the Torah – you will find that there is no mention there whatsover of HaShem ever sacrificing to animals. On the other hand, apparently He accepts sacrifices, human and animal, but ONLY if He prepares it Himself and by His rules – that is the context that is plain to see. He won’t accept it from us humans, but He will accept it if He prepares it Himself, for His purposes. Simple concept. I guess I had to spell it out, after all. Barchu et Adonai Elohim hamvorach l’olam vaed. Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai Yeshua HaMashiach. Shalom to you both.

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    • זבח
      “Zevach” translates as slaughter.
      “Zevach” implied a ritualistic slaughter of an animal for a meal. The Passover sacrifice is also a “Zevach”.
      “Zevach” is an early precursor to the Shelamim/Peace Offering.
      “Zevach” afterwards is in relationship to the Shelamim most of the time in Scripture.
      The name ‘shelamim’ derives from ‘shalom’ (peace) which as an active verb.

      The peace offering was never associated with sin, however. The passage of Ezekiel clearly indicates that the feast is for the birds and the beasts. The sight to mankind of this feast being indicative of G-d’s action and exultation over the fall of his enemies (Gog’s fallen armies). The fall of G-d’s enemies actively bringing about peace.

      The owner of the Shelamim animal pressed his hands on it and recited words of praise to the L-rd. In contrast to most of the other sacrifices, the personal Shelamim may be slaughtered anywhere in the Courtyard.

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  4. The way my Bible reads, the prophet should “speak to animals” which will feast on the enemies of Israel. God is not sacrificing “to the animals”, but preparing a “feast” for them.   Ezekiel 39:17, “And you, O mortal, say to every winged bird and to all the wild beasts: Thus said the Lord GOD:  Assemble, come and gather from all around for the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you….”   The prophet is not told here to speak  to people in Israel or in Gog or Magog.   However, earlier in Ezekiel 39:4. the prophet is told to prophesy against the people in Gog saying,  “… I will give you as food to carrion birds of every sort and to the beasts of the field….”  Again, the enemies of God will die in battle and will be eaten by carrion birds & beasts and their bones left to be buried by Israelites.

    These verses remind us of the curses, in which a disobedient Israel might be fed to the birds and animals.  Deut 28:26,  “Your carcasses shall become food for all the birds of the sky and all the beasts of the earth, with none to frighten them off.”  But now there is a reversal, the curses are applied to Israel’s enemies.  The Israelites will bury the bodies of the enemy, not “eat them” (cannibalism is also a sign of one who may be cursed).  The ‘sacrificial feast’ also reverses the imagery of the banquet on Zion (Isa 25).  Both “feasts”  enable God to display the divine glory to the nations and as a vindication and restoration of Israel and the Jews. 

    The way you (Ron Williams (@ronwilliams11) make it sound, Jesus is the enemy of Israel and he needs to be eaten by men and carrion eating birds as a sign of God’s glory to the nations. 

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      • Menashe, sorry, I clicked on the reply to Ron Williams post on Feb19, 2013, 3:29pm and somehow expected it to follow his last post. I wanted to respond to his comment that “HaShem doesn’t sacrifice to animals” (nor does God sacrifice “his son” to humans). And he seemed confused by Ezekiel 39 (perhaps because he used Stern’s translation which is often a bit biased?), but which seems quite clear to me, taken into context. I know he didn’t mean to undermine his (or the NT’s) own theory about “the human sacrifice of Jesus. So, if something is true in the 1st case, then it is true in the 2nd case (Jesus) as well. By seemingly equating “human sacrifices” in Ezekiel 39 with the consequences of being Israel’s enemies on the one hand, he is drawing a parallel on the other hand. Since God doesn’t “sacrifice” to Man nor does God “sacrifice” to himself nor did Israel offer Jesus to be sacrificed, there are few options left. Not all death is a sacrifice and if one gets back what one gave (is resurrected), then there was no true sacrifice, especially not if one is “rewarded” for their “sacrifice”. Now Judas in the gospels was a “scapegoat”; he was sacrificed or else there would have been no “sacrifice”. But according to the NT, the “least” on earth (which people may made Judas into) becomes the greatest in Heaven. Likewise, when the gospel of John makes Jesus “king” & the “greatest on earth” he was made the “least in Heaven”, which might be a sacrifice, if it was permanent.

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  5. Mr. Dovid, you wrote: “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.”

    The idea is right, because Christianity never says so: teshuvah is never “intiatied … by …[etc.]”. It is the sole response of the guilty heart that has accepted the sin, in a way that the person suffers because of it and is sure he won’t do that again, that we can name as something that initiates “repentance”. The sacrifice (as chatat or asham) is an instrument of legal confirmation about that repentance and that exonerates (makes atonement for) the sinner (a sacrifice demanded by G-d), That means He provides for it and man just executes it -as in Yeshua’s death-. So, as in Judaism, the judaic perspective on the Messiah as presented in the Apostolic writings (New Testament), puts attention first to the impossible way any man on earth can bring to perfection every moral commandment (non-ritualistic) of the Torah, supported by Scripture itself (citated in the text), for repentance. That is: the failure of human being and the nation of Israel in front of G-d. And then, it (the Apostolic writings) puts on sight the death of Yeshua on the cross as that legal confirmation as brought by G-d, for wich every true repentance He brings not only forgiveness but new life; new nature to the repented (and he can be considered as righteous so he could not be condemned to Gehinam).

    The sacrifice of Passover in the Apostolic writings is related to the way it is understood in Shemot: as death passing over the firstborn, that is, even in Shemot’s own conext, a way to say that the firstborn escaped death. The firstborn represents the continuity of life (this is, Israel’s life as a people in Biblical context). So the relationship with Passover lamb and Yeshua´s sacrifice is the significance of death (the death warrant for trespassing the moral commandments) passing over the repented so, they can be considered for entering Gan Eden after their physical death. Why such a sacrifice for that? Because man is completely useless for his own sake in regard to his own salvation (his own responsibility for transgression and salvation from comdemnation) when the judgement of G-d will take place.

    That is why Yeshua’s sacrifice is understood as korban in Apostolic writings as in Vayikrah: sacrifices as korbanot: He make the repented close to G-d in a superlative manner than the animal sacrfice, of course, through teshuvah.

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    • Respectfully with respects to my comment: the comment discusses teshuvah and sacrifice for sins. The article points out very plainly that the Passover sacrifice was not a sacrifice for sins. The Passover sacrifice was a very visible sign of the Israelite’s rejection of the lamb idol of the Egyptians. It is a mistake to equate the two as you have done in your response.

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  6. If the Passover sacrifice was not for sins (a rejection of G-d as who He is, is by itself the breaking of the marrow of Torah as law, concerning to Pharaoh and those israelites that, at the end, would not place the blood in the lintel and doorsposts) it could not be any pass againts death. And death is the sentence for transgression. If not, how could be a judgement against Pharaoh and Egypt? And no only againts them, but also against hebrew family that won’t put the blood in the doorsposts.

    The Passover korban implies judgement against disbelief and transgression (was not the way Egypt treated the hebrews a disbelief about G-d -as the plagues argue- and transgression to the commandments (in a moral sense)? Couldn’t every hebrew that not place the blood plently as G-d said, in obedience to Him, be taken as a transgressor and disbeliever, and because of that, worth of judgement? And judgement is death; and disbelief and transgression sins both of them.

    That is the centre of the question: if sinning brings to death, then, death itself passing over the repented, provoqued by the sacrifice of Yeshua is signified as the blood-sign in the lintel and the doorsposts is a pass againts death. Yeshua becomes the pass within teshuvah as it was within the passover celebration theb blood of the lamb . All subsequent celebrations are to be taken as a memorial.

    The lamb idol issue is just an historical claim; a correct one, but it does not comes part of the centre of the Passover celebration.

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    • Nowhere in the account of the exodus is it stated or inferred that the Passover lamb was a blood sacrifice for sin. The basis for putting the blood on the door posts was in fact the opposite, the blood on the doorposts was a visible declaration that the Israelites did not want to sin. The Israelites did not sin, they rejected the lamb god of the Egyptians and obeyed the instructions of G-d.

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  7. I think you agree with me when you say “the blood … was a visible declaration that the Israelites did not wan to sin”, since I never say they wanted to sin.

    More important: yes, it is implied within the text that the blood is at the same time judgement for the sinners…, so how could it not become a pass againts death (Ex 12:13)?

    Of course, they rejected the ram god –much more specifically, as any other god for it was the Only true G-d manifesting Himself as a Judge with the plagues–. There is no lamb god in Egypt… That interpretation comes from rabbinical references. Supposing that as true, then we must consider as true the passover lamb blood as a pass for sin, as in hebrew tradition is stated… (Isaiah Targum).

    Shalom.

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    • No I do not agree. The blood was a visible sign of Israel’s choice of the G-d of Israel over the lamb god of the Egyptians. It had nothing to do with atonement for sins. The written Torah clearly indicates (as I have shown in the article) that the lamb was a god of the Egyptians.

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    • Manuel: Human sacrifice is an abomination. And according to Egyptian writings, the lamb was a god and there are several references to “lamb of god” in the mythology, but there are no references to it in the Tanach. According to the Christian gospels, there are 2 different people named Jesus (actually more because there are different genealogies & different stories in Matthew & Luke), or the gospel writers were ignorant about Jesus or John intentionally is telling lies about the same Jesus, since the majority opinion was that their Jesus died after the Passover (he was one of the sinning Israelites who was not passed over)?

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  9. Shalom Menashe. Thank you for interesting blog. While I was studying the subject of a human sacrifice I came across verses like: Exodus 22:29-30, Leviticus 27:28-29, obvious Judges 11:29-40 “she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed”, 2 Samuel 21:1-9, 13-14, Deuteronomy 2:32-34, Joshua 6:20-21. This is a difficult topic and for me it’s not really from the perspective of Jesus, I’m not interested in those claims but in overall how some of them align or not with the rest of what we know (Leviticus 18:21, Leviticus 20:1-5, Deuteronomy 12:30-31, 2 Kings 21:1-6, Psalm 106:37-40) and what you presented in your posts. It’s a lot to cover but I would appreciate your input.

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  11. I don’t know how sin keeps entering Mr Correas comments. It never does in the Torah, Elohim never say this is a sin atonement anywhere. if it were why Yom Kippur later? Why not say this shall be a memorial for your sins forever. In fact Jer 7 says Elohim never even mentioned sacrifices of any sort when he took them by the hand. All his comments come from putting the NT in front of the back of the book and reading it thru a whole bunch of subjective reading. He needs to check on his “lamb god facts” also.

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