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The Death of the Messiah for Salvation

In a previous post I argued that Christians invented the idea of a suffering messiah.  Because Jesus was (for them) the messiah, and because he suffered, therefore the messiah *had* to suffer.  That was clear and straightforward for the Christians.  They backed up their newly devised theology by appealing to Scripture, finding passages of the Bible where a righteous person suffered but was then vindicated by God, passages such as Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, Psalm 69 and so on.   They reinterpreted these passages (where the messiah is never mentioned) in a messianic way, and they were massively successful in their reinterpretations.  Many Christians today cannot read these passages without thinking (knowing!) that they refer to Jesus, the suffering messiah. But why would the messiah have to suffer?  Yes, for Christians, it was because it was “predicted.”  But why would God predict it?  That is, why would he want his messiah to suffer?  This is where Christians came up with yet another innovation, the idea that the death of the messiah brought about the salvation of [...]

2020-04-03T03:58:08-04:00December 28th, 2015|Historical Jesus, Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|

Jesus and Sacrifices

QUESTION: Would it be accurate to say that after Jesus' death the first-century Christians turned him into an enduring symbol of the very sacrificial system that he himself rejected in life? By 'sacrificial system' I'm referring both to the ancient lamb/goat-based traditions surrounding Yom Kippur, as well as to the later lamb sacrifices conducted by the Jerusalem temple priests during Jesus' day, etc. And, by the word 'rejected,' I'm wondering if Jesus having upset the moneychanger's tables at the temple was his way of disparaging the very notion of paying money to buy a lamb for a priest to sacrifice in order to atone for one's sins.   RESPONSE: This is an interesting question, with several intriguing aspects: 1) Did Jesus reject the Jewish sacrificial system? 2) Did his followers borrow their imagery for the salvific character of his death from the Jewish sacrificial system? 3) If so, were they not embracing precisely what he abandoned? I think the easiest question to answer is #2: Yes, I think the early followers of Jesus did see [...]

2020-04-03T18:22:33-04:00July 11th, 2013|Early Judaism, Historical Jesus, Reader’s Questions|
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