Sunday, 13 October 2013

Response to Rabbi Eli Cohen on Blood Atonement

This article is going to address some points that Eli Cohen of Jews4Judaism raised in an interview with Jono Vandor and I hope to address the arguments as best I can by the grace of God.

Eli Cohen is the director of Jews4Judaism in Australia.

His first claim is that Judaism has always had a concrete view of the Messiah and that Christianity has come up with a New Definition of the Messiah, however, Judaism has not always had a concrete view of the Messiah, that's the claim of the Rabbis. Both Judaism and Christianity have a concrete view of the Messiah, although before the first century, there is no concrete view of what the Messiah would be. It's a canard to say Judaism has ALWAYS had a view of the Messiah that was set.

He goes on to quote Matthew 1:23 and 1 Corinthians 15:3 to demonstrate that Christians not only understand the Messiah as the way the Jews view him "an anointed ruler who will bring universal peace and universal knowledge of God" but rather someone who will come and die for the sins of the word. Yes, The Messiah isn't limited to the functions that Jews acknowledge, he will also be anointed as our saviour to ransom us from our sins, As Isaiah 53 points out.

Cohen goes on to pose a hypothetical question, why does someone have to die for the sins of the world? He then says that for sin to be atoned for, you need to repent. However, he overlooks one detail, Christians agree repentance is essential and foundational. Christians (biblical obviously not nominal and antinomians) believe in repentance AND Christ's atoning death. Jesus' death only atones if there is repentance. Cohen then states that the NT says that the Messiah's death is the only recourse, Incorrect, The Messiah did have to die for our sins but you have to repent in order for the sacrifice to work on you. I talk about this more in another video on youtube.

The Rabbi then brings up Isaiah 55, Ezekiel 33 and Ezekiel 18. He then asks why you came up with this idea that a human being is needed to die for your sins. Well Jesus himself said he came to give his life as a ransom for many which can be found in Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45.

Now regarding the passages Cohen brought up, Ezekiel 18:20 is not addressing vicarious atonement, it is referring to us being responsible for our own sins. For example If I do evil or good, my dad is not responsible and vice versa. But the passage is not addressing nor even talking about vicarious atonement. In Ezekiel 33, the people are in diaspora but nevertheless the passage is not mentioning any sacrifices, as they are not the focus of the passage, same with Isaiah 55. Although in the book of Isaiah, sacrifice is mentioned in the very early chapters but it is not a repudiation of sacrifices period, it's a repudiation of hypocritical worship, including cheap sacrifices. I speak about the subject of sacrifices more in depth in my response to Rabbi Asher Meza which can be found on youtube.

Passages like Jeremiah 19 condemns human sacrifice but nowhere in the TANAKH does it explicitly say or implicitly say that a rightous man cannot willingly lay his life down for others to atone for them, I have often spoke about the death of the righteous found in the Talmud which I have spoken about in other videos. Although Moses offers himself to be blotted out, God refuses to blot him out and says "I only blot out those who sin against me". Nevertheless, the possiblity of vicarious sacrifice is not out of the question.

As for whether the death of the rightous is understood correctly, I need to set up a page on the blog where this talmudic tradition in Moed Qatan 28a (or b) can be discussed.
Cohen then speaks about The NT squeezing in Jesus into the TANAKH. It can be argued by his Messianic opponents that the Rabbis have tried to squeeze Jesus out of the TANAKH.

He comments on Isaiah 59:20 and Romans 11:26 translation and says the statements can't be further opposite from each other. However Albert Barnes says in his commentary on Romans 11:26 the following:

"And so - That is, in this manner; or when the great abundance of the Gentiles shall be converted, then all Israel shall be saved.
All Israel - All the Jews. It was a maxim among the Jews that "every Israelite should have part in the future age." (Grotius.) The apostle applies that maxim to his own purpose; and declares the sense in which it would be true. He does not mean to say that every Jew of every age would be saved; for he had proved that a large portion of them would be, in his time, rejected and lost. 


But the time would come when, as a people, they would be recovered; when the nation would turn to God; and when it could be said of them that, as a nation, they were restored to the divine favor. It is not clear that he means that even then every individual of them would be saved, but the body of them; the great mass of the nation would be. Nor is it said when this would be. This is one of the things which "the Father hath put in his own power;" Act 1:7. He has given us the assurance that it shall be done to encourage us in our efforts to save them; and he has concealed the time when it shall be, lest we should relax our efforts, or feel that no exertions were needed to accomplish what must take place at a fixed time.
 

Shall be saved - Shall be recovered from their rejection; be restored to the divine favor; become followers of the Messiah, and thus be saved as all other Christians are.
As it is written - Isa 59:20. The quotation is not literally made, but the sense of the passage is preserved. The Hebrew is, "There shall come to Zion a Redeemer, and for those who turn from ungodliness in Jacob." There can be no doubt that Isaiah refers here to the times of the gospel.
 

Out of Zion - Zion was one of the bills of Jerusalem. On this was built the city of David. It came thus to denote, in general, the church, or people of God. And when it is said that the Redeemer should come out of Zion, it means that he should arise among that people, be descended from themselves, or should not be a foreigner. The Septuagint, however render it, "the Redeemer shall come on account of Zion." So the Chaldee paraphrase, and the Latin Vulgate.
And shall turn away ... - The Hebrew is, "to those forsaking un godliness in Jacob." The Septuagint has rendered it in the same manner as the apostle.
".

In the commentary he refers back to the Septuigant's rendering of the passage in question.
59:20 καὶ ἥξει ἕνεκεν Σιων ὁ ῥυόμενος καὶ ἀποστρέψει ἀσεβείας ἀπὸ Ιακωβ
59:20 ובא לציון גואל ולשבי פשע ביעקב נאם יהוה׃
Isaiah 59:20 "The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins," declares the LORD.

Romans in English says
Romans 11:26: and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.

I would encourage Cohen to read Barnes notes on this subject.

Now, Cohen makes an interesting point that the Messiah comes to those who choose to turn from their transgression and choose to follow God whereas in Romans the Messiah comes to remove ungodliness from Jacob.

Jesus came to remove ungodliness from Jacob but one must make the choice to follow God and his Messiah in order for his ungodliness to be removed. So Cohen is partly correct with the Messiah coming to those who seek God. Jesus can reveal himself to those who want to worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

The next point Cohen goes on to ask is why we need the Messiah to die for us if God has left us the TANAKH which shows us how to live. Simple answer:
YHWH did give his law for the Jews to follow, but the testimony of the TANAKH shows the Jews DID NOT KEEP THE LAW. A remnant was faithful to YHWH BUT again, even David fell short of God's standard, as did even Moses. The Messiah had to pay a fine we couldn't, One sin is enough to violate the law, which James speaks about in his letter in part (James 2:9-11). The law was to be kept as gratitude to God, not as a means of salvation. No man can keep it perfectly. Still, Cohen is right to point out that the TANAKH tells one how to live. The problem is, NO MAN CAN KEEP IT.

If one wants to bring Deuteronomy 30:11-14 to the table, I have penned an article on this issue: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/comments-on-deuteronomy-301-14.html

Cohen comments on the Hebrew words MASHIACH (Anointed One) and MOSHIA (Saviour) and claims there is a fusion or confusion of the 2. He then comments on the following passages on what it means to be saved:
  1. Exodus 14:30, Cohen mentions YHWH saving the Israelites from Egyptians.
  2. Deuteromy 22:27, Cohen also brings up the rape of a damsel.
  3. Judges 6:14, Cohen refers to Gideon saving Israel.
He claims that these are the only ways that being saved is used. These are examples he uses in his illustration. On Judges in particular Cohen says the passage has nothing to do with saving people from their sins, Yeah.... No Christian has made that claim that Saviour has one meaning, No have they use Judges 6 as a basis of saving from sin.
Jesus' title Christ or Christos means anointed one same as mashiach, so there is no confusion. Jesus' name in Hebrew is Yeshua which means HaShem is my salvation but when he is called Christ, it means he is the anointed one. I don't know any Messianic Jew that says Mashiach means saviour.

Cohen points out that the Messiah becomes the Saviour although again, no confusion is found. But I do acknowledge that Mashiach means anointed one, not saviour. Although there is no mention of saving from sins in these passages, This doesn't negate Jesus being a saviour, So why this is an argument I have no idea. Any Mashiach in scripture is anointed for a task and Jesus has been anointed for a specific purpose, to save us from sins. It is interesting that Cohen says Christians combine the functions of the two words to paraphrase him, although he says that we Confuse the words or Fuse the words together.

I also direct you to this article where it also speaks briefly on this: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/messianiconfusion.html

He again asks why you need a saviour from your sins, The reason for a saviour is because we are ENSLAVED to sin, there is good and evil in us, but we all struggle with the desires of our hearts which Deuteronomy tells us not to follow. Cohen once again stresses that repentance is essential for forgiveness which Christians AGREE WITH but repentance alone doesn't atone for sins, as we'll get into a little later.

Sacrifices

At least Cohen acknowledges that the temple sacrifices were indeed central to temple worship amongst other things. He then goes on to talk about the NT's appeal to the sacrificial system and of course Hebrews 9:22 and how blood being shed is the exclusive method of atonement. He rightly acknowledges that there is a need for repentance when he speaks about the atonement, then he says that Christians have stated it wasn't the repentance that affected your forgiveness, but rather the blood being shed on the altar that secured your forgiveness. Actually, the Christian position is BOTH blood being shed and repentance. The Biblical Christian position as I have already stated is that BOTH are required, not one without the other.

Cohen poses the question along the lines of "Where do you find in the scripture that blood is the exclusive method of atonement?". The cross referrence that is quoted by Vandor is Leviticus 17:11 which Christians like myself have quoted as the text to show this.
Cohen brings up going to Leviticus chapters 4-6 as a starting point regarding the sacrificial system. Eli Cohen then states that Leviticus 17 is not addressing atonement but rather prohibiting blood consumption. Let's read:

10 “‘I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people. 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.[c] 12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.”
13 “‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, 14 because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.”


Here is the context but I am not sure how this would refute or undercut the Christian position, Yes, it prohibits consumption of blood as it was a pagan practice, but there is another reason, the blood was to be USED AS A MEANS OF ATONEMENT. The blood is set apart for a specific purpose. How this undercuts the Christian position, I have NO idea.
Cohen then appeals to Deuteronomy 12:23 to further back his point up about the prohibition of blood consumption. ONCE AGAIN, HOW DOES THIS REFUTE CHRISTIANS? Yes, the blood contains the life force of the animal, but the very context of Deuteronomy 12 shows the blood being put to use for sacrifice in the very context Cohen appealed to. Deuteronomy 12 states:

"20 When the Lord your God has enlarged your territory as he promised you, and you crave meat and say, “I would like some meat,” then you may eat as much of it as you want. 21 If the place where the Lord your God chooses to put his Name is too far away from you, you may slaughter animals from the herds and flocks the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you, and in your own towns you may eat as much of them as you want. 22 Eat them as you would gazelle or deer. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat. 23 But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat. 24 You must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water. 25 Do not eat it, so that it may go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
26 But take your consecrated things and whatever you have vowed to give, and go to the place the Lord will choose. 27 Present your burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord your God, both the meat and the blood. The blood of your sacrifices must be poured beside the altar of the Lord your God, but you may eat the meat. 28 Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God."


Cohen at one point states that God doesn't always give a reason for a command and in particular he says that God tells us WHY blood is not to be consumed based on the context of what God has said. The reason was life is in the blood. He goes on to ask "which part of the animal effects the atonement." and states the answer is the blood, that it has been set aside for an important usage and thus you must not consume it.

Cohen also says the passage Leviticus 17:11 is not on how to get your sins forgiven but on the prohibition of consuming blood. But that's not really addressing the point that Christians are making which I already mentioned earlier, that the one of the reasons not to consume blood is to put it to use on the altar as a means of atonement. Not to mention God prohibits the people after the flood from blood consumption.

Sacrificial System

The sacrifices that Cohen mentions that are covered by the sacrificial system are UNINTENTIONAL sins, which is true. In fact there is a difference between falling into sin and practicing it. David Pawson, the author of the Unlocking the Bible, comments on this in a talk about Leviticus and he alludes to Hebrews 10:26 as well in his talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1AF3ysrjdY, (watch from position 21:15-23:07). There are informed Christians that do agree with what Cohen says about unintentional sins and the NT picks this up. If someone continues in their sin and doesn't repent, they are lost but if they return the the Lord and repent, they are forgiven.

Interestingly in the Talmud, it says in Yoma 86b http://halakhah.com/pdf/moed/Yoma.pdf:
"Rabbi Lakish said: Great is repentance, for because of it premeditated sins are accounted as errors, as it is said: Return, O Israel, unto the Lord, thy God,’ for thou hast stumbled in thy iniquity. ‘Iniquity’ is premeditated, and yet he calls it ‘stumbling’ But that is not so! For Resh Lakish said that repentance is so great that premeditated sins are accounted as though they were merits, as it is said: And when the wicked turneth from his wickedness, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby! That is no contradiction: One refers to a case[of repentance] derived from love, the other to one due to fear. ".

What Cohen's take or any other Jews take on this tradition uttered by Rabbi Lakish I would be interested in. Bottom line as I said before, Repentance is needed for a sacrifice to work. That is something that Jews and Informed Christians can agree on.

Next we move onto what Cohen states about unintentional sins. But first, we'll quote Leviticus.

Leviticus 4:27 “‘If any member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, when they realize their guilt.
Cohen defines the unintentional sin as either unaware of something being prohibited such as lighting a fire on Sabbath or you know full well but thought it was Tuesday. It's a very strange example but valid. Michael Skobac uses a similiar example in a talk he gave on atonement.

Leviticus 4:28 and the sin they have committed becomes known, they must bring as their offering for the sin they committed a female goat without defect.
Cohen rightly points out that a female goat doesn't mean the goat is sinless, but rather defects that the interviewer alludes to. I already know this, a defect in the lamb to me would of been something wrong with it's eyes, legs or any part of his body that is broken, bruised, or battered. I am already aware of this as are other informed Christians. He also goes onto say it doesn't have to be a rightous animal, just a wholesome animal. However, what Cohen doesn't realise is that the lamb is a picture or an antitype of Jesus being our vicarious atonement. Lord Willing I may do an article speaking on the typology of the New Testament in the future.

He then comments on the poor who cannot afford a sheep, they can bring two pigeons for a sin and burnt offering for atonement and if they cannot provide either, you utilize flour instead based off Leviticus 5:11-13.

"11 “‘If, however, they cannot afford two doves or two young pigeons, they are to bring as an offering for their sin a tenth of an ephah[b] of the finest flour for a sin offering. They must not put olive oil or incense on it, because it is a sin offering. 12 They are to bring it to the priest, who shall take a handful of it as a memorial[c] portion and burn it on the altar on top of the food offerings presented to the Lord. It is a sin offering. 13 In this way the priest will make atonement for them for any of these sins they have committed, and they will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest, as in the case of the grain offering.’”.

This section is often quoted to say that blood isn't necessary for atonement for sin, I need to write a seperate article on this to address the issue.

Next, Cohen goes on to speak about the first temple's destruction and what to do if temple sacrifices are not able to be carried out due to exile. What are they to do he asks? Also, he asked "How did Daniel have his sins forgiven". Well, the NT provides the answer that the lamb was SLAIN BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORD (Revelation 13:8), not to mention when you Read Romans 4, Abraham was saved as a result of his faith, it was credited to him as rightousness.

Hebrews 11 comments on the faith of the OT saints that they were commended for and that they had not recieved the promise since something else had been planned, Namely our redemption in the Messiah. Daniel was saved by his faith in the coming of the Messiah. William Lane Craig provided a response to Tovia Singer regarding how the OT saints were saved without knowledge of the Trinity (which does tie in with Daniel being covered by Christ's atonement). Lane Craig said:
"They're saved by responding to the revelation that God had given to them, and if they respond in an appropriate way, Then according to the NT, God applies to them the benefits of Christ's atoning death, so they are saved through Christ even though they have no conscious knowledge of Christ,because they respond to the revelation that God has given to them".
So the point about Daniel having no atonement and only had prayer in the context of Daniel 9, is a moot point.

Don't forget also Daniel recieves a vision of the 70 weeks found in Daniel 9:24-27 about the anointed one who is cut off and as Christians will assert refers to Jesus being cut off at Mt Golgotha or Calvary. I won't be speaking on the nature of Daniel 9:24-27 since that isn't the focus.
Then Cohen goes on to Solomon's prayer in 1 Kings 8 which I address in my video response to Rabbi Asher Meza, but I will mention this point briefly. The context shows that it is in a context when the temple is still standing in the very verses that Cohen had quoted to his audience. Furthermore, The people would RETURN if they repented to the land and what was the first thing they would do? Rebuild the temple and make sacrifices when they return. This is done when the exile ended and the people came back to Israel in the books of Haggai and Ezra.

He then claims that Daniel takes the same road as Solomon and his prayer is answered, As I already pointed out, Daniel was covered by the blood of the Messiah to come.

Just as Rabbi Asher Meza mentions Hosea in a video he did, Cohen also mentions him and the ministry done to the ten tribes of Israel. He claims that God had prohibited the 10 tribes to go up and make sacrifices and quotes from Leviticus 17:8-9 to demonstrate that the 10 tribes were cut off and couldn't make sacrifices. He then appeals to Hosea 14 to show that even though that they couldn't get to the temple as well as him quoted by Psalm 141 which says "let my prayer be counted as incense". First of all, what verse shows God banning them from coming to Jerusalem? the people chose not to go to Jerusalem because they set up their own places of worship in Dan and Bethel.

It was Jeroboam who set up the places of worship to prevent his subjects from returning to Rehoboam, He was simply providing convinience for the 10 tribes. Nothing about God banning them from Jerusalem at all.

John McTernan in his article "Answering Jewish Objections to Blood Atonement" (http://www.defendproclaimthefaith.org/jewish_objection_atonement.html) states the following about Hosea 14:
"The argument with this verse is that turning to the LORD is enough to take all iniquity and the words spoken are like calves for sacrifice.
Response:  The way to return to the Lord was to come back to the Torah.  Leviticus and the need for blood to atone for sin is part of the Torah.  Did Hosea say you can now ignore Leviticus when you return to the Lord?  Of course he did not.  To return to the Lord, two things are needed which are repentance of sin and coming back to the Torah.  Coming under the shed blood of Leviticus 16 for the forgiveness of sin, is the message of Moses and ALL the prophets.
Notice in Hosea 14:1,2 the reason for the rendering of the lips was the iniquity was taken away by God.  The calves of the lips don’t take sin away, it is the result of having the sin being taken away.
Here is the way God wants us to use the “calves” of our lips.
Psalm 66:13 “I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, (14) Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.
(15) I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.
(16) Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. (notice this was said after the sacrifice)
(17) I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. (18) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (The words mean nothing without true repentance)
(19) But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. (20) Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.”
Also, Another thing to consider is that Hosea 14 refers to the time in Hosea's day, it's an exhortation to repent NOW, while there is still time.

The funny thing is with this next point is Cohen quotes from 2 Chronciles 7:14 to further try and show that there is no need to bring a sacrifices and that since one would be sent away, you are not allowed to do sacrifices. Problem, the TEMPLE WAS STILL STANDING IN THAT CONTEXT. Cohen utterly distorts the passage. This is what it says:

"11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, 12 the Lord appeared to him at night and said:
“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’
19 “But if you[a] turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you[b] and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All[c] who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”".

Notice carefully that the prayer Cohen appeals to ONLY WORKS WHEN THE TEMPLE IS STILL STANDING, not after it's desolation. Cohen shoots himself in the foot by even appealing to the passage in question.

He then appeals to the book of Jonah to show how Gentiles can be forgiven when they have no access to the temple in Jerusalem, including the king fasting in sackloth and ashes, along with all turning from evil so they won't perish and God forgave them. I would also need to look at this in a future article as well.

Next point, Our Rabbinic friend then appeals to Daniel 4:27 where Nebuchanezzar is told to repent of his evil ways and do what is right. Remember at this point, Daniel was in diaspora when the temple was not in use and in ruins, but certainly this is a more difficult point to address in this context.
Although, John McTernan provides an interesting explaination in his article which says:
"Daniel had just told King Nebuchadnezzar of the coming judgment on him for pride.  He now was telling the king how to avoid the judgment.  This could be accomplished by him doing righteousness and showing mercy to the poor.  If the king fulfilled these requirements, the judgment would be averted.  This had to do with averting judgment on the king. ".
Cohen does point out that God is concerned about us repenting and turning which I need not labor too much.

Cohen then speaks about Amos 5:22 and says that it is possible for someone to get stuck in the ritualistic service and assume that superficial actions cause some effect to take care of all things. He points out that God rejected the music as well as the sacrifices and he states that people assume it is the sacrifice that brings us closer to God, rather than the obdience to his commands and act in a way that is pleasing to him which is what counts. He then quotes Proverbs 15:9 which says:

Proverbs 15:9 The Lord detests the way of the wicked,
    but he loves those who pursue righteousness.

Firstly, Why does Amos say what he says about sacrifice in his book?
Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
    your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
    I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!

The reason the sacrifices and songs were rejected was because the people were living in sin and misusing the sacrificial system in order to sin. Interestingly, I agree with Cohen it's easy for someone to get caught up with the religious ritual rather than the relationship with God. I agree with Cohen, THERE MUST BE REPENTANCE WITH A SACRIFICE.

He then speaks about what repentance is, That we turn from the desires of our hearts and live a life consecrated to God in obdience and the sacrifices becoming meaningful once this is done. I agree, TURN FROM SIN BACK TO GOD AND THE SACRIFICE WILL WORK, This is the same principle with the Blood of Jesus, his blood only covers you if there is repentance from sin. Anyone who claims otherwise does not know what the NT says.

Cohen goes on to quote Jeremiah 36:3 to further try and assert that you don't need a sacrifice.
"Jeremiah 36:3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.”".
In this chapter, sacrifice is not relevant to the point that HaShem is trying to make, so why Cohen brings this up I don't know.

Cohen then says that prophets stress the importance of the obedience to God is the key and never mention the necessity of sacrifice bringing us to a relationship to God and that they failed to appreciate the value of a commandment and he goes on to quote Exodus 19:5-6

5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
Cohen states that the nation of Israel will exemplify what it means to obey God's commands, thus Israel become a nation of priests who don't offer sacrifices only, but also are to teach the world how important it is to obey God 100%. Thus, the commands take the central role in the life of a Jew because his goal is to obey God.

Before I move on, No doubt Israel would be a light IF they obeyed the LORD, which they didn't as the TANAKH itself points out. Christians if they are biblical do not downplay obdience, Jesus doesn't downplay obdience either, not even Paul does it. Yes, The prophets did stress the importance of obdience, but not to the denegration of sacrifices. The only reason the sacrifices were not accectable to God in the first place was because Israel was devoid of repentance as mentioned before.

He then brings up the point of Idolatry to the table about the subject of the Trinity and the Incarnation to which a Jew says to himself that the commandments are central to his life and there is no command that can be distorted to worship a "future incarnate" as well as other passages warning the Jews not to worship idols or men and he quotes from Daniel where Nebuchadnezzar commands worship of the statue as well as the golden calf and tries to say fancy terminology is useless and cannot concieve the idea of worshipping another God. He brings up the point that many Jews did reject the idols that Cohen mentions. His point is that if God gives a command that you are to do or not do something, anything less falls on deaf ears. He states that Jews for 2000 years were willing to die rather than worship a man.

First, The Trinity teaches there is one eternal God who exists as three distinct persons, it is not three Gods. Second, The worship of Jesus is NOT idolatry if you rightly understand the Incarnation. Jesus as God took on human flesh, but did not cease being God in heaven. Furthermore, According to the NT, Jesus makes claims about himself that only God could make, in fact, he himself claims to be HaShem, though he is not the Father in heaven. Only Jesus took on human flesh, not the Father or the Spirit, This can be found in Philippians 2:5-11. Other referrences to Jesus deity can be found in the Book of Acts, it can be found in John 12:37-41 which quotes from Isaiah 6. Other quotes can be found in, Revelation 1:17, Revelation 2:8 Revelation 22 and there are many passages which can be brought to the table. I would also recommend people looking at the following articles I have done on the Trinity:

http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-trinity-is-not-truth.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/classical-trinitarian-objections.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/response-to-tovia-singer-on-did-authors.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/challenge-from-facebook-unitarian.html

It's admirable that the Jews have stood up for what they believed, but any Jew watching this I say to you, Worshiping Jesus is NOT IDOLATRY, He is your creator, he is HaShem. Not to mention referrences to HaShem appearing in Human form are present in the OT (Not the same as John 1:1) such as Genesis 18, Genesis 22, Exodus 24, Judges 13 and other passages. Further articles may be released on this in the future.

The last point that is brought up by the interviewer is that Manasseh was taken away in exile and calls out to the LORD in mercy without a sacrifice and God forgives him. But how does this prove their point, when Manasseh returned to Jerusalem, there is nothing in the text that indicates whether he did a sacrifice or not, it can be assumed he did a sacrifice upon his return. I have penned an article on this issue which will be posted in the future.

I hope I have been able to address these important points by Eli Cohen by the grace of God, Father, Son and Spirit. I also hope this response has been of great use to you and a blessing to you.

Answering Judaism.

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