Saturday, 5 April 2014

Ezekiel vs the Church? Response to Tzvi Jacobson

This article is going to look at the article "Ezekiel VS the Church", an article by Tzvi Jacobson which can be found here: http://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/%EF%BB%BFezekiel-versus-the-church-by-tzvi-jacobson/

"There was a proverb that was popular among some of the Jewish people that parallels the Christian doctrine of the Atonement of Jesus. In other words, Christianity states that Jesus died to pay a penalty for the sins of the world. For further clarification and to make it more personal; I sin and Jesus pays the penalty for me. That would be convenient and nice if true, but it just isn’t.

Now the proverb that found its way among the Jewish people is found in the prophecy of Ezekiel Chapter 18 verses 1-4.

 “The word of the LORD came to me; What do you mean by quoting this proverb upon the soil of Israel, “Parents eat sour grapes, and their children’s teeth are blunted”? As I live – declares the Lord God- this proverb shall no longer be current among you in Israel. Consider, all lives are mine; the life of the parent and the life of the child are both Mine. The person who sins, only he shall die.”

In this Chapter, (and I suggest you read it through) God is saying that when a parent sins he will die in that sin. If his child learns from this and lives a righteous life, the child will not suffer death. Yet if the sinning parent or child repents of his sins and does what God commands he shall live. Just as if a righteous person who turns from living a godly life and does those things God says ought not to be done, that person will not live. All his previous righteousness will not be remembered when his final days are lived out in an ungodly manner.

Now what has this to do with Christianity? Everything!

 The central doctrine of Christianity is that Jesus one of the many sons of Israel died in the stead of all the fathers of Israel that went before him. Ezekiel 18 isn’t just referring to the relationship between my father and myself. It is vehemently opposed to one paying the penalty for another. In God’s mind that is not justice, nor righteous.
Paying God a penalty for my sin??? God says that this is disgusting.
God states in Isaiah 43:22-25

“But you have not worshipped me, O Jacob, That you should be weary of me, O Israel. You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, Nor honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with meal offerings, not wearied you with frankincense. You have not brought me fragrant reed with money, nor sated me with the fat of your sacrifices. Instead you have burdened me with your sins, You have wearied me with your iniquities. It is I, who-for my own sake –Wipe your transgressions away, and remember your sins no more.”


Read this again, and again, for it is the word and mind of God himself. Do you find anything even resembling the sacrifices and offerings as payment? The sacrifices were offered 1. to thank God, 2. to provide food for the Priesthood. 3. for us to have a communal feast in God’s presence. 4. to acknowledge sin and guilt before God. God doesn’t require payment.

Certainly on the basis of Ezekiel chapter 18 and repeated in chapter 33 we can conclude that nobody can die for your sins."

Contrary to what Jacobson sets to prove, Ezekiel 18 and Ezekiel 33 do not address the subject of atonement and neither does Deuteronomy 24:16, which has a similar statement:

Ezekiel 18:19 “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 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.

Deuteronomy 24:16 Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.

The texts in question do not even speak on the subject of the atonement, what they do talk about is each person is responsible for their sins. If I sin, my dad isn't responsible and vice versa, both of us do not share in each others guilt and are only responsible for each others sins. The texts are not a polemic against vicarious atonement.

Also in Isaiah 43, the offerings were only useless in light of the fact that the people were living in sin and refusing to repent, while at the same time thinking that an offering could cover them while they revelled in their transgressions, which of course both the TANAKH and the New Testament repudiate.

Without repentance, a sacrifice is meaningless, which is something a Jew and a Christian who know their scriptures will agree with. Antinomianism is not on, either in the TANAKH or NT.

"Can anything be more noxious as to insinuate that God himself died because of my sins? Yet this is also included in the doctrine of Atonement believed by almost all Christianity. Though the New Testament is quite clear that Jesus didn’t consider himself God. John 20:17

“Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to MY GOD, AND YOUR GOD”

 Just who was Jesus speaking of when he referred to his GOD? In John Chapter 17 verse 3 Jesus calls the Father; “The Only True God”.

Thus Christianity that considers Jesus divine has created a new god, not even the God Jesus himself worshipped, and the one True God that all Israel acknowledges. Ezekiel once again; THIS PROVERB SHALL NO LONGER BE CURRENT AMONG YOU IN ISRAEL. Let all who have become enamored with this Christian doctrine hear what God says.

Tsvi Jacobson"

I have written many materials showing Jesus being God but I'll address some of the points here.

Here are the articles for those interested:
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/response-to-tovia-singer-on-did-authors.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/classical-trinitarian-objections.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/challenge-from-facebook-unitarian.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-trinity-is-not-truth.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-angel-of-lord.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/more-on-angel-of-lord.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/even-more-on-deity-of-christ-and-angel.html

(The point about Isaiah 9:6 I need to rethink on).

Jacob doesn't understand that according to Christian belief, Jesus is fully God and fully Man.

As a man, he can worship the Father and submit to the Father as his God, as found in John 20:17 and other passages, even in the Book of Revelation.

When Trinitarians say Jesus is God, we don't mean he is the Father. What you have in the NT is God the Father sending God the Son to die for our sins.

With respect to John 17:3, as I have stated in my response to Tovia Singer:
"The way that the phrase " The only true God" can be understood in the sense that the Father doesn't derive his existance from anyone or anything, whereas the Son and the Spirit derive their existance from the Father. The concept is known as autotheos. The Son and the Spirit are just as eternal and equal in essence to the Father, but derive their existance from the Father. 

Furthermore the very same context which Tovia fails to quote says: 

17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Can a mere man say this of himself, that eternal life comes from knowing the Father AND Jesus Christ? Also, the very text shows he shared eternal glory WITH the Father in eternity past, Just as John 1:1 affirms the prehuman existence of Jesus, remember, Read John's Gospel through the lense of the prologue."

I have also written on the subject of Deuteronomy 13 which also ties into this topic:
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/deuteronomy-13-question-of-vindication.html
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/deuteronomy-13-question-of-vindication-2.html

Lastly, Jacobson considers it sick to suggest that God would die for his sins. Well either he comes to down to pay an infinite price for sin and debt we owe, or we do it for eternity. It's one's choice at the end of the day and it's a recognition of the holiness of God, that he will not dwell with uncleanliness. Unless we are clean, we can never be holy.

Answering Judaism.

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