Atonement in Scripture: The Tabernacle and the Priests

In my past blog posts about atonement in Scripture, I’ve explored the role of circumcision as a controlling concept.  Circumcision affects how we interpret the Passover as the cleansing of the first generation of Israelites out of Egypt, and the bronze serpent as the cleansing of the second generation from the sins of the first….

Atonement in Scripture: The Bronze Serpent and Passover, Part 2

Returning to John 3, Jesus suggested in his interview with Nicodemus that his death would accomplish the reversal of a poisoning.  He said: 3:14 ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in him have eternal life.  16…

Atonement in Scripture: The Bronze Serpent and Passover, Part 1

To develop further my argument regarding John’s Gospel and the Pentateuch simultaneously, I will examine the incident of Moses holding up the bronze serpent (Num.21:4 – 9) in the book of Numbers and in the Pentateuch as a whole as a motif of atonement.  Sailhamer again makes very intriguing observations.[1]  He argues for a literary…

Atonement in Scripture: Christ as Passover in John’s Gospel

I would also like to address the claim of Jeffery, Ovey, and Sach that John in his Gospel sees Jesus as a penal substitute in Passover terms.  Simply because John makes very rich literary connections between Jesus and the Passover lamb does not mean that the Pentateuch or John’s Gospel regards penal substitution as the…

Atonement in Scripture: Christ as Passover in 1 Corinthians

In my last post, I observed how the Pentateuch itself interprets the Passover by the motif of circumcision.  The theme of cleansing connects them.  To corroborate my analysis of the Pentateuch and my proposal that the Passover was God’s judgment on Israel for cleansing, I turn now to the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 5.  My comments here…

Atonement in Scripture: Circumcision and Passover

Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, and Andrew Sach, in their book Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution, argue that ‘the Passover lamb functioned as a penal substitute, dying in the place of the firstborn sons of the Israelites, in order that they might escape the wrath of God.’[1]  They argue that the…

Atonement in Scripture: Circumcision

Circumcision marked the entrance of a man into Judaism.  Circumcision also became a primary language of salvation and image for it.  Moses used ‘circumcision’ to express the internal change that God would bring about in His people after Israel went into exile:  ‘Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of…

Atonement in Scripture: Temple Sacrifices and a Bloodthirsty God? Part 4

In the Harry Potter story, J.K. Rowling uses the symbolism of blood in remarkably consistent ways.  Unicorn blood provides life.  Professor Quirrell drank unicorn blood to sustain Lord Voldemort’s parasitic presence in his body.  Dragon blood is a cleansing and healing agent.  Of the twelve uses of dragon’s blood which Albus Dumbledore discovered, we get glimpses…

Atonement in Scripture: Temple Sacrifices and a Bloodthirsty God? Part 3

In this series of posts, I’ve been exploring why God, in Israel’s sacrificial system, was not being bloodthirsty, but rather a blood donor.  He was acting like what we understand to be a dialysis machine.   The Israelites passed their impurities to God through the mechanism of the animal sacrifices (specifically the sin and guilt offerings)…

Atonement in Scripture: Temple Sacrifices and a Bloodthirsty God? Part 2

As I noted in Part 1 of this series, in Scripture, God wants to meet with human beings, but the human beings want to avoid the encounter because of the purification and cleansing it would entail. Strangely, penal substitution advocates maintain the very opposite.  For example, Jeffery, Ovey, and Sach read in a permanent reluctance on God’s part…

Atonement in Scripture: Temple Sacrifices and a Bloodthirsty God? Part 1

In a previous post about atonement in Isaiah 53, I argued that God, in the sacrificial system of Israel, was acting like a dialysis machine.  He received the people’s impurity, and gave back purity.  He was not being bloodthirsty.  He was being a blood donor.  This clears up a major misconception about the character of God.  And it…

Atonement in Scripture: Isaiah 53, Part 6: Sermon

  The King Who Entered Our Sin and Suffering Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12   Introduction:  Can We Be Healed? In 1960, Israeli undercover agents pulled off one of the greatest kidnappings in history.  They discovered the South American hideaway of one of the masterminds of the Nazi Holocaust, a man by the name of Adolf…