Have you ever thought about what it means to be redeemed? Y’shua as our Kinsman redeemer, redeemed us. How did He do this? We have learned that He paid the redemption price by sacrificing His life. However, how do we reconcile this with the Torah that forbids human sacrifice (Lev 18:21; Deut 18:10-13)? We shall show you through this study how Y’shua atoned for us without being a literal human sacrifice. This is one of the points that anti-missionaries often use to trip believers up. It is therefore important for you to study this and share it with others. Without knowledge of the truth, we are easily deceived. “My people perish due to a lack of knowledge…”
We shall also look at who in need of redemption is, and why; as well as what we become when we are redeemed. This is important to know before we look at the future redemption of Israel.
Y’shua was not a human sacrifice
How did Y’shua make atonement? Before we can answer that, we need to know what the word atonement means.
kapar (כָּפַר, 3722), “to ransom, atone, expiate, propitiate.” Kapar has an initial secular and non-theological range quite parallel to padah In addition, however, kapar became a technical term in Israel’s sacrificial rituals. On its most basic level of meaning, kapar denotes a material transaction or “ransom.” 1
Atonement is the paying of a ransom, an exchange takes place. What was this ransom that had to be paid?
45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
To get a better understanding of the word ransom, let’s look at the Greek. The word “lytron” is translated as ransom.
37.130 λύτρον, ου n; ἀντίλυτρον, ου n: the means or instrument by which release or deliverance is made possible—‘means of release, ransom.’λύτρον: δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν ‘to give his life as a ransom for many’ or ‘to die as a means of liberating many’ Mt 20:28. ‘To liberate many’ may be expressed in many languages as ‘to cause people to go free’ or, in a more idiomatic manner, ‘to untie many’ or ‘to unchain many.’2
We see from the above quote, that atonement is the act of dying as a means of liberating many. That is what Y’shua did, that is the means by which He made atonement for us. However, if we say that He sacrificed His life without being a sacrifice Himself, we seem to contradict ourselves. Let us compare Y’shua’s atonement with the Levitical sacrificial system, specifically the sin and guilt offerings. We are comparing these as Y’Shua gave Himself for our sins and guilt.
|Levitical sin- or guilt offering||Y’shua|
|Animal, a bull, a ram or a goat (male or female depending on the specific sacrifice)||Human/ Elohim|
|Offered by the priest or High priest (Lev 7:8)||Offered Himself as martyr (John 10:17-19)|
|The guilt offering is offered on the altar, while the sin offering is offered outside the camp (Lev 4 :21)||Died on a stake outside the city|
|Blood is collected||Blood not collected|
|Entrails are removed and burned (Lev 4:9; Lev 7:3-4)||Body remains whole|
|Blood sprinkled on altar (Lev 4:5-6; Lev 7:2)||Blood not sprinkled on altar|
|Body is burned(sin offering) (Lev 4:10-12)||Body is not burned but buried|
|Flesh is eaten (Lev 7:6)||Flesh is not eaten|
|Have to be offered again||Once for all (1 Pet 3:18)|
|A sacrificial animal does not have a choice||Y’shua chose to die (Matt 26:52)|
If we compare the Levitical sacrifices with Y’shua’s atonement, we actually see some resemblance, but not in all aspects. He was not slaughtered on an altar by a priest; His entrails were not removed; His blood not drained nor sprinkled on the altar. His body was not burned nor eaten by the priests. Instead, Y’shua, being righteous, voluntarily offered Himself, thereby making atonement for the unrighteous.
How are we to understand this?
The key lies in the fact that Y’shua is the High priest in the likeness of Melchezedek.
Y’shua is the High Priest in the likeness of Melchezedek
4 YHVH has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
Ps 110 is a prophetic psalm about the Messiah. It is important to understand that Y’shua has always been the High Priest according to this order.
What Y’shua did is in line with the principle in Torah that the death of a righteous person can atone for the unrighteous. We find this principle in the book of Numbers. A person who committed manslaughter may flee to a city of refuge. He will be safe from the avenger of blood, as long as he remained there.
25 ‘The congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the blood avenger, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he fled; and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil.
However, when the High Priest dies, the manslayer may return to the land of his possession. We see here how the death of the High Priest, the anointed one, atones for this person.
28 because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest the manslayer shall return to the land of his possession.
This instruction is repeated in Josh 20:6. This is a pattern of how a righteous person atones through his death for the unrighteous.
Y’shua was not sacrificed like an animal by a priest, He being the High Priest of the order of Melchezedek, the Anointed One of YHVH, a righteous, sinless man offered Himself to atone for all. What He did was related to the sacrificial system, but also totally different in that He fulfilled both the role of High Priest and the atonement.
Why was Y’shua referred to as a guilt offering in Isaiah?
10 But YHVH was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of YHVH will prosper in His hand.
The word “asam” is translated as guilt offering in this passage. However, if you look at the primary meaning of the Hebrew word “asam” is means guilty. Y’shua rendered Himself guilty, thereby taking the punishment upon Himself whereby He became our atonement.
The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament renders “asam” as guilt, guilt offering, gift of atonement and compensation.
: אשׁם; asamUg. (Kellerman ZAW 76:319ff); MHb., > JArm.tg אֲשָׁמָא; Arb. ʾaṯām debt, fine, < Hb. ?: אֲשָׁמוֹ, אֲשָׁמָיו: —1. guilt Gn 2610 Jr 515 Ps 6822 Pr 149 (:: רָצוֹן, → Gemser): —2. restitution Nu 57f; —3. guilt-offering Lv 56-25 610 71f.5.7.37 1412-28 1921f Nu 612 189 2K 1217 Ezk 4039 4213 4429 4620 cj. Ezr 1019 Sir 731 (לחם אש[מ]ים ?); —4. gift of atonement, compensation 5
The times when reference is made to Y’shua as a sacrifice, it is done so in a metaphorical way. It is a figure of speech to suggest a resemblance. Like a guiltless animal atoned for the sin of a person or nation, in the same way Y’shua, righteous and sinless as He was, rendered Himself guilty and took the punishment for the sin of all people for all time.
We have done a more in-depth study on Y’shua as a guilt offering. You may want to read it to understand why Y’shua specifically rendered Himself as a guilt offering. The article is titled “Y’shua in Prophecy – Part 4 – A guilt offering”
Who is redeemed?
In the previous study about redemption, we have learned that Y’shua fulfilled the role of the Kinsman Redeemer. Does this, by implication mean that He was only a kinsman for His people, Israel?
Y’shua, Himself said that He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. You can read about it in Matthew 15:22-28. But this is not the whole story…
A Canaanite woman came to Y’shua and cried out to Him to help her demon-possessed daughter. He answered that He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.
24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
It would by implication mean that Y’shua only came to Redeem His kin, Israel! However, do not despair, if we read further along in this passage, we see His great mercy.
25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Master, help me!” 26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 But she said, “Yes, Master; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Y’shua said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.
This is a picture of YHVH’s great mercy. This woman’s faith caused her daughter to be healed. This story resonates with what is written in the Tanakh about the Exodus out of Egypt as well as with the covenant YHVH made with Abraham and confirmed with Isaac and Jacob. When YHVH led Israel from slavery to freedom, those who chose to join with them became as native Israelites. It is the same way with those who choose to believe in the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They become fellow heirs, children of Abraham.
6 Even so Abraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that Elohim would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
Those who choose YHVH as their Elohim are His people. If we choose to follow and obey the Elohim of Israel, we become as native-born Israelites. They become grafted into the olive tree (Rom 11).
6 “Also the foreigners who join themselves to YHVH, To minister to Him, and to love the name of YHVH, To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath And holds fast My covenant; 7 Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”
That is who we are, Israel, and that is whom redemption is for, for us.
Why do we need to be redeemed?
We have now determined that all who choose to believe in YHVH, will be redeemed. But, what is our alternative if we are not redeemed? What was Israel’s alternative? Their alternative would have been the continuation of slavery in Egypt! Oppression and forced labor under unreasonable task masters. They needed a redeemer; they could not free themselves from their desperate situation. It gives us a beautiful picture of our own situation and our need of redemption. Redemption from sin!
We know that the punishment for sin is death.
4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.
What is sin?
In order to know if we are in bondage of sin, we need to define sin. Sin is transgression of the law. The law is the instructions or the Torah of YHVH. To sin is to be UNDER the law.
To give you an example: if you exceed the speed limit and are caught, you are under the law, but if you have a good reason for speeding like a medical emergency, you may receive a pardon, you are, then under grace. Will you now because you received grace continue and speed again, breaking the law? It is the same way with YHVH’s instructions. We received grace when Y’shua redeemed us from sin, should we now continue in sin?
1 John 3:4
4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
David Stern (The Complete Jewish Bible) has it as follows:
1 John 3:4
4 Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah—indeed, sin is violation of Torah.
(Here is a good article explaining what “ under the law” means http://www.eliyah.com/underlaw.html).
Sin causes bondage
To be living in sin can be compared to being in Egypt, in slavery. When we sin, we are also in the bondage of sin with an unreasonable taskmaster ha satan, who will not stop until we are totally under his power. He wants to use us for his purposes to the destruction of ourselves and others. His ways lead to shame and death. We need to be redeemed from this, but we cannot free ourselves. We need a Redeemer, Y’shua to redeem us unto righteousness and eternal life.
34 Y’shua answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to Elohim, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of Elohim is eternal life in Messiah Y’shua our Master.
6:20-23. Paul once again stated that slavery to sin and to righteousness are mutually exclusive (cf. vv. 13, 16). But he went on to indicate the superiority of being enslaved to righteousness and God. The benefit (this Gr. word is usually trans. “fruit”) of enslavement to sin was that it produced things that a believer is now ashamed of. But even worse, “the end of those things is death” (lit. trans.).
Responding to the gospel by faith and accepting Y’shua Messiah completely reverses things for an individual. He is now … set free from sin (cf. v. 18) and has been enslaved to God with the result that he has the benefit of holiness (cf. v. 19), the subject of chapters 6-8. The sinful life gives no benefit (6:21), but salvation gives the benefit of a holy, clean life (v. 22). Whereas the “end” (telos) or result of sin is death (v. 21), the “end” of salvation is eternal life. 6
What now? Repent!
What are we to do when we realize that we are in need of a Redeemer?
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We are to confess our sins! The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! Time is running out.
1 John 2:1–2
1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Y’shua Messiah the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
YHVH gave everything for us, even His Son, in order to save us from slavery to sin. When we believe in Y’shua and repent of our sins, we are redeemed.
What or who do we become when we are redeemed?
To be redeemed gives us a special position in the Kingdom of YHVH. We become part of Israel, YHVH’s chosen people. This is explained to us throughout Scripture in many different ways. We shall show you in each instance, how a description of Israel becomes applicable to believers in Y’shua. However, do remember that we as believers in Y’shua, do not replace Israel, we become part of Israel.
- we become children of Elohim, His firstborn
- we become bond slaves forever
- a Royal priesthood
- the chosen or elect
- we become partakers in His Divine nature
We become children of the Most High, Israel, His firstborn son
When we are redeemed, we belong to Him, for He has bought us. We became “sons” or children of the Most High. Not only do we become His children, but also His firstborn. We have seen in the first part about the redemption of the firstborn that YHVH calls Israel His firstborn son.
22 “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says YHVH, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living Elohim, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to Elohim, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
To quote a previous article about the special position of the firstborn:
“The firstborn had a special position within the family which entitled him to a double portion inheritance, his father’s blessing, a position of honor and leadership over his brothers. We also see throughout the Scriptures how YHVH departs from this tradition, choosing who He favors as firstborn.” 7
Being redeemed makes us YHVH’s firstborn, irrespective of who we were before. He is our Father and we are part of His household. Being part of His household gives us a certain authority and inheritance rights, but we are also to be obedient to the rules of His household. He is our loving Father and we are to be obedient to Him out of love. He said: “if you love me, keep My commandments!
Moses is referred to as the servant of Elohim five times (1Chronicles 6:49; 2Chronicles 24:9; Nehemiah 10:29; Daniel 9:11; Revelation 15:3) and both James and Paul call themselves servants of YHVH (in Jam 1:1 and Titus 1:1 respectively).
We were once slaves to sin, but being redeemed by Him, we became His bond slaves. A bond slave belongs to his Master out of his own free will (Ex 21:5-6). By believing in Him, we chose to become a part of His household and remain in His service.
1 Peter 2:16
16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of Elohim.
A Kingdom of Priests
6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
1 Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for Elohim’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for Elohim with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our Elohim; and they will reign upon the earth.”
Who is referred to here? We see here how Peter quoted the passage in Exodus. These quotes confirm that as believers in Y’shua we are part of the nation of Israel. We know from scripture that this doesn’t mean every person is a priest, but it refers to a nation with a priesthood: the Levitical priesthood. Our role is to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness. Take note, we are not priests and are therefor not to do the functions given to them to do. Our function is to be a light to the nations and to proclaim His name.
The chosen or elect
The words elect and chosen are used interchangeably when referring to the believers in the apostolic Scriptures. This term is also used for Israel. We have also learned from a previous study, “Choose your friends and teachers wisely, it could cost you your salvation” that we become part of Israel, His chosen or elect, when we believe in Him.
6 “For you are a holy people to YHVH your Elohim; YHVH your Elohim has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
1 “But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen:
24 “For false Messiahs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.
We become partakers in His Divine nature
The sons of Israel were instructed to be set apart for YHVH is set apart.
2 “Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I YHVH your Elohim am holy.
Our very nature is changed when we believe in YHVH, and we are further transformed into His likeness when we follow His commandments. His likeness is holiness or setapartness. To become partakers of His divine nature means to become like Him.
2 Peter 1:4
4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
When we are redeemed, we become a part of Israel, the children of Elohim, His chosen people. Furthermore, as we grow in obedience to Him, our nature changes to become more like His. We become more set apart in our behavior.
At the same time, we are bond slaves. Every one of these roles point in one direction, OBEDIENCE to His Word.
When we are redeemed, we become citizens of YHVH’s heavenly Kingdom. We become a part of His chosen people, Israel and whether we are called first born sons, chosen, elect, bond slaves or priests, we are to be obedient to the rules of our Father the King of the Universe.
We choose to do this as we have chosen to believe in Him, out of love. When we follow His commandments out of love, it is never a burden.
13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear Elohim and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
- Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vol. 1: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (195). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (487). New York: United Bible Societies.
- Milgrom, J. (1990). Numbers. The JPS Torah Commentary (294). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.
- Livingston, G. H. (1999). 180 אָשַׁם. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (78). Chicago: Moody Press.
- Koehler, L., Baumgartner, W., Richardson, M. E. J., & Stamm, J. J. (1999). The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (96). Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill.
- Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Ro 6:20–23). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
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