3.

Matthew 4:17

Repentance

“Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”

A.

THE NEED TO REPENT
In the New Testament, the word translated as 'repentance' is the Greek word
μετάνοια (metanoia), "after/behind one's mind", which is a compound word of the preposition 'meta' (after,
with), and the verb 'noeo' (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing). In this compound
word the preposition combines the two meanings of time and change, which may be denoted by 'after' and
'different'; so that the whole compound means: 'to think differently after'. Metanoia is therefore primarily an
after-thought, different from the former thought; a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of
conduct, "change of mind and heart", or, "change of consciousness". One of the key descriptions of
repentance in the New Testament is the parable of the prodigal son found in the Gospel of Luke 15:11.
The doctrine of Repentance in the Scriptures appears to be very prominent. See
the description of repentance in the Hebrew Bible above for repentance in the Old Testament. In the New
Testament, John the Baptist began his public ministry, as did Jesus, with a call to repentance (Matt. 3:1, 2;
4:17).
When Jesus sent forth messengers to proclaim his gospel, he commanded them to preach repentance (Luke
24:47; Mark 6:12). Teachings on repentance are found in the New Testament in Peter, (Acts 2:38); Paul,
(Acts 20:21). God wants everyone to repent (2 Pet. 3:9; Acts 17:30). Indeed, failure on the part of man to
heed God's call to repentance means that he shall utterly perish (Luke 13:3).Saint Isaac of Syria said, "This
life has been given to you for repentance. Do not waste it on vain pursuits."
B.

THE REASON TO REPENT (ORIGINAL SIN)

Rom. 5:12, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed
upon all men, for that all have sinned"
Rom. 5:19, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners"
1 Cor. 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
****Now let us see what the advocates of the doctrine (theory) of original sin teach:
a.

What do we believe about original sin

1. The whole human race sinned in Adam when he sinned. Adam's will was the will of the race, so that all
men sinned in Adam and rebelled with him when he sinned.
2. When Adam sinned, human nature was corrupted, so that now all men are born with a sinful nature.
3. This sinful nature is the fountain and direct cause of all of man's sins. Man sins by nature and cannot help
but sin.
4. Because of Adam's transgression, all men are guilty,

1

b.

the historical origin of each of the three main theories

1. The Augustinian Theory. This is also called the Theory of Adam's Natural Headship and the Realistic
Theory. This theory was formulated by Augustine in the fifth century A.D. The Augustinian Theory affirms
that, by virtue of organic unity, the whole human race existed in Adam at the time of his transgression. It
says that Adam's will was the will of the species, so that in Adam's free act, the will of the race revolted
against God, and the nature of the race corrupted itself. All men existed as one moral person in Adam, so
that in Adam's sin we sinned, we corrupted ourselves, and we brought guilt and merited condemnation upon
ourselves.
2. The Federal Theory. This theory is also called the Theory of Condemnation by Covenant and the
Immediate Imputation Theory. It had its origin with Cocceius in the 17th century A.D. According to this
theory, God made a covenant with Adam, agreeing to bestow upon all his descendants eternal life for his
obedience, but making the penalty for his disobedience to be the condemnation of all his descendants.
Since our legal representative or federal head did sin, God imputes his sin, guilt, and condemnation to all
his descendants.
3. The Theory of Mediate Imputation. This theory is also called the Theory of Condemnation for
Depravity.This is the theory formulated by Placeus in the 17th century A.D. Placeus originally denied that
Adam's sin was in any way imputed to his posterity. But when his first view was condemned by the Synod
of the French Reformed Church in 1644, he published this later view. According to this view, all men are
born with a depraved nature and are guilty and condemnable for that nature. They are not viewed as being
guilty because of the sin of Adam, as in the Federal Theory. Instead it is the corrupted nature which they
inherit from Adam that is sufficient cause and legal ground for God to condemn them.i

C.

The nature of repentance

There is a three-fold idea involved in true repentance:
1.

As touching the intellect

Matt. 21:29--"He answered and said: I will not; but afterward he repented, and went". The word here used
for "repent" means to change one's mind, thought, purpose, views regarding a matter; it is to have
another mind about a thing. This change is well illustrated in the action of the Prodigal Son, and of the
Publican in the well-known story of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 15 and 18).
2.

As touching the emotions

2 Cor. 7:9--"Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance; for ye were
made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing." See also Luke 10:13; cf.
Gen. 6:6. The Greek word for repentance in this connection means "to be a care to one afterwards," to
cause one great concern. This meaning is exemplified by the repentant person who not only has profound
regret for his past but also the fulfilled hope in the potential of God’s grace to continually bear the fruit of
healing and true reconciliation in himself, with others, and most especially with God. The Hebrew
equivalent is strong as well, and it means to pant, to sigh, or to moan. So the publican "beat upon his
breast," indicating sorrow of heart. See also Psalms 38:18.
3.

As touching the will and disposition

One of the Hebrew words for repent means "to turn." The Prodigal Son said, "I will arise... and he arose"
(Luke 15:18, 20). The part of the will and disposition in repentance is shown:

2

D.

THE MEANS OF REPENTENCE

1.
The reality of sin in our lives:, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
(Romans 3:23)
2.
The consequences of sin - "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
3.
The battle over sin:, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still
sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
4.
The cleanising of sin, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your
heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9
a.

In the Confession of Sin to God

Psa. 38:18 -- "For I will declare mine iniquity: I will be sorry for my sin." The publican beat upon his
breast, and said, "God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13). The prodigal said, "I have sinned against
heaven" (Luke 15:21). There must be confession to man also in so far as man has been wronged in and by
our sin (Matt. 5:23, 24; James 5:16).
b.

In the Forsaking of Sin.

Isa. 55:7 Prov. 28:13 ("He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them
shall have mercy."); Matt. 3:8-10 ("Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:... And now also the axe
is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and
cast into the fire.").
c.

In Turning Unto God.

It is not enough to turn away from sin; we must turn unto God. 1 Thess. 1:9; Acts 26:18ii
d.
Repentance is a divine gift. According to Christians, acts of repentance does not earn
God's forgiveness from one's sin; rather, forgiveness is given as a gift from God to those who he saves. Acts
11:18--"Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." 2 Tim. 2:25 -- "If God
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." Acts 5:30, 31.

3

II

Jewish understanding of Repentence

THE RAMBAM'S THIRTEEN PRINCIPLES OF JEWISH FAITH
11. I believe with perfect faith tha G-d rewards those who keep His commandments, and punishes
those who transgress Him.
1
A.

Jewish response to Original sin

The concept of Original Sin is unsupported in the Jewish scriptures:

Deut. 24:16, "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to
death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin."
2 Kings 14:6, But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the
book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for
the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his
own sin."
Ezek. 18:20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither
shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the
wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."
Ezek.33:20, "Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one
after his ways.
B.

Biblical Viewpoint
The Hebrew Bible postulates repentance as the indispensable condition on
which the salvation and redemption of the people of Israel, as well as of every individual man, depends.
(Genesis 4:7; Leviticus 4, 5; Deuteronomy 4:30, 30:2; I Kings 8:33, 48; Hosea 14:2; Jer. 3:12, 31:18, 36:3;
Ezek. 18:30-32; Isa. 54:22, 55:6-10; Joel 2:12; Jonah 2:10)
Judaism regards the violation of divine commandments to be a sin. Judaism teaches
that sin is an act and not a state of being. Mankind was created with an inclination to do evil (Genesis 8:21),
and the ability to master this inclination (Genesis 4:7) and choose good over evil (Psalm 37:27) [2].
Judaism uses the term "sin" to include violations of Jewish law that are not necessarily a lapse in morality.
According to the Jewish encyclopedia, "Man is responsible for sin because he is endowed with free will
("behirah"); yet he is by nature frail, and the tendency of the mind is to evil: "For the imagination of man's
heart is evil from his youth" (Gen. viii. 21; Yoma 20a; Sanh. 105a). Therefore God in His mercy allowed
man to repent and be forgiven."[1] Judaism holds that all people sin at various points in their lives, and hold
that God tempers justice with mercy.
The generic Hebrew word for any kind of sin is aveira. Based on verses in the Hebrew Bible, Judaism
describes three levels of sin.
1. Pesha or Mered - An intentional sin; an action committed in deliberate defiance of God;
2. Avon - This is a sin of lust or uncontrollable emotion. It is a sin done knowingly, but not done to defy
God;
3. Cheit - This is an unintentional sin.
Judaism holds that no human being is perfect, and all people have sinned many times. However certain
states of sin (i.e. avon or cheit) does not condemn a person to damnation; only one or two truly grievous
sins lead to anything approaching the Biblical conception of hell. The Biblical and rabbinic conception of
God is that of a creator who tempers justice with mercy.

4

C.

Jewish viewpoint
Shuwb – to return
In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: ‫ שוב‬shuv
(to return) and ‫ נחם‬nicham (to feel sorrow)
Judaism emphasizes the redeeming power of teshuvah, which is nothing else
than man's self-redemption from the thraldom of sin.
"Repentance and works of charity are man's intercessors before God's throne"
(Shab. 32a). Sincere repentance is equivalent to the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of the altar,
and the offering of all the sacrifices (Pesiḳ., ed. Buber, 25:158; Lev. R. 7; Sanh. 43b).
Sincere repentance is manifested when the same temptation to sin, under the same conditions, is ever after
resolutely resisted (Yoma 86b). "He that confesses his sin and still clings to it is likened to a man that holds
in his hand a defiling object; though he batheth in all the waters of the world he is not cleansed; but the
moment he casteth the defiling object from him a single bath will cleanse him, as it is said (Prov. 28:13):
'Whoso confesseth and forsaketh them [his sins] shall have mercy'" (Ta'an. 16a; "Yad," l.c. ii. 3)
Jewish doctrine holds that it is never too late, even on the day of death, to return
to God with sincere repentance for "as the sea is always open for every one who wishes to cleanse himself,
so are the gates of repentance always open to the sinner" (Pesikta., ed. Buber, xxv. 157; Midrash
Deuteronomy Rabbah ii.; Midr. Teh. lxiii.), and the hand of God is continually stretched out to receive him
(Talmud Pesachim 119a; Deut. Rabbah ii.). One view in the Talmud holds that a repentant sinner attains a
more exalted spiritual eminence than one who has never sinned (Berachot 34b.) It is a sin to taunt a
repentant sinner by recalling their former sinful ways (B. M. 58b; "Yad," l.c. vii. 8).
Repentance occupies a prominent position in all the ethical writings of the Middle Ages. Bahya ibn Paquda
devotes a special section to it in his 'Hovot ha-Levavot", "Gate of Repentance." Maimonides devotes the
last section of "Sefer ha-Madda'" in his 'Mishneh Torah' to the subject.
According to Jewish doctrine, repentance is the prerequisite of atonement (Talmud Yoma viii. 8).
Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, derives its significance only from the fact that it is the culmination of
the ten penitential days with which the Jewish religious year begins; and therefore it is of no avail without
repentance (Talmud Yoma viii. 8; Midrash Sifra, Emor, xiv.).1
D.

Jewish view against N.T. means of repentence

G-d Wants Repentance
From whom is repentance required? While Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments from the Lord,
the people were doing the most heinous of sins. They had Moses’s brother Aaron make for them a golden
calf as an idol. This is where Moses broke the two tablets of the commandments. Moses is mad, but goes
before the Lord and offers himself as a repentance offering to G-d. Torah tells us the responsible parties are
the only people that can repent for sin, as in Exodus where G-d tells Moses:
Exodus 32:33 And the Lord said to Moses, Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot from my book.
There we learn that if we sin, it is on ourselves to repent. If we sin as a nation, it is upon our nation to
repent.
A.

With Temple

Leviticus 19:21 And he shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord, to the door of the Tent of Meeting, a ram
for a guilt offering. [22] And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering
before the Lord for his sin which he has done; and the sin which he has done shall be forgiven him.

5

Here we see that the man shall bring a sacrifice from his possession and that shall atone for his sin which
has committed. However, being that we are without the Temple in Jerusalem, there must be another way to
atone, which G-d foresaw, and gave to us. There are two types of repentance that do not involve blood.
B.

With-out Temple

(The Flour Sacrifice)
Leviticus 5 shows that if one can afford to do so, it is required for this person to give a blood sacrifice in the
form of a lamb, or a kid of the goats. However, if the offending party cannot afford such an animal, this
person can get two turtledoves and sacrifice them. However, if this person cannot even afford this, there is
another way:
Leviticus 5:11 But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he who sinned
shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil
upon it, nor shall he put any frankincense on it; for it is a sin offering. [12] Then shall he bring it to the
priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, a memorial part of it, and burn it on the altar, according to
the offerings made by fire to the Lord; it is a sin offering.
Clearly a blood offering is not a requirement to achieve atonement in G-d’s eyes.
Three different methods of atonement are identified in the Hebrew Bible: animal sacrifices,
contrite repentance & prayer, and charitable deeds.
1.

Animal Sacrifices
The Torah speaks of two kinds of animal sacrifices that were used for the atonement of
transgressions: (hataat), a sin sacrifice, and (asham), a guilt sacrifice.
According to the Hebrew Bible, a sin sacrifice did not provide atonement for every kind
of sin. Rather, its purpose was to atone only for a person’s unintentional sins - the most
insignificant type of transgression:
Numbers 15:27-28 - (27) And if a person sins inadvertently, then he shall offer a
female goat in its first year as a sin offering [ (hataat)]. (28) And the priest shall
atone for the erring person who sinned inadvertently before the L-rd in order to
make atonement on his behalf; and it shall be forgiven him.
The requirements concerning a sin sacrifice are specified in Leviticus 4:1-35, where these
offerings are declared mandatory, and that their purpose was to atone for sins committed
unwittingly.
A sin sacrifice could not be used to atone for sins that were committed with intent. The
willful sinner was barred from the Sanctuary, and had to bear his own iniquity because of
his rebellious intent to sin against G-d:
Numbers 15:30-31 - (30) And the person who does anything presumptuously,
whether he is a native born or a stranger, that person blasphemes the L-rd; and
that person shall be cut off from among his people. (31) Because he has scorned
the word of the L-rd, and has violated his commandment, that person shall surely
be cut off, for his iniquity is upon him.
The Levitical Law of Sacrifice specifies that some transgressions committed with intent
mandated a guilt sacrifice. The requirements concerning a guilt sacrifice are specified in
Leviticus 5:14-26, where these offerings are declared obligatory for such offenses as
robbery and misappropriation of Temple property, where restitution also had to be made.

6

Since the above two categories do not include all possible sins, it follows that no
sacrificial offerings were mandated for all other (remaining) transgressions - all those sins
not covered by either a sin sacrifice or a guilt sacrifice. Clearly, there had to exist some
process, other than sacrifices, to obtain atonement for such sins. Some examples from
the Hebrew Bible, where atonement is achieved without the shedding of blood,
demonstrate this point.
The first example concerns a requirement connected with a census. Whenever a census
was taken of those able-bodied men 20 years of age and older, who were fit for military
service, every adult Israelite was required to pay a 1/2-sheqel:
Exodus 30:12-14 - (12) When you take a census of the people of Israel according to
their numbers, then they shall each give a ransom [ (kopher)] for his soul to the Lrd when you count them, so that there will be no plague among them when you
count them. (13) This they shall give, everyone who is among those being counted:
half a sheqel according to the holy sheqel; twenty gerahs are one sheqel; one half
of the sheqel shall be an offering to the L-rd. (14) Everyone who is among those
who being counted, from [the age of] twenty years old and above, shall give an
offering to the L-rd.
The Hebrew noun (kopher), a ransom, appears in the Torah on three other occasions
(Exod 21:30; Num 35:31,32). In each case, it refers to the money paid by someone who
is guilty of taking a human life in situations that do not constitute murder. Thus, the
owner of the ox that killed a person after the owner had received warnings that the animal
was dangerous, was charged with the death of a person; but, since his crime was not
intentional or premeditated, he was permitted to pay a ransom (Exod 21:30). The
payment of a ransom, was forbidden for a deliberate act of murder (Num 35:31,32).
Another example concerns the requirements for the atonement of such sins as being a false witness and
then confessing to it, or being unclean and entering the Sanctuary inadvertently, and then realizing what
happened and confessing to it (Lev 5:1-13). These sins required an offering that was not named in the
Torah, and to which the Jewish Sages referred as (qorban oleh veyored), a variable offering[1], literally, a
sliding scale offering that depended on a person's financial means, and which had the following
progression:
1.

Contrite Repentance and Prayer

Another way to obtain atonement for sins is through contrite repentance and prayer. The
Torah provides an early glimpse at this process:
Deuteronomy 4:27-31 – (27) And the L-rd will scatter you among the peoples, and
you will remain few in number among the nations where the L-rd will lead you.
(28) And there you will serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone,
which do not see, and do not hear, and do not eat, and do not smell. (29) And if,
from there, you will seek the L-rd your G-d, then you will find Him, if you seek Him
with all your heart and with all your soul. (30) When you are in distress, and these
words will find their way to you; in the end of days, you will return to the L-rd your
G-d, and you will obey him; (31) For the L-rd your G-d is a merciful G-d, He will
not forsake you and will not destroy you; and He will not forget the covenant of
your fathers which He swore to them.
As is evident from vs. 29-31, there is no mention of shedding of blood in order to regain
G-d's favor; only contrite repentance is required.

7

This message is repeated elsewhere throughout the Hebrew Bible. For example, King
Solomon echoes the same idea in his inaugural prayer during the consecration of the First
Temple in Jerusalem, the one he built:
1 Kings 8:46-52 – (46) If they sin against You, for there is no man who does not sin,
and You will be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, and their captors will
carry them away captive to the land of the enemy, far or near; (47) And if they take it
to heart in the land where they were held captive, and repent, and make supplication to
You in the land of their captors, saying, "We have sinned, and have done perversely,
we have committed wickedness"; (48) And they return to You with all their heart, and
with all their soul, in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to
You toward their land, which You gave to their fathers, [toward] the city which you
have chosen, and [toward] the house which I have built for Your Name;
In his prophetic message, King Solomon forewarns that one day the Jewish people will
be driven out of the Land of Israel and be banished to the lands of their enemies, near and
far. If, during their exile, they would fervently desire to repent of their sins, face
Jerusalem from their exile, and confess their sins, then G-d will hear their prayers and
forgive them for all their transgressions
The Prophet Hosea foretold that there will be times in the future of Israel when the people
would not have a king, nor a sacrificial system, nor a Temple, nor a High Priest:
Hosea 3:4-5 – (4) For the people of Israel shall remain many days without a king,
and without a nobleman, and without a sacrifice, and without a pillar, and without
an ephod, and without teraphim; (5) Afterwards, shall the people of Israel return,
and seek the L-rd their G-d and David their king; and they shall fear the L-rd and
His goodness in the end of days.
In a later chapter, Hosea gave the instructions on what will replace those animal sacrifices
that atoned for unintentional sins while the Temple was standing in Jerusalem:
Hosea 14:2-3 – (2) Return, O Israel, to the L-rd your G-d; for you have stumbled
in your iniquity. (3) Take words with you and return to the L-rd; say to Him: "You
shall forgive all iniquity, and accept the good, and we will render [for] bullocks
[the offering of our] lips."
In other words, prayer is to replace the animal offerings during the times alluded to in
Hosea 3:4-5. The true prophets never instructed the Jewish people to worship a crucified
messiah or man-god; nor does the Hebrew Bible ever teach that an innocent man can die
and thereby provide atonement for the sins of the wicked. Quite the contrary is true, as is
evident from passages such as Exodus 32:31-33, Numbers 35:33, Deuteronomy 24:16, 2
Kings 14:6, Jeremiah 31:29[30 in Christian Bibles], Ezekiel 18:4,20, and Psalms 49:7-8.
The sincere prayers of the penitent sinner replaces animal sacrifices.
2.

(Affliction of Souls)

To this day, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is practiced yearly by Jews around the globe: Leviticus
23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement; it shall be a holy
gathering to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. [28] And
you shall do no work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before
the Lord your G-d.
Herein, aside from an offering by fire, we are to afflict our souls, and today this is performed by fasting and
praying on this day.

8

3.

(Good Deeds) -

Deuteronomy 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things have come upon you, the blessing and
the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, where the
Lord your G-d has driven you, [2] And shall return to the Lord your G-d, and shall obey his voice
according to all that I command you this day, you and your children, with all your heart, and with all your
soul; [3] That then the Lord your G-d will turn your captivity, and have compassion upon you, and will
return and gather you from all the nations, where the Lord your G-d has scattered you.

A.

Charitable Deeds

Lastly, there are the charitable deeds. Since Judaism is a religion based on "works", with
special emphasis on acts of charity, deeds of kindness are regarded as the most important
component in the process of atonement. This theme, concerning the importance of acts
of charity, and that the doing of good deeds is preferable to other actions, is common in
the Hebrew Bible. In fact, (tsedaqah), charity, is mandated in the Torah:
Deuteronomy 15:7-8 – (7) If there will be among you a needy person, from one of
your brothers within one of your cities, in your land the L-rd your G-d is giving
you, you shall not harden your heart, and you shall not close your hand from your
needy brother; (8) For you shall surely open your hand to him, and you shall
surely lend him enough for his need which he is lacking.
Moreover, the message is not restricted to the Torah:
Micah 6:6-8 – (8) Man has told you what is good; but what does the L-rd demand
of you? To do justice, and to love loving-kindness, and to walk humbly with your Gd?
Proverbs 16:6 – Through loving kindness and truth will iniquity be atoned; and
through the fear of the L-rd [you] depart from evil.
Daniel 4:24 [27 in Christian Bibles] - Only, O king, let my counsel be acceptable
to you, and your sins will be with charity removed, and your iniquities by showing
mercy to the poor; indeed, your tranquility will be prolonged.
The Hebrew Bible also teaches which process is preferable to G-d:
Jeremiah 7:21-23 – (21) Thus says the L-rd of Hosts, the G-d of Israel: "Add your
burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat meat. (22) For I did not speak to your
fathers, and I did not command them on the day that I brought them out of the land
of Egypt, concerning a burnt offerings and sacrifice; (23) But this thing I
commanded them, saying, 'Obey Me, and I will be your G-d and you shall be a
people to Me; and you shall walk in all the ways that I will command you, so that it
may be well with you.'"
Hosea 6:6 – For loving-kindness is what I desire, and not sacrifice; and knowledge
of G-d more than burnt offerings.
Proverbs 21:3 – Doing charity and justice is more desirable to the L-rd than a
sacrifice.

9

Charitable deeds and justice are superior to sacrificial offerings.
In the opening chapter of his book, the Prophet Isaiah summarized the general message
concerning the atonement process in a most succinct fashion:
Isaiah 1:11-18 – (11) "Of what use to Me are your many sacrifices?" says the L-rd; "I am
sated from the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed cattle; and in the blood of
bulls, and of sheep, and of male goats I do not delight. ; (17) Learn to do good, seek
justice, help the oppressed; do justice to the orphan, plead [the case] for the widow. (18)
Come now, and let us reason together," said the L-rd; "If your sins be as scarlet, they
shall become as white as snow; if they be red as crimson, they shall become as wool."
Justification:
The Hebrew Bible contains many examples that illustrate its teachings about the atonement of
sins. One example of note is the story found in the Book of Jonah. The account describes the
Ninevites, who were wicked people to whom the prophet Jonah was sent with a message of
their doom:
Jonah 1:1-2 – (1) And the word of the L-rd came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, (2)
"Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and call out against it; for their wickedness has
come up before Me."
Jonah, after some coaxing, went to warn the inhabitants of Nineveh about their impending
demise:
Jonah 3:4 - And Jonah began to enter into the city, one day’s walk, and he called out and
said, "Another forty days, and Nineveh shall be overturned."
The Ninevites heeded the message brought to them by Jonah, and they started a process of
repentance, not knowing if it would be acceptable to G-d:
Jonah 3:5-9 – (5) And the people of Nineveh believed in G-d, and they proclaimed a fast
and donned sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. (6) And word
reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he took off his royal robe;
and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat on the ashes. (7) And he caused it to be
proclaimed and published through Nineveh, from the counsel of the king and his nobles,
saying: "Neither man and beast, nor the cattle and the flock shall taste anything; they
shall not graze nor shall they drink water! (8) And they shall cover themselves with
sackcloth, man and the beast, and they shall call mightily to G-d; and everyone shall
repent from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. (9) Who knows if G-d
will turn and relent, and turn away from his fierce anger, and we will not perish?"
They donned sacks, fasted, and repented for their iniquities. G-d recognized their contriteness
and relented from destroying them as He initially planned to do:
Jonah 3:10 - And G-d saw their deeds, that they repented from their evil way; and G-d relented of
the evil, which He had spoken to do to them, and He did not do it

10

III.

How do we answer these critics

1.
Original sin is taught by rabbis
Adam's sin, as recounted in the Book of Genesis is sometimes called in Hebrew ‫( החטא הקדמון‬the original
sin), on the basis of the traditional Christian term. But the term used in classical Jewish literature is ‫חטא אדם‬
‫)הראשון‬, (the first sin of man, or of Adam).
The account in Genesis 2-3 implies that Adam and Eve initially lived in a state of intimate communion with
God. God warned Adam not to eat of the fruit of "the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" (Genesis 2:1517).[1] The serpent persuaded Eve, who in turn persuaded Adam, to disobey this commandment. After
eating of the fruit, they immediately recognized their mistake, and became ashamed of their nakedness
(Genesis 3:1-7).[2] God cursed the serpent, apparently changing its physical form, and setting up eternal
enmity between mankind and serpents (Genesis 3:9-15).[3] God pronounced judgements on both Eve and
Adam. Eve's judgement was the difficulties of pregnancy and subjection to her husband. Adam's was toil
and struggle for his sustenance (Genesis 3:16-21).[4] Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of
Eden(Genesis 3:22-24).[5]
According to tradition, the divine prohibition was to give them free choice and allow them to earn, absolute
perfection and intimate communion with God, a higher level than the one on which they were created.
The consequences affected Adam and Eve's descendants. People are not intrinsically condemned and sinful,
but nevertheless begin life at a spiritual and metaphysical level inherited from Adam and Eve, far lower
than Adam's original level. The course of history is meant to return humanity to Adam's original level, and
then allow it to surpass that level by completing the task that Adam failed to complete. The curses and
changes imposed on mankind following their sin are meant to facilitate this return to glory.
According to tradition, Adam and Eve would have attained absolute perfection and retained immortality
had they succeeded in withstanding the temptation to eat from the Tree. After failing at this task, they were
condemned to a period of toil to rectify the fallen universe. In Jewish tradition, this is a 6,000 year period.
2.

Proper repentence is taught in O.T.

Eze 33:10 "Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, 'Thus you have spoken, saying, "Surely
our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive?'"
Eze 33:11 "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked,
but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then
will you die, O house of Israel?'
Eze 33:12 "And you, son of man, say to your fellow citizens, 'The righteousness of a righteous man will not
deliver him in the day of his transgression, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble
because of it in the day when he turns from his wickedness; whereas a righteous man will not be able to
live by his righteousness on the day when he commits sin.'
Eze 33:13 "When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he {so} trusts in his righteousness that he
commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he
has committed he will die.
Eze 33:14 "But when I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,' and he turns from his sin and practices
justice and righteousness,
Eze 33:15 {if a} wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the
statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
Eze 33:16 "None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. He has practiced
justice and righteousness; he shall surely live.
Eze 33:17 "Yet your fellow citizens say, 'The way of the Lord is not right,' when it is their own way that is
not right.
Eze 33:18 "When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, then he shall die in it.
Eze 33:19 "But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and practices justice and righteousness, he will
live by them.
Eze 33:20 "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' O house of Israel, I will judge each of you
according to his ways."

11

a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
3.

We all sin
penalty of sin is death
(Pray)
Turn from your sins
(Repentence)
statutes which ensure life saves (sacrificial system)
sins are taken away
(Redemption)

N.T. brings it all to fruition

Hbr 9:11 But when Christ appeared {as} a high priest of the good things to come, {He entered} through
the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
Hbr 9:12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy
place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Hbr 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been
defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
Hbr 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without
blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hbr 9:15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the
redemption of the transgressions that were {committed} under the first covenant, those who have been called
may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Hbr 10:1 For the Law, since it has {only} a shadow of the good things to come {and} not the very form of
things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who
draw near.
Hbr 10:2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been
cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?
Hbr 10:3 But in those {sacrifices} there is a reminder of sins year by year.
Hbr 10:4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

12

The Seven Noahide Laws:
are found in the book of Genesis, but they are found in their transgression, not as specific commandments.
In other words when one of these laws was transgressed, comment is made in Genesis that these were sins.
1. Idolatry Gen. 31:19-36 Rachel stole the images (idols) of her brother Laban.
Gen. 31:19 Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole the
teraphim1 that belonged to her father.
1. v. 19. And Rachel stole the teraphim that belonged to her father. The Teraphim were idols, and
Rachel took them to keep Laban from idol worship (Rashi). The Torah records this episode because
her intentions were noble. (Midrash) Ramban derives the word from the root rapha, weak
[see Exodus 5.17], alluding to the "weakness" of their prognostications. The Zohar relates the
word to 'trph' and 'tvrph', denoting obscenity. Many consider them to have been household gods,
supposed to be the protectors of the home, similar to the later Roman Penates, which were
consulted as oracle {R' Hirsch).
2. Blasphemy Gen. 3:1-4 The Serpent falsely accused G-d.
Gen. 3:1-4 Now the Serpent was cunning beyond an beast of the field that
HaShem G-d had made. He said to the woman, "Did, perhaps, G-d say:
"You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?"
The Serpent lied, and misrepresented what G-d really said. The serpent was false attributing to
G-d that He had denied man access to 'any tree', when in fact only 'one' tree was forbidden.
In fact man was permitted to eat of every tree except one.
Gen. 2:16 And HaShem commanded man saying, "Of every tree of the
garden you may freely eat: 17 but the Tree of Knowledge of Good
and Bad, you must not eat thereof; for on the day you eat of it, you shall
surely die."
From Path of the Righteous Gentile by Clorfene and Rogalsky.
. "The prohibition against blasphemy comes to teach us not to
speak evilly against G-d, nor to detract from His exaltedness
in any way by intentionally using words to lessen the reverence
and faith befitting Him."
3. Murder Gen. 4.8-10-16, Gen. 6. Gen. 9:6. 4. Theft Gen. 2:17 Gen. 3.
Gen. 4:8 Cain spoke with his brother Abel, And it happened when they were in
the field, that Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
One of the reasons that the flood was sent was because of theft, violence, murder and
idolatry was common to all mankind. Gen. 6:11-12. The Commentary in the Stone
Edition Chumash says"
"Such is the progression of sin. It begins in private, when people still have
a sense of right and wrong. But once people develop the habbit of sinning,
they gradually lose their shame, and immoral behaviour becomes the
accepted - even required - norm. In Noah's time, the immoral sexual
conduct of the people extended to animals, as well, until they too
cohabited with other species."
Gen. 9:5-6 but of man, of every man for that of his brother I will demand the
soul of man. 6 Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed;
for in the image of G-d He made man.
4. Theft See Gen. 3:6, Gen. 31:19

13

Gen. 3:6 And the woman perceived that the tree was good for eating
and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable
as a means to wisdom, and she took of its fruit and ate;
This was in direct disobedience of the command of G-d to not eat the fruit of that
particular tree.
Gen. 2:16 And HaShem commanded man saying, "Of every tree of the
garden you may freely eat: 17 but the Tree of Knowledge of Good
and Bad, you must not eat thereof; for on the day you eat of it, you shall
surely die."
Gen. 31:19 Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole the teraphim1 that belonged to her father.
5. Forbidden Sexual relationships Gen. 20.3 Abimelech knew adultery was a sin.
homosexuality Gen. 19:5-7.
Gen 20:3 And G-d came to abimilech in a dream by night and said to him,
"Behold you are to die because of the woman you have taken; moreover
she is a married woman."
Gen. 19:5-6 And they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who
came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may 'know' them. 6 Lot
went out to them to the entrance, and shut the door behind him. 7 And he
said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act wickedly.
The context clearly shows that the men of Sodom wished to have sexual relations with the
two men (angels), and Lot indicated that he knew that because he then showed how Sodom had
rubbed off on him, by offering the men his own virgin daughters.
6. Eating the Limb of a Living Animal Gen. 9.4-5.
Gen. 9:4-5 4 But flesh; with its soul its blood you shall not eat.
5 However, your blood which belongs to your souls I will demand, of
every beast will I demand it;
7. Establishing Courts of Justice Gen. 19:1-9. (The Gates of a city were where Judges
sat to convene Courts of Justice.) Ruth 4.1-11.
Gen. 19:1 The Two angels came to Sodom in the evening and Lot was
sitting at the gate of Sodom. ...... 9 And they said, "Stand back!"
Then they said, "This fellow came to sojourn and would act as a
Judge? Now we will treat you worse than them!"
For the origin of the Noahide Laws according to the Talmud check out this link.iii

14

15

i

http://www.gospeltruth.net/menbornsinners/mbs03.
http://www.answers.com/topic/repentance
1
http://www.answers.com/topic/repentance
iii
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/2120/seven_laws_in_genesis.html
ii