Was Jesus sacrifice really a sacrifice?

by jambon1 37 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • toreador

    I never knew the ransom sacrifice doctrine was not central in the beginning or right after Jesus death. Interesting stuff. I need to do some more reading once again.



    Let me start out by saying that I do mean to show disrespect to any God that requires blood sacrifice for appeasement. Jehovah liked blood from the start as shown by his approval of Abel's sacrifice of an animal which sounds like the request of a El or Baal god to me. Then all the countless thousands of animal sacrifices in Israel, you know, the kind where you led the animal up to the alter and slit his throat and let the blood spew while still alive. These were Jehovah's favorites. Then we come to the sacrifice of Jesus, the type of death that was suffered by countless thousands during history and many dying a much more gruesome form of death than Jesus experienced. By the way, what was this sacrifice for, oh, I remember, because Jehovah got pissed off that Adam and Eve wanted to be like him and have knowledge of good and bad. Heck, they were so dumb that they didn't even know they were naked. Just think, a talking snake told a naked woman how to figure out she was naked and blood has been required to fix that screw-up ever since. So was Jesus sacrifice really a sacrifice or the ravings of an insane God?

  • nicolaou

    If a 1000 years is 'as a day' to Jehovah God, then how long must Jesus' 33.5 year absence have felt to him? 48 minutes!

    Also, http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/12/92177/1.ashx

  • James Free
    James Free
    not only was he going to come right back to life again, but why in the world was this necessary in the first place?

    Another thing, if we are all imperfect because of the sin of Adam, and our world is so screwed up because of it, and so Jesus came and sacrificed his life to pay back the ransom, wasn't the 'debt' paid 2000 YEARS AGO??

    So what are we waiting for?

    And all the suffering of the last 2000 YEARS has been unnecessary, without a reason?

    And I don't buy the usual JW excuse that a thousand years is as one day to God - as the creator, he knows our time, and Jesus certainly does if He needs reminding.

    Where is the justice? I don't see it.

  • lost_light06

    If 1000 YEARS = A DAY to Jehovah, then Jesus death of 3 days = 4.3 minutes. I take at least that long in the privy when I'm at home. I usually don't see my son when in the privy but I would hardly call it a sacrifice. Now granted Jesus did suffer tremendously. Jesus was a perfect man who withstood persecution and temptations from imperfect men. There have been thousands of Christians that suffered the same sort of persecution and temptations, maybe even worse, yet they also remained faithful…….and they were imperfect! They had to not only deal with the crap from other men but had to do so while grappling with their own fleshy imperfections. So the question remains, was Jesus sacrifice really a sacrifice both for Jesus and Jehovah? My question is: Is not the faithful sacrifice of an imperfect man a much more difficult one?

  • james_woods

    Narkisos - I ran your idea (of the sacrificial aspect being an obscure metaphore) up the pole today at lunch. What I got back (from an athiest friend BTW) was: The sacrificial idea was so embedded in the Jewish Old Test. including "stripes for your sins" and the sampler via Abraham...what other conclusion was a Jewish sect of following apostles going to come to?

    Frannie - I too am completely mystified by the pathos of this whole thing on the part of Jesus. I once had this unconventional Jesus-freak guy try to tell me that Jesus was REALLY Satan himself and he was paying off that little trick in the garden. He got there by noting that the sin was said to be paid for but the biblical Satan has apparantly gone pretty much scott-free except for a little bad press.

    And here is one more problem: I have always been very uneasy with the cannibalism aspects...drinking blood and eating flesh! Guess the witnesses think they are superior to Catholics because it doesn't really transmute in their mouth, though.

    Thanks for this thread, Jambon1 - one of my favorites. Deep stuff.


  • startingover

    Another question,

    Who was the ransom price paid to? Usually it's to the one that is holding someone hostage.

    So is God the one holding mankind hostage?

  • mdb
    I've poured over the scriptures wherein Jesus is quoted and have never found anything in his comments that referred to his death as a sacrifice. I did, however, see a comment he made to the effect that "it is something (he) must do." So it sounds to me that he admitted that it was his duty or his penance for something rather than a sacrifice.

    Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. ~Eph 5:1,2

    For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. ~Heb 7:26-28

    For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. ~Heb 9:24-26

    But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. ~Heb 10:12,13

    That should be enough Scriptural quotations. He (Jesus) gave Himself as a sacrifice for you and promises eternal life to those who believe on Him for salvation.

  • stillAwitness

    This is what I love about JWD!! You all make me want to work my brain and finally learn how to think for myself! Thanks everyone!!!

  • Narkissos
    I never knew the ransom sacrifice doctrine was not central in the beginning or right after Jesus death.

    It is very difficult to outline a chronological sequence of ideas because it is not a linear development. What we rather have is several theologies developing simultaneously and occasionally responding to each other.

    Another problem: is "Jesus' death" the starting point? Perhaps for some interpretative patterns (e.g. Jesus as the "persecuted righteous," which can be traced back to the OT prophets and Psalms or the martyrdom stories in Maccabees, and is especially central to the Wisdom of Solomon which underlies much of the Gospel Passion stories: in that pattern the "righteous one" is persecuted to death, apparently forsaken by God, but vindicated by being raised post mortem: no trace of sacrifice or vicarious suffering in this), but not necessarily so. And definitely not for other models. For instance, Paul's view of a heavenly Son of God who takes the appearance of man until death in order to fool the intermediate aeons and release his own from their power is based on the myth of a dying and rising god such as Baal-Yahweh-Adonis, Osiris, Attis, etc. It is a saving death though not a sacrificial one. It is a god's death rather than a man's death. And from this perspective the "historical" death of a human Jesus is second to the myth. Paul's rare sacrificial expressions can be construed as secondary metaphors adding to this central myth of his.

    The sacrificial idea was so embedded in the Jewish Old Test. including "stripes for your sins" and the sampler via Abraham...what other conclusion was a Jewish sect of following apostles going to come to?

    Again, this postulates a unique origin for the Christian myths, which I think is wrong. The Songs of the Servant in Deutero-Isaiah obviously use sacrificial metaphors for a non-sacrificial past-present situation -- whether the Servant is an individual prophet or, collectively, the Judean exilees as the "true Israel," his suffering is viewed as bringing objective benefits to others and this historical "vicariousness" is expressed along sacrificial lines, among others. He was not really offered in sacrifice to appease Yahweh. The story of Abraham and Isaac is actually a non-sacrifice, and it is never expressed as vicarious in the Hebrew Bible. It is certainly not viewed as such by Paul, who insists that Abraham is justified through faith, not through an act (work) -- a point which the Epistle of James later flatly contradicts.

    Who was the ransom price paid to? Usually it's to the one that is holding someone hostage.

    So is God the one holding mankind hostage?

    Spot on. "Ransom" and "sacrifice" are basically distinct metaphors, distinct patterns of interpretation.

    Moreover, the texts which mdb quoted clearly show that the sacrificial metaphors in the NT may refer to different kinds of OT sacrifices: sin offerings indeed, but also the peace or communion offerings with their "pleasing odor," or the sacrifices for priestly consecration in Hebrews.

    So what we have is a variety of metaphors, some sacrificial (vicarious or not, e.g. the communion sacrifice), others non-sacrificial; some vicarious (sacrificial or not, e.g. the ransom), others non-vicarious; etc. None of them has yet reached a central place in the creed to the point of being more than a metaphor.

    If I want to illustrate the difference between metaphor and doctrine, I'd just ask mdb (for instance) if the "sweet-smelling aroma" has equal weight as the "expiation/atonement for sins" in his understanding of Jesus' "sacrifice"...

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