Is the Hebrew Bible incomplete?

Is the Hebrew Bible incomplete?

Andrew Sholl

All Jews know, or ought to know from the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament), that the sacrificial system of the Temple of Jerusalem only forgave sins that were committed inadvertently.

Of course, one could legitimately counter that sins committed inadvertently are not sins at all, since the very idea of sin is to commit something to which we knowingly and willingly give consent.

However, what is the situation where we park our cars without genuinely realising that it's a restricted parking area? Whether we did it inadvertently or deliberately, we can still be fined, and thus not be "forgiven".

As for deliberate sins, the Jew has recourse to forgiveness on only one day of the year – the great day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, following ten Days of Awe after the New Year.

On that day, the Jewish people lined up in rows at the Temple (and now in the synagogue) and recited all the possible sins that they could have committed.

The High Priest then chose one goat out of two by lot in order to sacrifice it after placing his hands on its head to transmit all the sins of the people.

He then chose the other goat, also placing his hands on its head to transmit the sins of the people, and then he sent this Scapegoat into the Judean wilderness to a place called Azazel.

After the High Priest sacrificed the first goat, he took some of its blood, went behind the great curtain into the Holy of Holies – the only time during the year that he was allowed to do so – and sprinkled the blood on the Mercy Seat between the two cherubim on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant.

What is most significant is that the crimson thread that was attached to the door knob of the Temple normally turned white. This was to confirm Isaiah 1:18: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool."

Naturally, the Jewish people greatly rejoiced, as they had miraculously received visible proof that their sins had indeed be forgiven by God.

However, we are told by the great Rabbi Judah haNasi in the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Yoma 39 a & b, that for 40 years before the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70AD, the crimson coloured thread, tied to the door of the Temple, did not go white – a national calamity for Israel!

Rabbi haNasi (135-220AD) was President of the Sanhedrin for many years.

Thus, since 30AD when Jesus died, Jews have no guarantee of God's forgiveness on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

This then proves unambiguously that the Old Testament was incomplete without the New Testament, since in it our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel, dies on the Cross to save us from our sins.

We can ask for and receive forgiveness for our sins. Did Jesus not say, I have not come to destroy the Law, but to complete it?

Andrew Sholl is co-founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics. This article was first printed in The Hebrew Catholic , Spring 2014.

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