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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:22 pm 
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Well, as far as animal sacrifices, remember, Hebrews started off as nomadic, pastoral people. Animals were what they had available to sacrifice. It was not that different from regular slaughter for food.

I once did Torah studies with a group of women at my synagogue. (A fun experience at a liberal Reform congregation, where half the participants would say "I'm not sure there IS a god" :help:) Anyway, the topic was the construction of the Mishkan (The Tabernacle? That Ark in Indiana Jones movie.) The topic was the very detailed description of who gave what to build it. And the question was, "What should we bring to the God's indwelling?"

Inevitably, someone began, "Our hearts, our minds..." But to me, it seemed clear that it had to be a thing. Something we made, something we valued, produced by skill and craft, or at least treasured. Not what we feel but what we do, and what we are prepared to give up for the common cause.

Well, it's that deed over creed thing. ;) To be righteous, you need to be good at something, and then you need to share whatever that produces.

This has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus and resurrection. Human sacrifice is something else, and self-sacrifice is something else again.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:43 pm 
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I'm sorry that I only have time for a drive-by post this morning, though I've been thinking about an answer to vison's post ever since she wrote it.

God himself started the first bloodshed, whether we like that notion or not. I would say that it was the first sacrifice, in fact. After Adam and Eve sin in the Garden of Eden and all of that, God clothes them with animal skins. It doesn't say specifically which animal, though I would think lamb or goat make likely candidates.

(See Genesis 3:21.)

That's my drive-by. Sorry for the brevity, and I will do my best to come back with a longer response to the bigger question.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Why do just the words "blood sacrifice" fill me with nausea? :scratch:

It's not like I have a background in this stuff.... but those words definitely strike me as morbid and creepyfying.

I'll have to think on this.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:07 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
Well, as far as animal sacrifices, remember, Hebrews started off as nomadic, pastoral people. Animals were what they had available to sacrifice. It was not that different from regular slaughter for food.

I once did Torah studies with a group of women at my synagogue. (A fun experience at a liberal Reform congregation, where half the participants would say "I'm not sure there IS a god" :help:) Anyway, the topic was the construction of the Mishkan (The Tabernacle? That Ark in Indiana Jones movie.) The topic was the very detailed description of who gave what to build it. And the question was, "What should we bring to the God's indwelling?"

Inevitably, someone began, "Our hearts, our minds..." But to me, it seemed clear that it had to be a thing. Something we made, something we valued, produced by skill and craft, or at least treasured. Not what we feel but what we do, and what we are prepared to give up for the common cause.

Well, it's that deed over creed thing. ;) To be righteous, you need to be good at something, and then you need to share whatever that produces.

This has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus and resurrection. Human sacrifice is something else, and self-sacrifice is something else again.


I've been reading a bit in Dueteronomy and never noticed this before:

Quote:
You may not eat within your towns the tithe of your grain or of your wine or of your oil, or the firstborn of your herd or of your flock, or any of your vow offerings that you vow, or your freewill offerings or the contribution that you present, 18 but you shall eat them before the LORD your God in the place that the LORD your God will choose, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is within your towns. And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all that you undertake.


Or this:

Quote:
But the holy things that are due from you, and your vow offerings, you shall take, and you shall go to the place that the LORD will choose, 27 and offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of the LORD your God. The blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the LORD your God, but the flesh you may eat.


I often wondered where all the meat brought as sacrifice would go (there is no way the Levites could eat all of it). But I see above that the offerings were brought, the blood poured out on the altar, and the meat was then eaten. In a way it is not so much a sacrifice as it is simply the process of killing and bleeding that which you eat. There are passages about blood and ashes used to make something clean, but what was done with the meat (unless it was all burnt up) was a mystery...


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:18 pm 
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I doubt that it would be wasted.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:18 pm 
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Maria wrote:
Why do just the words "blood sacrifice" fill me with nausea? :scratch: It's not like I have a background in this stuff.... but those words definitely strike me as morbid and creepyfying. I'll have to think on this.


I know what it is!!! Attempts to work magic that require hurting someone or some thing are evil and stupid. And just plain bad. :x


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:48 pm 
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It does sound mystical and bad... however if you were told not to eat blood, and your diet revolved around meat, bleeding of animals would be a necessary step in preparing your food. Where this leaves us regarding Jesus on a cross? Hmmm I guess we are back to zombies and such. Random thought: consider vampire lore in the face of a stricture on eating blood (wherein the life of a thing resides).


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:29 pm 
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Returning to your original questions, vison, are you more interested in how Christians reconcile the concept of God and man in one being (and what he must know or not know)? Or are you more interested in the question of whether or not there could have been another option for Jesus beyond death?

I'll attempt some thoughts on the latter question because it also ties in a bit to the blood sacrifice discussion going on. I’ll say up front that I’ve given this as much thought as I’ve been able to spare over the past week or so, but I haven’t been able to do any research.

I think blood sacrifice is an unpopular concept in our culture, but—this is what I keep coming back to—God is the one who started it and made it the fabric of His redemption plan. Why? I'm not sure. If I had to guess I'd say that perhaps He started it because it is messy, ugly, painful, gross, and disgusting—and that is a very accurate picture of sin and evil.

Moreover, we tend to gloss over our own sins and think that they’re not so bad, but the very tangible aspect of a blood sacrifice would force us to face our own darkness, as well as our own mortality.

And, perhaps, the mortality part of it is the bigger lesson we're supposed to learn from it. ??

Obviously, Christians don’t practice literal animal sacrifices anymore. (Side question: How do modern Jews deal with this issue? I don’t know any Jewish people who still offer sacrifices--except maybe some Orthodox Jews??--, but aren’t you still under that mandate? Or are you exempt because the Temple no longer exists?) Anyway, back to Christians and Jesus’ sacrifice.

Could Jesus have done something differently than what we read in the Bible? I don’t see why not, but offering himself as the final sacrifice seems to have been the main plan from the beginning. As for why all of that, in general, I've honestly just come to the conclusion that it's because that's how He chose to write the story, so to speak. I don’t mean to be glib here because I don’t think this is a trivial topic. I just have to say at some point this is the way God chose to operate on our world in this time. Perhaps he did something differently somewhere else, but, like an author with a specific book, this is the story we’ve been given and are a part of. And, just like we can argue that Tolkien should've had more female characters or we can question why Tolkien just didn't have Gwaihir drop the darn ring in Mt. Doom, we can and do certainly struggle with aspects of the story we are a part of.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:35 pm 
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Lali, yes, animal sacrifices were specific to the Temple and have not been practiced since the destruction of the Temple. What would happen should the Temple ever be rebuilt in our days is an interesting question.

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‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Thanks, Lalaith.

I don't have time to respond at length, but I will say this: I think that animal or blood sacrifice arose from the importance that meat had to our very early ancestors. When you hunt for meat, you have one set of "rules" about it - most meat hunters would make some ritual thanks to the animal they killed or to the powers that let them kill it.

When people took up herding, meat was there, ready for slaughter when you needed it; there was still some need, I think, to acknowledge the importance of it, and the truth that the animal was killed. Livestock is precious, and you don't kill it lightly.

I can see how that would then morph into the rituals surrounding sacrfice. God let you have this beast, so you offer it to the god.

eta: there have been other gods who were required to die and be resurrected. And we must not forget the "corn king" in some cultures.

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 4:42 pm 
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In the Christian teaching I'm familiar with, Jesus took on the sins of the whole world while on the cross. God is perfect, and cannot look upon sin, therefore in those final hours, his son was alone. For the first time in his life, his Father abandoned him. That was why he cried out, "My God my God, why have you forsaken me?"

As a result of this burden of sin, Christian tradition has it that he descended into Hell, and preached the Gospel to the dead, before being ressurected: He suffered under Pontious Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day, he rose again. He ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the father almighty. (Apostle's creed).

As for Yom Kippur, Christians do not celebrate it, as Jesus was our sacrifice, our atonement for our sins. As Scripture says, 'once for all'. His crucifiction took place on Passover, because he represents the Passover (Pashcal) lamb that was sacrificed. Blood sacrifices are no longer necessary. All that is needed is that we confess our sins: " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

As for the meat from the sacrifices, the priests DID eat it. Due to the heavy amount of meat in their diet, they often suffered from gout, which was known as 'the priests' disease'! :shock:

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 6:16 pm 
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Sunsilver wrote:
In the Christian teaching I'm familiar with, Jesus took on the sins of the whole world while on the cross. God is perfect, and cannot look upon sin,therefore in those final hours, his son was alone. For the first time in his life, his Father abandoned him. That was why he cried out, "My God my God, why have you forsaken me?"


Sunny, I must say that I have never heard this interpretation. If God "cannot look upon sin" then God would surely never look at any of us. Ever.

I was always taught that Jesus felt abandoned by God (as we all do at times)...but that God NEVER truly abandoned him...just as God would never abandon any of us.

Were you really taught that God abandoned Jesus during his darkest hour? If that were true, why would any of us expect God to stick by us when we were in greatest need...presumably when we are neck-deep in sin.

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:11 pm 
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JS, you are right. I really should go back and edit that to say 'he felt abandoned by his Father' :oops:

As Christians often say, "Feeling like God is far away? Guess who moved?"

In my defense, hay fever season has arrived, my mind is muddled, my eyes are itchy and scratchy, and I can hardly see to post.

I'll be back when I can think more clearly...

The fact is, sin separates us from God. That's the point I was trying to make. :blackeye:

Edit: sheesh, I even got my threads mixed up! (Post about Yom kippur.) :roll:

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:15 pm 
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I can remember being taught that, though, Jewel and Sunny.

I don't believe it's a true teaching. I would agree with this:

Full Question
Was Jesus "forsaken" momentarily by the Father on the cross? If so, then are we saying that the Trinity was momentarily split? If Jesus was not forsaken by the Father, then what really caused Jesus such agony in the garden?

Answer

Jesus was not forsaken by the Father on the cross. He was reciting Psalm 22 about himself: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It goes on: "I can count every one of my bones. These people stare at me and gloat; they divide my clothing among them. They cast lots for my robe." It is most important to realize that Jesus has a human and divine nature. It was his human nature that suffered and died, not his divine nature.


From Catholic Answers.

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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:48 pm 
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Lalaith wrote:
I can remember being taught that, though, Jewel and Sunny.

I don't believe it's a true teaching. I would agree with this:

Full Question
Was Jesus "forsaken" momentarily by the Father on the cross? If so, then are we saying that the Trinity was momentarily split? If Jesus was not forsaken by the Father, then what really caused Jesus such agony in the garden?

Answer

Jesus was not forsaken by the Father on the cross. He was reciting Psalm 22 about himself: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It goes on: "I can count every one of my bones. These people stare at me and gloat; they divide my clothing among them. They cast lots for my robe." It is most important to realize that Jesus has a human and divine nature. It was his human nature that suffered and died, not his divine nature.


From Catholic Answers.


Yes, and it is meant to be reassuring I think. As humans we often feel separate from, if not abandoned and forsaken by, God.

But way back in Deut 31:6 (and cited in Hebrews 13:5) He says "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Therefore, it is just a feeling. That feeling is explored at some length in Job (which I really must get back to some day).

As for the other stuff, I think Jewel has the right perspective, according to the scriptures.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 5:17 pm 
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JewelSong wrote:
Sunsilver wrote:
In the Christian teaching I'm familiar with, Jesus took on the sins of the whole world while on the cross. God is perfect, and cannot look upon sin,therefore in those final hours, his son was alone. For the first time in his life, his Father abandoned him. That was why he cried out, "My God my God, why have you forsaken me?"


Sunny, I must say that I have never heard this interpretation. If God "cannot look upon sin" then God would surely never look at any of us. Ever.

The teaching Sunny posted has been my understanding as well. I would say, it's not that God can't look upon sin, but God cannot abide with sin, therefore we cannot fellowship with God when we are sinful. That is why (speaking doctrinally) we are at peace with God only through Jesus. Because it is only through Jesus (his death on the cross) that we are separated from our sin (or, that our sin is removed from us) and we can commune with God.

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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 7:26 pm 
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Is it really correct (in Christian doctrine) to say that there is anything "God cannot" do?

(And, it's lovely to see you here, Cerin.)

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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 3:56 pm 
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Thanks, guys! :) :hug:


Primula Baggins wrote:
Is it really correct (in Christian doctrine) to say that there is anything "God cannot" do?

No, that was definitely not a correct wording. I relied on the previous construction without thinking about it, my point being the difference between 'look upon' and 'abide with'. Perhaps it would be more correct to say, sin cannot abide with God.

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