If you ask the man on the street in Israel why the Bible commands the children of Israel to offer blood sacrifices of animals, the answer you receive will be almost universally the same.
Most Israelis will say-without thinking-that Moses "allowed" the Israelites to sacrifice animals because all the heathen nations round about did it.
Allowing blood sacrifice by our forefathers, then, was merely a concession on the part pf God, to an otherwise valueless ritual performed by idol worshipping neighbors.
Virtually all Israelis will verbalize such an answer for this is what they have been told by their spiritual leaders. In fact, Jews throughout the world will give this answer, except those Jews of course, who are so assimilated that they have no traditional training in their religion or culture whatsoever. Assimilated Jews may hardly be aware there was such a thing as animal sacrifice in the days of the Old and New Testaments.
The spiritual leaders of that part of world Jewry which does not yet know the Messiah, has its roots in Babylon. It was during the dispersion of the Jews to Babylon, that the great Jewish sages wrote the Babylonian Talmud, the primary source of divine direction for Rabbis today. It is upon these writings, later compiled and systemized, that Orthodoxy claims its legitimacy to teach the Jewish people the way of the Lord.
REPENTANCE WITHOUT ATONEMENT
Drawing their beliefs from the Babylonian Talmud, Orthodox Rabbis today teach that repentance means, 1) praying that God will forgive your sins and then, 2) obeying all the Rabbinical "mitzvot" (commandments as set down by these ancient sages).
Through prayer then we will receive forgiveness, and through keeping "mitzvot" we will receive God's favor says the Babylonian Talmud. Perhaps you have noticed by now that blood sacrifice has nothing to do with nothing, and indeed never has had anything to do with anything. So say the Rabbis of Babylonian persuasion.
THE NEW TESTAMENT RENEWS EMPHASIS ON REPENTANCE
Yet, according to the primary Source Book of the Messianic Jews-Moses, and the prophets and the New Testament-repentance without the atonement of blood sacrifice is powerless to save.
Let us first focus on the Biblical meaning of repentance. John, the forerunner of Yeshua, began his ministry by quoting Isaiah's words on repentance. He clarified its meaning by emphasizing that true repentance means ceasing our sinning and
realizing that if we don't, we will be chopped down by God Himself (Luke 3).
"Repent" means to turn away from our sins. Change our mind. Choose God's way, which is the opposite way we have been going. In short, to dethrone ourselves and place the Holy One of Israel on the throne of our hearts.
The first words of Yeshua the Messiah's public ministry were, “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent " (Mark 1:15) Repentance then is the first step towards salvation and commitment toward God.
BELIEVING WITHOUT REPENTANCE
The reason there are so many unsaved nominal Christians in Christianity, is that although they believe that Yeshua is the Son of God, (so does the devil), they have never humbled their hearts toward God and repented. They have not changed their ways. What they loved before their "commitment" to God is what they still love. The idols of materialism and lust are still their gods. Their confessing of faith is head knowledge only.
REPENTANCE WITHOUT ATONEMENT
On the other hand, Orthodox Judaism has lost the understanding of how to repent. Mind you, many Jews pray prayers of regret and sorrow, but they are powerless to change their hearts. Even sincere repentance alone, therefore, cannot bring salvation. Moses himself made that clear. He explained in about as articulate a language as is possible, that "the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your soul; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement." (Lev. 17: 11)
We repeat: There are many sincere Orthodox Jews who genuinely repent of their sins regularly. They are truly sorry and wish to change. As Paul, remembering his days as a religious Jew before He met his Messiah said, "For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish." (Rom. 7: 19)
The sad truth is that the power of God is not working on behalf of these Orthodox Jews to give them the promised new heart and new spirit that the prophets spoke of. Why?
REPENTANCE PLUS GOD'S ATONEMENT EQUALS SALVATION
Because according to our Jewish prophets and reiterated in the New Testament, salvation has been wrought by God through repentance and atonement. This is a completely and utterly Jewish concept.
The Rabbinical leaders have lost the message of Moses, that atonement is made only through the sacrifice of a life, by pouring out its blood. Arid if they do not believe Moses, how can they believe Yeshua? They have forgotten that the miracle of salvation must come from God, not themselves. No matter how many "mitzvot" they keep, Jews cannot save themselves.
The Letter to the Hebrews, a book written by a Jew to the Jews, reminds us of the message of Moses when he says, "And according to the Law one may almost say all things are cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Heb. 10:22).
It is my conviction that we must preach with even greater boldness the absolute necessity for repentance coupled with a revelation of the Person, the Personality of Yeshua. We must preach our absolute and undeniable need for Him to be our Atonement. Only then can our people be set free from the sins we are willing to repent of. Only then will we see a tremendous surge in the Messianic Jewish Revival.
GOD'S POWER WORKS THROUGH PREACHING THE CRUCIFIXION
"For we preach the Messiah crucified, to Jews a stumbling block...but to those who are called...Messiah (is) the power of God and the wisdom of God." (I Cor. 1:23,24)
"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first…" (Rom. 1:16)
The Good News is that the teachings of Moses are vindicated! God did raise up a prophet like unto Moses. The Jewish Gospel is that God gave us a part of Himself in His Son, so that we could look upon God Himself as Moses did and reflect
God as Moses did! And through His Son Yeshua the Messiah, who became the Lamb of God, the nation of Israel has atonement for her sins. Yes, God does require blood for atonement, just as Moses said.
Why should we be surprised that God provided His own atonement? The Bible has always told our people that no one can redeem us but God Himself!
But, how then, do we Messianic Jews go about reaching our people with the message of the Gospel? Our challenge is complicated ten times over through the sins of the Christian Church throughout history. They perversely used the cross; until today it symbolizes to the Jewish people the destruction of themselves! And who were these destroyers? None other than those who called themselves followers of this same Messiah.
Actually, the cross was no sweet symbol even before Christians through the centuries used it to torture and kill Jews. If Yeshua had been sacrificed today, the symbol might have been a gun, or a hangmen's noose, or an electric chair.
If Yeshua had chosen 20th Century America to reveal Himself, and then die for our sins, we and our generation would have been asked to believe in one who was convicted as a criminal and executed in the electric chair by our nation's leaders.
THE CROSS IS A SYMBOL OF DESTRUCTION
The cross is not a symbol of honor and glory. It is today's electric chair, representing shame, guilt and great sin.
The cross represents the incredible instruments of violence that have been invented to satiate Satan's desire to snuff out the life of the human race. But instead, it destroyed the Lamb of God so that we might live! In today's language, He was shot or hung, or gassed. But in so doing this cross brought us eternal life! It is by boldly preaching the cross that we will reach our people. It is this "foolish" message that holds the key to revival.
But there is more. The Gospel is that He is alive. It is not only that He came, but that He is, and is to come. We must teach our Jewish people the main cornerstone of the Jewish faith that our ancestors have lost or rejected. The message of the cross is the message of blood sacrifice. That Lamb returned to life and lives in us. Our Atonement lives in us!
Our religious leaders have diluted our Jewish faith down to an impotent shadow of what Moses the prophet, Yeshua the Messiah, and the Jewish apostles said it must be.
If we were to take a poll among all of world Jewry, the vast majority would say that Orthodox Judaism is dead, dry, and powerless to help.
Why? Because its true leader, the Messiah Yeshua, King of the Jews, the one that Moses pointed to, has been rejected by the builders.
Now the new builders of this generation of Jews who are turning to God must, above all, reinstate Yeshua onto His rightful throne.
We must lead our people back to Biblical, Scriptural God-given Judaism as prescribed by Moses. And the central theme of Biblical Judaism is Yeshua the Messiah.
Every Messianic Congregation should begin to write more songs about Yeshua the Messiah. About the life that is in His Blood. About the crucifixion and resurrection. About the Lamb of God, Yeshua who became a common criminal and who is now Yeshua, the Great King. About the Lamb of the Book of Revelation, Yeshua the Humble Servant who is called the Lion of Judah.
We cannot be casual about it. We are talking of nothing less than a national revelation.
The trumpet must be clear. There can be no mistake. Our Jewish people have to see Yeshua. They must understand who He is and what He did. Then we will see revival that will astound the world. Then the promises that we long to see fulfilled, shall be fulfilled.
VISION: BIBLE SCHOOL IN ISRAEL
We, Ari and Shira, are planning to be in the United States until May 1990, to finish raising funds for the Bible School we so badly need in Israel.
To those of you whom God places this need on your heart, we encourage you to pray and give to this Israeli Bible School.
We must pay cash for property, as there are no loans available in Israel for such projects.
This gives us, together with those who so desire, great opportunity to glorify God through our participation and to give Him all the glory for bringing the impossible to pass!
In our Messiah's service,
ARI & SHIRA SORKO- RAM