Sacrifice and the Cross in the Torah, פרשת כי תצא, Parashat Ki Tetze, Bits of Torah Truths


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In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Ki Tetze, we read about capital offences, and one of which whose penalty is to be hung upon a tree according to Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:22-23, כב וְכִי-יִהְיֶה בְאִישׁ חֵטְא מִשְׁפַּט-מָוֶת וְהוּמָת וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל-עֵץ: כג לֹא-תָלִין נִבְלָתוֹ עַל-הָעֵץ כִּי-קָבוֹר תִּקְבְּרֶנּוּ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כִּי-קִלְלַת אֱלֹהִים תָּלוּי וְלֹא תְטַמֵּא אֶת-אַדְמָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה: 21:22 ‘If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 21:23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance. (NASB) The statement is related to a man who commits a capital offense is to be executed and “hanged on a tree” (וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל-עֵץ) this man is under the curse of God, meaning that he is utterly condemned under the verdict of the Torah. According to the Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 6, the Great Sanhedrin (סַנְהֶדְרִין גְדוֹלָה) had ruled “a man must be hanged with his face towards those watching” when he is placed upon a wooden stake. The laws explaining which criminals are to be hanged are given in the Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 45b. In the Apostolic Writings, this gruesome practice of Roman crucifixion was the method of execution for Yeshua (Mark 15:9-15, John 19:5-7-15). The exposed body was required to be buried before sundown to keep the land from being defiled. The idea behind crucifixion was due to this manner of death, the one who was executed in this way would be unable to fall to their knees as a final act of repentance before God, thereby implying that they were under the irrevocable curse of God (קִלְלַת אֱלהִים). Rashi comments upon these verses in the following way:

Rashi on Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:22 Part 1
וכי יהיה באיש חטא משפט מות. סְמִיכוּת הַפָּרָשִׁיּוֹת מַגִּיד שֶׁאִם חָסִים עָלָיו אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ, סוֹף שֶׁיֵּצֵא לְתַרְבּוּת רָעָה וְיַעֲבֹר עֲבֵרוֹת וְיִתְחַיֵּב מִיתָה בְּבֵית דִּין (עי’ תנחומא):
וכי יהיה באיש חטא משפט מות AND IF THERE BE IN A MAN A SIN DESERVING THE JUDGMENT OF DEATH — The juxtaposition of these sections (this and that of the rebellious son) tells us that if father and mother spare him (the rebellious son), he will in the latter end turn to mischief and commit sins for which he will become liable to the death penalty by the court (cf. Midrash Tanchuma, Ki Teitzei 1).

The reason these verses were juxtaposed next to the son who would not listen Rashi states that this rebellious son who is not disciplined will turn out to be liable to the death penalty by the court due to this child growing up to live in disobedience all his life. According to Rashi, the reason the gruesome act of crucifixion is described at this place is the Lord God revealing the importance of disciplining children. The rabbis say, “First the Torah was concerned with man’s personal refinement as expressed in the verse כי תצא למלחמה, man goes to war against his evil urge. Next G’d showed His concern about the rehabilitation of man’s children, hence the paragraph about the delinquent son, בן סורר ומורה. In our verse the Torah refers to the scholars of the respective generation whose task it is to watch over evil doers.” (Or HaVhain On Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:22 Part 1) The idea is if a man continues to be rebellious against God’s Torah without repenting he will wind up living his life in such a lawless way, and this will lead to crimes and possibly to being executed. The Lord God had charged the scholars with ensuring the sinners are taught to be repentant by disciplining them in the Word of God and in deed (disciplining them to faith and faithfulness). When a man is crucified, it is as if the scholars of his time were derelict in their duty to persuade the sinner to mend his ways, and the end is the death penalty for the sinner. This is an important point as it is related to the sinner and the heavenly court. Judgement is not brought immediately, but time is given for the sinner to repent. (2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. NASB) But a time will come when we will all stand before the Lord God Almighty and have to give an account!
In light of these verses from the Torah, we read how Yeshua was crucified upon a cross in the Apostolic Writings. In this connection, note that Yeshua was falsely charged of blasphemy before the Sanhedrin of His day (Matthew 26:65, Mark 14:64, John 10:33). The Torah describes the death penalty for such a crime is by stoning (Vayikra / Leviticus 24:11-16). However, under Roman law, all men who were judged to die had to submit to the Roman proconsul for adjudication, and so the Jewish court handed Yeshua over to Pontius Pilate to be interrogated. Pontius Pilate revealed to us that Roman law was indifferent to cases concerning Jewish religious practices, such as in the case of the charges of blasphemy, and so the religious leaders changed the original charge of blasphemy to sedition against Rome as stating that Yeshua claimed to be both Messiah and King of Israel. The Torah command allowed for one who was judged to be put to death, to be “hung on a tree” (Bamidbar / Numbers 25:4) and the Sanhedrin was not capable of carrying out this judgement because of Roman rule, they had Pontius Pilate condemn him to death instead. (Matthew 27:31, Mark 15:13-4, Luke 23:21, John 19:6-15) Crucifixion is mentioned elsewhere in the Talmud Bavli Yevamot 120b discussing topics such as whether a widow can remarry if her husband had been crucified. In addition, Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian also mentions crucifixion. The Talmud also alludes to the death of Yeshua where Yeshua is said to have been crucified on the “eve of Passover.” (Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 43a) Studying the Torah, we are taught that there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. (see Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11 and Hebrews 9:22) Yeshua going to the cross, His sacrificial death was meant to cleanse us from sin and satisfy both God’s Justice and compassion. (Romans 3:22-25, Tehillim / Psalms 85:10) Due to one being cursed by God being hung upon a tree, Roman crucifixion, this place became the location where Yeshua became sin for us, the One who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God as Paul wrote to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. NASB). Paul further wrote, “The Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, ‘A Man hanged on a tree is cursed…’” (see Galatians 6:13 where Paul was quoting Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:22-23). This is how Yeshua described himself to be lifted up in John 3:14-15 according to Bamidbar / Numbers 21:9 (the brazen serpent נְחַשׁ נְחֹשֶׁת in the desert). As Yeshua breathed his last breath, he stated “it is finished” (see John 19:30, Matthew 27:50) In Koine Greek, this final statement is recorded as a single word, tetelestai (Τετέλεσται). This statement is traditionally called “The Word of Triumph” and is theologically interpreted as the announcement of the end of the earthly life of Yeshua, in anticipation for the Resurrection. We read in Luke 23:46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last. (NASB) This is a quote from Tehillim / Psalm 31:5 which functioned as an announcement concluding what He had done while he hanging upon the cross!

The Scriptures we are looking at for this week are from Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:10-23.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:10-23
21:10 ‘When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 21:11 and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 21:12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 21:13 ‘She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 21:14 ‘It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her. 21:15 ‘If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, 21:16 then it shall be in the day he wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn. 21:17 ‘But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn. 21:18 ‘If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 21:19 then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his home town. 21:20 ‘They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21:21 ‘Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear. 21:22 ‘If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 21:23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance. (NASB)

י כִּי-תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה עַל-אֹיְבֶיךָ וּנְתָנוֹ יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּיָדֶךָ וְשָׁבִיתָ שִׁבְיוֹ: יא וְרָאִיתָ בַּשִּׁבְיָה אֵשֶׁת יְפַת-תֹּאַר וְחָשַׁקְתָּ בָהּ וְלָקַחְתָּ לְךָ לְאִשָּׁה: יב וַהֲבֵאתָהּ אֶל-תּוֹךְ בֵּיתֶךָ וְגִלְּחָה אֶת-רֹאשָׁהּ וְעָשְֹתָה אֶת-צִפָּרְנֶיהָ: יג וְהֵסִירָה אֶת-שִֹמְלַת שִׁבְיָהּ מֵעָלֶיהָ וְיָשְׁבָה בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבָכְתָה אֶת-אָבִיהָ וְאֶת-אִמָּהּ יֶרַח יָמִים וְאַחַר כֵּן תָּבוֹא אֵלֶיהָ וּבְעַלְתָּהּ וְהָיְתָה לְךָ לְאִשָּׁה: יד וְהָיָה אִם-לֹא חָפַצְתָּ בָּהּ וְשִׁלַּחְתָּהּ לְנַפְשָׁהּ וּמָכֹר לֹא-תִמְכְּרֶנָּה בַּכָּסֶף לֹא-תִתְעַמֵּר בָּהּ תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר עִנִּיתָהּ: ס טו כִּי-תִהְיֶין ָ לְאִישׁ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים הָאַחַת אֲהוּבָה וְהָאַחַת שְֹנוּאָה וְיָלְדוּ-לוֹ בָנִים הָאֲהוּבָה וְהַשְּׂנוּאָה וְהָיָה הַבֵּן הַבְּכֹר לַשְּׂנִיאָה: טז וְהָיָה בְּיוֹם הַנְחִילוֹ אֶת-בָּנָיו אֵת אֲשֶׁר-יִהְיֶה לוֹ לֹא יוּכַל לְבַכֵּר אֶת-בֶּן-הָאֲהוּבָה עַל-פְּנֵי בֶן-הַשְּׂנוּאָה הַבְּכֹר: יז כִּי אֶת-הַבְּכֹר בֶּן-הַשְּׂנוּאָה יַכִּיר לָתֶת לוֹ פִּי שְׁנַיִם בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-יִמָּצֵא לוֹ כִּי-הוּא רֵאשִׁית אֹנוֹ לוֹ מִשְׁפַּט הַבְּכֹרָה: ס יח כִּי-יִהְיֶה לְאִישׁ בֵּן סוֹרֵר וּמוֹרֶה אֵינֶנּוּ שֹׁמֵעַ בְּקוֹל אָבִיו וּבְקוֹל אִמּוֹ וְיִסְּרוּ אֹתוֹ וְלֹא יִשְׁמַע אֲלֵיהֶם: יט וְתָפְשֹוּ בוֹ אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ וְהוֹצִיאוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל-זִקְנֵי עִירוֹ וְאֶל-שַׁעַר מְקֹמוֹ: כ וְאָמְרוּ אֶל-זִקְנֵי עִירוֹ בְּנֵנוּ זֶה סוֹרֵר וּמֹרֶה אֵינֶנּוּ שֹׁמֵעַ בְּקֹלֵנוּ זוֹלֵל וְסֹבֵא: כא וּרְגָמֻהוּ כָּל-אַנְשֵׁי עִירוֹ בָאֲבָנִים וָמֵת וּבִעַרְתָּ הָרָע מִקִּרְבֶּךָ וְכָל-יִשְֹרָאֵל יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיִרָאוּ: ס [שני] כב וְכִי-יִהְיֶה בְאִישׁ חֵטְא מִשְׁפַּט-מָוֶת וְהוּמָת וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל-עֵץ: כג לֹא-תָלִין נִבְלָתוֹ עַל-הָעֵץ כִּי-קָבוֹר תִּקְבְּרֶנּוּ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כִּי-קִלְלַת אֱלֹהִים תָּלוּי וְלֹא תְטַמֵּא אֶת-אַדְמָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה:

Studying the Rabbinic literature, there are a lot of commentaries on the timing in which a man is hung upon a tree, whether this is done before or after he has been put to death. (see Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 45b and Sanhedrin 46a)

Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 46b
GEMARA: The Sages taught in a baraita: Were it stated: And if a man has committed a sin worthy of death you shall hang him on a tree, I would have said that first they hang him and only afterward they put him to death, the way the gentile government does, executing the transgressor by hanging. Therefore, the verse states: “And if a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, and you shall hang him on a tree” (Deuteronomy 21:22), teaching that first they put him to death, and only afterward they hang him. How so? They delay the verdict until it is near to sunset, and then they conclude his judgment, and they put him to death, and immediately afterward hang him. One ties him to the hanging post, and another immediately unties him, in order to fulfill the mitzvah of hanging the corpse of the executed transgressor.

The question is whether one was to hang a man upon the tree before or after his death. The gentile nations put men to death after being hung meaning they are to suffer upon the tree. This is consistent with what we read in the Apostolic Writings. The important point to observe was during the Sanhedrin examination, the rabbis concluded that Yeshua had blasphemed against God and so they handed him over to be executed. The Roman government did not care about religious reasons for execution, so the leaders had to convince Pontius Pilate to convict Yeshua to death and then execute him.

In Parashat Shoftim (last week’s study), Moshe spoke of the importance of establishing a system of justice in every city in Israel, and then points to the coming of the Messiah, a prophet like himself. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 18:19 And I will hold accountable anyone who does not listen to My words that that prophet speaks in My name… יח נָבִיא אָקִים לָהֶם מִקֶּרֶב אֲחֵיהֶם כָּמוֹךָ וְנָתַתִּי דְבָרַי בְּפִיו וְדִבֶּר אֲלֵיהֶם אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּנּוּ: יט וְהָיָה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יִשְׁמַע אֶל-דְּבָרַי אֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר בִּשְׁמִי אָנֹכִי אֶדְרשׁ מֵעִמּוֹ:) That prophet might be understood as the prediction of the Messiah as the One who was to come. This comment that God says “I will raise a prophet like you” (נָבִיא אָקִים לָהֶם מִקֶּרֶב אֲחֵיהֶם כָּמוֹךָ) does not necessarily mean he will be in resemblance in all respects but that the Lord will hold accountable anyone who does not listen to the Word of God from this prophet. This suggests the One who is raised up is superior in many respects to Moshe. This is illustrated in Devarim / Deuteronomy 34:9-10, 34:9 Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. 34:10 Since that time, no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. (BSB) This is how the author of the book of Hebrews writes in Hebrews 3:1-6. Because of these things, Israel expected the Messiah would appear as the prophet. We can see this in a few verses from the Apostolic Writings.

John 1:21-22
1:21 “Then who are you?” they inquired. “Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 1:22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” (BRB)

John 6:14
Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (NASB)

Acts 3:22-26
3:22 “Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. 3:23 ‘And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 3:24 “And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. 3:25 “It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’ 3:26 “For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” (NASB)

Acts 7:37
“This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.’” (NASB)

This reference to Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:18 speaks of the one whom the Lord would raise up. Yeshua seems to apply this to himself when he states, “There is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” (John 5:45-46, John 11:48-50) We look at the response from the people of Israel, their expectation of the One who would come, we also see this expectation of the Messiah that is inferred from the Samaritans, the woman at the well response in John 4:25. This promise that was given of a prophet was a reference ultimately to the Messiah.

In this week’s portion (Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19), Moshe returns to the immediate concern of the conquest of the Promised Land by providing a number of specific laws and instructions to be enforced regarding civil life in Israel. Of particular interest to us is the statement that a man who was executed and “hanged on a tree” (עַל־עֵץ) is under the curse of God (Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Ibn Ezra states the following concerning these verses:

Ibn Ezra on Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:23 Part 1
A hanged man is a curse of God since he blasphemed against God. But the simple explanation is that God is the source of the curse, which will descend everywhere close to the hanged man. There is a mysterious aspect to this curse which attaches itself to human life. Accordingly, Scripture says you shall not defile your land. This passage is necessarily placed in close proximity to the passages describing warfare (as it is written: “When you go out in war…” [: 10]). As demonstrated in the Gibeonite War [Joshua 10: 27], the reason behind must not remain overnight is not the dignity of the corpse, but rather, the dignity of the land. In this respect it does not matter whether the dead body be Canaanite or Israelite.

The important point to note is how Ibn Ezra states for the sin of blasphemy one is hung upon a tree. According to the Apostolic Writings the Sanhedrin ruled that Yeshua had blasphemed against God and deserved death. Handing him over to the Romans, they changed their verdict to sedition, being a king who sought to overthrow Roman rule. In the Torah command on being hung upon a tree, the exposed body was to be buried before sundown so the land would not be defiled. This person was cursed of God, and did not have the option to repent before God, though we do see one of the criminals on the cross next to Yeshua did repent just before he died.

According to the Scriptures, there is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood (see Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11, Hebrews 9:22). The disciples of Yeshua understood this connection of the salvation of God through the Annointed one of God, and the substitutionary death of Yeshua that satisfied God’s wrath for sin on our behalf and this could only be accomplished upon the cross, the tree, to be cursed of God in order to take upon himself the sins of the world. This is what Isaiah meant when he spoke in Isaiah 53 of the suffering servant who would come. This is how Paul understood the Messiah’s death saying, “The Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law (קִלְלַת הַתּוֹרָה) by becoming a curse (קְלָלָה) for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” (Galatians 3:13) Peter wrote, “The God of our fathers raised Yeshua, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree” (Acts 5:30, Acts 10:39-40) and, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Eyewitnesses to his crucifixion wrote, “When he had received the drink, Yeshua said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30, Matthew 27:50).

Yeshua’s death and resurrection underpin a variety of theological interpretations as to how salvation is granted to humanity. These interpretations vary widely in how much emphasis they place on the death of Yeshua as compared to his words. (Matthew 6:14–15 and also Sermon on the Mount) Even today in the messianic communities we see a variety of interpretations on his death. According to the substitutionary atonement view, Yeshua’s death is of central importance, and Yeshua willingly gave himself as an act of perfect obedience as a sacrifice of love which pleased God. (“Doctrine of the Atonement” Catholic Encyclopedia, In contrast to this there is what is known as “the moral influence theory of atonement” which focuses more on the moral content of Yeshua’s teaching, and sees His death as merely a martyrdom. (A. J. Wallace, R. D. Rusk Moral Transformation: The Original Christian Paradigm of Salvation, New Zealand: Bridgehead, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4563-8980-2) Since the Middle Ages there has been conflict between these two views within Western Christianity. Evangelical Protestants typically hold a substitutionary view and in particular hold to the theory of penal substitution. Liberal Protestants typically reject substitutionary atonement and hold to the moral influence theory of atonement. Both views are popular within the Roman Catholic church, with the “satisfaction doctrine” incorporated into the idea of penance. (“Doctrine of the Atonement” Catholic Encyclopedia, It is interesting how Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians because there were similar arguments over the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua in Corinth. Paul said, “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by mean come death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:16-22) Some must not have believed the testimony of the disciples that Yeshua had risen, that the Lord God of Israel had glorified Yeshua and raised him up from the dead. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 5:21) we are told that God had made him to be sin, who knew no sin. This idea of the Messiah being sinless before God is expressed here in Paul’s letter, and what the Messiah has done on the cross on our behalf, we experience the power of God too when we yield our lives to this, dying to self. We are told none could “convict Him of sin” (John 8:46). In addition, the “Prince of this world had nothing in Him” (John 14:30, Hebrews 7:26, 1Peter 2:22) The paradox of redemption is how God made the sinless one to be sin. This is paralleled in the Tabernacle services, the priest who goes before God is without sin, and taking the sacrifice, consuming it (eating it) bears the sins of the people and then functions substitutionally as an intermediary before God to make atonement in blood before God on behalf of the people. (See Vayikra / Leviticus 10:16-18, this Scripture specifically discusses the need for the Priest to eat the sacrifice in order to bear the guilt of the one bringing the sacrifice.) It was because of these things Paul wrote in Galatians 3:13 speaking of Christ as being made “a curse for us,” and in Romans 8:3 as “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh” (NASB) The point was that the one who was hung upon the cross, would become cursed, and then removed from the cross so the curse would not flow down to defile the land also. The redemptive plan of God through atonement according to Vayikra / Leviticus 5 is for the one who sinned to lay his hand upon the animal, symbolically transferring his sins to the animal. The blood of the animal then makes atonement through the priest. The curse of hanging upon the tree allowed Yeshua to bear our sins and then make atonement in his blood so that we might be reconciled to God our Father in heaven and receive eternal life. Yeshua said He “did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). The Messiah’s sacrificial act is paralleled to Moshe offering himself on behalf of the people of Israel in Parashat Ki Tisa. The supreme act of service was dying on the cross so we might have eternal life. Our deliverer calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him through sacrificial service to others which is a Torah centric principle. (Luke 9:23) It is because of these things that we embrace a lifestyle faith and faithfulness, of humility and servant hood, all for the glory of our Father in heaven!