Lamb of the Free (conclusion)

I come to the end of blogging through the first half of “Lamb of the Free” which looks at OT sacrifices. We saw that while the day of atonement/decontamination was basically a factory reboot of the sanctuary. However, major moral sin couldn’t be addressed through purgation, and so actually contaminated the land itself. Once the land was sufficiently polluted, it couldn’t support the temple and the result was exile because God could no longer be attracted to the sanctuary. It was ultimately God’s forgiveness, not the sacrificial system, that would restore the people. Rillera comments:

  • This is crucial to note since this explains why no prophet is hoping for or envisioning a grand purgation sacrifice as the solution to moral impurity . This makes sense since it is inconceivable within the framework set forth in the Torah with regards to these grave sins . The fact that the prophets express their hope for restoration completely apart from kipper sacrifices affirms that it was taken for granted that the purgation sacrifices were only ever meant to decontaminate the sanctuary , not people . Especially in exile , then , when there is no sanctuary , a purgation sacrifice does not even make sense because it is neither possible to offer one nor is there a sanctuary that is being contaminated … The sacrificial system is simply never conceived of as the solution to Israel’s most dire needs – neither in Leviticus nor in the prophets . (146)

I hope you enjoyed this series of posts highlighting some of the gems of this book that will be used to critique the penal substitution atonement interpretation of Jesus’s death. If that entices you, then get the book and read in the second half how this context applies to Jesus!