If the Jewish people do not offer animal sacrifices, how do they believe they can receive forgiveness from God?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Ari Ariel HaNaviy Messianic Jew and Torah Teacher with Messianic Congregation 'The Harvest'
Even though I am a Messianic Jew (one who has embraced his Messiah Yeshua--Jesus), allow me to speak as a traditional, non-Messianic Jew for a moment, in order to answer this question. Please do not get confused. I do NOT reject Messiah's atonement for my sins. This is ONLY a general answer from a traditional Jewish perspective.

Q: How do Jews obtain forgiveness without sacrifices?
A: Forgiveness is obtained through repentance, prayer and good deeds.
In Jewish practice, prayer has taken the place of sacrifices. In accordance with the words of Hosea, we render instead of bullocks the offering of our lips (Hosea 14:3) (please note: the KJV translates this somewhat differently). While dedicating the Temple, King Solomon also indicated that prayer could be used to obtain forgiveness (I Kings 8:46-50). Our prayer services are in many ways designed to parallel the sacrificial practices. For example, we have an extra service on Shabbat, to parallel the extra Shabbat offering.

It is important to note that in Judaism, sacrifice was never the exclusive means of obtaining forgiveness, was not in and of itself sufficient to obtain forgiveness, and in certain circumstances was not even effective to obtain forgiveness.

Q: But isn’t a blood sacrifice required in order to obtain forgiveness?
A: No. Although animal sacrifice is one means of obtaining forgiveness, there are non- animal offerings as well, and there are other means for obtaining forgiveness that do not involve sacrifices at all. Besides prayer, mere study of the sacrifices themselves constitutes participation

The passage that people ordinarily cite for the notion that blood is required is Leviticus 17:11: “For the soul of the flesh is in the blood and I have assigned it for you upon the altar to provide atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that atones for the soul.” But the passage that this verse comes from is not about atonement; it is about dietary laws, and the passage says only that blood is used to obtain atonement; not that blood is the only means for obtaining atonement. Leviticus 17:10-12 could be paraphrased as “Don’t eat blood, because blood is used in atonement rituals; therefore, don’t eat blood.”

September 03 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

View All Answers