Saturday, October 31, 2009

Capital Offenses

Every sin IS death, because every sin is a way of rejecting Life. (In fact, it's because it rejects Life/God that it's a sin.) But this is, so to speak, a “natural” phenomenon, not a point of law. So far as I can tell, there is no legal thing in all of Scripture that requires death for every single sin.

In fact, in the Old Testament, relatively few sins were capital offenses, such that the Law of Moses required the offender(s) to be put to death. Most sins could be atoned for by the prescribed tabernacle or temple ritual, provided that rite was accompanied by contrition and repentance.

The sin offering also did not necessarily require death. If a person could not afford a bullock or a goat, then he was to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons; but if he could not even afford that, fine flour would suffice for his sin offering. (Leviticus 5:11-13) From the fact that flour is unable to suffer, we can easily see that a “substitute victim” was not the idea behind sacrifices. Vicarious punishment is not what was being offered to the Lord.

(To see what WAS being offered, check out I Samuel 15:22, Psalm 50:14-15, Psalm 51:17, Isaiah I:10-20, Jeremiah 7:22-23, Hosea 6:6.)


Steve Robinson said...

Once again you are on a roll in fine form!