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Old Testament remedies for sin; Turn away from it

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posted on Aug, 28 2015 @ 05:05 PM
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The atonement sacrifices of the Old Testament were not effective, in the long term, in removing the sins of the people or warding off God’s response to sin.
That much is obvious from the many statements that God has been or will be “judging” his people for their sins, which would not have been happening if the sacrifices had been a final solution.

The most formidable act of judgement found in the Old Testament is the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and the time of exile that followed.
After which, Leviticus puts forward a better approach to the problem.
“But if they confess their iniquity… if their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob… and I will remember the land” (Leviticus ch26 vv40-42).

We are told that “the people mourned” in Exodus ch33 v4, and in Judges ch2 v4, but in both cases their grief was about what God was going to do to them.
It seems to me that “acknowledgement of wrong-doing” in the Old Testament really begins with the story of Bathsheba.
“David said to Nathan ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’”, and Nathan’s response is “The Lord also has put away your sin” – 2 Samuel ch12 v13
The traditional belief is that the more detailed mourning of Psalm 38 is about the same story;
“I confess my iniquity, I am sorry for my sin”- Psalm 38 v18

The practice of “repentance” is made a general rule by Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple.
It can be described as a “turning to God”;
“If they turn again to thee, and acknowledge thy name… then hear thou in heaven and forgive the sin of thy servants, thy people Israel.”
Or it can be described as “turning away from sin”;
“If they pray towards this place, and acknowledge thy name, and turn from their sin… then hear thou in heaven…” 1 Kings ch8 vv33-36
But these are just two different ways of saying the same thing.

“Turning”, in both forms, becomes the staple advice of the prophets.

In Hosea, the Lord proposes to deal with Israel in such a way that she will say “I will go and return to my first husband” (ch2 v7), and “Come, let us return to the Lord” (ch6 v1).

Similarly the Lord complains in Amos that “I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities… yet you did not return to me.” (Amos ch4 v6)

In Joel (ch2 vv12-13) the advance of the Lord’s locust army is the occasion for a direct appeal;
“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments”.
“Tearing the garments” was a standard symbol of grief, typical of their culture’s habit of acting things out.
Unfortunately it is only too easy, as we see time and time again, for symbols to become substitutes for the things they represent.
That is the long-term flaw of the whole sacrificial system.
That is why the prophet here encourages them to drop the symbol and concentrate on the real thing.

Jeremiah claims that this appeal is the constant message of all the prophets;
“The Lord persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, saying ‘Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and wrong doings’”. (Jeremiah ch25 vv-5-6)
He also outlines the general principle of the effect of repentance;
“If at any time I declare concerning a nation that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I had intended to do to it.” (ch18 vv7-8)
As illustrated by the experience of Ninevah, after the warning message from Jonah. The people responded, and were then reprieved (leaving Jonah feeling annoyed).

Ezekiel applies this to individuals;
“If a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed, and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”
He also supplies the explanation;
“Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” (ch18 vv21-23)
“None of the sins that he has committed will be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right, he shall surely live (ch33 v16).
In other words, the amendment of life, or even the intention of amendment of life, is enough to convince God that he should not punish, or continue to punish, the actions of the past.

So this is the most fundamental solution, found in the Old Testament, to the problem of sin;
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on him,
And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah ch55 v7

“Abundantly pardon” means that this is more effective than atonement sacrifice.
In fact the spirit of repentance can itself be called a kind of sacrifice, an atonement sacrifice more effective than the offering of animals;
“Thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51 vv16-17

On previous occasions, I’ve described sin as humanity taking itself out of alignment with God’s will, a misalignment which interferes with their relationship with the God who made them.
If this is a fair description, then the only satisfactory way of dealing with sin would be to re-align oneself with God’s will, which would have the effect of restoring the relationship.
And that is exactly what is meant by “repentance”.
It’s expressed in the metaphor which speaks of “turning away from” sin and “turning back towards” God.

So the teaching on repentance is yet another way of putting across these two important lessons;

1 ) It is necessary for sin to be remedied. It must not be allowed to remain part of the life of the people.

2 ) It is possible to find a remedy for sin.




posted on Aug, 28 2015 @ 05:13 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI
Then, you would need good definitions of sin. A good one is murder. However, beyond that, saying you know the mind of God and how to get into 'alignment' with Him, is a sin in itself.

That sin may even be worse than murder as it encompasses several.

edit on 28-8-2015 by reldra because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 28 2015 @ 05:18 PM
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a reply to: reldra
I won't here get into a detailed definition of what may or may not be sin.
Obviously the Ten Commandments, including murder, is one traditional version of the answer.
But I don't see where you get the claim in your final sentence. The whole point of the Bible is supposed to be God trying to communicate his "mind" on these matters. How, exactly, can it be called a sin to be listening out for what he says?
"Getting into alignment" is just my re-phrasing of the concept of "obedience", which is precisely what the Biblical God demands.



posted on Aug, 28 2015 @ 07:05 PM
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... and this is why simply living your life as you will all week and then sitting in church on Sunday does not quite work. That is akin to turning church into an atonement sacrifice to attempt to pay for a week of sin, and as you've pointed out - it's not nearly as affective as turning away from sin entirely or as much as you can.

Church is not a get out of jail free card.



posted on Aug, 28 2015 @ 07:13 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko
That is very true. And the usage of the "sacrament of penance" in some churches runs the same risk.



posted on Aug, 28 2015 @ 07:31 PM
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NT remedy for sin is to Believe on Jesus Christ finished work of the cross for the forgiveness of sin. Be born of the spirit and walk in the Spirit. For if you walk in the spirit ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Gal 5:16



posted on Aug, 28 2015 @ 07:35 PM
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a reply to: ChesterJohn
Quite so.
I'll be doing detailed threads on the New Testament approach at a later stage.
I'm tackling the Old Testament solutions first, so that I can build on the connections between them.

In a fortnight, I shall be asking "Does the Old Testament have a remedy for sin?"
I'm sure you can work out for yourself what the answer is.


edit on 28-8-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 01:31 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

S&F

Great thread.

Even those who led God's people are subject to sin. Bathsheba was a good example of the dangers on how letting the flesh go "uncontrolled" can lead to severe punishment. I wished you had went into detail showing the price people paid for those sins. A warning to those who walk after the flesh......a good example today would be the Ashley Madison website. Look how many lives have been turned upside down and been exposed for who they truly are......

Of course I was talking of only one of many sins..........
edit on 29-8-2015 by DeathSlayer because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 01:41 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

You mention the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians as the most formidable judgement of God. Really?

It was nothing to do with God or his judgement it was because the Jews didn't own Jerusalem, it stood on land owned by King Nebuchazzar and was sacked in 597 BC because for the second year running the King of the jews refused to pay his taxes. So the King dealt with the intransigent jews in the normal way.

Most people don't realise that history tells us exactly who owned what land and God, apparently had not seen fit to give them the land Jerusalem stood on. It kind of muddies the water for the claim of land ownership that is made today.



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 04:29 AM
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originally posted by: Shiloh7
You mention the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonians as the most formidable judgement of God. Really?

This is an exercise in Old Testament theology, so I make that statement on the authority of the Old Testament prophets.

Most people don't realise that history tells us exactly who owned what land.

People don't "realise" this because history tells us nothing of the kind. You have seen the legal documents assigning land ownership in the seventh century B.C., have you?


Jerusalem stood on land owned by King Nebuchazzar and was sacked in 597 BC because for the second year running the King of the jews refused to pay his taxes.

This is absurd nonsense.
The kingdom of Babylon was a new state which came into existence when the Assyrian empire collapsed.
Jerusalem was built and populated on that land many centuries before Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom even existed.
Nebuchadnezzar had no legal rights of "ownership" over that land whatsoever.
If you want to claim otherwise, show me the deed of transfer from the previous owners.

What you need to understand is that empire-building, in those days, was just robbery on a large scale.
A king collected an army, went to a city, and said "You will pay me tribute on a regular basis, or I will break down your walls and destroy your city and take your population as slaves".
That's not "collection of rent" or "collection of taxes". That's extortion of protection money.
There's a famous story about Alexander the Great capturing a pirate and rebuking him for his misdeeds. The pirate retorted that there was no real difference between them. What else was kingship, but piracy with a larger army?
Nebuchadnezzar was the Godfather, sending large numbers of people to "sleep with the fishes".

So Jerusalem was not doing anything "illegal" when they refused tribute to Nebuchadnezzar.
But they were making an horrific political miscalculation, because they simply did not have the military strength to resist him, and they were putting their trust in the unreliable power of Egypt.

You should not try retailing bogus historical theories when you're dealing with someone who is an old hand in the history business.

edit on 29-8-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 06:22 AM
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a reply to: Shiloh7

Babylon was not a 'new state in a strict sense, Assyria merely segued into Babylon.
Israel had been paying tribute to the Assyrian then Babylonians since 841BC www.biblestudy.org... Its proved by a black obelisk in Nimrod dated 825BC. Upon which King Jehu is depicted kissing the ground in front of King Shalmanessar 111 so tributes from Israel and Judah have been going on since that date. Consequently, if you consult your history, you will see why King Nebuchazzar wanted his tribute.

There was, as you say no moral right, its just how things were the big power bullying the little, but the Israelites had been paying tribute for quite some time which is not a popular fact when laying claim to land purportedly given to you although I expect God didn't bother with a deed of transfer either.

If you add that their own prophet Jeremiah had warned them about this, then there was no excuse except arrogance, or perhaps they thought Yahweh was going to ride up in his column of fire etc.



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 06:43 AM
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originally posted by: Shiloh7
Babylon was not a 'new state in a strict sense, Assyria merely segued into Babylon.

To be exact, the Assyrian empire broke up under attack from rebellious provinces and the Medes.
Babylon was one of the "rebellious" portions of the empire, but that successful rebellion gave it no inherited "rights" over other portions.


There was, as you say no moral right, its just how things were the big power bullying the little, but the Israelites had been paying tribute for quite some time

OK, so you have receded from the position that Nebuchadnezzar was the rightful owner of the land and collecting due "taxes". My objection was to that very tendentious version of events.


If you add that their own prophet Jeremiah had warned them about this, then there was no excuse except arrogance

Yes, their offence was against their God, as I said at the beginning.
Just don't try to present Nebuchadnezzar as a landlord sending in the bailiffs.



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 07:51 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

We appear to be at an impasse. So are you saying there was an actual break in time between the Assyrians and Babylonians - I thought it obvious that the Assyrians segued into the Babylonians. Assyria didn't lie devastated or destroyed, especially without her conquered lands. She was not at some later time rebuilt and resettled again by the babylonians - they merely took over and acquired as spoils all conquered lands and city states which gave them the right to the tributes Assyria had won and been taking regularly. Every empire from the Egyptian etc right up to the British has taxed countries its taken over, they have all taken tribute.

I fail to see why you take such exception to the fact that Nebuchadnezzar considered he owned Jerusalem as part of his empire. If you check the reference I gave you will see the map of the extent of the Assyrian/Babylonian Empire it stretched into Egypt so obviously took in all of Israel and Judah. This position is also cast in stone that King Jehu kissed the ground at the feet of the King of Assyria thereby giving the Assyrian King power over himself and his kingdom. When he did that he became a vassal state.

I see your point of view in that God didn't help them as they had 'offended against him by not listening to his prophets. But regardless of Gods and their thinking, you as a man would surely sally forth if your children were in mortal danger to defend them. God hasn't been around in millennia. Its the power of man that dictates who does what - miracles and sightings of angels/gods have only happened in very remove times and very remote places. Its hardly the basis for legitimate argument as to state assets.



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 10:57 AM
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a reply to: Shiloh7

I thought I would let you and DISRAELI debate this and stay out of it until you made this statement:




God hasn't been around in millennia. Its the power of man that dictates who does what - miracles and sightings of angels/gods have only happened in very remove times and very remote places. Its hardly the basis for legitimate argument as to state assets.


I am curious but IMO you speak as if you are Jewish or have strong connections to the Jewish volk? Your ATS name maybe?

God has always been here! Miracles go on everyday around the world. Why I would bet even in your own town you have heard of someone getting miraculously healed or some other healing. Sightings of angels? Both sides show up everyday.

Just because you have not seen it does not mean it does not exist......same applies to heaven and hell.

You don't forget.......God loves you.....ask him to come to you and he will. Be still and listen.

God bless you........selah.
edit on 29-8-2015 by DeathSlayer because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 11:00 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

This is one of those threads that I so enjoy reading... and I'll read it again too... trying to discern every little bit of wisdom I can from it! But I'm always left with so much more to think about and consider than to say!

Thank you for the mind candy!



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 11:33 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

but OT is not for today. If you do start there then people will fall back on it.

This is why the way of the master has been nothing but a bondage maker and not liberation in Christ. Many who started with way of the master program have ended up in Yahweh/Yeshua cults. These are those who want to use a Hebrew pronunciation of those names and observances to the law like tithing, sabbath just to name a few..



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 11:53 AM
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originally posted by: Shiloh7
I fail to see why you take such exception to the fact that Nebuchadnezzar considered he owned Jerusalem as part of his empire

For heaven’s sake, I thought we had this settled.
The issue was never what ownership rights Nebuchadnezzar “considered” he had.
Your original statement was “Jerusalem stood on ground owned by Nebuchadnezzar”- in other words, Nebuchadnezzar was objectively and morally the owner of the land, and that was the idea which I rejected.
You gave up that objectionable claim entirely when you said;

There was, as you say no moral right, its just how things were the big power bullying the little

In other words, there was as much moral right involved as when the Godfather sends in the enforcers to claim the protection money.
Once you conceded this point, I thought the argument was over.
But now, it seems, you want to un-concede it again.


If you check the reference I gave you will see the map of the extent of the Assyrian/Babylonian Empire it stretched into Egypt so obviously took in all of Israel and Judah.

Do you not yet grasp the point that I am familiar with this history, in the same way that you are familiar with the streets around your house?
If I need to check up on any detail, I’ve got the relevant volumes of the Cambridge Ancient History sitting on my bookshelves. Real books, with real knowledge. I don’t need to get information from sketchy maps on the internet.
You misunderstand the purport of these maps. All they do is show the maximum amount of the territory which the Assyrians or the Babylonians managed to control. Similarly, a book about the Second World war, or any good historical atlas, will probably have a map showing the maximum extent of Hitler’s conquests, from Brittany to the middle of Russia. In neither case are any “rights” implied.


I thought it obvious that the Assyrians segued into the Babylonians. Assyria didn't lie devastated or destroyed, especially without her conquered lands. She was not at some later time rebuilt and resettled again by the babylonians - they merely took over and acquired as spoils all conquered lands and city states which gave them the right to the tributes Assyria had won and been taking regularly.


Now to explain the transition between the two empires.
What you think is “obvious”, from glancing over a sketchy internet map, is not the way it worked.
Assyria was a nation at the northern end of Mesopotamia. On the strength of their military power, they claimed tribute from various regions, from Egypt to the city of Babylon.
After the death of Ashurbanipal, many of those regions, getting help from the Medes and the Scythians, rejected Assyrian authority. Their empire came to an end when Ninevah was captured and sacked.
Indeed Assyria famously DID “lie devastated and destroyed”.
“The disappearance of the Assyrian people will always remain a unique and striking phenomenon in ancient history” (CAH, vol III, p130).
The Babylonians did not “take over” the Assyrian empire, because there was nothing to take over. They were one of the successfully rebellious provinces, but that gave them no “rights” over any of the others.
What Nebuchadnezzar did was build a NEW empire, based on his own army. It stretched over similar ground, because they were both about controlling the known civilised areas of the world.
But this was naked exercise of power, There were no “rights of ownership” involved.
You have already conceded this point once, and I don’t understand why you won’t let it stay conceded.



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 12:02 PM
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originally posted by: ChesterJohn
but OT is not for today. If you do start there then people will fall back on it.

This is why the way of the master has been nothing but a bondage maker and not liberation in Christ. Many who started with way of the master program have ended up in Yahweh/Yeshua cults. These are those who want to use a Hebrew pronunciation of those names and observances to the law like tithing, sabbath just to name a few..

What I am doing in this series is gradually building up the case that "The Atonement in Christ is necessary because the Old Testament answers do not work".
Apart from that, I thoroughly agree with what you say. Even on this site, I have noticed and been troubled by the way the literalistic approach to the Old Testament is developing into legalism, with all the symptoms you mention and more.
That is why a series on Galatians is one of my plans in the New Year.

P.S. I am not actually familiar with "the way of the master" or "the master program". Whatever it is, I'm not using it.
edit on 29-8-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 12:17 PM
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originally posted by: DeathSlayer
I wished you had went into detail showing the price people paid for those sins. A warning to those who walk after the flesh...

Thank you for those comments.
Well, for one thing, I was only 11 characters short of the maximum content which ATS allows on an opening post.
So I've had to take the penalties of sin as read, and focus on the more limited theme of what the OT tries to do about it.
There is certainly no shortage of Biblical themes for people to write about.



posted on Aug, 29 2015 @ 12:25 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI




What I am doing in this series is gradually building up the case that "The Atonement in Christ is necessary because the Old Testament answers do not work".


The Old Testament answers did not work? Were those NOT God's answers, in the Old Testament? What are you implying here? Did God knowingly employ practices that didn't work, would NOT work until such a time when he manifested himself as a human sacrifice?




edit on 29-8-2015 by windword because: (no reason given)



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