Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Atonement theology erroneous

Published:Tuesday | April 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Permit me to comment on your Letter of the Day published on April 16, 2016 captioned 'Jesus was not crucified on Good Friday'.

The letter writer should not be so quick to accuse others of falsehood when his rebuttal is itself so factually flawed.

To begin with, the word 'Christ' is not the surname of Jesus or a word uniquely applied to Jesus, as many people seem to believe. Christ is merely an English term derived from the Greek representation of the Jewish word for messiah, which means 'anointed one'.

There are no divine attributes attached to the word 'Christ'. The Messiah is not God. He is one who fears God, Isaiah 11:1-3. The Bible refers to prophets, priests, Jewish and even the non-Jewish king Cyrus as messiahs (I Kings 1:39, Leviticus 4:3, Isaiah 61:1, Isaiah 45:1).

According to popular Christian doctrine, the crucifixion is supposed to be the purpose for which Jesus came to earth. As the dogma goes, Jesus came as the atoning sacrificial lamb to take away the sins of the world through the shedding of his blood, in fulfilment of prophecy. The idea is particularly absurd when you consider that cause of death from crucifixion is not loss of blood, but asphyxiation.

Another fallacy is the attempt to link the Jewish Passover lamb to a process that has nothing whatsoever to do with atonement for sins. The attempt is an egregious falsehood not supported by a proper understanding of the system of atonement in so-called Old Testament scripture.

In fact, it was a scapegoat that symbolically took away the sins of the people on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), not the sacrificial lamb. It should be noted, also, that the role of the promised Messiah is not to take away sins. Rather, the Messiah will come when we turn away from our sins (Isaiah 59:20).

The Passover was, and continues to be, a memorial of the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian subservience and bondage.

So the dilemma is not confined to whether Jesus died on Good Friday or on some other day. The whole doctrine of atonement for sin through the blood of Jesus as a fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy is entirely erroneous.