Are Jews in Rebellion Against G-d?

 

Some weeks ago, a commenter on Ricochet said that Jews today are clearly in rebellion, since we do not offer sacrifices as called for in the Torah. Either we follow the Torah or we do not, right?

And I can see it from his perspective. The Torah gives clear commandments to bring offerings, and Jews today, despite having possession of Jerusalem*, have not done so.

Let’s assume the Jews could bring offerings. Is the fact that it is not happening indeed Jewish rebellion against G-d’s commandments?

It is not. And the reason is simple: the text says:

Take the Levites from among the Israelites and purify them. This is what you shall do to them to purify them: sprinkle on them water of purification, and let them go over their whole body with a razor, and wash their clothes; thus they shall be purified. Thereafter the Levites shall be qualified for the service of the Tent of Meeting, once you have purified them and designated them as an elevation offering. (Num. 8)

So the waters of purification are a prerequisite for bringing offerings. And how do we get these waters? Well, we need to do the ceremony that requires a red heifer (see Num. 19).  There is a problem with this, because we don’t seem to have any red heifers today. These are rare: in Jewish history there have only been nine. And while there are efforts to breed a red heifer, none has yet made it to the required age while still meeting the requirements. Presumably, once one has been achieved, then there will be no Torah reason why we are not able to purify the Levites and start formal services in Jerusalem once again, after a 2,000 year hiatus.

The story is not quite this simple, because there is, according to many opinions, something we could – perhaps should be offering now – and it does not require the red heifer. This is the Passover Offering, the korban pesach. Here is a (poorly recorded, but understandable) recording of a lecture by a very knowledgeable rabbi on this very topic (he includes discussion of the other perceived obstructions as well).

Part 1, and Part 2

(I should warn listeners: it is not easy to follow unless one is au fait with the relevant vocabulary.)

The upshot: it is plausible that we should be offering the korban pesach today. And perhaps if we make that effort, then we will deserve the red heifer that will enable the next step: resuming full service in the tabernacle in Jerusalem.

Which means that the commenter may be correct, but only in a much more limited sense: if there is no obstruction to bringing the korban pesach, then, if we truly seek to follow the commandments of the Torah, then we should be doing so.

*I should note that in at least the technical sense, Jews do not control the Temple Mount itself, the only place where we are even theoretically allowed to bring offerings. In 1967, Israel captured Jerusalem, but promptly handed the Temple Mount back to Muslims. Nevertheless, Israel could certainly take it back in full at any time, though such a move would probably stir up more than a little outrage from Muslims, Arabs, and liberals (not necessarily in that order). You may recall that moving the US-acknowledged capital to Jerusalem was supposed to start a war, too.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 13 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I was the commenter who raised this question.  Thanks for the post.

    I looked at Numbers 8.  My initial impression is that this was a one-time ritual for purification of the Levites.  Some of the verses that you did not quote specifically state that it was Aaron who was to participate in this ritual, along with his sons.  I don’t see how the Jews could carry out the requirements of Numbers 8 after the death of Aaron and his sons.

    Likewise, with respect to the “waters of purification” in Numbers 19, it specifically mentions Eleazar the priest who is to carry out the ritual commanded.  It does also say, though, in Numbers 19:10, that “this shall be a perpetual statute.”

    Do you know whether or not, as a historic matter, these rituals were carried out before the end of the Tabernacle and Temple periods?

    • #1
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    In answer to your first question, Reform Jews are certainly in rebellion against God, having rejected the majority of Jewish commandments in their efforts to fit in with elite society.  And I have felt for a long time that Israel needs to take back the Temple Mount, since it was ours before there were even any Muslims, and with a Jewish-only site, maybe more of the old rituals could come back in earnest.  I’m betting that there might be more Orthodox Jews around if they had the Temple Mount again.

    • #2
  3. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    At some point in Israel’s history, making sacrifices in the high places was considered forbidden. It’s interesting to me how early that was, but it is directly related to the establishment of the tabernacle and temple.

    Abraham and Jacob made altars in the high places, but when the tribe of Reuben and their fellow tribes west of the Jordan built an altar on the high place, the rest of Israel was ready to fight them over inviting God’s wrath on the again. Weird story. Seems to affirm the temple as the in gathering of the nation of Israel. Establishes one people as God’s alone. To make offerings elsewhere means they can separate.

    • #3
  4. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Do you know whether or not, as a historic matter, these rituals were carried out before the end of the Tabernacle and Temple periods?

    They were done on an ongoing basis to bring a Levite into service.

    • #4
  5. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Stina (View Comment):

    At some point in Israel’s history, making sacrifices in the high places was considered forbidden. It’s interesting to me how early that was, but it is directly related to the establishment of the tabernacle and temple.

    Abraham and Jacob made altars in the high places, but when the tribe of Reuben and their fellow tribes west of the Jordan built an altar on the high place, the rest of Israel was ready to fight them over inviting God’s wrath on the again. Weird story. Seems to affirm the temple as the in gathering of the nation of Israel. Establishes one people as God’s alone. To make offerings elsewhere means they can separate.

    The Torah states that G-d will choose one spot, and nobody may make an offering anywhere else. That spot is on the Temple Mount.

    • #5
  6. Brian Scarborough Coolidge
    Brian Scarborough
    @Teeger

    The Christian point of view is that the Jews (who are not themselves Christian) are in rebellion against God, but not really because they do not follow Torah. They are in rebellion because they have rejected Jesus as their messiah. 

    According to Christian doctrine, Jesus redeemed everyone from the curse of the Law (Torah). Torah lays out the punishments (curses) for disobeying the Law and Jesus took our place in punishment having perfectly obeyed the Law Himself. (Galatians 3:13)

    So all of the sins of mankind are “paid for” and the only thing that one must do to enter the Kingdom of God is for one to repent of unbelief, the failure to believe in the messiahship and lordship of Jesus whom God raised from the dead. 

    All sacrifices were fulfilled by Jesus so no more are necessary. One must accept His sacrifice in order to receive complete forgiveness of sins. 

    • #6
  7. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Brian Scarborough (View Comment):

    The Christian point of view is that the Jews (who are not themselves Christian) are in rebellion against God, but not really because they do not follow Torah. They are in rebellion because they have rejected Jesus as their messiah.

    According to Christian doctrine, Jesus redeemed everyone from the curse of the Law (Torah). Torah lays out the punishments (curses) for disobeying the Law and Jesus took our place in punishment having perfectly obeyed the Law Himself. (Galatians 3:13)

    So all of the sins of mankind are “paid for” and the only thing that one must do to enter the Kingdom of God is for one to repent of unbelief, the failure to believe in the messiahship and lordship of Jesus whom God raised from the dead.

    All sacrifices were fulfilled by Jesus so no more are necessary. One must accept His sacrifice in order to receive complete forgiveness of sins.

    Um…no.  You speak for Christians; that has nothing useful to say to Jews or Jewish practice.  Your characterization of the Torah as a curse is the first of many errors you make.

    • #7
  8. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Aren’t we all?

    • #8
  9. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Brian Scarborough (View Comment):

    The Christian point of view is that the Jews (who are not themselves Christian) are in rebellion against God, but not really because they do not follow Torah. They are in rebellion because they have rejected Jesus as their messiah.

    According to Christian doctrine, Jesus redeemed everyone from the curse of the Law (Torah). Torah lays out the punishments (curses) for disobeying the Law and Jesus took our place in punishment having perfectly obeyed the Law Himself. (Galatians 3:13)

    So all of the sins of mankind are “paid for” and the only thing that one must do to enter the Kingdom of God is for one to repent of unbelief, the failure to believe in the messiahship and lordship of Jesus whom God raised from the dead.

    All sacrifices were fulfilled by Jesus so no more are necessary. One must accept His sacrifice in order to receive complete forgiveness of sins.

    I would imagine that not only are Jews in rebellion against God, according to standard Christian doctrine, but Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians are in rebellion against God too.

    In the philosophy of religion there is a “possible God” known as The God of Epistemic Responsibility.

    If the God of Epistemic Responsibility were to actually exist, this God would judge each of us according to whether we modeled our beliefs and our actions to “our best lights” (what we thought we knew) about the divine.

    So, the God of Epistemic Responsibility would appreciate that the Buddhist woman in Thailand believes in Buddhism because her entire community taught her Buddhism from an early age and the few discordant voices were drowned out by everyone else.

    I think Jews will do just fine if the God of Epistemic Responsibility exists.  They take a look at the world around them, read the scriptures that their community has instructed them to take seriously and have reached conclusions that make sense given that context.

    • #9
  10. Brian Scarborough Coolidge
    Brian Scarborough
    @Teeger

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Brian Scarborough (View Comment):

    The Christian point of view is that the Jews (who are not themselves Christian) are in rebellion against God, but not really because they do not follow Torah. They are in rebellion because they have rejected Jesus as their messiah.

    According to Christian doctrine, Jesus redeemed everyone from the curse of the Law (Torah). Torah lays out the punishments (curses) for disobeying the Law and Jesus took our place in punishment having perfectly obeyed the Law Himself. (Galatians 3:13)

    So all of the sins of mankind are “paid for” and the only thing that one must do to enter the Kingdom of God is for one to repent of unbelief, the failure to believe in the messiahship and lordship of Jesus whom God raised from the dead.

    All sacrifices were fulfilled by Jesus so no more are necessary. One must accept His sacrifice in order to receive complete forgiveness of sins.

    Um…no. You speak for Christians; that has nothing useful to say to Jews or Jewish practice. Your characterization of the Torah as a curse is the first of many errors you make.

    The Good News of Jesus Christ is for the Jew and the Gentile. If you read carefully, you would plainly see that I did not call the Torah a curse, but referred to the curses of breaking the Ten Commandments. Those curses are throughout Torah but Jesus took all those curses on Himself when He died on the cross. 

    You also seem not to be aware that Christianity grew out of Judaism and is its fulfillment, Jesus being the Messiah that the Jews (at least at one time) waited for. 

    • #10
  11. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Brian Scarborough (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Brian Scarborough (View Comment):

    The Christian point of view is that the Jews (who are not themselves Christian) are in rebellion against God, but not really because they do not follow Torah. They are in rebellion because they have rejected Jesus as their messiah.

    According to Christian doctrine, Jesus redeemed everyone from the curse of the Law (Torah). Torah lays out the punishments (curses) for disobeying the Law and Jesus took our place in punishment having perfectly obeyed the Law Himself. (Galatians 3:13)

    So all of the sins of mankind are “paid for” and the only thing that one must do to enter the Kingdom of God is for one to repent of unbelief, the failure to believe in the messiahship and lordship of Jesus whom God raised from the dead.

    All sacrifices were fulfilled by Jesus so no more are necessary. One must accept His sacrifice in order to receive complete forgiveness of sins.

    Um…no. You speak for Christians; that has nothing useful to say to Jews or Jewish practice. Your characterization of the Torah as a curse is the first of many errors you make.

    The Good News of Jesus Christ is for the Jew and the Gentile. If you read carefully, you would plainly see that I did not call the Torah a curse, but referred to the curses of breaking the Ten Commandments. Those curses are throughout Torah but Jesus took all those curses on Himself when He died on the cross.

    You also seem not to be aware that Christianity grew out of Judaism and is its fulfillment, Jesus being the Messiah that the Jews (at least at one time) waited for.

    I think many Jews would argue that Christianity is based on an incorrect interpretation of Jewish scriptures.  

    • #11
  12. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Aren’t we all?

    This.

    • #12
  13. Brian Scarborough Coolidge
    Brian Scarborough
    @Teeger

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Brian Scarborough (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Brian Scarborough (View Comment):

    The Christian point of view is that the Jews (who are not themselves Christian) are in rebellion against God, but not really because they do not follow Torah. They are in rebellion because they have rejected Jesus as their messiah.

    According to Christian doctrine, Jesus redeemed everyone from the curse of the Law (Torah). Torah lays out the punishments (curses) for disobeying the Law and Jesus took our place in punishment having perfectly obeyed the Law Himself. (Galatians 3:13)

    So all of the sins of mankind are “paid for” and the only thing that one must do to enter the Kingdom of God is for one to repent of unbelief, the failure to believe in the messiahship and lordship of Jesus whom God raised from the dead.

    All sacrifices were fulfilled by Jesus so no more are necessary. One must accept His sacrifice in order to receive complete forgiveness of sins.

    Um…no. You speak for Christians; that has nothing useful to say to Jews or Jewish practice. Your characterization of the Torah as a curse is the first of many errors you make.

    The Good News of Jesus Christ is for the Jew and the Gentile. If you read carefully, you would plainly see that I did not call the Torah a curse, but referred to the curses of breaking the Ten Commandments. Those curses are throughout Torah but Jesus took all those curses on Himself when He died on the cross.

    You also seem not to be aware that Christianity grew out of Judaism and is its fulfillment, Jesus being the Messiah that the Jews (at least at one time) waited for.

    I think many Jews would argue that Christianity is based on an incorrect interpretation of Jewish scriptures.

    Obviously

    • #13
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.