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What does "take away the sins of the world" mean?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by antonio, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. antonio

    antonio New Member

    What does scripture mean when it says, "behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world?"[NOTE: I don't claim to know the answer. I am just taking a stab at it with a mind, untrained in scholarly theology. my apologies for being wordy.]

    Q1. Was there forgiveness of sin before Jesus was born and if so, why would a redeemer be needed..
    Q2. Did Jesus only provide a new way to get sin forgiven or did Jesus really take away the sins of the world?

    A1. How is separation between God and men and women overcome? In the days of Moses and the Jewish prophets, forgiveness of sin came through the shedding of the specified animal’s blood on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Jewish high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Tabernacle or Temple with the animal's blood and put it upon the altar. The instructions God gave for this are found in the books of Moses. When our Jewish people obeyed God, atonement was made for the sins of the people. In the book of Moses, Leviticus, Chapter 5, there were daily sacrifices offered for the sins of Israelites. When a person sinned, he brought the specified sacrifice to the Jewish priest, confessed his sin to God, the animal's blood was shed and atonement was made. The person’s sin was forgiven by God and the sinner was cleansed.
    So if sin could be forgiven, what did Jesus accomplish. If humans still have to ask for forgiveness, over and over knowing full well they will sin again, and if they must repent and turn from sin, knowing they can try but will only fail, what is different after the New Covenant?

    A2. If someone tells me, "Antonio, take away the dishes from the table.
    That would mean, clear the table and leave no dish on it. To Someone later looking at the table, ready to start a meeting, "dishes on the table" would not be a matter that was yet to be dealt with. Am I being idiotically simplistic. in comparing this story to bible verses? Perhaps. However, the most significan and credible scriptures never mention repentance, or punishment for sin.

    a) And a certain ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” And when Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess, and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad; for he was extremely rich. MT 19

    Jesus never told him of the New Covenant,the Gospel. Rather, Jesus preached “Law”. Jesus often did this. But wasn't it to demonstrate how impossible it was to keep the Law--to make us realize how we could never be good enough to merit eternal life.

    b) John 3:16 teaches: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." in Mark, John the Baptist's preaching is focused on repentance (a theme developed still further in the direction of judgment by Matthew and Luke, who speak about the one who is to come as a thresher, beating out and burning the chaff Luke also says, "Even now, the axe is laid to the root of the tree"). But in the Fourth Gospel, the Baptist speaks only about the one who is to come, the Messiah, and, when he recognizes Jesus, calls him "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" - he does not call him judge, destroyer, or thresher but saviour. Is it possible that John's encounter with Jesus brought about John's conversion, from a doctrine of judgment to a doctrine of atonement / redemption! salvation? He could have said anything but he said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
    Could it mean the same thing as someone at the meeting saying, "Hey, everybody, that's Antonio, he cleared the dishes. Thanks Antonio."

    one more--
    c) [FONT=Arial, Helvetica]On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." [/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica](NIV, Luke 10:25-37 )[/FONT]
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
    Angelfire likes this.
  2. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Persona Polytheist / Proud Ergi Staff Member Premium Member

    Old Way Made New
    Because Yeh'vah didn't like killing animals. Before Yeshua, there wasn't any other way, and he wanted a way to save the animals while at the same time, saving us.

    How's that? :D
  3. Throck in Oz

    Throck in Oz New Member

    My understanding is this:
    Using the Myth of Adam and Eve as a type of God's plan for salvation, when the adam sinned by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they knew they were naked, and were ashamed. God made them clothes out of animal skins to cover their nakedness.
    Symbolically, it is important to remember that the animals had to die, in order to atone for the sin of the human beings. God thereby set up a symbolic way for atonement. In actual fact, God had said that if they ate of the fruit of that tree they would die. But God saved them from that consequence of their actions by the death of the animals.
    And so throughout the tradition, the death of an animal became the symbolic atonement for the disobedience of the people. But right from the beginning, it was not according to God's word. God said that if they should eat of the fruit they would die. So atonement by way of an animal sacrifice was temporary, and must be done annually, over and over again, on the Day of Atonement, because the life of an animal is not equivalent to the life of a human being, and the sacrifice of a human being was forbidden by the command not to kill.

    In the New Covenant, Jesus is symbolised as the Lamb of Atonement. As God become truly human, he at last is a full and sufficient substitute for humanity in the cosmic understanding. As the consequence of sin is death, only the death of a 'representative human', such as Adam was, can fully atone for the sins of the whole world. Jesus is God, and also truly human, so is the only person who can truly represent both. Because Jesus is without sin, he can be the substitute for all sin. His death restores true justice - as an animals could never do - and we are therefore truly reconciled with God, with one another, and with all creation.
  4. Pegg

    Pegg Well-Known Member

    are you asking questions here or are you giving them??? i cant tell
  5. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

    When I was Eastern Orthodox, they had a way around this, although it wasn't exactly Biblical, but I'll offer an explanation.

    Yes, there was forgiveness of sin before Jesus. The answer to the second part will be explained in my answer to question 2.

    The main reason for Jesus' death and resurrection, according to Eastern Orthodox theology, was not to take away sin, but to defeat death and hell. According to this view, Jesus did not so much take away sin, but give man the power to overcome it. Forgiveness was already available, but the power to defeat it was not. Jesus told His disciples that "unless I go away, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) cannot come." And it is the Holy Spirit that resides within believers, and gives them the power to do good. So when it says that Jesus would "take away the sins of the world", what is meant by that, from the Eastern Orthodox perspective, was that He would not take away sin itself, but the power that it has over man.
  6. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli Premium Member

    If he did not like killing animals, why did he set up the system that required the killing of animals especially if he knew before he even started that it would not work?
  7. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

    It's my understanding, and I could be completely wrong, that God, in the OT, did not absolutely require the killing of animals for forgiveness, that was just the most common way. Apparently, some of the prophets disdained and did not condone this practice.
  8. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Persona Polytheist / Proud Ergi Staff Member Premium Member

    Old Way Made New
    I don't know; I made that post two years ago. :p
  9. Meow Mix

    Meow Mix Sassypants Kitty Staff Member

    Why would an omnipotent being require any sort of means to an end (e.g. sacrifices)?

    That's the logical problem, and that's speaking nothing of the subjective/aesthetic problem of the primitive barbarism involved in making sacrifices of blood and such.
    Twig pentagram likes this.
  10. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli Premium Member

    My bad.
    I did not notice the time stamp until after your reply.
  11. Poisonshady313

    Poisonshady313 Well-Known Member

    You are only partially wrong.

    Animal sacrifice was not all that was necessary, and in some instances was not at all effective, in obtaining forgiveness. And forgiveness was not the only purpose for which animal sacrifices were brought.

    But the prophets didn't disdain the practice, nor did they not condone it... they disdained people using it in vain. Like a "Get out of jail free" card. If people felt that they could just do whatever they wanted, and it would all be ok if they brought a bull or two to the altar, people would stop caring about doing the right thing.

    If you ask me, this idea that Jesus paid the debt of sin for everybody is exactly the sort of thing that the prophets disdained.

    If you went to school and did no work, left class early, disrupted class, failed your tests... and were given an A, you'd be a failure of a person with little to no hope of bettering yourself... and worse, you'd be happy about it and grateful for it.

    And then go around knocking on people's doors to encourage them to do the same?

    Mestemia likes this.
  12. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member


    To take away the sins of the world means absolutely nothing. Jesus came with that mission according to the NT and the sins of the world have multiplied since he has
  13. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

    Thanks for that information. I figured I was probably wrong somewhere in my statement.
  14. ellenjanuary

    ellenjanuary New Member

    The nice answer is reconciliation between testaments. The not so nice answer Ben Masada gave - means nothing - and I pretty much share that opinion. There's really no good side to that statement if taken at face value.
  15. Susie E

    Susie E New Member

  16. Poisonshady313

    Poisonshady313 Well-Known Member

    I put it to you that this verse from Jeremiah is most extremely misunderstood.

    This "new" covenant is a renewal of the one made with "their fathers". Things like the sin of the golden calf and Israel's reaction to the report of the ten spies will not be remembered and held against the Jewish people. I'm not that great at explaining this, and perhaps I can find someone on this forum who is willing and able.

    But this whole "he made the first obsolete" business is pure nonsense.

    This is all just wrong. Very wrong.

    You know something funny? That whole paragraph was useless. Just kinda said the same thing four times.

    I know the symbolism of Jesus being a lamb makes Christians all warm and fuzzy, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the animal sacrifices of Israel.

    And it sounds absolutely ludicrous to hear you describe Jesus as the "middle matzo", considering that there was no such a thing until after approx 40 years after Jesus died.

    Tossing around Hebrew words might make you sound authoritative to people who don't know any better... but to people who do know better, it makes you look silly.

    Jesus being crucified on or near Passover was written purposefully to give you that symbolism... but the author honestly didn't expect you to know how the Levitical sacrificial system works.

    No, it wasn't. It served its own purpose.

    No... it was actual salvation.

    Though it occurs to me that when I say salvation and you say salvation, we're talking about two entirely different things.


    The third cup is consumed immediately following the blessings that follow the meal.... which is something that happens after every meal in the home of an observant Jew.

    Plus, I should mention, that the blood of the lamb had absolutely nothing to do with the redemption of the Jewish people.

    I repeat: absolutely nothing.

    It had everything to do with sparing the first born of Israel from the 10th plague... which itself had nothing to do with the redemption of the Jewish people.

    When the Jews actually left Egypt... that was the redemption of the Jewish people. From slavery to freedom.

    Your understanding, if I can call it that, of Passover and the institution of animal sacrifices in general, is based on an oversimplification of a falsehood which is itself an oversimplification of a misunderstanding of these concepts.

    Believe what you want... but I don't want anybody who reads your post to believe that you're keen on what Jews believe, past present or future.
  17. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

    To me... it means that if you follow the teachings of Jesus and have faith, You have the power to overcome your sins. he has shown us the way though Prayer and Repentance and the example of his sacrifice..

    I do not believe that the Holy Spirit only came to us with Jesus death. It has always been with us.
  18. chinu

    chinu S T O I C

    means "re-union" with from where we all started the journey of life in the beginning.
    Simply means: To remove the letter "L" from "WORLD"
    Only the "WORD" is without sin.
    The "WORLD" is the place, which can never be without sinns.

  19. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

    Actually the world will be a place without sin when Jesus returns for those in the Kingdomof God and will be completely without sin after the 1000 years.
  20. Pegg

    Pegg Well-Known Member

    after reading through the different explanations, i thought the simplest way to state what it means 'to take away the sins of the world' is this:

    Jesus sacrifice was for the purpose of balancing the scales of injustice brought about by Adam.

    Adam introduced sin and death, Jesus gave of himself to reverse sin and death. Under Gods Kingdom, mankind will not have to be slaves to sin and death because God will put an end to them forever. It will be at that time that Jesus literally 'takes away the sin of the world'
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
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