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Jesus as guilt-offering?
by Magda C.
Did jezuz fulfill the role of the asham, "guilt-offering," that's used to
describe the suffering servant in Isaiah 53:10: "If he would offer himself
as a guilt-offering"?
Can it honestly be said that jezuz, who, in his final statement on
the cross, is quoted as saying: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken
(Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34), willingly offered himself as a guilt-offering?
The evidence points to the contrary. Yet, because jezuz died at the time
the Passover festival, the New Testament refers to him as the paschal lamb
(1 Corinthians 5:7) who, by his voluntary sacrificial death, takes our
away. To use the paschal lamb as a typology of jezuz' death (as the
lamb represented the redemption of Israel from bondage in Egypt, so jezuz'
death represents the redemption of humanity from bondage to sin) is at
an arbitrary assumption without a secure basis in the biblical text.
A closer look at the biblical text should convince any objective student
that the annual sacrifice of the paschal lamb is not treated, in any way,
referring to a guilt-offering intended to bring about forgiveness of sin.
was instituted as part of the celebration commemorating the redemption
Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12:14, 26, 27), and in no honest way can it be
in conjunction with a typological redemption from sin.
The New Testament portrays jezuz as being literally a biblical sacrificial
offering. The asham, as all other sacrifices, had to be perfect, without
spot and without blemish. jezuz was none of these. In addition, one must
address the fact that not only is human sacrifice abhorrent to God, but
only animals with split hooves and which chew their cud could have been
offered for sacrificial purposes. jezuz, as a human being, was unfit for
How can jezuz be the paschal lamb sacrifice and simultaneously be the
offering of an asham, a "guilt offering"? The functions of each of these
sacrifices are distinct and different. There are several sacrifices whose
purpose is the atonement of sin, and there is no need to misappropriate
paschal lamb for this purpose. Certainly the sacrifice offered on Yom
Kippur, the Day of Atonement, affords a more logical symbol of redemption
The rewards of verse 10 are contingent on the servant's willingness to
himself as an asham, or "guilt offering." All such offerings, as we have
seen above, must be perfect, without spot, and without blemish. Under
jurisdiction a "crown" of thorns was placed on jezuz' head, cutting into
scalp. He was then scourged. jezuz was then affixed to the beam and to the
upright pole with nails. The crucifixion preparatory treatment, the
origins of his executioners, the fact that he was a human, the geographic
location of his death, the lack of a death caused by a literal shedding of
blood respectively would render any potential offering as unfit for
consideration as a fulfillment of a biblically required sacrifice.
If the New Testament is a continuation of what Christians call the Old
Testament, it must harmonize with the "Old Testament." False comparisons
will not do. The New Testament authors cannot pick and choose what suits
them in order to make it seem as if jezuz willingly offered himself as a
guilt- offering. Either jezuz is complete fulfillment of Scripture or none
at all--and the verdict, clearly, is none at all.