Hebrews 10:5 is another passage where a quote of an Old Testament passage reads differently than it does in the Hebrew Bible, but unlike other passages we have looked in our series thus far, this change in reading does not have the support of a textual variant in the Hebrew text. Rather, it appears that the translators of the Greek Septuagint being quoted by the writer of Hebrews, actually interpolated a reference to David possessing “dug out” ears (or pierced ears) in the Hebrew text of Psalm 40:6 as a reference to servitude which finds its basis in the Jewish law of slavery. Hence, the change was made from pierced or dug out “ears” to “body” to emphasize the complete devotion of David (and eventually the Messiah Jesus) to God in offering His “body” in self-sacrifice for sins as applied by the author of Hebrews in his citation from Psalms.
[Music] Why Does Hebrews 10:5 Change “Ears” to “Body” [from] Psalm 40:6?
Why did the writer of
Hebrews change the word “ears” to “body” when he was quoting Psalm 40:6, where it says in the NASB, this is the Christian New American Standard Bible that I usually read when I’m reading the Christian Bible. Psalm 40:6, it says, “Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; (but) My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.”
It has changed. The “ears” are changed to “body” when we see it quoted in Hebrews 10:5. “Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, ‘Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You [have] prepared for me; In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure.'” That’s Hebrews 10:5-6. So have you noticed the change? In the Old Testament it says, “My ears you have opened,” in the New Testament, it says, “A body you prepared for me.” The claim of the Jewish rabbis is that Christianity has distorted the message of Judaism.
This is another episode in our series where we are discussing “Is Christianity the Mormonism of Judaism?” and just like Mormonism distorts the teachings of Christianity when it distorts the gospel, and says that we have to do a bunch of works and temple rituals in order to be forgiven and to receive salvation from God, so Judaism claims that Christianity has distorted the core message of Judaism by teaching that we need a sacrifice for sin and that that sacrifice is paid for by Christ.
So today we’re going to be talking about the concept of vicarious atonement. What is vicarious atonement? Vicarious atonement is the belief that somebody innocent could take the place of somebody who is guilty. So in other words, if I wanted to have my sins forgiven in the Christian concept of vicarious atonement, we come to Jesus, we confess our sins and Jesus forgives our sin, because He paid the price for our sin as an innocent lamb of God. He paid the sacrificial price for our sin on the cross so that we could be forgiven and go free. That’s the concept of vicarious atonement, that somebody innocent takes the place of somebody guilty, and that is the concept that is taught in Hebrews chapter 10, where it quotes these passages of the Old Testament, particularly Psalm 40:6 about the blood of bulls and of goats, it’s impossible to take away sin and it says, “Sacrifice and … offering You have not desired; (where Psalms 40:6 says) My ears You have opened,” to do God’s will. The passage in Hebrews says, “But a body You prepared for me.”
So we’re discussing this concept: Did the Hebrews writer mistranslate or misquote the passage in Psalms when he wrote, “A body You prepared for me”? Was that misquoted in Hebrews and was it a mistranslation in the Greek Septuagint, Greek translation of this Old Testament, because the Septuagint reads exactly the same way? We’re going to discuss that today, but to begin our discussion of this topic,
I feel it’s very important that we understand the jury system of sacrifices and understand how sins were forgiven under the Old Covenant, the old law.
What could be covered by a sacrifice and what could not be covered by a sacrifice? Let’s listen in as the rabbi we have been featuring in a number of our videos, let’s listen as he describes the different types of sacrificial offerings in the Old Covenant found in the Old Testament.
Rabbi Tovia Singer: “So what is a guilt offering? How is it different than a sin offering, and why would it be so valuable here in this passage? The answer is simple. A sin offering, Leviticus 4, is for sins committed unintentionally, accidentally, recklessly. People make mistakes. We’re creatures of habit, and we’re not thinking properly. Therefore we make mistakes, but they’re not intentional. What is a guilt offering? Listen up guys, I’ll tell you all this. So if you read through Leviticus 5, you’ll notice that what we, what comes into view, is a person – a whole series of sins where he may have sinned intentionally – or unintentionally – it makes no difference. The Torah says that what happened is such a person comes and he decides to confess, and stand before the court and say, ‘I sinned. I stole it.’
“He’s not caught. He got away with it, but he confesses it. So what does the Torah say? The Torah says this is a very special case because the person had confessed their sin, although initially it might have been intentional, there’s a whole lot of different ones, but let’s just take the worst scenario. It was completely intentional because, although the initial action was completely, it was intentional, deliberate, with the intent of robbing or sinning, but at some stage this person confesses their sin and they didn’t need to. They got away with it. So Hashem considers is such a great act, such a great act, but now that it’s only a guilt and they could bring a sacrifice for it, which means the weight of the sin retroactively has been lifted, because what happens if you steal and you get caught, we can go to Exodus for that. If you get caught, if you steal and don’t confess, but you actually get caught, you have to pay twice, double. In a case of a large rental, you may have to pay four or five hundred.
“There’s no sacrifice for you; sacrifices don’t work if you get caught. Sacrifice had only done whatever we say so the weakest won’t sin. In this case is a very interesting orientation here. Here we have a sin where it began as a full-blown sin, but the act of confession, of repentance and remorse has now weakened the force of the sin, now that you are making your soul in HaShem, offering a guilt offering you can bring a carbon I shall make [Hebrew?] a guilt sacrifice.”
Okay, we just saw the video from this rabbi explaining the two types of sacrifices that were offered in the temple for sins: Psalm 40:6 in the Christian Bible, or Psalm 40:7 in the Jewish Bible,
It reads in the Christian Bible: “Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.” Now the context that David wrote this particular Psalm about sacrifice and offering not being required is in the context of his experience with Nathan the Prophet confronting him about his sin with Bathsheba.
If you remember, in 2nd Samuel Chapter 12, we read about how Nathan came to David and told him a story about a man who had only one sheep and that sheep was so precious to him, that he would sleep with that sheep and he would take such great pleasure in the sheep. And then the rich man, he had plenty of sheep, but instead of sacrificing one of his sheep for his guests, he took the poor man’s sheep.
Now this really resonated with David when he thought about this man having one sheep and the only sheep he had. And David was a shepherd – you might remember that – and so, when Nathan told him this story, David became irate and he [said], “Well that man who took that only sheep, that rich man who took the only sheep of that poor man, he deserves to die.” It says in 2nd Samuel 12:5, “Then David’s anger burned greatly against that man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.’
Now, if you remember, Nathan came to David to confront him about his sin with Bathsheba. Bathsheba, if you remember, was the wife of Uriah, who was a valiant soldier in David’s army and when Uriah was out fighting the battles for David, David saw Bathsheba bathing on the rooftop and decided he wanted to have her over for the night, and she sent a message a few weeks later, telling David, “Hey, I’m pregnant.” So what did David do? He had committed adultery with Uriah’s wife.
Now, David had plenty of wives, had plenty of concubines and there was no reason he needed to sleep with Uriah’s one and only wife, so Nathan told the story about the sheep to help David see the connection of what he [had] done to Uriah. So to cover up his sin with Uriah’s wife, his sin of adultery, David then tried to get Uriah to come home from battle and to sleep with his wife, so that this child [who] was going to be born would be seen by everyone around as, “Oh well, that’s Uriah’s child,” but it didn’t work. Uriah refused to be at home with his wife and to spend the night with her. He stayed on the doorstep of his house, because he’s like, “Why should I have pleasure with my wife
“when the battle was raging and my brothers out there in the war [were] fighting?” So he refused to sleep with his wife.
So now David is caught with a problem. He’s trying to cover up his adultery, which, by the way under the Old Testament law, a person who commits adultery would be punished by death if he’s convicted. It reads in Leviticus 20:10, “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”
So, according to the Jewish Levitical law, David had committed a punishment worthy of death by taking Uriah’s wife and sleeping with her, by committing adultery with her. And if you look back also at Ezekiel 18, we read in verse 4, “Behold all souls are Mine; … the soul who sins will die. (Verse 5) But if a man is righteous and practices justice and righteousness, and does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols – (Ok, don’t commit idolatry) – of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor’s wife.” And then he has a bunch of other sins he must not do – okay, that’s in verse 6. Let me go down to verse 9: “‘If he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully – he is righteous and shall surely live,’ declares the Lord God.”
But what did David do? He did one of these sins of Ezekiel 18. He defiled his neighbor’s wife. So it says all souls who sin are worthy of death, but they’ll be able to live if they don’t commit one of these sins in this list of Ezekiel 18. David committed adultery. He was worthy of death if he was found guilty under a court of law. So what did David do? David tried to hide his sin. And to hide his sin, he had Uriah the Hittite killed in battle. Uriah was killed so that he could then marry Bathsheba. Take [her] as another wife in his palace and then when she would have the baby, people would not know about his adultery and they would think, “Oh well, this is just the child that David had because of marrying this widowed wife of Uriah,” so David was not caught. Was he? He thought he got away with this. He thought nobody knew about it, and so, instead of coming forward with his guilt and his sin before God, he tried to conceal it with yet another sin which, according to the Jewish law, if you kill somebody, you yourself, this adultery is worthy of death, but if you shed man’s blood, you should die. That’s another law. We read that in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.”
So David was under double condemnation of death
with not just his acts with Uriah’s wife of adultery, he was under the condemnation of death because he murdered Uriah. You can imagine this was very displeasing in God’s eyes, and so, when we get here to 2nd Samuel chapter 12, when Nathan comes to David and tells him the story about this man who had one only sheep, David became angry, and said, “That man deserves to die.” Now, what’s the rule in the Levitical law? If you stole something from someone, you would pay double. That’s what the rabbi just explained. So, if David was, just for stealing – this man, who took the other man’s sheep, David’s anger being such that, “Oh, that man shall die,” he took it to a higher level than even the court of the land, the Levitical law would have had him take it.
He would have said, “No, you have to restore double, so give that poor man two sheep to replace the sheep he lost.” I mean that would have been the Levitical law requirement for him, but instead David, in anger, said, “No. That man deserves to die who had done this.” Okay, let me get down to verse 6 of 2nd Samuel chapter 12. “He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” Okay, so that was that was David’s response. Of course, it was just a story, but in David’s eyes, no, it was a real situation. “Nathan then said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, “It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.”‘”
Okay, so this is the background. When David is confronted by Nathan – and this is the background that provides the situation – the story here in Psalm 40, where we read: “Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened.” David was confronted by Nathan, the Prophet, and he had not brought a sacrifice, a guilt offering. Under the Levitical law, under the Old Testament law, was David able to bring a guilt offering at this point? To be able to pay for his sin? He was caught. He had been caught by Nathan the prophet who confronted him. It was just like in a court of law. He was now standing before the judge of all the earth – God himself, with Nathan, the prosecuting attorney, bringing this to his attention, and what was David going to do? Could a guilt offering provide the payment for his sin?
Not according to the Levitical law. Under the Levitical law, there was no provision for a guilt offering to be able to cover the sins of someone who had committed the level of wickedness that David and Bathsheba had committed in their adultery, and that David had committed in his murder of Uriah. There was no guilt sacrifice, there was no provision for forgiveness under the Levitical law. So this is why David said in Psalm 51:16, “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering.”
There was literally no way that David could have been forgiven with the Levitical law. If he could have brought any type of guilt offering, he still would have been held liable for the consequences of murder, which prescribed death. So he had no option under the Old Covenant. This was the extent of the Old Covenant. It had its limitations, and David had reached those limitations and had found no way through the Levitical system to be forgiven.
So this is the context of Psalm 40:6, where we read, “Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears you have opened; burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.” Because there was no way for those sin offerings
or for unintentional sins or those guilt offerings, those burnt offerings could not cover for the seriousness of David’s sin, and that is why David could not be forgiven under the Levitical law.
So that is the context of Psalm 40:6. Now let’s listen as the rabbi talks about this situation and spins the story of David with Bathsheba and the story of Nathan the prophet confronting him, to try to say that, “Oh, sacrifice is not accepted,” so therefore, the Christian concept of Jesus being a vicarious atonement, being a substitutionary sacrifice in our place, he claims it’s not valid. He’s spinning the story here in 2nd Samuel 12. I want you to see what this rabbi says and how he twists the story to try to teach the Jewish position that they hold to today, that sacrifice for sin is not necessary for intentional sin, and so by doing that, they have discounted the rest of the passage in 2nd Samuel. So let’s look at this video and then we’re gonna come back to 2nd Samuel.
Rabbi Tovia Singer: “David was an amazing person, not because he was perfect, but David said two words in Hebrew: ḥāṭā’, HaShem. ‘I have sinned before the Lord,’ that’s what he said. No but, not however, he confessed his sin on the spot. Nathan was a prophet of HaShem, and he saw the heart of David and he knew that David truly was contrite and David really had repented of what he had done, and he said to David, the Almighty has already forgiven you.
“Okay, as you can imagine, this was an epic event in David’s life; it affected him deeply and it affected his relationship with HaShem and his understanding of sin and atonement. And as you could see around you, many people under the apprehension that it requires all kinds of blood sacrifices and sin offerings, and so on. This is what it told to me, that means the general conduit to expiate iniquity, his blood sacrifices and that’s what is told. This is a very, very big mistake. Now it’s beyond the scope, but why are there blood sacrifices? They [are] really for unintentional sins, but this is not what God is looking for. So Psalm 47 in a Jewish Bible, Psalm 40:6 in a Christian Bible, and King David, as he would say many, many times, dove add [Hebrew], a blessed memory. zeḇaḥ minḥâ ḥāp̄ēṣ [Hebrew], ‘the sacrifices and offerings you (meaning God) did not desire.’ ‘ōzen kārâ [Hebrew], ‘however, my ears you have opened for me.’ ʿōlâ ḥăṭā’â šā’al [Hebrew], ‘burnt offerings and sin offerings You have not requested,’ you did not want.
“Jeremiah 7:3-4 [Jeremiah 7:21-22], when when you were not a vegetarian commander [Hebrew] sacrifices.
“The point is everyone, all the prophets scream this, you got it wrong, your emphasis has been totally misplaced. Now, if you’re faithful and godly, then there is a sacrifice of righteousness, but this is all totally misplaced. If you think the rituals will save you, ʿōlâ ḥăṭā’â, ‘burnt offerings and sin offerings,’ šā’al, ‘you didn’t ask for it.’
“That’s what it means. You’re probably saying to yourself, ‘This is a disaster for the church.’ This is one passage that the church probably does not want you to study very carefully. Why? Because in churches, all they teach about from the minute you walk in, to the minute you walk out is you need the blood and you need the sacrifice and where is the shed blood, and Jesus is your shed blood and He died for your sins and without the shedding of blood, all this [is] not enough. On and on and on.
“As it turns out, this passage in Psalm 40:6 is quoted in the Christian Bible. Hebrews 10:5, there’s a cross-reference back to Psalm 40:7 and he’ll then say, well let’s say have Hebrews quoted. Why in the world would the author of Hebrews ever quote such a passage that seems to discredit all of Christian theology? So, if you open up Hebrews chapter 10:5, the passage reads the following: ‘Therefore: when Christ came, He came into the world and He said, “Sacrifices and offerings You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for me, with burnt offerings and sin offerings (You did not want), You were not pleased.”‘
“I’m not kidding. The text says sacrifice, in the Christian Bible, in Hebrews 10:5 sacrifices and offerings He didn’t want, and somehow Jesus said this, but a body, ‘A body you prepared for me.’ Now, I hope you’re paying attention, because you go, “Body, like hold on.” Let’s go back here to my Christian Bible, on the other side. Doesn’t say “body,” it says my “ears.” That means the author of the book of Hebrews changed the Jewish Scriptures. King David said, ‘Sacrifice and offerings You did not desire; My ears You opened (mean to hear your word). Burnt offering and sin offering you [did not require].’ You never requested, and what did the Hebrews, what did the book of Hebrews do? He put in the word ‘body’ said it is; had he changed the word of HaShem? What does it say then?
“Now, I want to provide also a context of why Hebrews did this, the author of Hebrews changed the text, what it says in Psalm, and put it in the book of Psalms and instead put in a word, it sounds very Christian, a body, be a sacrifice, and now it really works Christologically, it sounds great. ‘Sacrifices, offerings You didn’t want,’ meaning that you didn’t want the animal sacrificial system, and the point in Hebrews here and in Hebrews, actually can swing it back to chapter 7, 8, 9, 10, all of it’s about Jesus replacing the priesthood. In fact, the animal sacrificial system never really intrinsically worked, so why would we have it all together? What was the purpose of it? So the basic theme of Hebrews is, and everything you find in the Old Testament, in the Jewish Scriptures, there’s really a foreshadowing of Christ.”
Well, you just saw what the rabbi had to say about this passage being quoted in Hebrews, chapter 10. He essentially is saying that not only does he believe Hebrews misquotes Psalm 40:6, but then he says it’s misapplied.
In other words, he teaches that the Christian concept of vicarious atonement where Christ, the innocent, takes the place of the guilty. He says that that is a misapplication, that that is not the understanding of the Old Testament, but let’s look at this passage again in Psalm 40. Let’s look at the passage that formed the basis of David’s understanding of atonement for sin.
Let’s look back at 2nd Samuel chapter 12 and I want to pick up where we left off. Remember the rabbi, he jumped down to verse 13 in the passage, where “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.'” And he [Rabbi Singer] stopped there. He did not read the rest of the passage, nor did he read the verses in front of that verse, that gives us a context by which Nathan was able to say to David, “You will not die.” Keep in mind what we just learned about the different kinds of atonement in the Old Testament. The only way that a sin guilt offering could be offered is if the person comes forward and confesses prior to the court case being discovered and exposed. So if he waits till after the court, he comes before the court and he hasn’t had a guilt offering brought, he then has to pay the full price of the law, the full extent of the law, for the sin that he has committed. So we just studied that, and we stopped right at the point here in 2nd Samuel chapter 12 and we were reading this incident with David and Bathsheba.
We stopped at the point where Nathan is confronting him and let’s pick up at verse 9, where Nathan says to David, “Why have you [despised] the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Sons of Ammon.” Okay, so Nathan’s confronting him, and then verse 10, he says, Now, therefore (here’s the consequence), “Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.”
Okay, so what has David done? He took the wife of Uriah. He essentially stole from Uriah and therefore the consequence of stealing: God says the sword will never depart from David’s house. That meant that David was going to lose some of his family members to the sword, just like he delivered Uriah to the sword of the Ammon. Now David is going to experience the same kind of judgment in his household, where his family is going to experience death by the sword. Now let’s go on. Verse 11. The judgment continues from God. Verse 11,
Nathan says, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.” Verse 11. So what did he just say? So David took the wife of Uriah. Now what is God going to do? God is going to take, it says, “I will even take your wives (plural) before your eyes.”
So here’s again the judgment that we see laid out in the Old Testament. If you steal something, you have to pay double. That’s what this rabbi that we’ve been watching, has explained, and what is David going to do? He’s going to lose his wives, several of his wives, for stealing Uriah the Hittite’s wife. Now we continue on. Verse 12: “‘Indeed, you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel under the sun.’ (Verse 13. Then David said to Nathan that, now we come to that verse where David repents), Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.'”
Now, this is the verse that’s quoted by the rabbi and based on this verse, the rabbi says: okay, Psalm 40:6 says God doesn’t require sacrifices because David understood [that] all he had to do was repent and he was forgiven. But he [Rabbi Singer] didn’t read the rest of the passage. He didn’t read the verses preceding this verse that showed that David still had to suffer the consequences of his action. He didn’t read the verses preceding this verse 13, where David has his sin taken away by the Lord, he doesn’t read the verses preceding that that said, well, the consequences are the sword will not depart from your house. You’re gonna lose several of your family members, because what David had done was worthy of death. So now he’s going to be losing family members to the very sword that he delivered Uriah to and he’s going to have to pay double for the thief – the stealing of Uriah’s wife, because he’s gonna lose several of his companions.
His very wives are going to be given away to his companions, and so then, now we come to this verse 13, where David says, I’ve sinned, and Nathan says, the Lord has taken away your sin. However, verse 14, this is the part he didn’t read. Verse 14, “However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you [shall] surely die.” Did you catch that? Because of this deed, okay? However, the Lord’s forgiven you, you’re not going to die. “However, because [by] this deed … the child also that is born to you shall surely die.” Did you catch that? What did the rabbi tell you about this passage in the Old Testament? He said, well, all David did was repent and God forgave him, but it wasn’t without a cost. This innocent child had to die. Restitution still had to be made in order for the process of reconciliation to take place. David still had to suffer the consequences of his actions. A life for life still had to be given. David had taken a man’s life, and the consequences resulted in not only several family members dying, but the death of his innocent child. Life for life. Retribution has to take place in order for full reconciliation.
There has to be a righting of the wrongs committed. And so that’s why this innocent child had to die. Now, you might be asking the question: how can a righteous God require the death of an innocent child on account of someone else who had committed the sin? I mean, why would God require the death of a child, when it was the father who sinned? Well, let’s go back to some examples here in the Old Testament. We see examples where sin of a father affects the life of those around him. It directly affects his family and the life of those around him.
An example of this would be Achan in Joshua chapter 7, when the Israelites were going into the land to possess it, and they came up against the city of Ai, and they were going to fight Ai and 36 men died, fell before Ai, and Israel was like, “What happened? Why isn’t God with us?” And it was revealed to them that there was sin in the camp. So through the process of seeking the Lord, they found out that Achan had taken something under the ban that he was not supposed to take, something God commanded him not to take at the last city that they had come up against. Because Achan had taken something under the ban, Israel had [to] suffer the loss of that battle, that initial battle against Ai, with 36 men dying. So you see the sin of Achan directly affected his brothers in Israel, with several people dying because of his sin of taking something that God told him, told Israel, not to take. And then we read the consequences of that action.
It says in verse 24, “Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan, the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.” And you read on, it says that God commanded them to to be stoned and then after they were stoned, they were burned. Everything that belonged to Achan was burned, and then they raised a big heap of stones that served as a monument to the day of this writing here in Joshua.
So God required the death of not just the father who had done the sin, but his sons, his daughters, even his oxen, his donkeys, and not only in that example do we see the innocent being taken along with the guilty when it’s directly related to a family that had sinned, or Israel suffering those consequences, because there was sin in the camp through Achan, but we also see when God commanded Israel to go into the land of the Canaanites. He often told them to not spare anyone, not even the babies. It says here in 1st Samuel 15:3, “Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death
“both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” So again, here we see the seriousness of sin is so great that when God brings judgment, it often transpires on to the people around the individual that had committed that sin. And so this is what we see even to this day, when God brings judgment on a nation, both the righteous and the wicked suffer with that judgment, but God is just to do this. Why? Because not even infants are without the stain of sin.
David says in Psalm 51, where he writes about his incident, this incident of how he discovered the forgiveness of God, he says in Psalm 51, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” That’s verse 5. So, even in the very conception, children bear the consequence of having a sin nature, and so that is why even infants are guilty of having that sin nature, even though they haven’t committed a sin yet in their life. They have that sin nature and therefore, God is just to require even the the death of infants and children and babies when He’s bringing judgment against a family because of the sin of the father or the sin of of the nation in the case of Amalek.
We have to remember that God sees much more than we do, and it’s easy to look at incidents like this and go, “Well, how could God be just to require this of innocent children?” We have to remember that for us, we just see this life, but for God, he sees the next life, and the next life is eternal. David had this hope that, even though his innocent child, his infant child, died because of his sin, yet he said he may not come to me, but I can go to see him.
He had this hope of resurrection. He had this hope that, once when he would die, he would go to see the child, that the child would be safe. And the Lord, in His justice and in His mercy would save the soul of that child, and so David believed in the forgiveness of God, and in the atonement that He offered for sin because God said in verse 13, I have taken away your iniquity. In saying that He had taken away David’s iniquity, He was showing that God Himself was going to pay the price and therefore, God was going to be the one [Who] would carry that iniquity away from David, and that is the basis by which God was able to forgive. So David had the hope of seeing his child again in the resurrection, and that is the hope that we all have in Christ, that even when we sin, even as Christians,
we believe Jesus died for our sins and paid the price so that we could be forgiven of God, but even then, we still suffer the consequences of our sins and our actions, and those consequences can be severe at times. But it is the necessary process that God has designed both in the Old Covenant and in the New Covenant to bring about reconciliation. And this is why Jesus says in Matthew 5, if you have something against your brother, leave your gift at the altar. First be reconciled to your brother, then you can come and offer your gift, and that is again the idea that we see here in 2nd Samuel that God was requiring payment, and the payment that was ultimately paid for in Christ, so that David could be forgiven. He still had to suffer the immediate consequences, the immediate retribution, that had to be done in order for reconciliation to take place, and in this case it costs the death of his innocent child. But it wasn’t the end, because David knew that someday, he would see his son again.
Now before you turn to our text here in Psalm 40:6, I need to say something about vicarious atonement, because the rabbi, in several of his videos, he tries to liken the Christian concept of vicarious atonement to pagan sacrifices where, in the pagan cultures, they would offer innocent infants or virgins on their altar of sacrifice; they would think that, in some way, those innocent offerings would somehow atone for their sin. And the rabbi likes to draw parallels to that concept in the pagan culture, and say [that] Christianity just borrowed that concept when it came up with the idea of the Lamb of God, Yeshua Jesus being our Messiah, being the innocent Lamb who takes the sins away, the sins of the world. He tries to say that that concept is a concept right out of paganism and nothing could be farther from the truth.
There is absolutely no parallel between the pagan sacrifice of infants and the Christian concept of Yeshua our Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, taking the sins of the world on Himself. Why? For the simple reason that in the Old Testament, the very passage that we’re looking at here [in] Psalm 40 comes from the 2nd Samuel passage, 2nd Samuel 12, and we read in verse 13 when God forgave David.
What did he say? “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.'” Did you see that? Did you see that in this verse? The Lord has taken away your sin. The reason the pagans’ ideas of killing innocent victims for the wicked people is not at all parallel with Christianity is because God Himself takes on flesh in the person of Jesus Christ to take away the sins of the world.
It’s God who is taking those sins away, just as he [Nathan] said to David,
“The Lord has taken away your sin.” And do you know what that phraseology that the Lord used about taking away his sin was the idea that we see right out of the Old Covenant, Old Testament idea of the scapegoat, because in the Old Testament, we read here in the Levitical law in chapter 16, when they were offering sacrifices for sin, there would be two goats. One goat would become the sacrifice, one goat would pay for those sins of the people through its death, and the second goat would become what they called the scapegoat. What they would do is they would lay their hands on these goats and the goat would pay for the sin and die, there would be another goat, that second goat, would then be sent out into the wilderness, to illustrate the removing of the sin from the people to the goat into the wilderness to take away those sins from the people.
That was the Old Testament picture in the Old Covenant, in the law of sacrifices that God used to show how the sins were removed from the people through these two goats, the one that would pay for the sin and the other goat that would go into the wilderness as a scapegoat to remove those sins. Now it was just a picture. It didn’t literally happen. They couldn’t possibly take away the sins through the goats because, as Hebrews brings out in this very chapter of Hebrews, chapter 10, those sins still remain. There is still consciousness of sins. The people, even though they sacrifice countless number of animals, those animals could never fully take away sin, but when the Lord takes away sin by taking those sins upon Himself, as he says here in 2nd Samuel, the Lord also has taken away your sins.
Those sins that we have committed were transferred to the body of Jesus and he paid for those sins, and in that sense he became our sin offering and our scapegoat. He took those sins away, and that’s how God could say to David, picturing what Jesus was going to do, what the Messiah was going to do when he came. The Lord Himself would take away those sins. And so here we see a stark contrast between the pagan concept of what the rabbi would call vicarious atonement in the pagan culture. It was really just a perversion of sacrifices of innocent people [who] could never take away sin. People cannot, as it says in Psalm 49:7. It says, “No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give to God a ransom for him.”
So that pagans’ culture of taken innocent life for the guilty is not at all remotely similar to the Christian view of God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ taking on the sins of the world. The Bible is very clear, Psalm 49:7, that a man, a human that is not God Himself, is just a mere human – could not pay the price for sin, because humans are born in sin, as we just saw in Psalm 51:5, David said, and sin we’re conceived. So our sin nature prevents us from being able
to be a perfect sacrifice that is needed to take away sin. So even innocent babies are not perfect, because they have a sin nature. The pagan concept of sacrificing infants is a perversion of the Christian view. The Christian view is that God Himself – it takes someone who is beyond just the standard human. He had to be superhuman, if you will; He had to be God and man in order to take away the sins of the world. He could not be just a human who [was] obviously born in sin, because Jesus was not born in sin. He was born from the seed of God and the woman, so He was born without a sin nature, and that is how Yeshua our Messiah could become the sin offering and take upon the sins of the world.
And we see this also in the very passage that we’re studying, Psalm 40:6. It says, “Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired.” That word for desired – another word or another translation of it is, is “pleased.”
“You are not pleased with these sacrifices.” But we come over here to Isaiah and we read in Isaiah 53, a sacrifice that God is pleased with, that God has desired, and it says here in Isaiah 53:10, reading the Jewish Bible, “And the Lord wished to crush him.” To crush this servant, the Lord wished. That word “wished” is the very word that is used in Psalm 40:6, for you have not “desired” these sacrifices. It says here in verse 10 of Isaiah 53, “It was the Lord’s wish to crush him.” That word “desired” is the very same word here, where it says, “You have not desired.” Here it says, God does desire to crush him or the Lord wished to crush him, the Lord was pleased to crush him.
So this is an interesting parallel, because in the very passage that the rabbi is trying to use against the Christian view, of vicarious atonement in which Christ takes on the sins of the world and and becomes a sin-offering, being the innocent lamb of God, because He comes out of God, is indeed the Son of God.
Here we see that this is a sacrifice that God is pleased with, here in verse 10 of Isaiah 53, when He’s not pleased with the sacrifices of Psalm 40:6, where they’re just animal sacrifices that cannot take away sin. And let’s read on in verse 10 of Isaiah 53. It says, “And the Lord wished to crush him, He made him ill; if his soul makes itself restitution.” Again, I’m reading the Jewish Bible, and it says, “If his soul makes itself restitution.” Another word for that is asham, that the Hebrew word is, “If his soul makes a guilt offering,” is how most Christian translations read, so making itself restitution.
Another word for that is guilt offering, it’s the idea of the very sacrifice being made by this servant that becomes the guilt offering for sin. In other words, this is how God is able to say to David in 2 Samuel 12:13, “The Lord has taken away your iniquity.” This is how the Lord is able to take away iniquity and how He’s able to become, if you will, the scapegoat, because while the Son of God pays for the sin, the Lord is able to take those sins away, carry those sins away from David and from all of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ.
And it’s with that context, as a background that the writer of Hebrews, in Hebrews chapter 10, looks back at Psalm 40:6 and says, “Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired, but a body You [have] prepared for me.” What is this phrase in Psalm 40:6? “My ears you have opened,” or “My ears you have dug out.” The translators of the Septuagint, when they read this passage in Psalm 40:6, “My ears you have dug out,” they thought of ear piercing. What happened when a slave under the Old Covenant, if he desired to remain with his master?
We read over here in Exodus chapter 21, beginning in verse 2, “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.” Okay, so you can only have a slave for seven years unless there was a provision. Verse 5: “But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man’ (You get down to verse 6 of Exodus, chapter 21, it says), then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve Him permanently.”
So what is this passage in Exodus chapter 21 communicating to us about a slave who has his ears dug out or pierced? It was a person who said to his master, “I love you so much, I’m going to give you my all. My whole life is yours. My body is yours.” He had his ears pierced so that he would never go free. He would stay a servant of his master for the rest of his life. And I suggest to you that that’s the concept that is being portrayed here in Psalm 40:6, where we read in the Old Testament, “My ears you have dug out, or my ears you have opened.” Essentially the translators of the Septuagint, Greek translation of the Old Testament,
when they got to this verse and saw, “My ears you have dug out, literally my ears you have opened, literally my ears you have dug out,” they saw ear piercing as a picture of a servant who has devoted his whole body to the master as a servant for life. So, therefore, when they got to this passage, instead of saying, “My ears you have dug out,” they said, “A body you have prepared for me,” to carry the idea of that Old Testament passage in Exodus 21, where a servant could have his ears pierced to indicate a whole-body sacrifice of service for his whole life. That is what David was essentially doing when he said, “‘Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired.’ Here I am, here’s my ears have you opened, my ears have you dug out, my ears have you pierced, so that I myself, if you will, am now your servant for the rest of my life.”
Okay, that’s the idea that David is communicating here in Psalm 40:6 that the translators of the Septuagint understood when they said a “body” instead of “ears.” They translated the “ears you have dug out” as “a body you’ve prepared for me,” and we get this quoted in Hebrews chapter 10, beginning at verse 4, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Verse 5) Therefore, when He comes into the world (speaking of Christ), He says (and this is where Hebrews says this is where Christ may have quoted this – that they’re saying Christ basically said the), ‘Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me; (Verse 6) In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure.’ (Verse 7) Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.'”
So there you go. This is the context of Hebrews chapter 10, quoting Psalm 40, and applying it to Jesus Christ and saying, just like David, who offered his body as a sacrifice to God, so Jesus Christ, the future son of David, the future son who would become a king, and who would die for the nation of Israel, that future son would then become the sacrifice, the sacrificial payment, and He would then become that guilt offering who would take away sins.
And we read over here in Isaiah, chapter 53, and I’m gonna read this from the Jewish Bible at www.chabad.org, beginning at verse 10. It says, “And the Lord wished to crush him, and He made him ill; if his soul makes itself restitution.” Now the idea of his soul makes itself restitution – this is the idea of a guilt offering, if he makes his soul an offering for sin, that’s how the Christian Bibles read. If he, his soul makes itself restitution, it says he shall see children. He shall prolong his days and God’s purpose shall prosper in his hands, so Jesus was resurrected to life because He made His soul a sin offering and when He resurrected, He then became the father of many children,
Sons of God, adopted children, spiritual children. Then verse 11 of Isaiah 53: “From the toil of his soul he would see, he would be satisfied; with his knowledge My servant would vindicate the just for many (the righteous for the many, he was righteous and he paid the price for many, and it says) and their iniquities he would bear. (That’s verse 11, Jewish Bible and then verse 12) Therefore, I will allot him a portion in public, and with the strong he shall share plunder, because he poured out his soul to death, (He poured out his soul to death – Jesus the Messiah, our Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiach; He poured out his soul to death) and with transgressors he was counted; and he bore the sin of many (because he became a guilt offering, verse 10. That’s a guilt offering, so in verse 12, He bore the sins of many) and interceded for the transgressors.”
Jesus became the intercessor because He bore our sins, and that is the concept that is portrayed here in these passages in Isaiah 53. In Psalm 40:6, we read that the story behind that, 2 Samuel chapter 12, David saw an immediate picture. The very Son of God would die as Isaiah 53 prophesied, so that He would then pay the penalty, He would come, His body would be prepared to pay the penalty, the price for sin, and that is the picture we see in the Old Testament that Hebrews picks up on in chapter 10, ties these passages together to show us why our sins could not be paid for by a regular sin offering, but Jesus the Messiah became that guilt offering for us that, if we confess our sins as it says in 1 John 1:9, if we confess our sins before the judgment, before we die, after is appointed unto men, Hebrews 9:27, once to die, and after that the judgment.
So if you wait till you die, till after you die, too late, you’re at the judgment seat, you’re gonna have to pay the eternal penalty for your sins, but if you come beforehand, 1 John 1:9: if you confess your sins, then the guilt offering of Christ done in your place can then be applied to your account. And that’s the beautiful picture of vicarious atonement we see in the Old Testament, foretold and pictured in the story of David, and then brought forth here in Hebrews chapter 10, speaking of how the Messiah fulfilled that, and the Messiah, as prophesied in Isaiah 53, bore the sins of many.
He made His soul restitution; in other words, he made His soul a guilt offering and then has become our intercessor. He intercedes for us before God, so that we now can go before the judgment seat of God after we die, and face – forgiveness of sins can be granted to us. We don’t have to face the eternal penalty,
because Christ took our place. Christ was the substitutionary penalty in our place as a guilt offering, if we pray and receive Him as our Savior and Lord.
So I hope you enjoy this video, that [it] helps you understand. I hope it helps you understand these concepts clearer, Hebrews did not misquote Psalm 40:6 when it changed “ears dug out” for a “body prepared for service.”
That’s the idea that was being carried in Psalm 40:6, that the Septuagint translators understood when they translated it. “A body You have prepared for me,” quoted in Hebrews chapter 10:5. [Music]
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