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Ezekiel 45: Why is Jesus atoning for his own sins?

Postby Pree » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:49 pm

Why is Jesus atoning for his own sins in Ezekiel 45?

There’s a mysterious character mentioned in Ezekiel called the Prince who will reign during the Messianic age. He is identified as “David the prince” in Ezekiel 34:24 and 37:25. And both Christians and Jews agree that this is referring to the Messiah.

However, in Eze 45:22 it says that in the future temple, the Prince will provide a bull as a sin offering for himself and for all the people.

Thesis: If Jesus is the Messiah, this verse makes no sense. Jesus, being sinless, cannot atone for his own sin and therefore cannot be identified as the Prince/Messiah.
Pree
 

Re: Ezekiel 45: Why is Jesus atoning for his own sins?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:03 pm

The first clue is your own admission that he's a mysterious character, so you just know there are going to be interpretive differences about who he is what role he fulfills. We certainly can NOT make a definitive statement that he is referring to the Messiah. Despite your assertion, there are many Christians and Jews who claim this is not the Messiah, for the following reasons:

1. He plays no royal or political role. He never sits on a throne, whereas God sits on a throne (Ezk. 43.7).

2. He has no access through the east gate that is reserved for divine use

3. He doesn't serve a priestly function

4. He offers sacrifices for himself (44.3; 45.22), which the Messiah would not have to do.

5. He inherits a small piece of land near the temple (Ezk. 46.6-7, 16-18). Ps. 2.8 says the Lord will inherit the entire earth.

6. His actions in chapters 44-46 show that he is not the Messiah.

7. He is a married many who has sons who can inherit the land (Ezk. 46.16-18).

As you know, there are also reasons to claim he IS the Messiah:

1. He will live during the messianic era (44.3)

2. He will enjoy a unique privilege of being able to eat from the offered food in the Sanctuary (45.7; 48.21-22)

3. He will be given a parcel of land equivalent to that of any one tribe (45.16-17, 22; 46.4, 12)

4. He will have a leadership role among the people (46.16-18)

5. He will be a flesh-and-blood human being who will have progeny and will be bound by the Laws of Torah.

So we can't take a firm stance on his identity, as you have done. I would be prone to guess, as Dr. John Walton says, that "the prince in this context is a religious figure who is responsible for eating his sacrificial meals before the Lord in the sacred gate. Earlier in Ezekiel the term was used for the role of a Davidic figure (e.g., 34:24, 37:25), but here he has no royal or political role to play, only a role inside the temple precincts. He has no access through the east gate that is reserved for divine use; he only has an act to perform there. It is clear that he is not serving a priestly function, for he is not allowed to actually step in side the inner court."

It's too unclear to take a firm stance, but I would tend to agree with you that this is not a reference to the Messiah. I think the arguments against are stronger than the arguments for.
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Re: Ezekiel 45: Why is Jesus atoning for his own sins?

Postby Pree » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:03 pm

You listed 7 reasons why he’s probably not the Messiah. I’ll respond to each:

1. He plays no royal or political role. He never sits on a throne, whereas God sits on a throne (Ezk. 43.7). False. He isn’t mentioned in these chapters as playing a royal/political role. But these chapters are specifically about the Temple, so I wouldn’t expect it.

2. He has no access through the east gate that is reserved for divine use Where in Scripture is the Messiah said to enter the east gate?

3. He doesn't serve a priestly function Where in Scripture is the Messiah said to serve a priestly function?

4. He offers sacrifices for himself (44.3; 45.22), which the Messiah would not have to do. How do you know this? Verse please.

5. He inherits a small piece of land near the temple (Ezk. 46.6-7, 16-18). Ps. 2.8 says the Lord will inherit the entire earth. Psalm 2 isn’t a Messianic prophecy. It’s a psalm.

6. His actions in chapters 44-46 show that he is not the Messiah. Which actions?

7. He is a married many who has sons who can inherit the land (Ezk. 46.16-18). Where in Scripture does it say the Messiah can’t be married or have sons?
Pree
 

Re: Ezekiel 45: Why is Jesus atoning for his own sins?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:33 pm

We seem to be communicating across each other. It sounds as if you and I are in general agreement.

1\. I said this probably isn't the messiah because this prince isn't playing a royal or political role. Then your response is that "He isn't mentioned as playing a royal/political role." That's correct, so we agree. This text doesn't mention the prince playing a royal or political role, so the prince is probably not the Messiah. You and I agree.

2\. There is no Scripture I know of that says the Messiah is to enter through the east gate, but the east gate was reserved for divine use. It is thought that the Messiah will enter Jerusalem through the Golden Gate (the one on the East) because he is thought to be returning on the Mt. of Olives (Zech. 14.4). But the prince has no access through the east gate, which excludes him from being thought of as the messiah for several reasons.

3. The Messiah serves a priestly function in Ps. 110.4; Zech. 6.13; Heb. 4.14-10.18.

4\. The Messiah will not have to offer sacrifices for himself because he is sinless. Isa. 53.9.

5\. Psalm 2 is widely recognized as a messianic Psalm by both Jewish and Christian scholars: The Babylonian Talmud, Genesis Rabbah, Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, Rashi, Maimonides, David Kimchi, Yalkut, and midrash on the text, and a vast majority of Christians.

6\. There are many actions that show he's not the Messiah.

- 44.3: he occupies the gate through which YHWH enters the temple. The Messiah will enter the temple.
- 44.3: He is authorized to each before YHWH in the sacred gate, a significant departure from the role of the prince in chapters 1-39 (where he is a David figure)
- 44.3: He cannot enter the gate YHWH enters.
- 45.7: As I already said, he owns land near the temple, in contrast to Ps. 2.8.
- 46.2: The prince can't enter by the divine gate.
- 46.2: The prince has a fundamentally religious role (though not cultic), rather than any civid/political role, in contrast to Isa. 9.6-7 and others.
- 46.2: The prince prostrates himself in the presence of deity, an appropriate response for a moral, but not the Messiah (Dan. 7.13-14).

7\. The point is that nowhere in Scripture does it say the Messiah will be married or have sons. The Messiah will come in glory, on the clouds. There no reason to think he'll stop to pick up chicks on the way.
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Re: Ezekiel 45: Why is Jesus atoning for his own sins?

Postby Pree » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:27 pm

1. There are several prophecies that don’t mention his royal or political role that Christians still regard as Messianic.. Isa 53 for instance.

2. This is a tradition based on the Messiah coming to the Mt of Olives... but still only a tradition.

3. We just disagree on interpretation here. I don’t think these are Messianic prophecies... and one of them is from the NT.

4. “He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” Expressions like this were used all across scripture. It’s hyperbolic language. One example from your own NT is in Rev 14:5 “No lie was found in their mouths” or when Jesus says to Nathanael “There is no deceit in him”

5. Even if I grant this as Messianic, “inheriting the earth” should not be understood in the way people inherit borders of land. It’s symbolic of his worldwide government.

6. Too much to respond to here.

7. You say that it doesn’t say this anywhere in Scripture... but it’s literally right here! Lol
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Re: Ezekiel 45: Why is Jesus atoning for his own sins?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:56 pm

1. That's correct. No prophecy gives the whole picture. It's just not so that every prophecy has to contain every detail. They're like puzzle pieces. So just because there are several prophecies that don't mention his royal or political role doesn't take us anywhere. There are also prophecies that mention his royal/political role that don't mention his suffering role.

2. It is mentioned specifically in Zech. 14.4, so it's not "only a tradition."

3. The one from the NT shows that Jesus was regarded as the fulfillment of priestly prophecies.

4. Isa 53.9: "...though he had done no violence nor was any deceit in his mouth." It shows that the servant of the prophecy had suffered all these injustices though being absolutely innocent. Neither in word nor deed did he deserve the way he was treated. When he adds "nor was any deceit in his mouth," the author moves from submission to innocence. Not only did the servant of this prophecy not deserve the punishment he got, he didn't deserve any punishment. 2 Cor. 5.21 shows that Jesus was the fulfillment of this.

You say, "Expressions like this were used all across scripture." Show them to me. Two examples doesn't qualify for "all across Scripture."

Rev. 14.5: The context and reference is to false teaching. They were innocent of any charges of dishonesty. It's a very different context from Isa. 53.9.

John 1.47. "In whom there is nothing false." Jesus declared him a true Israelite—one living up to the covenant name. "In whom there is nothing false, no treachery, without the guile." Jesus is making a wordplay on the OT Jacob who *was* a man of guile, falseness and treachery (Gn. 27.35). Jesus's term suggests Nathanael's heart was pure, not double-minded. It's a very different context from Isa. 53.9.

Context, context, context. If I say I love my wife, I don't mean the same thing as when I say I love pizza. If I see someone sweating and I say, "You're hot," it means something completely different than when I see a pretty lady and say "You're hot." Context means everything. The context of Isa. 53 is that the Suffering Servant was completely innocent of all wrongdoing.

5. I agree that it's symbolic of worldwide government, that's the point. The messiah will not inherit a small plot of land but will instead govern the earth (Isa. 9.6).

6.

7. It's not right here. The Ezekiel text about the prince is not a text about the Messiah, by my evidence and your thesis: "Thesis: If Jesus is the Messiah, this verse makes no sense. Jesus, being sinless, cannot atone for his own sin and therefore cannot be identified as the Prince/Messiah." Therefore the prince is not Jesus. I think we agree again.
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