if animal sacrifices are sufficient for the atonement of sin, why should there be forgiveness of sin through faith in Christ?
Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.
"And if he be not able to bring a lamb, en he shall bring for his trespass, which he hath committed, two turtledoves, or tow your pigeons, unto the Lord; and wring off his head from his neck…..but shall not divide it asunder….shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him. But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves or tow your pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering*: he shall put no oil upon it." (5:7, 8, 10, 11, 13,) C. Neither the rich nor the poor among the Christians can have any fear in the commission of sins, because their God has made the atonement for sins so easy. Now this is one of the oddest things in the Christian Bible that it teaches that one can escape the consequences of one's sins without any great effort merely by committing other sins. A Christian commits a sin and in order to ward off its consequences kills other (animals), enjoys their flesh and gets his sins forgiven. When the head of a pigeon is wrung off from its neck, it is sure to writhe for some time, do not the Christians even then feel any pity for the poor creature. But (we forget) why should they have any such feelings when their God teaches them to ill (other creatures to offer them as atonement for their sins)? Besides, when all sins can thus be expiated, why have they set up this big fraud of forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ?
Answer: Let me avoid the repetitive questions which are already answered and focus on the new aspects of the question. First- is the forgiveness of sins so easy in Christianity? Second, why should there be forgiveness of sins through the faith in Christ?
Let me begin with the first.
Maharishi says “Neither the rich nor the poor among the Christians can have any fear in the commission of sins, because their God has made the atonement for sins so easy.”
Is it correct? Or did the Holy Bible clearly teach that repentance that leads to righteousness is a must for sacrifice and otherwise sacrifice will not be accepted? If the Holy Bible taught that repentance that leads to righteous life should precede the sacrifices, then Maharishi’s charges are false and baseless as usual.
Let us read the Holy Bible:
(a) The Holy Bible teaches that the Repentance should Precede Animal Sacrifices
In Deuteronomy 29, God through Prophet Moses described all the punishments that may come up on Israel if they are disobedient and commits sin.
Now, Deuteronomy 30 says about how they can come back to the Holy God.
Deuteronomy 30:1-10 "Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you, and you RETURN TO the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul that you may live. "Also the LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you will again obey the voice of the LORD and do all His commandments which I command you today. The LORD your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the LORD will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, [and] if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Repentance and obedience are prescribed as the way of restoration.
Further, read carefully the following passage when the temple of God was dedicated by King Solomon.
1 Kings 8:33-36: "When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers. "When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.
So, as mentioned earlier, sacrifices were not an appeasement but rather highlighted the gravity of sin and its serious consequences. Repentance had to come before sacrifices and sacrifices were an admission that sin had to be punished.
(b) If the sacrifices were offered without repentance, LORD God never accepted it.
Isaiah 1: 11-20 “Isa 1:11 "To what purpose [is] the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. "When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies– I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing [them]. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear
. Your hands are full of blood. "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword"; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
Prophet David wrote:
Psalms 51:16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give [it]; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.
So, it is very evident that Maharishi’s charges are baseless.
Now, the second aspect- “when all sins can thus be expiated, why have they set up this big fraud of forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ?”
Again the Holy Bible has already answered this question. While the animal sacrifices showed the gravity of sin and its serious consequences, the Holy Bible also has very clearly taught that animal sacrifices were shadow of the reality that was to take place.
The entire Hebrews 10 can be quoted here. I quote the first fourteen verses.
Hebrews 10:1-14: For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me In burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come– In the volume of the book it is written of Me– To do Your will, O God.' “Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and [offerings] for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure [in them]" (which are offered according to the law), then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”