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Hebrews 10:4 states: "It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." - This is the thrust of the entire New Covenant.

However, in Matthew 26:28, Jesus states: "This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many - for the forgiveness of sins," referencing both the peace offering of bulls from Exodus 24:5-8 and sin offering from Leviticus 4.

In the Gospel account (Luke 22:20) Yeshua states: " This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you. " - only referencing the peace offering of a young bull (פָּ֔ר) from Exodus 24:5-8.

  • This means the Last Supper was not a Pesach meal, but a blessing for Yeshua's disciples in the order of the High Priest Melchizadek who blessed Avraham with "bread and wine," referenced in Genesis 14:18. This is slightly supported by Hebrews 7:28, although the author argues Levitical sacrifices to forgive sins is unnecessary, stating: "Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself."

  • In Matthew & Luke, Yeshua did pour out wine (symbolizing Levitical sacrifice of bulls for Peace and Sin offerings) to forgive the sins of Yisrael based on the Torah. However in Hebrews 10:4, the author claims this is impossible. Based on his beliefs, ritual church Eucharist (communion) blessings do not forgive any sins.

Does Hebrews 10:4 disagree with Yeshua regarding Sacrificial Atonement for Yisrael's sins through His new covenant blood (the symbolic blood of bulls, lambs)?

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    Please don't complicate your question with distractions such as the assumption that Paul wrote Hebrews, the use of Hebrew translations of NT Greek names and assumptions about the symbols. It makes it unnecessarily difficult to determine what your actual question is. – Ruminator Aug 9 at 14:09
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    According to the New Testament, Mosaic sacrificial rituals were symbolic of the atonement that was eventually to come through Christ's sacrifice on Golgotha, rather than being efficient in and of themselves. – Lucian Aug 10 at 3:27
  • I am not sure what you are asking. Are you asking whether or not Jesus' blood and flesh, (even metaphorically), is equivalent to the blood of bulls and goats? On its face, I don't see a contradiction here because the passages are speaking about two very different sources of "blood and flesh". – elika kohen Aug 10 at 4:06
  • Elika - I appreciate your response regarding Paul's perspective of sacrificial atonement in context to [Hebrews 10], but question the tradition of the church Eucharist (communion) as a ritual atonement. – חִידָה Aug 10 at 13:44
  • I don't understand what contradiction you're seeing. Please explain in more detail. – curiousdannii Aug 12 at 2:41
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The point in Hebrews 10 is not just "It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." There is a bigger picture here related to typology. Here is the context:

Hebrews 10:1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

The author is making two points:

  1. Blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins once and for all.
  2. It is only a type (shadow) of true sacrifice that is ultimately fulfilled in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

According to this interpretation, Hebrews 10 does not contradict the OT or what Jesus says. Hebrews 10:4 does not mean that blood of bulls and goats did not take away sins. It only means that blood of bulls and goats did not take away sins once and for all time. It was only a shadow of the true sacrifice.

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  • Tony - I appreciate your response for supporting Paul's perspective of sacrificial atonement in context to [Hebrews 10], but question the tradition of the church Eucharist (communion) as a ritual atonement. – חִידָה Aug 10 at 13:43
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You need to correctly divide and interpret these two symbols of the blood you seem to be mixing together.

First, Pesach. The Lamb represents Jesus’s body which he gave to us/you to take your judgement. But, the blood was a sign, a sign of a covenant , that covenant he made. It was a blood covenant, a covenant that would only come into effect after a death. So the wine represents the covenant. The sign.

And it is this what we remember when taking the bread and wine - that is, the bread, as his body which took our judgement, the wine, the blood as a sign of the covenant. That Jesus died, thereby putting that covenant into ‘effect’.

The other aspect of the blood you are brought up is that of the bulls and goats, Yom Kippur. The blood of the Bull cleansed, both the High Priest, and the Temple/Holy Of Holies, and the instruments that would be used. The Goat(s) both carried the sin away, [symbolic], and also covered the sin (Hebrew: Kaphar.) else it could be judged. [literal, that is, under Law.]

Sin had to be ‘covered’, else it would be judged (punished). Until Jesus died and took that sin away. This, taking away, as opposed to covering, needed not just a ‘perfect’, blemish free sacrifice - but a man. Once Sin was taken away, no more need to cover.

So when you correctly divide the uses of ‘blood’, you can then see why Paul is taking a different view. There were three, but you must differentiate between them. In the Old Testament, Covenant, cleansing, and covering. In the New Testament, after the death of Jesus, there were two, (new) covenant and cleansing (washing). And his body (bread) which took our judgement, that payment for ‘sin’. So when Paul compares the use of the blood, he takes into account that what Jesus accomplished took away the need to ‘cover’. And that that cleansing aspect can be called on anytime, for all time.

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  • Thanks, Dave! - I appreciate your response regarding Paul's perspective of sacrificial atonement in context to [Hebrews 10], but question the tradition of the church Eucharist (communion) as a ritual atonement once a disciple through faith has accepted Yeshua of Nazareth as Messiah. – חִידָה Aug 10 at 14:02
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    Ah, I now see what you were looking for with your Q. And In my opinion, you are right. Communion is NOT a ritual atonement, it is partaken in remembrance - we remember the body provided to take our judgement, and we remember the covenant. We do it in remembrance. – Dave Aug 10 at 18:02

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