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Did one or both crucified thieves mock and reproach Jesus on the cross?

thieves cross

How many crucified thieves reproached Jesus?

Here is what the four gospels tell us about the thieves who were crucified together with Jesus.

Mark 15:27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross.31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Luke 23:32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.—3And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:

Matt. 27:38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

Matt. 27:44 with the same also the robbers, who were crucified with him, were reproaching him. (Young’s Literal)

”Cast” in Matt. 27:44 (KJV) is a translation from the Greek word oneidizō (Strong’s 3679) and could also have the meaning of reproach, revile and upbraid. 

So is it a contradiction that Matthew and Mark claim that the thieves (plural) reproached Jesus when Luke tells us another story in 23:39 – about one thief rebuking the other for his behavior and for not fearing God? Not necessarily. The easiest explanation is of course that the ”good thief” REPENTED after that he joined the crowd (soldiers, priests, people who passed by and the other thief) by making at least one negative comment which would include him among those who reproached him. The bad thief might have been much more condescending and active in his railing on Jesus, and when the good thief finally repented he rebuked the other thief by saying Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.” Some suggest that there may have been further thieves crucified in the same area, apart from those mentioned on each of his sides. Maybe this cannot be completely ruled out, but the text does not seem to suggest there were any more.

It is not uncommon to use the story with the good thief on the cross, to support the ideas that neither works nor water baptism are necessary for salvation – with the argument that the thief accomplished neither. When it comes to works (good fruit) he did confess his sins and showed evidence of true repentance (which was also the view of Jesus who promised him a place in paradise), which means that all his sins were rightly removed. On top of this he also defended Jesus (a good deed) before the other thief. As a totally cleansed person he would qualify for salvation, and apparently he did not sin again for the remaining of his brief life. It is sin that separates us from God. When it comes to water baptism of course the thief had no possibility to go through with one, and most importantly he died before Jesus so therefore still ”in the old testament”. We are indeed asked to get water baptized based on the Bible, but I do not believe a man will end up in hell if he happens to get killed on his way to do just that.

Jesus became no SIN for us but he was made a SIN OFFERING as per 2 Cor. 5:21

pierced 2It’s a better option to say that Jesus died as a ”sin offering” for us, instead of saying that Jesus was made SIN for us, because the latter option might make it sound like Jesus as some point became sinful and filthy. Yet, the offer Jesus made for us was sweet-smelling before his Father and nothing was filthy about it.

Eph. 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and IN HIM IS NO SIN.

But what about 2 Cor. 5:21?

2 Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin

Sin is translated from the Greek word hamartia (Strong’s 266). The above phrase can also be translated as ”to be a SIN OFFERING for us” (or ”an offering for sin”), just like the below verse indicates.

Hebr. 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [offering] for SIN thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law

Notice that the words in italics are not present in the original Greek language but are inserted in English. It’s not unusual to translate the original word for ”sin” as ”sin offering” and the same is true in Hebrews 10:8 above, which is a quotation from Psalm 40:6 below. In this Psalm the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew text) also does not have the word ”offering” (sacrifice) in the text, despite that we can see this word in English.

Ps.40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and SIN offering hast thou not required.

The Hebrew word for ”sin” above is chata’ah Strong’s 2401 and can be translated as ”sin” or ”sin offering”.

Also the Hebrew word chatta’ath Strong’s 2403, can be translated as either ”sin” or ”sin offering”. The KJV translates 2403 in the following manner: sin (182x), sin offering (116x), punishment (3x), purification for sin (2x), purifying (1x), sinful (1x),sinner (1x). Examples of ”sin offering”:

Ex. 29:36 And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.

Lev. 5:12 Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord: it is a sin offering.

You can read more about the meaning of the verb ”bear” (as in ”bear our sins”) in this article. (It can actually be translated as ”remove our sins”, which other verses show). God the Father did not forsake Jesus on the cross which you can read about here.

Our sins are REMOVED! Our sins did not take a detour inside Jesus body before they were removed!paid

What would be the reason for making our sins first make a detour inside Jesus before they are finally removed? When Jesus removed sickness and demons from people, this is also a picture of Jesus removing sin, as per Matt. 8:17. The illnesses and the demons didn’t first end up inside Jesus before they finally disappeared. Let’s not believe in the penal substitution theory (satisfaction theory).

  • Jesus died as a sin offering for us on the cross.
  • Jesus did not become sin, and he did not literally bear our sins.
  • Jesus did not ”pay for our sins”, but he did pay a big price for us since he gave his only life. (Compare with the statement to the right.)

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Hebr. 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.—28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

Rom. 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

Matt. 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

Isaiah 53:4 Jesus did not literally BEAR our sins on himself and in his body

kors 7Jesus did not literally BEAR our sins on himself or in his body

Isaiah 53:Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet WE did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

This is a prophesy about Jesus Christ, and it was made by the prophet Isaiah about 800 years before Jesus was even born. When you read this verse which event do you think it concerns and which prophesy in the New Testament do you believe has come true through this old prophesy? Do you believe it’s Jesus death on the cross – because that’s where he died for the sins of the world? This is only true in part. Jesus did literally bear the cross he was about to be nailed upon – a symbol for getting us cleansed and saved – but if we should go by the Bible text this is actually not what Matthew had in mind with the expression ”he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”. Believe it or not, but Matthew suggests that this particular prophesy was fulfilled even before the suffering on cross, specifically when Jesus was still living and walked around among people to cast out evil spirits and heal the sick!

Matt 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:17 THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY ESAIAS THE PROPHET, saying, Himself . Isa. 53:4

As you can see, it’s the concept of casting out evil spirits and healing the sick that is considered being the fulfillment by Isaiah 53:4. There is an interesting comparison between Jesus getting people free by casting out demons from them and healing them from illnesses, AND dying as a sin offering for the people of the world in order to make them free from their sins which they are chained by. When Jesus walked around among people and healed them from their illnesses, he did NOT take their sins in his body, and neither did he bear people’s sins  in him or on him in any way. He did not even briefly take their illnesses in his body prior to removing them completely, because he simply REMOVED the illnesses without having the sins making a detour in his body before he did so. The Bible is clear that Jesus died to REMOVE THE SINS OF THE WORLD – and naturally not without conditions, or else everyone would be saved.

So when we read in Isaiah 53:4 that Jesus BORE our illnesses, Matthew equals this information with that he REMOVED them and that is the way that Jesus handles our sins. He makes an arrangement to simply have them REMOVED under certain conditions. Jesus only bore our sins symbolically, in the same sense that the  the sacrificed animals in the old testament bore the sins of the people. The animals didn’t become sinful (as some of the proponents of the penal substitution believe) but they were simply offered as perfect sin offerings and died FOR the sins of the people. The animals were sweet-smelling, just like the offer of the son before his Father, and if something is labelled as sweet smelling you don’t turn away from it but you fully embrace it. The death of the son was planned long before it happened so it would have been rather cowardly for a Father to turn his back on his son when he needed him the most. Read more about this issue in this article.

John 1:29The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Hebr. 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Eph. 5:And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Here are some different translations of  Isaiah 53:5:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (KJV)

The chastisement FOR our peace was upon Him (NKJV)

Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace (ESV)

Here are some different translations of Isaiah 53:6 (”to fall” comes closer to the Hebrew):

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (KJV)

—And Jehovah hath caused to meet on him, The punishment of us all (Young’s literal)

— But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. (NASB)

Also Peter uses Isaiah’s choice of words and it’s true that Jesus symbolically bore our sins in his body (as in ”bearing” the burden/responsibility or similar) and died for us. Jesus body suffered for our sake, so we can say that he symbolically ”bore” our sins in his aching body, or ”on his shoulders”. He wouldn’t have to suffer had it not been for our sins. Peter doesn’t argue against the interpretation of Matthew:

1 Pet 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

In the same chapter we can read that Jesus ”bore” the sins of many, and if this word means ”remove” earlier in the chapter – as Matthew claims – then it should mean the same thing here. In Isaiah 53:11-12 the Hebrew words sabal and nasa are translated in the Septuagint with anaphero”Is. 53:11 He  shall bear (sabal/anaphero) their iniquities”. ”Anaphero” is translated ”remove” in other places, and it makes perfect sense that Jesus REMOVE sins.

Isaiah: 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

God the Father never punished Jesus, and Jesus didn’t take our punishment instead of us or God’s wrath instead of us!straffa

Notice that it says in Is. 53:4 that WE did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted”. So in OUR view (not necessarily in God’s view) that is what it appeared to us, and it’s not hard to get this exact picture if we look up to Jesus on the cross to see him hanging there in distress, with much blood, bruises, sweat and with facial expressions revealing excruciating pain for our sake. The soldiers under the cross might even have suggested that God had punished Jesus for making himself equal with Him. God the Father of course has no reason to PUNISH Jesus for doing his exact will by dying for mankind, which was the plan all along! Nevertheless, Jesus suffered greatly on the cross but not because his Father sadistically wanted to harm him but because wicked hands caused the pain. God allowed it to happen because of the aim to have his son offering up his life for us, and this is tied to a high price which includes much suffering, stress and agony. Only in that sense can we say that ”it pleased God to bruise him”, even if the Father was not a cause of it. Nowhere in the Bible can we read that Jesus was PUNISHED for our sins, even if it is an oft-mentioned claim.

Jesus did not die ”instead of us” because if that were true then WE wouldn’t have to die, which we know is not true. Jesus died for ALL but he clearly didn’t die instead of ALL because then ALL would be free from the risk of ever having to die. But we are all going to die physically, and some of those people who Jesus died for will also die spiritually. (The KJV Bible offers a good translation when it comes to the Greek word ”huper”, because it’s translated with ”for” when it comes to the atonement on the cross and not ”instead of”.)  Neither did Jesus die ”in our place”. Was our place ever supposed to be on the cross? Of course not. And if  Jesus death on the cross means that he took the punishment ”instead of us”, then those people who Jesus died for (every single one) would be forever free from any punishment no matter how they lived their lives. We would all be born saved and our sins would be forgiven before they were even committed because Jesus has already paid for them and he has taken the punishment for those sins on himself and ”instead of us”. Clearly that will turn into an unbiblical theology. If anyone does something ”instead of” someone else, then it doesn’t make sense that BOTH  still end up doing the task in question. If a prisoner at war is told that he must be executed, and someone else steps forward and makes an offer to take this punishment in the other person’s stead (instead of him) and the offer is accepted, then it doesn’t make sense if BOTH will be executed!

Right terminology please!

Maybe you feel that it’s splitting hairs to even discuss if it’s better to say ”instead of” or ”for”, but it’s helpful to sort this out to get a better understanding of these things in order to not risk ending up with false doctrines. It’s not a salvation matter BUT false terms can be the reason why much heresy is creeping into our churches, and one false doctrine can easily lead to another false doctrine. That’s also exact what has happened in many of our churches today, and we have various degrees of gnosticism among us without even being aware of it.

Let’s say that you’ve been guilty of speeding way too fast in your car, and a police man stops you and writes you a ticket. Your kind FRIEND then offers to pay for it and he does so right away!  Wouldn’t you be quite surprised if you still received a reminder in your mailbox, to pay for this exact ticket that is supposed to have been PAID IN FULL! Was the ticket paid in full or not? Did Jesus pay for our sins or not? PAID IS PAID! IF Jesus paid for our sins (which the Bible doesn’t say), then you should be completely off the hook, and no one has any right to demand anything else from you since Jesus paid for your sins – which means that your sins should have been paid for and forgiven before you even committed them. We know that this is not the case though, and that’s why it’s better to phrase ourselves in a more Biblical way. IF you insist on using the word ”pay” (I wouldn’t advise it, and it’s better to say ”Jesus died FOR our sins”, then it’s better to say:

Jesus paid a big price for us, since he gave his own life

instead of:

Jesus paid for our sins

The punishment that we deserve is an eternity in Hell, is it not? Did Jesus take that punishment upon himself and instead of us? Of course not. Neither does God the Father have a need to pour out wrath on someone for no reason, and naturally he wouldn’t even think about pouring out wrath on his son who was obedient unto death. If Jesus ”satisfied God’s wrath” or ”took God’s wrath on himself and instead of us”, then none of us would have to risk being affected by God’s wrath even if we sinned all day long. If Jesus took this wrath on himself, then we shouldn’t have to do this as well, but the Biblical truth is that God will show wrath on those who refuse to believe and/or those who do evil and that includes also christians. This means Jesus didn’t satisfy God’s wrath. 

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God

Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath ofGod upon the children of disobedience.

It’s a huge difference between these two claims (the first being the best):

”Jesus died as a sin offering for all mankind (a high price), and by doing so enabled whosoever to be saved on the condition that they believe and repent”

”Jesus paid for our SINS on the cross and died instead of us and in our place. He also took our punishment instead of us and satisfied God’s wrath”

As we can see below, our sins are not actually removed until we REPENT. It’s also interesting to see that also Luke (or rather Peter who Luke is talking about) connects the power to heal the sick with the majestic power which derives from Jesus sin offering on the cross and faith in him.

Acts 3:11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.16 And his name through faith in his name HATH MADE THIS MAN STRONG, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this PERFECT SOUNDNESS in the presence of you all.17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.18 But those things, which God before had shewed BY THE MOUTH OF ALL HIS PROPHETS, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.19 REPENT ye therefore, and be converted, THAT YOUR SINS MAY BE BLOTTED OUT, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

1 John 1:If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we would evangelize to others by saying:sök

”Good news! Jesus took your place on the cross, he took your punishment instead of you , he took the wrath of God instead of you, your sins are fully PAID and forgiven, it’s finished and there is nothing you can do, etc”

then the people who are listening (believers or non-believers) might think:

”Well, that’s good. Then I was born saved and I won’t risk losing my salvation no matter how I choose to live my life because all my sins were paid for and forgiven even before I commit them. No one can require to get paid for an invoice or a debt twice. Paid is paid! And Jesus took my punishment instead of me on the cross, and that means that I don’t have to fear for any future punishments because JESUS took those punishments on himself. Jesus did it all and I can relax and I can afford to do nothing!.”

Jesus is said to be the ”propitiation” for our sins and this English word is originally from latin and means “favorable, gracious, kind” or “render favorable.” This latin word is used to translate the Greek word hilasterion which is used 22 times in the Septuagint. Hilasterion is used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew term for ”covering” or ”mercy-seat”, which is the cover of the Ark where the blood from offerings was placed to give ”atonement” for the sins of the people.

2 Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin

The above can also be translated as ”to be a SIN OFFERING for us”, just like the below verse indicates.

Hebrews 10:8 — saying above, Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou wouldst not, neither hadst pleasure therein.

It is not uncommon to translate the original word for ”sin” as ”sin offering” and the same is true in Hebrews 10:6-8 which is a quotation from Psalm 40:6. In this Psalm the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew text) also does not have the word ”sacrifice” in the text.

Read more in this blog article

God the Father did not FORSAKE Jesus on the cross – Matt. 27:46

cross8

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Did God the Father really separate himself from Jesus and abandoned him on the cross? Is it true that the Father could not even look at Jesus due to the sins of the world that Jesus literally bore in his body? Did God the Father PUNISH Jesus on the cross?

No these ideas derived rather late in our history (we can blame Anselm of Canterbury for most of them even if they were later established by the reformers), and God the Father did NOT abandon Jesus on the cross in any way. Wasn’t the plan and God’s own idea that Jesus would die for mankind? Why then would he abandon his son on the cross when Jesus was nothing but faithful and obedient UNTO DEATH? No, God did not contradict himself by first giving up his son to die for the world, only to cowardly look away when his son needed him the most. The Bible is clear that Jesus was NOT a sinner on the cross in any way, but he was totally clean and undefiled. Jesus was NOT punished by the Father and he did NOT literally bear our sins in his body. (See more in this article.)

Eph. 5:And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Hebr. 7: 26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

2 Cor 1:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain 

In Matt. 27:64 it doesn’t say that the Father abandoned Jesus, but Jesus does ask a question in relation to being abandoned, and this question could of course be heard by those who stood near the cross. They could therefore hear yet another prophesy about the Messiah even if they didn’t quite realize it at that moment. There were many prophesies which came true in Jesus Christ and that includes this many faceted question that Jesus shouted out, because it’s a quote from one of King David’s psalms which actually relates to himself (Jesus). The psalm in question is about David’s call for God and his (David’s) initial pondering if his prayers are even heard. Nevertheless, David continues by declaring that God indeed is the one who listens, answers, helps and liberates people when they have a true heart and seek him. The case could be that Jesus’s feelings on the cross were overwhelming and that he shared some of David’s feelings those last horrible moments on the cross when he alone took his last painful breaths. He died for the sins of the world but it must have felt as though the whole world was against him. Jesus is God, but he is also a human being with feelings just like ours. Quoting this psalm was perfect, because it has given us a chance to go back to it and read about both King David and Jesus, and we get many details about what transpired on the cross despite that this psalm was written long before Jesus was even born. Just like King David’s own conclusions, Jesus knew that God DOES listen and answer even in our toughest moments.

Ps. 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.—5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were NOT confounded.6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.—11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.—14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.—24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; NEITHER HATH HE HID HIS FACE FROM HIM, BUT WHEN HE CRIED UNTO HIM; HE HEARD.

The next psalm is the famous Ps. 23 which starts with ”The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”. Would a true shepherd really abandon his own sheep and purposely turn his back on it?

Ps. 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Isaiah 49:14 But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

The penal substitution theory is not Biblical – youtube film about the atonement of Christ

Do check Jesse Morell’s film about ”The vicarious atonement”, and do read the text under it. The penal substitution theory is not what the Bible describes and it’s actually a rather modern theory since it was birthed by Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) AD). It’s better to say ”Jesus died as a sin offering for the remission of sins”, instead of  ”Jesus paid four our sins, was punished instead of us and took the wrath of God instead of us”. The last suggestion might lead to a reformed (calvinistic) type of  thinking in order to save this unbiblical doctrine.

”Paul said, “God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe” (1 Tim. 4:10). “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Heb. 4:2). The atonement does not automatically or unconditionally save anyone; rather, it saves those who meet the conditions of repentance and faith. ”

”The fallaciousness of such a statement would be repeated if a person said, “Public schools do not exist to make education available to the public, but to actually educate students.” The truth is that public schools exist to do both. They exist to make education available to all while making it actual for those who have enrolled. In fact, education could not become actual unless it was first made available.”

”In the same way, Christ came to make salvation available to all, but salvation only becomes actual for those who are converted.”   

”The Penal Substitutionary atonement does ultimately necessitate either universalism or limited atonement.”

”If Jesus took the penalty that our sins deserved, it would be unjust for us to be punished. But then we are saved by justice, not grace. We could demand salvation instead of beg for it. If Jesus paid our debt, there is nothing left for God to forgive. So salvation would be void of any forgiveness. But the Bible says that Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins, that through His atonement there is forgiveness. His death, therefore, could not have been the punishment of our sins. Jesus taught us to pray for God to forgive us our debt. His death therefore could not have been the payment of our debt. This is why Calvinists like Albert Barnes and Jonathan Edwards rejected the Penal view of the atonement because it is void of any grace or forgiveness in our justification.”

”The Bible says without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The Greek word remission means to remit penalty. That means through the atonement our penalty is remitted. The atonement itself, therefore, could not have been the penalty that we deserved. The penalty that we deserve is eternal hell, that is the penalty of the law, not crucifixion or physical death. Jesus did not suffer eternal hell, therefore He did not take our literal penalty.” 

”In forgiveness, God turns from His wrath. Forgiveness is not the satisfaction of His wrath. ”

Jesus did not PAY a DEBT and was not PUNISHED on the cross (penal satisfaction)

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The error of the Penal Satisfaction theory

/Thanks to my friend Lyndon Conn for the below

Jesus suffered greatly, taking many stripes, was bruised and beaten, etc. He did all of this FOR us, but those things were not Atonement themselves. It was His death (shedding of blood and Life for a life – innocent for the guilty) that made atonement. Animals were never beaten or punished BEFORE they were finally killed for atonement.

The Penal Satisfaction atonement teaches that Jesus was punished in our place as He was beaten and bruised by God. This is not true at all! He was mistreated by MEN as a form of punishment for something He did not do. He could not be truly punished by God for any reason whatsoever since He was without sin. God not only NEVER punished a sacrifice (but only accepted the acceptable sacrifice), but sin was never literally on either the animals or on Jesus – since sin is not a substance that can be moved or transferred. When the Bible speaks of ”Taking away” sins, it is talking about the born again experience and the transformation that takes place when a person confesses their sins. Sins are then ”taken away” but the person being made into a new creation – as old things pass away and all things become new. Jesus made provision for all men so that all they need to do is confess Him as the acceptable sacrifice, and in turn also offer themselves a living sacrifice. These are likened unto the day of atonement in the 2 goats for the entire nation (as Christ represents both, the acceptable sacrifice in goat 1, and the scapegoat in goat 2 by taking away the sins of the world). And our repentance is likened unto the offering of the bull for personal sins.

Sin is not punished in Christ and they are not ”paid for”! These are both lies passed down through the RCC and not biblical at all. We have had bad theology so heavily imparted into our thinking that we think many things are fact that are not at all. We have never questioned them, and hear it all the time, preach it all the time, and never think otherwise, but I will challenge this thinking. Not to teach a different doctrine, but to show a different understanding of the same doctrine. The end is the same, but the path that takes us there is flawed.

Nowhere does the Bible literally teach the following: Jesus PAID FOR sins; He was PUNISHED by God;  He ”took our place”; He ”paid our debt”, and other financial terms that should only be understood figuratively. The literal is that He ”provided” for forgiveness; He did for us what we could not do for ourselves; and so on. Incorrect terms lead to many false doctrines like Limited Atonement and Universalism, and many are very inconsistent by not believing one or the other. Incorrect terminology can lead in 2 directions – one towards truth and the other towards error. With payment for sins – we might be able to draw a proper understanding from it (as I did for many years as well) – understanding that Jesus died for our sins and making the way of salvation for us – but the problem with the terminology is that it’s misused and could lead to error.

If Jesus ”paid for” our sins on the cross, then something that is paid for is completely finished and nothing else needs to be done at all. If Jesus ”paid for” the sins of the whole world, then all men are saved and do not even need to repent because their sins are already paid for. It is all done for them. This is why Calvinism has to create their doctrine of Limited Atonement – teaching that Jesus only died for the elect – in order to prevent Universalism. So then, Jesus ”paid for” the sins of the elect only, and did not die for the sins of the non-elect. As wrong as this is, it is actually more consistent with the teaching of ”payment for sins”.

The fact that WE are ”bought with a price” does not teach a payment for SINS. ”We” and our ”sins” are 2 different things. The wages of sin is and always will be death! Men still go to hell for their sins. Our only hope is to confess our sins to Jesus, the scapegoat of God, so He can ”take them away”. This is figurative! Sin is not a substance that can be put on another or literally taken anywhere. Sin is an attitude of the heart. It is a mindset that leads to actions that displease God. Man’s only hope is to have this part of him changed (transformed). It all starts with being Born Again. Old things are PASSED AWAY, and all things are become new. Sins are never punished IN man in this life (except by chastisement for the Christians if they sin and need to learn something). Sin itself is not punished at all. Man is punished and will be punished in eternity. So our only hope is to have sins ”taken away”.

Atonement terminology is mostly all figurative, but the figurative ALWAYS points to the literal! So we have to seek understanding of the literal, and be careful not to take the figurative itself too literally. This WILL lead to error. You cannot have ”actual and factual” without literal.  We just need to understand what it actually and factually is! It is NOT a payment, but a provision! It is not punishment of Christ by God, but abuse of Christ by men – which He endured FOR us – but not literally in our place. No man could ever die for his own sins, therefore it could never be our place, but only HIS place to die as atonement. Men will still die for their own sins. There is no ”debt” that we owe, but only ”wages” to be paid. A debt is something to be paid to another, while wages are what we have earned and have coming to US. We do not owe God anything, but repentance and our lives. There is nothing at all that we could possible ”pay” to God to ”buy” our souls back. These are all financial terms, including ransom and redeem, which both refer to the work of Christ on our behalf. The financial terms are all used to help give us understanding by using terms we can understand , but they are all figurative and not to be taken too literally. We must look to the literal they point to.cross7

The Bible says that He is the ”propitiation” for our sins – which literally means, ”He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins”. Propitiation is a term used in pagan rituals of offering their children to their gods as a sacrifice to appease their anger. It can give a picture of Jesus removing the anger of God against us, but should not be taken to the extreme to teach that He was an object of God’s wrath – with our sins literally on Him! Truth can be drawn and understood from this word; yet error can be as well if taken too far. There is no forgiveness of sins at all without repentance. There is provision for forgiveness that has to be received, but there is no actual forgiveness until then. The idea of a payment gives a false idea here, and it leads to false doctrines – making it easy for those who teach them to draw others into their errors. And Calvinism is growing stronger every day. I just heard a story yesterday about how so many Churches are turning Calvinist, and this has a great deal to do with it!

If you believe atonement is a literal payment,  then who was paid? The devil? The Father? And if paid, then a payment cannot be unpaid, right? A provision is something that is done FOR us that we could not do for ourselves; while we must RECEIVE it through faith – or reject it. Sins are not ”carried away” until we receive Him and confess our sins to Him so He can take our sins away – and then, where there are no sins and there is no guilt. But if sins are ”paid for”, you cannot have them paid for one a person is ”justified”, or have payment applied only at that time. This can work in the figurative, but not in the literal.

If we go back to Leviticus, sins were never ”paid for”. The only difference is that Jesus was without sin and He could be the one-time sacrifice for all time. But the idea of atoning for sins was the same. There had to be an ACCEPTABLE sacrifice and a scapegoat for the yearly offering. This was provision for the nation as a whole, but individuals still had to bring their own personal sacrifices of a bull for their owns sins – which is likened unto our repentance and offering of ourselves unto God as a living sacrifice. Neither were any form of a payment! Such an idea is added by men, starting with the RCC in the 12th century under Anselm.

We are figuratively covered in His blood, in that because of the shedding of His blood and out acceptance of Him as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, as the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled, we receive Him and all that He did for us as we confess our sins before Him. Our acceptance of Him as the one-time sacrifice that was without sin allows us to confess our sins and be forgiven of our sins. Our act of true repentance and accepting Jesus is accepted as if His blood were literally sprinkled on us, but no person has ever had His blood literally on them. Let’s get real here. This is what the RCC would have us believe. In communion they teach that the literal body and blood of Jesus is transferred to the bread and wine. So then we are cannibals and guilty of drinking blood – which is forbidden in the law of God.

True atonement is very simple and not half as complex as men have made it. God provided a Lamb in Jesus. We can accept His provision and confess our sins over Him and have them taken away, or we can choose to go our own way. God did not die for only some. He did not choose some and reject others. His atonement was for ALL men – the WHOLE WORLD as a provision for whosoever will call upon His name. Now it is up to men to offer themselves (their bull) to God in the confession of sins and acceptance of His provision. Very simple. Very biblical. And with no need of the additions of men. God’s wrath does not need to be appeased! If sins are ”taken away” by changing the man, then there is nothing for wrath to be against. However, if sins return, and repentance does not, wrath will be against such a man – as it is against the world. Very simple and completely scriptural.

Can sins be inherited?sheep 2

Sin is not a substance that can be passed down from one to another, but men inherit a condition that is passed down, and this condition is one that could lead us to sin. Romans 5:12 says that death is passed down. Men are born innocent, and therefore a baby is without sin and saved in its innocence. Sin is a choice – NOT something we inherit. Can the murderer blame their crime on their Father, or on Adam? No. Each man is responsible for his own choices and will be judged for them justly. Blame can never be passed to another, and neither can sin. Sin is defined in scripture as knowing to do right and not doing it, in which the opposite is just as true, in knowing something is wrong and doing it anyway. Sin is therefore a willful rebellion against a known law of God. For those who do not have His laws, Romans 2 says that their conscience becomes a law unto them. So whether we go against God’s law or our conscience, these are what define sin.

Every man and women are faced with choices between right and wrong. And each have the ability to choose what is right. Otherwise they could not be rightly judged for their choices, but because of spiritual death (separation from God), mankind will turn to his own lusts, having no guidance in life. They cannot choose what they do not know.

John 3:19 – ”And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

Men are sinners because they sin – which is contrary to popular belief. It is the majority of the Church today that has been infected with false teachings and cannot see it. They are not the worst errors out there but they do lead to them. If we want to rid the Church of error and keep Christians from confusion, then we need to get rid of the little errors that serve as stepping stools for the true heresies. The ”Sinning Religions” of our day, the OSAS teachings (once saved always saved), and Calvinism all gain strength from these erroneous atonement ideas and false understandings of sin and death.

Tertullian – On Repentance, chapter 6 ”For repentance is the price at which the Lord has determined to award pardon: He proposes the redemption of release from penalty at this compensating exchange of repentance. If, then, sellers first examine the coin with which they make their bargains, to see whether it be cut, or scraped, or adulterated, we believe likewise that the Lord, when about to make us the grant of so costly merchandise, even of eternal life, first institutes a probation of our repentance.”Chapter 9 – ”but inasmuch as by confession satisfaction is settled, of confession repentance is born; by repentance God is appeased.”

Jesus paid a high price as a sin offering for us, but he did not PAY for our SINS

In the parable in Matthew 18:23–35, we can see that the servant who had a debt (sin) to the King was LOOSED and FORGIVEN for it. The debt was REMOVED. TAKEN AWAY. No one offered to pay the debt for this servant but it was simply ERASED due to his pleadings. However, when the same servant later refused to forgive another person, then the same debt was back on the table yet again! Had the debt been paid for originally, then the King couldn’t request for yet another payment of a debt which is already paid and settled, regardless of any bad  behavior of the guilty servant. But we know that when we ask for forgiveness and repent, it’s our PAST sins that are forgiven and removed. Not our FUTURE sins. If Jesus had PAID for all our sins on the cross, then we would be BORN forgiven and saved. If we would sin, we could always suggest that we’re still safe since Jesus has already PAID for our transgressions, and this means we don’t have to. We could also suggest that we can actually serve two masters and still be saved, because our sins are already forgiven. We would actually be off the hook and free from punishment no matter what we did. Clearly this is not the true scenario. This is the parable:

Matt 18:23Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and LOOSED him, and FORGAVE him the debt. 28But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

When it comes to the animal sacrifice system in the OT, there are no verses which say anything close to ”sins were transferred to the animal”. Was the animal sacrificed OR punished? The animal certainly suffered and died as a result of the sin of man, but never did the animal become posessed by sin and die for those sins. This would imply guilt and that the animal was being punished for sins it did not commit. In the same way Jesus suffered and died because of man’s sin. He did not die because sin was transferred to Him, otherwise it would not be an adequate sacrifice. Rather than being an offering for sin and suffering an unjust death, he would have been punished for our sin which we know was not the case since He was without sin.

2 Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin

Hebrews 10:8 — saying above, Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou wouldst not, neither hadst pleasure therein.

It is not uncommon to the Scriptures to use the word ”sin” to refer to a ”sin offering” as the word ”sin” is translated ”sin offering” in numerous places throughout Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Chronicles, Nehemiah, and Ezekiel, because the context of such passages is clearly referring to a sin offering and not an act of sin. In Leviticus alone, it is rightly translated as sin-offering over 50 times! The same is true in Hebrews 10:6-8 which is a quotation from Psalm 40:6. In the Psalm, the Septuagint also does not have the word ”sacrifice” in the text. Albert Barnes said To be sin – The words ”to be” are not in the original. Literally, it is, ”he has made him sin, or a sin-offering”Even a footnote in the ASV gives sin-sacrifice as the meaning, as do other translations. This view of the atonement, that Christ suffered our penalty and took our punishment, has inevitably lead to the errors of universalism, limited atonement, unconditional salvation, and once saved always saved. These conclusions cannot be logically denied if the premise is accepted that Jesus Christ took our punishment or suffered the penalty for our sins.

Gal. 3:13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree

What is the curse of the law? Did the law of God ever demand for sinners to be crucified? No. In the civil government of Israel, the severest punishment of the law was stoning. Crucifixion was sanctioned by Roman law, but it was not sanctioned by Jewish law. Under the moral government of God, the severe punishment of the law is eternal hell. That is why the text says that Jesus suffer ”a curse” not sufferedthe curse of the law”. The curse of the law is what we are saved FROM; a curse is what he ENDURED. The curse of the law was SUBSTITUTED with a curse.”

Jesus Christ shed his blood ”for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28), but the Bible says that even after the atonement that sinners must still repent ”for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38)

Jesus died to reconcile God and man (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21) but after the atonement we have the ”ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18) and after the atonement we are to tell men ”be ye reconciled unto God”(2 Cor. 5:20)

If Christ bore the sinner’s punishment as a Substitute, then the sinner is unconditionally free from it, for both the sinner and the Substitute cannot be justly punished for the same offence. The theory, therefore, leads necessarily to either universalism on the one hand, or unconditional election on the other. The truth is though that Jesus died on my behalf but did not take MY place on the cross.

The animal for a sin-offering had to be absolutely pure, without a blemish, all of which Jesus was. For Him to have become ”sin” in the sense of disobedience to God, He would have become a blemished sacrifice. The priests making an offering under the Law also had to be as spotless as the sacrifice they offered. Just so, Jesus as High Priest was ”holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heaven … when he offered up himself,” Hebrews 7:26-27. Leviticus 16:22 says the scapegoat will ”bear … unto a land” the sins of the people. This was figurative, meaning to ”take away” sins, remove sins as is the likely definition of ”azazel.” The scapegoat symbolized the removal of sins. This is exactly the meaning to be attached to Jesus’ ”bearing our sins”.

Isaiah 53:4, 11-12.Surely he hath borne (nasa) our griefs, and carried (sabal) our sorrows … for he shall bear (sabal) their iniquities … and he bare (nasa) the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Notice that the two words are used interchangeably.

Matthew 8:16-17And when even was come, they brought unto him many possessed with demons: and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our diseases.

What Jesus performed in healing the physical diseases was the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4, specifically that He bore (nasa) our griefs and carried (sabal) our sorrows. But, their diseases were not transferred to Jesus so that he then became a leper, demon possessed, blind, etc. Yet, he ”bore” their diseases in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:4 and he took away their diseases! The Greek word for ”bare” in Matthew 8:17 is bastazo, which is the inspired translation of nasa. Bastazo may mean to take up, to transport, to carry, to take away or to remove. In this figurative use, the emphasis is on the taking away, removal. The word for ”took” in this passage is lambano. It’s obvious in Matthew 8:17 that bastazo and lambano are synonyms and mean to remove.

Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear (bastazo).

Seeing that the Holy Spirit gives us the meaning of nasa and sabal in Isaiah 53:4, why should we understand these words to mean any differently in Isaiah 53:11-12 when it says He ”bare their iniquities” or ”bare the sins of many?” This only tells us that He ”took away” the sins and iniquities, not that the sins and iniquities were transferred to him or imputed to him.

 Hebrews 9:26 …else must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once at the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself … so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation,” , 28.

Verse 28 repeats the subject of verse 26 with a slight change of words. ”Put away” in verse 26 becomes ”bear” in verse 28. ”Sacrifice” in verse 26, becomes ”offered” in verse 28. Jesus bore our sins in that He took them away.

I Peter 2:24″—who his own self bare (anaphero) our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.

In this passage, the ”cross” replaces the altar as the place of sacrifice. The body of Jesus was offered up on an altar, an offering to God. The last sentein the Septuagint by anaphero. He ”shall bear (sabal/anaphero) their iniquities” and ”he bare (nasa/anaphero) the sin of many”. We have seen the meaning of nasa and sabal to be to take away. The same is true in an offering up of a sacrifice.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on (paga) him the iniquity of us all

Paga is found in Isaiah 53:12 ”made intercession for the transgressors”. So, even in the context of verse 6, the same verb is used to mean ”intercession.” The Hebrew scholars who translated Isaiah 53:6 into Greek ”and the Lord gave him up for our sins”. The verb paredoken, from paradidomi, means to deliver up or intercede. Paradidomi is in the following two N.T. passages,

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?

John 1:29 On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world! 

 I Peter 2:24…who his own self bare (removed) our own sins in his body upon the tree

The fact that Jesus ”bore” our sins and iniquities does not mean our sins, guilt and punishment were transferred (imputed) to him. His death actually occurred but the terms used to describe what it accomplished are used figuratively.

1 Cor. 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

Jesus indeed paid a high price for us because he gave up his LIFE for us! The price he bought us with was his life. It doesn’t say we are purchased unconditionally though. In the same breath Paul tells us to NOT be servants of men. What would happen if we disobeyed him and became servants of men (as in living for people instead of God)?

Partly from Jesse Morell and Mike DeSario