Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Ron Cantor’s book Leave Me Alone—I’m Jewish.
When Yeshua shed His blood and died on the cross, He literally purchased us with His life. The question is this: Why was He fit to pay for our sins, while we could not? He was qualified to do so for two reasons:
He Was Not Born of Adam – Jewish people wonder why Yeshua had to be born of a virgin. The reason is simple. Everyone born from Adam’s seed has inherited a sinful nature. The Talmud refers to this as the Evil Inclination. The Jewish Bible teaches that the sin nature is transmitted genetically through the male line. God told Moses that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children (See Ex. 34:7). If Yeshua were born of man, i.e. had a human father, He would have had the same propensity to sin as we do. God, by His Spirit planted the seed in the virgin so Yeshua would be born without sin.
Being born with a sinful nature simply means that instead of having the nature of God, as Adam did when God created him, we are born with a natural bent or inclination toward sin. Anyone who has ever had children knows that without training, left to themselves, children consistently choose rebellion. Even before a baby can speak, it knows to disobey. In fact, the child has an innate tendency toward disobedience. Through discipline, a child learns how to behave. However, Yeshua was different—He was perfect.
This is why the angel told Joseph in a dream, “She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Yeshua (which means Salvation), because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). By the way, who were “His people” referred to here by the angel? I will give you a hint—it wasn’t the Romans or the Egyptians. I told you this was a Jewish story.
He Never Sinned – Because He was not contaminated with the degenerate seed of Adam’s fallen race, He had the ability to live a perfect life. The seed God planted in Miriam was pure and undefiled. You may be surprised to learn that Isaiah predicted that:
“The Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 KJV)
There are those in the rabbinic community who will tell you that the Hebrew word translated virgin here, almah, merely means young woman. However that can easily be refuted.
Almah is rarely used to describe a married woman, and only if she has no children. It is mostly used in reference to an unmarried woman. Unmarried women were virgins. If the woman had relations before marriage, it is hard to conceive that a promiscuous woman’s pregnancy would be a miraculous sign from God, as the whole point of the passage is that, “The Lord Himself will give you a sign.” Getting pregnant, whether married or not, would not be a significant sign.
In addition, Dr. Cyrus Gordon maintains that the Septuagint, the Greek Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures for Greek speaking Jews, translates this word as virgin long before Yeshua was born. The Septuagint was the translation used by Greek speaking Jews, as in most Jews at the time. It was highly reputable and these folks would have had no ulterior motive to translate the word virgin, as Yeshua had not yet come. They translated almah as virgin because it made sense.
Being born of God’s seed and not Adam’s enabled Yeshua to live a holy life; He never sinned. If Yeshua had ever sinned, He would have disqualified Himself as Messiah and Savior. In order to be “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), He would need to be perfect.
“When anyone brings from the herd or flock a fellowship offering to the LORD to fulfill a special vow or as a freewill offering, it must be without defect or blemishto be acceptable.” (Lev. 22:21)
Yeshua never stole, never lusted, and never lied. He fulfilled the Torah, the Law of God, perfectly. Thus, when He went to the cross and laid down His life, He did so as a lamb “without defect or blemish” (Lev. 22:21).
Because He was perfect, He was qualified to die for our sins as our substitute. We see a picture of this in the Passover story. It was the blood of an innocent lamb, spread upon the doorpost of each Israelite house that kept the Angel of Death away. That blood provided temporal protection. Yeshua’s blood will protect us from eternal death and separation from God, and enable all who apply it to the doorposts of their heart to enter into God’s Kingdom forever.
This is exactly what Isaiah, the Old Covenant prophet told us Yeshua’s sacrifice would accomplish:
“But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4)
Just before Yeshua died, He cried out, “‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30). When He said those words, It is finished, the Bible records, there was an earthquake.
"At that moment … the earth shook and the rocks split … when the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’" (Matthew 27:51-54)
Another very significant event happened at that moment. “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:38). The curtain in the Temple separated an unholy people from a Holy God. If anyone went behind that curtain without permission from God, he would be struck down.
“Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to His command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.” (Leviticus 10:1-2)
The High Priest alone was ordained by God to enter into the Holy of Holies, once a year, to offer the blood of atonement for the sins of the nation.
The tearing of the curtain in the Temple from “top to bottom” was a declaration from God that the barrier between God and man had been removed—that Yeshua’s blood was an acceptable sacrifice for the sins of men.
"When the Messiah came as high priest … He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once, for all, by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:11a,12)
No longer would there be a need for endless sacrifices for sin. Yeshua had paid the price so that all men could be forgiven of their sins and have free, unhindered access to God.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:15-16 NKJ)
Notice how the curtain was torn, ‘from top to bottom’, signifying that this was the work of God and not man. The Temple curtain was reputedly four inches thick and twenty meters high, making it an impossible feat for anyone other than God to rip it. Yet it was ripped, signifying that Yeshua, the Messiah, had paid the price for you to have eternal life and be forgiven and cleansed from your sins. He had satisfied the demands of the Law:
“For without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin” (Hebrews 9:22b).
The Judge of all the earth had legally made a way for you to be forgiven, set free, and reconciled to Him.
For the original article, visit messiah’smandate.org.
Ron Cantor is the director and founder of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic Ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). In addition, MMI serves as an international teaching ministry to the believing community worldwide, teaching on the Jewish Roots of the faith. You can order a paperback copy of Leave Me Alone—I’m Jewish here, or download it here.