"Stranger still, the ancient religion of the Jews survives, when all the religions of every ancient race of the pre-Christian world have disappeared. Again it is strange that the living religions of the world all build on the religious ideas derived from the Jews" - The Ancient World, Professor T.R. Glover

"According to the materialistic and positivist criterion, this people ought to have perished long ago. It's survival is a mysterious and wonderful phenomenon demonstrating that the life of this people is governed by a special predetermination..."
- The Meaning of History, Professor Nicholas Berdkilaev of the Moscow Academy of Spiritual Culture

"It was Judaism that brought the concept of a God-given universal moral law into the world...the Jew carries the burden of God in history and for this he has never been forgiven" - Distinguished Catholic Scholar Edward H. Flannery

Fact: Judaism is the only religion in the world that lost its holy land and has regained it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Is Human Blood Kosher for Sin Atonement?

One of the three main reasons for my conversion to Judaism was over the human sacrifice of Christianity in [light] of the Jewish scriptures (the other two being vicarious-atonement and astrology veneration). Simply put, the Jewish scriptures utterly detest the worship of Jehovah God of Israel through the form of human sacrifice.
"...for every abomination to YHVH, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods." - Deuteronomy 12:31 (see also Leviticus 18:21 / Leviticus 20:2-4)

"But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by My name, to defile it. And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin." - Jeremiah 32:34-35
Human sacrifice which was a common practice of worship among the Canaanites, caused the Jewish temple (a place for atonement) to be defiled. In order to convey just how bad the worship of other gods can be Deuteronomy states: "even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods". According to the prophet Jeremiah, YHVH wants Israel to know that human sacrifice is the furthermost concept from His method of thought - notice the words in red from the book of Jeremiah above.
The question then becomes why would YHVH-God of Israel who hates human sacrifices send Himself as one, for Himself to be accepted as an vicarious atonement? Notice the prophet Ezekiel's exact wording that would reflect upon vicarious atonement: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." - Ezekiel 18:20
This Hebrew scripture from the prophet Ezekiel is in direct conflict with the later New Testament teaching: "(Jesus) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree..." -I Peter 2:24
Why would the God of Israel forbid the Jews for nearly two millenniums not to human sacrifice and punish them severely when they did, then turn right around and demand that Israel worship Himself as the very thing (a human sacrifice) that he was so against?
It seems that Christianity had a Gentile-based subconscious goal of retaining a form of pagan worship of human sacrifices while trying to connect with the God of Israel. In order to accomplish this they would make the animal sacrifices that was pleasing to God, only a type and a shadow (Hebrews 10:1) even though the Jewish scriptures never indicate in the slightest hint or suggestion that Israel's sacrificial system was only a type of a "human sacrifice" to come. In fact, according to the prophecy of the Hebrew scriptures, it is even after Meshiach (messiah) ben David has come that the animal sacrificial system is fully restored to the Jewish people. This prophesied return of the animal sacrificial system comes back on the world scene "after" the Jewish exiles (the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel) have been fully gathered from the corners of the earth back to their ancient homeland in Israel! See Ezekiel 37:24-28 and Ezekiel chapters 40-48.
In the Christian view Jesus' human sacrifice is a death-penalty sacrifice for all types of sin. However, there never was a death-penalty sacrifice within the Jewish scripture, just the death penalty period. There was no type or shadow animal requirement that the sinner could sacrifice under the death-penalty that he / she might be resolved from such sin. So the question then becomes, how is Jesus' human sacrifice a death-penalty antitype when there was no death-penalty type or shadow animal sacrifice to begin with that would allow him to become the antitype?
Christianity's "type and shadow" doctrine doesn't work with the Jewish scriptures when one considers that the blood sacrifice was only required for unintentional sins ( Leviticus 4:27-29 / Numbers15:27-28) and even then if one wishes to get down to the fine specifics of types and shadows, not every one could bring a "male lamb" as a sacrifice. A priest who sinned (by accident) was to bring a young bull - not a lamb (Lev. 4:3) the sin of the nation required a young bull - not a lamb ( Lev. 4:13) a ruler who sinned was required to bring a goat - not a lamb (Lev. 22-24) an average person in the community who sinned (by accident) was required to bring a "female" goat or a "female" lamb - not a "male" lamb (Lev. 4:27-28, 32) as the book of Saint John paints Jesus. So if we run the type and shadow doctrine to its full potential, the Christian human sacrifice (the antitype) was have to be a "spiritual bull" sacrifice, a spiritual goat sacrifice, and a spiritual she-lamb / she-goat, of whom could only forgive unintentional sins and not every type of sin.
The Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) once-a-year offering that Paul refers to in Hebrews 9:7 applied only to Israel as a community and not to the entire Gentile world. How then is Jesus' sacrifice the antitype to such a Israel-only sacrificial-type system (see St. John 1:29) especially when Paul negates Moses' command concerning this ritual to Israel: " And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year." - Leviticus 16:34.
As it turns out, even this holy Yom Kippur sacrifice didn't take away death-penalty sins. If it could have David who murdered Uriah the Hittite by proxy wouldn't have wrote of his blood-guilt the following: "Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God... for thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. - Psalms 51:14, 16-17. Under the Christian blood-sacrifice view David could have just waited until the next Yom Kippur offering to become guilt / sin-free. Killing a man because you got his wife pregant? No sweat, just keep it under the wraps until the next holiest day of the year, then your home free? - I think not. The sacrificial system was not a "out of jail free-card".
Since the Yom Kippur sacrifice was for Israel only are we to understand that according to the Christian view, all the souls of the Gentile world would have continued to be (since the very first Yom Kippur sacrifice) eternally damned if indeed the Jewish nation would have accepted their Christian messiah? Perhaps then, instead of the Church persecuting the Jewish nations for nearly two thousand years as "Christ-killers" they should have been bowing down in thankfulness to the Jews for getting their fellow-Gentile Romans to kill (sacrificed) Jesus?
Speaking of which, the Yom Kippur sacrifice was to be carried out by using animal blood sprinkled by the Jewish High Priest of Aaron's clan, on the only provided place - the temple's altar inside the city of Jerusalem. In contrast, the Christian atonement was carried out using human blood, shed by Gentile Roman soldiers, outside the city being nowhere near the only provided place -the temple's altar.1 With this in mind, it's easier to spiritually understand why the Christian atonement consisting of human sacrifice carried out by Gentile Romans, outside the Jewish spiritual headquarter, was predisposed to be the foundation of a Gentile religion called Christianity. Paul, being the foundation writer of the New Testament, changing his Jewish name of Saul to Gentile Paul only added to the inevitable.
Following the teaching of Gentile-named Paul (see Hebrews 9:22) the Christian proof-text of Leviticus 17:11 is used to falsely determine that blood was absolutely required for atonement. However, the context of Leviticus 17:10-12 is not at all addressing the issue of "atonement for sin". To suggest such becomes a pretext to hide the "real context" and message being conveyed of this section of Hebrew scripture!
Leviticus 17:10-12 is addressing the "prohibition of blood consumption" - period. There is a doctrinal revealing-reason why Christian apologists will NEVER quote verses 10 and 12 with Leviticus 17:11.2 To do so would yank the carpet out from under their proof-text. The context of all three verses would be too revealing, therefore the context is purposely hidden by quoting only verse 11 by itself.
The text of Leviticus 17:10-12 is stating the following:
"And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood [subject of context] I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood [subject of context] and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul [not the bones or the meat of the animal that the priest can eat but the blood that no man can consume because the blood is for an atonement]. Therefore [this word "therefore" - "Kee" in the Hebrew, connects the previous two verses with the following statement staying inline with the context] I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood [subject of context], neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood [subject of entire context]."

Note: What Leviticus 17:10-12 is NOT saying in contrast to Hebrew 9:22 is, that "blood" is absolutely required before atonement for the soul can be made. If this was what was being conveyed, it would be a direct contradiction to Leviticus 5:11 and David who could not sacrifice for his sin (see Psalms 51:16) in his murdering of Uriah and he would be without any atonement for mercy.
Taking into consideration the Torah's explicit and strict prohibition of blood consumption, doesn't Jesus' words, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" sound a little anti-Torah? especially since blood consumption was forbidden long before the Law of Moses was given to the Jewish nation (see Genesis 9:4) not to mention the fact that human consumption of human blood was very much an antiquity pagan practice. Yet the New Testament records no one questioning as to why YHVH of the Torah who was so anti-consumption of blood in giving Moses His laws, would be just the opposite - being very pro-blood consumption - in using spiritual analogies?
There are plenty of situations where non-blood atonement was made in the pre-Jesus Hebrew Bible. When Paul states in Hebrews 9:22 "
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood" can be taken that not all things in the Law of Moses are purged by blood especially when it comes to atonement for the souls.
  • Leviticus 5:11 "But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young 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, neither shall he put any frankincense thereon: for it is a sin offering." This was a non-blood sacrifice that allowed the very poor to offer a sin-offering. Note, if it was blood that was absolutely required for sin and God is no respecter of persons, how then did the very poor get off without typing Jesus with a blood sacrifice of sin? I have yet to get a clear-cut answer from a Christian apologist.
  • Numbers 31:50 "We have therefore brought an oblation for the LORD, what every man hath gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the LORD." Gold is not blood, yet gold was used in this one incident for the Israeli army to make an atonement for their souls. This is along the same line as the charity-atonement. "To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice." - Proverbs 21:3
  • Numbers 16:46 "And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun." Here incense (not blood) on the altar was used for what the Bible calls an "atonement".
  • II Samuel 12:13 "And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." As Psalms 51:16-17 indicates David did not have to blood-sacrifice in order to get his sins removed, in fact a "Song of David" states in the psalms "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us ." (Psalms 103:12)
  • I Kings 8:44-50 Solomon's temple prayer-prophecy that was purposely placed in holy script, allowed the Jews in exile (far away from the temple place of blood atonement) to pray towards Jerusalem and the temple when repenting of sins that God would forgive, "all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against"God.
  • Jonah 3:5-10 The people of Nineveh repeated at the words of Jonah and the Bible goes as far as telling us of their reactions of repentance. They covered themselves in sackcloth and sat in ashes and the king even proclaimed a fast. But in all of their expression of repentance guess what was missing in their very deep and sincere outward expression of repentance? - BLOOD! The Bible tells us that God saw their (non-blood) works of repentance and turned his anger from them. The question then becomes, "why would a blood-demanding God turn His anger from them without them blood sacrificing? Notice how this scripture in Jonah correlates in principle with I Kings 8:44-50 above.
  • Daniel 9:3-19 The Prophet Daniel confessed Israel's sins while in Babylon and asked God to forgive their sins without ever offering any blood sacrifices to God.
  • The Prophet Hosea prophesied that for "many days" the children of Israel would be without the sacrificial system (Hosea 3:4) pressed Israel to approach God with words (not animal blood) asking God to forgive their sins, and that bulls (for sacrifice) be traded for prayer-confession of the lips! (Hosea 14:1-2) Of this, the prophet Hosea noted that mercy and the knowledge of God is greater in God's eyes than any blood sacrifice offered to Him (Hosea 6:6)!
  • For 70 years the Jewish people were in Babylon where they could not blood-sacrifice at the temple mount in Jerusalem (Jeremiah 25:11-12). Using the actions and prophesies of King Solomon, Prophet Hosea, and Prophet Daniel (listed above) it becomes evident that the entire generation of Jewish people that included the prophet Daniel and the prophet Ezekiel living in Babylon and the prophet Jeremiah living in Egypt, was not without the possibility of having their sins forgiven and atoned for. Not only that particular 70 year Jewish generation but considering the generations that followed that stayed in Babylon and in Egypt for 500 plus years before Jesus' time (St. John 7:35) also was not without a way to have their sins forgiven and atoned for according to Hosea's "many days" prophecy (Hosea3:4 / 14:1-2). Are we to understand that because a Jew was living in exile away from Jerusalem and the temple that he was just out of luck, and would go to hell because he wasn't able to rid his sins by blood-sacrificing an animal as sin-offering in Jerusalem? Of course not!
For Paul or anyone else to suggest that it was or took literal blood that made the atonement possible is dead wrong! Any and all sacrifices (including the blood ones) were only as good as the human heart that brought it (Proverbs 21:27 /Isaiah 1:11-15 / Micah 6:7-8)! Regardless of how bloody the sacrifice was it could be rendered null and void if the human heart was not pure in bringing the sacrifice before the Lord, which is the basis behind any and all sacrifices, not the blood itself!
This reality is not what is conveyed in Hebrews 9:22, just the opposite is! Christian apologists will give lip-service to the "Proverbs 21:27 Jewish Bible reality" but continue in the mindset and concept of Hebrews 9:22 that it was the "literal blood" and only the "literal blood" that atones and allows forgiveness of sins. By doing this they place the state of the human-heart and mind towards God (what should be first and foremost) as only "secondary" to the "literal blood" of the sacrifice!
The fact remains that no Jewish scripture even comes close to indicating a human sacrifice of the coming end-of-days messiah. That theology has to be read into the text using pagan mythology as a guide. Osiris-Dionysus was a mythical god that died and rose on the third day after which a ritual celebration meal of bread and wine symbolized his body and blood.3
The "Price" Factor and the True Meaning of the Word "Atonement":
Because the New Testament doctrine involves a vicarious atonement through human sacrifice (Hebrews 9:28) the very meaning of "atonement" and "price" seem to merge in the Christian view. The Hebrew word "Kafar" as in "Yom Kipper" (Day of Atonement) means "to atone". Like the the definition in English it means "to reconcile" and to make amends through reparation. What it doesn't mean is "to pay an owed price" or "payment". Likewise the Hebrew word for "repentance" (teshuvah) comes from the root word "shuv" meaning "to return" and not "to pay for something owed"! Both "atonement" and "repentance" in the Hebrew Bible has to do with reconciling and returning to God and not paying some sort of debt prices in order to obtain favor with God!
The sacrificial system of the Hebrew Bible was a method of showing God ones earnest devotion in repentance, thankfulness, and praise (blessing towards God by an offering) and not a method by which to pay God an owed debt. The Hebrew Bible never indicates that the sin offerings were a debt payment but rather a way to express a reconciling with God. The view that the sacrificial system was a price-debt payment for ones sins was created to coincide with the "types and shadows of sacrifices" doctrine of the New Testament, something also foreign to the Hebrew Bible.
The Christian "price-required" view of the Law of Moses has helped in giving the Hebrew Bible a bad "justice with no mercy" rap in their own minds. The question I like to ask is, if your spouse or child offends or angers you, do you demand a "price" to be paid before your fellowship with that spouse or child can be returned back to normal? or do you simply demand a change in their behavior that caused their offense in the first place, allowing their natural love for you cause them to be repentant of their offense? When we read God's most famous call to repentance within the Hebrew Bible we see no demand for a "price" to be paid in order for Israel (God's bride / son) to obtain a restored fellowship with God:
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." - II Chronicles 7:14
There are several scriptures within the pre-Jesus Hebrew Bible that should help those who have trouble getting passed the "price-blood required-atonement" issue that comes with the standard Christian view. But one must be willing to accept what the Hebrew Bible states on its own revealed word of God foundation without first running it through a New Testament filter for an interpretation.
" Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required." - Palms 40:6
"For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." - Psalms 51:16-17
"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats." - Isaiah 1:11
"Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God" - Micah 6:7-8
"For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." - Hosea 6:6
" To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice." - Proverbs 21:3
One must wonder that if Jehovah God of the Hebrew Bible was so dead-set on blood-sacrifices (pun not intended) first and foremost, why would such scriptures above appear even in the slightest of fashions that would indicate that there is something more meaningful to God of the Hebrew Bible than blood sacrifices in how man fellowships with Him and is reconciled to Him after sin?4
One Final Note:
Referring to the New Covenant found in Jeremiah 31:31-36, the New Testament states, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." (Hebrews 10:16-18) However, the prophet Ezekiel has a different view. In his future vision of the temple, "sin offerings" are very present (Ezekiel 40:39 / 42:13 / 43:22 / 45:19-20).
The same prophet Ezekiel scriptures that tell us of the "physical" return of the children of Israel back into the "physical" land of their "physical" forefathers are the same scriptures that tell us of the "physical" return of the Jewish temple (Ezekiel 37:21-28). And that "physical temple" is detailed extensively in chapters 40 through 48 of the same book. The covenant along with the temple are to be restored among the people of Israel at the "End of days". The question then becomes, why doesn't the Gentile-named Paul agree with Jewish named Ezekiel pertaining to the restoration and presence of sin-offerings during the Messianic Age or anytime after Jesus' time?
Received e-mail - May 30, 2009
I just glanced through your post on the blood atonement and the following paragraph stood out to me:

"This reality is not what is conveyed in Hebrews 9:22, just the opposite is! Christian apologists will give lip-service to the "Proverbs 21:27 Jewish Bible reality" but continue in the mindset and concept of Hebrews 9:22 that it was the "literal blood" and only the "literal blood" that atones and allows forgiveness of sins. By doing this they place the state of the human-heart and mind towards God (what should be first and foremost) as only "secondary" to the "literal blood" of the sacrifice!"

Before I forgot I wanted to chime in: Christians don't treat the heart and mind towards God as secondary. It is central to man's salvation. A quick reference on this is Romans 10:9-10. I don't have time to read your whole post right now or even offer any more details beyond what I've given you. But I at least wanted to pass this one before I forgot. Maybe you should take that statement out of your post or at least reword it.

My response: May 31, 2009
"Actually, your NT scripture reference proves my point. According to that scripture, before one can believe Jesus rose from the dead that he / she might be saved as Romans 10:9-10 states, one must "FIRST" believe he shed his blood and that his blood is the only source and price for sin remission. I'm sure you don't think that if Jesus died of a heart attack without shedding his blood and then rose from the dead, Romans 10:9-10 would still be in effect?
One must ask, if the heart and mind are pure before God was the "primary goal" of the Christian believer, why is there a need for Christian Communion? The fact is the Christian Communion is a symbolic ritual patterned after the Hebrew sacrificial system. Not only was it to be done often, but one was considered guilty of the body and "blood" of Jesus if participating in it unworthily (I Corinthians 11: 27).
To the Christians, it is unquestionable that a pure heart and mind can only be obtained through the Christian blood covenant first and foremost. My post comment not only reflects many, many books of Christian commentary on the "Blood Covenant" but the mindset of Hebrews 9:22 itself.
The only difference between Christianity and Judaism in obtaining a pure heart and mind before God is that one believes there must first (primarily) be blood present, and as you'll see in my post, the other one doesn't."
- Joe
1. There are two New Testament verses that makes an attempt to spiritualize and explain away why Jesus was "sacrificed" outside the provided place for sacrificial atonement.
Hebrews 9:24 "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us".
Paul wants to downplay the temple because it was constructed by human hands even though the tabernacle and temple was commissioned by God Himself (Exodus 25:8 / I Kings 9:3) and was the very place unto which exiled Jews would pray towards when repenting to God of their sins (I Kings 8:44-50) and of which God Himself calls "My temple" (Zechariah 1:16). Also, Jesus' body has more of a human connection to it (besides being human "son of man" itself) coming through Human-sinful Mary than does the commissioned holy temple. Perhaps seeing this became the foundational reason why the Catholic Church wants to venerate Mary as being sinless and co-redeemer.

Hebrews 13:11-12 "For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate".
First of all, the sacrificial animals didn't "suffered" outside the gate as Paul suggested Jesus' suffering types, for they had already been slaughtered "within" the gate that their blood might be used in the temple (within the gate) on the altar. It would be impossible to "suffer outside the gate" being brought outside the gate already slaughtered and dead. What we see here is a "stretch" by the book of Hebrews to make an allegory that really doesn't match quite well while at the same time trying to explain away a fundamental reality concerning the only established place for sacrifice.
Secondly, according to Jewish kosher slaughter rituals (see Deuteronomy 12:21) the animal being slaughtered was not to "suffer" or as little as possible from the ordeal.>
http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm#Shechitah Jewish animal sacrifice was certainly not for the purpose to cause the animal to suffer as much as possible as compared to the Roman method of crucifixion which indeed was designed to cause as much human suffering as possible. In either aspect, how could Jesus' suffering outside the temple be spiritually typed with the animals sacrificed within the temple as Paul conveys?
2. Taking a single text outside its context is a common technique used by Christian apologists. For example, like Leviticus 17:11, Isaiah 7:14 is "always" quoted by itself among Christians. To add the next two verses (15 and 16) to the context would challenge the Christian viewpoint by its obvious historical setting and placement within the time of Isaiah.
3. "Twenty-Six Reasons Why Jews Don't Believe In Jesus" by Asher Norman, page 197, "Israel and the Endtimes" by Professor Eugene Narrett, page xii of introduction.
4. One has to wonder how Jesus as "the son of man" forgave sins [before] the blood-required antitype Calvary-atonement was made? After all, all sin in the Christian view required "blood"?
See Matthew 9:2-5 / Luke 7:47 compared with Hebrews 9:22.
Concerning such a Christian response as "Jesus was God, therefore he could forgive sins" then such a one must be reminded that it was the same "God" that "required blood" all through the "Old Testament" and required His son's blood (Jesus) in the New Testament, according to Christian doctrine. Therefore, again, how did Jesus forgive sins between the time of animal blood-sacrifices and Jesus' blood sacrifice, when it took blood (Roman 9:22) to forgive sins?