Wounded Because of Our Sins

I never quite understood the sentiment that Jesus died for our sins. That he was an offering that somehow washed our “wickedness” away. That he was a final sacrifice that automatically absolved us of our evil.

Let’s, for a moment, forgo the fact that Jews don’t accept Jesus as a Messiah. It’s really not essential, as the Christian atonement theology was a product of Messianic Jews of the 1st century AD (I say this, because most of the Christian theology cites Old Testament prophets to support its ideas).

With that being said, let’s go to the heart of the matter.

It is widely believed that because of Jesus’ death, all who believe in him are automatically saved, and the proverbial Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them. Even though various theological streams differ slightly in particulars, it is the overall Christian notion.

However, it’s a fatal mistake.

One of the main sources of this misunderstanding comes from Saul’s first letter to Corinthians. In chapter 15, verse 3 he writes, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.

Now, “according to the Scriptures” is widely believed to refer to the book of Isaiah and fourth book of Maccabees. Specifically, to the Isaiah 53:5 and 4 Maccabees 6:28–29.

Standard Christian translations all render Isaiah 53:5 like follows:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

But when you look at English translations of original Hebrew Tanakh, you will see a slightly different text:

But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed.

Obviously it’s a common way to translate it, as can be seen in an alternate translation:

But he was wounded because of our sins, Crushed because of our iniquities.
He bore the chastisement that made us whole, And by his bruises we were healed.

There’s also another example in Ezekiel 33:9 (among many, many others) that also uses exactly the same wording as what the atonement theology hinges on, that however has indubitably the same meaning as if it used the word “because” (emphasis mine):

But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.

You should slowly starting to see, where I’m going with this. The difference in those versions is very subtle, but the implications are huge.

There you have a man who offered the solution to human misery on a silver plate, a man who told the absolute truth. But it was so inconvenient that in order to keep their ways of greed, hatred, and ignorance, people rather killed him. He knew this would happen. Still, he died in hope that his death will shock folks out of their darkness, as the quote from Maccabees clearly states:

Be merciful to your people, and let our punishment suffice for them. Make my blood their purification, and take my life in exchange for theirs.

Jesus died so people can see how twisted they are. His death was meant to show everyone that in order to indulge their envy, lying, cheating, and stealing, their self-aggrandizement and narcissism, they would gladly kill. Even the innocent one who offered them the end of suffering from all of the above.

And it is true today exactly as it was true back then.

Jesus died because of our sins. If he was alive today and confronted you, if he pushed on your iniquities long enough, you would chase him away, and if he refused, you would try to kill him just like they did two thousand years ago.

While you cannot see that, you will remain in your personal hell.

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