Did Jesus make atonement on the cross? Not exactly, says David Moffitt in Atonement and the Logic of Resurrection in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Supplements to Novum Testamentum). According to the reviewer in Review of Biblical Literature, Moffitt appeals to the atonement rites of the Old Testament as proof:
He argues that “the heavenly holy of holies as the place where atonement was made, not on the cross at Jesus’ death. Against scholars who spiritualize or moralize Jesus’ body, blood, and self, which are presented in heaven, Moffitt contends that these terms should be understood of Jesus’ ascended physical body. Based upon where atonement is made in the Yom Kippur sacrifice, the holy of holies, Moffitt argues that it is a misunderstanding of sacrifice in Leviticus to place the moment of atonement as the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus had to be raised bodily and ascend to heaven in order to make atonement as the heavenly high priest. Moffitt examines the use of Ps 40:3–5, Isa 26:20, and Hab 2:3–4 in Heb 10 and concludes that Jesus was brought out of death because he “lived the kind of life that warranted resurrection” (253). Moffitt’s argument that Jesus’ atonement did not take place at the cross because in sacrifices of animals in Leviticus it is the manipulation of the blood of the sacrifice after the animal’s death that provides atonement, not the death itself, is very convincing.”
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, September 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm
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