Korban and Jesus Christ


I read this rather interesting articleby Perry Stone. Now I am not much of a fan of most Christian TV broadcasting, especially the constant appeals for money and ploys to get one to ‘sow a seed’ for God, however Perry Stone does have a lot of interesting stuff. Unfortunate that this article diverged toward the a concept of tithing that I don’t necessarily agree on.

But what interested me was the concept of the korban, particularly the different types, for instance, the sin offering was for sins committed against God and the guilt offering was for sins committed against others, the latter touched upon Jesus in Matthew 5:23-25. From a substitionary atonement perpective, it is said that Christ fulfilled these sacrifices. Now I might see how Jesus could have fulfilled the sin offering, however I find that fulfilling the guilt offering, that is reconciling with our brother, isn’t something that Jesus is directly responsible for. I mean that for that particular sacrifice to be fulfilled, we must leave that gift and actually take action toward reconciliation. THEN we can come back to offer the gift.

So I said all that to say this: In what aspect(s) did Christ fulfilled the requirements for korban, if we are to believe in substitutionary atonement?

On the other hand, perhaps we ought to view Christ not as a substitutionary sacrifice, but rather as High Priest and arbitrator of the korban, in which we ought to be active co-participants in the process to reconcile us to God, seeing how the root word of korban means to ‘draw near’. Which brings a whole different perspective on the idea of sacrifice.

Jesus and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
Jesus and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

Leaving aside the question of whether substitutionary atonement is true (and if so, what kind): I could see it still being fulfilled for korban, inasmuch as any sin against our neighbor is also (and even more primarily) a sin against God.

Another-but-very-closely-related line of discussion would be how Jesus’ remonstrance about attempts to be forgiven of sin against one’s neighbor without actually reconciling with one’s neighbor personally, should be construed if substitutionary atonement is true.

One feasible way, off the top of my head, would be if substitutionary atonement is true in an Arm more than a Calv sense, and so is only potentially not actually true for any individual (even at the level of God’s own eternal existence–although that would run against several pieces of scriptural testimony, which of course is why Calvs point those up to it being real and accomplished already) until that person accepts it. But (for various reasons) God does not count the sinner having accepted it until and unless the sinner attempts to reconcile (under the arbitership of God, of course) with his brother.

Calvs would say, with some real scriptural justification (and some real metaphysical justification, too), that any such atonement must already be a real fact by God’s own action, and so the only question is when (historically speaking) the elected person will seek to reconcile with the brother he has sinned against. (Assuming the Calvinist doesn’t dismiss such reconciliation as unnecessary under the glory of God etc.) A Calvinist could plausibly contend that the elected sinner would be chastised by God (not being spared punishment, but rather permanent condemnation), and omnipotently so, until he does what is right in regard to his sinned-against brother. But I don’t know that this fits the character of Jesus’ remonstrance, as it stands, which sure looks more like God is refusing atonement with the sinner in some significant fashion until the sinner repents and does right to his neighbor.

(While the warning doesn’t explicitly say that, either, there are other related warnings in the Synoptics which would seem to fit along that line: that unless and until we forgive, we ourselves shall not be forgiven–and even that what forgiveness was vouchsafed to us already may be revoked! Which would also synch with several chapters in the Epistle to the Hebrews. See also the immediately surrounding contexts to Matt 5:23-34, one of which has clear connection to the parable of the unforgiving steward: he who was forgiven but then who chose not to forgive and so was handed over into prison, from which he would not come out until he had paid up the final cent.)

So scripturally there are strengths to both positions on the topic (Calv and Arm alike): our atonement (‘substitutionary’ or otherwise) is a completed eternal fact and action of God (with us as the object of His action), not requiring us to earn our atonement, which is why we can be trustworthily assured that God will succeed in saving those He eternally acts to atone from sin; yet also in another way our atonement with God is not yet complete so long as we still sin against our brother (including refusing to reconcile with him–including searching for some way out of having to reconcile to the one we have sinned against).

A Calvinist can go with both options well enough, appealing to the distinction between God’s eternal action and historical events, typically exemplified in the common scriptural theme of “already/not yet”. But an Arminian, starting from a distinctively Arm position, could only go with both options by shifting to universalism; since one of the key Arm vs Calv points is that God acts, especially on the cross, to atone all sinners, not only an elected fraction. If God’s atonement of all sinners is actually real, however, not merely potentially real, then we can and should expect Him to eventually succeed in saving all sinners from sin historically.

Thus the tension between Arminian types (including non-Protestant versions thereof) over whether any salvation of ours is actually or only potentially real and if so how it can be shifted to being actually real, or only temporarily real and if so for how long or under what conditions; thus again the pertinent draw of Calvinism (including non-Protestant versions thereof) and its reassurance that God’s salvation is actually eternally real and so shall certainly be historically accomplished, no ifs ands or buts. (‘But’ only for the elect, not for everyone. :wink: Hopelessness has to be maintained somehow, or else they’d be universalists of one or another type! :smiley: )



I definitely want to explore this line of thinking, as well as the other aspects of korban (i.e. thanksgiving offerings, peace offerings, etc) and their relationship to Christ. But I only have time at the moment for a brief reply.

If we go with the Arm route, and consequently universalism, it would seem then that God, in the process of bringing to us full recinciliation, has to move us to be reconciled with our brother. This leaves a very interesting situation, particularly in unresolved situations. For instance, if a person whom one has offended has died, then, from this side of eternity, there is no recourse to reconcile. The opportunity is lost, a least insofar as going directly present to the other party. I suppose one could ask forgiveness at the gravesite, but that naturally doesn’t afford the opportunity to find response to the plea. If however, universalism is true, one might find that recourse available upon entering eternity, assuming one is able to face the other party there. Which brings another interesting thought that the gap between the redeemed and unredeemed is not as wide as the parable portrays. Certainly if reconciliation with one’s brother is available, then what levels of heaven or hell might we be able to transverse for that purpose in the next life?


Which goes to the heart of your ‘problem’ - who did Christ not redeem when He took away the sins of world?

It’s the typical evangelical nonsense to say that I’m redeemed and you’re not because I believe that I’m redeemed and you’re not. It’s the theology of idiots. As boring as it is circular.