Author: Ronn Johnson

Did Yahweh Demand Blood for a True Relationship with Him? Part 3: Bloodless Atonement and New Testament Justification

[MSH: When readers finish this essay, they will recognize its internal consistency with my argument in The Unseen Realm that salvation was the same across the board in both testaments. The issue was believing loyalty to Yahweh. Dr. Johnson raises the question of how someone outside Israel and its sacrificial system could anyone be “atoned for”? That issue, and the consistency of the basis of salvation, is the focus of this final installment.] In the final section of this blog series I will try to show that as it was in the OT, so it is in the NT:...

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Did Yahweh Demand Blood for a True Relationship with Him? Part 2

[Editor’s note: Ronn Johnson’s post will remind those who listened to the Naked Bible Podcast series on Leviticus of the discussion of kaphar, how it referred to purgation — not from moral sins, but from ritual impurity. Consequently, it’s application to the work of Christ is a bit different than is commonly supposed. –MSH].   My last post ended with the recommendation that ancient atonement ritual and Yahweh’s forgiveness for sins functioned as independent ideas in the OT. Though atonement and forgiveness sometimes took place together, one could happen without the other. I would now like to think about the use of blood in Israelite ritual, and what it may mean to our understanding of the character of God. In Israelite Religions: An Archeological and Biblical Survey (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007) Richard Hess defends the idea that, among our available options, there may be no better way to determine the meaning of Israelite sacrifices than to look across Israel’s borders. We can safely presume, for example, that Israelites were intimately knowledgeable of the Egyptian cultic practices they had witnessed (and with which they likely had participated) for many years, as well as those rituals used by their Canaanite neighbors. Mesopotamian texts continue to provide us with numerous parallel patterns for sacrifice and cultic ritual. This sharing of information may be why Israelite ritual hinted toward what amounts to a...

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Did Yahweh Demand Blood for a True Relationship with Him? Were the Other Gods More Merciful to their People?

[Editorial, MSH: Listeners to the Naked Bible podcast series on Leviticus will recall that nearly all the sacrificial language of Leviticus had to do with disinfecting or protecting sacred space from impurity – the blood was not applied to the one bringing sacrifice for any sort of moral cleansing. While the effect was God allowed people access of his presence once the rituals were performed – thereby suggesting things were “okay” between God and the offerer and the priest – a loving relationship with Yahweh was based on “believing loyalty” on the part of the Israelite and God’s own...

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Does Believing in Plural Deities Make Any Difference?

This is the first post on Naked Bible by my friend Dr. Ronn Johnson. Ronn has extensive teaching experience in biblical studies (PhD, Dallas Seminary) and many years of pastoral experience. To get acquainted with him, listen to this episode of the Naked Bible Podcast. Ronn and others will hopefully be doing regular posting at the Naked Bible blog. I’m going to try and figure out how your comments to this post will get to him, as Ronn’s thoughts are his own. I love listening to him, and I think you will as well.   My thanks to Mike...

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