Thursday, January 23, 2014

Commentary On the Gospel of John According to the Aramaic Peshitta: Chapter 8

8:1-11 (known as the Periscope Adulterae) is omitted in the original Eastern Peshitta and in older Greek manuscripts, but is included in later Aramaic (this passage being translated from the Greek John) and Greek manuscripts (but not always in this part of the Gospel, or even in this particular Gospel). The Diatessaron of Tatian (finished around 175 AD) and the Old Syriac’s Sinaitic and Curetonian Gospels from the 4th and 5th centuries omit this passage also (though some think the Curetonian and Sinaitic texts themselves might be from the 2nd century). This still could have been a true event, as it fits in with the character of Jesus Christ. I believe it is most likely true, but I don’t believe it was originally a part of the New Testament or, more specifically, the Gospel of John. You can read my commentary on the Periscope Adulterae at the end of the Gospel of John, using James Murdock's translation of the text as a base.

Now again Yeshua spoke with them and said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but he will find for himself the light of life." – John 8:12

     See John 1:9-13 for a discussion on the Aramaic word for light (nohra hrhwn). In I John 1:5-10, the author (who is also the author of this Gospel), uses the phrase “walk in darkness” in reference to sin and in order to demonstrate the righteousness of God, he says that God “is in the light”. The Aramaic word that is translated as “the world” here is alma (0ml9), which can be translated also as “age” or even “universe”. The Greek uses the word cosmos. Both should be taken as referring to this worldly society that walks in darkness. “Life” here is khaye (0yx). This is speaking about eternal life and not just normal life, as can be seen by it being used in the plural form. This Light of righteousness and truth is the source of eternal life, and Jesus, the Son of God, is that Light.

The Pharisees said to him, "Concerning yourself you do testify. Your testimony is not true!" Yeshua answered and said to them, Even if I do testify concerning myself, my testimony is true because I know from where I have come and to where I go. But you do not know from where I have come nor to where I go." - John 8:13-14
   The Pharisees are making reference to a statement that Jesus made in John 5:31: “If I should bear testimony respecting myself, my testimony would not be valid.” The Law testifies that two or three witnesses are necessary to convict a person in a trial, therefore this became the standard for establishing truth in society (Deuteronomy 19:15). The Pharisees, in their hyper-literal interpretation, stated that this means that Jesus’s statement could not possibly be true (as He seemed to be testifying on His own). Jesus replies by saying that even if they don’t regard His testimony as true, He knows that it is. The Pharisees were willingly ignorant of who Jesus was. He told them repeatedly that He was the Messiah, the Son of God (meaning the He is their God incarnate), but they rejected His testimony.

"You judge carnally, I do not judge anyone. Yet if I do judge, my judgment is true because it is not I alone, rather I and my father who sent me. In your own law it is written that the witnesses of two men is true. It is I that testify concerning myself, yet my Father who sent me testifies concerning me." – John 8:15-18
     Judging according to the flesh is definitely not righteous judgment. Jesus, however is appointed to judge all men by the Father, and because the Father bears witness of His Son (who obeys everything His Father says and pleases Him) the testimony of the Son is confirmable according to the Holy Torah of Moses. This distinction does not mean that the Father and the Son are two different Persons, but it is referring to the distinction between the human Christ (who is the divine Person incarnate) and the divine Spirit (the divine Person existing beyond the incarnation). Because of the incarnation, Christ is genuinely distinct from the Father, but not distinct in Person. The distinction between the Father and the Son is not a distinction between two Persons of the Godhead, but between two ways in which God is in existence: as the man Christ Jesus within the incarnation, and as the unlimited Spirit of God that continues to exist beyond the incarnation.

They said to him, "Where is your Father?" Yeshua answered and said to them, "Neither me do you know, nor my Father. If only you would have known me, you would have also known my Father." These words he spoke in the treasury while he taught in the temple, and no man seized him, for not yet had come his hour. – John 8:19-20

      One cannot know the Father without knowing the Son. This is another way in which the New Covenant writings show how inseparable the Father and the Son are. The Son, because of His sinless humanity, shares a unique relationship with God the Father, but is also God Himself. Anyone that believes the Gospel has both the Father and the Son (the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of both the Father and the Son). This is another idea that John states in his first Epistle (I John 2:21-25): “I have not written to you, because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and because no falsehood is of the truth. Who is false, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Messiah? And that person is a false Messiah. He that denieth the Father, denieth also the Son. And he that denieth the Son, also believeth not the Father. He that confesseth the Son, confesseth also the Father. And what ye heard from the first, let that remain with you. For if that, which ye heard from the first, remaineth with you, ye also will remain in the Father and in the Son. And this is the promise, which he hath promised us, [even] life eternal.”

Again Yeshua said to them, "I go and you will seek me, and you will die in your sins. And where I go you are not able to come." The Yehudeans said to him, "Will he indeed kill himself, that he says that 'Where I go, you are not able to come'? – John 8:21-22

      Jesus was speaking about how hard the hearts of these particular Pharisees were. They hardened their hearts, blinded their eyes, and deafened their ears. They had no love of God, or else they would have loved the Son of God. Jesus told the Pharisees plainly that they could not go to Heaven where He was going. Rather than following Jesus to the Father, the Pharisees would die in their sins. In contrast, Jesus later tells His disciples (John 13:33-36): “My children, a little longer I am with you; and ye will seek for me; and, as I said to the Jews, Whither I go ye cannot come, so I now say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that ye be affectionate to each other. As I have loved you, do ye also love one another. By this will every one know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love for each other. Simon Cephas said to him: Our Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered, and said to him: Whither I go, thou canst not now come after me; but thou wilt at last come.”

And he said to them, "You are from below and I am from above. You are from this world, I am not from this world. I have told you that you will die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins." – John 8:23-24

      This is clear testimony to the deity of Jesus the Messiah. Jesus came down from heaven in order to save us. In contrast, we sinners are in this world and (unless we repent) are of this world. Jesus came to bring His people out from among the world and to walk in a newness of life. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote in II Corinthians 6:14-18, “And be ye not yoke-fellows with them that believe not: for what fellowship hath righteousness with iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? or what concord hath the Messiah with Satan? or what part hath a believer with an unbeliever? or what agreement hath the temple of God with that of demons? For ye are the temple of the living God; as it is said, I will dwell among them, and walk among them, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come ye out from among them, and be ye separate from them, saith the Lord; and come not near the unclean thing, and I will receive you; and will be to you a Father, and ye shall be sons and daughters to me, saith the Lord Almighty.”
"I am" is ena ‘na (0n0 0n0). In The Original Aramaic New Testament in Plain English and The Aramaic-English Interlinear New Testament, David Bauscher translates ena ‘na as “I AM THE LIVING GOD” when used by God (and Jesus is most certainly God). Paul Younan states, “In Semitic thought, the phrase ‘Ena-na’ (I am) conveys a thought of eternal existence reserved only for God. This naturally leads to the following question in verse 14.” Based on the fact that Jesus states, “If you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins,” I think it is safe to say that belief in the deity of Jesus Christ is essential for salvation.

The Yehudeans said to him, "Who are you?" Yeshua said to them, "Even if I should begin to speak with you, much I have against you to say and to judge, but He who sent me is true, and I, those things which I heard from him, these things I speak in the world." And they knew not that concerning the Father he spoke to them. – John 8:25-27

     Jesus only speaks what the Father tells Him to speak, but the Pharisees reject the message of the Father.  Notice how Jesus says that He has a lot to condemn them for, but He doesn’t state anything more because the Father did not tell Him to do so.

Yeshua said to them again, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am and I do not from my own will, but as my Father has taught me, that likewise I speak. And He who sent me is with me and my Father does not leave me alone, because things that are pleasing to him I do at all times." While he was speaking these things, many believed in him. – John 8:28-30
     “Lifting up” refers the physical “lifting up” which occurred on the cross, and also the exaltation that He would receive because of His obedience to the Father and His humility. Jesus is the perfect Son of God and we should pattern our lives after him by trying to do the things that please the Father to the best of our ability.

And Yeshua said to those Yehudeans who believe in him, "If you should abide by my words, truly my disciples you [are], and you will know the truth and that truth will set you free." – John 8:31-32
    This is another instance of people who believed in Jesus forsaking Him. Jesus opens this discourse by stating that in order to be a disciple, you must persevere and submit yourself to Him and His teachings. As long as you are in rebellion, you are not acting as a disciple. I believe that “the truth” refers to the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and to Jesus Himself, who says that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Andrew Gabriel Roth interprets “the truth” to be referring to the “applied truth” of obeying God’s Law. This is clearly not talking about some Gnostic secret, but to knowledge given by the Spirit of God that leads to salvation through faith in the Messiah Jesus.

They said to him, "We [are] the seed of Awraham, and not ever has been served to anyone bondage by us. How do you say that you will be free men?" Yeshua said to them, "Truly, truly say I to you: that anyone who commits is the servant of sin. And a servant does not remain forever in the house, but the Son remains forever. If therefore, the Son should free you, truly you will be free men." – John 8:33-36
      “Servitude” in this verse is not referring to slavery like that which was served by the Hebrews in Egypt, but indentured servitude. This verse makes me think of what John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:7-10, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, who came to be baptized, he said to them: Generation of vipers, who hath taught you to flee from the wrath that cometh? Bring forth the fruits therefore, that accord with repentance. And do not think, and say within yourselves, that Abraham is our father: for I say to you, that God is able of these tones to raise up children to Abraham. And lo, the ax is put to the root of trees. Every tree, therefore,  which beareth not good fruit, is felled, and falleth into the fire.”

      The word “servant” here is simply a more polite word for a slave. He who commits sin is a slave of sin and the Son came to liberate us from sin and to give us true freedom in Him. It does not matter if your daddy was a prophet or an apostle, you must work out your own salvation. Your heritage does not grant you the privilege of salvation, only faith in Jesus. When you put your faith in God, He will set you free of sin and save your soul.

And the Yehudeans answered and said to him, "Did we not say well that a Samaritan you [are] and a devil you have?" Yeshua said to them, "There is no devil in me, but my father I do honor and you curse me!"- John 8:37-38

    To be called a Samaritan and a demoniac in the same breath was quite a cutting insult. Most people would probably not only react by saying that they weren't possessed, but they would also say that they were not Samaritans either (if they weren't, of course). Unlike the religious elite of Jesus's day, Jesus was not against the Samaritans and he sought to restore them to the house of Israel by reaching out to them with the love of God. Through speaking the truth, Jesus brought glory to God the Father and when the Jewish authorities blasphemed against Christ, they also blasphemed against the Father who sent Him.

"And I do not seek my glory. There is He who seeks and judges. Truly, truly say I to you: that he who keeps my words, he will not see death forever." The Yehudeans said to him, "Now we know that a devil you have! Awraham died, and the prophets. And you say that "He who keeps my word will not taste death forever.' Why are you greater than our father Awraham who died, and the prophets who died? Who do you make yourself?"- John 8:39-42

    Because they refused to accept Jesus's claims to be the Messiah, they could not see that He was indeed greater than any man who had ever appeared on earth. They behaved as if Jesus was exalting Himself.

Yeshua said to them, "If I glorify myself, my praise is not anything. My Father, who glorifies me, He whom you said, 'That is our God.' And you do not know him, but I know Him, and if I say that I do not know Him I would be a liar like yourselves. But I know Him, and His Word I keep."- John 8:43-44

    Jesus tells them that He is not exalting Himself. He is telling them that His Father, the God who they believe they know, is the one who is exalting Him. Knowing God and keeping His commandments are joined at the hip, as these unbelieving Jews were not keeping the commandments of the Father, therefore they did not know Him. Jesus and those who accepted His Gospel were keeping the commandments of God through submitting themselves to the teachings of Christ and were fulfilling the Law of Moses as well.

"Awraham, your father, did long to see my day and he saw [it] and rejoiced." The Yehudeans said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, yet Awraham you have seen?" Yeshua said to them, "Truly, truly, say I to you: that before Awraham existed, I was." And they took up rocks to stone him, and Yeshua hid and departed from the temple, and passed through their midst and left.- John 8:45-48

   I find it interesting that Jesus refers to Abraham as their father and does not say "our father". In the Synoptic Gospels (see Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44) Jesus implies that the Messiah is more than a man since He is referred to by David as "my Lord" (Peshitta Matthew says "Lord Yahweh"). The Jewish people understand that their ancestors are greater than they are, so in that context it is very strange indeed that the son of David, the Messiah, is said to be David's Lord (Lordship shows superiority). Jesus is saying that He is greater than Abraham here because He existed before Abraham, preexisting the incarnation as the God who created Abraham: Yahweh. The Greek manuscripts say "I AM", pointing back to the Divine Name revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14. By saying that Abraham saw His day, He is saying that Abraham foresaw His coming. This was most likely in Genesis 22, when God told him that He would bless Abraham through his Seed (this Seed was Christ, as stated by Paul in Galatians 3:16) because he did not withhold his only begotten son Isaac. Abraham offering up his only son Isaac types out God offering His only Son Jesus. In this account, Isaac is not stated to protest to what Abraham was about to do. Jesus offered Himself freely as well. Abraham also knew that God was able to raise his son from the dead since he was the one through whom the promised Seed would come. Jesus also knew that God would raise Him from the dead and glorify Him for what He was going to do on the cross (John 2:18-22).

Monday, January 20, 2014

Arianism: Was There A Time When Jesus Was Not?

Arianism is named after Arius, who was a Christian leader in Alexandria, Egypt during the 3rd and 4th centuries. He and his followers believed the Logos (the preincarnate Christ) to be the first creation of God. Unlike most Christians, Arius also taught that the Logos was not of the same essence as the Father and was, in fact, inferior to the Father. Arius believed in three Persons of the Godhead, but believed the essence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be similar but not the same. The famous cry of the Arians was, "There was a time when He [Christ] was not!" The Arian doctrine is the ancestor of the Christology of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The doctrine of Arius was declared as heresy at the Counsel of Nicaea (325 AD), resulting in the popular Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

This creed clearly testifies to the pre-existence of Jesus Christ. The Son is said to have been "begotten before all worlds" and "begotten, not created". While I disagree with the terminology, I do agree that the Son of God is the eternal one: Yahweh. The question asked by Arianism is not about Jesus's pre-existing the incarnation, but whether or not He is eternal and of the same essence as the Father. Let's examine what the New Testament writings say about who and what Jesus of Nazareth actually is.

The four New Testament Gospels are the only reliable accounts that we have of the life of the Savior, while the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the Revelation to John reveal more about the beliefs of the Apostles and the early church concerning the Son of God. We should, therefore, base our beliefs about Jesus based on His own testimony and on the teachings of His Apostles.

The Gospels, especially John, testify to the deity of Christ. Real briefly we'll see how the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) show the deity of Christ. In Matthew 9:2-8 speaks of Jesus healing a paralytic and forgiving his sins. Some of the Pharisees accuse Jesus of blasphemy and state that only God can forgive sins. Jesus does not deny that only God can forgive sins, but states that it is easier to state that a person's sins are forgiven than to tell a paralytic to get up and walk. Before miraculously healing the man Jesus says, "But so that you might know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins." The healing confirms that Jesus was not blaspheming, since God would not work through someone who was committing such a grievous sin. Mark 2:23-28 discusses Jesus and His disciples walking through a field and the disciples picking heads of wheat by hand to eat, only to be confronted by the Pharisees who accuse Jesus allowing His disciples to break the Sabbath. Jesus asks them rhetorically if they had ever read about David going to the house of a priest and eating the bread of the presence, along with his men. He says that this was unlawful to eat unless eaten by a priest. He then says, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath." Since God created the Sabbath, He is Lord of it and has authority to decide when someone is breaking it or not. Jesus here is implying that He is God in the flesh. Luke 7:36-50 gives another instance of Jesus forgiving the sins of a woman who anoints him with oil at the house of a Pharisee.

If these claims are not enough to convince you that Jesus is God (therefore is the uncreated Creator, the Eternal One) then maybe we should move to the Gospel of John. John opens by saying that Jesus existed from the very beginning as the Word (Greek: Logos, Aramaic: Miltha). "In the beginning" (Aramaic: B'reshit, Greek: En arche) in the original languages does not mean that the Word came into existence in the beginning, but that the Word was already in existence before time began. You could loosely translate it as, "In the beginning [of creation] the Word was [already there]." In Greek, John 1:1 reads as "En arche en ho Logos kai ho Logos en pros ton Theon kai Theos en ho Logos." The Aramaic says, "B'reshit itawh hwa Miltha w'huw Miltha itawh hwa l'wat Alaha w'Alaha itawh hwa huw Miltha." Both literally read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word."

Jehovah's Witnesses (appealing to the Greek), say that the final part of John 1:1 should be translated "and the Word was a god." But the Greek grammar reads "and God was the Word." The Aramaic also makes no distinction between "with God" (Greek: ton theon) and "and God was the Word" (Greek: kai Theos en ho Logos). The Aramaic for "with God" is l'wat Alaha, while "and God was the Word" is w'Alaha itawh hwa huw Miltha. The Aramaic is even more clear than the Greek in claiming that the Word was the same Person as God.

John goes further and states in 1:3-4, "Everything existed by his hand and without him not even one [thing] existed [of] that which existed. In him was life and the life was the light of men." The phrase "by his hand" is an Aramaic idiom for "through him". So John is clearly stating that the Word who was in the beginning is the Creator. Isaiah 44:24 says that God created all things by Himself. The Word is also stated to be the source of eternal life (Aramaic is plural, therefore is talking about eternal life). According to the Gospel of John, the Word is the Creator Himself and not a created being.

Arians frequently draw witness to Colossians 1:15, where Jesus is referred to as "the firstborn of all creation". They say that if Jesus is the firstborn of creation, then Jesus must be the first created being of God and not God Himself. Let's examine Colossians 1:15-20, verse by verse:

[Christ] who is the image of the God who is not seen and the firstborn of all created [ones].- 1:15

"Image" in Aramaic is demutha. This is defined by Janet Magiera as "form, image, likeness, appearance, manner, type, pattern." Aramaic for "firstborn" is bukra. By saying that the Messiah is the image of God, Paul is saying that Jesus is the physical manifestation (or revelation) of the invisible God. To be the firstborn in Semitic culture is to have the birthright. For example, a king is traditionally succeeded by his oldest son. This is saying that Jesus is authoritative over all creation. "Firstborn" refers to Jesus as the preeminent one, holding dominance over all things.

And in him everything that is in heaven and on earth was built, all that is seen and all that is not seen, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities, everything [is] by way of him and was built in him.- 1:16

"In him" in Aramaic is beh, and could also be translated as "through him". This is the same in meaning as the Aramaic idiom "by his hand". Paul is saying that everything, whether you can see it or not, is created by/through Christ. Jesus is the Creator of all things and not created. This is another reason why Jesus is the firstborn, because He is the Creator made flesh, therefore He has authority over it all.

And he is the front of all and everything stands in him.- 1:17

"In front" is d'men qedam. This is better translated as "before all". This is very clear testimony to Jesus's deity and more fuel for Paul's argument that Jesus Christ holds authority over all creation. Paul is saying not only that He is the Creator, but also the one who Sustains all things. If Jesus was to cease to exist, everything else would cease to exist also. Hebrews 1:1-3 says, "From of old God spoke to our fathers by the prophets in every manner and in all ways; and in these latter days, he has spoken to us by his Son; whom he has appointed heir of all things, and by whom also he made the worlds; for he is the brightness of his glory and the express image of his being, upholding all things by the power of his word..."

And he is the head of the body, the church, for he is the beginning and the firstborn from the dead in order that he would be the first in all things.- 1:18

"The head" is obviously an idiom for Jesus being the leader of the church. He is the beginning (resha), therefore an eternal being. "Firstborn" of the dead cannot refer to Jesus being the oldest man to be risen from the dead, but is about Him being the preeminent over those who rose from the dead. Matthew 27:52 says that after Jesus rose from the dead that many holy people rose from the grave also. This concludes Paul's argument that Jesus is the highest authority on earth and in Heaven.

The Bible clearly attests to the fact that Jesus has been in existence for all eternity and is not a created being. Jesus is the eternal God made manifest to humanity through the incarnation. Because He is the Creator made flesh, He is the firstborn of all creation. He holds all authority as the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Those who ascribe to Arianism are blaspheming against Christ and denying His many words that show that He is the Lord Yahweh from Heaven. Let's take Jesus at His holy Word and trust in His claim to be the eternal God.

Quotations taken from:

Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation- Janet Magiera
Holy Bible From the Ancient Eastern Text- George M. Lamsa

Saturday, January 11, 2014


I wanted to apologize to my readers for my lack of material lately. I do promise to write something soon, hopefully sometime in the next few days. I'm having company coming to stay as my family home this week so it might not be in the next few days. I have several topics I am wanting to cover. I plan to utilize them as soon as possible. My next article will probably be about salvation by faith and what it means. I am very sorry that I have not written. There are just some times in which you desire to write something very strongly but you cannot adequately put it into words.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Why We Need Jesus

Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, mankind has been under the bondage of sin. In an effort to combat this the leaders of the human race have devised various systems of law in order for us to keep ourselves in check. Eventually God came up with His own system of Law and gave it to His chosen people Israel. This Law was given through Moses and was very strict. This Law includes moral, ceremonial, and judicial Laws. 

The Law was intended to guide people to Christ and to show them their need for the coming Messiah. Paul tells us in Galatians 3:24-26, "Therefore, the law was a tutor for us for Christ, that we would be justified by faith. Now when faith came, we were not under tutors. For all of you are sons of God by the faith of Jesus Christ." The Aramaic word translated as "tutor" is tara (ܬܪܐܐ). This word can also be translated as "guide" or "instructor". 
The Greek New Testament uses the word paidagōgos (παιδαγωγὸς), which James Strong defines this Greek word as "A legally appointed overseer, authorized to train (bring) up a child by administering discipline, chastisement, and instruction, i.e. doing what was necessary to promote development." John Wesley Etheridge translates tara as "conductor" and George Lamsa translates it as "pathfinder". Both of these translations offer very fascinating insights into what Paul was saying here.

The Law of Moses was never intended as a way of eternal salvation. It was a temporary solution to the problem of sin. The Law prophecies and bears witness to the permanent solution: Jesus the Messiah. The Law does this not only through genuine prophecy, but through various types and shadows. The many sacrifices that were offered as a covering for sin were types of the coming Messiah, who is the Lamb of God who takes away sin (John 1:29). Blood was first shed for sin when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. After the fall, Genesis 3:21 says, "And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife."

Sin rendered Adam and Eve spiritually naked. Before Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Genesis 2:25 says, "The two of them were naked, the man and his wife, yet they felt no shame." Later, Genesis 3:6-7 says, "When the woman saw that the tree was desirable as a source of wisdom, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they perceived that they were naked, and they sewed together fig leaves and made themselves loincloths." Eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree did not merely cause a physical nakedness, but also a spiritual one. They were exposed before God and were ashamed. They had loincloths on already, so why did God slay two animals to cover them up (Genesis 3:21)? Hebrews 9:22 tells us, "Because everything is cleansed by blood in the law, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Hebrews 10:1-10 says, 'For the law had a shadow of good [things] to come, not the substance of the things themselves. Because of this, although these same sacrifices were offered every year, they were never able to perfect those who offered them. For if they had perfected [them], then doubtless they would have stopped their offerings, because their conscience would no longer trouble them with sins once they have been cleansed. But by the sacrifices, they brought their sins to remembrance every year, for the blood of bulls and of goats is not able to cleanse sins. Because of this, when he entered the world he said, "You are not pleased with sacrifices and offerings, but you have clothed me with a body. And you have not asked for burnt offerings that are for sins." Then I said: Behold, I come, for in the beginning of the writings it is written about me, I will do your will, [oh] God. Above he said: You do not desire sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings that are for sins, those that are offered according to the law. And after that he said: Behold, I have come to do your will, [oh] God. By this he annulled the first, so that he would establish the second. For in this, his will, we are made holy by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ one time.

The sacrifice of Christ is the sacrifice that took away sin because of the fact that He fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law and fulfilled it perfectly. This is not the only reason. A sinless man was not enough either, because the death of a mere man could not cleanse the entire human race. God coming in the flesh as the Son and experiencing death was the way through which God paid the debt that we cannot. The infinite coming and dying for our sins brings infinite forgiveness to those who place their faith in him.

We can do as many good deeds as we want, but they aren't enough to please God. Paul, using the Law as an example, states in Romans 3:19-25, "But we know that what the law said, it said to those who are in the law, so that every mouth may be shut and all the world may be found guilty before God, because by the deeds of the law no flesh is justified before him, for by the law sin is known. But now, without the law, the uprightness of God is revealed and the law and the prophets testify about it. But the uprightness of God is by way of the faith of Jesus Christ to everyone, even on everyone who believes in him, (for there is no distinction, because all have sinned and are deficient compared to the glory God) and they are freely justified by grace and by the redemption that is in Jesus Christ (this [one] whom God determined beforehand [to be] a pardon by the faith of his blood because of our sins that we had previously sinned)."

Jesus is the only one who pleased God. Jesus always does the will of His Father, while we do not. John 6:28-29 says, 'They said to him, "What should we do to labor for the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you should believe in him whom he sent."' There is no other human being who can claim the things that Jesus claimed with truth. Jesus is the only begotten Son of the heavenly Father, sinless and perfect in every way. He humbled Himself to the point of such lowliness that He died on the cross in order to fulfill the will of God and the requirements of the Law. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (the only one who is God-incarnate), therefore He is the only way to salvation. Let me close with John 14:1-7, '"Let your heart not be troubled. Believe in God and believe in me. There are many rooms [in] the house of my Father. And [if] not, I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go [and] prepare a place for you, I will come again and I will take you with me, so that where I am you may be also. And to where I go, you know and the way you know." Thomas said to him, "Our Lord, we do not know where you are going and how are we able to know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and truth and life. No one comes to my Father except by me. If you knew me, you would also know my Father. And from now on, you will know him and you have seen him."'

All Scriptural quotations taken from:
Tanakh- The Holy Scriptures by the Jewish Publication Society
Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation- Janet Magiera