Lawd Have Mercy!

​”Divine providence delivered Israel from its former abuse through the blood of those godly people. Their deaths were a sacrifice that finds mercy [propitiation] from God.”

4 Maccabees 17:22

Considering the use of “ha-kappōret” and “hilasterion” in Paul’s writings and in Hebrews coupled with the Jewish ideas these must necessarily be extending, we see a symbolic language rather than a formula for “getting saved”. We are told by Paul and John that we’ve all sinned. We are never told why Jesus’ sacrifice was (or even that it was) necessary. We are never told in what way his death relates to our pronouncement of being justified.

In 4 Maccabees 17, we find a description of these sorts of questions along with answers, both being thematic in the narrative; interesting too that here, the tyrant Antiochus doesn’t represent God but rather that even an asshole is moved by commitment and sacrifice, and so much more must God be.

Just a thought.

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