What are the odds?

There's a new article posted on our sister site at About-Jesus.org called Was it just a coincidence? that talks about five incredible events that took place during the first century of this era, about 2000 years ago, that reaffrim the Christian view that Jesus is the Messiah.

One of the five events described in the article involves miracles associated with a yearly sin-atonement ceremony stopped happening about the time that Jesus became the final and permanent atonement for sin.

Since ancient times, up until the first century, Judaism carried out a yearly ceremony in the Temple to atone for the sins of the people of Irsael, as prescribed by Moses in Leviticus 16. It is called Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement.

The sin-atonement ceremony would be carried out within the inner sanctuary of the Temple. But it hasn't been possible to do this in the Temple since 70 AD, which is when the Romans destroyed the Temple.

In other words, during the same century in which Jesus died for our sins, the ability to carry out the yearly sin-atonement ceremony in the Temple became impossible.

And from a Christian perspective, there no longer is a need for the yearly ceremony because Jesus is regarded as the final and permanent atonement for sin.

The Talmud offers additional information about the sin-atonement ceremony that might be of interest. The Talmud is a collection of Rabbinical discussions and commentary, often focusing on Judaic law, customs and ceremonies and was compiled in a written form from about 200 AD to about 500 AD.

There were a number of miracles that were said to be associated with the sin-atonement ceremony, including a scarlet piece of cloth turning white. A precedent for this is given in Isaiah 1:18, where it speaks of the cleansing of sin: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ..." (Isaiah 1:18, NIV)

The Talmud says that these miracles stopped happening during the last 40 years of the Temple's existence:

"The Sages taught: During the tenure of Shimon HaTzaddik, the lot for God always arose in the High Priest's right hand; after his death, it occurred only occasionally; but during the forty years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, the lot for God did not arise in the High Priest’s right hand at all. So too, the strip of crimson wool that was tied to the head of the goat that was sent to Azazel did not turn white, and the westernmost lamp of the candelabrum did not burn continually." - Talmud, Tractate Yoma 39b, as translated by William Davidson.

This quote from the Talmud is part of a larger discussion, about the decline of public morality, and it attributes the cessation of the miracles associated with the sin-atonement ceremony to that decline in morality. Shimon HaTzaddik lived more than 200 years before the time of Jesus and was renowned for his sense of justice and morality. It was after his time that a decline in morality is said to have happened.

In other words, the miracles associated with the sin-atonement ceremony stopped happening, completely, in or about the year 30 AD, which would either be the year, or about the year, that Jesus' death became the permanent atonement of sin. It is unclear exactly which year Jesus was crucified, but it was around 30 AD.

Regardless of whether one acknowledges that Jesus as the Messiah, the odds that these two events would happen either during the same year or near the same year is incredible.

Next article: Some Bible verses that help explain salvation

Go to: List of all articles