Does “Once and For All Sacrifice” Have a Dual Meaning?

I’m sure we have all heard how Yeshua’s sacrifice was a once and for all sacrifice, right?  It’s right there, in Hebrews 10:10 where we are told:

It is in connection with this will that we have been separated for God and made holy, once and for all, through the offering of Yeshua the Messiah’s body.

So, there we have it. Yeshua made a once and for all sacrifice, and when we read chapters 9 and 10 together the meaning is that the old sacrificial system has been done away with.

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There has, however, arisen a problem with this statement, which is that too many people have taught, and been taught, that this “once and for all” sacrifice means that all our sins are forgiven, automatically.  This teaching is called “OSAS“, which stands for “Once Saved, Always Saved.” And that is NOT, definitely not, what the writer of Hebrews meant.

When Yeshua sacrificed himself, it wasn’t meant to replace the entire sacrificial system. It only replaced one part of that system.

Here are the different phases of the sacrificial system, as I understand it, though which we can have our sins forgiven:

  1. You have to sin (after all, to be forgiven you need something to be forgiven of);
  2. You have to recognize you have sinned and accept responsibility for it;
  3. You have to regret your sin, and through that regret do T’shuvah (turn from sin) and desire to be forgiven;
  4. You have to bring your sacrifice to the temple in Jerusalem and offer it to God;
  5. After the sacrifice has been offered, by means of the shedding of innocent blood you can ask God to forgive and remove the stain of sin from you.

The Torah then requires that you make a friendship or thanksgiving offering, as well, after the sin offering, which brings you back into communion with God.

Yeshua’s sacrifice did not do away with this system, but as we are told in Hebrews, replaced it with a new system. That new system is the same as the old system, except for Step 4- that is the part Yeshua’s sacrifice replaced. And it’s a good thing for us that he did; the Torah tells us in Deuteronomy 12:11 that any sacrifice must be made where God places his name, which was the temple in Jerusalem. After 73 AD, when Rome destroyed the temple, we had nowhere to bring a sacrifice and, thereby, couldn’t be forgiven. But Yeshua’s sacrifice replaced the need to bring an animal to the temple, so now we could receive forgiveness, through him, anywhere and anytime.

That was the only change to the sacrificial system. BUT, even with Yeshua’s sacrifice, forgiveness is not automatic. We still need to regret our sins, do T’shuvah, and ask for forgiveness; in other words, all the other steps in the process.

You see, when we believe “once saved, always saved” eventually we won’t even care if we sin because we know they will be forgiven. When that happens, we won’t regret sinning, we won’t care about what we do and we will apostatize without even realizing it because we think we have a permanent and automatic “Get Out of Jail Free” card in Yeshua.

Of course, that is not how it works- without T’shuvah, without regretting the sins you commit, and without asking each and every time for forgiveness, you will not receive forgiveness. Not at all. God will not forgive an impenitent heart.

Up to now we have covered the meaning of this statement with regards to not having to bring an animal to the temple, but I believe there is another meaning, and let’s explore that now.

Regarding Yeshua’s sacrifice, once and for all means it was a once done for all sins, sacrifice but it can also mean once done for all people. Yeshua’s sacrifice covers all the different sins we have and might (more likely, will) commit, and it also can cover the sins of all people, meaning everyone, no matter what religion they have been raised with. Once someone accepts Yeshua as their Messiah, which means they will convert to the way of life that God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob said we should live, the way Yeshua lived, then they will be included with those who now have the means to be forgiven.

What that means is that Constantinian dogma and doctrine, which is what modern Christianity is based on, is not how Yeshua lived his life, and is not, for the most part, how God said we should live. Forgiveness is still available, but those who follow Constantine aren’t living their lives as Yeshua did.

Yeshua’s sacrifice does more than cover all sins once and for all time: it is available to all people for all time. I think sometimes we get so focused on the aspect of forgiveness, we forget that when Yeshua walked the earth, he was here specifically and solely for the Jews. He said so, himself, in Matthew 15:24. It wasn’t until after his resurrection and ascendance to heaven that the Gentiles were given the opportunity to also be saved.

That is why I believe the saying “Once and For All” has a dual meaning: we are saved by his once and for all time sacrifice, which was done once for one specific group of people but is now available for all people.

To me, Hebrews 10:10 can now be read as not just saying once and for all, but instead as once and for all time, for all people.

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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!