Addressing Muslim Polemicist Abdullah Kunde’s Biblical Distortions Pt. 2
We continue with our rebuttal to Kunde.
The Atoning Death of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant
In the debate with Samuel Green, Saviour of the World: Jesus or the Qur'an?, Kunde argued that the suffering Servant mentioned by the prophet Isaiah is said to be an asham, or a guilt offering, in Isaiah 53:10 which is a sacrifice for unintentional sins according to Leviticus 7 (it is actually chapter 5). As such, Kunde reasoned that this text couldn’t be used to prove that the prophets predicted that the Messiah would die as a sacrifice for all the transgressions and wicked acts carried out by God’s people, especially for Adam’s original sin.
The first problem with Kunde’s claim is that even if we accept for argument’s sake that the Messiah, i.e. Yahweh’s Servant, only atones for unintentional sins this would still be incompatible with Islam which denies that the Messiah died for anyone’s transgressions, whether unintentional or not! This means that not only does the Hebrew Bible agree with the New Testament concerning the vicarious nature of Christ’s death but it also contradicts the Quran which denies this revealed truth. More on this later.
Secondly, Kunde overlooks the fact that Leviticus clearly says that the guilt offering was also made for intentional sins, not just for unintentional ones:
“And HaShem spoke unto Moses, saying: If any one sin, and commit a trespass against HaShem, and deal falsely with his neighbour in a matter of deposit, or of pledge, or of robbery, or have oppressed his neighbour; or have found that which was lost, and deal falsely therein, and swear to a lie; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein; then it shall be, if he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took by robbery, or the thing which he hath gotten by oppression, or the deposit which was deposited with him, or the lost thing which he found, or any thing about which he hath sworn falsely, he shall even restore it in full, and shall add the fifth part more thereto; unto him to whom it appertaineth shall he give it, in the day of his being guilty. And he shall bring his forfeit unto HaShem, a ram without blemish out of the flock, according to thy valuation, for a guilt-offering, unto the priest. And the priest shall make atonement for him before HaShem, and he shall be forgiven, concerning whatsoever he doeth so as to be guilty thereby.” Leviticus 5:20-26 Jewish Publication Society (JPS)
Here is another Jewish translation:
“God spoke to Moses saying: [This is the law] if a person sins and commits a misappropriation offense against God by lying to his neighbor. [It can involve] an article for safekeeping, a business deal, robbery, withholding funds or finding a lost object and denying it. If the person swears falsely in any of these cases involving human relations, he is considered to have sinned. When he becomes guilty of such a sin, he must return the stolen article, the withheld funds, the article left for safekeeping, the found article, or anything else regarding which he swore falsely. He must make restitution of the principal, and then add one-fifth to it. On the day [that he seeks atonement for] his crime, he must give it to its rightful owner. He must then bring to the priest his sin offering to God. It shall be an unblemished ram, worth the prescribed amount, as a guilt offering. The priest shall make atonement for him before God, and he will then be forgiven for any crime that he has committed.” Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
This shows that the Servant wouldn’t merely die for unintentional mistakes, but also for intentional crimes such as lying, cheating, stealing, swearing falsely etc.(1)
Thirdly, Kunde obviously didn’t bother reading Isaiah 53 carefully since the prophet expressly says that the Servant makes atonement for deliberate and willful transgressions:
“Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of HaShem been revealed? For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him. He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of G-d, and afflicted. But he was wounded because of our transgressions (mipasha'enu), he was crushed because of our iniquities (me'awonotenu): the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed. All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and HaShem hath made to light on him the iniquity (‘awon) of us all. He was oppressed, though he humbled himself and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and with his generation who did reason? for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression (mipasha) of my people to whom the stroke was due. And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased HaShem to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of HaShem might prosper by his hand: Of the travail of his soul he shall see to the full, even My servant, who by his knowledge did justify the Righteous One to the many, and their iniquities (wa‘awonotam) he did bear. Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty; because he bared his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors (wa’et-posha'im); yet he bore the sin (cheta) of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (walaposha‘im).” Isaiah 53:1-12 JPS
Yahweh’s Servant offers his life as a sacrifice for all the transgressions (pesha), iniquities (awon), and sins (chet‘) committed by the many. The Servant even makes intercession for transgressors (posha‘im), i.e. for those who committed transgressions (pasha).
What makes this interesting is that the language which Isaiah uses to depict the atoning death of Yahweh’s Servant is similar to the way the day of atonement is described in Leviticus 16. This was the day in which the high priest would make atonement for all of Israel’s wicked, rebellious acts, not just for their unintentional sins:
“And HaShem spoke unto Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before HaShem, and died; and HaShem said unto Moses: 'Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the ark-cover which is upon the ark; that he die not; for I appear in the cloud upon the ark-cover. Herewith shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin-offering (lachatta't), and a ram for a burnt-offering (la‘ola). He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with the linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired; they are the holy garments; and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and put them on. And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two he-goats for a sin-offering (lachatta't), and one ram for a burnt-offering (la‘ola). And Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin-offering (ha chatta't), which is for himself, and make atonement for himself, and for his house. And he shall take the two goats, and set them before HaShem at the door of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one lot for HaShem, and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat upon which the lot fell for HaShem, and offer him for a sin-offering (chatta't). But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel, shall be set alive before HaShem, to make atonement over him, to send him away for Azazel into the wilderness. And Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin-offering (ha chatta't), which is for himself, and shall make atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin-offering which is for himself. And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from off the altar before HaShem, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil. And he shall put the incense upon the fire before HaShem, that the cloud of the incense may cover the ark-cover that is upon the testimony, that he die not. And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the ark-cover on the east; and before the ark-cover shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin-offering (ha chatta't), that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with his blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the ark-cover, and before the ark-cover. And he shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleannesses of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions (umipisha'ehem), even ALL their sins (lakal-chatto'tam); and so shall he do for the tent of meeting, that dwelleth with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. And there shall be no man in the tent of meeting when he goeth in to make atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel. And he shall go out unto the altar that is before HaShem, and make atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleannesses of the children of Israel. And when he hath made an end of atoning for the holy place, and the tent of meeting, and the altar, he shall present the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him ALL the iniquities of the children of Israel ('et-kal-'awonot bane yisra’el), and ALL their transgressions (wa'et-kal-pisha'ehem), even ALL their sins (lakal-chatto'tam); and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of an appointed man into the wilderness. And the goat shall BEAR UPON HIM ALL THEIR INIQUITIES ('et-kal-'awonom) unto a land which is cut off; and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. And Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there. And he shall bathe his flesh in water in a holy place and put on his other vestments, and come forth, and offer his burnt-offering and the burnt-offering of the people (et-‘olato wa’ et-olat ha‘am), and make atonement for himself and for the people. And the fat of the sin-offering (ha chatta't) shall he make smoke upon the altar. And he that letteth go the goat for Azazel shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. And the bullock of the sin-offering (ha chatta't), and the goat of the sin-offering (ha chatta't), whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be carried forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung. And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. And it shall be a statute for ever unto you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and shall do no manner of work, the home-born, or the stranger that sojourneth among you. For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from ALL your sins (mikol chatto'tekem) shall ye be clean before HaShem. It is a sabbath of solemn rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; it is a statute for ever. And the priest, who shall be anointed and who shall be consecrated to be priest in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen garments, even the holy garments. And he shall make atonement for the most holy place, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar; and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make atonement for the children of Israel because of ALL their sins (mikal-chatto'tam) once in the year.' And he did as HaShem commanded Moses.” Leviticus 16:1-34 JPS
Here is a different translation of the key verses which clearly brings out the fact that the atonement which Yahweh required the high priest to make on that specific day was for all the wickedness and rebellion committed by the people:
“He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.” Leviticus 16:21-22
Moreover, these very Hebrew terms are used in contexts where those who committed them were either killed or exiled from the land, as in the case of the Canaanites whom Yahweh drove out before the Israelites:
“And HaShem spoke unto Moses, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: I am HaShem your G-d. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their statutes. Mine ordinances shall ye do, and My statutes shall ye keep, to walk therein: I am HaShem your G-d. Ye shall therefore keep My statutes, and Mine ordinances, which if a man do, he shall live by them: I am HaShem. None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness. I am HaShem. The nakedness of thy father, and the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness. The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or the daughter of thy mother, whether born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover; for theirs is thine own nakedness. The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister; for she is thy mother's near kinswoman. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy fathers brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter-in-law: she is thy son' wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter; thou shalt not take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness: they are near kinswomen; it is lewdness. And thou shalt not take a woman to her sister, to be a rival to her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her lifetime. And thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is impure by her uncleanness. And thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her. And thou shalt not give any of thy seed to set them apart to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy G-d: I am HaShem. Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination. And thou shalt not lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith; neither shall any woman stand before a beast, to lie down thereto; it is perversion. Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things; for in all these the nations are defiled, which I cast out from before you. And the land was defiled, therefore I did visit the iniquity (‘awonah) thereof upon it, and the land vomited out her inhabitants. Ye therefore shall keep My statutes and Mine ordinances, and shall not do any of these abominations; neither the home-born, nor the stranger that sojourneth among you--for all these abominations have the men of the land done, that were before you, and the land is defiled--that the land vomit not you out also, when ye defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, even the souls that do them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep My charge, that ye do not any of these abominable customs, which were done before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am HaShem your G-d.” Leviticus 18:1-30 JPS
Note, again, the reason why Yahweh exterminated the Canaanites from the land:
“Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin (‘awonah), and the land vomited out its inhabitants.” Leviticus 18:25
Here are two more examples of the type of sins which these specific Hebrew words cover:
“And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness: it is a shameful thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the children of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity (‘awono)… And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister, nor of thy father's sister; for he hath made naked his near kin; they shall bear their iniquity (‘awonam). And if a man shall lie with his uncle's wife – he hath uncovered his uncle's nakedness – they shall bear their sin (cheta'am); they shall die childless.” Leviticus 20:17, 19-20 JPS
“And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and the son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp. And the son of the Israelitish woman blasphemed the Name, and cursed; and they brought him unto Moses. And his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in ward, that it might be declared unto them at the mouth of HaShem. And HaShem spoke unto Moses, saying: ‘Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying: Whosoever curseth his G-d shall bear his sin (cheta'o). And he that blasphemeth the name of HaShem, he shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him; as well the stranger, as the home-born, when he blasphemeth the Name, shall be put to death.’” Leviticus 24:10-16 JPS
The above verses indicate that the Servant wasn’t going to merely die for unintentional guilt. Rather, Yahweh intended to present the Servant as an atoning sacrifice for all the rebellious acts committed by his people, wicked crimes such as murder, deceit, homosexuality etc.
Lo and behold, this is precisely what the inspired NT writings teach concerning the death of the Lord Jesus, i.e. Christ died to purify and redeem his people from all of their wickedness and evil:
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Colossians 3:1-11
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” Titus 3:3-9
This shouldn’t come as a surprise when we realize that the NT documents identify the Lord Jesus as the suffering Servant of Isaiah:
“It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” Luke 22:37; cf. Isaiah 53:12
“The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: ‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.’ The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” Acts 8:29-35; cf. Isaiah 53:7-8
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21-25; cf. Isaiah 53:4-6, 9
Hence, both the Old and New Testaments agree that the Messiah comes to offer his own life as a vicarious sacrifice for all the transgressions committed by God’s people:
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’” Matthew 26:26-29
“Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:47-51
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:14-18
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, MOST OF WHOM ARE STILL LIVING, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
What this means for Kunde is that, since Muhammad denied the explicit Biblical testimony to the vicarious death and resurrection of the Messiah, he is therefore following and trusting in a false prophet.
Lord willing, there will be more rebuttals to Kunde’s distortions of Biblical truth in the future.
Unless stated otherwise, all scriptural quotations taken from the 2010 edition of the New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible.
Judaism and Human Sacrifice as a Means of Atonement
The Invalidity of a Critic's Denial of Christian Atonement Theology
Good Question--did the Christians simply invent the "pierced my hands and feet" passage in Psalm 22?
Psalm 22 – My, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?
Did Christians corrupt the text of Psalm 22:16 to make it refer to the crucifixion?
Psalm 22:16 - Are his feet pierced or like a lion?
The Messiah. 12. Objections to 2nd and 22nd Psalm
Psalm 22 – Questions and Comments
(1) What makes this more troubling is that in his rebuttal Kunde quoted a particular translation of Leviticus, specifically the NRSV, which refers to a person coming to the realization that s/he is guilty of a crime. Kunde erroneously thinks that this rendering somehow establishes his contention that asham is only a sacrifice for unintentional sins since the individuals who had committed transgressions did so in ignorance.
Here is the context of Leviticus 6 once again, this time from Kunde’s preferred version:
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: When any of you sin and commit a trespass against the Lord by deceiving a neighbor in a matter of a deposit or a pledge, or by robbery, or if you have defrauded a neighbor, or have found something lost and lied about it—if you swear falsely regarding any of the various things that one may do and sin thereby—when you have sinned and realize your guilt, and would restore what you took by robbery or by fraud or the deposit that was committed to you, or the lost thing that you found, or anything else about which you have sworn falsely, you shall repay the principal amount and shall add one-fifth to it. You shall pay it to its owner when you realize your guilt. And you shall bring to the priest, as your guilt offering to the Lord, a ram without blemish from the flock, or its equivalent, for a guilt offering. The priest shall make atonement on your behalf before the Lord, and you shall be forgiven for any of the things that one may do and incur guilt thereby.” Leviticus 6:1-7 NRSV
Notice that even this version shows that the guilt offering or asham covers the following transgressions:
Deceiving one’s neighbor.
Robbing one’s neighbor.
Defrauding one’s neighbor.
Cheating a neighbor.
Kunde wants us to actually believe that all of these crimes are unintentional sins, or evil acts committed in ignorance, solely because the NRSV chose to insert the words “realize(d) your guilt”!
It is obvious what the NRSV translators intended to convey by these words. In light of the context, the translators could not have meant that the person didn’t know that these were sinful actions and crimes since the Israelites had Moses revealing the Law to them. As such, they would have been informed that these were all major transgressions. It is clear that the expression, “realized your guilt,” meant that when a person becomes convicted of all the sins s/he willfully committed and feels regret over it s/he can then do what is right by making restitution and going before the priest to make atonement for his/her sins.
Hence, ‘realize’ in this context means coming under conviction for one’s crimes and realizing that something has to be done in order to make things right with God and with one’s neighbor.
It is apparent why Kunde doesn’t see these as serious transgressions since he is interpreting Leviticus in light of his own Islamic theology. Such heinous crimes are not considered sinful actions in Islam, provided that they are not carried out against committed fellow Muslims. In fact, Kunde’s god actually permits and encourages Muslims to lie, deceive, swear falsely, cheat, and commit robbery by calling it plunder (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). It is therefore not surprising that Kunde could classify such crimes as unintentional sins.