Keith Hunt - Animal Sacrifices and Age to Come #2 Restitution of All
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Animal sacrifices in the Age to Come #2

Purpose for Them!

                  ANIMAL SACRIFICES IN THE 1,000 YEAR AGE


HERE IS THE WAY ANOTHER WRITER HAS PUT THE TOPIC. As my study on
the subject shows, I would agree with this study - Keith Hunt.



     THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN the atoning work of Jesus Christ
and the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament has raised many
questions for Bible theologians. This is especially true in light
of the book of Hebrews and Old Testament prophecies concerning
worship during the millennium. The answer may have to do with
distinct functions in the plan of God for the blood of
sacrificial animals and for the precious blood of Christ. This
distinction is especially significant for understanding the
reinstatement of animal sacrifices during the future millennial
kingdom of Christ.

     The atoning work of Christ is infinite in value and
therefore eternally sufficient and effective for those who put
their trust in Him. The book of Hebrews especially emphasizes the
contrast between the substitutionary work of Christ and the blood
of bulls and goats in the Old Covenant (see Hebrews 7:19; 9:9;
10:1,4,11,18). The New Covenant is infinitely superior to the Old
Covenant of Moses, which was "only a shadow of the good things to
come" (10:1 NASB). However, neither Hebrews nor the rest of the
New Testament teaches that Israel as a nation has been forever
set aside by God. The Old Covenant given by God to Israel through
Moses has ended, but the New Covenant (stemming from the
Abrahamic covenant) is in place and will be applied to Israel
during the millennium. The contrast in Hebrews is between the
shadowy, insufficient nature of the Old Covenant and the
sufficient, permanent nature of the New Covenant.
     During the present age, national Israel has been "rejected"
(Romans 11:15-22) because of "transgression," "failure," and
"unbelief" (11:11-12,23). But that has not terminated Israel as a
nation (11:11). Some day it will experience divine "fulfillment"
(11:12) and "acceptance" (11:15). The church has not supplanted
Israel in God's program, for "the gifts and the calling of God
are irrevocable" (11:29).
     The New Covenant promises a new heart through the Holy
Spirit for the entire nation of Israel (Ezekiel ;6:26-27), the
restoration of the regenerated nation to its ancestral land
(36:28), and a dynamic, functioning theocracy of 12 tribes with a
great new city and Temple (Ezekiel 40-48; see Deuteronomy
30:1-4). When this covenant is fulfilled for Israel, its high
priest will be the Messiah Himself, not a descendant of Aaron
(Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7).


MENTION OF ANIMAL SACRIFICES

     Isaiah foresaw not only God's New Covenant with Israel but
also a Temple in the holy land (2:2-3; 60:13). Animal sacrifices
would be offered on its altar by Egyptians (19:21) and Arabians
(60:7), through priests and Levites (66:21), at God's "holy
mountain" with burnt offerings and sacrifices on God's altar
(56:6-7; 66:19-20).
     God revealed the expression "a new covenant" first to
Jeremiah. This New Covenant included the offering of animals on
the altar of a Temple in the holy land. God announced through
him, "I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring
forth.... David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of
the house of Israel; and the Levitical priests shall never lack a
man before me" (33:I5,17-18). Thus Jeremiah, while stating the
total demise of the temporary Old Covenant (31:32) and
anticipating the national regeneration provided in the permanent
New Covenant (31:31-34; 32:38-40; 336-13; 50:5), included animal
sacrifices offered by Levitical priests as permanent aspects of
this New Covenant for national Israel.
     Ezekiel also described the New Covenant, including a
provision for "My sanctuary in their midst forever" (37:26,28).
This sanctuary or Temple is described in great detail in chapters
40-48. Included in the description are the different types and
characteristics and purposes of its animal sacrifices (40:38-43;
42:13; 43:1827; 45:15-25; 46:2-15; 46:20-24). Other prophets who
spoke of the future Temple include Joel (3:18), Micah (4:1-5),
and Haggai (2:7,9).
     We will consider the theological issues arising from these
descriptions by answering three questions: (1) What was the true
function of animal sacrifices in the Old Covenant? (2) What are
the fundamental differences between Ezekiel's picture of the New
Covenant system of worship and the Old Covenant system of
worship? (3) Would a worship system involving animal sacrifices
represent a step backward for New Covenant Israel during the
millennial age?


FUNCTION OF ANIMAL SACRIFICES

     Animal sacrifices could never remove spiritual guilt froth
the offerer (Hebrews 10:4,11). Onc major purpose of these
sacrifices (as teaching symbols) was to prepare the people of
Israel for their Messiah and His infinite: atonement. Another
purpose was to provide a temporal, finite, external, and legal
"forgiveness" through an "atonement" (a ritual cleansing - 
Hebrews 9:10,13) made by a priest (Numbers 15:25-26). This was
not merely a prophetic anticipation of Christ's atoning work. In
the Old Covenant, God provided a highly complex and rigid
structure for his "kingdom of priests." National transgressions
would receive national forgiveness when legitimate priests
offered appropriate sacrifices to God at the Tabernacle or Temple
altar. This forgiveness was promised regardless of the spiritual
state of either the offerer or the priest.
     However, such sacrificial blood could never cleanse the
conscience or save the soul (Hebrews 10:1-2), so God repeatedly
sent prophets to call His people to love and obey their God from
the heart. Apart from such genuine faith, all the ceremonially
"kosher" animals in the whole world would avail nothing in the
spiritual realm (Psalm 50:7-IS: Isaiah 1:12--20; Jerennah 6:20:
7:21-23; Hosea 5:6; Amos 4:4-5; 5:20-27; Micah 6:6-H). It has
always been true that "it is impossible for the blood of bulls
and goats to take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). But it was also true
then, under the Old Covenant, that "the blood of bulls and goats
... sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh" (Hebrews 9:13).
     In the Millennial Temple under the New Covenant, future
sacrifices will have nothing to do with eternal salvation, which
only comes through true faith in God. Future animal sacrifices
will be "efficacious" and "expiatory" only, in terms of the
strict provision for ceremonial (thus temporal) forgiveness for
national Israel. Thus, animal sacrifices will be not only,
memorial (like the bread and cup in church communion services)
but also temporally atoning for believing Israel (Ezekiel
43:20,26; 45:15,17,20). Hoekema notes, "if the sacrifices
mentioned in Ezekiel arc to be understood literally, they must be
expiatory, not memorial offerings" (Hoekema, p.204). The
distinction between ceremonial and spiritual atonement is
significant, for it is at the heart of the basic difference
between the theocracy, of Israel and the church, the body and
bride of Christ.


ISRAEL'S WORSHIP IN OLD AND NEW COVENANTS

     The Temple of the millennium will be vastly different from
those of Solomon, Zerubbabel, and Herod. The outer court, gates,
walls, grounds, locality, and furniture will all be different.
The Temple will not have the ark of the covenant, no pot of
manna, no Aaron's rod, no tables of the Law, no cherubim, no
mercy scat, no golden lampstand, no show-bread, no veil, no holy
of holies, no high priest, no evening sacrifice (West, pp.
429-30). No feast of Pentecost, no feast of Trumpets, and no Day
of Atonement. These modifications indicate that the millennial
sacrifices will focus on sanctification grounded upon the
reconciliation already provided by Christ.

(The Temple sacrifices may not be as they were under the Old
Covenant, what scrifices, the number etc. But that being said,
does NOT mean there will be no Pentecost, feast of Trumpets, or
Day of Atonement. Those Feasts are still in effect today, and a
"religious" Jew would laugh at the idea that because today there
is no Temple or animal sacrifices, then there is no Feasts of the
Lord to observe. The Feasts of God are not dependant on physical
animal sacrifices or a Levitical Priesthood or even a literal
Temple in Jerusalem - Keith Hunt)


NOT A STEP BACKWARD FOR ISRAEL

     It is the conviction of the present author that consistent
dispensationalism must teach the practice of animal sacrifices
for a restored and regenerated Israel in the millennium. But
would such a worship system represent a great step backward for
New Covenant Israel? Israel will be under a New Covenant program,
not the Old Covenant given to Moses, which was never designed to
guarantee salvation. Millennial Israel will have the entire New
Testament available to them, including the book of Hebrews. They
will know about the full and finished work of Christ. They will
see no conflict between Ezekiel and Hebrews, and they will
understand the omission of a high priest in Ezekiel 40-48 as
opening the door to the Melchizedekian High Priest of Psalm
110:4, Jesus Christ Himself.

     Believing Jews will experience regeneration and
sanctification just as Christians do today - by the grace of God
through faith in the Lord Jesus. These future Jewish believers
will not be glorified (they will be survivors of the Tribulation
and their descendants). The New Covenant theocracy of Israel will
retain its distinctive Israelite characteristics - a promised
land, a temple, appropriate animal sacrifices, and an earthly
Zadokian priesthood (subordinate to Jesus Christ).

(The writer is obvious thinking that "Israel" = "Jews" which is
incorrect. The House of Judah was only made up of the tribes of
Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. There are TEN more tribes that make up
the entire nation of Israel, so the above comment of the writer
must be understood to apply to all 12 tribes of Israel - Keith
Hunt)

     These sacrifices, illumined by a corporate understanding of
the true significance of the Lamb of God who took away the sin of
the world, will be appreciated all the more for what they can and
cannot accomplish for the offerer. For non-glorified millennial
Israel and her Gentile proselytes throughout the world (see Psalm
87; Isaiah 60:1-14; Zechariah 8:2023), the continued presence of
a sin nature will call for constant instruction and exhortation
in revealed truth. Not even a perfect government will
automatically solve this deep, universal problem. In distinction
from the perfection of the eternal state described in Revelation
21-22, Christ will "rule all nations with a rod of iron"
(Revelation 2:27; 12:5; 19:15) and with strict controls,
especially in religious practices (see Zechariah 14:16-21). Even
though outward submission to these religious forms will not
necessarily demonstrate a regenerate heart, it will guarantee
protection from physical penalties and temporal judgments. Those
who love Christ will exhibit a genuine spirit of submission to
His government. But those who do not truly love Him will follow
Satan in global rebellion at the end of Christ's righteous reign,
and they will be destroyed in cosmic fire (Revelation 20:7-9).

(Few under the Messiah will reject the knowledge of the Lord as
the waters cover the sea beds, which is one promise to be
fulfilled during the 1,000 year age. With Christ back on earth,
saints ruling with Him, in an open and powerful rod of iron
rulership, and add to that the promise of the Holy Spirit to be
poured out mightily, it would be few indeed that will throw away
eternal salvation. The battle at the end of the 1,000 years is
because Satan will be let loose once more from the bottomless pit
to go our again the deceive certain people - see Revelation 20 -
Keith Hunt)

 
FORM AND CONTENT OF WORSHIP

     How can vital spiritual instruction be accomplished for
citizens of the millennial kingdom through a system of animal
sacrifices?

     If it is theoretically possible for the church today to
achieve a spiritual, symbolic, and pedagogic balance in the use
of the bread and cup in communion, then it will be all the more
possible for regenerated Israel to attain the divinely intended
balance between form and content within the structures of the New
Covenant. It is not only possible but prophetically certain (in
the view of this author) that millennial animal sacrifices will
be used in a God-honoring way (Psalm 51:15-ig; Hebrews 11:4) by a
regenerated, chosen nation before the inauguration of the eternal
state. 

JOHN C. WHITCOMB

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bruce, F.F. "The Epistle to the Hebews." New International
Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 1964
Hoekema, Anthony A. "The Bible anD the Future" Grand Rapids.
Eerdmans Publishing Company 19?)
Hullinger, Jerry M, "The Problem of Animal Sacrifices  
in Ezekiel 40-48" Bibliotheca Sacra 152 July-Sept.1995), pp.
279-89
Kent, Homer A., Jr. "The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary"
Winona Lake, IN. BMH Books, 1972. 
Pentecost, J. Dwight. "Things to Come." Grand Rapids:
Zondervan,1964.
Ryne, Charles C. "The Basis of Premillennial Faith," New York:
Loizeaux, 1953.
Sauer, Erlch. "From Eternity to Eternity" Grand Rapids Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 1954.
Walvoord, John F "The Millennial Kingdom." Findlay, OH. Dunham,
1959.
West, Nathanael. "The Thousand Years in Both Testaments."
NewYork: Revell, 1880.
Whitcomb, John C. "Christ's Atonement and Animal Sacrifices in
Israel" Grace Theological Journal 62 11985), pp 201-17

                          .......................

Entered on this Website, April 2009


 
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