Keith Hunt - New Testament Sacrifices Restitution of All Things


New Testament Sacrifices

     The day of sacrifices has NOT COME TO AN END!  Whaaaaat! 
some will say. Am I saying it is still time to literally slit the
throats of animals and offer them as sacrifices to the Lord? No,
I did not say that. 

     Even a casual, not so serious, reader of the Bible, knows
that the Old Testament has lots of instructions and comments
regarding a "sacrificial system" that the ancient peoples of
Israel had to follow as part of their national governmental
structure and way of religious life.
     Various animals and grain offerings were part of the daily
life for the priesthood of national Israel to offer to the
Eternal God. It was a very elaborate system. To be carried
out in one central location. Many verses and chapters of Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, are devoted to expounding
all the details of how these sacrifices were to be carried out.

     The people of Israel were to offer the VERY BEST of the
flocks and herds, and grain to the Lord.
     Think for a moment, try to put yourself in the shoes of the
farmers and ranchers back in those days, before 70 A.D. when the
whole sacrificial system came to an end at the destruction of the
Temple and Jerusalem by the armies of Rome under Titus.
     You had a tithing law that stated not only one tenth of your
increase from your flocks, herds, and grain, was to go to the
Lord, but it was to be the very best!
     True, the Eternal God is not only the one and only God but
is also THE BEST of anything in the universe, so offering to Him
only the best makes a lot of sense. I have the skill of being
able to make shoes. If I was to give a gift of a pair of shoes to
say, Prince Phillip or Queen Elizabeth, would I not give them the
very best pair of shoes I could possibly make? Sure I would! So
giving the best of your flocks and grain to the Lord is not so
far out to the farmer.
     Yet, for a farmer to have a prized healthy, blemishless
animal to breed from is something to be treasured. For they know
that to have good strong healthy flocks you must have parent
animals that are themselves healthy and strong - from good stock
comes good stock. Sick weak animals do not generally produce
prize winning offspring.
     For a farmer to give up prized livestock and grain is no
small "sacrifice" as we use the word in a metaphorical sense.

     In that sense of the word then, SACRIFICES by the people of
God have always been and will always be offered while physical
humans are on this earth!

     Yes, since 70 A.D. the literal offering of literal animals
in sacrifice at a temple by a physical priesthood, has come to an
end. BUT the New Testament makes it plain that the days of
sacrifices, in another sense, did not end in 70 A.D. For the
Bible speaks of sacrifices that do not pertain to animals or
grain or fruits, and those sacrifices continue as they always
have for the children of God.


                   SACRIFICES FOR TODAY


     There is a meaning to the word "sacrifice" that is very much
applicable for New Testament Christians.
     In part the World Book Dictionary gives this meaning to
sacrifice: ".......2.a. a giving up of one thing for another;
destruction or surrender of something valued or desired for
the sake of a higher object or more pressing claim....."

     It is written: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt
offerings and sacrifices, as in OBEYING the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to OBEY is better than sacrifice, and to HEED than the
fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and
stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry"(1 Samuel 15:22,23).

     Every kind of literal sacrifice, whether it be of animals,
grain, fruit, giving up your money, your home, your automobile,
exotic vacation, giving up cigarette smoking, working 80 hours a
week, and other such things that may have an outward show of
piety, is to no avail in acquiring God's favour UNLESS THE HEART
IS IN ACCORD WITH THE LORD.
     And that means the heart and mind must have repented of sin
(the breaking of the law of God - 1 John 3:4; Romans 7:7) and
with humility is now willing to OBEY and HEED the words and truth
of the living God.
     For the Lord says: ".....on this one will I look; on him who
is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word"
Isaiah 66:2).

     Jesus said that man was not to live by bread alone but by
every word of God(Matthew 4:4).

     He said: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for
righteousness, for they shall be filled"(Mat.5:6).
     One Bible definition of righteousness is found in Psalms
119:172. All of God's commandments are righteousness!

     To find someone today who truly desires, loves, wants to
obey and heed what God says and teaches him/her in ALL His word,
who is willing and wanting to be corrected(as Jeremiah cried out
- Jer.10:23,24), to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus,
who loves the truth(2 Thes.2:10) which will set them free(John
8:32), to find this kind of mentally motivated person today is
like finding a pearl of great price.

     Concerning the glorious coming of the Lord, Jesus asked this
question:
"......Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall He find THE
faith on the earth"(Luke 18: 8, original Greek).
     Yes, there will be ones on the earth that will have the
faith when Jesus returns - they will be the ones called and
chosen - the elect of God. They will be showing and
manifesting the SACRIFICE of a humble, teachable, repentant,
obedient heart and mind to all the word of the Lord.

     As the Psalmist has written: "The sacrifices of God are a
broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart - These, O God, You
will not despise"(Ps.51:17).

     If you are not sure about what the word of God teaches
concerning HUMILITY, REAL REPENTANCE, and SAVING FAITH, then
please request the in-depth study articles by those names. Also
you may like to request the article called SAVED BY GRACE. It
will make the truth plain about the subject of law and grace.


     Another sacrifice that is for all time, yesterday, today,
and forever, is found in Psalms 107 and verse 22.

     "Let them sacrifice the sacrifice of THANKSGIVING, and
declare His works with rejoicing."

     How much do you THANK the Lord? It is so easy to "take
things for granted" in this physical life. Often it is not until
hard times come or tragedies occur that we stop to "smell the
roses along the way."  Sometimes it takes a "near death"
experience for many of us to realize how much we have and to be
thankful for what the Lord has given us.
     Oh, we may not have this or that, we may loose this or that,
one or more of the five senses, this material thing, or a
particular job etc. Whatever our situation is, good or bad when
compared to others, it is usually true that whatever circumstance
we are in there is somebody with less than us.
     If you are a Christian, then you have MUCH to be thankful
for. Above all else, you should be thankful that God has called
and chosen you to be His child and in the first resurrection,
which the word says is a better resurrection.
     So you need every day to sacrifice the sacrifice of PRAISE
and THANKSGIVING to your heavenly Father. Give Him your "thank
you Father" for my food, my clothes, my work, my home, for your
wonderful creations around me, for the angels who help and
serve me, for your word of truth and life, your holy spirit which
is your nature within me. Thank you Father for correcting me in
your love, for guiding me, for teaching me. Thank you Father for
loving  and having mercy upon me, for forgiving me my sins. Thank
you Father for sending Christ Jesus to live and die that I may
have eternal life. Thank you Christ Jesus that you were willing
to put aside the glory you had with the Father, and that you were
willing to come as flesh and blood to live and die for the sins
of the whole world. Thank you Christ that you are now acting as
our High Priest - intercessor - in heaven so we can be constantly
forgiven our sins and saved by your life.
     Thank you Father that you have promised to send Jesus back
to this earth to usher in the age to come, when all nations will
come under your rule and find peace, blessings, health, and
salvation in your family and Kingdom.
     
     The New Testament also admonishes us to: "Therefore by Him
let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is,
the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name"(Hebrews 13:15).

     Thank the Lord, PRAISE the Lord, declare His works with
REJOICING!  That is a sacrifice for today and tomorrow!


     A sacrifice that has always been greater and more acceptable
to the Lord than any number of prize animal/grain sacrifices, is
the sacrifice of "righteousness and justice"(Proverbs 21:3).

     We have covered somewhat already the sacrifice of
righteousness. I want to cover a little the sacrifice of JUSTICE.
     The working of justice in day to day life involves the use
of judgment, the use of judging. 
     Many are confused about this topic of judging or justice.
They think Christians should not judge. Some think that
Christians should have such an open and broad mine for everything
and every person, that "love" is all they should manifest. But it
is usually a "love" that is defined by the people espousing such
ideas, and not by the Bible's definition. Such love is so
broad-minded  and open that things fall out, or as I once heard
one man say: "don't be so open minded that your brains fall out."
     Christians must at times judge. It will be inevitable. Some
time, sooner or later, we shall have to use judgment and justice
pertaining to this or that issue or person.
     Jesus once told certain individuals that they used "carnal"
- fleshly, unrighteous judgment. He also told others to use
"righteous judgment."
     There is much to say and expound on this particular
sacrifice for today. Here is not the place. 
     For those who would like to know more about this important
Biblical topic, please request my article called Judgment.
Needless to say it is a New Testament doctrine that must be a
part of a Christians life.


     God's children are to be busy performing Spiritual
sacrifices, that of the heart and mind which is translated into
obedience.
     "Coming to Him(Christ) as to a living stone, rejected indeed
of men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living
stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood,
to offer up SPIRITUAL sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus
Christ.
........Therefore to you who believe, He is precious; but to
those who are disobedient.....they stumble, being disobedient to
the word.....But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the
praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous
light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God,
who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved,
I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts
which war against the soul, having your conduct honourable among
the Gentiles......For this is the will of God, that by doing good
you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men - as free,
yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bond-servants
of God......that we, having died to sins, might live for
righteousness....."(1 Peter 2:4-24).

     
     
                SACRIFICES CAN BE GOOD DEEDS


     With all I have said and that has been written above, we
must not believe that sacrifices today are just something in the
heart and mind only, and not something that can have literal
tangible works, for if we do, God's word will correct us in our
mistake.
     Notice it, Hebrews chapter 13 and verse 16, "But do not
forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is
well pleased."

     Helping, serving, giving, sharing what we have with others
in whatever way fits the situation and circumstance, is
classified as sacrifices and is well pleasing to the Lord.
     Yes of course for such doing is loving our neighbour as
ourselves and fulfilling the second of the two great
commandments.

     When Paul was in literal physical want at one time in his
life, the brethren at Philippi came to his service. Let's read
it.

     "Nevertheless you have done well that you SHARED in my
distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of
the gospel......no church shared with me concerning giving and
receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid
once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but
I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all
and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the
things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable
SACRIFICE, WELL PLEASING TO GOD"(Philippians 4:14-18).

     We must not forget to give and serve and share our lives,
our time, our talents, our encouragement, our physical goods, to
our fellow man, for in so doing we offer sacrifices that are well
pleasing to the Lord.




                SACRIFICING - THE FULL CIRCLE


     We have it all summed up for us by Paul in his letter to the
churches at Rome: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the
mercies of God, that you present your bodies a LIVING SACRIFICE,
holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do
not be conformed to this world, but be you transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and
acceptable and perfect will of God"(Romans 12:1- 2).

     Indeed there it is, that is the truth of the matter. The New
Testament Christian is to completely sacrifice HIM or HER self,
in heart, mind, attitude, and life, on the altar of dying to the
sins of the world and living according to that which is good and
acceptable and the perfect will of God.

     The day of sacrifices IS NOT OVER!  

     The Eternal God wants you to sacrifice, He expects you to
sacrifice!  The Lord wants you to sacrifice YOURSELF to Him, in
humble repentant obedience to live by His every word.

     Will you do it?

     If you do then one day you will hear these words from Jesus:
"Well done you good and faithful servant, enter you into the joy
of your Lord."

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


				Written July 1996 By Keith Hunt
			  (all Biblical quotations from the NKJV)

 
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