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THE END OF SACRIFICES
With the death of Christ, did God Himself bring to an end
the system of animal sacrifices performed under the exclusive Aaronic Priesthood?
compiled by Rachel Cory-Kuehl, March 2015
Last edited: November 3, 2022
Scripture is from the NKJV unless otherwise noted.
Part Two - Answers to Objections
God never changes, therefore His law is not changed.
Malachi 3:6 “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” (NAS)
I can agree. The LORD never changes His mind, His thinking, or His plan. Does this mean that He never changed any instruction He spoke through Moses? Answer: No. He changed the priesthood, from “the firstborn,” to “Aaron and his male descendants,” after the rebellion of the firstborn priests, at Mount Sinai.
Numbers 8:17-18 “I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn
of the children of Israel.”
This was a change!
This was a change of the priesthood!
Once the blood of God’s true Lamb, washed away the sins of the repentant, committed under the “first covenant” (Heb 9:15), the LORD was free to change the priesthood back to “the firstborn,” (His original Melchizedek order) under a “new covenant” (Heb 7:12).
See our study: “The Change of the Priesthood.”
Because Jesus Christ is “the firstborn, over all creation” (Col 1:15), He is now High Priest over the House of God. Those “in Christ” are “firstborn” - in Him. They “are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:29). They will become “priests of God and of Christ” (Rev 20:5) in the Kingdom of Messiah on the earth.
The LORD commanded that every animal for sacrifice, was to be brought to an Aaronic priest, in the Court of the Tabernacle (later the Temple at Jerusalem) (Deut 12:11-28). Because “the priesthood” has been “changed,” there is no longer an Aaronic priesthood to receive animal sacrifices.
Hebrews 7:12 “For the priesthood being changed,
of necessity there is also a change of the law.”
Another often discussed “change,” was the inclusion of uncircumcised Gentiles, in the “commonwealth of Israel” redeemed (Eph 2:12-14).
God has never altered His covenant, His Law, or His instructions to Moses.
Psalm 89:34 “My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.”
The LORD did not break, or alter His “first covenant” with Israel. The people, and especially the priests, broke that “first covenant,” rebelliously, arrogantly, and without repentance.
Hebrews 8:8 “But God found fault with the people and said: ‘The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.’” (NIV)
The “first covenant” was finally rendered “obsolete” by the death of Christ. It was a covenant of marriage, and God’s Son was the “husband” of that marriage covenant. According to the Law, when a husband dies, his wife is no longer under their marriage covenant (Rom 7:1-4).
She is free to marry “another.”
Paul calls the risen and glorified Christ, the “husband” of a new marriage covenant (Rom 7:1-4). New Covenant believers are “betrothed” to Christ (2Cor 11:2).
See our study: “Two Covenants.”
New Covenant “priests” after the Order of Melchizedek, offer up “spiritual sacrifices.”
1 Peter 2:5 “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (ESV)
God’s curse would fall on anyone who changed the Law (Deuteronomy 12:32).
Matthew 5:19 [Yeshua speaking] “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (NAS)
Not a single one of the Ten Commandments has been annulled or changed, or removed from the Covenant of Mount Sinai. That whole “first covenant” was simply rendered “obsolete” by the death of God’s only begotten Son.
Hebrews 8:13 “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ He [Yeshua Messiah] has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (NIV)
Jesus said the Law would never be changed.
Matthew 5:18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. (NAS)
No. Jesus said the Law would not be changed UNTIL “all” was “accomplished.”
“All was accomplished” concerning God’s perfect Lamb - His incarnation, His life and His perfect death. He fulfilled each prophecy to the letter.
He also fulfilled the Law by His perfect obedience, to every requirement. He may legally “inherit” the promises of that Covenant.
The heavens and the earth were depicted on the entrance veil of the Temple. When that veil was torn in half by the hand of God, “heaven and earth” passed away.
See the Addendum at the end of this study.
Acts 13:29 “Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.”
Luke 24:44 [Christ speaking post resurrection] “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning me.”
John 19:28-30 “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, 'I am thirsty.' A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!' And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”
Hebrews 7:12 says, “For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also” (NAS). If the Letter to the Hebrews belongs in the New Testament, then a change has taken place. And if a change has taken place, then “all” was accomplished!
The “new covenant” is NOT “new.” It is renewed.
The Sinai Covenant is called “that first covenant.” The “new covenant” is called “a second” covenant (Heb 8:7, 9:1, 9:15, 9:18). The words “first” and “second” certainly suggest TWO covenants, not a single covenant that is renewed.
It was against the Torah, for a man to re-marry a woman he had divorced for adultery or harlotry (assuming she was not executed for those sins). He could NOT renew his marriage covenant with her.
The LORD “married” Israel at Mount Sinai (Jer 3:14, Jer 2:1-3, Isa 54:5). He later “divorced” Israel (the Ten Northern Tribes) for both adultery and harlotry (Jer 3:8, Isa 50:1). He could not renew His marriage covenant with her.
The LORD said that Judah (the Southern kingdom) was “worse” than Israel (the Northern Kingdom) (Jer 3:11, Ezek 16:46-48), but if He had divorced Judah at that time, Messiah could not later have been “born under the Law,” to accomplish the redemption of Israel.
Judah was finally “widowed,” when her betrothed “husband” died on a cross (Isa 54:4). The death of her “husband” rendered her covenant of marriage to Him “obsolete” (Romans 7:2). She was left free to “marry another” (Rom 7:3). Paul calls the risen Christ, “another man” to whom redeemed Israel is “betrothed” (Rom 7:4).
The “first covenant” is NOT “renewed.” We are “betrothed” to Christ by an entirely “new covenant.” See our study: “Two Covenants.”
The writer of Hebrews, quotes the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah–”
The Hebrew word translated as “new” in Jeremiah 31, is “chadash” (#02319).
Meaning: a “new” or “fresh” thing.
It is used for a “new house,” “new wife,” “new song,” and for “the new heavens and a new earth” which the LORD promised to create. The “former” will not even come to mind (Isa 65:17). I don’t think anyone would argue that the “new wife” is simply “renewed,” or the “new house.” Solomon complained there was “nothing new under the sun.” I don’t think he meant there is “nothing renewed.”
The Greek word translated as “new” in Hebrews 8:8-13, is “kainos” (Strong’s #2537).
Meaning: 1) new 1a) as respects form 1a1) recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn 1b) as respects substance 1b1) of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of.
It is used for “new wineskins” (Matt 9:17), Nicodemus’ “new tomb” (Matt 27:60), Christ’s “new teaching” (Mark 1:27), “new tongues” (Mark 16:17), the “one new man” (Eph 2:15), the “new self” (Eph 4:24), the “new heavens and a new earth” (2Pet 3:13), the “new name” for the one who overcomes (Rev 2:17), the “new Jerusalem” (Rev 3:12), and the “new covenant” (Lk 22:20).
Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
The Hebrew word translated as “new,” is “chadash” (#02318).
Meaning: New, a new thing
By contrast, the Greek word translated as “renew” or “renewed,” is “anakainoo” (#341).
Meaning: 1) to cause to grow up, new, to make new 1a) new strength and vigor is given to one 1b) to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state.
Colossians 3:10 “and have put on the new (neos) man who is renewed (anakainoo) in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him . . .”
2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed (anakainoo) day by day.”
Ephesians 4:23 “be renewed in the spirit of your mind,”
The Greek word translated here as “renewed,” is “ananeoo” (#365).
Meaning: 1) to renew (in the mind).
Colossians 3:10 “and have put on the new self (neos) who is being renewed (anakainoo) to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (NAS)
The point of all this word study, is to show that “kainos” (Strong’s #2537), is used consistently of the “new covenant” in the Apostolic Writings (New Testament). It is used to quote the Old Testament word “chadash” (#02319).
The “new covenant” really is “new,” not simply “renewed.” It is brand new, as if it never existed before, because the “groom” of the “first covenant” died. The groom of the “new covenant,” is the glorified human Son of God.
Early believers at Jerusalem continued to offer sacrifices. Paul journeyed to Jerusalem, to offer sacrifices at the Temple (Acts Chapter 21). The Jerusalem Council did not call for an end to sacrificing at the Temple.
We cannot deny it happened. The story was faithfully preserved in Acts Chapter 21, because it ended with Paul’s arrest, and ultimately with his death. At the end of his third missionary journey, Paul returned to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. He had been away from Judea for many years. He had apparently taken a Nazarite vow, for which he had his hair cut off some weeks before reaching the City (Acts 18:18). (See Numbers 6:2,5,9,18.)
The LORD gave Paul several warnings along the route, that he would end up in chains if he went to Jerusalem (Acts 20:22-23, Acts 21:4, Acts 21:11). But Paul was determined.
Upon reaching Jerusalem he met with “James and all the elders” of the church, who joyfully told him of all the converts from the Jews who had come to believe in Yeshua as the Christ. These Jewish converts were also “zealous for the Law” (Acts 21:20). They continued to bring animals for sacrifice, to the Temple.
Acts 21:21-24 [James speaking to Paul] “but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.” “What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law.”
There were several sacrifices involved in this process of purification. Paul went to the Temple, and paid the money for the sacrifices, but before he and the other men could complete the process of purification, some of the Jews from Asia recognized Paul - and a riot ensued. From that day on, Paul remained a prisoner of Rome. The Jewish authorities wanted him dead, and Paul appealed to Caesar.
Why did Paul do as the Elders directed? Did he really believe the blood of animals effected anything at all? Or was he simply acting LIKE a Jew - LIKE one “under the law,” in an effort to win Jews to the Gospel of Christ.
I believe Paul was trying to dispel their hatred of him, so they would then listen to him. But did he cross the line? Did he strike the rock twice, in his effort to “win” Jews? We are left to wonder. We know that he did NOT regard himself as “under the Law.”
1Corinthians 9:20 [Paul later wrote] “And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though NOT being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law” (NAS).
Acts 21:25 [James speaking for the Council] “But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, [physical circumcision and sacrifices at the Temple] except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.”
These things would allow Gentiles to meet with Jews for worship. Until the Temple was destroyed in 70AD, many believing Jews continued to sacrifice at Jerusalem. Gentiles did not.
Are you starting to see why some in the Messianic community are teaching that Jews are still obligated to keep the sacrificial law, while believing Gentiles are not. I’ve even heard it taught, that Jews must keep the 7th Day Sabbath, but Gentile believers are not obligated.
Personally - I cannot accept a two tiered system, with different requirements for Jews vs. Gentiles. All human beings are “saved” in the same way - “by grace,” “through faith.” Such would certainly keep up the “wall of division.” It reminds me of the teaching that Gentiles must believe in Christ now - by faith, but Jews will come to worship Him after they see His glorious return. That’s a whopping double standard!
The descendants of Aaron and Phinehas were promised “an everlasting priesthood.”
Exodus 29:9 [The LORD said to Moses] “And you shall gird them with sashes and tie headdresses on them; and the priesthood shall be theirs by a perpetual ordinance. You shall then ordain Aaron and his sons.” (NRS)
Numbers 25:11-13 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’”
Jeremiah 33:19-22 “And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.”’”
Answer: The LORD’s “covenant with the day” and His “covenant with the night” will one day be broken. “The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat . . .” “The heavens will be dissolved, being on fire . . .” (2Peter 3:10-12). “We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2Pet 3:13).
The END of the Aaronic order was prophesied. The exclusive Levite Aaronic priesthood was a temporary measure. It was Yehovah’s response to the golden calf rebellion, led by the “firstborn” priests of Israel. The Aaronic priesthood would continue until Christ was consecrated to become THE High Priest before God.
See our study: “The Change of the Priesthood.”
The consecration of priests involved sacrifices and anointing with blood. That anointing signified a blood covenant. Every priest entered into that blood covenant with Yehovah! Death would be the punishment for breaking that covenant (without sincere repentance)! The LORD did not break His covenant. They did.
Yes! The LORD appointed Aaron and his descendants to “an everlasting priesthood,” but the house of Aaron did not continue in righteousness. Later descendants despised the LORD and abused their role as priests. Aaron’s own sons disobeyed the LORD on the very day their consecration was complete.
During the time of Samuel, a man of God came to the High Priest Eli, with a prophecy and a curse. The LORD would bring an end to their priesthood. The promise to Aaron and his descendants was a conditional blood covenant promise. By their actions, they had despised that covenant! Their priesthood and their lives were forfeit!
1 Samuel 2:30-35 “Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: `I said indeed that your house and the house of your father [Aaron] would walk before Me forever.' But now the LORD says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, [Aaron’s House] so that there will not be an old man in your house [a man of eligible age for the priesthood]. And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever.’”
1 Samuel 2:30-35 [continued] . . . Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before [Me] My anointed forever.’”
The “faithful priest” would be Yeshua Messiah. God would “build Him a sure house” and He would walk before the LORD, as His anointed priest - forever (Psa. 110:4).
The LORD through His prophet said “You will see an enemy in My dwelling place.” By the time of Christ, the priesthood was bought and sold. The high priest was a Roman political appointee, not even descended from Aaron. If you study your history - He was actually an Edomite (descended from Esau). The Maccabees were descended from Edomites who had converted to Judaism many years before, at the point of a sword. They revolted against Rome and then installed themselves as the priests and the kings.
When Caiaphas tore the holy vestments of his office, in mock offense at Christ’s claim to be the Son of God, he broke the priestly covenant. He ENDED the Aaronic priesthood. His judgment and the fate of Jerusalem was sealed (Matt 26:65 and Mk 14:63).
Leviticus 10:6 “And Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, ‘Do not dishevel your hair, and do not tear your vestments, or you will die and wrath will strike all the congregation;’” NRS (See also Leviticus 21:10.)
That said, I believe the final “enemy”of this prophecy will be the Antichrist of the last days, the “man of sin” who “sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”(2Th. 2:4). The “abomination that causes desolation” will be set up in the rebuilt Temple of Jerusalem.
A covenant, by definition, is a pledge, an agreement, a treaty, an understanding or obligation entered into by at least two individuals. The LORD is not bound to honor His covenant with those who despise Him, and violate (without repentance) the terms of that covenant.
Deuteronomy 7:9 “Therefore know that the LORD your God . . . keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;”
Psalm 25:10 “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.”
NOTE: Jews as well as Hebrew Roots and Messianic, say the prophecy of 1Samuel Chapter Two, only meant that the priestly line from Ithamar (Aaron’s fourth son) would lose the High Priesthood. The line from Eleazar and Phinehas would continue forever. The prophecy was fulfilled they say, when King Saul killed all of the priests at Nob (1Sam 22:20-23), and later the one priest who survived that massacre - Abiathar, was finally expelled from the priesthood by King Solomon, because he had sided with Adonijah for King rather than Solomon (1Ki 1:7).
I believe the prophecy applied to ALL unfaithful priests, regardless of descent.
A DIRE WARNING - to the Priests
Malachi was the final prophet sent to Israel before the coming of Messiah. He prophesied some 430 years before Yeshua was born - after the return from the Babylonian captivity. By this time the priesthood was exclusively descended from Eleazar, Phinehas and Zadok.
“And now, this commandment is for you, O priests. 2 ‘If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘then I will send the curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart.’”
Malachi 2:1-9 [continued] 3 “‘Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it. 4Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi,’” says the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 2:1-9 [continued] 5 “‘My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me, and stood in awe of My name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8 But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi,’ says the LORD of hosts. 9 ‘So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways, but are showing partiality in the instruction.’” (NAS)
NOTE: The phrase “that My covenant may continue with Levi” strongly suggests the Levite priestly covenant was conditional. Corruption through disobedience (without repentance) would violate this covenant, leaving those priests subject to the LORD’s curse for their rebellion. The word translated as “cursed” in the Torah of Moses, means “doomed to destruction.”
The prophecies point to a future Aaronic priesthood, which will offer up blood sacrifices at a future Temple. Ezekiel heard commands for sacrificing, in his Temple vision (Ezekiel Chapters 40-47).
Malachi 3:2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3 And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD, as in the days of old and as in former years.” (NAS)
Jeremiah 33:17-22 “For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.’”
Jeremiah 33:17-22 [continued] 19 “The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 20 ‘Thus says the LORD: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21 then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers.
Jeremiah 33:17-22 [continued] 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.’” (ESV)
Answer: The Sons of Levi are “purified,” so they can offer to the LORD the one “offering” that He can accept. That “offering” is the One “Lamb of God.” If God provides a lamb for you to offer, you don’t say, “No thanks. I’ll offer the one I already have.”
The “man” to sit on David’s throne, and the “man” who would stand in God’s presence, to present the true offerings and the sacrifices, would be Yeshua the Messiah, God’s only Son.
The vision of Ezekiel contained both literal and symbolic elements. We see the same in the visions of John the Revelator. The SYMBOLS of the ancient Tabernacle represented/symbolized the reality of the future Temple in the kingdom of Messiah, where both He and His priests would be of a different order - the Melchizedek order.
See our study: “Ezekiel’s Temple.”
The Tabernacle, with it’s priesthood and the sacrifices, was an acted prophecy of Christ and His work for the redemption of all who would believe. The Levite priests of the Ezekiel prophecy, the Jeremiah prophecies, and the Zechariah prophecies, SYMBOLIZED Jesus Christ and His future priesthood of the Melchizedek order.
Once the real thing has come, the prophecy is no longer needed. Paul wrote, “as for prophecies, they will pass away” (1Co 13:8 ESV).
Galatians 3:24-25 “The Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith [not by sacrifices]. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor [the Law].”
Galatians 5:18 “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
This is the divide. LITERAL vs. SYMBOLIC.
Hebrew Roots and some others, teach a very literal interpretation of the prophecies, requiring a literal restoration of circumcised Israelites to “the land,” and a literal restoration of the Levite/Aaronic priesthood to a restored Temple at Jerusalem. Most believe this will happen before the return of Christ in glory.
I, on the other hand, believe the “first covenant” priesthood and sacrifices REPRESENTED Jesus Christ and His work, and were rendered “obsolete” when those prophecies were fulfilled. Jesus Christ is now our priest (who makes atonement). He IS our sin offering, and our whole burnt offering, and our “firstfruits offering.”
We are “circumcised” by Christ Himself, in heart (now) and in flesh (at His Glorious Return).
I do not believe that I am disrespecting the priesthood, and I do not believe those who hold to a literal interpretation are disrespecting me. We read the same prophecies. We just hold differing views concerning the interpretation of those prophecies.
Jesus Christ cannot be a priest on the earth, only in Heaven.
Hebrews 8:4 “Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law.” (ESV)
Hebrews 7:12 “For when the priesthood is changed,
of necessity there takes place a change of law also.” (NAS)
Some throw out the whole Letter to the Hebrews, claiming it was not “inspired.” Others claim that only the location of the priestly work was “changed,” meaning relocated to Heaven. Following that interpretation of Hebrews 7:12, would mean that the ENTIRE priesthood was relocated to heaven, thus invalidating any further priestly work at the Temple of Jerusalem. Yet, Hebrew Roots and Messianic teachers uphold the continuation of sacrifices, performed by the priests of the Aaronic order. They teach something called “the parallel priesthood.” Christ serves as High Priest in Heaven, while priests of the Aaronic order serve on the earth. That teaching contradicts Hebrews 10:9. “He takes away the first, that He may establish the second.”
In Hebrews 7:12, “the Law” was also changed. Was “the Law” also relocated to Heaven only, with no further authority on the earth? That makes no sense.
When the risen and glorified Christ was installed as High Priest in the presence of God in Heaven, the priesthood itself was retored to “the firstborn” - the original order - the order of Melchizedek. Under that order, Yeshua Messiah is High Priest, because He is “the firstborn, over all creation” (Col 1:15). He has been appointed a “priest forever.” He will not stop being a priest, when He comes to reign on the earth.
Psalm 110:4 “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.’” (NIV)
Jesus could not have been a priest on the earth at the time He lived on earth. He was not descended from Aaron. He was descended from Judah and David. He could not have been a priest on the earth at the time the Letter to the Hebrews was written. It was not yet time. He will not be a priest on the earth, UNTIL He is also King of Kings on the earth. At that time He will be BOTH King and High Priest.
Melchizedek was a king/priest on the earth (Gen Chapt 14). Jesus Christ will be LIKE Melchizedek. He will be King of kings, and High Priest over Israel redeemed, on the earth.
All those redeemed at the Glorious Return will serve under Jesus Christ, as “priests of God and of Christ” (Rev 20:6). They too will “reign on the earth” as “kings and priests” (Rev 5:10). See our study: “A Kingdom of Priests.”
Colossians 2:14 and Daniel 9:24-27 cannot be used to prove the end of the sacrificial system.
I agree. I would never use them in that way. Daniel’s prophecy of “the prince who is to come” - who “shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering,” most probably describes the actions of a coming Antichrist, against a restored sacrificial system at a rebuilt Temple. This evil “prince” will also destroy the Temple and the City of Jerusalem. See: “The Evil Prince.”
Colossians 2:14 explains that the “charges against us” were nailed to His cross. God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (2Co 5:21). “The Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:4). A poorly translated phrase in the King James Version, - “the handwriting of ordinances,” has been used by some, to teach that everything written down by Moses was nailed to the Cross. That was a gross misinterpretation of the passage.
Paul wrote, “let no man judge you in meat (offerings) or drink (offerings), or regarding a feast, or a new moon or sabbaths which are a shadow of things to come,” because “the substance is of Christ” (Eph. 2:16-17). Paul is definitely writing about the sacrifices and offerings which were brought to the Temple at the Feasts of the LORD. He was arguing against the teaching of the “believing Pharisees,” who demanded that every believing Gentile be circumcised and promise to keep all of “the Law,” including the offering of sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple.
Paul wrote, “Let us therefore keep the Feast,” speaking of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (1Cor 5:8). Believers in Christ celebrated the Feast in a new way, with unleavened bread, but without a sacrificed animal.
At my home, we commemorate the Feasts. We do not say that we “keep” them. They were an amazing and accurate prophecy of Messiah and His work.
IF a TEMPLE is RESTORED - before Christ returns
The destruction of the Temple and the City of Jerusalem in 70AD by the Roman General Titus, certainly brought an end to sacrifices, which has lasted some 1948 years, longer than all the Tabernacles and Temples of Yahweh stood. The LORD allowed that destruction.
Let’s say that a Temple of Yahweh is restored on the Mount at Jerusalem before Christ returns in glory. What then for believers in Yeshua as Messiah? Should we travel to that restored Temple, to offer sacrifices? Should we confess our sins over the head of an animal?
The male head of household, was to place his hands on the head of the animal while confessing his own sins and those of his family. He was then to slit the throat of the animal. This was all to be done while standing next to the Alter “before the LORD” in the Courtyard. Women were not allowed into that Court. Uncircumcised men were not allowed into that Court.
If the current nation of Israel were to gain control of the Mount and raise up a Temple to Yahweh, would they not also put up walls to KEEP OUT the uncircumcised (and women)? How could a believer in Yeshua get into that Courtyard? Even if he was physically circumcised, he would not be admitted unless his circumcision was certified by a Jewish Rabbi.
In order to convert to Judaism one must renounce Jesus as the Christ. What if the guard at the entrance gate says you may not enter until you audibly renounce Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah? What would you do? I had one fellow tell me that he would go over to the Mount of Olives, so that he could watch. I’m sorry. Watching does not fulfill the Law.
NO PLEASURE IN SACRIFICES
Hebrews 10:5 “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.’” (Heb 10:8)
If the LORD had no pleasure in the sacrifices or the burnt offerings, before His own Son died in fulfillment of that prophecy, what would make us think He will find pleasure in those things when His Son is ruling as King of kings on this earth?
Some are teaching that animal sacrifices will be used as a “teaching tool” until everyone has learned the story of Messiah’s death, after which time they will be discontinued. I wonder. If you and I can “understand” the story of Messiah’s death, without actually killing an animal, why would others need this teaching tool? Perhaps the LORD can show a holographic video.
Isaiah 11:9 “They will not hurt or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain, for the earth will be as full of the knowledge of ADONAI as water covering the sea” (CJB).
I have shared with you my reasons for believing that the sacrifice of animals should now be regarded as “obsolete” - as a means to reconciliation with God our Father.
Every person may freely receive forgiveness and justification simply by calling upon the Father to forgive, in the name of Yeshua Messiah, through faith in His Name with repentance.
I believe that a Temple to Yahweh will be built on the Mount before Christ returns in glory. I believe the Evil One will use that Temple for his purpose - to deceive the very elect. Those who believe that animal sacrifice is necessary, and something still required by the LORD will be taken in by this coming deception. Let me be clear. This is my personal opinion. I am sharing it with you. You must study with prayer, and then decide for yourselves.
Those who teach the resumption of animal sacrifices when the Temple is rebuilt, want another glorious Mt. Sinai, and a thunderous voice from Heaven, declaring the end of sacrifices, before they will accept such a change. For my part, I believe the Father has spoken. He has provided THE Lamb. His hand tore the veil of the Temple from top to bottom. His spirit inspired the disciples and apostles with the clear message that forgiveness of sins is by faith alone, and may be found without the blood of an animal.
We pray this study will prove a blessing.
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The Veil was Torn
Luke 23:45 “Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.”
(Matt. 27:51, Mk 15:38).
Matthew 27:54 “So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’”
It was the custom in the Ancient Middle East, for a man to “tear his robe” upon hearing of the death of a son - especially the first born. If the Roman centurion and those with him actually “saw” the veil rent, this would have registered with them as God Himself tearing His “robe.” The veil that was torn, must have been the entrance veil, the one that could be seen from a hill across the valley. The veil between the first and second apartments could not been seen.
The High Priest was expressly forbidden to tear his robe. To do so was a death penalty offense against God. To do so would bring the wrath of God upon the whole congregation (Leviticus 10:6; 21:10). During the trial of Jesus, the High Priest Caiaphas tore his robe in a show of anger (Matt. 26:65, Mar. 14:63). This man was immediately disqualified to serve, and he brought the wrath of God upon Israel. There would be no further atonement for Israel on the Day of Atonement, through ceremonies performed by a disqualified priest.
Question: If a priest was disqualified by the tearing of his robe, would not the Temple also be disqualified at the tearing of it’s “robe” - the covering veil?
There were “signs” that the Temple (with its priesthood) lost its standing as the place or means of atonement. During the 40 years between the death of Messiah and the destruction of the Temple in 70AD, the portion of the crimson cord from the azazel goat, traditionally tied to the Temple door on Yom Kippur, failed to turn white. The “lot for the LORD” never again fell to the right hand. And the Temple doors - bolted at night, were found mysteriously open each morning. Both the Jerusalem Talmud, and the Babylonian Talmud record these “signs” of impending doom.
See the article at this link for more detail:
I read several commentaries that debated whether the curtain that was torn, was the veil at the entrance to the Temple, or the one that hung between the first apartment and the second apartment. Some wrote that there was actually a double veil between the first apartment and the second, (or one very long continuous curtain folded over at one end, and brought back almost across the room) with space for a man to walk between.
If a single curtain separated the two apartments, and if it was as large as the Temple entrance veil, then it would have been difficult for one man to lift that curtain, or to pull it aside to allow him entrance into the Most Holy Place, especially with burning coals or a bowl of blood. No second man was allowed to be in the Tabernacle (Temple) with the High Priest on the Day of Atonement for that ceremony. It seems more likely there really was a walking space between two curtains, for access to the Most Holy Place by the High Priest alone, on the Day of Atonement.
King Herod had provided very rich materials for embellishment of the Temple. The curtain at the entrance into the Temple proper, was said to be some 60 feet high, 30 feet wide, and 3 to 4 inches thick. It would have been more like a deep carpet than a curtain.
On this curtain “the heavens and the earth” were depicted. If this entrance veil was torn at the moment of Christ’s death, and had to be replaced, it could indeed be said that “heaven and earth” were passed away, thus fulfilling Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 5:18.
The author of Hebrews begins in 4:14-16, presenting Yeshua as our “great High Priest who has passed through the heavens.” He describes Yeshua as “the forerunner” and says that our hope “enters the Presence behind the veil” (Heb. 6:19-20), where we also will enter one day. That Presence of course is the glory of the LORD, which left the Temple, just ahead of the Babylonian destruction (Ezek. 10:4, 10:18, 11:23). That glory never returned. No one knows to this day, were the Ark of the Covenant is hidden.
The Son of God is appointed as a better priest (Heb. 7:11-18). As High Priest of a “New Covenant” (Heb. 8:1-13; 9:11) He enters into Heaven itself - “the true Tabernacle (Heb. 9:12) with His own blood as the offering. Believers are to have “confidence” to enter in the person of Christ - the “New and living way” (Heb. 10:19-20). We enter through our belief in “His flesh” - “the veil” which was “torn” for us.
For a very scholarly article on the veils at the entrance to, and within the Temple, let me direct you to: http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/49/49-1/JETS_49-1_97-114_Gurtner.pdf This well referenced article is titled “The Veil of the Temple in History and Legend” by Daniel M. Gurtner. I paraphrased a few ideas from that article.
The Entrance Veil
This veil was 80 feet high, and 3 inches thick. On this veil was a glorious depiction of “the heavens and the earth” - for the LORD “stretches out the heavens like a curtain” (Isa. 40:22). God the Father “rent His robe” at the death of His Son.
Josephus mentions but a single veil (katapevtasma; J.W. 5.5.5 §219) before a set of doors which served as the “gate opening into the building.” It had golden doors fifty-five cubits high and sixteen broad. Before these hung a veil (katapevtasma) of equal length, of Babylonian tapestry, with embroidery of blue and fine linen, of scarlet also and purple, wrought with marvelous skill. Nor was this mixture of materials without its mystic meaning. It typified the universe. For the scarlet seemed emblematical of fire, the fine linen of the earth, the blue of the air, and the purple of the sea; the comparison in two cases being suggested by their colour, and in that of the fine linen and purple by their origin, as the one is produced by the earth and the other by the sea. On this tapestry was portrayed a panorama of the heavens, the signs of the Zodiac excepted . . .) J.W. (5.5.4 §211-5.5 §219 LCL)
Yeshua was master of the dual prophecy. When He died, “heaven and earth” on the Temple veil was torn in two, and “passed away.” When He returns in glory, He will “rend the heavens” (Isa. 64:1). “The sky will recede “as a scroll when it is rolled up” (Rev. 6:14). “The earth will move out of her place” (Isa 13:13). “Heaven and earth will pass away” with the greatest earthquake ever known (2Pet. 3:7-12, Rev. 16:18-20).
Hebrews 1:10 “And: ‘You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.’”
Psalm 78:69 “And He built His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which He has established forever.”
How can the Psalm say that this earth is “established forever,” and the Letter to the Hebrews say it “will perish?” Answer: I believe this earth was created to “last forever,” just as the Temple of Solomon was constructed to last forever, but sin happened. And sin changed things.
From the wilderness Tabernacle in about 1440 BC, to the final destruction in 70 AD, subtracting the 70 years captivity in Babylon, (and ignoring the destruction by the Philistines at the time of Samuel), the Aaronic “priesthood” served for some 1440 years. The Temple has been gone for some 1947 years.
1 Corinthians 13:10 “but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be [or is] done away.”
Christ was the “perfect” offering. Christ is the perfect High Priest.
The perfect has come!
King and Priest - on His Throne
Zechariah 6:13 “Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
I realize that the CJB and NRS translations read as “a priest beside His throne” with peace between the two of them. That would mean Jesus sits “beside” the Father’s throne, not ON the Father’s throne. What do the apostolic writers say?
Revelation 3:21 “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
Revelation 22:3 “And there shall be no more curse, but the throne [singular] of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.”
Psalm 110:4 “The LORD has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’”
This verse from the Psalms is quoted four times in the Book of Hebrews (Hebrews 5:6, 6:20, 7:17, 7:21). Four times! That makes it very important!
Forever is forever. We know that Messiah will return, and that He will reign on this earth. If forever is forever - then is it not logical to believe that He will remain a priest when He returns to this earth?
Melchizedek was a priest AND a king, on the earth (Genesis 14:18).
Yeshua Messiah will be like Melchizedek.
Yeshua will be high priest AND king, on the earth.
We pray this study will prove a blessing.
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