Are they Necessary?
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- The Old and New Covenants
- The Sacrificial System
- The Aaronic Priesthood
- The Melchisedec Priesthood
- Unauthorised Altars / Sacrifices
- The Sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus)
- Spiritual Sacrifices for Today
Part Two – Questions & Answers
- Why did Paul involve himself in animal sacrifices?
- Will the animal sacrifices mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecy be performed in some future day?
- Is it wrong for a believer to donate an animal for one of Yahweh’s Feasts?
- Is it right for a church leader to charge a fee for prayers made on behalf of the sick?
- Isn’t the Sabbath commandment symbolic and therefore obsolete?
- The Sabbath-keeping church I attend continues to offer animal sacrifices. I do not agree with them. What should I do?
- The Sunday-keeping church I attend accepts Christ’s sacrifice, but rejects Yahweh’s weekly and annual Sabbath days. What should I do?
Animal sacrifices may be traced back to the dawn of human history: to the creation of the world when Adam and his son Abel sacrificed animals to gain access to the Almighty’s presence and favour. Thus the Genesis record reads:
|2: … And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3: And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4: And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
Since Adam’s day generations of believers have sacrificed animals as an expression of faith and a means of reconciliation. (Gen.8:20-21, 12:7, 13:18) But whose idea was it in the first place? Was it man’s idea, or was it God’s? Strange as it may seem it was God’s idea. The Almighty had diligently instructed man that he would not receive forgiveness or blessing if he did not approach Him with the blood of a sacrifice. So down through the ages many thousands of animals were sacrificed as a means of access to Yahweh’s holy presence. Later, again by divine decree, animal sacrifices were included in the laws given to Israel through Moses: but with a difference:
- The blood of the sacrifices was to be brought to the Door of the Tabernacle(Exodus 29:11,32,42) and later to the Temple in Jerusalem.
- And there an Aaronic priest would consecrate the sacrifice and apply its blood to the altar and the repentant sinner.
Failure to meet these basic requirements would prove disastrous for the persons involved. So in the course of time, millions of animals and birds were slain by Israel’s priests and Levites as part of the worship installed by YAHWEH the Almighty God of Israel. It was a ghastly, bloody drama to say the least; and it went on year after year for many centuries.
To be sure Yahweh commanded it; but what did it mean? Why did a God of love design such a bloody and costly route to His presence? What did the blood of an innocent animal have to do with obtaining mercy? What mysterious lessons did the Creator have in mind which could not be taught in any other way? More importantly, are believers today expected to sacrifice animals before they can approach His holy throne?
These are questions which need answering, especially in Africa where to this day many Christian groups sacrifice bulls, goats, rams and pigeons as part of their worship of the Most High. Are their sacrifices in line with Bible requirements? Is there something they know that the Christians in Europe and the USA do not? Or have their leaders misunderstood the role of the Aaronic Priesthood and the all-encompassing sacrifice of Jesus and are making unnecessary, yea unauthorised sacrifices which amount to a denial of the Christian faith? This online booklet aims to answer these questions by briefly explaining the following:
- The Old & New Covenants
- The Sacrificial System
- The Aaronic (Levitical) Priesthood
- The Melchisedec Priesthood
- Unauthorised Altars / Sacrifices
- The Sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah
- The Spiritual Sacrifices of Today
1. The Old and New Covenants
A covenant is a formal agreement between two parties. In the old covenant Yahweh made a formal agreement with the nation of Israel that He would be their God and they would be His people. As a man would take a wife, Yahweh took Israel to be His very own. In the old covenant Yahweh’s primary laws, (The Ten Commandments) were written on tablets of stone and the people of Israel agreed to obey them. Unfortunately Israel broke her part of the agreement. Israel committed spiritual adultery with pagan gods and grievously sinned. Having sinned, Yahweh’s secondary laws, involving animal sacrifices, cleansing, pardon and reconciliation came into effect. If forgiveness was not sought via this prescribed route then other secondary laws (penal laws) would be applied. And so we have:
- Primary laws
These include all Yahweh’s moral commandments which will abide for all time. (For example Deut.6:5, Exodus 20:1-17)
- Secondary laws
These laws only come into effect when Yahweh’s moral commandments are violated. They include for example:
- The sacrificial system – if pardon was requested
- The penal system – if pardon is not requested.
There are more laws (primary & secondary) mentioned in the Scriptures which are not considered here. Laws which concern:
- Food etc.
In this lesson we will mostly concentrate on the secondary laws which involved animal sacrifices. To do this we will first look at what is referred to in Scripture as the old and new covenants. In the old covenant Yahweh’s secondary laws, the ones which called for animal sacrifices and diverse purification rites, may be compared to an engineer’s blueprint, an architect’s model or a teacher’s visual aid. They contained symbolic rituals which the Almighty designed to teach His people the real lessons He had in mind. The old covenant, however, had certain weaknesses. For example, the people promised to obey God, but their promises were soon broken and they repeatedly lapsed into sin. In the old covenant, God’s law was written on tablets of stone: but few Israelites really wanted to obey it. In the new covenant the Almighty makes a formal agreement – again with the people of ISRAEL; but there is a difference:
|“… he (Christ) is the mediator of a better covenant, which is established on better promises.”|
|“For this is the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts …”|
In other words in the new covenant Yahweh’s law will not be obeyed reluctantly, but by choice, from a willing heart. For God promises to write His law on the willing believer’s mind and soul, thereby ensuring spontaneous obedience and willing obedience. In the new covenant, Gentile believers (because of their faith in Christ) are also reckoned as descendants of Abraham. They are spiritual Israelites!
|“If you belong to Christ, then you are descendants of Abraham and will receive what God has promised.”|
|“But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is of the heart.”|
For more information about this, see Who/What is a Jew?
The main difference between the two covenants as regards forgiveness and cleansing is concerned is this:
- Under the old covenant the repentant sinner brought an innocent animal victim to the door of the Tabernacle or Temple where an Aaronic priest officiated. The sinner confessed his/her sin over the animal, which was then slain and the animal’s blood was sprinkled on the repentant sinner. He/she was then forgiven.
- Under the new covenant the repentant sinner has no need to bring an animal to gain forgiveness or cleansing. All he needs now is to approach God with faith in Jesus Christ: who as High Priest of the new covenant pleads his own blood in the Temple in heaven.
Remember that both covenants are made with Israel: and that Yahweh’s moral laws remain unchanged in the new covenant. Few believers realise these facts.
2. The Sacrificial System
Before we can even begin to understand Yahweh’s purpose in giving the sacrificial system to Israel it is essential that we understand what the system involved. A brief outline is now given for this purpose. Brief though it is, it will give the reader a good idea of what the Almighty commanded Israel to do as regards animal sacrifices. The sacrifice of animals, incidentally, is merely one type of offering. There are others which are not considered in this booklet, though they often accompanied the sacrifice of an animal. They were:
- Vegetable / Meal Offerings
Fruit, white meal, unleavened bread, roasted grain, salt and oil.
- Drink Offerings
Wine and strong drink which accompanied burnt offerings. (Numbers chapters 28 & 29)
Animal sacrifices consisted of three kinds. The following quotation from the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, pages 434-435 will introduce them:
- “The Burnt Offering: for which a male lamb, ram, goat or bullock was prescribed. The case in 1 Sam.6:14 is extraordinary. The blood was sprinkled round about/upon the altar, and the entire animal was consumed on the altar. It was expressive of the entire self-dedication of the offerer to Jehovah.
- “The Sin/Trespass Offerings: In which a bullock, a male or female goat, a female lamb a dove or a pigeon was used … The blood was symbolically displayed, but in different ways … The fat only was burnt on the altar. The flesh of those sin offerings of which the blood was taken into the sanctuary was burnt without the camp, whereas the flesh of other sin offerings and of trespass offerings belonged to the priests. No part of these offerings was eaten by the offerer; as in the peace offerings; for the sacrificer came as one unworthy of communication with God, and these offerings were for the purpose of expiation …
- “The Peace Offerings: Three kinds are distinguished:
- Thank offerings in recognition of unmerited and unexpected blessing.
- Votive offerings in payment of vows.
- Freewill offerings, probably not in gratitude for a special favour but as an expression of irrepressible love for God (Lev.3) … The blood was sprinkled; the fat was consumed on the altar; and when the offering was private, the breast and shoulder went to the priest and the rest of the flesh was eaten by the offerer and his friends before the Lord at the place of the sanctuary. (Lev.chs 3; 7:11-21, cf.ch. 7:22-27; Ex.29:20-28; Deut.12:7, 18, 1 Sam 2:15-17)
“The sacrificial acts were five
- Presentation of the sacrifice at the door of the sanctuary by the offerer himself as his personal act.
- Laying on of hands. The offerer placed his hands on the victim’s head, thereby dedicating it to God and making it his own representative and substitute (Lev 16:21)
- Slaying the animal by the offerer himself, who thus symbolically accepted the punishment due for his sin. In later times the priest slew the animal.
- The symbolic application of the blood. The priest sprinkled or smeared it on the altar and poured it out at the base …
- Burning the sacrifice, the whole, or its fat only on the altar of burnt offering, whereby its essence and flavour ascended to God.”
(Westminster Dictionary of the Bible pages 434-435)
The Daily Sacrifice
Now that we know something about the types of sacrifices and the various rituals employed, let us consider the times at which these sacrifices were offered and the number of animals involved. The most well known sacrifice was the daily sacrifice. This sacrifice, as its name implies, was offered every day. One lamb was killed in the morning and another in the evening. The daily sacrifice is also called the ‘continual burnt offering.’
|3: And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.
4: The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even;
5: And a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil.
6: It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.
7: And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.
8: And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
This meant that in the course of a 12 lunar month year (some 354 days) a total of approximately 708 lambs (354 x 2) were sacrificed.
In addition to the daily sacrifice there was the Sabbath sacrifice.
|9: And on the Sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot …
10: This is the burnt offering of every Sabbath beside the continual burnt offering …
This meant that in the course of a 12 month year (48 Sabbaths) another 96 lambs were sacrificed in addition to the 708 daily sacrifice total.
New Moon Sacrifices
Then at the start of each month a further sacrifice was commanded.
|11: And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot;
12: And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram;
13: And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.
14: And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year.
15: And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the LORD shall be offered, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.
This meant that in a 12 month year 24 bullocks, 12 rams, 84 lambs and 12 goats were sacrificed: all of these in addition to the Daily and Sabbath sacrifices.
Sacrifices during the Passover Week
During the Passover week the following additional sacrifices were required.
|16: And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD.
17: And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten…
19: But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish:… 24: After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.
This meant that 14 bullocks, 7 rams, 49 lambs and 7 goats were offered during the Passover week: once again all in addition to the Daily, the Sabbath, and the New Moon sacrifices already mentioned.
Sacrifices at Pentecost
At the Feast of First Fruits (Pentecost) further sacrifices were required.
|“… But ye shall offer for burnt offerings for a sweet savour unto the Lord; 2 young bullocks, 1 ram, 7 lambs of the first year … and 1 kid of the goats to make an atonement for you.”|
Sacrifices at Trumpets
At this Feast the number of sacrifices varied slightly.
|“… And ye shall offer for a burnt offering 1 young bullock, 1 ram, 7 lambs of the first year without blemish … and 1 kid of the goats for a sin offering to make atonement for you.”|
Sacrifices on the Day of Atonement
The sacrifices on this fast day were similar to those on the Feast of Trumpets.
|“… 1 young bullock, 1 ram, 7 lambs of the first year … and 1 kid of the goats.”|
In Lev.16 we are told of how another bullock and two goats were involved in a special ceremony to make atonement for the priesthood and the people.
Sacrifices during Tabernacles
The sacrifices during Ingathering (Tabernacles) were numerous. According to the details given in Number 29:12-40 they were:
= 199 animals
Adding these national sacrifices together the following totals emerge:
|Feast of Pentecost||2||1||7||1|
|Feast of Trumpets||1||1||7||1|
|Day of Atonement||2||1||7||3|
= 1246 animals.
Pause a while and consider that staggering annual total of 1246 animals. In a leap year (which has an extra month of 30 days) add a further:
- New Moon: 2 Bulls 1 ram, 7 lambs and 1 goat
- Daily Sacrifice: 60 lambs
- Sabbath sacrifices: 8 lambs 79 animals.
Very briefly, that was the sacrificial system ordered by the Most High. Bear in mind that all these sacrifices were accompanied by prescribed amounts of drink, flour and oil. Also remember that these totals only represent the national offerings: that is those made by the nation of Israel. In addition there were the personal sacrifices made by individual Israelites. They included:
- Burnt Offerings (representing total commitment)
- Sin/Trespass Offerings (made for personal sins)
- Peace and Votive offerings (made as vows or for special thanksgiving)
All these offerings, which totalled many thousands of animals each year, were made in addition to the totals already mentioned. The sacrificial system, in other words, was an extremely bloody and costly affair involving many thousands of animals every year. Indeed it was a ‘yoke‘ Israel found difficult to bear. As the Apostles commented:
|8: And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9: And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10: Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Nevertheless, costly and bloody though the sacrificial system was, it was designed by the Almighty to teach several very important lessons; which no other educational process could hope to match. The lessons Yahweh wanted to teach His people, and the angel host which looked on in stunned amazement, were as follows:
- That the result of disobedience (sin) is death: the death of each animal being a dramatic reminder of that fact.
- That the process of purging sin is a costly and bloody affair.
- That access to Yahweh’s presence without first being purged from sin is totally impossible: for only the purified believer could stand before a righteous God! All others must keep at a distance or risk being consumed by His holiness and glory.
- That God Himself would – at the appointed time – PAY the enormous price of salvation by shedding His own life blood in the person of His only begotten Son.
- And that a repentant sinner would be forgiven his sin, if he had faith in the Most High and presented the prescribed offering.
These lessons were all dramatically portrayed each time an innocent animal’s blood was spilled and a worshipper entered the presence of the Almighty. In other words, each sacrifice was a dramatic object lesson which pointed to the price Yahweh Himself would pay to make salvation possible. And what was the price that the Almighty Himself had planned to pay to secure man’s salvation?
It was the life-blood of His only begotten Son.
Yes every animal sacrifice that was made at God’s command was in fact a dramatic pointer to Christ’s death on Calvary! Indeed the whole sacrificial system was a symbolic drama unfolding the Almighty’s provision for man’s forgiveness, cleansing and eternal salvation from sin and death. How true was Abraham’s description of Yahweh’s provision and personal involvement in sacrifice when he answered Isaac’s question about the sacrificial lamb:
|7: And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
8: And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
And God did provide the Lamb – His only begotten Son. Indeed He provided a grown RAM which portrays His own (still hidden) involvement in the Plan of Salvation. That experience was also a spiritual object lesson designed to teach Abraham and the watching heavenly host that Yahweh Himself would one day pay the ultimate sacrifice to secure man’s salvation. The word salvation encompasses the following:
- Redemption: A word which means to buy back one’s own possessions, which have either been lost, stolen or mortgaged.
- Purification: A process of cleansing which converts a filthy person to an acceptable state of purity.
- SanctificationThe process of setting apart a soul for sacred use.
- Atonement: To set at-one those who previously had been at variance
- Glory: The granting of honour and power in the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Eternal Life: To grant immortality to the ransomed soul.
Nevertheless the sacrificial system, costly, dramatic and explicit as it was, could never accomplish the Almighty’s real objectives, which were:
- The salvation of mankind
- And the eradication of evil from the universe.
At best that system was a spiritual object lesson to teach certain facts about salvation. Beyond that illustrative function it had little value. Why? Because the blood of bulls and goats is totally incapable of saving mankind from degeneration, disease and death. Salvation from these things calls for a far better solution. And so it was that to save the universe from sin and its result – death, the Almighty decided to pay the price Himself: to sacrifice His Son Yeshua (Jesus). This name means Saviour from sin.
3. The Aaronic Priesthood
Abraham’s grandson Jacob (Israel) had 12 sons. They became the ancestors of the 12 tribes of Israel. From the tribe of Levi came Aaron the first High Priest of the Aaronic (Levitical) Priesthood. The following diagram will illustrate the first few generations of High Priests. (See 1 Chron. 6:1-15, Ezra 7:1-5)
Gershon Kohath Merari
Amram Izhar Hebron Uzziel
AARON Miriam Moses
The Aaronic Priesthood
Nadab Ibihu ELEAZAR Ithamar
Uzzi Hophni PHINEHAS
Zerahiah Ihitub Ichabod
The Bible tells us many important facts about the Levitical Priesthood. I mention a few:
Direct descendant of Aaron
To be a priest one had to be a direct descendant of Aaron. (Lev.1:5-11) It was not enough to be of the tribe of Levi. For example even Aaron’s brother Moses was not a priest. Moses was a Prophet and Judge, but not a priest. Only direct descendants of Aaron could be priests.
Subsequent generations of priests had to trace their ancestry back to Aaron. Special genealogical records were kept by Israel for this purpose. (2 Chron.31:17) Not being able to trace one’s ancestry back to Aaron meant being excluded from the priesthood.
|61: And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name:
62: These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
In the worship of the Most High only the Aaronic Priests were allowed to organise animal sacrifices and splash the blood on the altar. Any other person who presumed to do so would be cut off from the congregation of Israel. The following texts spell out this warning:
|1: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2: Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying,
3: What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp,
4: And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:
5: To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD.
6: And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
7: And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.
8: And thou shalt say unto them, Whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers which sojourn among you, that offereth a burnt offering of sacrifice,
9: And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer it unto the LORD; even that man shall be cut off from among his people.
What do these terrifying verses mean? They mean exactly what they say: that it is a dangerous thing for any believer, other than an Aaronic Priest, to offer an animal’s blood in any place other than at the Door of the Tabernacle (or Temple in Jerusalem). Doing so could risk being cut off from Yahweh’s people! And that is the reason why even present-day Jews do not offer animal sacrifices. Because:
- with no Temple in Jerusalem
- and no Aaronic Priesthood
they risk being cut off from Yahweh’s people! Gentile believers take warning! For if the Almighty did not spare His chosen people when they offered illegal sacrifices, He most certainly will not spare Gentile churchmen who do the same thing. They too risk being cut off from the congregation of the redeemed.
4. The Melchisedec Priesthood
Melchisedec, the King of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the Most High God met Abraham on the latter’s return after his victory against King Cheddorlaomer (Gen.14:18).
“Melchisedec, as described in Hebrews 5:10, 6:20, ch 7 was without father, without mother – without genealogy. He is further described as having neither beginning of days nor end of life. He suddenly emerges from the unknown and as suddenly disappears: it is not known whence he came or whither he went; neither birth nor death is assigned to him: he is a type of undying Priesthood …
“The author of the Epistle of the Hebrews shows how great a personage Melchisedec was, to whom even Abraham and through him virtually Levi, paid tithes, thus admitting their inferiority. When thus our Lord was made a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, he held a higher office than the Aaronic Priesthood.” (Westminster Dictionary page 388)
Christ our High Priest
The Bible clearly teaches that Christ is the High Priest in the Melchisedec Priesthood. Though some day there will be other priests in this order, there can only be one High Priest.
|“For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec..”|
|“For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27: Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”|
Priests in the Melchisedec order will be appointed by Yahweh Himself. A man is no more able to appoint himself or another to the Melchisedec Priesthood than he is able to choose his own father or mother. Unlike their Aaronic counterparts, priests in the Melchisedec order are not dependent on an ancestral link to Aaron the Levite. Instead, like Melchisedec, they too are without genealogy. In other words their priesthood is by Yahweh’s choice – not by natural descent. Melchisedec priests will be ordained as priests in Yahweh’s own time – at some future date. Then in front of the redeemed host they will be invested with power and authority just as Aaron’s sons were publicly ordained before the assembled hosts of Israel. (Leviticus chapters 8, Numbers chapters 8 and 18). Appointments to the Melchisedec Priesthood will be for eternity. In the Melchisedec Priesthood the blood of bulls, lambs, goats and pigeons is not used. This fact will be further explained later.
Yahweh’s method of teaching Truth (a method used by most colleges and schools today) is to use practical illustrations, visual aids, miniature models and living object lessons of the future spiritual realities He has in mind. Thus in the Old Testament we find scores of these practical illustrations: all of which point to great spiritual realities Yahweh wants us to understand. The Aaronic Priesthood of the first covenant was one of these models. It was the blueprint of the Melchisedec Priesthood. In other words, the Aaronic Priesthood was simply an educational feature pointing to the new covenant reality of the Melchisedec Priesthood. The Melchisedec Priesthood will continue for all time in the new universe that Yahweh has planned. It is, however, true to say that many Aaronic Priests (i.e. Zadok) who faithfully carried out their duties in ancient times, will themselves be appointed to the Melchisedec Priesthood; not by virtue of their physical link with Aaron, but in their own right as faithful and obedient believers in the Most High.
According to Scripture Gentile converts are grafted into the Olive of Israel (Romans 11:13-24). This means that we are grafted into one of the twelve tribes: and many will obviously be grafted into the tribe of Levi. We may, therefore, conclude that many faithful, Gentile believers will one day take up their eternal duties in the Melchisedec Priesthood as members of the tribe of Levi. In this sense the Levitical Priesthood is also eternal; just as the nation of Israel and its Davidic King are endless. Jeremiah 33:17-22 points out this fact. But, and here is an important point, though the Aaronic Priesthood is in this sense on-going, animal sacrifices will no longer be offered by the blood-born sons of Aaron. Why? Because the reality to which the first covenant animal sacrifices pointed has already occurred on Calvary.
The Altar of Sacrifice
In ancient times animal sacrifices were made on altars of earth, stone or metal. The altars of sacrifice made for the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple were made to exact measurements. Failure to keep to the divine specifications was a serious sin. Again I quote from the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, article Altar, page 22.
“The fundamental law of the Hebrew altar, which was embodied in the theocratic covenant and was given at Sinai before the Tabernacle was built, enjoined the erection of an altar of earth or stone wherever Jehovah would manifest Himself. This law was the primary warrant for the altars at the Tabernacle and the Temple, where Jehovah’s presence continually was, and for the transient altars and sacrifices on occasions of theophanies. (Jud.2:5,etc)”
Yahweh strictly commanded His people not to erect sacrificial altars in any and every place they chose. Instead He ordered them to destroy the altars of the heathen who engaged in animal sacrifices involving illegal, Satanic rituals.
|2: Ye shall utterly destroy all the places wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their Gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills and under every green tree.
3: Ye shall overthrow their altars, break their pillars and burn their groves with fire and ye shall hew down the graven images of their Gods and destroy the names of them out of that place.
|“Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest.“|
5. Unauthorised Altars / Sacrifices
Notwithstanding the above rule about altars and sacrifices King Jeroboam of Israel erected an altar in Bethel and appointed priests who had absolutely no link with Aaron or even the tribe of Levi.
1 Kings 12:
|31: And he (Jeroboam) made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
32: And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
33: So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.
Jeroboam’s sin was deadly. His efforts to detract believers from going to the Temple in Jerusalem brought down the wrath of the Almighty on Israel. Few – if any – kings of Israel have angered the Almighty as much as Jeroboam. In the course of time king Ahaz of Judah also sinned against God. Read about king Ahaz in 2 Kings 16.
2 Kings 16:
|1: In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign.
2: Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.
3: But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel.
4: And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
|And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.
11: And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus.
12: And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon.
The altar’s of Jeroboam and Ahaz were an abomination to the Almighty. If you study the books of Kings and Chronicles you will see how God dealt with those two kings and their altars; not to mention the bogus priests who dared to treat His commandments with disdain. Astonishing as this may sound, a similar illegal duplication of altars and sacrifices is taking place in the name of Christ in parts of Africa. Deluded church leaders and self-appointed primates and priests who have absolutely no link with Aaron, are to this day offering animal sacrifices in angel gardens, leafy groves, beside river beds and often at the dead of night. There they splash the blood of bulls, rams, goats and pigeons on terrified souls who pay large sums of money in exchange for a few prayers! In doing so these leaders not only violate God’s law about sacrificial altars but they pour contempt on the Messiah’s sacrifice and blood. What do the Scriptures say about those who trample under foot the blood of the eternal covenant?
They say this:
|26: For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27: But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28: He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Woe to these religious charlatans! Woe also to the deluded souls who blindly involve themselves in their illegal rituals! Woe even to the complacent congregations where this form of deception is silently condoned. For though Christ is professed, these unauthorised sacrifices insult the blood of Christ.
Is Yahweh pleased with this religious charade? I tell you He is not pleased. In fact He is very angry; not just because His commandments are so brazenly broken and His reproofs repeatedly ignored; but because these religious leaders twist His law for private gain. Yes, they are growing rich at the expense of the poor. They are spiritual swindlers. I have seen them with my own eyes: self-appointed primates, priests and so-called Christian leaders who are in fact nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing. Little do they realise what is in store for them! They are in fact filling up the cup of Yahweh’s wrath; which, unless they repent, they will have to drink to the last drop. Woe to them if they do not repent!
6. The Sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus)
The story of Christ’s death on Calvary is well known. Indeed the four Gospels tell it with inspired accuracy and effect. I will not attempt to explain the height, breadth and depth of such love – because words fail me. But I will point the reader to one chapter in the Bible which tells of that amazing sacrifice. It is Isaiah chapter 53. Join me as I highlight a few verses which tell of the Saviour’s amazing sacrifice; of how he was despised and rejected, but still went ahead and purchased man’s salvation with his own blood.
|5: But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our sins was upon him And with his stripes we are healed.
6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
After so great a sacrifice, how ought the sinner to approach the Almighty? There is only one answer; and that is: with repentance, faith & gratitude.
|“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”|
|“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the only begotten Son of God.”|
|“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!“|
Do you believe these verses? Do you believe that Yahweh gave His only begotten Son Yeshua to die in your place, and that he is the Lamb of God? If you do, then you are in line for mercy, salvation and everlasting life.
The Book of Hebrews
This book abounds with evidence that Faith in Christ has now replaced the need to sacrifice animals. I list a few texts from this book to show the difference between the sacrifice of Christ and that of animals.
- Animal sacrifices could never take away sin
|“And every (Aaronic) priest standeth daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins … But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.”|
- Animal sacrifices cannot perfect the conscience or renew the inner man
|“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; “
- The Saviour’s single sacrifice covers every sin
Yeshua’s sacrifice under the Melchisedec Priesthood superseded all the sacrifices of the Aaronic priesthood; which were given simply to illustrate the higher spiritual objectives the Messiah would achieve.
|“… He (Messiah) has no need like those other (Aaronic) High priests to offer sacrifices daily … he did this ONCE for all when he offered up himself.”|
|26: For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28: So Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
|14: For by ONE offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.|
- Christ’s offering purifies heaven itself
|23: It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.|
- Yahweh no longer wants animal sacrifices
|Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:|
|8: Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;|
- Animal sacrifices are abolished
|“Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”|
When the Scriptures tell of the ‘Saviour’s blood,’ they are telling of far more than of his sacrificial death on Calvary. The ‘Saviour’s blood’ when applied by faith has enormous power: to redeem, cleanse, purify, unite, justify, subdue, sanctify and even purge the conscience.
Yeshua’s blood represents his life. It means far more than the sacrifice which took his life.
Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life!
As you read the following Bible texts, bear that vital truth in mind, that every reference to the Saviour’s blood is in fact a reference to ‘his life.’ Sure, Yeshua’s sacrifice was the act of giving up his life. However, his ‘sacrificial death’ doesn’t cleans us. It is the faithful application of his life-giving blood to our souls that cleanses us from sin. In ancient days, it wasn’t the animal’s death that cleansed the sinner; it was the application or ‘sprinkling of its blood’ upon the sinner that sybolically cleansed him. Do not miss the subtle difference; because some modern translations (Good News Bible) often omit the word blood by replacing it with the phrase sacrificial death; These are mistranslations of the Real Word of God!.
- Yeshua’s blood redeems / purchases
|“Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His blood.”|
|“In whom we have redemption through his blood …” (Col 1:14)|
1 Peter 1:19
|“… Redeemed with the precious blood of Christ”|
- The Saviour’s blood washes and purifies the Unclean
Prior to Calvary the process of cleansing from leprosy, menstruation, touching a corpse etc. all called for a blood sacrifice and washing. (Lev.14 & 15, Matt.8:4) The spiritual realities these conditions symbolised (i.e. leprosy symbolised sin) are all cleansed by the blood of Christ. And though washing with soap and water is still necessary to keep physically clean, there is now no need for a blood sacrifice: because Christ’s blood cleanses the believer form every spiritual impurity.
1 John 1:7
|“… The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us.“|
|“… Washed us from our sins in his own blood.”|
|“… Washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb.”|
|13: For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
- Yeshua’s blood justifies
|“Much more then, being now justified by his blood …”|
- Yeshua’s blood sanctifies
|“Wherefore Jesus also that he might sanctify the people with his own blood suffered without the gate.”|
- This text pictures the unclean person or leper who was obliged to abide outside the camp because of uncleanness. Messiah’s blood sanctifies (purifies and sets apart) the unclean believer and qualifies him/her to re-enter the camp and the Father’s presence.
- Yeshua’s blood unites & brings peace
|“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”|
|20: And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.|
7. Spiritual Sacrifices for Today
Does all this mean that Christians need do nothing but believe in Christ? That no offerings or sacrifices are necessary in this day and age? Obviously not. Believers confessing faith in Christ are expected to make many sacrifices: but they are sacrifices of a different kind: sacrifices which call for self-discipline, good communications, generosity, praise, thanksgiving, obedience and holiness. These sacrifices are often harder to make than people imagine. The Most High is now calling upon His people to make these sacrifices.
The following passages will explain this fact more fully:
- Praise / Thanksgiving / Brotherly love
|“: By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16: But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”|
1 Peter 2:
|5: Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ…
9: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
- Holy living
|“I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”|
What do these texts mean? They mean that believers living in this generation do not need to offer animal sacrifices for redemption, pardon, cleansing or sanctification. The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the missing records of Aaron’s line and the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ all mean that the sacrificing of animals is not only obsolete, but illegal. Instead, new covenant believers are expected to surrender and offer the Almighty the following spiritual sacrifices:
These are the living sacrifices the Almighty is looking for: because they alone prove that our love for Him is genuine and our faith alive. And, strange as it may seem, it is only by the power of the Blood of Christ that we can ever hope to present such sacrifices and win the Almighty’s favour. The blood of bulls, rams, goats, lambs and birds can never in a million years do this. Are you dear reader able to grasp the enormity of this truth?
Why did the Apostle Paul involve himself in animal sacrifices? (Acts 21:23-26)
Paul was often accused of breaking Yahweh’s commandments. Even to this day many Christians believe that Paul taught the abolition of God’s law. Nothing is further from the truth. Paul and the early Apostles were all Israelites who kept Yahweh’s law and taught others to obey it. In the incident recorded in Acts 21 the elders in Jerusalem were anxious to dispel any rumours that Paul was a law-breaker. To be sure he had often tried to explain the real purpose of Yahweh’s law, ‘things hard to understand‘ as the Apostle Peter called them in 2 Peter 3:14-16, but Paul never taught disobedience. He taught:
- That the law is a signpost, identifying error. (Rom.3:20)
- That the law is a school teacher, pointing us to Christ. (Gal.3:24)
- That believers are not under the death penalty of the law; but under grace and mercy: and should lead obedient lives. (Rom.6:1-16)
- And that animal sacrifices could never cleanse a person’s conscience, whereas Christ’s blood can. (Heb.9:13-14)
But all this did not mean that Paul was attacking God’s law. Indeed Paul said Yahweh’s law was perfect, holy, just and good.
|“Therefore the law is in itself holy, and the commandment is holy, just and good.”|
|“We know that the law is spiritual …”|
Therefore in order to dispel any doubts the Jews may have held concerning his obedience, Paul joined four others in a Nazarite dedication service. This service is fully described in Numbers chapter 6.
The service involved:
- Taking a vow of dedication (separation)
- Not drinking wine or strong drink or even eating anything from the vine for the period of the vow.
- Not cutting one’s hair, but shaving it off after the period of the vow had expired.
- Not coming into contact with any dead body all the days of separation.
- And an offering of two doves and a lamb to signal the end of the vow.
Paul joined in this dedication ceremony – not because he was a Nazarite or had grown his hair long for many weeks, not because he had been defiled by a dead body in any way, but for one reason alone:
|“… that all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee – are nothing: but that thou thyself walkest orderly and keepest the law.”|
Whilst considering these facts also remember that
- The Temple in Jerusalem was still standing and
- The Aaronic Priesthood was still officiating; so sacrifices in the Temple were not illegal even though the reality to which those sacrifices pointed (Christ’s death) had occurred.
- The morning and evening sacrifices were also still being made.
- Christ’s early disciples (mostly Jews) were still visiting the Temple each day and witnessing the daily sacrifice.
Then came that incredible accusation that Paul was teaching disobedience to Yahweh’s law! The Apostles were stunned, because they all knew that the charge was totally false. They knew that Paul had been explaining the deeper lessons of Yahweh’s law; just as we are attempting to do in this booklet. And here he was being accused of heresy! What were they to do? How could they convince an extremely religious population that Paul was in fact an obedient Israelite? How could they do this without entering into endless explanations, arguments and possible uproar? What were they to do?
They found the answer in the Nazarite vow. Bear in mind that no law would be violated if Paul joined in this dedication service, for the Temple and the authorised priesthood were both present. Indeed much would be gained by a silent public display ( a bald head) of obedience. So Paul agreed to their plan and re-dedicated himself to God along with the others.
That is all we should read from this incident: That the Apostle Paul joined others in a dedication service to dispel any doubts that he was a law-breaker. In view of these facts, let no misguided Gentile offer unauthorised animal sacrifices elsewhere on earth. Without a Temple and without a Priesthood even the Jews do not presume to offer sacrifices: how much less should Gentiles who believe in the Saviour as the Lamb of God.
Will the animal sacrifices mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecy be performed in some future day? (Ezekiel chapters 44 to 46)
As explained earlier, animals were slaughtered by the Aaronic Priesthood to illustrate the following spiritual realities:
- That the penalty for sin is eternal death.
- That without the shedding of blood forgiveness is not possible.
- That an innocent victim could take the place of a guilty party.
- That if a repentant believer requested pardon and came before the Most High with that innocent victim’s blood – he/she would be pardoned – on the strength of the Messiah’s coming sacrifice.
- That all animal sacrifices pointed to Messiah’s (Christ’s) sacrifice on Calvary.
- That the Saviour’s blood (life) purifies the believer enabling him/her to be totally reconciled to the Father.
- That the multiple sacrifices made on Yahweh’s Sabbaths signify the multiple achievements of Christ’s sacrifice in the Plan of Salvation.
Also remember that Ezekiel’s prophecy was written in about 592 BC, over 600 years before Christ’s death on Calvary. In those chapters the prophet uses symbolic language to describe a far higher degree of cleansing and purification still to be achieved in a date future to him. In other words Ezekiel’s prophecy pictured Yeshua the Messiah’s sacrifice and its eternal effect. Prophetic language may often be low level, picturing bulls, goats, lambs and the literal sons of Zadok; but the realities to which those well known terms point is high-level. The use of symbolic terms such as the ‘Passover Lamb,’ ‘circumcision,’ ‘washing,’ ‘unleavened bread’ etc. all describe the spiritual realities Messiah’s sacrifice would accomplish. These well-known terms help us better understand the concepts of sin, sacrifice, cleansing and holiness. That is the main reason why symbolic language is used in prophecy.
The prophecy of the Revelation also uses symbolic language: ‘coloured horses,’ ‘bows,’ ‘swords,’ ‘scales,’ ‘sickles’ and ‘frogs’ to describe messages of warning, war, famine, the end-time harvest and the work of evil spirits. In a similar way Ezekiel looked forward and in symbolic language described the future work of Christ (the Prince) in a spiritual Temple built on a high mountain. I quote from the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible page 178:
“The picture that is unfolded in these chapters (of Ezekiel) is not an ideal which the prophet expected would be realised literally; but is purely symbolic; for in no other way is it possible to understand the high mountain of the new Zion, and the measurements, and the allotments of the land which are geometrical and not geographical, and the healing waters that issue from the sanctuary and presently become a mighty river, and the trees whose fruit is produced every month and whose leaves are for healing …”
Ezekiel’s Temple, in other words, is a spiritual structure which Yahweh will inhabit through eternity: a structure built on the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ, his sacrifice and his life-blood which was shed for us: a sacrifice, which to the prophet Ezekiel, was still future. Notice that the responsibility of providing all the sacrifices in the Temple fell to the PRINCE.
|“And it shall be the PRINCE’S part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, in the Feasts, and in the new moons, and in the Sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: He shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.”|
The Prince is Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). It remains his responsibility to provide all the sacrifices and to make reconciliation for Israel. (Chapters 45 & 46). And that is exactly what the Saviour has been doing since his death and resurrection. By his death – with a single sacrifice – he met every sacrificial requirement mentioned by Ezekiel: and also began the work of building the eternal Temple on the high mountain of the new Zion. The sevenfold Passover sacrifices mentioned (7 bullocks, 7 rams and 7 goat kids, Eze.45:23) all picture the absolute perfection, totality and all-encompassing effect of Yeshua’s life-blood and sacrifice. They do not mean that as the Passover lamb or kid Jesus will die over and over again seven times.
Is it wrong for a believer to donate an animal for one of Yahweh’s Feasts?
A believer may donate money, fruit, vegetables or a clean animal for a Feast; that is perfectly in order. Indeed one cannot have a Feast without these things: they must either be bought or donated. Either way the animal must not be sacrificed in a religious ceremony or on an altar of any kind. Nor should its blood be eaten by or sprinkled on anyone. The animal should be slaughtered in the ordinary way; ensuring that its blood is spilled on the ground. Clean animals that may be eaten are listed in Leviticus chapter 11.
Is it right for a church leader to charge a fee for prayers made on behalf of the sick or the dead?
No it is not right. In fact it is a serious sin for any church leader to turn religion into a money-making racket. If a primate, priest or prophet asks you to pay for his prayers you may be sure he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Sad to say, the church has proved to be a brothel of betrayal. Crimes of the worst kind are rampant in its midst and fleecing the poor of their meagre funds is one of its worst sins. This does not mean that full-time ministers should not be supported by a congregation. They should be, by free-will offerings taken up in the normal way. But when a payment, however small, is demanded for a special prayer, then beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing!
Isn’t the Sabbath commandment symbolic, and therefore obsolete?
The Sabbath commandment is eternal. It is part of Yahweh’s primary law, The Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20) The Ten Commandments can never become obsolete any more than honesty, respect for Yahweh’s Name, honour for our parents etc. can become obsolete virtues. The Bible says: “All His commandments are eternal.“ (Psalm 111:7-8).
The seventh day Sabbath is:
- A memorial of creation and a vital part of the Everlasting Gospel.
- A perpetual covenant between Yahweh and His people. (Exo.31:12-17) In other words the Sabbath forms part of the Eternal Covenant.
- A sign of sanctification (Ezekiel 20:12 & 20). The Sabbath will last as long as sanctification and holiness remain: which is for ever.
- A foretaste of the Rest of God. (Heb.4)
Like the other primary laws in the Bible the Sabbath commandment will continue for all time, even on the new earth. (Isa.66:22-23) The weekly Sabbath is a foretaste of Yahweh’s Rest, to which the Almighty is eagerly looking forward. In Hebrews chapter 4 the church is given a serious warning about failure to keep the seventh day Sabbath. We are reminded that many in ancient Israel failed to enter the Promised Land because they rejected the weekly Sabbath. In His anger Yahweh swore that they would die in the desert and not enter the Promised Land which is also a foretaste of His Rest.
|1: Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
2: For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
3: For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4: For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
5: And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
6: Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
7: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
8: For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10: For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The chapter says that at some later date – a second time – Yahweh would again entreat His people to keep the weekly Sabbath as a foretaste of His Rest.
What does this amazing passage mean? It means this:
- That there still remains for Yahweh’s people a Rest similar to His resting on the weekly Sabbath at the creation. (Gen.2:1-3)
- That Yahweh would appeal to His people a second time to keep His seventh day Sabbath as a token of His Rest – the true Promised Land, which is the new, sin-free universe He has planned to create.
- And that all who want to enter Yahweh’s Rest (the Promised Land) will rest every seventh day from their work as God did from His.
That is what Hebrews chapter 4 is saying. Study it again and again for yourself. Believe it or not Yahweh’s second appeal to obey His Sabbath commandment is being made at this very moment to YOU. This appeal is part of Yahweh’s second call to His followers to keep His Sabbath day. Beware of rejecting it.
The Sabbath-keeping church I attend continues to offer animal sacrifices. I do not agree with them on this matter. What should I do?
To begin with you should make the leaders and the congregation aware of this truth about Messiah’s sacrifice. This booklet may help do that. If they continue to sacrifice animals or birds after having received a knowledge of the truth, then leave and join another Sabbath-keeping congregation. Remember, however, that just because a group holds a service on the true Sabbath day does not mean that it has all the truth or even that its members are better than non Sabbath-keepers. Knowledge of the truth is a step in the right direction: but if sin is not put away and followed by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:19-25) then knowledge is just so much extra mental baggage. It means nothing. Sabbath-keeping churches who continue to sacrifice animals will gradually see their best members leave: because once they understand the truth they will expect their leaders to stop this illegal practice – or they will leave. Let all animal sacrificing Sabbath churches around the globe take note!
The Sunday-keeping church I attend accepts Christ’s sacrifice, but rejects Yahweh’s weekly and annual Sabbaths. What should I do?
To begin with you should study the following:
Failure to keep the Creator’s Sabbath day, which is the memorial of His creation, is a serious sin. The Everlasting Gospel (outlined in Rev.14:7) highlights two vital requirements:
- “Fear God and give glory to Him.”
This means: put your faith in the Almighty, accept His free gift of salvation through His Son and glorify Him for that fact.
- “And worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the fountains of water.”
This means: Worship Yahweh by keeping His Sabbath day which is the memorial of His creation: for in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea and all that in them is and rested the seventh day.
Your group has accepted the first half of the Everlasting Gospel: faith in the all-sufficiency of Yeshua the Messiah’s life-blood. Other groups (including most Jews) have accepted the second half: Yahweh’s Sabbath days.
Your task now is to find and worship with a group which teaches the whole Gospel; a group which accepts Christ’s all-encompassing sacrifice and which also keeps the weekly and annual Sabbaths of the Almighty. Stewarton Bible School’s lesson entitled the The Everlasting Gospel explains these two requirements.
For help in your search see Where can I find such a Group? and The Perfect Church
That brings us to the end of this booklet. We trust that you will put your faith in the Most High, who made the astonishing sacrifice of His own Son on your behalf. The vast majority of human beings rarely thank the Almighty for what He has done. When things go well, man takes the credit: but when things go wrong, God usually gets blamed. That is the sad and shameful reality of this generation. But one day the world will realise how wrong it has been. Alas for many it will be too late in that day!
But we trust it will be different for you, as you put your faith in Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel and accept the wonderful things His Son’s death made possible for you:
- A full pardon for every sin that you have ever committed.
- Life everlasting: a gift impossible to appreciate in this age.
- A place in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, perhaps even a royal commission in the great Melchisedec Priesthood.
- And the opportunity to express your thanks in obedience and in offering the other spiritual sacrifices mentioned earlier.
These and many more blessings await the faithful. Do not fail to accept them.
Power in the Blood
Would you be free from your burden of sin?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood.
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.
There is power, power, wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb.
There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb.
Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood.
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.
Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood.
Sin stains are lost in its life-giving flow,
There’s wonderful power in the blood.
Would you do service for Jesus your king?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood.
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.
Do not forget to request the free booklet: Animal Sacrifices … Are They Necessary?
When e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org, please state your full address – including the country.
Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
1993 … Updated: December 1999