Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christ, the Sacrifice

Is it true that if the religious leaders in Israel had understood prophecy - that Christ was their promised Messiah - they would have sacrificed Christ by faith on the altar in the temple?

Yes.  That was the original intention – that by faith Christ would be their ultimate sacrifice for sin.  He had to die.  The cross is the central theme of everything God is doing. The old testament scriptures make that clear through all the types and shadows, even all the way back to Abraham who was to sacrifice Isaac on an altar.

God didn’t want him to actually do it because it was only a type and foreshadow.  The only human sacrifice was going to be the Son of God.  Every animal sacrifice was made on the altar in the temple.

When Paul said that he was obedient unto death, he is making a distinction.  Christ was always going to be obedient unto death. 

Philippians 2:8
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

In fact the psalmist has said,

Psalm 40:6-8

Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

And, in Hebrews…

Hebrews 10:5-6

Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

He’s saying that all those animal sacrifices are not the issue – I am – a body.  So when Paul said “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” he’s saying Christ was so obedient that he went above and beyond what He should have had to do.  Instead of being the Messiah-King hero sacrifice, He was a rejected, so-called impostor sacrifice, yet He was still sacrificed.

Was the cross prophesied?  Yes, because God knows the future.  But was that His original intent?  No.  I've had people ask if there really was a legitimate offer of the Kingdom since God knew Christ would die on the cross.  Yes, there was.

The Lord said Elijah (Elias) should come first,

Matthew 17:10-11
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias (Elijah) must first come?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.


Malachi 3:1
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.


Malachi 4:5
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Who came in the spirit and power of Elijah?  John the Baptist! Even down to the way he dressed and how he acted because he had the spirit of Elijah.  Christ tells his disciples, if ye (Israel) had received the Kingdom instead of rejecting it, John would have been ‘Elijah,’ and He, Christ, would have been the second witness (the Prophet spoken of by Moses).  There would have been two witnesses representing the Law and the prophets – John and the Lord.

Zechariah 4:11-14

Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the LORD of the whole earth.

There are two witnesses who represent the Law and the prophets in Revelation.  One who will have power to stop the rain like Elijah (James 5:17); and the other will turn the water into blood like Moses (Exodus 7:17-21):

Revelation 11:3-6

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

If Israel had sacrificed Jesus by faith on the altar, the Kingdom would have come because John the Baptist would have fulfilled the ministry of Elijah.

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