Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blood Sacrifices after the Cross

Could you give further clarification regarding this statement from the Q&A “Beginning to end: Blood is required” posted June 10, 2011?

“So yes, while he ministered on earth, the Lord's disciples still offered the Mosaic Law animal sacrifices, but after his death, burial and resurrection, the reason they went to the temple for was to fellowship and preach/teach Jesus Christ to the rest of Israel going there to worship.”

If the Jews will need to bring sacrifices during the Millennium when the prophetic program is reinstated, why didn't the Little Flock also need to bring sacrifices after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ?

They did.  I should have said in that post that the main reason they went to the temple was to fellowship and preach Jesus Christ. The Little Flock never stopped offering the sacrifices of the law.  They never stopped temple worship.  The best way to see this is that the Lord never told them to, except with one caveat:

Matthew 24:15a; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:15b
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, … Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. [the Antichrist  …will install the idol/image in the temple] …(whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

It is then that the Little Flock will be freed from offering sacrifices in the temple.

The dispensation of grace began with the salvation of our Apostle Paul about A.D. 30 in Acts 9.  It was only in A.D. 70 (exactly 40 years after our Lord was rejected and crucified by the nation of Israel) that temple worship ceased because Titus and the Romans destroyed the temple.

The prophetic books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and even Acts don’t focus on the physical, animal sacrifice and the law, even though the Jews were under the law.

Galatians 4:4

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

Matthew 7:12
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Matthew 23:2
Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: [“seat” represents authority, and Moses was the great law giver.]

They were not to break even the least of these commandments.

Matthew 5:18-19
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled [in the Kingdom].  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The Little Flock (believers on the Lord Jesus Christ in his earthly ministry and the book of Acts) still continued temple worship even after Paul was saved in that transitional period in Acts.  So you see, the focus of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is Christ, not the law.

Romans 3:21-22
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Luke 16:16
The law and the prophets were until John [the Baptist]: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

The law and the prophets pointed to Jesus Christ.  Paul says that the law was a schoolmaster.

Galatians 3:24
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

So Christ is the issue.  He magnified the law and made it honourable.

Isaiah 42:21
The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.

The Lord Jesus Christ never ever told them to stop keeping the law, including temple worship and sacrifices.  In fact he told them the opposite; they were to continue in it until the time appointed of the Father, meaning the Kingdom.  And even then they will still sacrifice as a memorial.

Zechariah 14:21
Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.

Psalm 65:4
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

That is the point.  The Millennial temple will come down with Christ at his second coming (Ezekiel 40 – 48).  The Jews will still worship in the holy temple; that is in the New Jerusalem where the Lord is.

Revelation 21:2
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

They will still sacrifice as a memorial to the shed blood of Christ who was the offering for them.

John 1:36
And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Revelation 5:6a
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain,

We as members of the body of Christ have a fellowship meal in the Lord’s supper – food and drink, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is our communion (our “common union”).  It is not the wafer and little sip of wine of Roman Catholicism and certain Protestant denominations.  The Lord’s supper is a fellowship meal, similar to the last supper with food and drink that the Lord had at Passover with his apostles.

During the Kingdom the Jews will sacrifice as a memorial and they will also bring sacrifices to the temple given to them by the gentile nations.  All nations will be under the law.

Isaiah 2:3
And many people [from the nations] shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Isaiah 11:9
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

God will cause Israel to keep the law under the New Covenant.

Ezekiel 36:27
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

The gentiles will be under the law and will have to bring sacrifices.  Those sacrifices will teach them about the Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrifice – the innocent dying for their guilt – and their need of a savior.

Zechariah 14:16-18
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.  And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.  And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Acts is a book of transition that is written to the nation of Israel.  There were Messianic Jews, members of the Little Flock, who believed on Christ before Paul; and there were Jews who heard and believed Paul’s gospel of grace and were saved into the body of Christ.  The third type of Jew at that time were the unbelieving Jews in Israel and those scattered among the nations who were part of the heathen.

That has now ceased.  For a Jew or gentile to be saved today, they must come through the Pauline preaching of the cross – the gospel of Grace.

Acts 20:24b
…and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

But during the transition Paul took a Nazarite vow in order to appease the Jewish brethren, the Little Flock.

Numbers 6:18
And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.

He went so far as to shave his head.

Acts 18:18-19, 21
And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.  And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. [The Nazarite shaved his head and offered a blood sacrifice.  Paul was going to do that too, but God through his providence stopped him; it wasn’t part of Paul’s ministry.] But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

The clock stopped for the prophetic program and it was temporarily postponed when Saul was saved and the dispensation of grace began.  Obviously, the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet was not going to happen at that time and cannot happen until this present dispensation of grace has ended.

So, all the Jews continued in temple worship until the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 when there was no longer a place to offer the blood sacrifice.  It wasn’t just the Little Flock who brought the sacrifice, it was also those law-keeping Jews who had not trusted in Christ because they did not believe the old testament testimony about him the way the Little Flock did. 

There were two types of Jews worshipping in the Temple:  the true worshippers (the Little Flock who believed on Jesus but still kept the law including the sacrifices) and the lost Jews who continued in the rites and rituals.  They were just being religious like people are today—having a “form of godliness.”  They observed all the ritual types and shadows of the old testament, but they didn’t trust in Christ. 

The best proof of that is in Acts 21.  There we see James is now the leader of the Little Flock.  First it was Peter, but once Paul’s ministry began to be magnified by the Lord, Peter’s ministry began to diminish because Peter’s role was in Prophecy – the kingdom program which had now been put on hold.  God also changed the head apostleship to James as evidence of that. James is the new testament name for Jacob, a type of Israel.  Peter’s ministry was more kingdom-oriented, and since the kingdom was postponed during the dispensation of grace, James became the head of the Little Flock.  There are a lot of different types there. 

Acts 21:17-26
And when we [Luke is with him] were come to Jerusalem, the brethren [the Little Flock] received us gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

Paul meets with the Little Flock and James, their leader.

And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. [Paul’s ministry of gentile grace]  And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him,

Watch what James and the elders of Israel, the Little Flock, say to Paul:

Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe [those of the Little Flock]; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.  What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.

They were offended.  They had heard a rumor that Paul was telling the Jews who were among the gentiles to ‘forsake Moses,’ ‘don’t keep the law of Moses,’ ‘don’t circumcise your children.’
Now watch what they ask them Paul to do to prove his Jewishness.  Remember the focus in Acts is the Jew.

Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, [in other words, take on the burden of this vow] that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

They go on to say that the gentiles don’t have to, but as Jews we do.

As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

This is that Nazarite vow I mentioned earlier.  They were still offering blood sacrifices.  The point is that the Lord never instructed any of the Little Flock to not continue offering sacrifices. 

The prophetic program will be reinstated after our dispensation of grace ends.  The next dispensation after our resurrection/rapture, is when God the Father will gather all things in his Son Jesus Christ, both in heaven (that is why the body of Christ goes to heaven) and on earth (that is why he will gather a believing remnant of redeemed Israelites into the kingdom).  This is the dispensation of the fullness of times. 

Ephesians 1:10
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Just to clarify, the prophetic program will not be reinstated at the beginning of the Millennium; it will actually be reinstated when the prophetic clock begins again immediately following the rapture.  That which was postponed will commence. 

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