dawn of a new day September 2 Bible more

Ezekiel's Temple Sacrifices, the Purpose of

In today's Bible lesson we see sacrifices for sin offered in a new temple plan given to the Israelites in exile in Babylon.

As we discussed yesterday, there are two views about this new temple. One is that it was a temple designed for the Jews after their exile, if only they would repent and all would return to the land. The second more common view is that this is a millennial temple. If so, a troublesome question is, why will there be sacrifices at this temple? These sacrifices would have been appropriate for the Israelites since Christ had not yet come, but didn't Christ's one sacrifice on the cross eliminate the need for all animal sacrifices? Yes. In Hebrews 9:8b-10 the writer of the book says to Jewish believers of the early church,

The outer tabernacleis a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. (NIV)

Hebrews 10:4 continues, it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins, (NIV). Christ's death fulfilled the requirements for a perfect sacrifice.

What then could possibly be the purpose of millennial sacrifices if all who entered the millennium, both Jews and Gentiles, were born again Christians? (Revelation 7:9-17). Those who propose this view say that the millennial temple would serve as a picture of Christ's redemption on the cross through the use of animal sacrifices. Although only saved Jews and Gentiles would enter the Millennium, children would be born during that time period. As in Old Testament days, the sacrifices would serve to give them a picture of Christ's sacrifice. Today, we remember Christ's death on the cross with communion services, but when Christ comes back there will be no more communion services; he himself will be present. How then will the children born learn about the death of Christ and the need for sacrifices for sin? They would learn as the Old Testament saints learned - by offering sacrifices and observing significant feast days. In the Millennium it will be tempting for children, who grow up in Christian homes in a perfect environment, to they think they are Christians. However, they would perceive their depravity and the cost of their sin when they see their sin offering slain and burned by the priests. This object lesson will serve to lead many to faith in the same way the Old Testament saints were led to faith (Galatians 3:24). Salvation has always been grace through faith, but salvation came at a great cost and that cost needs to be understood. Do you understand the cost of Christ's sacrifice? Jesus Christ, God's Son, died for you on the cross to save you from your sins and bring you forgiveness and a hope of eternal life in heaven and on the new earth (more...).

Either view of the millennial sacrifices is possible, but the first view that this new temple would be built for truly repentant and fully obedient exiles seems to be more consistent with Ezekiel's text (Ezekiel 43:11). There will be, however, a temple existent before and during the millennial reign of Christ (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; Zechariah 14:7-21; Isaiah 2:2; 56:4-7; 60:1-7; 66:20-22; Micah 4:1). Most likely the new temple, which was not built when many of the Israelites returned to their land (all were supposed to return), will be built then. After the thousand year reign of Christ, however, the temple will be done away with and a new Jerusalem will come down from heaven where God will dwell with men forever (Revelation 21). Amen.

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