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Heavenly Sacrifices

Query for the Month

of

January 2014

Next up-date: February 1st 2014 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

(when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in.  Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )

In the meantime, try this site.    And here's one where you can read it online.

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


Query: 

Hebrews  8:1-3:

Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister [worker] of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the LORD pitched, and not man.  For every [earthly] high priest is ordained to offer GIFTS and SACRIFICES: wherefore it is of necessity that this Man have somewhat also to offer.  

If the real sanctuary is in heaven and the Son of God is the High Priest of it, what sacrifices does He offer?  There can be no killing of animals in heaven!!

 

Response:  

Let’s get this straight right from the beginning – God did not ask for a sanctuary or a temple on earth in which to slaughter thousands of His beloved creatures over hundreds of years!

In fact, He tells us the opposite – it was the people who clamoured for it.

Jeremiah 7:  (Written c. 600BC but referring to the exodus.)

21 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings to [or with] your sacrifices, and eat [the] flesh [of the sacrifices yourselves]. 22 For I spoke not to your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices [two different things]: 23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people: and walk you in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well to you”.

24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.  

He told David the same thing when he wanted to build a permanent house for Him.

2 Samuel 7: (Written about 1,000BC.)

1 And it came to pass, when the king [David] sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies; 2 that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar [wood], but the ark [throne] of God dwells within curtains [in a tent]”.  

3 And Nathan said to the king [without asking God], “Go, do all that is in your heart; for the LORD is with you”. [What we want is not always what God wants!]

4 And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, 5 “Go and tell My servant David, Thus says the LORD, Shall you build Me a house for Me to dwell in? 6 Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day [about 500 years], but have walked [travelled] in a tent and in a tabernacle. 

7 “In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spoke I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying, ‘Why build you not Me a house of cedar?’” 

Although He didn’t ask for it, He wanted us to understand all that which the earthly sanctuary taught, spiritually – in our minds and hearts.  But it was not until after the first advent and the crucifixion that He was able to get this thought across to us more clearly, which is why the law of ceremonies was done away with then.

Then it was written:

Hebrews 10:

1 For the law [of ceremonies] having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image [the reality] of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered?  Because that the worshippers once purged [cleansed] should have had no more conscience of sins. 

3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year [on the Day of Atonement].  4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should [really] take away sins.  

5 Wherefore when He [the Son of God] comes into the world, He says, “[Animal] sacrifice and offering You would not, but a body have You prepared Me [in their place]. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have had no pleasure”.

7 Then said I, “Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me), to do Your will, O God”.

8 Above [before] when He said, “Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin You would [rather] not [have], neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law”; 9 then said He, “Lo, I come to do Your will, O God”.  [Therefore] He takes away the first [the animals], that He may establish the second [the will of God]

In another place it is written,

John 6:

53 Then Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you.

54 Whoso eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is meat [food] indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.

56 He that eats [absorbs] My flesh, and drinks [soaks up] My blood, dwells in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats Me, even he shall live by Me.

58 This is that [living] “bread” which came down from heaven [i.e. Me]: [but it is] not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this “bread” shall live for ever.

59 These things said He in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.

60 Many therefore of His disciples, when they had heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear [understand] it?” [Because in their minds it was the opposite of the Bible teaching.  Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 3:17.]

61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured at it, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit that quickens [makes alive]; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are [of the] Spirit, and they are life” [and need to be explained by the Spirit].  

Today we understand what He meant [He was referring to the Passover Lamb], but at that time it appeared that He was changing the meaning of the Bible and that confused many of His followers.  If they had understood the services of the tabernacle and the purpose of the showbread in it they might have learnt sooner.

After the Garden of Eden debacle a simple “burnt” offering was sufficient to show that the offerer believed that Someone had died (exchanged His life) for them and that he or she had accepted that gift.  “And Noah built an altar to the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.  And the LORD smelled a sweet savour [was happy with that] . . .”  Genesis 8:20-21.

It only took the death of one animal at a time to show this for the first 2,000 years, but during and after that period there were many “falls” from understanding in the minds of men, and because of this the rituals had to be added to, and expanded for a further 2,000 years. 

Now it has taken another 2,000 using the body of a human on a cross, and we still don’t get it!

How should we worship today?  What can we offer to God?  Let’s read:

Hebrews 13:

8 Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.

9 Be not carried about with divers [differing] and strange doctrines.  For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats [food – i.e. the sacrifices which were eaten], which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.  

10 We [Christians still] have an altar [a spiritual one], whereof they have no right to eat which serve [use] the [earthly] tabernacle. 11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without [outside] the camp. 12 Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without [outside] the gate [at Golgotha]. 13 Let us go forth therefore to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach [suffering]. 14 For here [on earth] have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come [the new Jerusalem].  

15 By [through] Him therefore let us offer THE SACRIFICE OF PRAISE to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name [character]. 16 BUT TO DO GOOD AND TO COMMUNICATE [SHARE with others] FORGET NOT: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

In these two things – giving praise (thank You) and in sharing – we are doing what the tabernacle and temple services really presented. (1 Chronicles 29:13; Psalm 106:47; Revelation 19:5.

The earthly building was a copy of the one in heaven – that one existed first, the earthly was built second on a much smaller scale.  The one in heaven does not have death and blood in it, although in the explanation Jesus is often said to be saying “My blood, My blood!” referring to His everlasting sacrifice which began in the Garden of Eden.  (See Hebrews 10:19-20; 13:12,20; Revelation 13:8.)

Yet the Bible is written as though the blood spilt at Calvary has a value with God in our salvation.  Let’s look carefully (and prayerfully) at this.

Hebrews 9:

1 Then verily the first [the old] covenant had also ordinances [rules and furniture] of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread [and the altar of incense]; which is called the sanctuary [or holy place].

3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all [the most holy]; 4 which had the [portable] golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

5 and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the Mercy Seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly [in detail].

6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always [daily] into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. 7 But into the second went the high priest alone once [only on one day] every year, not without blood [from a bullock], which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people [on the Day of Atonement, the 10th day of the 7th month, Leviticus 23:27]: 8 the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all [the second room] was not yet made manifest [until then], while as the first tabernacle was yet standing [or being worked, Leviticus 16:17]: 9 which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered [daily] both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation [the first advent].

11 But Christ being come a High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 neither by the blood of goats and calves [bulls], but by His own “blood” He entered in once into the holy place [the first “room” in heaven, which can “hold” tens of thousands more than the second “room”.  Daniel 7:9-10], having obtained eternal redemption for us, [and where His official position of sharing His Father’s throne was until October 1844.  Revelation 3:21.]

[The “throne” of God is a movable object (as is the sanctuary in heaven)

and is carried on the shoulders of angels

throughout the universe. e.g. Ezekiel 1:20-28.]

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean [a particular ceremony, Numbers 19], sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh [is a good picture on earth]: 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 [teach you the truth]?

15 And for this cause He is the mediator of the NEW testament, that by means of “death”, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the FIRST testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament [a will] is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator [the maker of the will]. 17 For a testament [a will] is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives.

18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood [it was dedicated by showing a death]. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves [bulls] and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the “blood” [the evidence of the death of the testator] of the testament which God has enjoined to you”.

21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged [cleansed] with blood [which operates after a death]; and without shedding of blood is no remission [no pay out]. 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 [the understanding of the death of the Son of God].

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place [the second room] every year with blood of others [bulls and goats]; 26 for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once IN THE END OF THE WORLD has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:

28 so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin to salvation [after the first part of the judgment].  

10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 

We have to ask the Spirit whether He is talking about the death of a human body on a cross two thousand years ago which lasted for six hours, or does He mean the death of the Son of God in the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve six thousand years ago and which has been continuing for others ever since?  (That is more like an eternal sacrifice.)  We have to ask whether we can be saved from the RESULT of sin by just looking back at an historic event, or do we need forgiveness and cleansing the day we confess it?  (Today’s teaching that we can be saved BEFORE we commit a sin sounds like the indulgences of Martin Luther’s time, but without the payment!  See endnote 1.

Maybe it’s just a legal transaction and has no heart in it?

Were the patriarchs saved by looking forward to the event of Calvary, thousands of years into the future [remember - a testament [a will] is only of force after the testator is dead], or were they saved when they needed it by a “fresh death”? (See note 2.)  Were Enoch and Elijah and Moses taken to heaven on a condition?  If Christ had failed on the cross would they have had their reward cancelled?  

Is the Spirit describing the events of Calvary and the end of the Jewish world when He caused Paul to write “but now once IN THE END OF THE WORLD has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself”, or did He mean what is written?

So what was the purpose of the Old Testament sanctuary and the cross of Calvary? And I might add, the heavenly sanctuary? 

Actually, they all had the same purpose!! 

That was to teach what was happening in God’s mind and body!  It was a way by which the infinite God was able to show finite creatures what He was thinking and feeling. 

After the event of Calvary, He was able to use the human body and mind of the Man Christ Jesus to illustrate this even more clearly than through the heavenly or the earthly sanctuary services.  But the heavenly space had been there since the beginning and Satan knew it well, so when he set up his counterfeit religions on earth he used temples and their services as deceptions.

So why did the people of God build first a wilderness sanctuary/tent, and then two permanent temples later in the Promised Land?  

Because God gave permission for them to do so. 

Exodus 25:

1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering: of every man [and woman] that gives it willingly with his [her] heart you shall take My offering.

3 “And this is the offering which you shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass [metals], 4 and blue, and purple, and scarlet [cloths], and fine [white] linen, and goats' hair, 5 and rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood. 

6 “Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, 7 onyx stones [jewels], and stones to be set in the ephod [the high priest’s waistcoat], and in the breastplate.

8 “And LET [ALLOW] THEM [TO] make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

9 [However] according to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall you make it [I don’t want copies of the ones in Egypt which were built to house an easily angered god]”.  

So what we need to do now is look at the services of the earthly sanctuary and ask the Spirit to translate them into the terms of the ABRAHAMIC covenant – to take the physical and general and make it spiritual and specific. Maybe we can look at that next time?

Conclusion:

There has been a sanctuary in heaven since the beginning, but it is a living place – not made of dead materials, for it is the enormous area around God where the angels and the people of the universe congregate to listen and talk with Him on special occasions.  Before sin entered the universe, it was the main way and place where God communicated His desires and feeling to His creatures, although it did move around the universe with Him, because it is part of His presence. 

Normally, next to His throne STOOD (or knelt) His Son and the brightest of His creatures (represented by the two cherubim on the ark in the earthly sanctuary) and they often passed on God’s word for Him.  It was not obvious then that they were different from each other, but after His ascension Christ SAT ON THE THRONE because the loyal angels then recognised His position in the Godhead.

However, after the truth was twisted into sin by Lucifer God had a hard time explaining to the angels what had happened to him, and ultimately the universe, so He chose to modify the sanctuary services by introducing the concept of the burnt offering on earth – and so on . . .

oooOooo

 

Note 1:

From my library: The Great Controversy, page 127.2-3

***************(Begin Quote)

The official appointed to conduct the sale of indulgences in Germany -- Tetzel by name -- had been convicted of the basest offenses against society and against the law of God; but having escaped the punishment due for his crimes, he was employed to further the mercenary and unscrupulous projects of the pope. 

With great effrontery he repeated the most glaring falsehoods and related marvelous tales to deceive an ignorant, credulous, and superstitious people.  Had they possessed the word of God they would not have been thus deceived.  It was to keep them under the control of the papacy, in order to swell the power and wealth of her ambitious leaders, that the Bible had been withheld from them.  (See John C.  L. Gieseler, A Compendium of Ecclesiastical History, per. 4, sec. 1, par. 5.)   

As Tetzel entered a town, a messenger went before him, announcing: “The grace of God and of the holy father is at your gates.” -- D'Aubigne, b. 3, ch.1.  And the people welcomed the blasphemous pretender as if he were God Himself come down from heaven to them.  The infamous traffic was set up in the church, and Tetzel, ascending the pulpit, extolled the indulgences as the most precious gift of God.  He declared that by virtue of his certificates of pardon all the sins which the purchaser should afterward desire to commit would be forgiven him, and that “not even repentance is necessary.”--Ibid., b.  3, ch.1.   BACK

***************(End Quote)

 

Note 2:

{Education 263.1}

***************(Begin Quote)

Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world.  Few think of its relation to God.

Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator.

All heaven suffered in Christ's agony; BUT THAT SUFFERING DID NOT BEGIN OR END WITH HIS MANIFESTATION IN HUMANITY.

The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.

Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him. When there came upon Israel the calamities that were the sure result of separation from God, -- subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death, -- it is said that “His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” “In all their affliction He was afflicted: . . . and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9. 

***************(End Quote)       BACK

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated,

but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

 

Next query. To be discussed from February 1st 2014,

Next query:

Hebrews 4:

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities [or problems]; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  

How do we do that today, now that the earthly sanctuary no longer exists?

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