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The meaning of the Sacrifices

Query for the Month

of

March 2019

Next up-date: April 1st 2019 (God willing).

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

 

This article is available as a PDF file here.    Or as doc version below

https://ancient-sda.com/my_page/version_doc/query_2019_03_meaning_of_sacrifices.docm

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 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! 

In the meantime, try this site.   

 

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.   


To Ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"

Query:

Why is there so much in the Old Testament about the animal sacrifices made in the temple?  I find them blood chilling and am even tempted to believe that it could not have been God who instructed His people to practise them for about 1,500 years.

 

 

Response:

Before we begin there is one very important point you need to consider.

 The Bible is a series of books, articles and letters assembled in distinct ways over many centuries.  Some parts of it are the direct words of One or All of the Godhead (or Their agents) as if they were in quotation marks, and others are the observations of the prophets who saw the visions and wrote the books.  Still others are from the historians who assembled the histories and who gave us their human opinions on what they heard or saw.  All have been carefully chosen by God the Spirit to be typically representative of the whole truth, even if they didn’t have it all consciously then.  All are correct in their statements, including their records of Satan’s (or his agents) lies, but all are also individual and therefore can sound or look different because of the words used.  

 If we do not recognise this we get a very confused message, sometimes even apparent contradictions.  Here is one:

     1Chronicles 10:  [A historian’s perspective]

13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; 14 and inquired not of the LORD: therefore [a conclusion by the historian] he [meaning the Saviour God] slew him, and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse. [These reasons are all correct although the conclusion requires a deeper study.] 

     1 Samuel 31:  [The fact – this is also correct]

4 Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me.  But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid.  Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it [at Satan’s instigation]. 5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. 

 Any honest investigation in co-operation with the Holy Spirit soon reveals the whole truth that BOTH are correct.

Then we have a “Thus saith the LORD’ AND “Paul said” etc. as follows:     

     Exodus 4:

21 And the LORD said to Moses, When you go to return into Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in your hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. 22 And you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the LORD, Israel is My son, even My firstborn . . .   

     Judges 6:

7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried to the LORD because of the Midianites, 8 that the LORD sent a prophet to the children of Israel, which said to them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; 9 and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land . . .   

 Again, all the statements are correct, but we require God the Spirit to explain to us HOW He did it.

 How about the following?

     1 Corinthians 7:  [Speaking to the married ones in the church]

5 Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6 But I speak this by permission, and not of [God’s] commandment. 7 For I would that all men were even as I myself [unmarried].  But every man has his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

 

10 And to the married I command, yet not I, but the LORD, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

 

12 But to the rest speak I, not the LORD: If any brother has a wife that believes not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which has a husband that believes not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 

 

*****************

  

 The meaning of the Sacrifices

 When Adam and Eve rejected the advice of the Godhead (usually known by the abbreviation, “God”, meaning any one or all of Them) [1] and chose to do their own thing, God the Saviour (aka the arch [head] angel Michael “He who is like God”) began to take on the self-imposed task of rectifying the situation of His latest creation.[2] 

 This situation had come about under the influence of Lucifer, the former second-highest angel, as described in Genesis 3.  Later, using the experiences of the king of Tyre God the Spirit tells us again of the reason for his actions for they are repeated by rebellious humans.[3]   Read Ezekiel 28:1-19 AND Isaiah 14:12-27 prayerfully.

 Lucifer’s influence naturally intrigued the angels for they were confused regarding Michael’s position in the kingdom of heaven after his insinuations. Michael had always looked and acted as one of them, yet the Chairperson God said He was different, [4] while Lucifer said that He was just God’s favourite.

 Although reluctant, God the Chairman did not veto Michael’s action, and is sometimes pictured as “ordering” it, even though it was a “gift” made by the free-will of God the Saviour and accepted by the Divine Committee.[5] Of course, They were not taken by surprise at the turn of events on earth, for the Godhead before the creation of mankind had freely discussed what They should do in such an event, because the possibility is always there where free-will is present, as Lucifer and his companions had already proved by their rebellion.[6]   Being divine, the answer They came up with was suited to the circumstances – not just the best of many, but the ONLY one that matched all the conditions, especially to make sure that it never happened again.[7]

 We have a very powerful Godhead but there is one thing even They cannot do. 

That is, forecast accurately what an individual will choose to do before he or she accepts the change of heart.  (Our discoveries in quantum physics are also teaching us that.)  In other situations They are more likely to be accurate.  Groups are no problem – the larger they are the easier it is to forecast their behaviour (as in Newtonian physics) – but a specific member is never certain, which is why so much of the Bible is made up of Them pleading with us to keep to the rules for our own good. [8]

 But consider Jonah and his attempts to thwart his Saviour![9] 

 However, after They had made the offer of reconciliation to Adam and Eve and it had been accepted, the Godhead had to get across to the sin-blackened minds of humanity and the puzzled angels the enormity of what they had done and They knew that that would take time.[10]  It was hard enough for the clear minds of the loyal angelic host (it took 4,000 earth years and the attempted murder of the human body of the Christ by their former leader, Lucifer, for the penny to finally drop for all of them),[11] and it was a nearly impossible task for sinful human minds, because of the intense opposition of Satan.[12] We can thank God that understanding this is NOT essential for salvation!!

 Lucifer did not understand that Michael’s earthly sacrifice was to be entirely voluntary as was His heavenly one, so he tried repeatedly to kill Him once He took on human nature.[13]  But Christ has become one of us as well as being divine [14] and was under the protection of the other members of the Godhead until He laid down His life,[15] just as Paul became one with his listeners. 

 He wrote:

    1 Corinthians 9:

19 For though I be free from [am under no obligation to] all men, yet have I made myself servant to all, that I might gain the more.

 20 And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law [the religious people], as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 to them that are without law [non-religious people], as without law, (being not without law to God [as they are], but under the law to Christ [i.e. within certain boundaries],) that I might gain them that are without law. 

 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. 

 Paul was not pretending while doing this, for he was literally all these varying characters depending on the circumstances.

 Satan appeared to be successful at the cross, but all he really did was expose himself to his former friends as a liar and a would-be murderer![16] That was one thing, but then the Saviour God proved that He was indeed Divine when He resurrected His human body.  There were reliable witnesses[17] who saw Him do it and that settled the question forever, because only a Divine Person could do that.[18]

 The Godhead solution?

 Back in the Garden (or rather, outside the gate) Adam and Eve as sinners needed to learn what the consequences would be for their rebellion, therefore they were asked to each kill and burn a lamb, one of their fellow creatures, so that God the Spirit could lead them to realise what would happen to their Friend, God the Saviour, who had offered to make the wrong right again.

 Again, this was not one way among many, but the ONLY way that could be successful.  If there had of been a way that did not involve killing animals then They would have chosen it, for all creatures are loved by the Godhead.  Their plan is to give LIFE, not take it, but those acts of disobedience in the Garden had turned Their plan up-side-down and now They had to work with what They had.  Our God is very pragmatic.

 Then Adam and Eve had the skins of the animals put on them by God the Saviour [19] to cover their naked bodies (after removing their fig leaves of self-righteousness), just as His righteousness covers us when we become Christians after we begin to learn the consequences of our actions, and our own attempts at being moral and good are recognised as hopeless and the internal cause of sin removed and our choice restored. [20]  Genesis 3:21.

 That’s why, at the same time as they recognised their change of attitude, Adam and Eve had the shadow idea in the back of their minds that the sacrifice of the lamb also represented their own “deaths to selfishness” (their old life) when they had become a part of Him by their acceptance of the offer.  But this has always remained a “shadow” to the main meaning. 

 As they killed Him, so He must “kill” them spiritually and recreate them.  That’s called “rebirth” in the Bible and is something we must experience to understand.[21]  So we need to ask for it.[22]

 The ceremony of the burnt offering was meant to teach them two things:

 That He was expending His active LIFE for them

and

That by doing so He was dying for them.

 But it is not possible for God to die as we do, returning to dust until recreated at the resurrection, so His is a different experience to ours – similar, but different.[23]  

 How is it similar?  How is it different?

 The human emotion at death is great grief and a sense of loss over what appears to be a permanent and an abrupt separation from a loved one. (Even though it could be after a long illness the last breath is still sudden). However, some of us have the consolation of believing in a Saviour who will one day resurrect us to be together again.[24]  And while in humanity, the Christ went through that at death, but it was only for three days.[25]

 In the Divine Godhead there has also been a long tearing away of the companionship of the Chairman and the Saviour which is leading ultimately to a permanent impassable gulf between Them.[26]  (There is no such rift between the Spirit and the Saviour for He is “all things to all men”.)  But there is to be no spiritual resurrection experience for the Chairman and the Saviour.  Although They are still together physically They cannot ever be together spiritually as They were, for now God the Saviour wears our humanity and carries the effects of our rebellion and will continue to do so in eternity.  (Clue: the marks in His hands and body.) [27]  These are NOT symbols of the confessed sins which have been temporarily stored and which will eventually be passed on to the scapegoat, for they remain into the new world.[28]

 They are symbols of the second death.[29]  The permanent one.

 Divine Love, which desires constant closeness like earthly love, began to fray at the edges after the situation in the Garden of Eden was settled, causing horrific pain to the Chairman, the Saviour and the Spirit.[30]  (The Latter grieved at the separation between the other Two)[31].  This is something we can empathise with but never experience the depth of.  The three hours of light and the three hours of darkness at the sacrifice on the cross which has replaced the burnt offering, help to illustrate this, for the separation is the actual sacrifice.[32] 

 Over time, however, humanity has concentrated on the end of the physical act rather than the process, so that most now see only the death, not the dying.  The two-fold lesson has become one!  Satan has planned this, for it is the process which is the real sacrifice and the real way of release for mankind as well.[33]

 If we miss this then it is more difficult to see the whole truth. 

 Why?

Because, not being able to deny it, Satan has made much of the end of the picture and diminished the process in the minds of men, therefore making them to think more of the death than the LIFE in the symbol.

 In the Garden (or rather, just outside the gate), it was pictured by the burning of one whole lamb, called a “burnt offering”, and it became the norm after Adam and Eve left.  It’s not clear how often the sacrifice was offered, but it appears that every son was supposed to present one when they grew up and had their own family, always with the two-pronged meaning, in recognition that the Saviour God led them and their family, so it may have been once only in a lifetime.  Genesis 4:3-4; Joshua 24:15.  (Just like a wedding ceremony.)

 However, it also became a man-made custom to make a burnt offering as a rededication of the repentant one’s life during the confession of sin.  This was in addition to the animal required for the sin offering. (Did you know that there are ten degrees of sin?  And seven ways to deal with them? See note 1.)  We are told that Job was still making burnt sacrifices for his grownup children, and that was after the Flood.[34]  But that was an add-on.

 Also some people had liked the smell of the burning flesh and had begun to eat meat as a roast dinner BEFORE the Flood as a part of their normal diet. (Compare Eli’s sons of a later era.  1Samuel 2:12-17.)  Again, we don’t know how many did this, or whether Christians did too.  Their original diet had been fruits and nuts (Genesis 2:16, not the plants) until they left the Garden.  Then they began to eat some of the plants too (see Genesis 3:18, where they are called “herb of the field”, meaning vegetables), but some also added meat. 

 So “burnt offerings” in which the whole animal was consumed by fire were offered from time to time by individuals till Noah’s flood (about 1,656 years after Adam and Eve’s sin) and then Noah started it again when the ark grounded a year after the Flood began.  Genesis 8:20.  (See note 2.) 

 Therefore the symbol was more or less continuous from the Garden to Abraham.  This “fire” also represents persecution to come, for God’s word is like an onion – it has many layers all of which are correct in different times or situations.  (Consider Matthew 11:14-15.)

 Even though the knowledge regarding the depth of the Saviour God’s continuing sacrifice for them was being steadily lost before and after the Flood, the physical “burnt offering” was enough to keep the gospel (the good news) alive in the minds of those who wanted to know, until Abraham’s time, about 500 years after the Flood.  Genesis 12:7. 

 His story tells us that he and his wife had added to the meaning of the sacrifice and thought that providing a body for the child who would become God’s representative on earth was the purpose of their religion.  (They looked for the Messiah as per Genesis 3:15, a prophet who would be like Moses.  Deuteronomy 18:15. That idea lasted among the people of God until the birth of Christ.)  So they brought in the Egyptian servant and had a son through her.[35]  

 But that was so wrong, even though it was legal in men’s eyes at the time, that God the Saviour told them they would need to have circumcision to remind them not to do that any more in the future. [36] What it did do was bring onto the stage [37] another group of people who have become steadfast enemies of God’s people, and indeed, the whole world![38]  We call them “Muslims” today, although they have had other names in the past .[39]

 Spiritually, circumcision represents the removal of the old character (the fig-leaves, Genesis 3:7), called the “old man” in Romans 6:6, before the new one could be installed.  (Ephesians 4:22-24 etc.) [40]  

 From then on, the circumcision of baby boys was required before they could make an acceptable “burnt sacrifice” as adults (Genesis 17:1, 10-14), although Abram was ninety-nine years old when he went through the ritual.  After that he and his wife were given new names indicating their new understanding, Abraham and Sarah.  Genesis 17, verses 5 and 15.  (See also Revelation 2:17 and 3:12.)

 Idolaters (counterfeit Christians) and heathen (Pagans who worshipped nature gods) under the influence of Satan were also making animal sacrifices (and sometimes even human ones) to their gods, so the circumcision helped to maintain the distinction between the people of God and the people of the world.  It was a private symbol for a private change of heart.[41]  Altars for these sacrifices were erected by Christians, and others, wherever and whenever they desired.[42]

 But as time went on the people of God went their own way (sinned) so much that He could not prevent them from being taken captive by the people of the world, first of their own choice[43], and then being brought up in Egypt (a picture of the heathen world) as slaves.[44]   So Moses was called to teach them how to be free, physically and spiritually, and this required a whole lot more illustrations of what God the Saviour was doing for them behind the scenes, the other aspect of the sacrifice, for this is both a public and a private process.[45]    

 Before they left Egypt the LORD God (the Saviour God) instituted the two-part Passover ceremony to illustrate more fully the way to freedom.[46] 

 This was a special lamb and vegetable meal partaken of with friends and neighbours once a year, after being circumcised, if required.  Exodus 12;1-51; John 1:29; 1Corinthians 5:7-8.  Because of the danger of receiving our instruction like parrots (without comprehension), the Saviour God has ordained that we have to search out for ourselves (with the Spirit’s guidance) the depths of the meanings of the religious rituals.[47]  This will require much reading of the words of God.  (Take note of Proverbs 30:5-6. Note 3.)

 Moses then led them, following the Cloud [48] into the wilderness for over a year before they built the transportable two-roomed sanctuary with a courtyard fence around it.  This took about another six months.  Exodus 25:8-9.

 The inner court area represented the kingdom of heaven on earth, the outside was a picture of the rest of the world.  The first apartment of the building represented the obvious view of the Saviour God that all could see, and His noticeable work for them, while the second room was a picture of the private work which He continued to do “behind the scenes” and which they could not see or comprehend at that time, for only the high priest ever went into that room, and that only on one day of the year.[49]  The knowledge of this is also NOT essential for salvation, but certainly makes it easier to believe it.

 It was in the portable courtyard on a brass-covered altar that the “burnt sacrifice” was then offered on behalf of all the people.  It was made up of two lambs (although always spoken of as one) put on the fire at different times of the day (mid-morning and mid-afternoon, equivalent to our 9am and 3pm) so that there was always a portion of one of them burning during the twenty-four hours.[50] (Pagans have sunrise and sunset as their times.) It is sometimes called “the daily” or continual sacrifice and pictured the fact that God the Saviour was laying down His life (not His death) for them 24/7 and only incidentally that it was killing Him.  That was emphasised by the slow burning.[51] Calvary was NOT a sin offering, but a burnt offering!!

 The daily was joined by any personal “burnt offering” which might be made,[52] but that also required a “meat [food] offering” and a “peace offering” of another animal, for it represented the individual offering his or her life and assets (not their death) in service for others.  Leviticus chapters 1, 2, 3.  The flour or cereal food offering represented the time and possessions of the offeror,[53] while the “peace sacrifice” was a “Thank You” contribution.[54] And until this triple sacrifice had been completed the issue of sin actions was not addressed.[55]

 When such a voluntary three-part offering was made it was ALWAYS in addition to the general burning animal which would already be on the altar.  Only a portion of such offerings were burnt on the altar and the remainder was used by the priests and their families and/or friends of the offeror.[56]

 Moreover, when an animal offering was made at the confession of a sin (not a burnt offering but a sin offering) the animal was different for different people, and, unlike so much teaching today, it was NOT usually a lamb except by default, (Leviticus 4:32-35), for a lamb’s blood NEVER went into the sanctuary![57] This is a pleasing myth made up by some well-meaning teachers who were ignorant of the scriptures, and yet is still taught today.

 The ordinary man or woman’s sin offering was a goat, a female goat and most of its blood was wasted around the foot of the altar!  Leviticus 4:28, 34.  Only a small amount was put on the “power points” of the brass altar in the courtyard, and NONE went into the building.[58]  The only blood to enter the building was that of bulls and male goats.[59]

 Sin offerings were never intended to become recurring situations, confessing the same sin oftentimes, but, as the old saying has it, “Man is the only animal to put his hand in the fire more than once”!  We just don’t seem to want to learn that there is a “way” to stop sinning [60] and be at peace with our conscience – which is really God the Spirit talking to us![61]

 Until the new system was given at Sinai the head of each family had been the priest, or guide, for that unit, but after a few experiences at the mountain eventually one tribe rose to prominence as devoted followers, Levi by name.  (The ancestor was actually a very bad man turned good.  See Genesis 34:25 and verse 30; Exodus chapter 32 and Malachi 2:1-6).  One family of that tribe, that of Moses’ brother, Aaron, was separated from the twelve tribes to become the priests, with Aaron being the first high priest while his sons were ordinary priests.  His firstborn son succeeded him as the high priest when he died.  From then on, that tribe (Levi) was no longer counted among the twelve.  This has never changed since then, although of course, it is now a spiritual position.[62]  

 The rest of the families of the tribe (there were three divisions) were also separated and became workers in the sanctuary, and in the Bible they are called Levites.[63]  (So a priest is a Levite, but a Levite is not necessarily a priest.)  Most of the Levites were scattered to live among the tribes [64] (although they had a base on three sides of the sanctuary building)[65], and in that dispersion were intended to be the educators in things holy, by precept and example.[66]  This situation the Godhead still desires.

 To make up the number of the twelve common tribes, of Joseph’s two half-Egyptian [67] children one (Ephraim) took his place and the other (Manasseh), replaced Levi, meaning that since that time there have been 12 + 1 tribes on earth, representing all of humanity with their different characters.[68] (See The Revelation 7:1-17.)  Sadly, most of the readers of the Bible see only the twelve.

 This new system required a lot more animal offerings and new species in order to teach a lot more truths.  Cows and bulls, goats and sheep and birds, and the use of their blood (their life force) became very significant.[69]

 Individual male and female animals were sacrificed at various times and for various reasons, but in each case the blood was important, and the use of the blood became a constant.   Each difference in sex, age, and species meant something the people needed to learn about the Saviour God’s work and His character, and their own by assimilation![70]  Then the ritual by which each was offered made a lot of sense also! 

 Some bodies were wholly burnt, some were partly burnt and the balance eaten, others were wholly eaten (with some special exemptions, Leviticus 4:26;3:17), and some bodies were totally abandoned on the rubbish heap and only the blood (the evidence of death) was used![71] 

 Some were sacrificed OUTSIDE the temple grounds and turned into ashes for later use.  (See Numbers chapter 19.) 

 When two turtledoves or pigeons were used, representing the dual nature of the Saviour God, one became a burnt offering, and the other a sin offering.  Sometimes the blood of one was used while the other was set free![72]  We should note that in this particular process the cleansing came AFTER the leprosy was physically healed for it has special meaning for the redeemed!

 There was even a sin offering that did not require a body and therefore had no blood which could be used, and which was accepted on behalf of those who did not know about the Saviour God but who asked Someone outside of themselves for a change of heart and forgiveness for their actions anyway, for God’s “house is a house of prayer for all people” even if they do not know about it.  See Mark 11:17; 1Kings 8:41-43; and Isaiah 56:7.

 There were other flour offerings as well, which represented, as we have seen, not the life of the rebel (for that is what a sinner is), but his or her possessions, for what many have not realised is that females were just as welcome in their own right at God’s presence as were males.[73]  But the earthly social conditions even in the church at the time very often restricted females from endeavouring to attend at the sanctuary/temple. 

 The portable building eventually became a permanent one called a temple in Solomon’s time, about 500 years after Moses.  Consider 1Kings 5:1-5. They even added a special woman’s courtyard but still denied them access to the altar.  That is definitely man’s idea which still hangs around today![74]

 These extra ceremonies were all in addition to the Passover ritual which centred around circumcision and a lamb (a removal and an infilling) and which was normally participated in and eaten at home, not in the sanctuary/temple, for individuals become Christians despite the church organisation, not because of it. The church is intended to be a nurse-maid, a keeper of the books, and a trainer of the new-born  – not a “mother”.[75]

 We should also be aware that much of the flesh of any sacrifice (not the burnt offering) was eaten (accepted into the life of the eater)[76], either by the priests and their families, and/or by the people as part of their religious ways It is not a sin to eat meat with our vegetables, but today it always leads to problems (for both the animals and for those who eat their flesh), so Christians are advised to be vegetarians and thus spare more animal pain and have clearer minds!  However, the vegetable diet is often a selfish action rather than a righteous one, for many people seek reform for their own better personal health!  This suggested prohibition was later expanded to include most fish and sea animals for the same reasons.  See Leviticus chapter 11.

 Then there were three major occasions when the mature males of God’s people were asked to attend what are called “feasts” or “festivals” at Jerusalem in which various animal sacrifices were made every day, most of which became the onlookers’ food.  Deuteronomy 16:16-17.  Everyone was welcome from God’s perspective, but not all were requested.[77]  Married women especially were too busy doing the multiplicity of tasks needed by a family to want to take on the play-acting of the temple rituals!! (For that’s all it really was – although some men would have us think otherwise.  There was no power in the ceremonies – only in the Person they represented.)[78]  But mankind likes to dress up and play act in religion.

 Several other minor feasts, which were not compulsory, did not require attendance at Jerusalem but were observed locally.  These all helped to cement the feeling of being a part of a separated whole – an inhabitant of God’s earthly kingdom – as well as being prophecies of future events and markers for Christ’s public life.[79]

 The Jews even added a few of their own “holy” days (public holidays) but they were in addition to God’s.[80]

 This made using the building and its surroundings an important part of the public Christian religion.  I call it “Christian” because it was all based on a Person, whom we call Christ, the Saviour God, even though they did not know Him by that name then.[81]  They called Him the LORD GOD and He was the One they thought of when they claimed, “The LORD our God is one LORD.” Deuteronomy 6:4. 

 This is often misquoted as “The LORD our God is one God”.[82]

 “Jesus”, which is one of His personal names, means “Saviour” and this was in common usage when He was given a human body,[83] sometimes in the form of “Joshua” or “Jeshua”.[84]  

 “Christ” which is not a surname or family name, actually means “the Sent One”. Thus, we should say “Jesus, the Christ the son of God” (not Jesus the son of Joseph), just as Simon Peter the apostle was the son of a man named Jonah.[85]  But it also tells us of His subordinate position while He was on earth, for all the words of God have layers of meaning as mentioned before.[86]

 Historians call God’s people of the Bible times, “Hebrews” and later, “Jews”, but that describes their ethnicity and not their real religion which was to follow and worship God the Saviour, known to them as the LORD GOD.[87]  That explains why Jerusalem and the temple with its sacrifices became so important as their religious centre.

 The period of offering a “burnt sacrifice” went through three phases. 

1)       A single lamb on an earthen altar.

2)       Circumcision and a single lamb on an earthen altar.

3)       Circumcision, a single/double lamb, associated with a variety of other animals and food on a brass-covered wooden altar.

 The first era lasted about 2,000 years; the second about 500 years and the last approximately 1,500 years.  Today we do not offer animals as substitutes or teaching models, for we have the agony and the death of the Son of man in Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary, and that has been our illustration for the last 2,000 years.  Prayers were represented by the smoke mixed with the incense of a gold-covered altar and a portable censer inside the building.[88]

 It was because of the degree of comprehension on the part of some of the creation that the human sacrifice did not have to be made for 4,000 years although church people have fancy ideas over that time lag too!

 The two-part Passover, the flesh of which is eaten as a graphic picture of becoming a Christian by the entrance of the Life of God the Saviour into the partaker’s life, typifies a portion of the everlasting gospel, and is still practised by the Jews, although often incorrectly.  Today it is more commonly known among the professed Christian community as the LORD’s Supper or Communion, and is meatless.  It also often overlooks the need of spiritual circumcision.  Romans 2:29.  Yet it is a picture that will be continued in the new world![89]  

 The real problem behind all this is not that animals had to give their lives to teach us what is really happening (I am sure that they will be recompensed for this by God eventually in the new world), [90] but that sadly, the picture became the reality in the minds of the people.

 They began to imagine that if they offered an animal then God was pleased with them, and that He answered their prayers because of their costly efforts.  So some began to offer more of them and more expensive ones with greater attention to the details of ritual as per the instructions given (or, more accurately, as they perceived them), to get more favourable answers!  God the Spirit calls them “Pharisees” in the Bible.[91]  They were trying to buy their salvation or forgiveness when it was being offered as a free gift! [92]

 Others had just the opposite idea and tried to offer diseased and cheap ones to reduce the burden of the cost to them, and this diminished their idea of the cost that the Godhead is paying!  That’s one of the reasons the ceremonies with their precise instructions were given in Moses’ time. 

 But all and every one of them pointed to God the Saviour, also known as the Christ, the Son of God.  That phrase does not denote an inferior portion in the Godhead for They are all equal, but pinpoints His position in human society as mentioned above.  Others in the Bible are also known by this title.[93]  But He preferred to be called “the Son of man”.[94]  

Conclusion:

We have had about 2,000 years since the last animal sacrifice and the Godhead expects us to have learned from the rituals of the Hebrews and Jews, and to have added to them clearer ideas from the events of Gethsemane and Calvary.  

 When we understand the spiritual meaning, it is not so important to observe the earthly ceremonials which is why we no longer obey them physically, although their rituals are still full of instruction for us. But again, sadly, the picture has become the reality in many minds, and the greater picture has not even been seen by many, and animal flesh has become just part of the daily diet even among those professing Christianity. 

 One day the true depths of the gospel will be sought for by anxious Christians and things will change dramatically.[95] 

 

***************************

  

Note 1:  Based on Exodus 20:1-17

The ten commandments are like the rules for driving for a company, the rejection of any of which is called a “sin”.[96]

 

          Inwardly:

1)       It is the owner of the firm who pays your wages.

2)       It is not good manners to make representations of him.

3)       It’s not good to drive the firm’s van recklessly.

4)       Remember the vehicle has the firm’s logo on its side.

 

Outwardly:

5)        Listen to what the manager says, for he is closer to the owner.

6)        Running over pedestrians is not wise.

7)        Taking your best friend’s girlfriend for a joyride is not wise either.

8)        If you overcharge on deliveries you’ll be found out.

9)        Telling lies won’t get you out of trouble for long.

10)     If you want something better, work for it.

 To deal with them in a religious judgmental sense (still thinking in terms of driving a vehicle), the confessions needed are:

  

1)       Ignorance – I didn’t know it was wrong.  Leviticus 4:27-35.

2)      I hadn’t read the owner’s private standard.  Leviticus 4:1-2.

3)      I could have known if I had looked at the road sign.  Leviticus 5:15-19.

4)       I should have read the whole Road Code. (Priests, congregations, and elders had different animal rituals.)  Leviticus 4:3-12; 13-21; 22-26.

5)       I heard the siren of the Spirit but wasn’t paying attention. Leviticus 5:1-3.

6)       I said I would, then I didn’t.  Leviticus 5:4-14.

7)       I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t care.  Leviticus 6:1-7.    BACK

 

***************************

 If you would like to read a very simplified version of this article, then try this:

https://ancient-sda.com/ancient/white_country.html

  

Note 2:

When Adam was created he was very tall, probably nearly 12ft or just under 4 metres, which is the normal average height of creatures throughout the universe.  Eve came up to his shoulder.  Humanity just gradually became shorter as an effect of sin, until after the Flood when it became stunted to our present height very quickly, mainly due to huge climatic and dietary changes.  They also died younger and younger in the effects of sins and the religious wars which were widespread at that time.  Genesis 11.

 [See https://ancient-sda.com/two_babylons/synopsis.html#.

For a very detailed description of these events see The Two Babylons at  https://ancient-sda.com/two_babylons/index.htmlBACK

 

Note 3:

Proverbs 30:5-6

 Every word of God is pure [correct]: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.
Add you not unto His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar.   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.  Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. Recognition is not always given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

 

Next query. To be discussed from 1st April 2019

 Query:

Was it really “an angel of the LORD” who slaughtered 185,000 sleeping men of Sennacherib’s army when they were camped outside Jerusalem?  “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses”.  2 Kings 19:32-37.

 For contact:

mail to:  nonconformist@mail.com  (Copy and paste if necessary)

 To see the list of some of my past queries, click here.

 To see past queries and my responses, click here.


 

Right click on the number and choose "Follow hyperlink" to return to your place in the article.

[1]   Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Col 2:9

[2]   Consider Jude 1:9; Daniel 10:13

[3]   Ezekiel 28:1-190; Isaiah 14:12-27

[4]   Hebrews 1:5-6, 8; PP 36.1-2

[5]   Hebrews 10:5-9; DA 22.4

[6]   Isaiah 14:12-15; Philippians 2:5-8;

             DA 22.2-3; Jude 1:6 (they left)

[7]   Nahum 1:9

[8]   Deuteronomy 6:24-25;  Ezekiel 18:31-

              32; 1Chronicles 28:6-9

[9]   Jonah 1:3

[10]  Genesis 3:15

[11]  Revelation 12:10

[12]  1 Peter 5:8; PP 37.1 – 38.2

[13]   For example: Luke 4:25-30

[14]   Matthew 1:23; DA 19:1-2

[15]   Zechariah 13:6-7

[16]   John 8:44

[17]   Mark 16:1-7; Matthew 28:2-7

[18]   Romans 1:4

[19]   Genesis 3:21; Leviticus 7:8

[20]   Romans 6:6; Proverbs 26:2

[21]   John 3:1-15

[22]    Psalm 3:7-8

[23]   1 Timothy 6:14-16; Romans 2:6-7

[24]   John 5:28-29

[25]   Psalm 22:1; Mark 27:46

[26]   Zechariah 13:7;  DA686.2-4

[27]   Zechariah 13:6; Luke 24:39-40

[28]   Leviticus 16:20-22

[29]   Revelation 20:11-15

[30]   John 20:17; DA 790.2-3

[31]   Ephesians 4:30; AH 67.4-5

[32]   Mark 15:25; 33-34. 

[33]   Acts 18:25-28

[34]   Job 1:5.

[35]   Genesis 16:1-16; Galatians 4:22-31

[36]   Genesis 17:1-16

[37]   1 Corinthians 4:9

[38]   Revelation chapters 8 and 9

[39]   Genesis 16:11-12

[40]   Deuteronomy 10:16; Romans 2:29.

[41]   Genesis 17:11; Deuteronomy 10:6;

           30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Romans 4:11

[42]  Genesis 12:7-8

[43]  Genesis 26:1; 40:1-7

[44]  Genesis 12:10; 26:1-3; 46:1-4

[46]  Exodus 12:1-50 (verses 43-50)

[47]  John 5:39

[48]   Exodus 13:21-22

[49]   John 3:3, 5

[50]  Leviticus 6:8-13

[51]  Daniel 8:9-14

[52]  Leviticus 1:1-3

[53]  Leviticus 6:14-18

[54]  Leviticus 3:1-17 

[55]  Leviticus chapters 4, 5, 6

[56]  Leviticus 6:18

[57]  Leviticus 6:24-26, 29, 30

[58]  Leviticus 4:29-30

[59]   Hebrews 9:12-14

[60]   Acts 18:24-28

[61]  Acts 26:14

[62]   1 Peter 2:5

[63]  Deuteronomy 12:12

[64]   Deuteronomy 18:1; Numbers 1:53

[65]   Numbers 1:47-51

[66]  Malachi 2:7

[67]  Genesis 41: 50-52

[68]  Genesis 48:1-22.

[69]   Leviticus 17:11, 14

[70]   Galatians 3:28

[71]   Leviticus 10:16-18 

[72]   Leviticus 14:1-7

[73]   Leviticus 12:4, 6-8

[74]   Genesis 2:24

[75]   Romans 3:1-4

[76]   Matthew 5:6

[77]   Isaiah 55:3; Matthew 11:28-30

[78]   Hebrews 10:1-4

[79]   Mark 9:1; Luke 10:8-12

[80]   Esther 9:23-32

[81]   John 8:56-59; Genesis 22:4

[82]   Genesis 2:4-8; Hebrews 1:1-2

[83]   Hebrews 10:5

[84]   Matthew 1:19-25

[85]   John 1:42

[86]    John 8:26-30

[87]   Hosea 6:6

[88]   Exodus 30:1-6; Revelation 8:3-4

[89]   Luke 22:13-16

[90]   Isaiah 11:6-9

[91]   Matthew 3:7; 5:20; 9:34

[92]   Isaiah 52:3; 55:1

[93]   Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; John 1:11-13

[94]   Matthew 9:6; 10:23; 12:8

[95]   Deuteronomy 4:29; 6:4-5;

           Mark 12:29-30

[96]   1 John 3:4

 

 

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 1st March 2019

 

Why is there so much in the Old Testament about the animal sacrifices made in the temple?  I find them blood chilling and am even tempted to believe that it could not have been God who instructed His people to practise them for about 1,500 years.   [His people asked for them, based on Egyptian ideas.]

 

 For contact:

mail to:  nonconformist@mail.com  (Copy and paste if necessary)

 

To see the list of some of the past queries, click here.

 To see the past queries and my responses, click here.


 

 

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