Dispensationalism's Dilemma: Animal Sacrifices in the Millennium!

Paradise and the Fall, Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625)
Paradise and the Fall, Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) | Source

For Dispensationalism to teach the re-establishment of animal sacrifices during a millennium reign of Christ on earth, is not only totally contrary to the Scriptures, it does a great disservice to the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Introduction

This may come as a shock to some readers that most scholars today teach that Christ has not appeared a second time. As a consequence, believers still await full possession of their salvation. This view is irrespective of the simple statement Jesus made during the Olivet discourse that His generation would not pass until all was fulfilled... Matthew 24:34.

  • Heb 9:28 KJV So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

A Quote from John Gill's Exposition of the Bible

Hebrews 9:28 'the end of his first appearance was to obtain salvation for his people, and he has obtained it, and there is a comfortable application of it made unto them by the Spirit of God; but the full possession of it will be hereafter, and into this will Christ put them, when he shall appear:'

Thankfully, our High Priest 'appeared the second time' at His return in judgement in AD 70, when the Old Covenat passed away. Thereby, salvation and the blessings of the New Covenant Age are our prized possession.

I will explain my understanding of the important doctrine of Atonement and its crucial link to Jesus our High Priest's return.

Christ Died for Our Sins According to the Scriptures

  • 1Co 15:3-4 KJV For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

The Atonement provided the forgiveness of sins through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, by whom reconciliation between God and 'man' became possible.

The Rite of Sacrifice

To comprehend the rite of sacrifice it is crucial to understand the demands of justice regarding payment for sin, the forfeit of the life of the transgressor.

A sacrificial sin-offering was a substitute for the transgressor, and involved the death of a pure and innocent animal by the shedding of its blood. The sinner should have been the one put to death; but God in His mercy allowed a sacrificial offering, thereby granting life and forgiveness.

The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were a type and foreshadow of the ultimate sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ that would take place at God’s appointed time.

Adam and Eve and the Atonement

The Protoevangelium

  • Gen 3:15 KJV And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This first prophetic declaration concerning the Messiah in the Scriptures, ‘the Protoevangelium’ or First Gospel, would have been communicated by Adam and Eve to their descendants.

  • Gen 3:7 KJV And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

The day Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he died spiritually, being cast out from the presence of God and the Garden of Eden. He did not die physically.

  • Gen 3:21 KJV Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of the first recorded victims of sacrificial death. The Scriptures do not specifically record the Lord’s original instruction to offer animal sacrifices as sin-offerings, although it is interesting to note that the only physical deaths mentioned as a direct result of the fall were those of the animals slain to be a covering for Adam and Eve.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Genesis 3:21 ‘God made coats of skins - It is very likely that the skins out of which their clothing was made were taken off animals whose blood had been poured out as a sin-offering to God; for as we find Cain and Abel offering sacrifices to God, we may fairly presume that God had given them instructions on this head; nor is it likely that the notion of a sacrifice could have ever occurred to the mind of man without an express revelation from God. Hence we may safely infer, 1. That as Adam and Eve needed this clothing as soon as they fell, and death had not as yet made any ravages in the animal world, it is most likely that the skins were taken off victims offered under the direction of God himself, and in faith of Him who, in the fullness of time, was to make an atonement by his death. And it seems reasonable also that this matter should be brought about in such a way that Satan and death should have no triumph, when the very first death that took place in the world was an emblem and type of that death which should conquer Satan, destroy his empire, reconcile God to man, convert man to God, sanctify human nature, and prepare it for heaven.’

Cain and Abel

Cain and Abel Titian 1487/90-1576
Cain and Abel Titian 1487/90-1576 | Source

Cain and Abel and the Atonement

  • Gen 4:4 YLT and Abel, he hath brought, he also, from the female firstlings of his flock, even from their fat ones; and Jehovah looketh unto Abel and unto his present,

Abel's Acceptable Sacrifice

The Lord looked favourably on Abel's animal sacrifice.

The first mention in Scripture of ‘man’ offering an animal sacrifice is in Genesis 4:4. It is reasonable to contemplate that the acceptable animal sacrifice made by Abel was the result of the concept communicated to him and his brother either directly by the Lord, or through their father Adam who had first hand knowledge of the Lord.

  • Heb 11:4 KJV By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

According to the writer to the Hebrews, Abel ‘obtained witness that he was righteous’ because his offering was by faith and a contrite heart.

Cain's Unacceptable Offering

  • Gen 4:5-7 YLT and unto Cain and unto his present He hath not looked; and it is very displeasing to Cain, and his countenance is fallen. 6 And Jehovah saith unto Cain, `Why hast thou displeasure? and why hath thy countenance fallen? 7 Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it.'

Cain’s offering and attitude was unacceptable to the Lord.

A Quote from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary

Genesis 4:7 'If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? — A better rendering is, “Shalt thou not have the excellency”? which is the true sense of the words referring to the high privileges and authority belonging to the first-born in patriarchal times.
sin lieth at the door — sin, that is, a sin offering - a common meaning of the word in Scripture (as in Hos_4:8; 2Co_5:21; Heb_9:28). The purport of the divine rebuke to Cain was this, “Why art thou angry, as if unjustly treated? If thou doest well (that is, wert innocent and sinless) a thank offering would have been accepted as a token of thy dependence as a creature. But as thou doest not well (that is, art a sinner), a sin offering is necessary, by bringing which thou wouldest have met with acceptance and retained the honors of thy birthright.” This language implies that previous instructions had been given as to the mode of worship; Abel offered through faith (Heb_11:4).
unto thee shall be his desire — The high distinction conferred by priority of birth is described (Gen_27:29); and it was Cain’s conviction, that this honor had been withdrawn from him, by the rejection of his sacrifice, and conferred on his younger brother - hence the secret flame of jealousy, which kindled into a settled hatred and fell revenge.’
  • Gen 4:8 YLT And Cain saith unto Abel his brother, `Let us go into the field;' and it cometh to pass in their being in the field, that Cain riseth up against Abel his brother, and slayeth him.

The Lord gave Cain the opportunity to repent and make an acceptable ‘sin-offering’, he continued to rebel and as a result he murdered his brother.

  • 1Jn 3:12 KJV Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.

The Old Testament contains many types and shadows, Christ being the antitype. To understand the Atonement of Christ it is advantageous to grasp the significance of the Old Covenant sacrificial system.

Moses Coming Down from Mount Sinai

Moses Coming Down from Mount Sinai Gustave Doré 1832-1883
Moses Coming Down from Mount Sinai Gustave Doré 1832-1883 | Source

Old Covenant Israel and the Atonement

The Law of Moses

  • Lev 4:3-4 KJV If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering. 4 And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.

  • Lev 4:12 KJV Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt.

The Law of Moses required the sacrificial victims be free from blemish. An animal’s death did not automatically make a person right with God in some ritualistic way. God provided the means of atonement in the sacrificial system, but the Israelites had to recognise the seriousness of their sin…Leviticus 16:29-30; Micah 6:6-8. They also had to identify themselves personally with the victim that died…Leviticus 1:4.

  • Lev 17:11 KJV For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

During the Old Covenant Age, did the blood of an animal cleanse their sin? Yes it did.

  • Heb 9:22 KJV And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

The Law of Moses was the fundamental principle by which God continued with them, the taking of a life by the shedding of blood was required when the Old Covenant people broke the Law.

  • Heb 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

  • Rom 3:25-26 KJV Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Although Old Covenant believers received genuine atonement, the sacrifice of animals was unable to meet the demands of God's judgement upon sin. A greater sacrifice was necessary, the Lord Jesus Christ…Romans 3:25.

The Day of Atonement

  • Lev 16:34 KJV And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.

The Day of Atonement first began c 1490 BC and was an annual cleansing of all the sins of Israel committed during the course of that year.

  • Heb 9:11-12 KJV But Christ being come an 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, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

The Great High Priest of the New Covenant was the antitype of the Old Covenant high priest.

  • Heb 10:8-12 WNT After saying the words I have just quoted, "SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS OR WHOLE BURNT-OFFERINGS AND SIN-OFFERINGS THOU HAST NOT DESIRED OR TAKEN PLEASURE IN" --all such being offered in obedience to the Law-- 9 He then adds, "I HAVE COME TO DO THY WILL." He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 It is through that divine will that we have been set free from sin, through the offering of Jesus Christ as our sacrifice once for all. 11 And while every priest stands ministering, day after day, and constantly offering the same sacrifices--though such can never rid us of our sins-- 12 this Priest, on the contrary, after offering for sins a single sacrifice of perpetual efficacy, took His seat at God's right hand,

A Quote from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

Hebrews 10:1-10 'The apostle having shown that the tabernacle, and ordinances of the covenant of Sinai, were only emblems and types of the gospel, concludes that the sacrifices the high priests offered continually, could not make the worshippers perfect, with respect to pardon, and the purifying of their consciences. But when “God manifested in the flesh,” became the sacrifice, and his death upon the accursed tree the ransom, then the Sufferer being of infinite worth, his free-will sufferings were of infinite value. The atoning sacrifice must be one capable of consenting, and must of his own will place himself in the sinner's stead: Christ did so. The fountain of all that Christ has done for his people, is the sovereign will and grace of God. The righteousness brought in, and the sacrifice once offered by Christ, are of eternal power, and his salvation shall never be done away. They are of power to make all the comers thereunto perfect; they derive from the atoning blood, strength and motives for obedience, and inward comfort.’

Under the Law of Moses, the sacrifices were ineffectual in that they could not remove sin permanently. However, these were types and shadows of the coming Christ who would be the perfect and final sacrifice for sin.

The Last Supper

The Last Supper Leonardo Da Vinci c 1495-1498
The Last Supper Leonardo Da Vinci c 1495-1498 | Source

The ‘Lamb of God’ and the Atonement

The Lamb of God

  • Joh 1:29 KJV The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
  • Gen 22:8 KJV And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Genesis 22:8 'My son, God will provide himself a lamb - Here we find the same obedient unshaken faith for which this pattern of practical piety was ever remarkable. But we must not suppose that this was the language merely of faith and obedience; the patriarch spoke prophetically, and referred to that Lamb of God which He had provided for himself, who in the fullness of time should take away the sin of the world, and of whom Isaac was a most expressive type. All the other lambs which had been offered from the foundation of the world had been such as Men chose and Men offered; but This was the Lamb which God had provided - emphatically, The Lamb Of God.’
  • Isa 53:7 KJV He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Many Jewish scholars insist that Isaiah 53 does not apply to the Lord Jesus Christ, the suffering Messiah. Instead they claim it was a description of the sufferings of the nation of Israel.

  • Act 8:32 KJV The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

The Ethiopian eunuch was endeavouring to understand Isaiah 53 when Philip, under the unction of the Holy Spirit, approached him and preached Christ from that very portion of Scripture. The result was the conversion of the ‘eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians'...Acts 8:27.

Matthew and the Blood of Christ

  • Mat 26:28 KJV For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Paul and the Blood of Christ

  • Eph 1:7 KJV In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

  • Col 1:14 KJV In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

  • Col 1:20 KJV And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

The Writer to the Hebrews and the Blood of Christ

  • Heb 9:14 KJV 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?

John and the Blood of Christ

  • 1Jn 1:7 KJV But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

  • Rev 1:5 KJV And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

The Atonement of Christ is reconciliation by redemption through His blood for the forgiveness of sin.

  • Gal 3:13 KJV Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

The Lord Jesus was born by supernatural conception and was not tainted with Adam’s sin, having no sin of His own He had no sin counted against Him; therefore death could not hold Him.

When He died as our substitute He ‘bare our sins in His own body on the tree’...1 Peter 2:24. Isaiah who lived c 700 BC prophesied ‘the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all’…Isaiah 53:6.

  • Lev 17:11 KJV For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

To denigrate the efficacy of the Blood is to attack the integrity of the Scriptures. In recent times, those offended by the preaching of the ‘Blood of Christ’, described Christianity as the ‘slaughterhouse religion’. In fact, a ‘Christian theologian’ created the slogan; I use the term loosely!

The Crucifixion

The Crucifixion, Titian (c1488-1576)
The Crucifixion, Titian (c1488-1576) | Source

Prophetic Fulfilment and the Atonement

  • Heb 9:7-8 KJV But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

By comparing the Old Covenant high priest with the New Covenant High Priest in Hebrews 9, we discover a clearer understanding of the full and fulfilled atonement.

On the Day of Atonement, the high priest offered an annual blood sacrifice. However, it was not until he descended from the temple, thereby providing evidence of an acceptable sacrifice, could the Children of Israel rejoice having been reconciled for another year…Leviticus 16:16-18.


  • Lev 16:17 KJV And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.

Likewise, Jesus our High Priest had to return to us before our salvation was complete.

The simple fact is, if Jesus our High Priest has not returned from the heavenly 'temple’, then He has still to finish the work He set out to do. Not only is a 2000 years gap inconceivable it also discredits the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles; His imminent return was their clarion call.

  • 2Co 1:22 KJV Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

  • Heb 6:5 KJV And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

Did the blood of Christ cleanse 1st century believers from sin? Yes it did. Nonetheless, it is necessary to take into account that prior to the parousia in AD 70 there was a 'transition period' of 40 years, sometimes referred to as the ‘already, but not yet’. The 1st century believers were sealed and had already tasted the Word of God and the powers of the 'age' to come, but until Christ returned in AD 70 they were unable to enter fully into all the blessings of the New Covenant Age.

  • Heb 9:28 KJV So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

The return of our Prophet, Priest, and King meant the completion of our Salvation.

Dispensationalism's Dilemma and the Atonement

Through the full and fulfilled atonement of Christ, the Scriptures declare all the types and shadows of the sacrificial system have their antitype in Christ. There is no justifiable reason for reinstating animal sacrifices even as a means of remembrance, as some scholars suggest.

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Conclusion

Not only did Jesus fully atone for sin, no other future sacrifice is required.

A Quote from Charles S Price

Leviticus 17:11 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the souls." In the heavens above--in the water beneath--in the world in which we live--there is no atonement for sin except through the blood. From the time when our foreparents in the Garden of Eden were told to make skins with which to cover themselves, unto this day, there has never been ONE SINGLE CASE of atonement for sin without the shedding of blood. The sacrifice of Cain was rejected while the sacrifice of Abel was acceptable to the Lord. In all of the types of priesthood that we discover in Old Testament scripture, there was never any system or method of atonement offered to them except the shedding of blood. Type and antitype must correspond. The life of the body is in the blood--and Jesus shed his precious blood upon Calvary--and thereby gave His life for the atonement of all of our sins.’

We may never fully understand why God in His infinite wisdom chose to do things the way He did. With a thankful heart we rejoice in the fact He has made reconciliation a reality.

That's my Saviour!

What do you think?

Footnote

The Old Covenant Offerings

Voluntary Offerings

Burnt Offering…Leviticus 1:1-17… for consecration…Romans 12:1
Meat (meal) Offering…Leviticus 2:1-16…offered with the Burnt Offering
Peace Offering…Leviticus 3:1-17…for reconciliation

Compulsory Offerings

Sin Offering…Leviticus 4:1-35… for sins against God
Trespass Offering…Leviticus 5:1-7…for sins against man or holy things

Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus

Alexander Gibb

© 2011 Alexander Gibb

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Comments 8 comments

Captain Redbeard profile image

Captain Redbeard 5 years ago from Ohio

Thumbs up


searchinsany profile image

searchinsany 5 years ago from UK Author

Captain Redbeard

Thank you for reading my Hub and leaving a comment.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 4 years ago from Southern Minnesota

A well written comprehensive explanation of How our atonement was fulfilled in Christ.

I also noticed you quoted a Young's literal translation verse. It is an interesting translation to study with.

I love how Jesus and the plan of salvation is everywhere interwoven into the tapestry of the Old Testament. The pictures it paints are vivid and bring clarity and explanation to what Christ really did for us.


searchinsany profile image

searchinsany 4 years ago from UK Author

Tamarajo

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my Hub.

I have used and loved the KJV for over 40 years; however I do use other versions in my studies and in particular Young's Literal Translation.

There are so many wonderful types and shadows of Christ in the Old Testament it is like a treasure chest, the New Testament being the key.


Loretta 3 years ago

The doctrine of the atonement between God and mankind is fairly simple. Mankind sinned and lost his relationship with God. Jesus Christ offered himself as a sacrifice to make atonement for that sin. At his second coming he applies the benefits of the atonement to all of mankind and those who accept the sacrifice and forego sin enter into God's kingdom. Faithful Christians receive the benefit of the atonement before the remainder of mankind and before the establishment of God's kingdom on earth.

http://youtu.be/I6R76uwkfHU


searchinsany profile image

searchinsany 3 years ago from UK Author

Loretta

Thank you for your post. I viewed your Youtube link, the graphics are amazing. However, I don't conform to the Jehovah Witness view of the 'end times'.

Perhaps you might read this Hub, I would welcome any comments on it.


RL Judah profile image

RL Judah 2 years ago from Rochester, NY

This is wonderfully written! I love your usage of the OT, something that was missing form my article on the topic.


searchinsany profile image

searchinsany 2 years ago from UK Author

RL Judah

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my Hub.

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