Sacrificing in the city

Yesterday we included the circular of questions about Old Testament laws that a skeptic sent us (these same questions were posed to Creation Ministries International on 10 July 2010).  We want to give attention to them, because we love to write about the Word of God.

The first question is:  ‘When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Lev 1:9).  The problem is my neighbours.  They claim the odour is not pleasing to them.  Should I smite them?’ 

#  The sacrifice of animals

  • Adam and Eve.  Animal sacrifices became part of the history of man in the garden of Eden.  God gave Adam and Eve a command.  If they disobeyed they would ‘surely die (be separated from God and from their earthly bodies).’ 1  Adam and Eve did not obey God.  They were separated from God, but they did not die immediately physically.  God instituted animal sacrifice to cover their disobedience.  He clothed them in animal skins – innocent animals died in their place for their sin.
  • Cain and Abel.  God rejected Cain’s offering of ‘some of the fruits of the soil,’ but accepted Abel’s offering of ‘fat portions from some of the first born of his flock.’ 2  Abel obeyed God’s provision that an innocent animal could die to cover his sins, and Cain didn’t.
  • Abraham and Isaac.  God commanded Abraham to go and sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, as a burnt offering.  It was a test of obedience.  When Abraham was willing, God supplied a ram to sacrifice in the place of Isaac.
  • The sacrificial system.  Under God’s command, Moses instituted the sacrificial system.  The Israelites offered innocent animals to cover their sins for generations.

#  The sacrifice of Jesus

  • The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament point to Jesus, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ 3  In the Old Covenant animals were the sin bearers, but in the New Covenant it is Jesus.
  • Jesus was the final ‘Lamb’ who was ‘sacrificed’ on the Cross (around 33 AD): ‘For this reason Christ is the Mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.’ 4
  • When Jesus was ‘sacrificed’ on the Cross, the old system of animal sacrifices was done away with. To make sure there would be no further animal sacrifices, God allowed the Romans to destroy the Temple in 70 AD.  For the time being, it cannot be rebuilt, because the Muslims built the Dome of the Rock on the very place where the original Temple was.

#  The sacrifice of the believer

  • Today followers of Christ don’t sacrifice animals.  We sacrifice ourselves, ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. …’ 5
  • This accords with Jesus who said, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ 6

Conclusion

Will the people who ask questions about animal sacrifices in our day, be willing to sacrifice an independent lifestyle and entrust themselves to the living Lord Jesus?

References

  1. Genesis 2:16-17
  2. Genesis 4:3-4
  3. John 1:29
  4. Hebrews 9:15
  5. Romans 12:1
  6. Mark 8:34b

Author: Gerard and Alida

As you can see in the photo, there are two of us. We live and work together 24/7, studying and enjoying our grandchildren. Our passion is to know and understand what will happen after death. Is there a way to provide for and invest in that?

7 thoughts on “Sacrificing in the city”

  1. Het die een ge-scan 😃 Nie te maklik om dit te doen nie. Nes ek dink ek het dit, dan begin alles van voor. Maar, aanhou is die geheim, né 🙂

    Ek vind dat daar n groot verskil is om die boodskap te glo en die boodskap te leef. Die tweede een is uitdagend om die minste te sê.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  2. Thank you for taking the time to answer.

    First of all, I never called myself a “skeptic”. I do not take the things written in the Bible literally, as I think there are many levels of significance there and many ways to interpret the contents.

    Before you go through the motions and state for each of these questions that the “New” testament somehow cancels the prescriptions of the “Old” one I would like to specify my question further. Since you quote from the “Old” testament frequently in your writing, I am at a loss here. How do you know which parts are “cancelled” by the “New” testament and which ones are not?

    Let’s start with this specific topic of animal sacrifice. Is there in the “New” testament an explicit reference to the laws on sacrifice, saying that they are “cancelled”? Because the passages you quote are not explicitly stating that “the old system of animal sacrifices was done away with.” Furthermore, how do you know that it was “to make sure there would be no further animal sacrifices, God allowed the Romans to destroy the Temple in 70 AD”? And why didn’t God allow the Romans to destroy the Temple right after the crucifixion of Jesus? Why wait for almost 40 years? Finally, what would prevent God from destroying the Dome of the Rock to make place for a new temple?

    I’m sorry if these are too many questions, but you really got me intrigued and I would like to know about your view on these issues.

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    1. Michael, sorry that we called you a sceptic! Please forgive us. It’s wonderful hearing from a Jew. Our whole New Testament originates from your nation. We put on a blog, ‘Why doesn’t God hurry up?’ to answer why God waited for 40 years before He destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem.

      Like

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