Animal Sacrifices
Animal Sacrifices

Part 2

A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada   Animal Sacrific Index  

Question 1

Why did the Apostle Paul involve himself in animal sacrifices? (Acts 21:23-26)


Paul was often accused of breaking Yahweh's commandments. Even to this day many Christians believe that Paul taught the abolition of God's law. Nothing is further from the truth. Paul and the early Apostles were all Israelites who kept Yahweh's law and taught others to obey it. In the incident recorded in Acts 21 the elders in Jerusalem were anxious to dispel any rumours that Paul was a law-breaker. To be sure he had often tried to explain the real purpose of Yahweh's law, 'things hard to understand' as the Apostle Peter called them in 2 Peter 3:14-16, but Paul never taught disobedience. He taught: But all this did not mean that Paul was attacking God's law. Indeed Paul said Yahweh's law was perfect, holy, just and good.
Romans 7: 12: Therefore the law is in itself holy, and the commandment is holy, just and good.
14: We know that the law is spiritual...

Therefore in order to dispel any doubts the Jews may have held concerning his obedience, Paul joined four others in a Nazarite dedication service. This service is fully described in Numbers chapter 6.

The service involved:

Paul joined in this dedication ceremony - not because he was a Nazarite or had grown his hair long for many weeks, not because he had been defiled by a dead body in any way, but for one reason alone:
Acts 21: 24: ... that all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee - are nothing: but that thou thyself walkest orderly and keepest the law.

Whilst considering these facts also remember that

Then came that incredible accusation that Paul was teaching disobedience to Yahweh's law! The Apostles were stunned, because they all knew that the charge was totally false. They knew that Paul had been explaining the deeper lessons of Yahweh's law; just as we are attempting to do in this booklet. And here he was being accused of heresy! What were they to do? How could they convince an extremely religious population that Paul was in fact an obedient Israelite? How could they do this without entering into endless explanations, arguments and possible uproar? What were they to do?

They found the answer in the Nazarite vow. Bear in mind that no law would be violated if Paul joined in this dedication service, for the Temple and the authorized priesthood were both present. Indeed much would be gained by a silent public display ( a bald head) of obedience. So Paul agreed to their plan and re-dedicated himself to God along with the others.

That is all we should read from this incident: That the Apostle Paul joined others in a dedication service to dispel any doubts that he was a law-breaker. In view of these facts, let no misguided Gentile offer unauthorized animal sacrifices elsewhere on earth. Without a Temple and without a Priesthood even the Jews do not presume to offer sacrifices: how much less should Gentiles who believe in the Saviour as the Lamb of God.

Question 2

Will the animal sacrifices mentioned in Ezekiel's prophecy be performed in some future day? (Ezekiel chapters 44 to 46)


As explained earlier, animals were slaughtered by the Aaronic Priesthood to illustrate the following spiritual realities:
  1. That the penalty for sin is eternal death.
  2. That without the shedding of blood forgiveness is not possible.
  3. That an innocent victim could take the place of a guilty party.
  4. That if a repentant believer requested pardon and came before the Most High with that innocent victim's blood - he/she would be pardoned - on the strength of the Messiah's coming sacrifice.
  5. That all animal sacrifices pointed to Messiah's (Christ's) sacrifice on Calvary.
  6. That the Saviour's blood (life) purifies the believer enabling him/her to be totally reconciled to the Father.
  7. That the multiple sacrifices made on Yahweh's Sabbaths signify the multiple achievements of Christ's sacrifice in the Plan of Salvation.

Also remember that Ezekiel's prophecy was written in about 592 BC, over 600 years before Christ's death on Calvary. In those chapters the prophet uses symbolic language to describe a far higher degree of cleansing and purification still to be achieved in a date future to him. In other words Ezekiel's prophecy pictured Yeshua the Messiah's sacrifice and its eternal effect. Prophetic language may often be low level, picturing bulls, goats, lambs and the literal sons of Zadok; but the realities to which those well known terms point is high-level. The use of symbolic terms such as the 'Passover Lamb,' 'circumcision,' 'washing,' 'unleavened bread' etc. all describe the spiritual realities Messiah's sacrifice would accomplish. These well-known terms help us better understand the concepts of sin, sacrifice, cleansing and holiness. That is the main reason why symbolic language is used in prophecy.

The prophecy of the Revelation also uses symbolic language: 'coloured horses,' 'bows,' 'swords,' 'scales,' 'sickles' and 'frogs' to describe messages of warning, war, famine, the end-time harvest and the work of evil spirits. In a similar way Ezekiel looked forward and in symbolic language described the future work of Christ (the Prince) in a spiritual Temple built on a high mountain. I quote from the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible page 178:

"The picture that is unfolded in these chapters (of Ezekiel) is not an ideal which the prophet expected would be realized literally; but is purely symbolic; for in no other way is it possible to understand the high mountain of the new Zion, and the measurements, and the allotments of the land which are geometrical and not geographical, and the healing waters that issue from the sanctuary and presently become a mighty river, and the trees whose fruit is produced every month and whose leaves are for healing ..."
Ezekiel's Temple, in other words, is a spiritual structure which Yahweh will inhabit through eternity: a structure built on the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ, his sacrifice and his life-blood which was shed for us: a sacrifice, which to the prophet Ezekiel, was still future. Notice that the responsibility of providing all the sacrifices in the Temple fell to the PRINCE.
Ezekiel 45: 17: And it shall be the PRINCE'S part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, in the Feasts, and in the new moons, and in the Sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: He shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.

The Prince is Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). It remains his responsibility to provide all the sacrifices and to make reconciliation for Israel. (Chapters 45 & 46). And that is exactly what the Saviour has been doing since his death and resurrection. By his death - with a single sacrifice - he met every sacrificial requirement mentioned by Ezekiel: and also began the work of building the eternal Temple on the high mountain of the new Zion. The sevenfold Passover sacrifices mentioned (7 bullocks, 7 rams and 7 goat kids, Eze.45:23) all picture the absolute perfection, totality and all-encompassing effect of Yeshua's life-blood and sacrifice. They do not mean that as the Passover lamb or kid Jesus will die over and over again seven times.

Question 3

Is it wrong for a believer to donate an animal for one of Yahweh's Feasts?


A believer may donate money, fruit, vegetables or a clean animal for a Feast; that is perfectly in order. Indeed one cannot have a Feast without these things: they must either be bought or donated. Either way the animal must not be sacrificed in a religious ceremony or on an altar of any kind. Nor should its blood be eaten by or sprinkled on anyone. The animal should be slaughtered in the ordinary way; ensuring that its blood is spilled on the ground. Clean animals that may be eaten are listed in Leviticus chapter 11.

Question 4

Is it right for a church leader to charge a fee for prayers made on behalf of the sick or the dead?


No it is not right. In fact it is a serious sin for any church leader to turn religion into a money-making racket. If a primate, priest or prophet asks you to pay for his prayers you may be sure he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Sad to say, the church has proved to be a brothel of betrayal. Crimes of the worst kind are rampant in its midst and fleecing the poor of their meagre funds is one of its worst sins. This does not mean that full-time ministers should not be supported by a congregation. They should be, by free-will offerings taken up in the normal way. But when a payment, however small, is demanded for a special prayer, then beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing!

Question 5

Isn't the Sabbath commandment symbolic, and therefore obsolete?


The Sabbath commandment is eternal. It is part of Yahweh's primary law, The Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20) The Ten Commandments can never become obsolete any more than honesty, respect for Yahweh's Name, honour for our parents etc. can become obsolete virtues. The Bible says: "All His commandments are eternal." (Psalm 111:7-8).

The seventh day Sabbath is:

Like the other primary laws in the Bible the Sabbath commandment will continue for all time, even on the new earth. (Isa.66:22-23) The weekly Sabbath is a foretaste of Yahweh's Rest, to which the Almighty is eagerly looking forward. In Hebrews chapter 4 the church is given a serious warning about failure to keep the seventh day Sabbath. We are reminded that many in ancient Israel failed to enter the Promised Land because they rejected the weekly Sabbath. In His anger Yahweh swore that they would die in the desert and not enter the Promised Land which is also a foretaste of His Rest.
Hebrews 4: 1: Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
2: For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
3: For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4: For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
5: And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
6: Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
7: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
8: For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10: For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

The chapter says that at some later date - a second time - Yahweh would again entreat His people to keep the weekly Sabbath as a foretaste of His Rest.

What does this amazing passage mean? It means this:

That is what Hebrews chapter 4 is saying. Study it again and again for yourself. Believe it or not Yahweh's second appeal to obey His Sabbath commandment is being made at this very moment to YOU. This appeal is part of Yahweh's second call to His followers to keep His Sabbath day. Beware of rejecting it.

Question 6

The Sabbath-keeping church I attend continues to offer animal sacrifices. I do not agree with them on this matter. What should I do?


To begin with you should make the leaders and the congregation aware of this truth about Messiah's sacrifice. This booklet may help do that. If they continue to sacrifice animals or birds after having received a knowledge of the truth, then leave and join another Sabbath-keeping congregation. Remember, however, that just because a group holds a service on the true Sabbath day does not mean that it has all the truth or even that its members are better than non Sabbath-keepers. Knowledge of the truth is a step in the right direction: but if sin is not put away and followed by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:19-25) then knowledge is just so much extra mental baggage. It means nothing. Sabbath-keeping churches who continue to sacrifice animals will gradually see their best members leave: because once they understand the truth they will expect their leaders to stop this illegal practice - or they will leave. Let all animal sacrificing Sabbath churches around the globe take note!

Question 7

The Sunday-keeping church I attend accepts Christ's sacrifice, but rejects Yahweh's weekly and annual Sabbaths. What should I do?


To begin with you should study the following:

Failure to keep the Creator's Sabbath day, which is the memorial of His creation, is a serious sin. The Everlasting Gospel (outlined in (Revelation 14:7) highlights two vital requirements:

Your group has accepted the first half of the Everlasting Gospel: faith in the all-sufficiency of Yeshua the Messiah's life-blood. Other groups (including most Jews) have accepted the second half: Yahweh's Sabbath days.

Your task now is to find and worship with a group which teaches the whole Gospel; a group which accepts Christ's all-encompassing sacrifice and which also keeps the weekly and annual Sabbaths of the Almighty. A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada lesson entitled the The Everlasting Gospel explains these two requirements.

For help in your search see Where can I find such a Group?     and   The Perfect Church


A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada   Animal Sacrific Index  

Author: Elder: David B. Loughran - Stewarton Bible School - Stewarton Scotland
Elder: Max W. Mader
A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada
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First published 1979 / Placed on the Internet 1996/Updated: 1998/Updated: 2003/Reprinted 2009