Ezekiel 40-48 and millennial sacrifices" /> Ezekiel 40-48 and millennial sacrifices" /> Ezekiel 40-48 and millennial sacrifices" />

How can there be millennial sacrifices?


Charles Feinberg wrote, “Along with certain other key passages of the Old Testament, like Isaiah 7:14 and 52:13-53:12, and portions of Daniel, the concluding chapters of Ezekiel form a kind of continental divide in the area of Biblical interpretation. It is one of the areas where the literal interpretation of the Bible and the spiritualizing or allegorizing method diverge widely. Here amillennialists and premillennialists are poles apart. When thirty-nine chapters of Ezekiel can be treated detailedly and seriously as well as literally, there is no valid reason a priori for treating this large division of the book in an entirely different manner." (Commentary on Ezekiel - Moody 1967).


Some see a difficulty concerning there being Millennial sacrifices during the 1000 year reign of Christ. The thought is that Hebrews holds to a once-for-all sacrifice of Christ and that to have future (post-cross) animal sacrifices, seems to deny that sufficiency. We must interpret scripture from scripture though, not from human reasonings, and all becomes clear. We must grapple with the significant testimony to future sacrifices. It is not just Ezekiel (chapters 43 and 45 especially) that presents such sacrifices, at least four other prophets do as well, namely Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, and Malachi  (Isaiah 56:7 & 66:20-23; Jeremiah 33:18; Zechariah 14:16-21; and Malachi 3:3-4). While the New Testament Hebrews writer does tell us that Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice made with finality, a new and living way to God (Hebrews 10:20), the answer to "why millennial sacrifices" needs answered in some circles where a less literal approach to Bible study is tolerated and promoted. We need not be fearful of such a challenge. The answer has a beauty to it.


In summary, memorial sacrifices in the millennium do not detract from the work of Christ nor complement it, nor supplement it, any more than pre-cross Levitical sacrifices were actually redemptive. They were not, they were anticipatory. In the old testament there was atonement, which means sin was "covered." In the cross of Christ, sin was judged and taken away forever. This is more than atonement, and not a mere covering, it is a finished work. And as the millennial sacrifices are neither anticipatory nor redemptive, they too have a valid place in God's millennial program. They do so without a shred of denying the once-for-all sufficiency of the work of Christ.


In short, the OT sacrifices were not salvific. Thus Millennial sacrifices aren't salvific. And this in itself answers the charge made against a future sacrifices system in the 1000 year reign of Christ. Christians may wonder why, but as we remember that the church is distinct from Israel, there is sufficient room even in the millennium for a God-given purpose for those sacrifices. It is because Israel is a central character in God's millennial purposes.


Reasons that we must accept millennial sacrifices and not explain them away include:

  1. Ezekiel 40-48 gives tremendous details of a millennial temple. Such details do not lend themselves to allegorizing and explaining them away.
  2. Ezekiel was not alone giving millennial temple details, Joel, Haggai, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Malachi, and Daniel also did.
  3. There is no physical earthly temple in the church, yet Israel is not the church, and provision is made for them in the millennium. Our task is not to deny broad teaching, but to make our theology fit the scriptural evidence.
  4. John Whitcomb reminds us (in the MBC link below) that non literal interpretations in this area bring us to an allegorical and a modernistic, fanciful, yea even non-believing idealism. Scripture interpretation becomes subject to the whims of spiritualizing and allegorizing. This has been a bane since the time of Origen.


Read here: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/proph/templemi.htm

And more here http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/related-topics/millennial-sacrifices.html