Sacrifices In The Millennium
The book of Ezekiel makes it very clear that sacrifices will be implemented once again during the thousand year millennial reign of Christ. Notice Ezekiel 43:20,
“And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it.”
Many Bible students find it difficult to understand why there will be a need for these animal sacrifices in light of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice that took place on Calvary so many years ago. Sacrifices in the Millennium can certainly be bewildering when one reads Hebrews 9:12,
“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.”
Though not all scholars agree, there have been several common reasons proposed for these sacrifices. It is up to the serious Bible student to weigh these suggested explanations with the teachings of Scripture.
Ezekiel clearly states the meaning and purpose of the Millennial sacrifices.
“And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD.”—Ezekiel 45:15
Verses seventeen and twenty provide further proof that these sacrifices are for the purpose of reconciliation. The Hebrew word kapar that is rendered “make reconciliation” in the King James is also rendered “make an atonement” in many places in the Old Testament.
It’s important to understand that the atonement in the Old Testament is significantly different from New Testament atonement. The former deals with cleansing and covering of sin (Hebrews 10:4) while the latter restores man to divine favor through a removal of sin. Keeping in line with the Old Testament concept of cleansing, the apostle Paul offers a sacrifice for the purposes of ritual purification in Acts 21:26 (this is after the death of Christ and therefore the Mosaic law is no longer in effect).
While the Bible plainly states that the future sacrifices are for the purpose of atonement, some have suggested that these sacrifices will also serve some secondary functions. Some see the Millennial sacrifices as serving a memorial function similar to modern day baptism and communion.
Expression Of Faith
Another ancillary purpose for these sacrifices is a means or mechanism to express faith and/or obedience. Hebrews 11 defines faith as “the evidence of things not seen.” Because Christ will be unmistakably visible during the Millennium, some see the institution of sacrifice as a necessary component of faith.
When dealing with the precious word of God, one must never forget that God hasn’t revealed everything. The existence of some Biblical revelation that may seem strange to us does not void literal, plain interpretation. Though there may be some secondary applications for sacrifices in the Millennium, the primary focus is that of Old Testament atonement; the reconciliation of fellowship not relationship.