God and the Church’s Position on Animal Sacrifice
Hebrews 10:1: “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers’ thereunto perfect.”
God expects us to be perfect but we can never be perfect so long as we are distracted by the consciousness of sin. When He shed His blood for us in our place, He gave us the free gift of righteousness and took our cursedness in exchange. He died for our sins and the debt was paid in full. His sinless blood was acceptable to God and God demonstrated that it was by raising Him from the dead. (See Romans 1:4) The law made nothing perfect and its purpose was to show us what sin trapped people we really were, apart from the crucifixion of Christ. If the law made anything perfect, Christ has died needlessly. The law is only a shadow of things that were to come and not those things in reality. Shadows only give you a vague and very oversimplified take on what you are looking at. The law was only a shadow! Those animal sacrifices in the dispensation of the law could not set anyone free from their sins or sin consciousness even though they were repeated every year! Animal sacrifices, no matter how often or many are not effective!
Hebrews 10:2: “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.”
If these animal sacrifices and shedding of blood were effective, the temple priests would not have needed to repeatedly offer them and the animal slaughter would have ceased for that individual’s sin. We must conclude therefore that for the intended purpose, animal sacrifices did not work.
Hebrews 10:3: “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.”
If you are plagued by remembering some transgressions you committed and are tormented by them year after year, such animal sacrifices certainly will not produce the desired and intended results, so why would anyone want to continue them or resume them? I particularly address this question to Christians who rejoice that such murdering of animals in a rebuilt Temple is on the drawing board.
Hebrews 10:4: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
It is not only true that shedding the blood of innocent bulls and goats or any other creature does not take away sin, but it is totally impossible, according to God, for animal sacrifices to achieve this. When God says something is impossible, brother, it is impossible! Why would any human being seeking spiritual blessing and victory, support or celebrate animal sacrifices? When there is no benefit, why would anyone give place to such a hideous and barbaric practice?
Hebrews 10:5: “Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared me.”
When Messiah came into the world He declared that God the Father would not want such animal sacrifices, so why would we want something that the Heavenly Father has no desire for? Notice here that the Christ pointed out that God had prepared for Him a body capable of both suffering and death on the cross. He, alone, was both capable of sin and yet sinless. But it was the many member body of Christ that was the joy set before Jesus Christ. And the Heavenly Father was bringing many sons into the first stage of manifestation through God the Son’s demonstration of Divine love! It is through the body of Jesus Christ, who bore our sins on the cross that we who believe were set free.
Hebrews 10:6: “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.”
We must recall that God is referring, in Hebrews 10 to animal sacrifices. God was not at all pleased with animal sacrifice, so how could we, as His followers, want to reinstate it and then, even take pleasure in it? Anyone who rejoices that animal sacrifices have resumed, sacrifices that God takes zero pleasure in, has got to be warped! On the Day of Pentecost, Peter warned, “Save your selves from this untoward generation!” “Untoward” means spiritually parched and morally warped!
Hebrews 10:7: “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me), to do thy will, O God.”
Lo means behold and here we behold Christ saying that God’s word points to one singular Messiah who would pay in full for all the sins of the world. Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus, the brilliance of God’s manifestation, purged our sins by Himself. Notice no animals or anyone else was involved in this incredible deliverance.
Hebrews 10:8-9: “Above, when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein: which are offered by the law; Then said He, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first (covenant) that He may establish the second.”
The sacrifices offered by the law are animal sacrifices, and nothing God liked or would have anyone participate in! What He would have us do is replace the age of legalism with the eon of Grace! Make a note of it. You could say God does not like or want us to commit adultery, to dishonor God, to lie, steal, murder or sacrifice animals which the law offers. Isaiah 66:3 says, “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cuts off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations.” I know those who hunt and trap and butcher for business resent anyone saying so, but God says that you are a murderer for killing the animals and for not treating a lamb, the same way you would your family pet dog! May I assume you would not be sacrificing it? It was Jesus’ will that always was surrendered to the Father’s that led Him to pull out all stops to save humanity and all creatures.
Hebrews 10:10: “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
God’s will was for Christ’s sacrifice alone to take us out of the fallen world or kingdom of darkness and translate us into the kingdom of His dear Son who offered Himself up as the one needed and effective sacrifice that endures forever. The word “sanctified” means made holy and to be uniquely set apart to God and His purposes. If we have had this accomplished (and Jesus said, “It is completed or finished”). Since it is finished, then what sense does it make to offer up animal sacrifices? Do we believe in doing senseless things? I hope not!
Hebrews 10:11-13: “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from hence forth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”
Priests in the temple offered animal sacrifices which cannot ever take away sins. That part of their job was ineffective and could not and did not address the situation it was created for. But the man, Yashua Mashiyach, is waiting for His enemies to be placed under His feet. In light of all God’s conclusions in Hebrews 10, we too can conclude that even these very wrongly directed people who may have dumb but good intentions are God’s enemies. How can it be that Christ wants dysfunctional sacrifices from animals that He does not want sacrificed, to be sacrificed in competition with Christ’s “once for all sacrifice of Himself?” If we are set apart to God which Christ accomplished for us “our sins and iniquities God remembers no more at all.” God is not recording the sins of people who are set apart for God and living to please Him. Satan is keeping that record so He may accuse us day and night but Christ did not come to condemn us but that through Him we might be saved which means delivered, restored to God, set apart to Him to fulfill His purpose and vision for us, and to made whole. We are complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power. Not only do we not need the blood of poor innocent animals to be shed for us, but we do not want it! In light of the word of God in Hebrews and many other places such as Hosea 6:6, how could we respect animal sacrifices or appreciate such senseless cruelty?
Since I also have the Holy Spirit directing my steps, I must believe that God wants none of that either. If any precious Jewish people feel the need for animal sacrifices it is because they have not thoroughly searched the scriptures, received the Messiah or kept God in all their thoughts and did not know the time of their visitation. See Luke 19:44. It seems to me that all Israel, because they are part of the seed of Abraham and because of the promises God made to Abraham concerning His seed, will be saved. It is also true that those who are Christ’s will also be saved but both they and us can make this a very prolonged process by dragging our feet spiritually even though He that began a good work in us will complete it. As we approach the midnight hour, many Jewish people are discovering it is high time to say: “Messiah and Lord Jesus, Come in!” If you receive Jesus, the indwelling Christ will reveal all things to you by His spirit and you won’t be the least bit interested in killing God’s creatures.
Hebrews 10:14: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
What a wonderful and amazing verse with both great and terrible implications. On the one hand we are positionally perfected for ever on the other hand we need to cooperate with the Spirit’s work in us until in manifestation we occupy the position with our walk. Because of grace we can enjoy our position long before we live out the reality of it. If we are slothful spiritually and in our study of the word we can actually be serving Satan’s activities of hindering our walk or we can be hot, zealous and taking every opportunity to learn all God has for us and walk in it. Paul put it this way, “I cooperated mightily with God who worked mightily in me.” Sooner or later we will be very glad we did that or very, very sorrowful that we did not always honor God and seek first the Kingdom, being thankful that we are positionally already in God’s eyes perfected forever.
Hebrews 10:15-17: “Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
The reason the Holy Ghost manifestly is a witness to us is because he brings to remembrance whatsoever things Jesus has spoken and superimposed into us with the mind of Christ which He has given to us. John 14:26 says, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Once we recognize and embrace the fact that we have been positionally perfected for evermore it is time to start expecting to keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit and to keep on being reminded of all the spiritual riches Christ has bestowed upon us. In Jeremiah 31:34, this prophet quotes God saying, “They shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.” Why would anyone want to kill an animal for their sins which God has forgiven already and does not remember at all?
Hebrews 10:18: “Now where remission of these is (sins and iniquities), there is no more offering for sin (or need for it)”
Remission means freedom, pardon, deliverance, forgiveness and liberty. When we are free from our sin and transgression, when we are pardoned and delivered, when we are forgiven and therefore discover liberty, there is absolutely no more offering for sin including animal sacrifice for the sin has been blotted out, erased, cleansed and forgotten. Where there is no sin remaining there is no need for any further actions. It is finished!
The next time you see one of God’s animal creatures, thank Jesus for beginning the end of animal sacrifice by His own sacrifice for all. If we understand the Holy Scripture and have faith in the operation of God in sending His son, we most surely must oppose all animal sacrifice!