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Sacrifice

Secular scholar Keith Akers writes in his as of yet unpublished manuscript, Broken Thread: the Fate of the Jewish Followers of Jesus in Early Christianity:

"...it is hard to reconcile any viewpoint with everything in the New Testament, which is a conglomeration of often widely divergent tendencies.

"Any objective reader of the New Testament becomes immediately aware of tremendous differences between the letters of Paul and the synoptic gospels..."

Here's some relevant scholarship:

God makes it known throughout the Bible that He values acts of love, justice and mercy more than bloody rituals:

"Doth the Lord desire holocausts and victims, and not rather that the voice of the Lord should be obeyed? For obedience is better than sacrifice:and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams."

--I Kings 15:22

"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? Saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts, and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs,or of he-goats.

"When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear, for your hands are full of blood."

--Isaiah 1:11,15

"Add whole-offerings to sacrifices and eat the flesh if you will. But when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt, I gave them no commands about sacrifices. said not a word about them.

"The children of Judah have done evil in My sight...they have set abominations in the House which is called by My name, to pollute it."

--Jeremiah 7:21-22,30

"Loyalty is My desire, not sacrifice. Not burnt offerings,but the knowledge of God."

--Hosea 6:6

"As for sacrificial gifts, they sacrifice flesh and eat it. But in these the Lord has no delight."

--Hosea 8:13

"I hate, I spurn your pilgrim feasts, I do not delight in your sacred ceremonies. When you present your sacrifices and offerings, I will not accept them, nor look on the buffaloes of your shared offerings...

"But let justice roll down as waters and righteousness as mighty stream. O house of Israel, did you offer Me victims and sacrifices for forty years in the wilderness?"

--Amos 5:21-25

"With what shall I come before the Lord and bow before Him? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,with baby calves? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or ten thousand rivers of oil?

"Shall I give Him my firstborn for my transgression?The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, o man, what is good. And what does the Lord require you to do, but justice, love, kindness,and to walk humbly with thy God?"

--Micah 6:6-8

"God, the Lord God, has spoken and summoned the world from the rising to the setting sun...

"‘Shall I not find fault with your sacrifices, though your burnt offerings are before Me always?

"’I will not take a calf from your house, nor a he-goat from your folds. For all the animals of the forest are Mine, and the cattle in thousands on My hills.

"’If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the earth and its fullness are Mine. Shall I eat the flesh of bullocks or drink the blood of goats?

"Offer the sacrifice of praise to God, and pay your vows to the Most High.’"

--Psalm 50:1-14

"Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired...Let my prayer be prepared as an incense offering before Thee, the lifting of my hands as the evening sacrifice."

--Psalm 40:6, 141:2

"To practice righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice."

--Proverbs 21:3

"Guard your steps when you go to the House of God:to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know they are doing evil."

--Ecclesiastes 5:1

Secular scholar Keith Akers writes in his 1983 edition of A Vegetarian Sourcebook that who the messiah is and what he does are not unequivocally spelled out in either Judaism or Christianity. But he is to fulfill God's mission: either right away, or on the installment plan.

The title "messiah" was used in ancient Israel to identify the ruling king. Saul, the first king, was called "messiah." (I Samuel 26:9) The subsequent rulers form the house of David who ruled in Jerusalem were also called "messiah."

Proof of this can be found in some of the Psalms, which may have been used in conjunction with the coronation and enthronement of the Davidic kings. (Psalm 2:2, 89:51)

The kings were called "messiah," because they had been anointed with oil. (I Samuel 10:1; I Kings 1:39) There was also the implication of a spiritual anointing with God’s presence for special service.

Messiah was a title, therefore, which could be used as a designation not just for kings, but for priests and prophets.

The prophet Isaiah considered Cyrus the Persian ruler a messiah, because he had been chosen by God to liberate the Jewish captives. (Isaiah 45:1)

Keith Akers writes in his 1983 edition of A Vegetarian Sourcebook that if the Old Testament prophecies about the messiah restoring the Kingdom of Peace are to be taken seriously, and Christians claim Jesus as a messiah, it would be hard to imagine Jesus being anything but a vegetarian!

Did Jesus come to abolish the Law and the prophets, or merely the institution of animal sacrifice?

Jesus and his disciples lived lives of voluntary poverty and preached God’s word among “the poor.”

When asked why he ate with sinners, Jesus replied:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:29-32)

In the 1986 (updated) edition of A Vegetarian Sourcebook, secular scholar Keith Akers notes that there was a link in Judaism between meat-eating and animal sacrifices, that the prophetic tradition to which Jesus belonged attacked animal sacrifices, and that Jesus attacked the practice of animal sacrifice by driving the money-changers and their animals out of the Temple.

He concludes, “The evidence indicates that for those who first heard the message of Jesus... the rejection of animal sacrifices had directly vegetarian implications.”

Meat-eating Christians sometimes dismiss animal rights and vegetarianism solely as a "Jewish" concern.

But if Jewish vegetarians can reconcile their vegetarianism with Scriptural accounts of the Flood and animal sacrifice, why can't Christians?

And Christians claim to have the religion of grace!

I guess they wouldn't win as many followers if they advertised themselves as the religion of the Inquisition and the Ku Klux Klan!

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