The Question of Millennial Sacrifices Part 1 -- By: John L. Mitchell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 110:439 (Jul 1953)
Article: The Question of Millennial Sacrifices Part 1
Author: John L. Mitchell


The Question of Millennial Sacrifices
Part 1

John L. Mitchell

The question is asked: Will there be animal sacrifices during the millennium? This question seems simple in itself, so simple in fact that one is tempted to give a positive yea or a firm nay, and let it go at that. But the problem does not resolve itself into such a simple solution. This will be seen a little later.

The origin of this problem is found in several Scripture passages which openly speak of the sacrifices. The main source passage for this question is Ezekiel 43:18–46:24 in which there is a detailed record of animal sacrifies. Then a very direct reference is found in Zechariah 14:16 where the nations left after the futile attempt to destroy Jerusalem will “go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

Another angle of the problem is suggested by the verse, Hebrews 10:3: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Also, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb 10:14). Other verses imply as well that all sacrifices came to an end with the sacrifice of Christ; thus a revival of blood sacrifices in the millennium would be a retrogression. How then is the Old Testament to be understood?

The problem considered. A typical consideration of this difficulty has been given by Skinner in his comments on the Ezekiel passage: “The discussion of this subject is so intricate, so far-reaching in its consequences, and ranges over so wide an historical field, that one is tempted to leave it in the hands of those who have addressed themselves to its

special treatment, and to try to get on as best one may without assuming a definite attitude on one side or the other. But the student of Ezekiel cannot altogether evade it. Again and again the question will force itself on him as he seeks to ascertain the meaning of the various details of Ezekiel’s legislation, How does this stand related to corresponding requirements in the Mosaic law? It is necessary, therefore, in justice to the reader of the following pages, that an attempt should be made, however imperfectly, to indicate the position which the present phase of criticism assigns to Ezekiel in the history of the Old Testament legislation.”1

With this attitude prevailing on the part of most commentators and theologians, the prob...

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