Two Atonement Realms: Reconciling Sacrifice In Ezekiel And Hebrews -- By: Jerry M. Hullinger
JODT 11:32 (March 2007) p. 33
Two Atonement Realms: Reconciling Sacrifice In Ezekiel And Hebrews
Bible Faculty, Pensacola Theological Seminary
In his book Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church, the author referred to dispensational premillennialism as novel, innovative, and something which has sidetracked many Christians for 150 years. The system was diagnosed as being “filled with many contradictions.”1 One of these apparent contradictions involves Ezekiel 40—48 and Hebrews 9—10. Ezekiel witnessed a functioning eschatological Temple, while the writer of Hebrews affirmed Christ’s offering to be final.2
Consequently, John Schmitt asked, “Is it heretical to believe that a Temple and sacrifices will once again exist?” His answer is accurate.
Ezekiel himself believed it was a reality and the future home of Messiah. Then, it becomes not heresy to believe that a Temple and sacrifices will exist; rather, it is almost a heresy not to believe this, especially because it is a part of God’s infallible word. The burden on us is to determine how it fits—not its reality.3
It is the “burden” of this article to suggest how these two passages fit together.4 Two lines of argument have been pursued in doing this: 1) to show that Hebrews 9—10 cannot be understood fully unless the Day of Atonement background is understood. This will be shown by presenting eighteen allusions to the Day of Atonement in Hebrews 9—10. And, 2) to suggest that Christ’s sacrifice operated in a different sphere and for different purposes than did the
JODT 11:32 (March 2007) p. 34
sacrifices on the Day of Atonement. A common misperception is that Mosaic sacrifice was impotent to accomplish its task, and therefore Christ’s greater sacrifice was necessary. This goes contrary to the book of Hebrews.5
The Day of Atonement Ritual
The pinnacle of the Mosaic sacrificial system was the Day of Atonement. It has been correctly termed the “Good Friday” of the Old Testament, and the rabbis simply called it “th...
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