Hindsight Is 20-20.
“Each Sabbath day the prince will present to the Lord a burnt offering of six lambs and one ram, all with no defects.” – Ezekiel 46:4 NLT
God is giving Ezekiel a tour of the new Temple that will exist in the Millennial Kingdom. This is the period of 1,000 years after Christ’s return when He will rule and reign in the city of Jerusalem – sitting on the throne of David. During this time, God will have the Temple rebuilt, the priesthood reestablished and the sacrificial system reinstated. But that begs the question, “Why?” If Christ died for sins once for all (1 Peter 3:18), then why would there be a need for a sacrificial system? If Christ’s death on the cross paid the price for our sins once for all, there seems to no purpose for having the sacrifices reinstated during the Millennial Kingdom. But God is very specific in His description of what He will expect during those days. He describes in great detail what sacrifices will be offered and how they should be done. So God must have a purpose.
It is interesting that the two feasts God seems to emphasize are the feast of Passover and Tabernacles or Booths. Both of these events were associated with the Exodus and God’s deliverance of the people from their bondage in Egypt. The Passover was instituted as a memorial celebration of God’s miraculous deliverance of the people of God from the Death Angel that visited the land of Egypt and struck down the firstborn male of every household, as well as the firstborn male among the livestock. God spared the Israelites as long as they sacrificed an unblemished lamb and put its blood on the doorway of their homes. The Feast of Booths was a time when the people were to erect hastily built shelters to remind them of their wilderness wandering years. They were to be a symbol of God’s provision and protection during those difficult years as they made their way to the Promised Land. All of these sacrifices and celebrations are reminders of God’s grace, provision, and deliverance. They were all designed to point to God future provision and deliverance through Christ. They were representative of the future work of Christ. In the Millennial Kingdom they will continue to be representative, but more by way of reminder. They will be looking BACK, not forward. These sacrifices, once symbolic of Christ’s coming and His future sacrifice on the cross, will be reminders of what Christ has DONE. He will be living among the people, reigning and ruling from the throne of David. They will be looking back, in retrospect, to Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. So in that sense, they will be memorials and will probably have nothing to do with the forgiveness of sins. But God is very clear with Ezekiel that these sacrifices will be a part of worship in the Millennial Kingdom and they must be done according to God’s exacting standards. It should remind us that God has a reason for everything that He does. The sacrificial system was not just a temporary requirement that lived out its usefulness and purpose. God has a reason behind all that He does and one day that same sacrificial system will be reinstated, completing its purpose of pointing men to Christ. The Lamb of God will sit on the throne in Jerusalem, and innocent, unblemished lambs will be sacrificed as a visual reminder of the redemptive work that Jesus did on the cross.
Father, we sometimes have a hard time appreciating what Your Son did for us on the cross. We find it hard to fathom the depth of the agony and pain He suffered on our behalf. When I think of the sacrificial system and the death of all those animals, I can’t help but think how powerful a reminder that will be of Christ’s blood being shed and His body being broken. Never let His sacrifice become old hat to me. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men