The Question Column
Question: Are we to assume that Ezekiel 43, 45, and 46 teach that blood sacrifices will be reinstated during Christ’s millennial reign?
Answer: If we hold to the Biblical rule of interpretation which reads, “When the literal sense makes common sense, seek no other sense,” then the chapters in Ezekiel very definitely indicate that blood sacrifices will be reinstated during the millennium. Perhaps on the surface of things it appears inconsistent with other Scriptures to take this view (e.g., Heb. 10:6 & 8), but we must remember that the blood sacrifices to be offered in the millennium will be memorials, not shadows (as in the case of the Old Testament sacrifices), commemorative of Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice, much as the Lord’s Supper is a memorial or remembrance of His death for us now.
Furthermore, while all true believers agree that the basis in all dispensations for sinners obtaining “peace with God” is always and only through faith in Christ and His blood atonement, it must be remembered that the relationship which Church believers have today with the Lord is different from the relationship which believers will have with Him on the earth during the millennium. In that day, redeemed Israel and redeemed Gentiles who enter the kingdom will be an earthly people, with bodies of flesh and blood, entering into and enjoying all the earthly blessings which are in store for them during Christ’s earthly reign, and having an earthly order of worship which will be tied in with the reinstatement of literal blood sacrifices.
In his book, The Two Jerusalems in Prophecy (see “The Book Corner”), David Clifford comments on this very question as follows:
“Sacrifices are to be literally observed, but because of our Lord’s once-for-all sacrifice these will be offered only as a memorial, looking back retrospectively to Christ, just as the sacrifices instituted by Moses looked forward prospectively to Christ. These in the millennial reign will be no more expiatory than were those in Moses’ day. An example of this is seen in the Lord’s Supper. The ordinance is literally fulfilled but it is a memorial feast, a looking back to the finished work of Christ. A memorial was never intended to be equal in effect to the real sacrifice, but it certainly points directly to the reality, which is Christ” (p. 127).
(Please send all questions or comments to Dr. James T. Naismith, 1121 Hilltop Street, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 5S6.)