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Was Jesus the Last Sacrifice?

In Blog, John's Blog, Passover, Written Teachings | on April, 09, 2017 | by

Was Jesus/Yeshua the Last Sacrifice?

By John Holmes/Ozarks Hebrew Heritage Association

“Jesus, our Passover Lamb, was the last sacrifice and ended the sacrifice system.”
“We can’t do Passover as the Father said because we don’t have a Temple”

Last Sacrifice

This statement is heard frequently today. To an extent it is true and to an extent it is false doctrine. How it can be both true and false seems very confusing. The purpose of this blog is to shed light on the meaning of the crucifixion and how God’s plan is being played out through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
First off, we need to define terms because, as linguist and Bible historian Brad Scott says, “Words mean something.” This statement seems so elementary as to be totally evident but still brethren use rote mantras without understanding the meanings. As one studies the scriptures, it becomes apparent the Father is very specific in His statements. In general, He doesn’t generalize (pun intended).

The word sacrifice should be understood first. Sacrifice in Hebrew has several meanings. First, people generally think of animals offered by the priesthood at the Temple or Tabernacle. These offerings to God are stipulated regarding the type, age, and gender of the animal to be offered. Only three four legged animals are approved for this type of offering. In addition doves are on the approved list. In addition to animal sacrifice, there is also an approved grain sacrifice.
The word sacrifice also can mean killing for food. The context should help the reader determine the meaning.

The Sacrifice System

The sacrifice system is spelled out at the beginning of Leviticus. When the above title statement is made, the assumption seems to always refer to this system.  Judaism teaches without the Temple and priesthood, the sacrifices cannot be made. However, in Christianity, when the statement is made, the assumption appears to be the system itself is now ended, not because of the lack of the Temple but because the statements in the book of Hebrews regarding the uselessness of the priesthood and the sacrifices.

These statements notwithstanding, there are facts which must be considered. Remembering the Father wrote the Torah rules such as those very detailed sacrifice instructions, one needs to understand He, as writer of Torah, follows his own rules. Any deviations we find between His rules and His actions will therefore be the result of mistranslation or misinterpretation.

Realizing this, we should examine the crucifixion. Since brethren frequently say Jesus died for our sins, we should look at the sin sacrifice to see if His was a sin sacrifice.

There are several criteria of the sin sacrifice which we will need to find fulfilled by this event, if it is, in fact, a sin sacrifice. First, the sacrifice must be a clean animal. Clean animals have split hooves and chew cud. Obviously, no human can meet these very simple criteria. Secondly, the Father deplores human sacrifice and therefore, would never offer His own human sacrifice. Thirdly, the sin sacrifice requires a bull sacrifice for a priest, but for the common folk, it must be a female (Lev. 4:27). Forth, the sin sacrifice is a burnt offering.

As one looks at these criteria for the sin sacrifice, we see Jesus’ death meets none of them. Therefore, how can His death become the Father’s sacrifice for the sins of the world in the context of Levitical requirements?

Other understanding-Defining Terms

It can actually be true, however, if we look at things in a slightly different light, using different definitions. Believers need to understand the definition of Law while realizing our English Bibles reflect translations from at least two languages but more probably they are third or even fourth generations. Each translation changes some of the meaning and therefore understanding.

First, to reiterate, one needs to understand His execution was not a sin sacrifice in the Levitical sense of the word as shown by the points above.  Secondly, one needs to understand the definition of “Law”. Paul, in Romans 7, defines a marriage as being under the “law of the husband”. Here we see Paul alluding to the marriage covenant. The key word here is “covenant.” One other aspect needing understanding is a covenant is a legal contract. It means there are stipulations or rules (laws) for the parties involved. As “new-covenant believers” what kind of covenant are we a party to? What are the stipulations we have agreed to by becoming members of the covenant?

Another thing we need to understand is the stipulations concerning various items such as each of the sacrifices listed in Leviticus.  For example, the sacrifices are each called laws (Torahs in the Hebrew). Therefore, these laws are not all inclusive but are item specific. Therefore Paul has precedent for referring to the “law of the husband.”

The conclusion here is the covenant is the same as the law or Torah. Within the whole of the Torah, there are individual subdivisions also translated as laws or Torahs.

Covenant Law

Understanding the aspect of the marriage covenant, we find one of the criteria of the marriage covenant listed in Deuteronomy 24. Here it is clearly stated, if a man finds uncleanness in his wife, he can divorce her. Uncleanness, in the Hebrew, indicates sexual sin ie. infidelity or, in Biblical terms, adultery. The Father calls following other gods adultery.

How does divorce apply to new covenant believers? Paul says one needs to be well versed in Torah to understand this aspect of our relationship with our Messiah.

The Church, Its hidden identity

The first foundational thing needing understanding is the identity of the Church. Some say the Church is a free standing entity. This doctrine comes from ancient Catholic teaching. Paul, however, teaches when believers accept Jesus as Messiah, they become “citizens of the commonwealth of Israel”. (Ephesians 2:11-12) Paul also indicates this in 1 Corinthians 10:1, where he tells gentiles, by birth, they are descendants of those who were in the Exodus. As Paul defines things, the “adoption” or “grafting in” changes the bloodlines and changes our family history as believers from gentile to Hebrew and thus we become part of “the family of God.”

And in turn, as part of the family of God, believers are adopted into either the House of Israel or the House of Judah since these are the two entities listed as recipients of the New Covenant (Heb. 8:8; Jer 31:31). Notice also, the Father has never made a covenant with a gentile nation.

The realization of believers ‘adoption into one of the two houses, we also find God had divorced one of the two, the House of Israel (Jer 3). As Paul points out in Romans 7, the divorced wife, who cannot come back to her husband (Deut 24), would only be allowed to return if the rules were negated (by His death and resurrection) and the establishment of a new (marriage) covenant.

As the writer of Hebrews points out, the Levitical sacrifices have absolutely no relevance to the law of divorce. It takes a new marriage covenant to accomplish this, which, in turn, requires a new marriage partner or, as Paul puts it, “One New Man.”

Sin Sacrifice-no! Sacrifice for sins-yes!

And so, was Jesus the last sacrifice for sin? Well, in fact, He was when we consider the sins of the House of Israel into which believers are adopted. Without His giving up His life for the divorced wife, our adoption into her family would be meaningless. And so, by “sacrificing” His life he brings us all back into the “family of God”.

Was He the last sacrifice? Here is the yes and no, depending on definitions. Yes, because there are no more divorces shown in prophecy. No, the Levitical system will continue in the Third Temple (Ezekiel 40-48).

And, this brings us to one more word needing definition: redemption or redeem. The basic meaning here is to restore a person or peoples to their original state. It can involve a ransom being paid to bring them back. By providing a new marriage covenant, it became possible for the northern kingdom (House of Israel) to return to both the Promised Land and the family of God.

Passover Lamb and redemption

When Jesus paralleled himself to the Passover Lamb, we find God using the term redemption when He says He is freeing His enslaved people in Egypt (Ex. 6:6). Similarly, the divorced wife can be redeemed by Jesus’act of self sacrifice which He alludes to when He says, “I come only for the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matt. 15:24).  Clearly, we see the Passover lamb, given in Egypt for redemption, was played out again there in Jerusalem on the cross. And, it was still for redemption the second time. It was given the first time as a special meal for the families of those to be soon redeemed. God commanded His family to continue to repeat the meal as a remembrance of what He had done in the past.  Paul points out continuing to do the “feasts of the Lord” shows we are not asleep (1 Thes. 5:1-5). And, how are we to do it? As shown above, the Father is very specific. In Exodus 12:24, He tells us to continue to have the Passover dinner. “And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.”

One more aspect of Passover to be considered: is the question of who is supposed to slaughter the Passover lamb. We see, after Solomon built the Temple, Passover lambs were butchered by the priests at the temple as initiated by Solomon.

This “Thing”-can it change?

In the passage from Exodus 12:24 above, the English word translated as “thing” in KJV meant a specific order of things. If in fact we agree, the Father gives specific instructions why would we be led to assume this change by Solomon was ordained by the Father? Remember, He says, “I change not!” Other aspects of His commands, as Paul teaches, do not abrogate the original commands or rules He laid out. There should be no conflict in his word.

In addition, Jeremiah 7:22 says, “For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.” Keeping this in mind, we have one more scriptural statement about Passover not being either a burnt offering or sacrifice. But, even more than that, the Father is saying Passover was a home service and should not have been changed to a Temple service.

In this blog, therefore, we shed some additional light on Passover as a Feast of the Lord and why it is not a temple sacrifice. Nor was Jesus’ death on the cross categorically a sacrifice.

Finally, Paul encourages his followers to celebrate Passover and obviously, they would not have been going to Jerusalem to do so. In addition, if it is a family meal, having a priest do the slaughter, unless one lived very near the Temple, it would make it very difficult to return home, roast it, and serve the entire household a family meal. Therefore, it seems a non-argument when the House of Judah people say they can’t have lamb because the Temple doesn’t exist any more.

Hopefully this will shed some light on the interlocking aspects of the Feast of Passover and the Rules the Father laid down for it as well as shedding some light on the feasts and how Passover is not listed as anything the Levites were supposed to be involved in.

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Deut16:5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee:
6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of


We have puzzled over the above passage also. Throughout scripture we find Passover and Unleavened Bread frequently mentioned interchangeably. Nahemia Gordon points out that it is common for the two separate feasts to be frequently addressed as the same thing due to the fact they seem to elide one into another. The description of the events within the feast will many times give us insight into which is really being referenced. In this case, verse 2 tells us: “Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there.” Knowing Passover only involves lambs or goats and checking the Hebrew definitions of flocks and herds we find the sacrifices listed in verse 17:2 involve sheep or goats indicated by flock, and cattle indicated by herd. Therefore, we can see the sacrifice reference in 16:5 & 6 has to do with the sacrifices of Unleavened Bread and not Passover. Those are supposed to only be done “where the Lord shall choose to place his name.” Thank you for your comment/question.

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