On Animal Sacrifices in the ‘Millennium’ – Alexander Gibb
Dr Spargimino, SRM, wrote ‘These animal sacrifices are ritual—another kind of ritual—but ritual nevertheless. And there is still a place and function for ritual. In the Millennial Kingdom, the Lord Jesus Christ will rule with a rod of iron. The New Covenant theocracy promised by God will retain its distinctive Jewish features. After all, the Millennial Kingdom is about Israel. There is a promised land in which Israel dwells in peace and security. The Millennial Age is not the Church Age. We shouldn’t seek to understand its features in terms of the Church Age. During the Millennium, the Church Age is no more. Even though outward submission to these outward ceremonies and rituals will not be proof of a new heart, such ceremonies will exhibit a spirit of submission to the government of the Millennial King, the Lord Jesus Christ.’
I am astonished by this statement and embarrassed to admit I once encouraged Dispensationalism. For Christians to consent to such a teaching is beyond the pale.
Joh 4:21 KJV 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Jesus revealed the time had come (2000 years ago) when God’s people would worship neither on Mt Gerizim nor in the temple at Jerusalem, but in spirit and in truth. Surely, this negates Dispensationalism’s concept of a millennium temple with animal sacrifices. Whether Jew, Samaritan or Gentile, an imminent change was about to take place that would have a profound effect on all nations.
Joh 4:23 KJV But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
‘the hour cometh, and now is’ Notice how imminent this change was, Old Covenant Israel ceased when the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed and the nation dispersed in AD 70.
Joh 2:21 KJV But he spake of the temple of his body.
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown on John 2:21 – ‘temple of his body — in which was enshrined the glory of the eternal Word. (See on Joh_1:14). By its resurrection the true Temple of God upon earth was reared up, of which the stone one was but a shadow; so that the allusion is not quite exclusively to Himself, but takes in that Temple of which He is the foundation, and all believers are the “lively stones.” (1Pe_2:4, 1Pe_2:5).’
Heb 13:20 KJV Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
The blood of Christ is the blood of the everlasting covenant, which will endure for ever, the final dispensation of grace to mankind. Dispensationalism’s hypothesis of temple worship with animal sacrifices during a millennium clearly contradicts and undermines the teachings of Christ.
Rev 1:1 KJV The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
In the first sentence of the Revelation, John provided the timeline of the fulfilment of the vision ‘things which must shortly come to pass’. In other words, during his generation’s lifetime, not 2000 years later.
Consider the harmony of Scripture and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture:
Rev 1:7 KJV Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Mat 24:30 KJV And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
John and Matthew harmonise, both described the same event. Four sentences later, Matthew confirmed the timeline:
Mat 24:34 KJV Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
On Revelation 1:7 Adam Clarke commented:
‘they also which pierced him’ ‘Behold, he cometh with clouds’ – This relates to his coming to execute judgment on the enemies of his religion; perhaps to his coming to destroy Jerusalem, as he was to be particularly manifested to them that pierced him, which must mean the incredulous and rebellious Jews. ‘And all kindreds of the earth’ – Πασαι αἱ φυλαι της γης· All the tribes of the land. By this the Jewish people are most evidently intended, and therefore the whole verse may be understood as predicting the destruction of the Jews; and is a presumptive proof that the Apocalypse was written before the final overthrow of the Jewish state.’
On Matthew 24:30 Adam Clarke wrote:
‘Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man’ – The plain meaning of this is, that the destruction of Jerusalem will be such a remarkable instance of Divine vengeance, such a signal manifestation of Christ’s power and glory, that all the Jewish tribes shall mourn, and many will, in consequence of this manifestation of God, be led to acknowledge Christ and his religion. ‘By της γης, of the land’, in the text, is evidently meant here, as in several other places, the land of Judea and its tribes, either its then inhabitants, or the Jewish people wherever found.’
Dispensationalism insists that literally ‘every eye’ on earth will see Christ at His imminent future return. Some scholars suggest modern technology will make this possible! In my opinion, such embarrassing speculation could be avoided if the Revelation 1:1 first century timeline was acknowledged and audience relevance applied.
This harmony of Scripture also confirms the Pre-AD 70 date of the Book of Revelation.
Rev 22:20-21 KJV He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen
The Revelation begins with ‘things which must shortly come to pass’ and ends ‘Surely I come quickly’. Yet, many who insist on a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, refuse to accept the simplicity of our Lord’s words.
Having read numerous highly respected commentators, I am astonished by their determination to impose a futurist presupposition on the Book of Revelation. (Adam Clarke being an exception).
However, I am painfully reminded that I too held that view for over 30 years!
Dispensationalism teaches a two stage return of the Lord with a seven years period in between.
Mat 24:30-31 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Jesus said the timeline of His coming with the sound of a trumpet, was during the lifetime of His generation…Matthew 24:34. He would gather His elect at that time, not at a ‘Rapture’ seven years earlier.
1Co 15:52 KJV In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
This Scripture is assigned to support the first stage ‘rapture’ of believers, but how can this be a true interpretation? Surely the ‘last trump’ should sound at the second stage, the consummation of the second coming.
1Th 4:16 KJV For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
This portion is also attributed to Dispensationalism’s secret and sudden Rapture theory. On the contrary, Jesus said the trump would sound at His coming and ‘all the tribes of earth mourn’…Matthew 24:30. Paul neither taught a ‘Rapture’, nor did he contradict Jesus.
‘All authorities concur in the declaration that “when all these things should have been done” “The End” should come : that “the mystery of God should be finished as he had declared to His servants the prophets”: it should be completed : time should now be no more : the End of all things (so foretold) should be at hand, and be fully brought to pass : in these days should be fulfilled all that had been spoken of Christ (and of His church) by the prophets: or, in other words, when the gospel should have been preached in all the world for a testimony to all nations, and the power of the Holy People be scattered (abroad), then should the End come, then should all these things be finished. I need now only say, all these things have been done : the old and elementary system passed away with a great noise; all these predicted empires have actually fallen, and the new kingdom, the new heaven and earth, the new Jerusalem–all of which were to descend from God, to be formed by His power, have been realised on earth ; all these things have been done in the sight of all the nations ; God’s holy arm has been made bare in their sight: His judgments have prevailed, and they remain for an everlasting testimony to the whole world. His kingdom has come, as it was foretold it should, and His will has, so far, been done; His purposes have been finished; and, from that day to the extreme end of time, it will be the duty, as indeed it will be the great privilege of the Church, to gather into its bosom the Jew, the Greek, the Scythian, the Barbarian, bond and free; and to do this as the Apostles did in their days–in obedience, faith and hope.’
Most scholars assign all John’s writings to AD 90-95. The basis of their view relies on ambiguous early writings of the Church Fathers and legend. In my opinion, the pre-AD 70 date can be substantiated from within the Gospel itself.
Joh 5:2 KJV Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
The porches were destroyed in AD 70.
John Wesley wrote, ‘There is in Jerusalem – Hence it appears, that St. John wrote his Gospel before Jerusalem was destroyed: it is supposed about thirty years after the ascension…’
John A T Robinson (1919-1983) was also puzzled that ‘…one of the oddest facts about the New Testament is that what on any showing would appear to be the single most datable and climactic event of the period – the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and with it the collapse of institutional Judaism based on the Temple – is never once mentioned as a past fact.’
I recently stumbled upon a fascinating archeological article on the subject of John’s Gospel with reference to the Pool of Bethesda. Although, it is safe to say it wasn’t written in defence of Preterism, it is a ‘must read’ for Preterists.
Jerusalem Finds Validating the Gospel of John by John Black.
‘Regeneration has been defined as “an inner re-creating of fallen human nature by the gracious sovereign action of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8).” The Bible conceives salvation as the redemptive renewal of man on the basis of a restored relationship with God in Christ, and presents it as involving “a radical and complete transformation wrought in the soul (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23) by God the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Eph. 4:24), by virtue of which we become ‘new men’ (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), no longer conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9), but in knowledge and holiness of the truth created after the image of God (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; Rom. 12:2)”.^^ Regeneration is the “birth” by which this work of new creation is begun, as sanctification is the “growth” whereby it continues (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18). Regeneration in Christ changes the disposition from lawless, Godless self-seeking (Rom. 3:9-18; 8:7) which dominates man in Adam into one of trust and love, of repentance for past rebelliousness and unbelief, and loving compliance with God’s law henceforth. It enlightens the blinded mind to discern spiritual realities (1 Cor. 2:14-15; 2 Cor. 4:6; Col. 3:10), and liberates and energizes the enslaved will for free obedience to God (Rom. 6:14, 17-22; Phil. 2:13).’
Mat 23:1 KJV Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
(He said)…….Mat 23:13 woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…Mat 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…Mat 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…Mat 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…Mat 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…Mat 23:29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…
Mat 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
Now here is the question – to which generation was Jesus referring? I will give you a clue. It wasn’t a generation 2000 years in the future. Albert Barnes figured it out, he wrote ‘Upon this generation – The destruction of Jerusalem took place about forty years after this was spoken.’
The scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites, corrupt to the core, and unscrupulous deceivers. There’s more, they had the blood of the Old Testament martyrs on their hands, and in due course, of Christ and many New Testament saints…Matthew 23:35.
Jesus continued this theme in the following chapter and said – Mat 24:34 KJV Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Now here is the question – to which generation was Jesus referring?