Jehovah`s Witness/Sacrifices and Jesus

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QUESTION: Hello. I've got some interesting thoughts and questions.

OT sacrifices

1)If the purpose of the OT sacrifices was to make them fully comprehend, that innocent blood had to be spilled for ransom and their salvation,

a)why most of the Jews did not get the meaning after endless of sacrifices? Did the prophets and priests explained this to them? Why do they seem totally unaware and mock the idea of the Messiah's sacrifice?

b)why do we read they were blinded(by whom?), in order to open the road to nations' salvation? If they were not, nations would have no chance for salvation?


2)If the blood of innocent animals did not cleanse sins

c)why all these slaughters, especially since the majority of Jews saw no connection between animal sacrifices and the Messiah?

Thank you.

ANSWER: Hi Chris,

You asked,
"1)If the purpose of the OT sacrifices was to make them fully comprehend, that innocent blood had to be spilled for ransom and their salvation,

a)why most of the Jews did not get the meaning after endless of sacrifices? Did the prophets and priests explained this to them? Why do they seem totally unaware and mock the idea of the Messiah's sacrifice?"

> I wouldn't say that the purpose of them was to make them "fully comprehend" anything. I believe that the purpose of them was two fold....

1# The Bible says that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sins #Heb. 9:22#. So the shedding of blood was required to figuratively cleanse man from the penalty of sin.

2# The shedding of animal blood was a picture of the shedding of the perfect sacrifice. John the Baptist says of Jesus to his followers... "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world #John 1:29#." All of the animal sacrifices were meant as a shadow of Christ the reality.

With that said, I don't believe that the full meaning or foreshadowing of the sacrifices of the OT were understood or taught clearly by the priests. I think the prophets may have knew but the key to the Israelite was to obey the rituals of the law for immediate access to the national community. If they wanted to be among the people of God they would have to obey the practices that God set up for them. For example, at the passover in Egypt, the Israelites had to sprinkle the blood of the animal they sacrificed on their door posts so that when the Spirit passed by, they would not die. There were consequences to not obeying and I have a feeling that this was more of their focus, not the full meaning of why they are obeying what they are obeying.

I believe that the reason they thought the cross was foolishness #1Cor. 1# was because they were expecting their Messiah to come and set up this majestic kingdom on earth where He would rule with them from Jerusalem. Of course, He will but that will be His second coming, not His first.


You asked,
"2)If the blood of innocent animals did not cleanse sins

c)why all these slaughters, especially since the majority of Jews saw no connection between animal sacrifices and the Messiah?"

> I believe that you are correct by insinuating that the blood of animals did not "cleanse" them from their sins but that blood did cover them. Only through faith in God and His provisions could their sins be "cleansed" and remembered no more.

Leviticus 17:11 - 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’

In this verse, it says that the blood of these animals makes atonement for Israelites. The Hebrew word for 'atonement' here literally means 'a covering' or 'to cover'. Compare this with what is said about Jesus in the book of Hebrews....

Hebrews 10:11-12 - 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

You see, the blood of these animals could only cover sins. It is Jesus blood that will "take away sins." Jesus sacrifice remains "forever". There is no more need for Him to make sacrifice for us because His sacrifice handles all of our past, present and future sins. When it says that He sat down at the right hand of God, that means that He has finished all that is necessary and victoriously sits down in a position of power.

Please let me know if you need more. Thanks for the great questions.


Ben

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Yes, I agree with the first part of the answer. It is something they had to realize inside them, something they had to grasp by experience and thought.

About the second part. I understand the difference you present. You say Jesus' blood takes away sin, animals' blood covers sin.

Apart from the Messiah's symbolism in these sacrifices, what does exactly means to "cover" sin? How a sinner would be covered by the blood of innocent animal, why the animal should pay for others' sin while they would get away with it?

An answer that I could imagine is that they should sacrifice their best sheep of their flocks, something belonging to them. Ok, but no matter if man is permitted to rule over the other creation, animals have life as we have and it is cruel to kill innocent animals.

You could say we're also cannibals because we eat meat. Then, someone would say that if it was bloodless, the message of Jesus' sacrifice could not be grasped. But killing for symbolism sounds violent to me. Wasnt another way, instead of taking innocent lifes? Unless we admit, Jehovah will resurrect all the innocent animals, in the same way the Savior was resurrected.

I know most Christians do not believe animals are resurrected and that they are unaware of things like immortality,eternity and God. They are believed to be just beings collecting food and reproducting. But no matter if true or not, we as conscious and aware beings are sad to see death. An owner of an animal feels sad at the separation or loss of his pet.

Paul says
Romans
8:22 For we know that the WHOLE creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.      

I have a disagreement with GB view about animal world in the first Earth. If animals were dying what perfect world would this be? How good would be to walk among corpses? Doesnt sound like a paradise.


Have a good day

ANSWER: Hi Chris,

You asked,
"Apart from the Messiah's symbolism in these sacrifices, what does exactly means to "cover" sin? How a sinner would be covered by the blood of innocent animal, why the animal should pay for others' sin while they would get away with it?"

> I think to answer this question Chris, you have to look at it from God's standpoint. What did He create to have a relationship with Him? What did He create in His image? What creature did He decide that He wanted to rule over all the others and why? The answers to these questions make me conclude that God created animals for the sake of humans and not the other way around. He created animals for mans benefit. We use animals as pets, as livestock for food, for farming #tilling# land, and as decreed by God a blood atonement until Christ shed His blood. Animals are not equal to humans in God's eyes. They don't have a spirit as man has and therefore they can have no relationship with God who is Spirit.

Now, remember that God has decreed that man should use blood because the "life is in the blood". In fact, notice the following words from God Himself on the matter...

Leviticus 17:11 - For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.

It seems to me that one of the primary reasons God created animals was for this purpose. Would I call animals innocent? Well, it depends on what you mean by "innocent". I would say that they are not innocent nor are they not innocent. Since animals are not moral creatures such as humans, they are not held accountable for things they do. They can't be innocent because there is no standard for them, to say what is or is not innocent.

You said,
"An answer that I could imagine is that they should sacrifice their best sheep of their flocks, something belonging to them. Ok, but no matter if man is permitted to rule over the other creation, animals have life as we have and it is cruel to kill innocent animals."

> It is also true that God required the best of their flocks. He specified such details as it being without blemish. It had to be "the fatten calf". They were to give God their best and for them it would be a true sacrifice.

Now, you mention that it is "cruel to kill innocent animals". I already gave my thoughts as to whether the animal can be considered "innocent" or not but aside from that, let me ask you a question. What determines what is cruel or not? Who's standard do we look to in order to determine that?


You said,
"You could say we're also cannibals because we eat meat. Then, someone would say that if it was bloodless, the message of Jesus' sacrifice could not be grasped. But killing for symbolism sounds violent to me. Wasnt another way, instead of taking innocent lifes? Unless we admit, Jehovah will resurrect all the innocent animals, in the same way the Savior was resurrected."

> First, I don't think "cannibals" is the word you meant to use their. I think you meant "carnivores". If we were cannibals, we would eat each other.

Second, it isn't that the message of Jesus sacrifice couldn't be grasped. I believe that it was more so that they wouldn't forget God's provision of the animal and His ultimate provision of Jesus. Unfortunately, most Jews didn't realize what Isaiah 53 signified about the Christ coming to suffer and shed blood for mans sins.

Third, I agree, those sacrifices were violent and messy. I don't think it was something that they wanted to do but it was something they needed to do. Every time they did it, they were to remember their sins and that death is a consequence of any and all sin.

Fourth, there was no other way that God accepted. God knows what is best and this is what He decreed. He can give life and can certainly take life and still be righteous and holy.

And fifth, the Bible does not even hint that animals might be resurrected. There would not be a need for them to be resurrected. God will create new animals that will never die.


You said,
"I know most Christians do not believe animals are resurrected and that they are unaware of things like immortality,eternity and God. They are believed to be just beings collecting food and reproducting. But no matter if true or not, we as conscious and aware beings are sad to see death. An owner of an animal feels sad at the separation or loss of his pet."

> I agree. Death is something that no human should enjoy seeing. But just remember, with all of this death of both animals and humans, we can be all the more eager for Christ and His Kingdom to put an end to death. You always need to remember to equate death with sin. In eternity, death will be no more as sin will be no more. When we think of death, we should think of Christ who was victorious over death with His marvelous resurrection from the dead.

1Cor. 15:54-56 - 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”[g] 55 “O Death, where is your sting?[h] O Hades, where is your victory?”[i]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


You asked,
"If animals were dying what perfect world would this be? How good would be to walk among corpses? Doesnt sound like a paradise"

> I believe that animals died before Adam and Eve because that is what the evidence points to. However, I don't think that this necessarily means that they were dying in the Garden of Eden. Remember, this Garden #paradise# did not cover the entire planet. It was small enough that the center was accessible by walking for them to get to the forbidden fruit. I must go where the evidence leads and it points to a world where animals died before Adam and Eve sinned.

Thanks for the thoughts and questions,
Ben








---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks.

You said cruelty and innocence do not appeal in animals because they dont have a moral code. Although were not in the state of animal to have a direct experience, this might be true from our standpoint. So in that case, my usage of the word "innocence" would be totally wrong. But I am basically talking about OUR actions(man's actions), not animals' actions. No matter if an animal has moral code or not - we have - and it would be cruel to kill them(also they would be "innocent" in "our eyes"), unless we consider them as things, as something that is simply to be eaten.


But you raised an interesting question to my mind. Have the animals a moral code? I made some thoughts. Why does the Bible uses "wolf" for the evil and "lamp"(sheep) for the good ones or even Jesus? I might be wrong, but I think Moses' law  contains also a punishement for animals that seem to behave with sexual immorality(beastiality).


Im not defending any stupid evolutionists' idea, I know man is very very different, hes not just an animal because he is the only one having religions, the only one caring about his origin and destination etc...  If I was defending evolution theory I would have no problem to reject morality. Evolutionists believe morality is for the weak ones and animals cant survive if they feel compassion. According to them, they must be ready to kill and never regret.

Your next opinions are great. Im moving to the last.  What is the "evidence" youre talking about?

Apart from proofs or lack of evidence, lets accept what you said - animals were dying before Adam and Eve. This means they were created to accomplish a purpose and die. Im afraid this would indicate a weak God. Why God would not make them live forever, why they should die? If someone claims then the Earth couldnt hold a vast number, then by the same logic man dies because otherwise we would be too many. Besides this, the mortality of animals before Adam, accepts that the law of entropy was existing before the Sin.

This is what I can think for now.  Thanks for the conversation.

Have a good day.

Answer
Hi Chris,

Thanks for your patience.

The question really is how do we determine what is or isn't really cruel? Doesn't cruelty imply evil intentions? What if you slaughter an animal or Abraham sacrifices his son for good intentions? Isn't God the ultimate standard of what is good and bad, what is righteous and unrighteous?


You asked,
"Why does the Bible uses "wolf" for the evil and "lamp"#sheep# for the good ones or even Jesus?"

> The Bible sometimes will use animals as a metaphor for a person. Why? Well, I believe that it has more to do with the animals characteristics than anything else. For example, a wolf is used in scripture to symbolize ones who sneak in for an attack. They are destructive. Is this the case for a lamb or sheep? No. A sheep does not destroy. A sheep does no harm. A sheep will be shepherded. This is not so with a wolf. A lamb was used for sacrifices because it pictured a perfect sacrifice of Jesus. A wolf would not picture the sacrifice of Jesus. Those are my thoughts on that.


You asked,
"I might be wrong, but I think Moses' law  contains also a punishement for animals that seem to behave with sexual immorality#beastiality#."

> Bestiality is actually quite different. Bestiality is... "sexual relations between a person and an animal" #Dictionary.com#.

Now, as to your question about animals being put to death for reasons other than sacrifice, I am not sure what you are referring to. Perhaps you can provide me with scripture. You may be speaking about Exodus 21:32-36 which is about animal control. It speaks of stoning an ox that gores someone. That is no different than killing a dog or other animal for killing someone. If they do it once they more than likely will do it again. I don't believe that the passage at all implies that the animal has morals.


You asked in reference to me saying that death of animals may have preceded the fall of Adam and Eve,
"What is the "evidence" youre talking about?"

> Well first off, it is logically clear to me that if there were herbivore animals in the Garden of Eden and elsewhere before the fall then this would indicate that the vegetation that they ate would have been killed in order for them to feed. Plant life is creature because it is living and it is created. This is the same as an animal.

Second, I am not aware of any passage that suggests that God created all animals as herbivores. What about all of the sea creatures created on the 5th day of creation. As far as we know, the majority of all current and ancient sea creatures were not exclusively herbivore.
Third, Genesis 1:29-30 speak of herbivore like creatures. On day six before the creation of man, it speaks of the creation of other animals which as far as I know could only be carnivores. These animals spoken of are different. In fact, the Hebrew word #cheyah# is used and a Hebrew word study indicates that this word is primarily used in reference to animals that eat other animals.

Fourth, #I am going to copy and paste some info here in reference to the names that Adam gave to the animals# "Adam gave some very unusual names to some of the carnivores. For example, the Hebrew name for lion is derived from the Hebrew root that means "in the sense of violence." Was Adam referring to the violence with which the lion ate its vegetables? It doesn't seem likely! In addition, Adam named some of the predatory birds using a Hebrew word with the meaning "bird of prey." Were these birds preying on fruits and nuts? In naming the eagle, Adam used the Hebrew word whose root means "to lacerate." Was the eagle ripping up plants with its talons? Likewise, the Hebrew root for the word "owl" means to "do violence to" or "treat violently." Although it is possible that Adam named the animals in some language other than Hebrew, and that those names were entirely different than the Hebrew ones, there is no biblical evidence for this idea. Even so, if the names were transliterated into Hebrew at a later point, one would assume that they would carry forward their original meanings, or else the Bible would have never made a big deal about Adam giving the animals their names. If the naming of the animals by Adam was important enough to be put into the Bible, one must assume that those names had meaning that related to their character. Otherwise, why would God have bothered to make Adam go through the exercise of naming the animals."

Fifth, Adam was warned by God that eating from the forbidden tree would result in his #Adams# death. If Adam had absolutely no knowledge of death or what it was then why doesn't the Bible record him asking God what death was? Granted, this is an argument from silence but I think that it still qualifies in some sense as evidence.

And sixth, the Bible only records that God judged man for the fall and not the animals. Granted, the rest of creation may have been affected but nowhere do I find a scripture that talks about God turning some herbivores into carnivores because of Adams sin.


You said,
"lets accept what you said - animals were dying before Adam and Eve. This means they were created to accomplish a purpose and die. Im afraid this would indicate a weak God."

> Why does this "indicate a weak God"? To me, it shows that God is a God of order. Let's take your conclusion here and I am going to turn the question around on you. How about plants? Does the fact that plants died before the fall indicate that God is weak?


You asked,
"Why God would not make them live forever, why they should die?"

> Again, why do the plants have to die? What purpose did God have in creating plants? Also, why did God create women? What does the Bible say? Why didn't He just create men?


You said,
"If someone claims then the Earth couldnt hold a vast number, then by the same logic man dies because otherwise we would be too many."

But you are assuming that Adam and Eve would have procreated if they never sinned. I am not aware of this taking place in the eternal future for those who are saved so why is your conclusion here a necessity when it comes to humans?


You said,
" Besides this, the mortality of animals before Adam, accepts that the law of entropy was existing before the Sin."

> All evidence suggests that the law of entropy existed before the fall of Adam and Eve. The basis for this law is that things wind down. Energy gets used up. Even before the creation of life, I believe this was taking place. The second law of Thermodynamics is one of the greatest proofs for God because it shows that the universe is not eternal. So yes, I do believe that it existed prior to Adam and Eve but could not touch Adam and Eve because they had access to the tree of life. In fact, let me ask you, what do you believe was the purpose for the tree of life in the Garden?


May God bless you,
Ben  

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Ben Erdman

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I will attempt to answer any questions that have to do with major Jehovah’s Witness doctrine. I will also try to give an accurate and honest explanation from the "Truth" (the Word of God). I am not a Jehovah’s Witness. I was never baptized as one. I am a "witness" for Christ. I love talking about God and the piercing Word that He has provided for us. If I don't know the answer to a question I will be more than happy to research it and get an answer. So, let’s talk.

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