The sacrificial system was designed by God to allow us to have a means of coming into his presence. There are many different types of sacrifice that are defined in the Torah, but only two types of sacrifice are for sin.
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The main types of sacrifices are:
- The burnt offering.
- The grain offering.
- The peace offering.
- The sin offering.
- The guilt offering.
The most important sacrifices are to be made in a specific order, which is we first sacrifice innocent blood so that we can be forgiven of our sins, followed by a wholly burnt offering (representing a total recommitment to God), and ending with a friendship/thanksgiving offering which reunites us with God; this is the only offering where the one bringing the sacrifice gets to share eating the meat of the sacrifice then and there, in a holy place.
A guilt offering is a type of sacrifice made as a compensation payment for unintentional and certain intentional transgressions and is distinct from the sin offering. For example, if someone had borrowed a cow and the cow was killed as a result of the borrower’s negligence, he would be required to compensate the owner with the value of the cow, plus 20%.
The sacrificial system also included the types of offerings made that had nothing to do with sin. There are the offerings made for a woman who was declared clean after her time of Niddah (menstrual cycle), for being found clean from tzara’at (leprosy), voluntary offerings, offerings for after completing a Nazarene vow, and others.
So, when Christians have been taught that Yeshua’s sacrifice was a once-and-for-all sacrifice, that is true, but only with regards to the requirement to bring a sin sacrifice to the temple in Jerusalem, which was the only place where any sacrifice could be made, according to the Torah (Deuteronomy 12:5).
This is why the destruction of the temple in 73 A.D. by Rome was so devastating to the Jewish population- without the temple, there could be no forgiveness of sin! And that is why it is so important for my Jewish brothers and sisters to recognize and accept Yeshua as the Messiah, because his substitutionary sacrifice is the only way we can now be forgiven of sin.
The traditional Jewish belief of one of the things the Messiah will do when he comes is to rebuild the temple, and thereby reinstitute the sacrificial system so that we can be forgiven of sin- this is the way that the Messiah will bring us back into communion with God.
I believe that after all things are done, after HaSatan is completely and finally defeated, those of us who belong to Yeshua will once again be able to bring our sacrifices to the temple.
Those sacrifices will not be for the removal of sin, because at that time we will have come into the complete fulfillment of the new covenant God told us about in Jeremiah 31:31, when the Torah will be written on our hearts. There will be korbanot (offerings) to God as a means of showing our love and thanksgiving to him, but not as a means to be forgiven because Yeshua took care of that one.
So, the next time someone tells you that Yeshua did away with the sacrificial system, you can tell them they are correct, but only with regard to the sacrifice for sin.
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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and (an early) Shabbat Shalom!