Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Seeing Old Testament the Shadows of Temples, Sacrifices, and Diets Fulfilled in the Light of Christ

Over the last couple of days, so many people have been calling in and vociferously communicating that we need to continue adhering to the civil and ceremonial laws we find in the Old Testament. I’m surprised at how popular that sentiment is in modern evangelical Christianity.

I was in fact discussing with one man just the other day Jesus Christ’s words, “Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from the outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Mark 7:18-19a). Jesus Christ in saying this meant it is not shellfish that makes you unclean; rather, it is those things that proceed from the heart. Mark, of course, parenthetically adds in saying this, Jesus “declared all foods clean” (Mark 7:9b). Well, the man’s response was that’s a parenthetical remark and therefore it holds no weight whatsoever. But that is a most egregious error. We should never revert back to Old Testament types and shadows, which have been gloriously fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

In Christ the Old Covenant order, including temple sacrifices are obsolete. They disappeared in the light of Jesus Christ. The type and shadow of the first and second temples, they don’t find their substance in some kind of Tribulation temple followed by another temple—a Millennial temple. They find their substance in a church built of living stones comprised of both Jew and Gentile with Jesus Christ Himself the capstone. Jesus made this typological relation to the temple when He said “one greater than the temple is here.” All Old Covenant types and shadows, including the Holy Land, the Holy City, and the Holy Temple have been fulfilled in the Holy Christ. There is no need or use for a rebuilt temple with reinstituted temple sacrifices. There is no need to go back to type and shadow.

The teaching that the temple must be rebuilt and that temple sacrifices must be reinstituted not only stands in direct opposition to the Book of Hebrews but it undermines the central hope of the Christian faith, which of course is the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all sins—past, present, and future. If our evangelical death march towards the endgame of Armageddon is to be subverted it will be because believers recommit themselves to faithful exegesis to mining what the Holy Spirit has breathed into the text as opposed to superimposing our models onto the text.

My prayer, of course, is that the Holy Spirit gives us clear minds and open hearts as we plug into the power of Scriptural synergy daily by interpreting Scripture in light of Scripture. At the end of the day we must always ask ourselves the question: “Are we willing to sacrifice our treasured traditions on the altar of biblical fidelity, or has tradition become our god?” Perish the thought.


John Tucker said...


I heard these callers on your show, and I was dismayed to learn that there are Christians who believe in a rebuilt temple and re-instituted animal sacrifices—not to mention certain OT laws. I felt like yelling, "No, no, no! You don't understand. You must learn how to read and study the Bible for all its worth." But, I was in the gym at the time, and I'm pretty sure I would have gotten some strange looks.

Keep doing what you're doing, brother! The Day of the Lord is near.

Grace to you,

Victor Leonardo Barbosa said...

I Agree with you, brother Hank. Your article is very important in this time for the christians who follow the dispensational theology. Many of them remaing believing in the restauration of the sacrifice of animals and other type of the old testament in the millenium.

God Bless you and your Family!

The peace of Christ

Russ said...

It is not suprising at all that you would not understand what is going on within what is being called the "Messianic movement". You, along with most of the "Christian" world has left the Father's ways and have established your own. And your ways will perish, but the Torah of YHWH will endure forever.

Temple sacrifices? Please, find something of substance to criticize so that a proper debate can take place.


Daniel said...

Don't you realize that if Jesus really did abrogate the laws of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) that He could not have been the Messiah? Deuteronomy 13 makes it very clear that any future teacher of Israel could not lead the people away from the commandments of God and be a legitimate teacher of Israel. In fact, such a person would be a false prophet. It doesn't make a difference if you say that in Jesus those things were "fullfilled," because you're using that in the same sense as "abolished." Jesus clearly said He did not come to abolish the commandments (cf. Matthew 5:17-19). It's time to re-examine the way we've been interpreting the words of Jesus, Paul and the other Apostles.

Messiah's Way said...

Hello Hank,

I have always enjoyed your show and hope you will continue to keep up the effort.

Regarding the question of eating or not eating the biblical unclean foods, I would point out that Mark 7 is not about that. Some of Jesus' disciples were eating with "unclean" (koinos) hands. It does not say they were eating unclean (akathartos)food. It would therefore be unfair to use Jesus' commentary to say that all food is clean now.

Shalom, (Peace)

Daniel said...

@Jeff: That's a perfect example of what I mean when I said we should rethink things. There are perfectly good, logical and consistent explanations of all of the passage that seem like they are contradicting the Torah.

It would appear that Jesus and the Apostles set aside certain scruples in regards to ritual purity concerns but in no way did they break any of the dietary commandments nor did they teach others to do so. In fact, Jesus said that His disciples should keep and teach even the least of the commandments of the Torah (see Matthew 5:19).

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeff for clarifying the context of Mark 7. Jesus was not referring to unclean food. If He were we would not find Peter some years later saying he had never eaten such food(Acts 10:14). The distinguishing between clean and unclean animals was declared in the Bible long before Moses. See Gen.7:1,2. God is obviously concerned about our physical health as well and Christians would benefit by following God's instructions. There are other health principles outlined in the OT that are just as applicable today such as quarentining infectuous disease. I would agree however that all laws relating to the worship of God in the OT sanctuary (temple) have be abrogated by the new paradigm established by Jesus Christ as Hnak has said.

John Barron said...

Thanks Jeff for clarifying the context of Jesus remark in Mark 7. We all would do well to follow Biblical guidelines in diet as many non Christians have already discovered.

Messiah's Way said...

As I have spent time studying the Old Testament in addition to the New Testament, I have struggled with one issue. I had always been taught that Jesus had abrogated, to use your word, the need for the temple. However, when I study the temple, I see so much that doesn't seem to have been fulfilled by Jesus' death and resurrection. What I mean is that the temple service appears to have been much more than propitiation only.

For instance, the feast days seem to be so much more that it doesn't make sense that Yahweh has replaced them. And to read Zech 14, it really doesn't appear that he has:

Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zec 14:17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.

In what way is this not describing the continuation of the Feast of Tabernacles?

Just curious,