• What JGIG Is:

    Joyfully Growing In Grace engages in an examination of beliefs found in the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related sects.

    The term “Messianic” is generally understood to describe Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah. Jews who are believers in Jesus/Yeshua typically call themselves Jewish/Hebrew Christians or simply, Christians.

    Many Christians meet folks who say they are ‘Messianic’ and assume that those folks are Jewish Christians. Most aren’t Jewish at all, but are Gentile Christians who have chosen to pursue Torah observance and have adopted the Messianic term, calling themselves Messianic Christians, adherents to Messianic Judaism, or simply, Messianics. Some will even try to avoid that label and say that they are followers of "The Way".

    These Gentiles (and to be fair, some Messianic Jews) preach Torah observance/pursuance for Christians, persuading many believers that the Christianity of the Bible is a false religion and that we must return to the faith of the first century sect of Judaism that they say Yeshua (Jesus Christ) embraced. According to them, once you become aware that you should be 'keeping' the edicts and regulations of Mosaic Covenant Law, if you do not, you are then in willful disobedience to God.

    It has been my observation that Christians who adopt the label of Messianic identify more with the tenets of Judaism than they do with the tenets of Christianity. Many reject the label of Christian altogether and some eventually even convert to Judaism.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

    Joyfully Growing in Grace examines the methods, claims, and fruits of the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related, law-keeping sects.

    To borrow from a Forrest Gump quote, “Law ‘keepers’ are like a box of chocolates - ya never know what you’re gonna get!” The goal of JGIG is to be a resource to help those affected by the Torah pursuant movements to try and sort out what they’re dealing with. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

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    Welcome, and may God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider all of these things.

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Millennial Prophecy: Measuring Unrevealed Prophecies in Light of Revealed Truths

This is a post about discerning what anybody tells you about unfulfilled prophecy in general, the example below being specific to many in  the Hebrew Roots Movement who assert that “We’re all going to be keeping the Law in the Millennium anyway, so we better start practicing now!”.  Most go on to say how we’ll also be offering sacrifices in the rebuilt Millennial Temple.  Not to dump on HRMers exclusively, as there are many others in different streams of thought in the Body of Christ who also believe that animal sacrifices will again occur according to Millennial prophecies found in Scripture.

Well, I have a BIG problem with that assertion.  Why would redeemed, cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb believers be making animal sacrifices for any reason?!

Hebrews 10 is very clear on the issue that Jesus Christ was the FINAL sacrifice.  Not only that, but He is purifying us as well, so purification sacrifices are no longer needed either.  The only sacrificing going on for those in Christ is described here:

Romans 12:1-2
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

God wants living sacrifices, not dead ones!  The Temple, Priests, sacrificial system and other edicts and regulations that God set in place in the Old Covenant were to point to Christ while allowing for atonement for Israel both corporately and individually (temporary atonement that it was), as well as preserving Israel as a nation so that Messiah would be recognized when He came.  The thing about being a living sacrifice is that the atonement is a permanently done deal; those in Christ are redeemed and cleansed by THE Blood of THE Lamb – no further cleansing/purifying required!

Why does God want living sacrifices?
God wants living sacrifices not to preserve a people, but to GROW a people!  Living sacrifices can go out and fulfill the Great Commission, going out to preach the Good News of Christ to every tongue, tribe, and nation, regardless of cultural differences.  Living sacrifices make themselves available to God – renewing their minds, testing God’s will for them.  Living sacrifices go out as the Body of Christ, as His Hands and Feet, to serve and love people into the Kingdom.

Let us sacrifice thus:

Hebrews 13:15
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

And what about the ‘Temple’?
Jesus begins to change the concept of the dwelling place of God from that of a Temple of stone to the Body of Christ here:

John 2:19-22
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20 The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

And the concept of God’s dwelling place further shifts from a physical Temple to the spiritual Body of Christ in the writings to the Body of Christ after Pentecost:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Ephesians 2:19-22
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

1 Peter 2:4-5
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

So I look at all that, and then I look at a teaching that states sacrifices will be offered in a physical temple during the Millennium, and it just doesn’t add up for me.  As I’ve done research about this issue, I’ve found that a broad sampling of streams of thought agree with a literal Millennial Temple, along with literal animal sacrifices being re-instituted, citing God’s ‘final dealing with Israel’ during that time and other such theories.  A simple Google search will provide you with a lifetime’s supply of reading material on the subject. I’ve not been able to pin down exactly who might be sacrificing and why beyond a possible memorial to Christ’s work.

But Christ Himself instituted a memorial to His work – commanding us to remember Him in the Bread and the Wine (Luke 22:19-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26), what is called the Last Supper or Communion.  So the angle of re-instituting the actual slaughter and offering of animals on an altar as a memorial when a memorial is already in place rings hollow to me.

What I do get are lot of references to Ezekiel 40-48 and Zechariah 14 (with condescending statements about how it’s just so obvious what they are talking about) that are far from conclusive and do not prove the point.  My take on Zechariah 14 can be read here.  I see two flaws in the Ezekiel 40-48 argument, starting with one found in Ezekiel 43:

Ezekiel 43:10-11
10 “Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, 11 and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple—its arrangement, its exits and entrances—its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations.

The whole rest of the passage that those advocating for Millennial sacrifices becomes moot in light of the condition laid out in Ezekiel 43:10-11.  God says,“Let them consider the plan and if you are ashamed of all you have done, then . . . “ and has Ezekiel write down in great detail what God would have had in store for Israel, i.e. the new Temple with modified features and protocols, had Israel done the “If”.  Another issue comes up in the Ezekiel 40-48 passage is that some think that the ‘prince’ referred to in Ezekiel 45 is the Messiah, who will preside over the sacrifices offered in the Millennial Temple.  Let’s take a look:

Ezekiel 45:21-22
21 “‘In the first month on the fourteenth day you are to observe the Passover, a feast lasting seven days, during which you shall eat bread made without yeast. 22 On that day the prince is to provide a bull as a sin offering for himself and for all the people of the land.'”

Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is without sin, so the prince mentioned in the above passage cannot refer to Messiah.  Some surmise that the prince is David upon his promised throne over Israel – yet the Blood of THE Lamb has been shed, once for all, and from that reality I must base any interpretation of future events.

Questions that come up for me when considering such a view follow these axiomatic statements:

  1. Based on what we know about Christ’s finished work of the Cross, no more animal sacrifices are required, only the living sacrifices referred to above.
  2. Based on what we know about who we are in Christ, it is certain that believers in Christ will NOT be making sacrifices, so that interpretation is OUT.
    • Who does that leave?
    • Will there be a literal Millennium?
    • Who will populate it if there is?
    • If we reign with Christ as priests and kings, will we
      • be administering Mosaic Covenant Law?
      • overseeing sacrifices? Do you actually know what that entails?
      • The Temple was a virtual slaughterhouse. Is there ANY Scripture where we EVER see that as a possibility after the destruction of the Temple in AD 70?
    • Does the Blood of Christ come to no effect once the anticipated Millennial Reign commences?
    • Will He not still have performed the final sacrifice for mankind?
    • Will He not still be Resurrected?
    • Will those things mean nothing at a certain point on the timeline? If you think so, what Scripture do you (speaking collectively to all readers here) have to back up the assertion that the work of Christ ceases to have power at a certain point in history?
    • Will God demand more than the shed Blood of Christ at any point in history after the work of the Cross?

This bears repeating:  Based on what we know about who we are in Christ, it is certain that believers in Christ will NOT be making sacrifices, so that interpretation is OUT.

So what’s with all the different views?
How do teachers/interpreters of prophecy come up with so many different views in the first place?  I think it has a lot to do with what lens we look through and a great desire and/or a perceived need to have everything ‘all figured out’.

There are prophecies that some have extrapolated to mean certain things, but we must always place the unrevealed truths of those interpreted prophecies within the context of revealed Truth – that being the completed work of Christ.

Revealed Truth always supersedes unrevealed truth – that is, with prophecy, much of it is a mystery until it occurs, and as it occurs, it often looks very different than we thought it would.

I recently heard a funny example about how we can get stuff oh-so-wrong simply because we do not have the whole picture, are ignorant (not in a bad way, just in a not-having-all-the-knowledge about something way), and/or are seeing what we want to see:

A redneck family went to the city and went to one of those really big malls.  The father and the son noticed a big metal wall.  The wall would open up and people would walk into the hole and then it would close up and the people would disappear.  They kept looking at this wall and noticed that up above where the wall was there were numbers that would light up and they’d see the count go up: 1, 2, 3.  Then they’d keep watching and the numbers would come back down: 3, 2, 1.  The wall would open up, and different people would walk out of the hole.  This wall – this wall was something incredible!

Then they saw a little old lady.  She went up to the wall and she pushed a button . . . the wall opened up and she walked into the hole.  The hole closed and she too, disappeared.  They saw the numbers count up to three and then count back down to one.  And when the wall opened up, a beautiful young woman walked out of the hole!  And the father leaned over to his son and said, “Son, go get your mama.” 

Nothing against rednecks here . . . trust me, in some ways I are one!  But we can see from this story that how that father and son interpreted what they were seeing had no basis in reality.  They were interpreting what they saw based on the information and experiences that they had, along with a sizeable pinch of wishful thinking.  There were concepts and mechanical workings completely out of their view.  The concept of an elevator had nothing to do with their world.  Yet they would no doubt fully understand what they had witnessed when looking at the whole picture, instead of seeing the limited view that they had at the time, having interpreted it with the limited knowledge they possessed at the time.

The same can be said for interpreting prophecy.  Layer on top of  the limited information and experiences that influence our interpretations our individual pet theologies and biases, and you can end up with numbers of different interpretations for the same passages of Scripture.  Let me repeat:  There are prophecies that some have extrapolated to mean certain things, but we must always place the unrevealed truths of those interpreted prophecies within the context of revealed Truth – that being the completed work of Christ.

Those who were the most learned in the Scriptures completely missed or outright rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah.  They thought they had it all figured out.  They had the culture, the language, the history, the education, the Scriptures – yet they still missed Jesus.  They were expecting the Messiah to manifest in ways far different than He actually did.

God’s manifestation, fulfillment, and reality of what He foretold did not match what they thought that fulfillment should look like.  Beyond the fulfillment in the incarnation of Christ was the work of the Cross and what that would mean for those who would choose to put their faith and trust in Him.  There were many looking for a conquering Messiah – they did not count on Him conquering as the sacrificial Lamb of God.  That paradoxical reality really messed with their expectations.

We need to be mindful of the above examples when looking at prophecies yet unfulfilled.  We also need to recognize that NONE of the end-times doctrines or interpretations out there constitute core issues of the Christian faith beyond the fact that Jesus IS coming back and there WILL be judgement for both the redeemed and the unredeemed.  Much of what is beyond that is speculation on our parts and anyone who tells you they have it all figured out beyond a doubt is fibbing.

All that said, I’m completely comfortable stating that I don’t have the end-times timeline and events all figured out.  As of this writing, I’m a “Pan-Tribber” and “Pan-Millennialist” with Pre-Trib leanings and an open mind that understands that what I think or don’t think about it is not going to change God’s timetable.  That is, I figure God has it all worked out and knows what He’s doing and it will all pan out in the end.  My job is to be faithful to that which He has called me in this lifetime, whatever that may bring, all the while keeping in sight the completed work of Christ at the Cross and measuring everything through that lens.

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Related to the subjects of Millennial Sacrifices and Theological Perspectives:

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Other articles of interest:

For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index, Glossary, and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.

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7 Responses

  1. I appreciate how thorough this post is and how many follow-up resources you’ve listed. Perhaps you can guide me through them a bit for your (or someone’s) thoughts on two quick points that seem to conflict with one of your main ideas, that those who accept Jesus’ atoning work on the cross have no reason to sacrifice:
    1. Not all sacrifices are for sin. 2. A related point, we find Paul in the temple offering sacrifices in Acts 21, and I think we’d agree he accepted Christ’s atoning work. Thanks, -HB

    • Hi Heather,

      Welcome to JGIG =o).

      Thank you for your kind words about the post. The follow-up resources are just a representative sampling of the reading I have done in research for the post. I put those links there for folks to see other perspectives as well as look at the two forum links that I included to get a feel for the debate about whether or not there will be sacrifices in a Millennial kingdom.

      To your questions: 1) You are correct, not all sacrifices are for sin. Some were for purification and other offerings. Not all offerings required the sacrifice of an animal, either. Yet the letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus was the final sacrifice. No qualifiers, just the final sacrifice. Hebrews 10:11-14 says, “11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”

      Do you know that the one thing that a priest in the Temple was NEVER allowed to do was to sit down? Their work was never done. There were always sacrifices and offerings that had to be attended to. Not so with Christ, “because by ONE sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Further down in the chapter, we read, “19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” According to that passage, we can approach God with confidence in Christ, not needing to bear any offering but ourselves clothed in Christ! Beyond that, living sacrifices, not dead ones, are what God desires from those in Christ, as discussed in the post.

      That said, the fact that God not only allowed, but prophesied that the Temple would be decimated, coupled with the teachings in the NT regarding the dwelling place of God now being one of living stones tells me that Jesus’ work ushered in permanent changes in the Law and how God chose to dwell with those who are His.

      2) Regarding Paul and the Nazarite vow referred to in Acts 21: It’s always struck me as significant that the ONLY account in the New Testament of any apostle (or any believer for that matter) potentially offering a sacrifice at the Temple after Pentecost was incomplete. Paul was arrested before he could ever complete the vow, which culminates in the offering of sacrifices. Things that make you go, Hmmmmm . . . . =o).

      Blessings,
      -JGIG

      • Wow, JGIG! As usual your thorough research was impressive and uplifting. I especially liked your responses to Heather’s excellent questions.

        As I read you original post last night I kept thinking about John 15:5 where Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing. It seemed to tie in with what you were saying. Now, this morning, I see how it ties in. One way is that Paul was unable to complete his sacrifice.

        Since Jesus sat down after His mission was complete, He is certainly not going to lead us to things He has already done, or even things we think are good. Those things really do count as nothing. It looks to me like Jesus only gets up to welcome members of His when their work here is complete, as He did with Stephen. Meanwhile, through the Holy Spirit, Jesus guides each one of those who have offered themselves as living sacrifices to do those things that are specifically the will of God for each individual.

        Love in Christ,
        Herb

  2. Excellent and thorough. I’ve seen the idea of Millennial sacrifices creeping into the theology of different teachers, and the thought of animals being sacrificed at that time, when the earth and the nations were being healed…well, that was a horrifying thought! Not to mention that it would negate everything Christ has completed through His death and resurrection.

    Thanks for taking the time to share this research. Your work is very much appreciated!

    In Christ-
    Kathy

    P.S. My husband has gone even deeper into the HRM. He now keeps a lunar sabbath. And he seems to be losing his mind – others have noticed his peculiarities. too.

  3. Thank you for this, I have come out of the HRM movement, I did not do it all but I had it all in my head.

    I thank God that my husband takes a long time in making decisions about doctrines, I have usually started and passed out of a deception before he has made up his mind.

    This is spiliting the body of Christ, I know people that have moved hundreds of miles to find other who do HRM, taken thier kids out of good schools against thier wills, left behind life-long friends who do not do HRM.

  4. JGIG,
    This link does not work any longer for Those Millennial Sacrifices in your article.
    I read book once by a dear friend https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coming-King-R-Baruch-ebook/dp/B00H3QAP7W
    That mentions those who get saved after the rapture would need to sacrifice.

    I just don’t know much about this and your site has been very helpful to us. I was in the messianic jewish movement which has an anti church (they don’t teach this stuff: by stuff they mean jewish customs and laws both rabbinic and mosaic and that church holidays are pagan) and other things mentioned over and over. Then with MJ you always have to skirt the HRMs which are even louder and are gentiles. And as a performance based person who tends to want approval through achievement this lends to legalism. And when you are seeking approval for this sort of achievement it is a form of idolatry because Christ should always get the glory. However, I believe this is common in most men aka (mankind) because there are non legalistic people who are just plain hard working achievers and anyone who doesn’t achieve like they do are lazy. Yep we all have met them and some are looking at us in the mirror. So your site has been very helpful to me. Please keep up your hard work and superb analysis. We would love to site down with you for an interview sometime.

    So thank you. We have a web site called http://www.biblestudycompany.com and would like to link some of your articles was we blog and do videos if you are ok with that.

    Ric Joyner St. Petersburg, Fl

    • Hi Ric,

      Welcome to JGIG =o). Yep, legalism/performance-based Christianity permeates throughout the Body, whether it be more overtly, through belief systems such as the HRM, or more subtly, as you detail above, from plain, hard-working achievers. Enter the paradox of life in Christ, where He bids us to REST, and then proceeds to produce His Fruit \o/. Works then become a natural (or supernatural) outpouring of who we are in Christ, not striving in and of ourselves to bring about some result. It seems so counter-intuitive, but it is the Good News.

      Feel free to link to anything here at JGIG, just please honor the copyright policy found in the right hand sidebar of this site. You may find materials from Paul Ellis (Escape to Reality) and Andrew Farley (Church Without Religion) to be helpful, as well. Paul Ellis comes from a more charismatic stream of faith, yet is very solid on the Gospel and has written, in my opinion, one of the best defenses of the Gospel of Grace out there, The Hyper-Grace Gospel: A Response to Michael Brown and Those Opposed to the Modern Grace Message. Andrew Farley comes from a more Evangelical stream of faith, though does not deny the gifts of the Spirit. Andrew has, again in my opinion, some of the most solid, well laid out teachings on the Gospel I’ve heard.

      Regarding an interview, feel free to contact me at joyfullygrowingingrace at gmail dot com. Our family of nine has had a very eventful last couple of years, which have included getting our two oldest off to college, walking through pediatric cancer (metastatic brain and spine cancer) with another child (who is doing great, by the way, Praise God!), and a very recent major geographical move of 900 miles! Needless to say, I’m still getting my feet under me, but am so thankful for where we are and what God has done and how He has provided in our lives/circumstances.

      I hope you’ve found and will continue to find JGIG a resource in helping to build up the Body in who She is in Christ!

      Grace and peace,
      -JGIG

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