For premillennialists (those who believe that Jesus will have an earthly reign after the rapture of the church), it’s difficult to understand why there would be animal sacrifices during the millennial reign. After all, Hebrews 10 makes it very clear that God does not desire sacrifices and that Jesus’ death was the ultimate sacrifice once for all.
When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:8-10)
“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be His
servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast My covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered (Isaiah 56:6-8).”
Perhaps the best description of the Holy Temple of the Millennial Kingdom occurs beginning in Ezekiel 40. In Ezekiel 43:18-46:24, God gives explicit instructions concerning sacrifices and how they will be performed. So we know that there will be animal sacrifices then. In fact, without them, Daniel 9:27 would have to be completely misconstrued.
“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an
abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him (Daniel 9:27).”
So why would God set up animal sacrifices in the Millennial Kingdom?
First, it is important to note that Jesus’ sacrifice offered the perfect atonement for all the sins of mankind from the beginning of time until the end of time. Do not think for one minute that sacrifices made in the Old Testament took away the sins of the Israelites. According to Scripture itself, that would be impossible.
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (Hebrews 10:4).”
The reason most Christians don’t agree that there will be sacrifices once Jesus is reigning is because they don’t understand what sacrifices were supposed to do. Animal sacrifices were designed to make men face their sins and realize that they were in need of God. The sacrifices were meant to bring the Israelites to repentance.
The Hebrews of early Judaism were not cold, unfeeling people. They actually loved their flocks, sometimes allowing kids and lambs inside their own houses, particularly before Passover. That Paschal lamb was taken into the house four days before it was to be slaughtered. These Jews, as I said, loved their flocks. (That’s precisely why Jesus used the analogy of taking care of sheep and calls us the sheep of His hand.) If you have a pet, you know how fond of them people can be. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m NOT saying that the Jews looked at the Paschal lamb as a pet—far from it! But having an innocent, baby animal in your home for a protracted period of time brought them severely up against the seriousness of their sin. It would require an animal being slaughtered on their behalf, shedding its own blood when it had done nothing wrong. In fact, it was to be a perfect lamb.
Sacrifices were never provided to win God’s favor.
The Psalmist makes it abundantly clear that the sacrifices that God has regard for are a contrite heart and a humble spirit. Those, God will accept. God made the animals for His and mankind’s enjoyment. And the very first sin caused an animal to be sacrificed to cover man’s sin, not take it away!
“For You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You take no pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:17).” “The LORD God fashioned garments from animal skins for Adam and his wife, and clothed them (Genesis 3:21).”
So what will the sacrifices do in the Millennial Kingdom?
The exact same thing they did in the Old Testament. God has never delighted in the shedding of blood. Sacrifices are not pleasing to Him. They will be then as they ever have
been for mankind’s benefit. To bring us up short and show how serious it is to violate God’s commands.
Sin separates us from God. When the sacrifices on the altar in the New Kingdom take place, in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
The saints who are ruling with Jesus in that time will not be offering sacrifices even as a reminder of past sins. Because when a person—whether Jew or Gentile—receives light and life through Jesus’ sacrifice, that person is made completely new. The sinner he was no longer even exists. He does not need a reminder of sin, because sin belonged to a different creature, and because he will joyously be serving God as a creation who no longer sins.
And that’s Good News!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).”