I plan to write on the topic of Ezekiel’s temple and the alleged problems it has for premillennialism, particularly the concept of animal sacrifices during the millennium. I will be finishing up my reading this weekend and sketching an outline.
In the meantime, one of the best sources I came across for this subject is Jerry Hullinger’s DTS dissertation entitled, A Proposed Solution to the Problem of Animal Sacrifices in Ezekiel 40-48. As far as I know, his dissertation is unpublished and would have to be acquired through a library service, but it is worth the effort to obtain and read. He has some published articles in the Journal of Dispensational Theology, one from 2007 addressing the Ezekiel/Hebrews problem of atonement.
I appreciated Dr. Hullinger’s study of Hebrews as it relates to Ezekiel and I find myself agreeing with his overall conclusions; but more about that later.
I wanted to draw readers to his study on Hebrews 9-10 which I found to be exceptionally well-done and encouraging. He showed how the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 relates to Hebrews 9-10 and the argument for how Christ is a greater sacrifice. He gave a really good comparison and contrast between what the high priest did on the day of atonement and what Christ accomplished with His atonement.
I thought I would share the comparison and contrast only slightly modified from the original table format to fit a blog article.
Leviticus 16 -The high priest entered the Holy of Holies alone.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ entered the immediate presence of God as a pioneer for His people. He entered the “real” presence of God which guarantees present access for the believer into a better sanctuary. In addition, His blood secures eschatological access when the believer sees God the Father “face to face.”
Leviticus 16 – The high priest entered once a year.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ remains in the presence of God. Because he remains in the presence of the Father, the believer has unlimited access now and in the future.
Leviticus 16 – The high priest sacrificed what was outside himself
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ sacrificed Himself which shows the superiority of His sacrifice and priesthood.
Leviticus 16 – The high priest offered for himself
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ was without sin and needed no sacrifice.
Leviticus 16 – The high priest offered many sacrifices for the sins of the people.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ offered once sacrifice for the sin of the people and it was potent enough to do its work in one offering, and was therefore the only one that could remedy the “sin” problem.
Leviticus 16 – Levitical sacrifices effect outward cleansing. The Levitical system was instituted to remove ceremonial defilement because of the holiness of God’s presence, and therefore it was only efficacious in this sphere.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ’s sacrifice effected inward cleansing. Christ’s sacrifice was able to cleanse the inward conscience and perfect the worshiper.
Leviticus 16 – The high priest ministered in an earthly tabernacle.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ ministers in a greater, heavenly tabernacle. From the human perspective, the animal sacrifices were intended for an earthly horizontal sphere, while Christ’s sacrifice was intended for a heavenly, vertical sphere (with horizontal ramifications).
Leviticus 16 – The high priest entered the Holy of Holies with the blood of an animal.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ entered the presence of God by virtue of His own blood. This again points to the fact that Christ’s blood was needed to enter the real sanctuary and therefore operates in a different sphere.
Leviticus 16 – The high priest offered temporary sacrifices.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ offered an abiding sacrifices. It accomplished its objective with one offering.
Leviticus 16 – The high priest offered the sacrifice of an involuntary animal.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ voluntarily offered himself.
Leviticus 16 – Animal sacrifices operated in the sphere of the Mosaic covenant.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ’s sacrifice operates in the sphere of the New Covenant.
Leviticus 16 – The animal blood cleansed the earthly sanctuary
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ’s blood cleansed the heavenly sanctuary. The sphere of the differing sacrifices is again contrasted as earthly/horizontal and heavenly/vertical.
Leviticus 16 – Aaron had to leave the presence of God.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ remains in the presence of God. The heavenly/vertical sphere is always open because of the presence of Christ at the Father’s right hand.
Leviticus 16 – Aaron reappeared from the Holy of Holies.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ will one day reappear for His people.
Leviticus 16– The Levitical priests “stood before the Lord” continually offering sacrifices.
Hebrews 9-10 – Christ sat down at the right hand of God because His work is finished.