We need to understand the following: (1) what Adam’s rebellion caused; (2) the purpose of the Law; and (3) what opportunity Israel failed to fulfill. Understanding these three things help us to understand the need for a Millennium here on this earth, and why a sacrificial system would be re-established. Let’s look at each of these three points.
Did Adam really rebel? Is eating some fruit really that bad? Well, to be honest, any sin is an act of rebellion. What is rebellion anyway? It is knowing what is expected and then doing the opposite. Isn’t that what Adam and Eve did? God only had one rule for them: do not eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the middle of the garden (Gn 2:17). Yet, they disobeyed. After hearing the half-truths from the serpent, who was influenced by Satan himself, they believed these lies and doubted God. They doubted that God wanted the best for them and would supply the best for them. Isn’t that at the core of all sin. If we go against what God has told us, then we are really saying we don’t believe he has the best for us in his mind. He’s holding back, and we must take matters into our own hands. That’s what Adam and Eve did. They doubted, which lead to a change in their belief about God and his goodness, which led to actions against God’s will.
So what did Adam lose? Everything. God had established a theocratic kingdom with Adam ruling under God’s leadership. He had given Adam dominion over all the earth and its creatures, and had told him and Eve to have many children and lead the earth’s inhabitants with God as their ultimate authority. This was lost. Adam turned it over to Satan. How do we know this? We are told that Satan today is the prince of the power of the air (Ep 2:2), and when he tempted Christ in the wilderness, he offered all the kingdoms of the earth to Christ if Christ would only worship him. If they were not his to give, he could not have offered them, and Christ would not have taken his offer so seriously.
So, what was the purpose of the Law? It was to show the wickedness of man. To help mankind understand they were not good on their own. It wasn’t about the sacrifices. God often stated he valued obedience over sacrifice (1Sa 15:22; Ho 6:6). He was always about the heart and not the sacrifice. The sacrifice did not forgive sin. It represented the horror of sin and what it ultimately causes, i.e., death (Ro 6:23). It has always been about faith – not sacrifice. Abraham believed, and it was counted to him as righteousness (Gn 15:6). This was way before the Law was ever given. Even the prophet Habakkuk stated that it had always been about faith (Hk 2:4). The Law pointed to the need of a Savior. It all pointed to Christ. He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill the law (Mt 5:17). Sacrifice also pointed to the fact that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Mt 26:28; Hb 10:18). Sin leads to death. Mankind needed a Savior.
When God created Israel as a nation at the base of Mt. Sinai, he told them they were to be a kingdom of priests to the world (Ex 19:6). They were to lead the world in the worship of God. Yet, they failed in his. They took the meaning of being God’s chosen people to make them feel superior to other peoples and not that they were chosen to be God’s ambassadors to the world. While many did do this, they did not as a nation. They missed a great opportunity.
God’s plans will never fail and nothing mankind does can ever thwart his plans. He has something to prove before he makes Satan and sin disappear forever. He will remove the curse that Satan and the rebellious act of Adam and Eve caused upon the earth and all mankind (Ac 3:19-21). While the earth will become a utopian-type society under his rule, there will still be people born into the kingdom who will be unsaved. While Satan will be removed from the earth for this period of time, man’s propensity to sin will not be removed. This will demonstrate man cannot blame his acts of rebellion on Satan’s influence alone. Therefore, they will need to understand their need for a Savior just like we do today. Why does this mean a sacrificial system will be needed to do this? This utopian society, with the curse lifted, will occur after what is called the first resurrection (where all the righteous will be resurrected from the dead; Rv 20:4-6). There is nothing recorded in Scripture that another resurrection of the righteous will occur. Therefore, it would seem that death has also been abolished, although those who rebel will be removed from the earth. It is not clear if others will actually see them die. So, the sacrificial system will be a demonstration of what death means and how it creates separation. In one sense it is a visual aid—a very graphic one—and will show the seriousness of the consequence of their disobedience. Since Christ will be physically present, there is a need for cleansing for worship of a holy God. The sacrificial system demonstrates this need for holiness and purity in the presence of someone holy (Ek 43:26; Zc 13:1). This will also fulfil God’s promise to Israel that they as a nation will lead the world in worship of the one true God.
And, why will it last for one-thousand years (Rv 20:3)? No one knows for sure, but could it be a way to demonstrate to Satan that Christ can build a kingdom which lasts longer than mankind can last on their own? Because of Satan and his influence, the world had to be destroyed with a flood to restore it (Gn 6:11-13). Adam lived for 930 years (Gn 5:5). Methuselah lived for 969 years (Gn 5:27). By Christ’s kingdom lasting one-thousand years, it shows his kingdom is superior to all that has come before. No sin, no disobedience, no acts of rebellion will be able to thwart God’s plan. God will rule forever. He has given us a chance to be a part of all of this. Are you going to accept what he offers?
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 5: Jubilee
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