All throughout the Bible, Sanctuary language is used to convey the ideas of salvation. At the beginning of man’s fall, we see the first evidence of this, when it says: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
The first animal sacrifice was slain, foreshadowing the great Sacrifice of the Son of God at Calvary. From this time onward, every morning and evening was the time God declared they were to offer this sacrifice continually, until these shadows met their object, at which time, God purposed that there should be no more death by animal sacrifices, but inasmuch as there was no more animal sacrifices, there was to be, through the death of Christ, an abolition of death, which is “now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:” 1 Tim. 1:10
This was foretold in Daniel 9:27 when Christ should “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”; that being said, sister White tells us “God requires no less of His people in these last days, in sacrifices and offerings, than He did of the Jewish nation….” Test. Vol. 2, pg. 573
So, if the sacrifices since the time of Adam, which continued throughout the time of the earthly sanctuary of the Jewish people until Christ, which sacrifices ceased at the death of Christ, there must be a better sacrifice God is desiring for us if He required no less of them, than He does of us in these last days. We’re going to look at:
1) The Sacrifice that God requires.
2) Why it is so important.
3) New light, that is precious old light, in the plan of redemption.
The Sacrifice that God requires:
In the Scriptures, we are told of the sacrifice that God requires, and what He does not require.
Psa 40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
Just like Jesus, at any time, if our ears are opened to what God is teaching through these sacrifices, pointing to a much greater object, we will realize He never desired, nor REQUIRED, the death of animals. As we seen however, there was a sacrifice God did require of His people, even from the earliest times. Of the death of animal sacrifices, we are told:
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4
“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” Hebrews 10:1
The death of animal sacrifices could not take away sins, nor make those who offered them perfect, so we see that there must be a better sacrifice, accessible even in those times. Yet Jesus Christ, not being a shadow but the very object those shdows came from, was required even at those times. He is called the:
“Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29
A Better Sacrifice
It was only this Sacrifice that could take away sins, which God required of the Jewish nation, and even before this time. He is also called: “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revation 13:8) indicating that His sacrifice was good from the foundation of the world. This required sacrifice, the Lamb of God, was necessary to take away sins from the time of the very first animal sacrifice, which pointed to His death.
These “shadows” could never be disconnected from their true object, or else those who offered them would receive no more benefit than the object itself could offer. In the case of the spilled blood of lambs, it meant absolutely nothing, and for those who didn’t look to the sacrifice of Christ, this visual aid could not help them in the least in bringing them to receive the blessings of His sacrifice. We are told of that Sacrifice available from the foundation of the world:
“after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:12,14
Foreshadowing the Lamb of God
So we see that it is Christ, not the blood of animal sacrifices that God requires, which can take away sins, and which can perfect forever. Some say that it was through the law before Christ died that men were made righteous, but nothing a man could do could make him righteous; such souls do not realize that even from the first sin, Christ offered Himself as their Lamb if in faith, they would look to Him as their sacrifice. We are told that Abel offered “a better sacrifice” (Hebrews 11:4) “by faith“, and this sacrifice was the sacrifice of seeing Him who is invisible, because faith is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (v.1).
Yet with this required sacrifice in every dispensation of time, there was a manifestation of that sacrifice that was to be revealed in the continual evening and morning offering, as well as in the assemblies of God’s people:
“And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even; And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD:” 1 Chronicles 23:30-31
A Continual Sacrifice
Every evening and morning offering, where they were to acknowledge the Lamb of God when bringing the animal sacrifices, was to be offered with praise and thanks. This hasn’t changed from the old testament, to the new. We are told in the epistle to the Hebrews, that the continual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving are the sacrifices in the Lamb which God requires:
“By Him (The Lamb of God) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15
Even in heaven, we are told of this sacrifice from Ellen White and the book of Ezekiel:
“The temple of God is opened in heaven, and the threshold is flushed with the glory of God which is for every church that will love God and keep His commandments. We need to study, to meditate, and to pray. Then we shall have spiritual eyesight to discern the inner courts of the celestial temple. We shall catch the themes of song and thanksgiving of the heavenly choir round about the throne. When Zion shall arise and shine, her light will be most penetrating, and precious songs of praise and thanksgiving will be heard in the assemblies of the saints. Murmuring and complaining over little disappointments and difficulties will cease. . . . We shall see our Advocate offering up the incense of His own merits in our behalf. . . .
Praise and Thanksgiving Forevermore!
God teaches that we should assemble in His house to cultivate the attributes of perfect love. This will fit the dwellers of earth for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love Him. There they will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftiest strains of song, in praise and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.” (AG, pg. 79)
Read the above carefully. Here is the sacrifice that God requires. Praise and thanksgiving by the Lamb of God who sits upon the throne for ever and ever; the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world a perpetual reminder of what has been accomplished for us. To praise God is to acknowledge His goodness, and to give thanks is to acknowledge the reception of something. As we see above, in the temple of God in heaven, the inner courts are opened for assembling, and giving the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. That continual faith in the Lamb, means that as He lives before God, we shall live also by Him, and we become in Him, and all we do by Him, a living sacrifice. This required Sacrifice manifested even in the inner courts in the celestial temple in heaven.
A True Offering
Now, we have seen that God requires a sacrifice, a continual testament to His goodness, which blessings were manifested towards God’s people, not only since the first lamb that was slain as a shadow of the True Sacrifice, but even that True Sacrifice is carried into eternity. This is exactly what we see pictured in Ezekiel’s Temple vision:
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened…And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto the LORD in the sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish.” (Ezekiel 46:1,4)
The Lamb of God, the true Sacrifice, is the key to Ezekiel’s Temple vision. It is BY HIM (“the prince”) that we offer the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and are made acceptable. Does this mean that we must sacrifice animal sacrifices which Christ caused to cease at the cross? No, it does not, because God never required it. God does require something though.
If you only take away the animal sacrifices, what about the evening and mornings they were tied to? As we’ll continue to see even more, it does not take away the significance of God’s appointed times for consecration and blessing because they were required from the time which God ordained them and onward, because they were (and are) necessary for a living connection with Christ: necessary for the spiritual life of the people.
New Light that is Precious Old Light:
Since such a bold statement was made regarding the evening and morning sacrifices, I want to clarify, and address, a few points on the evening and morning sacrifice.
Each morning and evening, the Israelites consecrated themselves by the blood of Christ, and the shadow of these things they participated in (the slaying of the animal) was to point forward to that Good Thing (Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God which takes away their sins), but the receiving of that Good Thing did not hinge so much on the future timing of that sacrifice in the still-to-come year, month, day, or hour. We almost wholly unanimously agree that Christ died to fulfill prophetically the specifications of both the morning and evening sacrifices, as well as the Passover, on 31 A.D.
The timing of His Sacrifice, and the manner of it, were full of prophetic significance and were essential to the plan of salvation. However, there are some who are teaching that such a sacrifice, which God requires for all men to be saved, wasn’t available until Christ actually died, but Scripture clearly calls Christ “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
By Faith in Jesus’ Sacrifice
That Sacrifice can be received by all who believe, whether before the cross, or after the cross, because it is given to all who believe. Those prophetic fulfillments Jesus brought about wonderfully ratified these sacrificial blessings which all had received, but it did not hinder them from ever receiving them. It is not the physical blood of Christ that we need to touch, as though the timeframe of Christ’s death could prevent those who were outside of that from receiving salvation, but it is not the time in which the shed blood of Christ occurred that makes salvation possible to some, and not possible to others. Past and future are nothing, but faith exercised in God’s appointed manner will avail much. This is where many make a grave mistake, and many strange errors about God and the gospel take up residence into the minds of people.
The Scriptures tell us of this evening and morning consecration by the blood of Christ in a prophecy:
“Unto two thousand and three hundred days (evenings & mornings); then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
The original word for “days” here is evening and mornings. And in the same chapter, we read: “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true.”
How long did the prophetic period of the 2300 evenings and mornings extend? Until 1844. From the beginning of the count of the restoration of God’s people which was before Christ died, beyond the years of 31 A.D at the year of Christ’s death and resurrection. extending into 1844, to lead us into the Day of atonement. This is symbolic of the continual offering, the daily ministration that takes place for the salvation of men.
The lamb was “slain” every evening and morning, but surely we don’t say that Christ died 2300 times to bring us to 1844. He needed to only die once, and the rest of the period of time is consecrated by the blood that speaketh better things than that of Abel. In the testimonies, we read the following:
“The typical shadows of the Jewish tabernacle no longer possess any virtue. A daily and yearly typical atonement is no longer to be made, but the atoning sacrifice through a mediator is essential because of the constant commission of sin. Jesus is officiating in the presence of God, offering up His shed blood, as it had been a lamb slain. Jesus presents the oblation offered for every offense and every shortcoming of the sinner.” (Selected Messages Volume 1 page 343)
This however, is not to say that we become carnal again every morning; but that His mercies are new every morning, because by the Lamb we live, and can come before God, being kept alive in Christ by faith through the Lamb, and entrust what was the purchase of that most precious blood for us to God our Father to finish the work He has begun in us. It also says that in preparation for His translation, ignorant sins which come to light, as He faithfully keeps us in the way, will be confessed, and cleansed of, and perfection of character will be wrought by the blood of the Lamb in it’s fullness.
Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Jude 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
So let’s review:
These evenings and mornings are for-
1) Manifesting faith in the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
2) Abiding a living sacrifice in Him, holy and acceptable.
4) By Him to offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.
5) A living connection with the risen Lamb.
6) Consecration unto perfection.
Moving Onto Perfection: A Glorious Revelation
So we see that continual faith in the blood of the Lamb is essential for our connection. Yet there is more light to be had upon this subject.
Remember that when saying that God did not require burnt sacrifice and offerings (which are a shadows of better things contained in the law, see Hebrews 10), He also says “Mine ears hast Thou opened.” (Psalm 40:6) Christ was speaking these words, and was saying: I can truly hear what You are saying, and in these sacrifices, “it is written of Me” (Psalm 40:7) ; Christ understood His mission, and what God required of Him, yet He wants to open our ears also in Christ. The Scripture says:
“He wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” Isaiah 50:4-5
When He opens our understanding to the precious truths in His law, (“and I was not rebellious”) as the gospel shines forth from it, it is “morning by morning”.
Pro 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
The same words for morning are used for the morning sacrifice in the Hebrew. Also, the same words are used by Paul in the Greek form, “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day (same word for morning sacrifice in Grk.).” 2 Corinthians 4:16
We see that in Hebrews (13:15), the apostle still believes in giving sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and we see that these were primarily the evening and morning sacrifices (1 Chron. 23:30), and that he also said we are renewed morning by morning. However, since that text from Paul seems inconclusive without more context, we’ll look at a few more texts from Paul, as well as that chapter more in depth. What more is there?
1Co 15:31 “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Therefore, he saw the daily evening and morning consecration as necessary to being consecrated in the continued outflowing of grace. It is true that we die once to sin, but yet to the flesh, we die daily, a continual dying to the way of the flesh, that the way of Christ might be manifested in us; “inwardly”, we are “renewed” morning by morning. This is how we become that living sacrifice, holy and acceptable in Him.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God (comp. Lam. 3:22-23), that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
This is when we are connected with Christ’s death, associating with it so fully, that the power of sin is broken, and a greater revelation is manifested in us.
Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Ellen White explains the purpose of the consecration sacrifice like this:
“Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, “Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.” This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.”SC, pg. 71
We are called to do this, that “day by day“, morning by morning, our lives “will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.” Thus, the evening and morning sacrifice will pour out the life of Christ into us, and we are made into the image of God. All this, by standing in the channel of blessing through the consecrations of our lives to the Lamb that sitteth upon the throne. What a wonder! This is the gospel, from the time of the first lamb’s sacrifice, to the perfection of the saints, and it will be the continual sacrificial song upon our lips: the song of the Lamb.
Now, because the Lamb of God is that continual offering by which we come unto God and are made “more and more” into His image, and He is also the Word of God by which all things “were made” (John 1:3) To see the ultimate, and full significance of the evening and morning process, we must understand these two points of His identity: that He is both Creator (The Word), and Redeemer (The Lamb).
Creative power, and redemptive power are one in the same power in the Scriptures. This the Scriptures do abundantly testify. For example:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” Romans 1:16
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse…” Romans 1:20
This word for power is the same word. But returning back to the chapter where Paul said “inwardly, we are renewed day by day”, the gospel can be very powerfully revealed as the same power as creation:
2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
So it’s the same power. What does this mean? This Lamb, with our consecration in Him every evening and morning, when the sacrifice of sin and the flesh for the heavenly substance of much greater worth is made in choosing to walk with God, it is at this time, we see the flowing forth of His lifeblood to our souls. Because the Redemptive and Creative power are one in the same power, that power found of the lifeblood of the Lamb of God every evening and morning is the very same creative power of the Spirit/Life in the Word that transforms us. Paul testified of God, who by His creative power “commanded the light to shine out of darkness” who in His creating, declared “And the evening and the morning was the first day.” It is this redemptive and creative power, this lifeblood from the Word of God/the Lamb of God, that comes forth and makes us new morning by morning. As we awaken to the reality of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is our Redeeming Lamb, and Creative Word, and He rejoices over us, saying “Behold, I make all things new!” (Revelation 21:5)
We are told from the beginning, regarding that Word, that “God spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” and that is to be our experience in Him, and it is why daily consecration is so vital to a living connection with Christ. Our experience therefore is now one of victory over sin; one of new life; one where the battles and the wars are won because “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
We see the evidence of this Word at creation. And when He says “And the evening and the morning were the first day”, we see beginning the creative process continuing for six days, the evening and the morning each one, and man was made in God’s image by the molding work of the hand of God, and then came the holy Sabbath rest. This is the gospel which we preach.
2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
From the first Word of promise, accompanied with the first sacrifice, was to declare to all men who received His promise by faith: “Behold, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” This process is a daily process, a continual offering, that brings about a much greater revelation. This dying daily in the Lamb of God to the will of the flesh, and being renewed and empowered daily spiritually, means that the more this process unfolds, and we receive the life in the blood by faith, pouring forth from the side of our Great High Priest, the more and still more we will manifest His likeness in death, as ‘a sheep for the slaughter’ (Psalm 44:22, Rom. 8:36), ‘bearing in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus‘ (Gal. 6:17, presenting our bodies a living sacrifice Rom. 12:1), and thus will be manifesting the life of Jesus in us: it is thus, that we shall be a living revelation of Jesus Christ upon this earth to manifest His glory. By the evening and morning offering, He is not to ever be left without witnesses to His goodness upon this earth while He pleads His blood in heaven for the transgressors.
To clarify: All of this does not teach that Christ dies more than once, as some might be tempted to charge me with, but that at all times, man is dependent upon the blood of that One required sacrifice to make salvation possible, and to perfect us forever, and that blood is available, while there is a Mediator between God and man, at any time, whether past or future. To put it more simply, His blood is the foundation of our new life, from Adam until the last soul saved at last, and the longer we continue in newness of life, this will always be the case: a continual testament to the infinite sacrifice of our God, and the Lamb, forever and ever. Amen.
God, and the Lamb, forever and ever. Amen.