A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada
Animal Sacrific Index
Why did the Apostle Paul involve himself in animal sacrifices? (Acts 21:23-26)
Paul was often accused of breaking Yahweh's commandments. Even to this day many
Christians believe that Paul taught the abolition of God's law. Nothing is
further from the truth. Paul and the early Apostles were all Israelites who
kept Yahweh's law and taught others to obey it. In the incident recorded in
Acts 21 the elders in Jerusalem were anxious to dispel any rumours that Paul
was a law-breaker. To be sure he had often tried to explain the real purpose of
Yahweh's law, 'things hard to understand' as the Apostle Peter called
them in 2 Peter 3:14-16, but Paul never taught disobedience. He taught:
But all this did not mean that Paul was attacking God's law. Indeed Paul said
Yahweh's law was perfect, holy, just and good.
- That the law is a signpost, identifying error. (Rom.3:20)
- That the law is a school teacher, pointing us to Christ. (Gal.3:24)
- That believers are not under the death penalty of the law; but under
grace and mercy: and should lead obedient lives. (Rom.6:1-16)
- And that animal sacrifices could never cleanse a person's conscience,
whereas Christ's blood can. (Heb.9:13-14)
||12: Therefore the law is in itself holy, and the commandment is holy, just and good.|
14: We know that the law is spiritual...
Therefore in order to dispel any doubts the Jews may have held concerning his
obedience, Paul joined four others in a Nazarite dedication service.
This service is fully described in Numbers chapter 6.
The service involved:
Paul joined in this dedication ceremony - not because he was a Nazarite
or had grown his hair long for many weeks, not because he had been defiled by
a dead body in any way, but for one reason alone:
- Taking a vow of dedication (separation)
- Not drinking wine or strong drink or even eating anything from the
vine for the period of the vow.
- Not cutting one's hair, but shaving it off after the period of the vow
- Not coming into contact with any dead body all the days of separation.
- And an offering of two doves and a lamb to signal the end of the vow.
||24: ... that all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee - are nothing: but that thou thyself walkest orderly and keepest the law.
Whilst considering these facts also remember that
- The Temple in Jerusalem was still standing and
- The Aaronic Priesthood was still officiating;
so sacrifices in the Temple were not illegal even though the reality
to which those sacrifices pointed (Christ's death) had occurred.
- The morning and evening sacrifices were also still being made.
- Christ's early disciples (mostly Jews) were still visiting the Temple
each day and witnessing the daily sacrifice.
Then came that incredible accusation that Paul was teaching disobedience to
Yahweh's law! The Apostles were stunned, because they all knew that the charge
was totally false. They knew that Paul had been explaining the deeper
lessons of Yahweh's law; just as we are attempting to do in this booklet.
And here he was being accused of heresy! What were they to do? How could they
convince an extremely religious population that Paul was in fact an
obedient Israelite? How could they do this without entering into
endless explanations, arguments and possible uproar? What were they to do?
They found the answer in the Nazarite vow. Bear in mind that no law
would be violated if Paul joined in this dedication service, for
the Temple and the authorized priesthood were both present. Indeed much would
be gained by a silent public display ( a bald head) of obedience. So
Paul agreed to their plan and re-dedicated himself to God along with the
That is all we should read from this incident: That the Apostle Paul
joined others in a dedication service to dispel any doubts that he was a
In view of these facts, let no misguided Gentile offer unauthorized animal
sacrifices elsewhere on earth. Without a Temple and without a Priesthood even
the Jews do not presume to offer sacrifices: how much less should Gentiles who
believe in the Saviour as the Lamb of God.
Will the animal sacrifices mentioned in Ezekiel's prophecy be performed in some
future day? (Ezekiel chapters 44 to 46)
As explained earlier, animals were slaughtered by the Aaronic
Priesthood to illustrate the following spiritual realities:
- That the penalty for sin is eternal death.
- That without the shedding of blood forgiveness is not possible.
- That an innocent victim could take the place of a guilty party.
- That if a repentant believer requested pardon and came before the
Most High with that innocent victim's blood - he/she would be
pardoned - on the strength of the Messiah's coming sacrifice.
- That all animal sacrifices pointed to Messiah's (Christ's) sacrifice on Calvary.
- That the Saviour's blood (life) purifies the believer enabling him/her to be
totally reconciled to the Father.
- That the multiple sacrifices made on Yahweh's Sabbaths signify the
multiple achievements of Christ's sacrifice in the Plan of Salvation.
Also remember that Ezekiel's prophecy was written in about 592 BC, over 600
years before Christ's death on Calvary. In those chapters the prophet uses
symbolic language to describe a far higher degree of cleansing and
purification still to be achieved in a date future to him. In other words
Ezekiel's prophecy pictured Yeshua the Messiah's sacrifice and its eternal effect.
Prophetic language may often be low level, picturing bulls, goats, lambs and
the literal sons of Zadok; but the realities to which those well known terms
point is high-level. The use of symbolic terms such as the 'Passover Lamb,'
'circumcision,' 'washing,' 'unleavened bread' etc. all describe the spiritual
realities Messiah's sacrifice would accomplish. These well-known terms help us
better understand the concepts of sin, sacrifice, cleansing and holiness. That
is the main reason why symbolic language is used in prophecy.
The prophecy of the Revelation also uses symbolic language: 'coloured horses,'
'bows,' 'swords,' 'scales,' 'sickles' and 'frogs' to describe messages of warning, war,
famine, the end-time harvest and the work of evil spirits. In a similar way
Ezekiel looked forward and in symbolic language described the future
work of Christ (the Prince) in a spiritual Temple built on a high mountain. I
quote from the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible page 178:
Ezekiel's Temple, in other words, is a spiritual structure which Yahweh
will inhabit through eternity: a structure built on the
foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ, his sacrifice
and his life-blood which was shed for us: a sacrifice, which to the prophet Ezekiel, was
still future. Notice that the responsibility of providing all the
sacrifices in the Temple fell to the PRINCE.
"The picture that is unfolded in these chapters (of Ezekiel) is not an
ideal which the prophet expected would be realized literally; but is
purely symbolic; for in no other way is it possible to understand the
high mountain of the new Zion, and the measurements, and the allotments of the
land which are geometrical and not geographical, and the healing waters
that issue from the sanctuary and presently become a mighty river, and the
trees whose fruit is produced every month and whose leaves are for
||17: And it shall be the PRINCE'S part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, in the Feasts, and in the new moons, and in the
Sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: He shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt
offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.
The Prince is Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). It remains his responsibility
to provide all the sacrifices and to make reconciliation for Israel. (Chapters
45 & 46). And that is exactly what the Saviour has been doing since his
death and resurrection. By his death - with a single sacrifice - he
met every sacrificial requirement mentioned by Ezekiel: and also began the
work of building the eternal Temple on the high mountain of the new Zion. The
sevenfold Passover sacrifices mentioned (7 bullocks, 7 rams and 7 goat kids,
Eze.45:23) all picture the absolute perfection, totality and
all-encompassing effect of Yeshua's life-blood and sacrifice. They do not mean that
as the Passover lamb or kid Jesus will die over and over again seven times.
Is it wrong for a believer to donate an animal for one of Yahweh's Feasts?
A believer may donate money, fruit, vegetables or a clean animal for a
Feast; that is perfectly in order. Indeed one cannot have a Feast without these
things: they must either be bought or donated. Either way the animal must not
be sacrificed in a religious ceremony or on an altar of any kind. Nor should
its blood be eaten by or sprinkled on anyone. The animal should be slaughtered
in the ordinary way; ensuring that its blood is spilled on the ground.
Clean animals that may be eaten are listed in Leviticus chapter 11.
Is it right for a church leader to charge a fee for prayers made on behalf of
the sick or the dead?
No it is not right. In fact it is a serious sin for any church leader to turn
religion into a money-making racket. If a primate, priest or prophet asks you
to pay for his prayers you may be sure he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Sad to
say, the church has proved to be a brothel of betrayal. Crimes of the worst
kind are rampant in its midst and fleecing the poor of their meagre funds is
one of its worst sins. This does not mean that full-time ministers should not
be supported by a congregation. They should be, by free-will offerings taken up
in the normal way. But when a payment, however small, is demanded for a
special prayer, then beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing!
Isn't the Sabbath commandment symbolic, and therefore obsolete?
The Sabbath commandment is eternal. It is part of Yahweh's primary law,
Commandments. (Exodus 20) The Ten Commandments can never become obsolete any
more than honesty, respect for Yahweh's Name, honour for our parents etc. can
become obsolete virtues. The Bible says: "All His commandments are
eternal." (Psalm 111:7-8).
The seventh day Sabbath is:
- A memorial of creation and a vital part of the
- A perpetual covenant between Yahweh and His people. (Exo.31:12-17)
In other words the Sabbath forms part of the Eternal Covenant.
- A sign of sanctification (Ezekiel 20:12 & 20). The Sabbath
will last as long as sanctification and holiness remain: which is for ever.
- A foretaste of the Rest of God. (Heb.4)
Like the other primary laws in the Bible the Sabbath commandment will continue
for all time, even on the new earth. (Isa.66:22-23) The weekly Sabbath is a
foretaste of Yahweh's Rest, to which the Almighty is eagerly looking
In Hebrews chapter 4 the church is given a serious warning about failure to
keep the seventh day Sabbath. We are reminded that many in ancient
Israel failed to enter the Promised Land because they rejected the weekly
Sabbath. In His anger Yahweh swore that they would die in the desert and not
enter the Promised Land which is also a foretaste of His Rest.
||1: Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.|
2: For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
3: For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4: For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
5: And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
6: Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
7: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
8: For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
9: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10: For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The chapter says that at some later date - a second time - Yahweh would
again entreat His people to keep the weekly Sabbath as a foretaste of His
What does this amazing passage mean?
It means this:
- That there still remains for Yahweh's people a Rest similar to His
resting on the weekly Sabbath at the creation. (Gen.2:1-3)
- That Yahweh would appeal to His people a second time to keep His
seventh day Sabbath as a token of His Rest - the true Promised
Land, which is the new, sin-free universe He has planned to create.
- And that all who want to enter Yahweh's Rest (the Promised Land) will
rest every seventh day from their work as God did from His.
That is what Hebrews chapter 4 is saying. Study it again and again for
yourself. Believe it or not Yahweh's second appeal to obey His Sabbath
commandment is being made at this very moment to YOU. This appeal is part of
Yahweh's second call to His followers to keep His Sabbath day. Beware of
The Sabbath-keeping church I attend continues to offer animal sacrifices.
I do not agree with them on this matter. What should I do?
To begin with you should make the leaders and the congregation aware of this
truth about Messiah's sacrifice. This booklet may help do that. If they continue
to sacrifice animals or birds after having received a knowledge of the truth,
then leave and join another Sabbath-keeping congregation. Remember, however,
that just because a group holds a service on the true Sabbath day does not mean
that it has all the truth or even that its members are better than non
Sabbath-keepers. Knowledge of the truth is a step in the right direction: but
if sin is not put away and followed by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit
(Galatians 5:19-25) then knowledge is just so much extra mental baggage. It
means nothing. Sabbath-keeping churches who continue to sacrifice animals
will gradually see their best members leave: because once they understand
the truth they will expect their leaders to stop this illegal practice - or
they will leave. Let all animal sacrificing Sabbath churches around the globe
The Sunday-keeping church I attend accepts Christ's sacrifice,
but rejects Yahweh's weekly and annual Sabbaths. What should I do?
To begin with you should study the following:
Failure to keep the Creator's Sabbath day, which is the memorial of His
creation, is a serious sin. The Everlasting Gospel (outlined in
(Revelation 14:7) highlights two vital requirements:
Your group has accepted the first half of the Everlasting Gospel: faith
in the all-sufficiency of Yeshua the Messiah's life-blood. Other groups (including most
Jews) have accepted the second half: Yahweh's Sabbath days.
- "Fear God and give glory to Him."
This means: put your faith in the Almighty, accept His free gift of
salvation through His Son and glorify Him for that fact.
- "And worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the
fountains of water."
This means: Worship Yahweh by keeping His Sabbath day which is the
memorial of His creation: for in six days the Lord made the heavens,
the earth, the sea and all that in them is and rested the seventh day.
Your task now is to find and worship with a group which teaches the whole
Gospel; a group which accepts Christ's all-encompassing sacrifice and which
also keeps the weekly and annual Sabbaths of the Almighty. A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada lesson entitled the
The Everlasting Gospel explains these two requirements.
For help in your search see Where can I find such a Group?
and The Perfect Church
A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada
Animal Sacrific Index
Author: Elder: David B. Loughran - Stewarton Bible School - Stewarton Scotland
Elder: Max W. Mader
A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada
Web-Sites - www.avoiceinthewilderness.org & www.avitw.ca
First published 1979 / Placed on the Internet 1996/Updated: 1998/Updated: 2003/Reprinted 2009