How can we understand "everlasting" OT sacrifices?

(Eric Quinlan) #1

Hi everyone,
While listening to Ravi Zacharias on TV yesterday, at the end of the program viewers were encouraged to submit questions to this ministry. And I’m hoping my question falls within this offer.

In the OT, particularly within the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers there are a number of special occasions such as the Passover, Feasts, etc. where God required animal sacrifices for the covering of Israel’s sin, purification, etc. Most of these commands/statutes for animal sacrifices are designated as “perpetual” or “everlasting” or “throughout your generations” depending on the translation. My dilemma is this: I believe that God in His foreknowledge knew that in about 1500 years after He gave these instructions to His People, He was going to introduce His Anointed One, His Lamb without blemish to this fallen world. And this Lamb was going to become the ultimate and final sacrifice for all mankind forever. My question is this: Why would God command these sin sacrifices to continue forever if Jesus’ sacrifice replaced these original animal sacrifices?

A response to clarify this would be greatly appreciated.

(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #2

could you please quote the verses that you are concerned about, it would help me understand what you are trying to ask. Thank you.

(SeanO) #3

@equinlan It is important to understand that in the Hebrew mind the word for eternity - olam - just means ‘a long time’. It does not mean ‘forever and ever’ in the modern sense of never ending. So these commandments would apply ‘for a really long time’. See below definition / reference.

עוֹלָם - olam

Hebrew words used for space are also used for time. The Hebrew word qedem means “east” but is also the same word for the “past.” The Hebrew word olam literally means “beyond the horizon.” When looking off in the far distance it is difficult to make out any details and what is beyond that horizon cannot be seen. This concept is the olam. The word olam is also used for time for the distant past or the distant future as a time that is difficult to know or perceive. This word is frequently translated as “eternity” meaning a continual span of time that never ends. In the Hebrew mind it is simply what is at or beyond the horizon, a very distant time. A common phrase in the Hebrew is “l’olam va’ed” and is usually translated as “forever and ever,” but in the Hebrew it means “to the distant horizon and again” meaning “a very distant time and even further.” Strong’s: 5769

(Eric Quinlan) #4

Mr. Armstrong, I would be more than pleased to quote the related verses.

  1. The affliction of your souls or Day of Atonement on the 10th day of the 7th month: a statute forever, an everlasting statute (Lev. 16:29.34) and Lev. 23:26-32)

2.The Feast of Weeks: the sacrifice of one kid goat as a sin offering (Lev. 23:15-22)

  1. Law of Purification: Num. 19:1-10 & Num. 19:17-22)

  2. Feast of Firstfruits: This is also a statute forever; however, while there is the sacrifice of a one-year old male lamb, there is no specific connection to it being a sin sacrifice (Lev. 23:9-14)

  3. In Num. 15:1-15 there is a general reference to all sacrifices; again referred to as an ordinance forever.

Hopefully this helps. And I really appreciate any help or clarification you can provide regarding this issue.

Thanks again.

Eric Quinlan

(Eric Quinlan) #5

Thanks, SeanO; that make a lot of sense. I am somewhat familiar with the Hebrew word ‘olam,’ but not familiar with the meaning of ‘for a long time.’

Again, thank you so much.

Eric Quinlan