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GREG - I have been reading in Ezekiel and have come to the part about the temple that is to be build in Jerusalem at the second coming. Ezekiel gives great detail about the dimensions and layout of the temple, which is very unlike what current temples are, and much like the temples of old. He also describes what will be done in this temple - and much of it is animal sacrifice and offerings etc.
My question is - how does this square with the idea that the temple is to be built by Jews who have accepted Jesus (and presumably joined the church) at his second coming? Why would animal sacrifice be practiced there at all? I have looked a bit online, and can't seem to find anything talking about this.
JOEL - Truman G Madsen said:
"It is a very prevalent opinion that the sacrifices which were offered were entirely consumed. This was not the case; if you read Leviticus 2:2-3, you will observe that the priests took a part as a memorial and offered it up before the Lord, while the remainder was kept for the maintenance of the priests; so that the offerings and sacrifices are not all consumed upon the altar—but the blood is sprinkled, and the fat and certain other portions are consumed.
These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built, and the sons of Levi be purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings. This ever did and ever will exist when the powers of the Melchizedek Priesthood are sufficiently manifest; else how can the restitution of all things spoken of by the Holy Prophets be brought to pass. It is not to be understood that the law of Moses will be established again with all its rites and variety of ceremonies; this has never been spoken of by the prophets; but those things which existed prior to Moses' day, namely, sacrifice, will be continued.It may be asked by some, what necessity for sacrifice, since the Great Sacrifice was offered? In answer to which, if repentance, baptism, and faith existed prior to the days of Christ, what necessity for them since that time? The Priesthood has descended in a regular line from father to son, through their succeeding generations. (See Book of Doctrine and Covenants.) (October 5, 1840.) (Truman G Madsen, TEMPLE IN ANTIQUITY: ANCIENT RECORDS AND MODERN PERSPECTIVES also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 172-173 (5 October 1840).
Elder Jeffery Holland taught:
"One of their "offerings," as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith, is a book of remembrance, to be presented to the Lord "in his holy temple, . . . a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation." The Prophet also taught that these Levitical duties would include blood [animal] sacrifice as "an offering in righteousness" to the Lord in the temple of the New Jerusalem, perhaps as part of a final exercise in which the various elements and ordinances of all earlier dispensations will be brought together, at least symbolically, in this triumphant, concluding moment of the dispensation of the fulness of times in which the completion of this world and its work is presented to its rightful Lord of lords and King of kings." (Jeffery R Holland, CHRIST AND THE NEW COVENANT: THE MESSIANIC MESSAGE OF THE BOOK OF MORMON)
President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
Now in the nature of things, the law of sacrifice will have to be restored, or all things which were decreed by the Lord would not be restored. It will be necessary, therefore, for the sons of Levi, who offered the blood sacrifices anciently in Israel, to offer such a sacrifice again to round out and complete this ordinance in this dispensation. Sacrifice by the shedding of blood was instituted in the days of Adam and of necessity will have to be restored.The sacrifice of animals will be done to complete the restoration when the temple spoken of is built; at the beginning of the millennium, or in the restoration, blood sacrifices will be performed long enough to complete the fulness of the restoration in this dispensation. Afterwards sacrifice will be of some other character.(Joseph Fielding Smith - Doctrines of Salvation 3:94)
Of course the Lord still expects the priesthood of His Church to perform "spiritual" sacrificial rites, as opposed to sacrifices that require the shedding of actual blood.
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2)
Among these spiritual sacrifices that allude to the shedding blood, without any actual blood being spilt are:
1) Baptism by water, the water representing the sacred blood of Christ by which our sins are washed away and our garments made white.
2) The sacrament of the Lords Supper, in which the sanctified torn bread and water represent the bruised, broken and torn flesh of Christ and the holy blood that flowed from those wounds.
3) Other sacred rites that we perform now in our temples and the work we do to advance the spreading of the Gospel on earth.
Right now we are to continue to make spiritual sacrifices and apparently when the New Temple is built animal sacrifices will also be reinstated as part of everything being restored. It will be interesting to see how the temple will be built to accommodate the animal sacrifices, the ordinance performed to do it, and which animals be use and how the sacrifice will be performed.
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