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Sacrifice, The Sanctuary & Salvation

Authored by Collins Hamblen
with the guidance of the Holy Spirit

In The Beginning

In the beginning, we were created in the image of God. We were given free will, thereby the power of creation. God created a world in balance and gave us dominion over it, yet we started out as spiritual children. We were given a set of rules for being successful. But like most children, we disobeyed, rebelled and did things our own way. As time went on, we grew stronger and learned how to use our power. But what have we done with this power?

The Father knew that the children would hurt themselves and others while learning and experimenting with their free will. So He explained to them to be very careful with this power. If used in the wrong way it could actually result in one forgetting about, and cutting oneself off from, the Source, the ever-present flow of the love of God. This source we shall call the river of life .

The children became more and more self-absorbed in their own creations. They began to lose sight of their Creator despite the fact that He warned them about this. The Creator then showed them the future they would create if they continued down the path they were on. The children were confused by predictions of the future and wondered about their free will. The Father encoded this information about our power and how the future is related to the choices we make. He gave it to us knowing that it would be understood when the time was right. This information is called prophecy.

As we approach the end of this age, we have reached the time for prophecy to be understood again. God has called many in the last century in the effort to resurrect its original meaning. I am part of that quest. All who are on this journey must rely upon the work of others and add to the fabric of understanding. My primary source is first and foremost, the Bible. Other inspired sources that have a large influence on this work are the lifetime writings of Edgar Cayce and Herbert W. Armstrong 1, along with the Mayan and Hopi cultures. So standing upon the shoulders of others, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, let us see where we have been and where we are going.


A Paradox in Ezekiel

One day, while listening to an audio tape on the subject of prophecy, I was intrigued by the minister’s description of a paradox he found in the Biblical book of Ezekiel. In chapters 36 and 37 one finds a description of the new covenant, a time when all of us will carry the law of God within our hearts and minds. It will be a time when we willingly and knowingly act in harmony with God’s will. Then beginning in chapter 40, Ezekiel has a vision of a new city being built. It includes a great temple similar to the one Solomon built. The minister states that this vision seems the same as the one John has in Revelation of a new city, Jerusalem, coming down from heaven. As described by Ezekiel, this temple has rooms for preparing daily sacrifices and is clearly engaged in performing the ritual sacrifices as described by the law of Moses. This raises a paradox for the minister, namely, if Jesus is the final sacrifice, then why is there a need for sacrifice in the future?

We will explore this paradox. In the process we will find different levels of meaning in the temple. Most symbols in the Bible have at least two levels of meaning. The surface, or primary meaning, that pertains to the world at large, the macrocosm. And a deeper meaning that applies to the world within us, the microcosm. The biblical symbol of the temple refers to both a structure for worship in Jerusalem, at the macrocosm level, and, for the microcosm, it is our bodies (1 Cor 6:19), for they house the place of worship within our hearts.

The temple is first and foremost a place of worship, but it is also where we face our sins. Sin is a word which for many carries a lot of emotional baggage and causes a defensive reaction. In an effort to establish an unemotional definition, we turn to Webster’s which defines the verb as simply to commit an offense or fault. To get better insight into the Bible’s view, start with the understanding that to have a close walk with God and the Holy Spirit, to enjoy their gifts and protection, we must obey God’s commandments (Mt 19:17) and fulfill our vows (Ps 50: 14-15, Nahum 1:5). From this point of view, one could describe sin as the breaking of our word, as the breaking of our vows (Ecc 5: 4-6).

So we all sin, and when we do, the Bible presents daily sacrifice as the ritual and process to deal with all aspects of sin, from healing and releasing its pain to understanding how to begin to make restitution for its consequences and achieve reconciliation. Sin, if left unaddressed, can result in blockages in the flow of the river of life. Daily sacrifice is a means of clearing these blockages so as to enable the river to flow freely. It is the key to keeping our connection to the Source clear and strong. The daily sacrifice is also tied to prophecy, which will lead us to an understanding of how the shift of the ages is affecting us now, accelerating the evolution of our souls and forcing us to face held issues. Finally, we will delve into how the sacrifice of Jesus’ life, some 2,000 years ago, affects us and this holy ritual today. God's covenant, God's goal, is an everlasting loving relationship with us.


The Millennium Temple

To address the paradox, let us look carefully at Ezekiel’s vision of a new city. It is found in Ezekiel 40 and includes a temple where animal sacrifices will be offered. Before we can address why a future temple would include facilities for ritual sacrifice, we must establish a time frame of this vision. The vision has been compared to John’s vision in Revelation of a new city. Let’s look at that vision. Its time frame is very clear.

In Revelation 20, John describes the thousand year reign of Jesus as Lord of the Earth. Satan will be prevented from influencing humanity during this time period; however, at the end he will be let loose. He will start a rebellion, again, using the forces of Gog and Magog, but this time the battle will end in final defeat for Satan. Next, the heavens and earth are swept away and there is only the great white throne of God and the heavenly host. All are brought to full awareness of their lives and judgement is made. Those whose name is no longer found in “the book of life” must face the lake of fire. Then, in chapter 21, we see a new heaven and earth and a new Jerusalem
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. ... I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. ... “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.”
One of the important characteristics of this new Jerusalem is that it has no temple. See Revelation 21: 22-27:
I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb. ... but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any[one] who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. 2
Since the new city in Ezekiel 40 has a temple with ritual sacrifices, it can not be Jerusalem at the same time period as described by John in Revelation, so they are not the same vision.

The next step in identifying the time period of Ezekiel’s vision is to review the history of the temples in Jerusalem. The first and greatest temple to date was built by King Solomon. He started construction somewhere around 960 BC. The great temple stood until 586 BC, when it was destroyed by Babylon during its conquest of Israel. When Babylon was later conquered by Persia, the Israelites were allowed to work on the temple. Reconstructed from 520-515 BC, this temple did not equal the original.

The Persians were eventually conquered by the Greeks. The last Greek ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes, outlawed the Jewish religion and committed abominations on the altar of the temple. This was the genesis of the Maccabean revolt, which began in 167 BC. Soon the temple was regained, cleansed and rededicated in fulfillment of a prophecy in Daniel 8. This event is celebrated as Hanukkah, the festival of lights. Jewish independence was achieved during the Hasmonean dynasty (142-37 BC). Israel was later subjugated by the Roman Empire in 63 BC. The temple was made much greater by King Herod and stood through the time of Jesus and his sacrifice, but was later destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. There has been no temple since, a period of almost 2,000 years.

Returning to Ezekiel’s vision, it came to him while exiled in Babylon, after the first temple, Solomon’s temple, had been destroyed. The vision of a new city being built at the start of chapter 40 is a new vision, separate from the prior chapters. To keep a proper perspective on its time frame, we need to be aware of the prior visions leading up to this chapter. Chapters 36 and 37 describe the new covenant, a time when all of us will carry the law of God within our hearts and minds (Ezek 36: 25-27) and His sanctuary will be set up among us forever (Ezek 37:28). The fulfillment of the new covenant occurs at the end of the millennial reign of Jesus, as exemplified by the new Jerusalem without a temple. In the next two chapters are prophecies regarding Gog of Magog which parallel the prophecies of Gog and Magog in Revelation. These prophecies also apply to the time at the end of the millennium. This is also the same time frame in which we see the new city of Jerusalem coming down from heaven in the book of Revelation. So as one approaches chapter 40, it is very tempting to assume that the new city in Ezekiel’s vision is a view of Jerusalem at that same time period as John’s vision of the city, but this is not the case.

Chapter 40 begins a new vision. Ezekiel’s vision is of a city on earth in Israel, not in heaven, which is another distinction. It has a temple surrounded by a wall. Chapters 40-42 are a detailed description of a temple that closely resembles Solomon’s temple. Once Ezekiel is given a tour of the entire temple, he is led to the east gate where he gives an astounding description of the coming of the Lord to take his seat on the throne in the temple of God and begin His millennial reign.
Then he led me to the gate which faces the east, and there I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. I heard a sound like the roaring of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. ... And I saw that the temple was filled with the glory of the Lord. Then I heard someone speaking to me from the temple, while the man stood beside me. The voice said to me; Son of man, this is where my throne shall be, this is where I will set the soles of my feet; here I will dwell among the Israelites forever.
Ezekiel 43: 1-9  NAB
This is clearly the time when Jesus will return to earth and take his seat in the temple of God to begin his rule over mankind for a thousand years. This is the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ. The vision in Revelation occurs at the end of the millennium. So the logical conclusion about Ezekiel’s dream is that it is a vision of the next temple to be built, one that will be completed prior to the Messiah coming as a lion, what we commonly call the Second Coming of Christ. By the end of the millennium, the temple will no longer be needed, so Jerusalem will be replaced by a new city, one without a temple.

The rest of the book of Ezekiel contains descriptions of observing the festivals and ritual sacrifices of the law. On the surface, this might be confusing again as to whether or not this will occur during the time of Jesus’ ruling. But the one speaking in Ezekiel, God, wants to make clear that when the temple is to be built, it will include the places for sacrifice:
... Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: These will be the regulations for sacrificing burnt offerings and sprinkling blood upon the altar when it is built:
Ezekiel 43:18   NIV
Ezekiel is implored to follow the statutes of the law. This will occur prior to the Lord’s return. It makes sense that current Israel would want to restore the temple and the daily sacrifice. This is another confirmation that Israel will rebuild the temple in preparation for restoring the law of Moses. It won’t be any temple, but one that matches the glory of Solomon’s. This temple will become the throne of our Wonderful Counselor during the millennium, the next age.

This resolves the paradox. Paradoxes are intriguing, for  they often lead to a deeper understanding. John’s vision in Revelation describes Jerusalem at a later time than does Ezekiel, at the end of the next age rather than the start. The difference in the two cities reflects the journey of our souls, as we evolve toward the time of the new covenant, when the law will be on our minds and we carry the Lord’s sanctuary in our hearts.

However, a question still lingers from the paradox. If Jesus is the "final" sacrifice, should there be any further sacrifices, even if it is only before Jesus returns as the Messiah? To address this, we must understand the temple and the ritual of daily sacrifice. To do that, we will face the issue of sin more deeply and introduce the process to deal with its consequences, the sin offering. From there we will encounter sacrifice, confession, the High Priest, and eventually the evolution of our souls.


The Sin & Guilt Offerings

We all have broken our word. We all commit sins. Yet, there is a part of us that knows when we have done something wrong. When we are calm, at peace, our conscience will guide us to do what is right. Another gauge of whether a particular act is a sin or not is to ask oneself if the act will enhance or diminish one's ability to express unconditional love. Will the act tend to open or close one's heart? If one needs a more concrete definition of sin, of what doing “wrong” is , then the Ten Commandments can serve as a universal reference (Exodus 20: 1-17, Deuteronomy 5: 6-21). These rules express implicit promises that we have between us, that we won’t steal, lie or kill, etc.

When we do commit sin, often it involves a relationship with someone else, but it always affects, at least, our relationship with God. If we sin and believe no one else knows, we shouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking there will be no consequence in telling no one and keeping it buried inside. It is because deep within, our souls know what we have done, so it affects our heart and thereby our actions. Relationships will always be affected when sin is committed. If a sin goes unconfessed, the bad feelings will be buried within and contribute to a hardening of one’s heart. This affects one’s relationship with God, and by closing one’s heart, tends to cut one off from the very source and help one needs. Confession of what we have done is the way to release the heart. Confession is always to God. Whether or not it should also be to others depends on the situation.

If the sin involves another, then that relationship is affected also. If nothing is said, the other person (if their heart hasn’t already closed) will second guess their own actions and have their own impact of bad feelings. A separation is created. Depending on how big and how often the sin, this can result in a loss of friendship for both parties and bad feelings that aren’t easy to resolve and forget. This breach can be totally reconciled if the guilty parties express their repentance. Loss of friendship comes at a great cost because inspiration and guidance from the Holy Spirit often comes through our relationships with each other.

If we have been sinned against, it is a blessing if that person takes responsibility for their action and makes things right. Depending upon your relationship and the situation, this may be as simple as a warm touch and a smile. People don’t always acknowledge their sin. The Master teaches us to rebuke the sinner and, if there is repentance, to forgive and let go and so we should (Luke 17:3-4). If there is no repentance, then separation may be necessary (2 Thess 3:6,14-15). Regardless, we are to love our enemy and release our anger. If we can't and the pain remains, then it must be confessed to someone, from priest to friend, otherwise it will consume us. The person with whom to speak and the manner involved depends upon yourself and the situation. Confession of this type should be done at the right time and with the right person. Sometimes, professional help is needed.

Whether one has pain from our own sin or from being sinned against, as each hurt is piled on and not addressed, it burdens the heart and diminishes one’s ability to express unconditional love. Eventually, if it continues, one day you will find yourself with a cold heart and the hell of a self-imposed separation from God.

The Bible shows the way to get help. To understand God’s way we need the right perspective, so we’ll first go back to the time when Moses received the law and Ten Commandments more than 3,000 years ago. In the law is a ritual to deal with sin and its consequences, the sin offering. The ritual for the average person is described in Leviticus 4: 27-35.
If a private person commits a sin inadvertently by doing one of the things which are forbidden by the commandments of the LORD, and thus becomes guilty, ... for his sin offering he presents a lamb, he shall bring an unblemished female. Having laid his hand on its head, he shall slaughter this sin offering in the place where the holocausts are slaughtered. The priest shall then take some of the blood of the sin offering on his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of holocausts. ... the priest shall burn it on the altar with the other oblations of the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for the man’s sin, and it will be forgiven.
The laying of one’s hands on the head of the animal in verse 33 above is a reference to the confession part of the ritual, which is described in more detail when the high priest does it for the entire congregation on the Day of Atonement. This is the day the sanctuary is cleansed in that the sins, which had accumulated from the daily confessions of the congregation throughout the year, would be removed in a two step process. Two goats were chosen. One goat is used as the sin offering, whereby the priest confesses his sins and those of the congregation inside the holy of holies and, using the blood as payment, transfers the sins from the sanctuary to himself, cleansing the sanctuary.
The goat that is determined by lot for the LORD, Aaron shall bring in and offer up as a sin offering. ... Then he shall slaughter the people’s sin-offering goat, and bringing its blood inside the veil, ... sprinkling it on the propitiatory and before it. Thus he shall make atonement for the sanctuary because of all the sinful defilements and faults of the Israelites. ... When he has made atonement for himself and his household, as well as for the whole Israelite community, he shall come out to the altar before the LORD and make atonement for it also. Taking some of the bullock’s and the goat’s blood, he shall put it on the horns around the altar, and with his finger sprinkle some of the blood on it seven times. Thus he shall render it clean and holy, purged of the defilements of the Israelites.
Leviticus 16: 9, 15-19  NAB
Notice in this ritual that the effects of sin are cumulative and that even the sanctuary itself must be cleansed. As we shall see later, sin has a similar effect upon the temple of our bodies. If a cleansing ritual is not performed, sin can result in blockages, for the ritual serves as maintenance on our system.

Finally, through the act of confession only, by laying his hands on the head of the other goat, the sins are transferred from the High Priest to the second goat, the scape goat. This goat is not sacrificed but removed, and while still alive is taken outside the camp and sent away. Thereby, the sins of the congregation have now been removed.
When he has completed the atonement rite for the sanctuary, the meeting tent and the altar, Aaron shall bring forward the live goat. Laying both hands on its head, he shall confess over it all the sinful faults and transgressions of the Israelites, and so put them on the goat’s head. He shall then have it led into the desert by an attendant. Since the goat is to carry off their iniquities to an isolated region, it must be sent away into the desert.
Leviticus 16: 20-22  NAB
Confession is a very important and critical step in the sin offering. The whole process includes confession and repentance, cleansing and payment via sacrifice, atonement and forgiveness. The sacrifice of the animal is not the only aspect of the sin offering, although most focus only on that. In fact, the whole sacrificial system laid out by Moses involves five major types of offerings, of which the sin offering is one of them.

The five major types of offerings in the sacrificial system, according to the NIV translation, are the Burnt, Grain, Fellowship, Sin and Guilt Offerings. The first three are voluntary acts of worship and praise. The last two are mandatory, if the Holy Spirit convicts one of sin. The difference between the sin and guilt offerings is that the guilt offering is for intentional sin involving another person and it includes restitution in full plus an added penalty of 20%. A general description of the purpose and intention of these offerings can be derived with the help of chart from p. 149 of the NIV Study Bible as follows:

Voluntary Offerings of Praise & Worship

Burnt Offering
Complete and total dedication to God.
Atonement for sin in general.
(Always includes a grain and drink offering.)
Grain Offering
Praise & acknowledgment of God as your source.
Fellowship
(Peace) Offering
Communal meal of thanksgiving, praise & fellowship.
When we walk in brotherly love, we walk in peace.


Mandatory Offerings for Sin

Sin Offering
Atonement for unintentional sin.
Guilt Offering
Atonement for intentional sin involving another person &
restitution. Also for unintentional sin against holy things.


The spirit and intention of the whole sacrificial system is to foster an attitude of praise, thanksgiving and joy. When we sin, it gives us a path to atonement. When we confess our sins to one another in sincere apology, then we are able to walk in the peace of reconciliation.

There are also other types of offerings, such as a drink offering that is always poured out on the sacrifice. The guilt offering is defined in Leviticus 6:1-7.
The LORD said to Moses: “If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving his neighbor about something entrusted to him or left in his care or stolen, or if he cheats him, or if he finds lost property and lies about it, or if he swears falsely, or if he commits any such sin that people may do - when he thus sins and becomes guilty, he must return what he has stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to him, or the lost property he found, or whatever it was he swore falsely about. He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day he presents his guilt offering. And as a penalty he must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, his guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty.”
As we can see here, the full responsibility for a serious sin involved multiple steps in the guilt offering. It started with confession of one’s transgression. In order to even see this one must sacrifice the ego and humble oneself before God, open one’s heart and be willing to search where the spirit leads. If this is truly heartfelt and followed by repentance, then one will see a change of behavior later.

Even though the offering leads to atonement and forgiveness, there is still a penalty, a price which must be paid for the sin. The price for sin is always blood, the life of a sacrifice. The sacrifices represented food to those who brought it to the temple many years ago, yet once the animal was blessed, confessed over and offered to the Lord it became holy and was then food for the priests. The blood and cost of the sacrifice was intended to get people to reflect upon the seriousness of their sin. It also was to remind us of our broken word, since at that time one’s word was often sealed with an oath and blood.

When the sin is serious, as with the guilt offering, then there was the added responsibility of restitution in full plus 20%. As stated in Leviticus above, when a person brought a guilt offering before the Lord he was expected to restore in principle to his neighbor whatever was taken and furthermore, this was to be done the very same day of the offering. This means one was expected to face the person sinned against, acknowledge what one did, restore it as best you can and then to add 20% more. Can you imagine for a moment what society would be like if even half the people of the earth followed this part of the law today?

Observing the guilt offering correctly was a high calling and involved much more than the blood of an animal sacrifice. However, most people just focus on this aspect of it and have lost an understanding of the whole process, yet the blood is very important. For often with mankind, when it comes to serious crime, the price of sin is blood - someone’s blood is often spilled. From Cain to Jesus, man’s anger, fear and jealousy often results in bloodshed. The intention of the ritual, it seems, is to remind us of the very heavy price of our sin, as represented by the life of the animal.

Because of the sin of jealousy and an unwillingness to look within at his own issues and feelings, Cain did not master his anger, as God had warned him, but gave into it. He turned it outward, toward his brother Abel, whom he murdered, spilling his blood all over the field he had lured him into. Abel’s innocent blood cries out to God from the ground for justice (Gen 4:10). From what seems so little a thing, disapproval over a sacrifice due to sin withheld and not confessed, it grew to anger and then the killing of Cain’s own brother. The offering of life for the sin offering was to remind us each time of the terrible price that can come from sin, that each sin could result in the loss of life and spilling of blood. Each sin is an abominable abuse of our power.

Jesus surely was an innocent and righteous man. He spoke of the coming of God’s kingdom when all will carry the law in their heart. He lived his ministry that way for all to see. Those who felt threatened by this king who might take their position conspired to kill him. Their anger, hatred and fear of him was so great, they needed to have him beaten bloody in order to try to make themselves feel safe and in control. For those who condemned him, how bloody was the sin of their pride lest they admit they were wrong?

The daily sacrifice is a specific offering but I also see the term as a reference to the whole sacrificial system defined by Moses, whereby the Israelites voluntarily offered worship and praise, and if needed, observed the sin and guilt offerings to make atonement for any sins committed. So the way the Israelites were told to keep a healthy relationship with God by was by offering praise and worship, thereby fostering an attitude of thanksgiving. When convicted of sin, they were to confess their transgressions, sacrifice something precious and use its blood, which represents life, to redeem their life and obtain release from the penalty by means of payment of the debt, life for life (1 Pet 1:18, Ex 21:30, Lev 17:11).

This ritual of worship and sacrifice was to be performed daily. The priest would act as mediator and represent the sinner when bringing the lamb’s blood before the altar of God. The priests were supported by the people so that they could devote themselves to a relationship with God and thereby serve in their role as mediator. The priests consecrated the altar and supported the continual burnt offering, which represents devotion, the presence of God and the purpose of the sacrificial system, to maintain a continual relationship with God.
Now, this is what you shall offer on the altar: two yearling lambs as the sacrifice established for each day; one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at the evening twilight. ... Throughout your generations this established holocaust shall be offered before the LORD at the entrance of the meeting tent, where I will meet you and speak to you. There, at the altar, I will meet the Israelites; hence, it will be made sacred by my glory.
Exodus 29: 38-39, 42-43  NAB
If we make a sacrifice, reconcile with our brother, confess our sins and empty ourselves of any negative emotions being held, then we will be ready to receive and fill this space with the unconditional love of the Holy Spirit through praise and worship. This is how we maintain our relationship with God and our neighbors and cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving and joy. We also open ourselves to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Look at the following example where Daniel, the prophet, was pouring his heart out at the evening sacrifice while living in Babylon and ended up receiving the gift of prophecy in the form of one of the most important prophecies in the Bible. Important because it points directly to the Messiah and it speaks of the daily sacrifice and its relation to the end of this age.
In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom - in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.  So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.  I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:  ‘‘O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,  we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.  We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name ...  Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame - the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. ... Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.  Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.  O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! ...”
While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill - ... Gabriel,  ... came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.  He instructed me and said to me, ‘‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.  As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:
Seventy weeks are decreed
for your people and for your holy city:
Then transgression will stop and sin will end,
guilt will be expiated,
Everlasting justice will be introduced,
vision and prophecy ratified,
and a most holy will be anointed.

For one week he shall make
a firm compact with the many;
Half the week he shall abolish sacrifice and oblation;
On the temple wing shall be the horrible abomination
until the ruin that is decreed
is poured out upon the horror.”

Daniel 9:1-23  NIV; 24, 27  NAB
(Note: “sacrifice and oblation” is the same as “daily sacrifice”)

By emptying ourselves with true heartfelt confession, committing to repentance as shown by a change in behavior, we release blockages and help clear the channel for the Holy Spirit to enter and fill the space in our hearts with unconditional love and inspiration. Daniel did this and received the answer to his prayer and much more in the form of the prophecy of the 70 weeks. We will return to this prophecy later and see what it has to say about our future and the daily sacrifice.

For our present time, we come to this question: Does the ritual of the daily sacrifice, or any part of it, still apply to us today and has it been changed at all? To answer this we must go back into the past again.


Jesus’ Last Passover Seder - The Covenant Renewed

Before Moses and the Israelites received the law and the Ten Commandments, they were slaves in Egypt. The Israelites were in bondage, both physically and spiritually. They prayed to God for deliverance. God heard their prayers and called Moses, who was given the power to bring his people out of Egypt.

Moses confronted the Pharaoh of Egypt and demanded that he let his people go. Pharaoh refused, and so he and his people were struck by a plague, but Pharaoh did not change his mind. This sequence was repeated nine times. The tenth plague was the most severe, it was the angel of death. It killed the first-born son of each household, except for those who trusted God’s instruction through Moses and put the blood of a lamb on their doorpost. The shed blood of the lamb redeemed the Israelites from the threat of the angel of death.

With the loss of his son, Pharaoh finally relented and allowed the Israelites to leave. Moses then led the Israelites out of Egypt, across the Red Sea and into the wilderness, the desert of the Sinai. Physically, they had been set free and were on their way to the land promised to their forefather Abraham. They did not know the long journey ahead, and the changes they would have to go through in order to prepare themselves for the promised land. Spiritually they were leaving the bondage to sin behind, to break away from the pagan ways that kept them separated from God, and to begin a renewed life of commitment to God. The journey out of sinful habits, the road to a committed obedience to God’s way, is a long and challenging one. One, as it turned out, that took many seasons.

Early in their journey in the wilderness, the Israelites came to Mt. Sinai where Moses received the Law. The Law includes the sacrificial system and the Ten Commandments. In it God encoded in holiday and ritual a picture of the Messiah. One holiday is a remembrance of what He did for the Israelites in bringing them out of Egypt and slavery, heading toward redemption and freedom. This holy day is called Passover and was to be observed in the same season in which it occurred. God gave us all the holy days, which all together spell out God’s full plan for us, the long journey to full redemption and freedom. Observing these holy days is designed to keep us in an understanding of God’s unfolding plan.

By faith, Moses kept the first Passover and the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb (Heb 11:28), which looked ahead to the sin offering. The Israelites were beginning their journey out of slavery, out of the bondage from sin. The blood of the lamb also served as a cleansing and atonement for their sin, preparing them for their renewed commitment to God. The role of the lamb and its blood as payment for sin would be formalized in the sin offering of the law, given when the Israelites reached Mt. Sinai. The goal of the offering, as explained above, was to get the sinner to reflect and repent, and thereby choose not to sin again.

According to the Bible, Passover was originally observed simply with the sacrificial lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Over time steps were added to the Passover observance and the Seder evolved. By Jesus’ time it is generally agreed that the Seder included the four cups of wine and the three loaves of unleavened bread known today. What elements of the Seder plate evolved by then is hard to say.

The third cup of the Passover Seder, the Cup of Redemption, memorializes the blood of the Passover lamb, shed for the protection and redemption of the faithful. The Israelites had begun their journey out of sin, but as we all know, fell back into sin many times. God made promises to the Israelites, signified by the four cups of the Seder (drawn from Exodus 6:6-8).

Nonetheless, the Israelites were expected to hold up their end of the covenant by obeying God’s law and remaining faithful. Unfortunately, they failed many times, as human beings often do. Despite being set free, people often fall back into their old ways, remaining slaves to their darker elements. After God wrote the law in stone and gave it under such amazing circumstances, it seems incredible that those people would still loose faith and fall back to sin so soon. What does this say about the power of our dark side and the kind of commitment and help we really need? It would appear that over time God became frustrated with our lack of commitment and continual breaking of the covenant so He declared He would make a new covenant (or renewed covenant) by writing the law directly in our hearts and minds (Jer 31:31). The full plan of God’s redemption is to bring us to this reality, where we willingly live by God’s law from the heart.

Jesus the Messiah came and was a living example of the law being in his heart and mind. Therefore, his life made real what God had promised. The new covenant was made real and so therefore the full promise of the Cup of Redemption could one day be realized. When Jesus held up the third cup of the Seder, the Cup of Redemption and said that the new covenant was ratified by his blood (Luke 22:20), he was referring to the full spectrum of God’s plan.

When his blood would be given the next day as the ultimate guilt offering (Isa 53:10), he was giving to us not only the perfect lamb without blemish whose blood would fully satisfy the penalty required by the law of the sin and guilt offerings, but also the perfect example of the new covenant, of living God’s way. Where there is sin, there is the need for the sin offering; however, his example and sacrifice is intended to cleanse and inspire our consciousness to choose to live without sin (Hebrews 9:14).

When Jesus held up the cup to declare the new covenant ratified by his blood, he was declaring himself Messiah and the Messiah's role in bringing redemption to mankind. He was not defining something new but declaring the ongoing fulfillment of God’s master plan for our true redemption. A plan which began with Adam’s fall, was verbalized to Abraham, written in stone for Moses, exemplified in Jesus and eventually will be made manifest in all of us (Rom 8:19).

Another element of the Seder which foreshadows the Messiah and speaks of God’s plan of redemption is the three matzot on the table. The three matzah represent the Jewish people as a whole, or the unity of the Jewish people, consisting of these three groups: Kohen (High Priest), Levite (Priests) and the Israelites. The Rabbis have rigid codes for the appearance of the matzah. It must have stripes, be pierced and without leaven. This is a messianic image reflecting Isaiah 53, Psalm 22 and Zechariah 12, which state the Messiah would be beaten and pierced yet without sin. Not only does this picture the expectation of the coming of Messiah, it also reflects the expectation that we also are to strive to be without sin, for the matzah represents all of the people.

When Jesus took the bread, blessed it and lifted it, as was the Jewish custom, and then broke it and said this was his body given for all, again he was not declaring something new but declaring that he was the fulfillment of the messianic expectation of the unleavened bread. Jesus, in being the bread of life, by being the living example of God’s word, has shown us the way to fulfill God’s covenant.

Jesus is the Lamb of God. At the first Passover, the blood of the lamb written on their doorposts protected the Israelites from the angel of death. This was a foreshadow of the living law to come, the Messiah. About one and half millennial later, Jesus became our Passover sacrifice (1 Cor 5:7). Isaiah 53:10-12 and Romans 8:3 state that Jesus’ life was given as a sin offering. According to the description of Passover in Numbers 28:16-25, the sin offering that day was a goat and the lambs were used for the burnt offering. When Jesus teaches at his Last Passover Supper, none of the Gospels appear to record any overt connection of his sacrifice to the sin offering. So exactly how do we tie the sacrifice of our Lord to the sin offering? It must be there.

When Jesus says, “my blood is drink indeed” (John 6:55 KJV), he could not mean it literally because that would be a violation of the law (Lev 19:26; Deut 12:23-28; 1 Sam 14:34). Therefore, he must be speaking symbolically. After spending much time studying the sacrificial system and talking with other believers, I find very few really understand it beyond the fact that animals were sacrificed. When you understand the beauty and importance of the sacrificial system, you come to see that the Master was indeed speaking symbolically and his message was loud and clear, despite the fact he said very little about the connection to the system.

In the context of God’s sacrificial ordinances, when Jesus says that his blood is drink indeed, while holding the Seder cup with the wine of redemption, I hear him referring to his sacrifice the next day and making a comparison of his blood to the “drink offering” (Php 2:17; 2 Tim 4:6). When Our Lord say his “flesh is meat indeed” (John 6:55 KJV) (“my flesh is real food” NIV), especially right after emphasizing that he is the “bread” of life, again in the context of his sacrifice, I hear a “grain offering” (“meat offering” KJV = “grain offering” NIV = bread).

In the KJV, the grain offering is the “meat” offering. The Greek word for “meat” in John 6:55 is also used in John 4:32.  Here Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well and asks her for water. He then tells her that he has the living water and whoever drinks of it will not thirst. The Samaritan woman then asks the Master a question about worship. She said her people worship on the nearby mountain but the Jews say one must worship at the temple on the mountain in Jerusalem. So she asked Jesus if this is so. He answered that a day is coming, and has come, when true believers will worship the Father on neither mountain but worship in truth and spirit. He also explained that the Samaritans do not know what they worship, whereas “we” Jews do. This is clearly a reference to knowledge, and not race, and so in the context of the temple it appears to be referring to knowledge of the sacrificial system, knowledge of the means of obtaining atonement and thereby salvation.

Jesus’ disciples came as the Samaritan woman was leaving and urged him to eat something. He replied that he has food (“meat” in KJV) to eat that not even they understand. Given the context of the temple, this is a reference to his body being a grain offering, the bread of life. Even though they understand the sacrificial system, he had not yet explained to them his coming sacrifice and the connection to the sin offering and burnt offerings. How well do you know the system so that you may understand?

The burnt offering is defined as a lamb, along with a grain and drink offering, done twice a day, in the morning and evening (Num 28:1-8). The fire was to be kept going continuously. The continual burnt offering was a sign of the presence of God and a sign of one’s total devotion and surrender to God. At Passover, the lamb was part of the burnt offering. Drink and grain offerings always accompanied the burnt offering. At the Last Supper, through the symbols of the sacrificial system I see Jesus picturing himself as a burnt offering to the Father, as a sign of the presence of the Father through him and as a sign of total and complete dedication of all of Yahshua to the Father.

The burnt offering was always done with all the offerings, the Daily, Sabbath and Monthly offerings, and at all the Feasts (Num 28-29). The lamb of the burnt offering is also used to make atonement for sin. The worshiper made confession and the blood was sprinkled against the altar (Lev 1:4-5). The burnt offering is the only voluntary offering that also atones for sin. The sacrifice of the Lamb, along with the grain (body) and drink (blood) offerings of Jesus' sacrifice are all the elements of a burnt offering, and thereby bind that event to all the offerings and feast days through the aspects of praise and commitment to God (the "pleasing aroma" of the burnt offering) and atonement for sin through repentance which stands on his sacrifice (Eph 5:2; Heb 10:5-10).

Attending the continual burnt offering and keeping the fire going all the time was the duty and responsibility of the priests. When a grain offering is given, most goes into the burnt offering. Whatever portion is left is for the priests only. The showbread continually displayed in the temple was food for the priests only (Mt 12:4).

In order to understand Our Lord’s invitation to drink the wine, we need to look for places in scripture where drinking wine was done spiritually, that is, done in the spirit of the Lord. One place in the law where it says one may drink wine is after completion of a Nazarite vow (Num 6:1-21). This vow was an act of separation, self-discipline and total devotion to God, a call to faithfulness and an expression of an ongoing commitment to God. One of the few places in the law where we are really invited to drink wine in the spirit of rejoicing in the Lord is Deut 14:22-29. Here we are told to use the tithe money to buy whatever we want, including wine, to rejoice and fellowship in the presence of the Lord. This section of the law explains that if the temple in Jerusalem is too far, then we are to praise the Lord in local congregations, where the tithes are collected and used to celebrate and also to help those in need. Another reference to drinking wine is found Gen 14:18 where Melchizedek, king of Salem, offered Abraham bread and wine. In is interesting that these are the elements of communion. Jesus is a priest of the order of Melchizedek, which is both king and priest, as opposed to the order of Aaron, which is priest only (Heb 7:11).

When Jesus invites us to eat the bread and drink the wine, I hear many levels of meaning. From the completion of the Nazarite vow and the burnt offering, I hear a call to an ongoing commitment to God that is deep and all consuming. From the grain offering and showbread given to priests and their responsibility to keep the light of the burnt offering going, I hear a call to complete devotion to God and a call to become a nation of priests (Ex 19:6; 2 Cor 3:6). From the law of the tithe I hear a call to rejoice and remain in fellowship with your brothers in Christ. And it is also a call to support local congregations and to help those in need.

I suspect the related themes found in the law in Deut 14:22-29 is a more important association than it may appear at first glance. Bearing in mind John 4 and knowing Jesus spoke of his coming sacrifice in the context of the Law of Moses, the next day when the sacrifice was finished and the blood for purification provided, we observe the veils in the temple were torn in half opening the way to the inner sanctuary. This was not only another powerful call to the nation to become priests, but also a powerful statement that the temple was no longer central to worship. In calling us to drink the wine and share the bread in the context of God’s powerful system of reconciliation, there was also a powerful endorsement of worshiping wherever you are in truth and spirit and an endorsement of the law of the tithe of bringing your offerings to the local congregations when the temple is too far or does not exist. We are to continue to follow the spirit of the daily sacrifice, as explained by this passage from Deuteronomy and backed up by Hebrews 10:19-25.

Finally, in the bread and wine I also see recognition that Jesus is of the order of Melchizedek, and thereby not only our High Priest but our King as well. Understanding his role as High Priest, though, is critical to understanding how to use his blood to become cleansed of any sin you might commit. While Jesus has completed his part by providing the blood for purification of sins (Heb 1:3), once and done for all, our application of that blood in our life is an ongoing walk. Our part is not done in that when we “accept the Lord” our sins are not washed and cleansed into the future. Our sins are cleansed for the present and the past; at least as far as you are willing to trust the Lord and let go of any held anger and resentment. If not, then that continues as weight on your walk until the Holy Spirit convicts and frees you of it. Future sins are washed and cleansed by the blood when you are convicted, confess, repent and use his blood at that time to make payment for your debt. Which means the Holy Spirit will work on repairing the damage you’ve done and expects your help in the process. Follow its lead.

The verb tense of Hebrews 9:14 proves that the blood does not wash the future sins away. The verb is not past tense, and therefore not indicating that the application of the blood is once and done. The tense of the verb states a present and future application (“will” & “cleanse”), which again, can only be understood in the context of the sacrificial system. That knowledge lets us understand that the call to daily sacrifice continues and we are to bring our offerings to our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary through the altar of our hearts (Heb 7:20-28; 1 Pet 1:2). This will be explained in more detail as we proceed.

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Hebrews 9:14 NIV

Jesus requested that we do this in remembrance of him. Considering the whole context within which he spoke, that meant continuing to observe God’s ordinance of the Passover, yet also to realize Jesus’ role in fulfilling the expectation of the Passover Seder. This included the themes of the perfect sin offering, the sacrificial lamb, and of the messianic theme of fulfilling the new covenant. It also means to observe the Communion as he showed us and to understand that it is the spirit of following the law of the Daily Sacrifice. God's desire is a daily (morning & evening) communion with Him through praise, worship, prayer and reflection.


Jesus, Our High Priest

In reading the book of Hebrews, one comes away with a clear impression of how Jesus’ sacrifice was the perfect fulfillment of the law of Moses in regards to expiation for our sins. Jesus was the unblemished lamb. Spiritually he was unblemished in that he lived the way of love. He is the firstfruits of mankind, living the perfect way and showing by example how we should live our lives. His blood, his life, was offered once for all to fulfill the part of the law (Lev 17:11) that requires payment for the expiation of sin through sacrifice.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers”, ...
Hebrews 2: 10-11  NAB
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,
Hebrews 5: 8-9  NAB
For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
Hebrews 9: 13-14  NAB
The goal of the ritual sacrifice is that through the acts of confession and repentance, along with inspiration from God, one comes to an understanding of what has been done, obtains relief from the price of the sin, and eventually comes to a conscience that no longer desires to sin. According to the law, one needs blood to atone, redeem and make good the transference of the sins: from the confessor to the priest, then to the sanctuary and eventually, removed from the congregation. Jesus’ blood is always available to use through prayer and will forever fulfill the requirements of the law. Jesus offers a better blood than that of goats or bulls, for the payment is in full. Also, the transference of sins is done at once rather than in stages, as it is with a human high priest. With Jesus as our High Priest, there is no more need to spill blood when offering daily sacrifice (Heb 10:19-25).

But how does the act of Jesus’ sacrifice then, some 2,000 years ago, help us in dealing with our sins now?
Those priests were many because they were prevented by death from remaining in office, but he, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away. Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. ... For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.
Hebrews 7: 23-25, 28  NAB
Jesus fulfilled the requirements of living according to the law and, in offering his life in sacrifice under the conditions that occurred, fulfilled the spirit and intent of all temple sacrifices and thereby earned his place in the heavenly sanctuary as High Priest. He remains there to act as an active intercessor to all who ask for his help. It is this active role that has an effect upon our lives today. He acts as an advocate when we approach God in prayer through him. He is always available to talk to and to hear our concerns on a personal level, to offer help and advice through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In contemporary terms, he’s always on call. He is available 24/7.

Notice in the passage above that despite what Jesus has done, there still is an ongoing obligation to approach God and to seek intercession. The following passages further describe the role of Jesus as high priest and intercessor.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.
Hebrews 4: 14-16  NAB
therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Hebrews 2: 17-18  NAB
With the guidance of our High Priest, through compassion and mercy, we come to a point where our hearts allow our eyes to see another’s point of view. This puts things in a different light and often allows us to release our anger and fear. As one of our modern philosophers states, compassion is the key to ending hate.
Sometimes I wonder why are we so blind to fate? Without compassion, there can be no end to hate, no end to sorrow caused by the same endless fears. Why can’t we learn from all we’ve been through, after two thousand years?
Two Thousand Years - Billy Joel

Jesus, The Perfect Sacrifice

As human beings, we still sin. The sacrifice that Jesus made has not brought our consciences to the point of not sinning, at least not yet. That will occur when the new covenant comes to fruition. The law was given as a means of dealing with sin and that involves confession, as noted above. The core activities of the ritual sacrifice, the sin offering, are payment, confession and repentance. Now one has to ask, since Jesus came, has the ritual sacrifice changed and what is our continued obligation to the daily sacrifice?
In this way the holy Spirit shows that the way into the sanctuary had not yet been revealed while the outer tabernacle still had its place. This is a symbol of the present time, in which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worshiper in conscience but only in matters of food and drink and various ritual washings: regulations concerning the flesh, imposed until the time of the new order.
Hebrews 9: 8-10  NAB
The bodies of the animals whose blood the high priest brings into the sanctuary as a sin offering are burned outside the camp. Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, to consecrate the people by his own blood. ... Through him [Jesus] (then) let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his [God’s] name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.
Hebrews 13:11-12, 15-16  NAB
Hebrews 9 clearly states that the ritual sacrifice still applies in the present time, which is the present age. They apply until the time of the new order. From the context of the chapter, we know that the new order is the new covenant. Jesus is mediator of the new covenant, which will reach its fulfillment by the end of the next age, the millennial rule of Christ. The statutes for the ritual sacrifice still apply, at least until the Messiah returns.

Hebrews 13 makes witness to the fact that the sin offerings were still followed at the time the author wrote, which was after Jesus had been sacrificed.

The last passage above, Hebrews 13:15-16, indicates how the ritual has been changed. We are still obligated to offer daily sacrifice to atone for our sins. However, when done through Jesus, the law’s requirement for payment will be satisfied by Jesus’ blood (Lev 17:11). Instead of sacrificing an animal’s life, we should offer sacrifice in more helpful ways, which was the original intent of the law of Moses. The chart below shows many of the dimensions, characteristics and ways in which one should offer sacrifice to God. Each ray of light coming from the center gives an example of daily sacrifice in action. The top of the ray lists what is sacrificed. The bottom lists the motivation. Can you think of others? This practice and these concepts should be carried in one’s heart daily.



Jesus was not the final sacrifice 3, he was the perfect sacrifice. He satisfied the law’s requirement for payment by the sacrifice of his innocent life, as symbolized by his precious blood. There is no more need for blood sacrifice, his sacrifice was done for all mankind. If one looks at Jesus as the final sacrifice and understands this to mean that there is no more requirement for daily sacrifice on our part, then this is a misunderstanding of Jesus’ accomplishment. Our requirement to offer daily sacrifice to atone for our sins still stands. Jesus’ blood covers payment for our sin, but it does not absolve us of the repentance and restitution process. Jesus’ sacrifice of his life and blood put in place an active intercessor in our inner sanctuary to help guide us to know the best expression of sacrifice that will expiate the sin we have brought before God and laid upon the altar. When we sin, even though we are forgiven by God, we are still responsible for the consequences of our actions. We should follow the Holy Spirit’s lead in taking action to address the impact of our sins. Seek also God’s grace in this process. True grace brings a realization and deep understanding of the motivations and reasons that led to the sin in the first place, so that it will not be repeated.

Without Jesus, there is only the law and it would seem that animal sacrifice would be required for a sin offering. Yet there is the following:
But we are sure in your regard, beloved, of better things related to salvation, even though we speak in this way. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated...
Hebrews 6: 9-10  NAB
Eventually, we will live in a world where there is no desire to sin. This will be the time of the new covenant. And when we do, as we see from the next passage, where there is no sin, there is no need for a sin offering.
For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated. The holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying: ‘This is the covenant I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord: “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them upon their minds,”’ he also says: ‘Their sins and their evildoing I will remember no more.’ Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin.
Hebrews 10: 14-18  NAB
Love and forgiveness are the keys to releasing our pain. Forgiveness follows repentance (Acts 2:38). The Lord’s Prayer tells us that we will be forgiven by God in the same fashion as we have forgiven those who trespass against us. Jesus also warns not to judge others, for God will judge us as we judge others (Mt 7:1-2).

The path of sacrifice and confession is a long road. If we walk this path alone, it is almost impossible. With help, powerful help, it can be a whole different experience. One can decide to go it on your own, but it is a much tougher and longer road. The writings of Carlos Castaneda give one an idea of the effort needed for this way. If you eventually find the way, the irony is that you will find Christ anyway, for he is the way. So you might as well accept his help along the way.

We can call upon our High Priest at any time. The key is understanding that Jesus fulfilled the role of living as the perfect example of the way of love and also fulfilled a prophetic role as the perfect sacrificial lamb at the appointed time. Because of this accomplishment, he became High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. When we make our temple also the dwelling place of God's spirit, then Jesus is able to live within us, to inspire and guide us to do what is right, thereby taking away our sins (1 Jn 3).


The Daily Sacrifice Today

Understanding and accepting that Jesus provides the blood eternal for all sin and guilt offerings, and that he actually and presently serves as High Priest to make real the substitute payment, the ransom, which cleanses the consciousness and inspires the worshiper to leave dead acts at the altar and not repeat them, we then have the perspective necessary to see how these offerings have changed. We continue with the time just after Jesus ascended into heaven.

The Apostles were meeting and praying at the temple, as was their daily custom, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost. This feast day was also called the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Harvest and the day of firstfruits. Acts chapter 2 records that many received the gifts of the spirit, including speaking in tongues, the ability to be understood in the languages of other people present so that they also may hear God’s word. This inspired the faithful to have a deeper understanding of the holy scriptures and also led to many conversions to the faith of Judaism (Acts 2:11; 13:43). The faithful continued to observe the feast days as defined in the law of Moses and observed by Jesus (Lk 22:15-16; Jn 7:2,8,37; 10:22; Acts 2:1; 20:6).

After being so deeply inspired by the Holy Spirit, the apostles were led to have daily devotions in the temple where they would teach, have fellowship, prayer and praise, and also the ritual of breaking the bread (Acts 2:42-47). The author of Acts makes the point that one’s meal should be eaten at home so the ritual of breaking bread at the temple remains sacred and does not become just a meal.

When it comes to the ritual of breaking bread together, Paul makes clear that we should "examine" ourselves before taking part in it. However, while doing this we should not "judge" ourselves. Leave that to God. Don't search for things in yourself that are "wrong" but let the Holy Spirit convict one of sin through prayer. If convicted, then confess and repent right away, lest we come under God’s judgment. This is a clear reference to the confession and repentance aspects of the sin offerings. When Paul says that as we eat the bread and wine we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes, he has in mind the full promise of redemption (1 Cor 4:1-5, 11:26-32).

But in the meantime, until our conscience is free of sin, there is the sin offering, only now we sprinkle the altar of our hearts with the blood of the lamb by way of our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. With the blood of Jesus it no longer makes sense to sacrifice an animal since its blood can not match Jesus’. As with the daily sacrifice, Luke reminds us to do this daily (Luke 9:23). We "take up" the cross daily when we stand on our daily commitment to the Lord. We die daily when we examine ourselves and realize the sins of our ego. In these expectations we indeed find the ordinances of the daily sacrifice still applying to us. The sacrament of Communion is the spirit of following the sacrificial system, the daily sacrifice.

To some degree, the Catholic church has kept this ongoing ritual and obligation. The church offers a daily communion, a daily mass, called a sacrifice (for the wrong reasons though - see Martin Luther’s thoughts). The church’s ritual makes clear the requirement for doing confession, repentance and consideration of restitution prior to receiving the sacrament of communion, whereby we complete the process in the acts of payment, forgiveness and atonement. This whole process is the daily sacrifice in the light of Jesus’ Passover sacrifice as the ultimate sin offering.       

Through the actions of the people in the Bible, we see this expected follow through that comes with the practice of the daily sacrifice. If a sin has affected a relationship with someone else, then you should go and reconcile the situation with your brother. This responsibility is made clear by one of Jesus’ teachings, showing this aspect of the law still applies.
You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, “You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.” But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, “Raqa,” will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, “You fool,” will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 5: 21-24  NAB
If we make a sacrifice, reconcile with our brother, confess our sins and empty ourselves of any negative emotions being held, we will be open to receive and fill this space with the unconditional love of the Holy Spirit and its gifts through praise and worship. Just as the priests ate parts of the temple sacrifices made holy by confession, so too we eat the bread and wine of the Passover sacrifice made holy by confession and faith (1 Cor 10:15-18). This is with the understanding that we are made priests in accepting God’s covenant, and in willing cooperation with his spirit, we follow the law from our hearts.

When Jesus, the Messiah, said do “this” in remembrance of him, it seems clear that first and foremost his followers should observe the Passover feast day and remember the ways in which Jesus fulfills the messianic roles memorialized in the Passover Seder. We are also to remember his great sacrifice and its effect upon the daily sacrifice. We should remember and understand this as we continue to observe the daily sacrifice in the form of the sacrament of Holy Communion. Today’s daily sacrifice continues the call to worship and praise, the call to examine oneself and sacrifice one’s ego in confession, repentance and restitution. And then the bread and wine is eaten as a reminder of the present reality of our Lord and Counselor. Finally, we are to remember the covenant and the promise of the time when all will carry it in their hearts, but also to recognize the calling to remain faithful now.

God’s plan of redemption continues to unfold toward fulfillment of the covenant being written in all our hearts. The reality of Jesus’ ministry and his sacrifice ratify and make real the promise and plan of God. While the sacrifice of Jesus pays the price of the law, it does not absolve us of the law. Paul points out in Romans 6-8 that the law could only point out and instruct us in what is sin. It did nothing to enable us to resist sin. Jesus, in being a living example of the new covenant, living with the law in his heart and mind, is able as High Priest to help us resist sin by the power of his Spirit.

This daily practice is the key to developing an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. As mankind sins, people get hurt. If that impact is not addressed, released, restitution made, atonement sought, whichever is appropriate, then blockages form. Forgiveness and compassion are the keys to protecting and guarding one's heart. The key to forgiveness and letting go is to trust completely in God and leave any justice needed to Him. If the pain is left to accumulate, we can cut ourselves off from our Source: emotionally, mentally and ultimately physically. This path of not addressing our abominations, our sins, will eventually result in our temple becoming desolate of God’s spirit. This path leads to a cold heart and separation from God, separation from the Source of inspiration, resolution, restitution, health, strength and ultimately peace of mind. Daily sacrifice is a meditation and communion with God and the way to keep our hearts open.


Prophecy and The Daily Sacrifice

Now let us return to Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks, Daniel 9:24-27, which was cited earlier. In this prophecy, a week represents approximately seven years. The first 69 weeks were fulfilled in the past. The final week of years, the 70th week, applies to our future and the seven years just prior to the coming of the Messiah as the lion and the light. In the middle of this seven year period, the daily sacrifice is removed. This would presume that the practice is occurring up to that point, or at least it occurs during the first half of the seven years. What does the daily sacrifice mean in this prophetic context?

On the level of the macrocosm, the world at large, it refers to the ritual sacrifices performed in the temple of God in Jerusalem. This implies that the temple will be rebuilt so that the people of Israel who don't accept Jesus' blood can observe the law by bringing animals to the temple as sin offerings. As we saw earlier, Ezekiel’s temple vision supports this interpretation. Daniel's prophecy indicates that this ritual activity will be stopped. This will be the object lesson for all the world to see and to focus its attention. We should also remember that this temple will become the throne of our most Wonderful Counselor. Prophecy says the temple will be rebuilt, blessed, made holy, protected by the two witnesses (Rev. 11), and coveted by the Antichrist (2 Thess 2).

On a deeper level, the personal level, the daily sacrifice refers to the universal practice of praise and worship, confession and repentance, of making sacrifices and seeking atonement for our sins, as discussed earlier. This core activity can be found in many religions. The prophecy says the practice or belief will be removed or ended. Combined with other prophecies about the beast and the harlot, symbols which represent the end-time world government that is also a world religion, one can make a clearer interpretation of this prophecy. At the end of the age, a government and a religion will come to power over the entire planet. This religion is described as a harlot, for it lies, deceives and is not faithful to God. Its belief system will be one that does not contain nor condone any form of daily sacrifice. It will demand loyalty and total submission through accepting a device inside one’s hand or forehead. Once accepted, you will lose your will and desire to offer daily sacrifice.
... In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
Dan. 9:27  NIV  [Note again that “sacrifice and offering” is the same as “daily sacrifice”.]
For the nation of Israel, this refers to altering and desecrating the temple and the worship therein. On the deeper level, when the temple is seen as the temple of our body (1 Cor 3:16, 6:19), it is something unnatural put on, perhaps, the hand (wing), which will eventually bring about our ruin. Upon reflection, one can see that if one no longer can offer praise and oblation, it implies it interferes with one’s will. This is probably a device, but perhaps it is refering to a system of indoctrination.

This interference with the daily sacrifice comes up again in Daniel 12:11. This passage also speaks to both levels.
From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.  NIV
The inability or unwillingness to offer daily sacrifice and the committing of one’s soul to a deceptive and corrupt faith will be the abomination that will eventually lead to one’s temple becoming desolate of God’s spirit. Then you become an expendable pawn to be used by that system. This is the personal level that applies to everyone.

As we approach the end of the age, we should see the start of Daniel’s 70 th week. This event will be evidence of the rise of the beast, the end-time world government. This start is marked by an agreement involving many nations who confirm Israel’s right to exist and determine the status of Jerusalem. A world power, whose roots come from the ancient Roman Empire, will be the force behind this agreement. At some point it will become a confederacy of 10 kings. When it enters into an agreement with Israel and gains control of some aspect of Jerusalem, then we will witness the resurrected fourth beast of Daniel. Eventually it will join or become a religious entity.  The final religious king will subdue 3 of these 10 kings who give their power and authority over to this one person. He becomes the head of this world government/religion and rules for the second half of Daniel's 70 th week. The Bible calls this person the lawless one, the little horn, known today as the infamous Antichrist. The events of Sept. 11, 2001 exposed the heart of the Antichrist. Its face is yet to be revealed, but ultimately its boss is Satan. It is he who influences and controls those involved through their anger, hatred and fear. The conspiracy of the dark side is real and getting closer to achieving its goal of world domination. The end-time beast, as described in Daniel and Revelation, is coming.

The Bible issues a solemn warning about the end-time world government that is important to highlight. It states that there will come a day when a world government will stand against all religions and demand total loyalty and faith through accepting a device inside oneself. This is known as the “mark of the beast”. Rev 13:15-18 says that the mark is required in order to buy or sell. The name associated with this mark will have a numerical value of 666. If you face this situation, with this exact set of circumstances, the Bible warns not to accept it. If you do accept the mark, you support the beast and share the responsibility for what it does. Refuse it and deal with the consequences (Lk 17:33). At that point you will have to be totally dependent upon God, not the state.

In my opinion, most will face the mark at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70 th week, when the daily sacrifice is removed. I also believe that once the mark is accepted and put inside, one will lose the ability to make a clear choice and never want to remove it (Rev 19:20). This is the point at which the world government, first appearing to be a good thing, becomes a dark oppressive force. This is the time when the anger and hatred that drives the Antichrist will be revealed for all to see. It will be an expression of the darkest aspects that lie within all of us, creating a temptation to indulge those aspects (2 Thess. 2:11-12). The lawless one, so aptly named, will bring about a period of lawlessness. This is a challenge from God. For only those souls who choose to remain faithful and obedient to God despite the official sanction of lawlessness deserve to have authority and rule with Jesus, the Christ.

The promise of prophecy is that the time of the Antichrist's power is limited to the second half of the 70 th week, a period of 3½ years. It is destroyed by Jesus and so begins the next age, an age ruled by a righteous king. Jesus earned that role by resisting temptation and by not abusing his power during his first coming as the perfect sacrificial lamb.

The symbols of prophecy have depth in that they capture the human characteristics which bring about their fulfillment. God's use of beasts as symbols for governments are exaggerated images of the animal instincts within and is meant to give us insight into how the decisions we make shape our future and bring about certain consequences. In a simplified sense, when we allow the "might makes right" animal survival instinct to dominate the governments we form, as with the early Babylonian Empire at the time of Daniel, and then put that same drive into the future and give it greater technology, it seems not hard to see the Antichrist scenario.

In a metaphysical sense, by avoiding responsibility, by avoiding getting to the root of our issues and emotional consequences this tends to give rise to behaviors of control. Mankind has often worked out its issues this way, so unless we learn to address the true core issues and change our vibration as Jesus demonstrated, then the same old patterns will arise until we collectively manifest the ultimate control scenario - the antichirst world dictator.

The promise of prophecy is not the judgment of plagues or the punishment of a world dictator. These things will naturally evolve as consequences of the decisions we make and how we treat each other and the planet. The promise of prophecy is the intervention by Christ to end that oppressive government once it comes to power (Isa 9:6), a power that might otherwise dominate for a long, long time, perhaps a millennium or so.

Mankind has often asked for God to intervene and fix things, yet if we are to develop as free will independent beings, then God can't come running every time we yell for help. But an intervention is planned and one we have waited a long time for. If this is truly to help us grow, then the new vibration must be part of us in order for it to take hold and grow. That is why several millennia had to pass since the Messiah's first coming when his message and vibration of love was planted and made real. This needed to grow over many seasons until a powerful and faithful remnant would be ready to live as he did, and thereby support and sustain the return of the Messiah into this world, otherwise we would just reject him again.

In thinking about Daniel's 70th Week prophecy, I've often wondered why the Antichirst would consider the daily sacrifice so important that removing it becomes the focal point of his effort, according to this prophecy. I've prayed about it and believe I've been led to the understanding of the daily sacrifice presented here. It also seems to me that over the years there has been an effort to obscure this meaning. For my quest, I feel the Holy Spirit has led me to see a process that is indeed key to our relationship with God, and in so interrupting it would create a separation from our Creator and thereby subject one to the position of being controlled, rather than remaining in control by facing and taking responsibility for one's own feelings, decisions, actions and consequences.

For more details on prophecy, see the Analysis of Prophecy section beginning with God's Master Plan of 7,000 Years for an overview. For more depth on Daniels’ prophecies, see The Signs Jesus Instructed Us to Watch , which leads to The Desolating Abomination in Daniel .


Evolution of the Soul

The river of life surrounds and powers us. It is available to all in abundance. Your ability to receive depends upon the openness of your heart and your understanding of God. Your openness is a function of how you have lived your life. If the way you have chosen to do, to handle, to interact, to be affected by what has transpired brings pain, heart ache and regret, these negative emotions will act as blockages, stones in your channel of the river of life. If enough stones accumulate, the river will be blocked from flowing to you and you will lose life force.

The way to keep the flow of abundance open, is to keep working at removing those stones, those emotional blockages that prevent us from loving unconditionally. Life will always bring stones. The way to remove them is through the practice of some form of daily sacrifice. At the rate things are moving in our society today, only by doing this daily can one hope to keep ahead of the blockages.

If we carry an appreciation for appropriate sacrifice in our hearts daily, we will keep our hearts open and, therefore, the spiritual power of the river of life flowing abundantly. One might think, though, that with the right relationship one could live forever in the physical form. Not so. Eventually, in the lives of all human beings, there comes a point when it is time to die, to leave your body and plunge into the river.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, ...
Hebrews 9:27  NAB
What will that judgment be? That depends upon how well we have learned to love unconditionally. Most people do not pass through this life living the way that Christ showed. Many fall into the bondage of slavery to past pain. Sometimes it seems we need a miracle to set us free, or perhaps fire, to burn away the unwanted pain. Knowing that the path and gate to heaven is narrow (Mt 7:14) and that living a life in accordance with the commandments (Mt 19:17) can be challenging, are most souls condemned for eternity after one lifetime? Is this the way of a loving God? Consider the following:
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay”, but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3: 8-9  NAB
God’s view of time spans all perspectives, from seeing every moment in a day as if it were a thousand years, to seeing the progression of a thousand years as if it were perceived in a single day. This statement says that the full span of God’s perspective comes to bear in guiding souls to repentance.

How can any soul grow and learn over a thousand years unless many lifetimes are involved? Consider also, the following statement made by Paul to the faithful alive at his time. It concerns the transformation of the elect, commonly called the rapture, that will occur at the end of this age, the age they had just entered.
Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet.
1 Corinthians 15: 51-52  NAB
How can the souls living on Earth at Paul’s time possibly experience the rapture at the end of the age unless souls return to the Earth to experience other lifetimes. Some say this is an example of the apostles incorrectly expecting Christ's return in their lifetime. If in their view of life it was natural for souls to return to the Earth, then Paul's statement is not wrong. Considering that Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit, he would not speak in error. The idea of the soul returning to the womb to experience another lifetime is expressed most clearly in Job.
... Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!
Job 1:21  NAB
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.
Jeremiah 1:5  NAB
Many have used Hebrews 9:27, cited above, to make a case that souls do not reincarnate into another body, that the Bible says we journey through this Earth only once. This view does not fit the context of the paragraph. On one level, this verse, and into the next chapter, comments on the total journey of our souls. Once, at a point in the past as described by Genesis 3:19-24 (see also Romans 5:12), sin was brought into this world and so it was appointed for us to die. This will be so until the end of the next age when sin will be no more and death, the final enemy, will be conquered. This new covenant (Heb 10:16) will come into being because of what Jesus did once, and only once, i.e. fulfill the role of perfect sacrifice.

On another level, if the author meant that we journey through the Earth plane once, to be accurate the sentence should read ‘It is appointed that souls experience death once, and after this the judgment,’. The sentence clearly translates to human beings. All human beings die, which is a self-evident statement and fits the context of the comparison, that is it should be evident that Jesus needed to die only once, not repeatedly like the animal sacrifices. The author had a clear understanding of the distinction between the body and the soul, and uses the term soul in Hebrews 4:12 & 6:19.
This we have as an anchor of the soul [the promise and oath of God], sure and fine, which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 6:19-20  NAB   [Note: "forever" from Greek aion: can also be translated "Messianic Age".]
The mysterious character of Melchizedek is introduced in Genesis 14:18-20. Hebrews 7:1-3 explains that he was not born into this world. Some see Melchizedek as Jesus in another form, seen before the Son came to Earth as Jesus. Since Jesus is our forerunner, a model for us, this would allude to the different journeys of the soul.

We know that Jesus Christ is the alpha and the omega, the first and the last (Revelation 22:13). We also know that Adam is the first son created by God. Paul has an interesting discussion in Romans 5 & 6 and 1 Corinthians 15 in which he compares Adam and Christ. He states that Adam was a pattern giving rise to the one to come, namely Christ (Romans 5:14). The Greek word for pattern, tupos, has the meaning of a die, a stamp or scar, a model for imitation, a type, a pattern. Its clear its meaning is establishing a mold that will be repeated and used again. For we are also the sons of God; that is, when we are led by the Holy Spirit and do not live sinful lives (Rom 8:12-14).

Paul continues the contrast of Adam and Christ. For in Adam, all die, due to the sin he introduced, but in Christ all will be made alive by what he accomplished. Through a man came death and through a man comes resurrection of the dead. In this regard, Paul refers to Christ as a man, thereby tying him and Adam together (1 Cor 15:21). Paul strengthens this tie in Romans 5:19 by saying that through the disobedience of one man many were made sinners, but through the obedience of the one man many will be made righteous. Further, Paul calls Christ the last Adam in 1 Corinthians 15:45. Finally, Paul brings it all together when he states:
... Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20  NIV
Being the firstfruits means others will follow. Of all the souls who have fallen asleep 4 and entered the cycle of rebirth, Christ is the first to conquer death and be free from it. He is the alpha, the first son created, Adam, one who brought sin into the world by disobedience. He is also the omega, the last Adam, the life-giving spirit, the one who eventually conquered sin by total obedience to God, and the one who will be the victor over death itself. Christ is the first to make it through the evolutionary process, to go from initial disobedience that comes with the exercise of free will in the human form, to maturing to the point of willingly choosing to obey God as demonstrated by his life as Jesus, the Christ. This is the pattern that we will follow, but each in his own time, 1 Corinthians 15:23, and after a great deal more time. For Jesus said we shall do even greater things (Jn 14:12). 5

Additionally, in Revelation 22:16 Jesus refers to himself as the root and offspring of David. We all understand him to be the offspring or descendant of David but the root means he also came before David. The ultimate root of David is Adam. Finally, since Luke directly refers to Adam as the son of God in chapter 3 verse 38, this indicates the apostles had an understanding of the prior lives of Jesus. It is curious that the Apostles Creed states of Jesus, "On the third day he rose again". The word "again" suggests he did it before, which would be in prior lives.

There is an important distinction between Jesus’ lifetime and a normal lifetime for us. Jesus demonstrated and fulfilled the way of love during his lifetime. This is still the pattern and way for us to follow even though Jesus did not come to this world in the normal way. It is important to understand that he had already freed himself from the cycle of physical lives before being Jesus. His soul had already achieved total atonement, total at-one-ment with the Creator. This is seen by his appearance as Melchizedek, a being without “beginning of days or end of life”. Jesus was sent into this world by God, in that he was fathered by the Holy Spirit and not Joseph. He was sent by God to fulfill a public role for all the world to witness and contemplate down through the ages. His holy presence physically changed mother Earth. And because of his accomplishment, he then took his place in the heavenly sanctuary, where he continues his daily role as our High Priest. We approach him through prayer as we seek atonement for sins. The price has been paid, but the consequences of our sins remain and need to be dealt with. As long as we continue to sin, our creations must be handled by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

Returning to the rebirth concept, we see it also in baptism. For we are buried with Christ and then resurrected with him into a new life (Romans 6:4), a chance to start over, to be born again (John 3:3,7). Born again is a reference to a spiritual process of renewal of the soul whereby a conversion of the heart takes place (more of this later). It is also a reference to the physical process, in which the soul is renewed with each new life.

This view of life was natural in Jesus’ time, as show by the question asked in John 9:2-3. Jesus and his disciples came upon a man blind from birth and they asked him who sinned here, the man or his parents? If it is the man, then it must be in a prior life. This question also shows that we can be affected by the sins of our parents. Jesus accepted the question without rebuke, showing it was a natural way to interpret the situation. He answers that neither. In this case, it seems necessary in order to bring out the best in this man’s soul. Sometimes bad things happen to us, not because of what he did, but because it is needed for us to grow. (Another example that it was normal to view souls as coming back to Earth is expressed in the question asked of Jesus in Mt 16:13-14 and Mk 8:27-28.)

There is one case in which the Bible clearly identifies the soul of a person in the past returning again to the Earth to fulfill another role, to live again in another body. It is that of the prophet Elijah returning to fulfill the role of John the Baptist. Before he was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to his father, Zachariah, and told him he would have a son who would have the spirit of Elijah (Luke 1:17). Jesus himself identified John the Baptist as Elijah, and more than once, as recorded in Matthew 11:10-15 and 17:10-13 (Mark 9:11-13). Some refute this by saying that John himself said he was not Elijah (John 1:21) but normally none of us remember who we were, yet the Master recognized who he was and said so.

As a light aside, consider briefly the standard Christian view that after we live and come to face judgment, those who don't make it to heaven go to Satan's domain. Revelation 12:9 & 12 clearly states that Satan was cast down to the Earth, so going to Satan's domain would mean returning to the Earth.

All souls were created before the foundation of the world (Job 38:4-5, 21; Eph 1:4) and will continue to exist unless condemned by God to the Lake of Fire at the end of the next millennium. Let us ask, what is meant by salvation? If by salvation one is referring to the soul surviving death and continuing its existence, this is the natural process for souls, regardless of how they have lived their lives. It is a free gift to all by the grace of God. If by salvation, one means existing in unconditional love, thereby freeing oneself from the cycle of physical lives and being able to exist in a continual state of Nirvana or Heaven, harmonious eternal life, then this is the narrow path that few are able to walk. If one does attain this state, one may still choose to incarnate, as Jesus demonstrated as Melchizedek, for life continues.

Another way to describe the difference between these two levels of salvation is that the first and most basic is the "continuity of the soul", that the soul continues to exist from lifetime to lifetime. I would describe the next level of salvation as the "continuity of consciousness", for we no longer fall asleep and forget who we were but become immortal and have continuous consciousness of who we are.

There is yet another level, that salvation is not complete until it applies to all, as implied by 2 Peter 3 and 1 Corinthians 15:25-28. There will be a time when all souls willingly live and exemplify the love of God and exist in total harmony. This is the time when God’s master plan comes to fruition, the fulfillment of the New Covenant at the end of the next millennium. It will be the time that we reach our full potential as the sons and daughters of God, the goal of God’s creation. Perhaps we might call this level of salvation "continuity of consciousness of humanity". Can you imagine the potential when we reach this level? New heavens and earths ...
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Romans 8:18-19  KJV
Returning to our evolution, obtaining the kingdom of Heaven is not based upon knowing the right person, it is about living a life of love and obedience. Knowing the right person, Jesus, can make the difference in one’s salvation because of his daily guidance in helping us to make the right choices. Learning of Jesus does not of and by itself make one a saint. It is possible for one to experience a conversion of the heart in the instant of accepting Jesus, but that is different from the knowledge of accepting what he did. Ultimately, we must learn and demonstrate the same kind of obedience ourselves. Ours souls continually evolve, through lifetimes, learning greater expressions of unconditional love, eventually evolving the Christ Consciousness, as did our forerunner.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
Romans 6:22  NIV
Herbert W. Armstrong, a great Biblical scholar of this last century, explains God’s plan further in the following passages from his book the Mystery of the Ages. He makes clear the goal of God’s master plan, the purpose of calling the Church (those truly faithful) out of this world and the real meaning of being born again - a true conversion of the heart and mind.
God’s master plan calls for offering salvation and eternal life to every person ever born, but his plan calls for doing that in a time-order. Those called out of this world and into the Church at this time are called for a specific purpose and a specific work. This specific work was to make possible the spiritual training to aid in the conversion of humanity as a whole. They are called at a time when they are persecuted and fought against by Satan and the rest of the world. The rest of the world will be called at a time when Satan is removed and they are aided and helped by Christ and the saints then made immortal in the kingdom of God
pp. 178-179
One of the purposes for which Jesus came as a human to earth was to pay that penalty - that supreme death penalty - for those called into his Church not only, but ultimately to free all humanity each in his due time!
pp. 182
Jesus answered immediately, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” But Nicodemus did not understand this. He knew that being born was an actual birth - parturition from the womb of the mother. Today’s theologians do not know even that! They deny a real second birth as a spirit being. They spiritualize away the real truth by assuming that merely saying that one accepts Christ as his Savior constitutes being born again. In this, Satan has deceived them and in turn they have deceived millions of others.
pp. 185-186
I cannot repeat too emphatically that those being called into the Church now are not being called merely and only for salvation. Nevertheless, in order that they may be kings and priests, as actual God Beings aiding Christ in the salvation of the world, those in the Church themselves must be genuinely converted. ...Conversion takes place in the mind, and that faculty of the mind we call the heart. ... A converted person is a person with a totally changed, or converted mind. A converted mind in which the very mind of God is joined with the human mind. As God says through the apostle Paul, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). The Holy Spirit is the spirit of a sound mind, which is a completely changed mind.
.pp. 196-197
God’s Church was designed in his supreme master plan to prepare that dedicated and organized personnel of God beings . The Church, then, became God’s instrumentality for aiding him in bringing about salvation to humanity
pp. 188
I repeat again and again, God is reproducing himself!
The average person has no conception whatever of the tremendous, supreme supernatural achievement Almighty God has undertaken in reproducing himself - ultimately into billions of spiritual God Beings ! Or of the many-faceted stages of development necessitated in this pinnacle of all divine accomplishments!
pp. 187, 190
The “salvation” in what is called traditional Christianity does not actually change one into a new and different person. Too often ministers and evangelists tell people that if they have just “received Christ,” “accepted Christ,” or “given their heart to the Lord,” they are saved. They are already “born again.” It is as if some mystic switch has been flipped and the person will be shot instantly up to heaven upon death, which so many believe is not really a death after all. God, in the Bible, teaches no such thing.
pp. 197   [This author's note: This view of "salvation" constitutes magic.]
God is in the process of replicating himself through us. When we are not slaves to sin and do follow His commandments, we are capable of great things. In 2 Kings 4:8-37 we are told of a time when a man faithful to God named Elisha raised a boy from the dead. Peter also raised a woman from the dead in Acts 9:40. Raising from the dead is one of Christ's greatest miracles, yet regular man have done this also. This certainly speaks to our potential. Psalm 82 says, "You are gods". The author is speaking to the great assembly in heaven presided over by God, to the saints, to those who have evolved to be in God's presence. Christ himself affirmed this Psalm in John 10:34. Jesus also declares in the Revelation, in 3:21, that he who overcomes will earn the right to sit with him on his throne. This is our destiny. When we evolve spiritually to the point of being one with God through lack of sin and total obedience to the commandments and His will, we will be as gods. An incredible thing to even contemplate, yet it is stated in scripture.

If we take notice of the symbology used by Our Lord, then this relationship should not surprise us. In the future, when Jesus leaves the Heavenly Sanctuary to come to Earth as Messiah and King, he will come as the Bride Groom looking for his Bride, the Church. This is the great wedding feast of Revelation (Rev 19:1-10). It is not a relationship of master and servant. It is a partnership, an intimate relationship involving the Creator. Marriage is a sacrament because it teaches us something of this greater relationship to come. The Church are those who have prepared themselves for the role of Bride by learning and wanting to express their will and desires in such a way that is always in harmony with the will and desire of the Almighty.

We are all in this together and forever. The only way to satisfy everyone is by the practice of daily sacrifice and trust that in the fulness of all time, all will experience all they desire. Sometimes it is best to sacrifice satisfying one's desire today and to wait on the Lord. When we act in the short-term, just taking what we want and not taking time to work out a solution for all involved, then we only delay the day we experience the fulfillment of the new covenant, carrying God’s law in our heart and mind, and living God’s goal of peace and harmony in each moment.

As we approach the end of this age we will witness the rise of the end-time beast, the world government and religion of the Antichrist that will create an environment giving license to all kinds of evil. The choice we face at this time is not a question of the soul continuing or not, it is whether or not to rule with Christ, for each soul must decide if it is ready to take advantage of this rare opportunity to accelerate one’s growth and expansion to holiness. In a world in which it is so easy to do whatever you want, all we have to do is ... Be Faithful!

For those who meet the challenge, for those who demonstrate faithfulness and endurance during this tribulation (Rev 13:10; 14:12), these saints will be transformed and rule with Christ during the next age. In order for this plan to work, these people must be truly converted, they must have proved themselves by resisting temptation under difficult conditions. They must be ready to love the way Christ does, to have the same passion for all souls. This would not work if they merely had to know the right password.

The plan is for us all to be resurrected, each in our own time. This will occur over the next age. The saints and the elect who are resurrected and transformed at the Second Coming are but the firstfruits of the great spiritual harvest of souls (Rev 14:4). The latter rain of the Holy Spirit will only be the beginning of the great spiritual harvest, for it will continue during the millennial reign of our Lord and his saints when the influence of Satan has been removed. Ephesians 1:4 indicates that souls were created before the foundation of the world. The entire first chapter of Ephesians echoes 1 Corinthians 15:25-28, and the footnote to Ephesians 1:3-14 in the NAB translation makes clear that the "predetermined plan of God" is to bring "all of creation under the rule of Christ". The process of evolving to a state of true holiness normally takes a long time, yet one can appreciate the wisdom and patience of the Almighty in guiding the growth of souls as expressed, again, in the following:
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay”, but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3: 8-9
How can anyone know the eternal justice involved with a soul you meet in life unless you have a perspective of lifetimes? How can anyone say that a thousand years is a too long, if one day a soul comes to repentance and understanding? We must always trust in God and His justice. Our view is so short-term. All will reap what they sow (Job 4:8).


Judgment and the Days of Awe

Divine justice is the province of the Almighty. As we come to the close of this age and encounter much which appears unjust, we must resist the beast within and the temptation to deal with the situation ourselves. Support the law and the system of justice. How true it is depends on the people who support it. Most of all, trust in God’s divine justice.
The heavens proclaim divine justice, for God alone is the judge. Selah.
Psalm 50:6  NAB
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak.
Matthew 12:36  NAB
Without trust, fear and intolerance lead to unnecessary judgments of others by us. Of concern also, are people with a fundamentalist point of view, for they tend to judge all things as either good or bad. This is a bad way of thinking, for it sows seeds that one would rather not reap. Further, it brings dire consequences if one is wrong in judging another (Mt 7:1-2). If one casts judgments on all things and then takes the added step of taking the law into one’s own hand, this becomes a very dangerous situation. In its extreme form, this can lead to terrorism.

A lesson in tolerance can be taken from the Jewish Days of Awe. These are the ten days between the Blowing of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah, and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. The following comes from the Talmud, in a section commenting on the Mishna.
Said Rabbi Kruspedai, in the name of Rabbi Yohanan: Three books are opened on Rosh Hashanah: one for the wholly righteous, one for the wholly wicked, and one for the intermediates. The wholly righteous are at once inscribed and sealed in the book of life; the wholly wicked are at once inscribed and sealed in the book of death; and the intermediates are held suspended from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur. If they are found worthy, they are inscribed for life; if found unworthy, they are inscribed for death.
Rosh Hashanah 16b 
The effort to remain inscribed for life is observed annually but there is also an implication of final judgment. The school of Shammai further teaches that there will be three classes until the final Day of Judgment, one for the wholly righteous, one of the wholly wicked, and one of the intermediates. The wholly righteous are at once inscribed and sealed for life in the world to come. The intermediates will be tested through fire and have until the final Day of Atonement to become righteous before God. 6

It is only a few who are clearly righteous or clearly wicked. Most are “intermediates”, struggling with the urgings of spirit and the desires of the body. If only a few are clearly righteous, then surely not all who remain are clearly wicked. It is illuminating to apply the pattern of the Days of Awe to the judgment that comes at the end of one’s life. As each life ends and the soul comes to its life review before the heavenly court of the Almighty, some find they have successfully walked the narrow path that leads to the state of existence called “heaven”. They may remain with the heavenly host. There are also those souls who have chosen to walk the narrow path to total fear, anger and hatred. Their fate will be the lake of fire, which burns away that which is ungodly. Few experience these extremes. The majority learn from their experience and continue on. The heavenly court then determines the best way for the soul to grow and learn, whether to continue for a period in spirit form and when it will be born again into a situation appropriate to one's karma. Each new life is a fresh start, as probation continues.

While probation may continue over lifetimes, the Days of Awe speak of an end to probation and a day of reckoning. At the end of the age will come a day of judgment, a global Day of Atonement in which all are judged one way or another. For those who have been faithful to God, they will be resurrected or transformed and live continuously and be part of the ruling government during the thousand-year reign of Christ. They are the saints, the elect. Those who were not faithful to God are not raised until after the thousand years. This raises a question. Who do the saints rule over? There seems to be only one logical answer. For those who are not obedient to God’s commandments and not raised at the Messiah's return, it is not the end of existence. For they will continue the rebirth cycle during the thousand years, born to those who survived the tribulation but were not made immortal. This is who the Lord and his saints rule over, guiding them during the great harvest to full spiritual maturity.

For those souls who did not use their free will to make the right decisions when the world was ruled by Satan, imagine how much more these souls will be inspired to make better choices during their lifetimes when the world is ruled by Jesus. Righteousness will be the cornerstone of the new age. God’s plan is that all eventually come to repentance and willingly add their voices to the praise of the wisdom and love of the Almighty as expressed by 2 Peter 3. This continued evolution of the souls that were not raised at the Second Coming is one good way to explain why this group would be raised at the end of the millennium and judged again, as stated in Revelation 20:11-15. The only reason to judge them again is if they had more time to redeem themselves. However, if they do not learn by the end of the millennium, then their fate is the lake of fire. This is the final day of reckoning and ultimate end of probation.

Judging all things as either good or evil is something that is reserved for God and done only on the day of judgment. It is not meant as a way of life for the faithful. We must judge that which is really and truly bad and fight it for safety’s sake. We also need to judge that which is truly good, so as to support it and to point it out as a guide for all. But there is so very much more that is neither, that falls in between and needs to be accepted. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is incumbent upon us to practice tolerance and acceptance. Normal day to day poor decisions should be met not with judgment and criticism, but with love and understanding and the example of our own walk with the Lord. It is the only way whereby people truly learn and grow.


The Price of Sin: How Do We Use Our Power?

When we sin, people get hurt. It is our responsibility to make restitution for the consequences of our actions. Sometimes that may be as simple as an apology, other times it may take time and money to set things straight. How many people take this kind of responsibility toward their sins? Are you one of those who will withhold your apology and offer of restitution unless ordered by a judge?

In addition to the physical impact, there is the emotional impact. If you sin against someone, would you go and admit your fault, apologize, and then offer to listen to that person express their emotions on the issue? The emotional impact is an energy that affects and penetrates us. It needs to be released and gotten rid of or it will continue to affect one.

There is also the mental body. Thoughts are things. Once created and brought into this world by speaking or acting, they have a life of their own. Great ideas, once brought into this world, can inspire down through the ages. That is using one’s power of creation for good. But that same power can be used to hurt. Criticism, lies and anger can affect one’s consciousness for a lifetime. A mean or angry tongue can be one of the most deadly weapons. We all should take great care in the use of our power.

In the days of the temple in Israel, the faithful would bring their offerings and sacrifices to the temple. It is there that they would confess their sins over the offering in the presence of the priest. A transference took place, a transference of the sin from the sinner to the sanctuary via the blood and the priest. As each person, each day, came to confess their sins, the weight of the sins would accumulate in the sanctuary until it was cleansed, once a year, on the Day of Atonement. Again with the use of blood, the sanctuary is cleansed of all the little creations of pain from all the members of the congregation. They are transferred to the scape goat, whereby they are removed and carried into the wilderness. Sin is a thing that needs to be cleansed and removed from the sanctuary. Sin is an energy that needs to be respected and dealt with properly. All thoughts have energy, so what will you choose to create?

Now that we have our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, we bring our sins to him. We need to remember and bear in mind that when we use Jesus’ blood in prayer to make payment, confess and release our sins, there is still a transference going on. The weight of our sins is being transferred through Jesus to the heavenly sanctuary. Jesus, in a sense, must do the work of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary of our creations of pain. Further, if we also make no effort toward restitution for our sins, then we leave to Jesus and the Holy Spirit all the work of addressing the pain of those affected by our sin. Jesus is always ready and willing to accept the price of our sin, but how long will the children rely upon their elder brother and Father to clean up their messes?

We don't have to be perfect to be on the right path. We make mistakes and create messes. This is life. Spiritual maturity comes when we take responsibility for our creations, both positive and otherwise.

There is a difference, though, between making mistakes and intending to deceive or mislead. The later crosses a line and starts down a path, if not rejected, that will lead to Satan. Satan, like other biblical symbols, has more than one level of meaning. On the primary level it refers to the soul whom the Bible calls the Accuser, the soul once known as Lucifer, the light giver, before his rebellion. On a personal level it refers to the potential within all of us to become the same thing, if we give into our anger and let the beast within rise, like leaven to bread. As children of God who have the potential to be sons and daughters of God, we can become like Jesus or like Satan, depending upon the guidance we are given and the choices we make using our free will.

The Bible warns that Jesus will rule with an iron rod (Ps 2:9). When the Bible speaks of Satan being bound for the thousand years of Christ's rule, it is not just a reference to that soul. It is also a warning to us, that some dark aspect within each of us will be bound for a period. During the millennium, if Jesus sees fit to restrict our power in some way, we should respect his wisdom and not grumble. (Will this be the root of the final rebellion when Satan is loosed again? Rev 20:7-10) We must trust Jesus, for there will be a time when we will have all the power that we can handle and we should always remember where we came from and what we did in the past.


Time To Reap What We Have Sown

God created a world in balance and gave us dominion over it. Through the exercise of free will, we have used our power of creation to bring the Earth to where it is now. This is the world we have created. What we are about to experience at the end of the age is our doing, not some judgment from God created at this time. God saw it coming and warned us, warned us about the kind of world we would create if we live outside His laws.

The harvest we are about to reap together is the result of the seeds we have sown over thousands of years. Each soul has its part in contributing to the chain of pain, so we all deserve to experience this together. So much comes from how we treat each other on a daily basis. As we exercise our will to get what we want, conflict sometimes arise. If conflicts are resolved primarily by the strong conquering the weak, then the chain of pain continues and builds. This only feeds the emotions of fear, anger and hatred. For the conquered, it builds and builds until one day the tide turns and it explodes in acts of vengeance, war and terrorism. Today, technology has empowered individuals. For better or worse, all now have the means to express their pain.

A better way to resolve problems is the way of daily sacrifice. We undo the chain of pain and bring balance into the world when we sacrifice a position to bring about compromise, when we feed a hungry stranger, mentor a wandering child, lend an ear to a sorrowful friend, confess a sin to the one wronged, cover for one who is exhausted, comfort the sick, help dig for survivors or devote time to prayer and communion with the Creator. This is the way to relieve the pain of others and ourselves at the same time. How many walk this path everyday?

As we approach the end of the age and forces converge to accelerate our growth, forcing the release of all suppressed pain, how many will take advantage of this rare opportunity and use the process to purge oneself and complete the path to holiness. Some will reach the point of living the way of unconditional love and thereby receive the seal of God. They will be illuminated with the light of God’s love. When the Holy Spirit is poured in in the latter rain, those who are God's will be filled with His love, His power, peace, joy, healing and a refreshing that will enable them to witness until the end. These people will surely be transformed and rule with Christ.

When the Messiah returns, it is upon his personal power, and all those who are one with him, backed, supported and supplied by the Father, that the veil hiding the spiritual realm will be dissolved allowing all in physical form to witness the glory of the heavenly host. The Antichrist will be destroyed and Satan will be removed from this world. We should all be very grateful to Christ for what he is about to do for us. The dissolving of the veil, though, and the resurrection of the faithful does not make saints of those who are not. Our journey continues as we are all called to follow his way, the way of love. It will take the thousand years under his leadership for all to achieve holiness.

When we have evolved to the point of willingly expressing the will of God, of treating all with unconditional love, only then will we take our place in the heavenly court and no longer need to return to the earthly cycle once we have heard our judgment.
The victor I will make into a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it again. On him I will inscribe the name of my God ...
Revelation 3:12  NAB
The way to obtain the Christ Consciousness is through the aspects of praise and worship, confession when needed, sacrifice when appropriate, and most especially through cultivating an attitude of thanksgiving and joy. This is the practice of daily sacrifice. This is the process whereby we do maintenance on our connection to the Source. This is the process whereby we remove blockages, the stones that block the flow of the river of life. It is when we have removed our blockages and love with an open heart, without judgment, as a child does, that we will experience the kingdom of heaven (Luke 17: 20-21).


The Call for Spiritual Warriors

As we approach the end of the age, all the accelerated forces we are now facing are geared to getting people to face and release any issues which weigh down our hearts, any held pain which prevents us from loving unconditionally. These blockages, suppressed negative emotions, are hurting us and need to be released. When issues are not processed in a lifetime, they can follow a soul into the next life, so people may be dealing with issues from past lives also. If one’s belief does not accept this as possible, then resolving it will be more difficult.

When we don’t get our growth lessons through prayer and communion with the Holy Spirit, then it takes crisis to get our attention. These forces will continue to intensify, for we must be cleansed before we can exist in the same vibration as the Messiah (Dan 11:35, 12:10, Zec 13:9). This is the purpose of the tribulation (Rev 3:18, 7:14). If we had chosen the path of love and obedience and had practiced daily sacrifice over the last six millennium, then this baptism of fire would not be necessary. For the fire must purge what we can no longer master, and bring us rest from our torment.

These are challenging times. Tighten your belt of truth and put on the full armor of God (Eph 6). Not only does this mean to know and declare the victories that God and His Christ have provided for you, but it also means to know and understand all of the Word of God. It means to strive to read the whole book, to fellowship and study with other believers. The more you read it, the more you know it, the more you know it, the more you remember, and the more likely you may recall something in times of trouble when you need help and guidance. In my experience of almost four decades of studying prophecy, it seems the more I understand of the Bible and its history, the more scripture I remember, the more fluid the “conversation” with the Holy Spirit. Yet I have not had this same level of communication on other topics. I’ve come to believe that it is due to spending most of the first three decades focused primarily on reading the prophecy aspects of the Bible. For it seems that the Holy Spirit loves to communicate through scripture. It is a safe and trusted means of communication through the heart versus “hearing voices” which carries some risks. With the proper perspective of this amazing and powerful book, as provided by this web site, one can come to know the transformative power of the Word of God. For example, if you have a problem with anger due to perceived injustice, try memorizing Psalm 1 and see what it does for your heart on this issue.

We need to be spiritual warriors in the end-times and realize what is really going on. One has to wonder at the things people are doing these days. Is everyone losing their minds? Perhaps not. For many, they just don’t have acceptable ways to process their pain, so it comes out in unacceptable ways under pressure. Each person needs to strive to evolve to the point of balance within themselves, as we learn in the process of helping each other. We must all get out of our comfort zones and make ourselves available to others so that when they are ready, they may have an opportunity to confess and express their pain, rather than keep it suppressed inside. This can come in many different formats: confession to a priest, conversation with a friend, deep massage that touches the emotions, music therapy, art therapy, sports, etc. Anything that helps to facilitate bottled up emotions coming to the surface and being expressed in an acceptable way.

Remember always that there is an army of spiritual help to call upon. Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to heal and change the heart so that one may be grounding in knowing thyself and be strong enough to not take offense and thereby continue to walk in peace. I invite all to accept Jesus as your friend, so that you will be able to ask for help. For who can ask for help of one they have rejected? Develop a personal relationship with Jesus, whereby you feel comfortable talking about whatever is on your mind. Use his blood, through prayer, to bring a proper sacrifice to the altar of your heart. Be a warrior! Confess well, empty oneself of self-importance and allow the unconditional love of the Holy Spirit to fill the heart. Then with the help of the Holy Spirit, stand your ground and be a mighty warrior with the strength of will to do what you know in your heart is right. Do this daily and one will be guided to find the way to our inner sanctuary and peace. For it is at this place that one is most an individual and at the same point, one with the Almighty and everything that is around us.








Footnotes

1 I have a great deal of respect for Hebert W. Armstrong and believe him to be one of the best theologians of the last century; however, I do not agree with all of his positions. He boldly restored many important biblical principles which the church has lost or forgotten. I strongly agree with his views that the Bible interprets its own symbols, the feast days encode God’s plan for mankind and are critical to understanding prophecy, the Sabbath is Saturday and the Bible teaches a pre-millennial return of Jesus. On the subject of prophecy, I strongly disagree with Armstrong’s view that the book of Revelation was written chronologically. I see it as written thematically. On Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks, I firmly see all of the 70th week as applying to the end-times, not just the second half. It is important to know that the next sign to watch for is the start of Daniel’s 70th week. Mr. Armstrong was incorrect to say that Jesus’ sacrifice fulfilled the mid-point of the 70th week by ending the daily sacrifice, as this paper will explain.

2 The book of life is a record of all souls created before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8, Eph 1:4). While journeying through this Earth we strive not to be blotted out of this book (Ex 32:32-33, Ps 69:28, Rev 3:5). At the end of the next age, after the millennium rule of Jesus Christ, all whose name have been blotted out of the book of life will face the judgment of the lake of fire (Rev 20:12-15). This one book of life became the Lamb's when he proved his worthiness by being the perfect sacrifice and thus became our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary (Rev 5).

3 The phrase "final sacrifice" is never used in the Bible.

4 There is an orthodox Christian view that when we die, our soul "sleeps" until being resurrected at the Second Coming of Christ, if you belong to him. This comes from biblical references to death as sleep as seen in 1 Cor 15:20. This view is sometimes called "soul sleep". In view of the theology of this paper, that souls can return to Earth for another life, I view the references to sleep as meaning that the personality we knew sleeps, as the soul experiences another personality. So I prefer to call this "personality sleep". At the resurrection, I suspect that all the "personalities" a soul experienced will come to life in the sense that the soul will come to full knowledge of all its lifetimes and understand how the different lives helped one's soul to grow.

5 If indeed this interpretation is correct, that our Lord and Savior was also Adam and that he went through the karmic cycle, then this raises some theological concerns. While it may be an incredible support for the themes of him being an example to us and being made like us in every way (Heb 2:17), why would the one who had a role in creating the Adamic body have to go through the karmic cycle? Also, if the original creation spoken of in Genesis 1:1 was much, much farther back in time than 4,000 BC (approximately) when God’s 7,000 year plan began, why was there so much time before this plan to save us was put into motion? (By the way, I feel this gap in time is also supported by the fact that the Lamb is set aside on the 10th day rather than on the 1st day of the month. This implies other things happened before the 10th day.)

The Edgar Cayce Readings offer explanations that make a lot of sense to me. The book “Lives of the Master” has the following description derived from the Edgar Cayce material. From pages 10-12, as interpreted by the author:

    Many aeons ago before the foundation of time, God existed. In an act of love, God created beings to be companions and co-creators with Him. Thus the souls of each of us came into being.
    The first soul created, the one we now call our Elder Brother, was very special to God and helped in the rest of creation. …
    To the souls, … , God gave a unique ability – that of free will. They could do whatever they wanted, even things that God did not desire and which distorted the creative plan. This gift, which God would not take back nor control, shows the immense love which our Creator had for each of us. …
    Although the angels did not have as much freedom of will as the souls, some of them defied God, and there was a war in heaven. … This war affected all of creation, including earth and the souls who now live there. …
    As ages passed, many souls began to experiment with God’s creation and to do things which were not part of the plan. As they did so, they gradually lost their closeness to God and forgot their divinity – the spark of God within each of them. Only vaguely could these souls recall their Creator and remember the purpose for which they were created. It was a sad situation which continued to get worse, and there seemed to be no solution. God could destroy the lost souls but could not control them nor stop the errors they were making. …
    Finally, God confessed to our Elder Brother deep sorrow over having created the souls and given them their free will. Now those who had misused their willpower would have to be destroyed.
    But Elder Brother could not accept the destruction of his lost brethren. He gathered other souls around him who were not yet entrapped in matter, and they discussed and planned ways to help the lost ones. Elder Brother agreed to talk to God about the situation. …
    ‘Almighty Father, … Do not destroy them, I beseech you. Send me to show then the way back to Your favor and their true home. Send me and these other souls who have not forgotten You. …’
    God was moved by this unselfish display of love. These souls had not lost their heavenly estate, and yet they were willing to risk it in order to help those who were lost.

I would like to note that I don’t agree with the author of this book as to how many lives are attributed to the Master, the one we know as Jesus. First, it fits very well that the Master was Amilius, Adam, Enoch, Hermes and Melchizedek. However, I believe that he conquered the karmic cycle by the time he appeared as Melchizedek, so therefore I feel he did not incarnate into this world again until coming as Jesus. Once he called out Abraham, I’m guessing he had a lot to manage from the spiritual realm. I have not studied the Cayce Readings in detail on this topic, so this is just an initial impression from reading parts of this book. The difference in my view comes from how I interpret Edgar Cayce and apply it to certain passages. Jesus totally embodied the Christ, which Cayce affirms. Sometimes I think the Cayce Readings describe people as having the “Christ” consciousness without necessarily also having been the soul of Jesus. Perhaps this is the case with Joshua. Also, I feel some people in the Bible are very symbolic of Jesus being one of us, our brother. I certainly believe this is the case with Joseph.

6 Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Days of Awe (New York, NY: Schocken Books, 1965), pp. 14-15.


Bibliography

Agnon, Shmuel Yosef.  Days of Awe.  New York, NY.: Schocken Books, 1965.

Armstrong, Herbert W.  Mystery of the Ages.  Pasadena, CA.: Worldwide Church of God, 1985.
     (Rights now owned by Philadelphia Church of God, Edmond, OK.)

Barker, Kenneth, ed.  The NIV Study Bible, 10 th ed.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995.

Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.  The New American Bible .  Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, Inc, 1991.

Sanderfur, Glenn.  Lives of the Master.  Virginia Beach, VA.: A.R.E. Press, 1988.



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©2002, 2008 Collins Hamblen
First Posted: 06/02/02
Last Text Update: 11/15/07
Added Link: 06/09/08