During the millennial kingdom, will there be animal sacrifices?
Though it may sound strange, the Bible does indicate that animal sacrifices will take place during the millennial kingdom. Ezekiel 43—46 offers the most developed prophecies regarding these practices as it deals with the Jewish temple that will exist during the millennial kingdom and what takes place in it. Specifically, the line of Zadok will offer sacrifices (44:15). Specific animal sacrifices are described in chapters 45—46 and include rams, lambs, and bulls.
In addition to Ezekiel, Isaiah discusses sacrifices in the future millennial kingdom, stating: "their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar" (Isaiah 56:7). Zechariah 14:16 adds, "Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths." This celebration would also include animal sacrifices. Jeremiah 33:18 notes that during this time period, "the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever."
Some object to the idea that animal sacrifices will take place during the millennial kingdom, believing this is no longer needed following the work of Christ on the cross. For example, Hebrews 10:11-12 states, "Every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God." If Christ paid the sacrifice for our sins, why will animal sacrifice continue in the future?
While not every aspect of this question is answered in Scripture, it is clear that the continued use of animal sacrifices during the millennial kingdom is a fulfillment of God's prophecies made long ago. If animal sacrifices do not resume in this time period, this will mean God has not kept His promises in this area. Yet God always keeps His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9).
These sacrifices did not take away sin in the Old Testament, but were done in obedience to the Lord in repentance of sin. In a similar way, future animal sacrifices during the millennial kingdom will not take away sin, but will serve as a reminder or memorial to the Lord (Hebrews 10:3). This is not unlike the way Christians take the Lord's Supper during this current time period (or church age) as a reminder of Jesus' death and resurrection.
Though the thought of animal sacrifices during the millennial kingdom may sound strange to today's Christians, the sacrifices will be a fulfillment of God's prophecies and serve as an act of worship to the Lord. Christ Himself will reign during this time, offering a new meaning to these offerings as they are presented in the kingdom as Jesus reigns as Messiah and King.
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