The Animal Sacrifice System

March 31, 1992, Dearest Brother Richard and Wife:

Your most recent letter of 3-20-92 is here and I apologize for not answering sooner but am somewhat overwhelmed these days…trying to wear too many hats, do too many things, etc. Just need more prayer so I can get more organized.

This letter will be an initial effort toward answering your many questions you have asked me regarding the character of God in reference to the animal sacrifice system and its relationship to the doctrine of the sanctuary, etc. Actually, almost anything I say here will probably be a duplication of what I have already written in my two books and additional numerous articles on this fascinating study. I thought that I had sent both of these to you. But in case I haven’t, I will be glad to do so for they will probably answer most of your questions. Please let me know ASP if you have my second book especially. But even in the first book, “Into The Father’s Heart,” there is an entire chapter, #28, entitled “The Animal Sacrifice System.” I seriously doubt that I could add very much to this chapter even though it does not have any EGW quotes, etc. But I go into even greater detail in “The Wonderful Truth About Our Heavenly Father,” answering any and all objections to supposed EGW quotes which are supposed to prove, not only that God does kill, but that Christ Himself set up and “appointed” the animal sacrifice system in Adam’s day. I answer that statement in full and elaborate detail in the book.

Let me try and answer your specific questions one by one. First of all you have asked why John the Baptist would say, “‘Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.’ Was he caught up in believing that the ceremonial laws were important and without them there would be no salvation? That John did not understand either?”

Let me answer this last question first. No, John did not understand the mission of the Messiah. He thought Christ would take a sword and lead the armies of Israel to victory against her enemies. When Jesus did not do this nor even get him out of jail John sent messengers to Christ asking if He really was the one to come or should we be looking for some future Messiah? John definitely did not understand. EGW says that even the angels did not understand until after Jesus died. If the sinless angels could not comprehend what was wrong with Lucifer until Jesus died then we truly have a mystery much greater than any of us have ever dreamed or imagined. We have all heard of present truth…which never stops but keeps on going. It has been referred to today as “Progressive Revelation.” In other words the Lord reveals truth to us a little at a time as we are ready and able to comprehend it.

So, first of all, none of the disciples nor John the Baptist or any person in Israel, except perhaps for Mary Magdalene, really comprehended Christ’s real mission. Remember that Mary was the only one who anointed Jesus for His burial. She took His words very seriously.

This takes us to your second question in which you ask if the disciples were caught up in the false doctrine of the sacrificial system and was Jesus wrong when he celebrated the Passover with His disciples? Why did He support the false system if it had indeed been set up by Satan. That is a good question. And there is a good answer.

Let’s begin with a quote from one of the most famous books on the life of Jesus, “Desire of Ages.” I think the author’s comment is quite apropos and relevant. “Like the Saviour’s disciple’s, John the Baptist did not understand the nature of Christ’s kingdom. He expected Jesus to take the throne of David; and as time passed, and the Saviour made no claim to kingly authority, John became perplexed and troubled…He had pointed to the Messiah as the One whose fan was in His hand, and who would thoroughly purge His floor, and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Like the prophet Elijah, in whose spirit and power he had come to Israel, he looked for the Lord to reveal Himself as a God that answereth by fire.” DA 215. Furthermore, on the next page we read it was a “mystery beyond his fathoming,” as to why Jesus was eating with publicans and sinners. Why didn’t He cast down the proud and oppressor and deliver the poor? …”Demons tortured his spirit, and the shadow of a terrible fear crept over him. Could it be that the long-hoped-for Deliverer had not yet appeared? Then what meant the message that he himself had been impelled to bear? John had been bitterly disappointed in the result of his mission.” DA 216.

In Luke 7:19 we read how John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you really the Messiah? Or shall we keep on looking for him?” LB. Can you imagine how Jesus felt? It must have hurt Him very deeply. Only a short time before John had shouted to the multitudes at Jordan, “Behold the Lamb of God.” He was really excited and expected great things. “It was keenly bitter and disappointing to human nature. If John, the faithful forerunner, failed to discern Christ’s mission, what could be expected from the self- seeking multitude?” DA 216. Yet, Jesus did not openly rebuke the doubts and unbelief of John. He simply gave a demonstration of His Divine power. “The evidence of His divinity was seen in its adaptation to the needs of suffering humanity. His glory was shown in His condescension to our low estate.” DA 217. In loving pity the Saviour gave John a very gentle and loving rebuke. “Blessed is the one who does not lose faith in Me.” Lk. 17:23 LB. Elijah went through a similar experience after his great “victory” over the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel. After killing all of those priests he ran away from Jezebel’s death threat out into the desert about 150 to 200 miles. That’s why he was so exhausted. So, here we have two of God’s greatest prophets of all time and they both made mistakes and doubted. They were not perfect in their obedience nor in their understanding of God’s character and they fell short of the “glory of God.” Rom. 3:23. The word glory means character. They missed the mark because they did not understand that God does not destroy. Yet, Jesus said there was no other prophet greater than John the Baptist, Luke 7:28. So, what does that tell us about God’s messengers/prophets? They are not infallible. They don’t know everything and they can sometimes be wrong and misunderstand. But even these experiences are for our benefit today so we can grow beyond their mistakes and misunderstandings and go on to a fuller understanding of God’s character ourselves “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4:13.

In your second question you ask if the disciples were caught up in the false doctrine of the “sacrificial system.” Yes, of course they were. Jesus had to meet them where they were. He even allowed the disciples, at least Peter, to carry a sword around with him…even to the last supper. Yet, Jesus did not rebuke Peter for that until he used it in the garden. The Passover was nothing more to them, than a holiday celebration of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt similar to our fourth of July. A day to be together with friends and have food, fun and fellowship. The disciples did not even know, realize or believe Jesus was going to die, let alone understand that He was the great anti-typical sacrifice. None of the disciples even wrote anything theological later on about this. It was Paul, the great theologian who was used of the Holy Spirit to write the book of Hebrews and explain all of the Old Testament symbolism of the sacrificial services, showing how God took an evil system, one which was not His original idea or perfect will and used it to predict what mankind would do to God the Son when He came in a body of flesh. Christ actually foretold all of His own sufferings, allowing, overseeing and using the typology of this barbaric, pagan, ritualistic system of murdering innocent animals to reveal the truth about His own character of love and non-violence. Truths that had never been known before even to the holy angels. Ephesians 3:9-12 tell us “And to make ALL men (mankind) see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; that THROUGH THE CHURCH THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD MIGHT NOW BE MADE KNOWN TO THE PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS IN HEAVENLY PLACES. This was according to the eternal purpose which He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in Him.” Emphasis mine.

Yet, Paul was very careful to point out that the entire Levitical system was a “carnal” and “weak” system which made nothing “perfect” and was “unprofitable.” Heb. 7:16-18. Does that sound like something our perfect and holy God would give to us in His perfect will? Of course not. But it is a system He allowed Moses to write down in a book of the law which became known as the “curse of the law,” Gal. 3:13, which Jesus nailed to the cross.

The Bible tells us why these laws came into existence. “Wherefore I gave them also statues that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;” Ezek. 20:25. This is the KJV. God is here taking the blame. The LB makes it a little plainer. “I let them adopt customs and laws which were worthless. Through the keeping of them they could not attain life.” Because God has allowed man the freedom to choose (free will) in order to help him learn the lessons of life He permits us to go our own way and do our own thing which often causes a lot of pain. But God suffers with us through these painful experiences and devises lessons which will ultimately bring us back to Him. “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee;” Jer. 2:19. The Lord did that with Israel when they desired flesh food, divorces, a king to rule over them and lead them out to battle against their enemies. He never left them or forsook them. But it was the animal sacrifice system that corrupted them more than anything else. In Isaiah 1:10-12 the prophet categorically states that He did not “delight” in nor did He ever “require” the slaughter of innocent animals. Isaiah begins his book with an expose and condemnation of this evil system and in chapter 66 he ends it with a final denunciation. “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.” Isa. 66:3. One wonders how much plainer God could be. Yet He has given even more proof than this. But before we go to that please notice that the killing of an innocent animal is compared to the killing/slaying/murder of a man or human being. God here clearly states that He considers the killing of animals a direct violation of the sixth (6th) commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” This same Hebrew word can also be translated murder. The blindness of those who think they know so much about God’s holy law and truly believe they are keeping it can only be compared to the blindness of the Jewish nation itself which thought they were doing God a favor by crucifying His only Son on Calvary. Satan had so blinded them through the centuries that they actually believed God was pleased when they took up the sword and destroyed other human beings whom they designated their “enemies.” When Jesus told them to “love their enemies,” they immediately considered Him a false Christ or Messiah for they had interpreted the Scriptures in such a manner as to justify their lust for killing. When they read passages in the Old Testament such as I Sam. 15:1-3, where a voice claiming and pretending to be the true God, spoke to King Saul, whose ability to discern the true voice of God certainly left a lot to be desired. This voice told Saul to go out to battle against the Amalekites and reek revenge upon them for their past deeds. “‘I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for refusing to allow my people to cross their territory when Israel came from Egypt. Now go and completely destroy the entire nation—men, women, babies, little children, oxen, sheep, camels, and donkeys.'” Does this sound like something our lovely Jesus would say? Or would it be more in keeping with the lying, murdering spirit of Satan, the death God? I will let your own enlightened intelligence and conscience be your guide as you seek an answer to that question. Just remember that the word “Lord” is a title, not the name of God. England uses the title Lord to apply to certain men they wish to honor. And no matter what they may do in the future to dishonor themselves the title of “Lord” is still maintained.

We have already referred to the book that Moses wrote which Christ nailed to His cross. Because God never changes it would have been impossible for Him to have dictated these carnal, weak and unprofitable words to Moses. God never makes mistakes. Everything He does is perfect. Therefore, He could never have given the laws which told Israel how to wring a little sparrow’s head off or slit a precious little lamb’s throat and watch its life blood flow out of its body until it was dead. That is not my Jesus. He never gave or commanded these laws. In fact, Lev. 1:3 tells us that the killing of animals was a “voluntary” experience. They did not have to do it. Why do you think Jesus cleansed the temple twice? “As Jesus came into the temple, He took in the whole scene. He saw the unfair transactions. He saw the distress of the poor, WHO THOUGHT THAT WITHOUT SHEDDING OF BLOOD THERE WOULD BE NO FORGIVENESS FOR THEIR SINS.” DA 157.

The only law God ever spoke or wrote is the Ten Commandments. I will give you at least three Scriptures to prove this. The first is found in Deut. 5:22 which clearly shows God “added no more.” The second text is Jer. 7:22. “For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.” The third text is found in Matt. 5:38, 39. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil.” Jesus repudiates and rejects this “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth,” as coming from His lips. You have heard it said but I am here to tell you that I never spoke anything about such a heathen practice of gouging out eyes and knocking out teeth. This is not my law. What kind of a God do you think I am anyway?

So, the inevitable question has to be asked. If our Lord Jesus Christ did not speak or give these barbaric laws for killing innocent animals and mutilating your enemies face then who gave them? Who spoke such horrible laws?

Let us ask Jesus Himself. “I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine…My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:14, 27. The children of Israel in Egyptian bondage, as well as out in the desert, believed they were God’s special, chosen people. They believed that with an even greater certitude by the time Jesus arrived on the scene. They were convinced they knew all there was to know about the Messiah and what His character would be like so they could identify Him. Yet, Jesus plainly told them, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” John 8:44. Christ went on to say that this same “Devil,” (originally known as Lucifer but now identified as the Devil or Satan) was a murderer as well as a liar.

Let’s stop right there for a moment and seriously consider these implications. Anytime we hear a voice suggesting that we do something harmful or dishonest we can know that is the voice of Satan. Before God revealed Himself in the flesh as Jesus this was not clear in most people’s minds…even in the minds of some of the greatest of the prophets such as Moses and Elijah, for example. They thought of Jehovah as a mighty monarch who sometimes lost His temper and destroyed people. Jesus came to correct this false impression. In Luke 9:51-56 we read of an experience where James and John requested permission to “command fire” to come down on the Samaritans because they refused lodging to Jesus and His disciples. Here is Jesus’ response. “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” For some really enlightening comments on this story read “Desire of Ages,” pgs. 486-488.

The Bible clearly reveals that there are two personalities doing battle for our minds. I have designated these two as Lord Jesus and Lord Satan. Why? Because the Bible itself designates Satan as the “god of this world” who has successfully “blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Cor. 4:4. Paul also tells us there are “gods many and lords” but John tells us in Rev. 19:16 that Jesus is the true Lord of Lords and King of Kings over all. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the majority of humanity, even professed Christians, serve Lord Satan thinking they are serving the Lord Jesus.

The following statement is a really good example of what I am talking about. “Like ancient Israel the church has dishonored her God by departing from the light, neglecting her duties, and abusing her high and exalted privilege of being peculiar and holy in character. Her members have violated their covenant to live for God and Him only. They have joined with the selfish and world-loving. Pride, the love of pleasure, and sin have been cherished, and Christ has departed (this is 1868 and Jesus has already left the church). Satan works side by side with professed Christians; yet they are so destitute of spiritual discernment that they do not detect him.” 1T 441, 442.

In Question #3 you ask why Satan would originate the sanctuary service of the OT since it is such a beautiful service and plan. On page 186 of my second book, “The Wonderful Truth About Our Heavenly Father,” I deal with this issue. Here is part of my answer. “I have never taught that Satan was the author of the sanctuary service in the desert. What I have taught, and still believe, is that Christ gave Moses the instructions for the sanctuary service in order to make the slaughter of innocent animals mean something. In other words, it was His permissive will, not His perfect will. It was really only an accommodation or arrangement He made with Israel to regulate and control an evil system that He knew could only lead them into greater darkness, sin and degradation. And this is exactly what happened, for the animal sacrifice system was only one step away from sacrificing their very own children which they did quite often. But when you realize the evil principle upon which the whole animal sacrifice system was based, it is easy to see how they could be led by Satan to reason that if sacrificing an animal will bring God’s blessings upon me then think how much more I will be blessed if I sacrifice my very own flesh and blood.” The only way to put an end to it once and for all was for God to come in a body of flesh Himself, to lower Himself down to our level and truly reveal His character and hope mankind would turn away from all of this slaughter.

God gave His only Son as a gift but we took that gift and turned it into a human sacrifice because that was what we thought the Father wanted to atone for our sins. This is called the “substitutionary” doctrine. On page 240 of “Wonderful Truth,” I show clearly that it was Satan who planned and perpetrated the sacrificial death of Jesus. God knew it would happen because of man’s blindness and so He predicted it ahead of time, but that does not mean He approved of it or sanctioned it. It was the only way our hearts could be broken and our eyes opened to the real truth of our fallen condition and God’s loving, harmless character could be revealed. He is truly the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Rev. 13:8, because we chose to slay Him. And without the shedding of His blood there could have been no forgiveness of sins. I deal with this in depth in both of my books and especially “Wonderful Truth,” on pages 235 and 236.

We are like the prodigal son who returned home thinking his father would demand the repayment of every last penny he had wasted of the family fortune. But to his great shock and surprise the father told him THERE WAS NO DEBT TO PAY. Col. 1:21 reveals to us that the enmity is in our minds against God, not in His mind against us. Jesus’ precious blood was shed by us, not the Father, to cleanse our minds of the false doctrine that God is angry at us and wants to hurt and/or kill us. This is the terrible lie Satan has told all of his duped, fallen angels right from the beginning. And this is the fear –the fear that God is going to destroy us if we make the least little mistake in one of the endless rituals He has devised for us to follow in our worship of Him. This is pure fiction. Fantasy and myth. It is all a lie of the devil devised in his own fearful and demented mind to keep us all in the perpetual bondage of fear so He may more easily control and manipulate us. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” Col. 1:21.

In question #6 you ask if Satan was the one who invented the idea of putting blood on the doorposts in Exodus 12? From this question alone it is obvious that you have not read either one of my books which would clear up this and all of your questions. But let me try and give you as brief a reply as possible due to the space limitations in this paper. Satan is the originator of all lies, sickness, murder and death. John 8:44 proves this. God never threatens us with death or any kind of punishment although He does warn of the consequences of sin and almost always puts the blame upon Himself when it happens. For example, He took the blame for King Saul’s death when Saul committed suicide. He even took the blame for the death of His own dear Son, Isa. 53:10.

After Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden Satan told them that the only way to get back in would be to shed the blood of innocent animals. Once Adam believed this Jesus intervened and told Adam He Himself would become the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Christ then gave Adam permission and instruction to carry out these bloody animal sacrifices giving them symbolical meaning which pointed to His very own death on Calvary. This would be the only means God could use to reach mankind’s darkened mind now that Adam had believed the lies of Satan. I go into much greater detail on this subject in my second book, “The Wonderful Truth About Our Heavenly Father,” pgs. 292-296. We read in the book, “Steps To Christ,” that God “Appointed” the thorns and the thistles for man’s good. Page 1. So, in this same way we can see how Jesus “ordained” the animal sacrifice system to point toward His own crucifixion 4,000 years in advance. Although the creation of this world and the plan of redemption is called a mystery in the Bible it is a mystery which is to be finished or solved in this last generation much like you might put a picture puzzle together. We have the glorious privilege of putting the last few pieces of the puzzle together so it will make sense. “The wise will understand.” Dan. 12. In a future article we will study and discuss in more detail the Divine purpose in Adam and Eve’s fall and the process by which we each are being drawn back to the Father’s great heart of love and brought to completion/perfection in the process. Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support of this ministry. Without your prayers and donations of love I could not continue. Thank you for writing. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care now and remember me as loving you and praying for you and yours. Truly your friend and servant in Christ, Evang. Mike Clute.

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