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It is finished or to be continued…

April 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Easter is the day in which Christians around the world celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of their Lord and Savior. They look to Jesus as their final Passover Lamb, ultimately fulfilling the requirements of the law and making a permanent sacrifice for sin.

Surprisingly, there is a segment of people claiming to be part of the Christian community who don’t believe this, or at least their past leaders have taught that this is not the case. Here are some quotes from former Mormon prophets and apostles on the subject of needing to bring back or restore the Old Testament law of animal sacrifice.

it is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done away when the Great Sacrifice [i.e.,] the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus was offered up, and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of sacrifice in future; but those who assert this are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the Priesthood, or with the Prophets.The offering of sacrifice has ever been connected and forms a part of the duties of the Priesthood. It began with the Priesthood and will be continued until after the coming of Christ, from generation to generation…These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will when the Temple of the Lord shall be built, and the sons of Levi be purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings. This ever did and ever will exist when the powers of the Melchizedek Priesthood are sufficiently manifest; else how can the restitution of all things spoken of by the Holy Prophets be brought to pass. It is not to be understood that the law of Moses will be established again with all its rites and variety of ceremonies; this has never been spoken of by the prophets; but those things which existed prior to Moses’ day, namely sacrifice will be continued. ~ Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. founder of the LDS church

“The sacramental ordinance replaced sacrifices except that as part of the restitution of all things–and then on a limited basis only–blood sacrifices will be offered again. It was of these future sacrificial ordinances that Malachi prophesied, in a setting descriptive to the Second Coming of the Son of Man, that the returning Lord would “purify the sons Levi,…that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness…” It was to these sacrifices that Ezekiel alluded when he set forth the nature and use of the temple yet to be built in Jerusalem. And so that they might be performed by Levites who once again were legal administrators, John the Baptist, a Levite whose right it was to offer sacrifices anciently, and who was in fact the last Levitical priest to hold the keys of the ministry, brought back the ancient order of Aaron, saying to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, as he did so, that “this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” ~Apostle Bruce R. McConkie

“We are living in the dispensation of the fulness of times into which all things are to be gathered, and all things are to be restored since the beginning. Even this earth is to be restored to the condition which prevailed before Adam’s transgression. Now in the nature of things, the law of sacrifice will have to be restored, or all things which were decreed by the Lord would not be restored. It will be necessary, therefore, for the sons of Levi, who offered the blood sacrifices anciently in Israel, to offer such a sacrifice again to round out and complete this ordinance in this dispensation. Sacrifice by the shedding of blood was instituted in the days of Adam and of necessity will have to be restored.
The sacrifice of animals will be done to complete the restoration when the temple spoken of is built; at the beginning of the millennium, or in the restoration, blood sacrifices will performed long enough to complete the fulness of the restoration in this dispensation.
Afterwards sacrifice will be of some other character.” ~Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith

I would like to point out that it is possible that many (or even most) LDS have never read, heard or even considered these teachings. This however does not remove their importance or relevancy. These ideas come from the highest level of leadership and from some of the most revered LDS “theologians”. They remain forever cemented in LDS history and to my knowledge have never been repudiated.

When we look at the Bible, it paints a very different picture.

Luke 24:44-48
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,
47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 You are witnesses of these things.

Hebrews 10 gives us a deeper look into the law of sacrifice and how Jesus brought it to an end.

1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
10 …we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin

While Christians today echo Jesus’ words when they proclaim “It is finished!”, it is almost as if the LDS church says “to be continued…”

It is always my hope and prayer that all LDS (and Christians for that matter) come to a deeper understanding of this truth. That Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets and in doing so canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:14)

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the gospel. (1 Cor 15:2-5)
With it comes complete victory over both death and sin. If we truly believe this, we will accept what Christ did, walk in forgiveness and have faith that he meant what he said while hanging on the cross for us…”It is finished.”