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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.”

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Holy Clay

March 20, 2011 Leave a comment

With a small piece of a cracker in one hand and a clear, thimble sized cup of juice in the other, I sat quietly listening to a song praising God for his grace and the power of the blood of Jesus to save us from our sins and I was blessed with a vision.  I observed the various forms of punishment and torture that were inflicted on Jesus but my focus was directed toward the drops of blood as they fell from His torn flesh and landed in the dirt.  At first, there were only a few scattered in a small area but as they continued to fall, a small puddle formed which then grew rapidly due to the massive amounts of blood coming from Christ’s body..

Soaking into the dirt, a mud-like substance formed…holy clay made from the dust of creation and the blood of Jesus, its Creator.

God began to speak to me about this special clay.  He appropriately began with Genesis and how he originally formed Adam: “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

When sin entered the world, Adam became a dying being and everyone else along with him.

He then sent me to the book of John where Jesus spat on the ground to make some mud to be placed on the eyes of a blind man, resulting in his healing.

If that much power was in a mixture of Jesus’ spit and dirt, than how much more powerful will the blood and dirt mix be?

What God spoke to me was this: the Bible says that when we put our trust in Jesus and are saved, our old self dies and we become a new creation.  God, who originally created us, does so again but this time using the blood infused clay mixed at the foot of the cross.  We then have the very life-giving blood of Jesus in and all through us and it is constantly working to sanctify us.

After thinking about this for the rest of the service and the days that followed, I could not help but praise God and pray Isaiah 64:8.

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Categories: Jesus, Salvation, The Cross

Jesus gave us 120%

July 24, 2010 2 comments

Redeemer.  That is one of the many names for Jesus.  I have called Him that for as long as I can remember and always had a picture in my head of the toy counter at Chuck-E-Cheese.  We are the toys (I am the parachute man) and Jesus brings a stack of tickets to “redeem” them and chooses us to go home with him.  While I think that analogy works in many ways, God has shown me something that has made that word take on a whole new meaning.

The book of Leviticus has a certain stigma attached to it.  It is dry and full of “the law” which can make it hard to read.  I had never studied it so I decided to at least read through so I could say I had.  Some parts were easier to get through and understand than others but it is the last chapter that has really captured my attention and stirred my soul.

Chapter 27 talks about what it takes to redeem something and it goes through a series of example of different things that can be redeemed, the rules behind each one and what it takes to make the transaction final.

13 If the owner wishes to redeem the animal, he must add a fifth to its value.

15 If the man who dedicates his house redeems it, he must add a fifth to its value, and the house will again become his.

27 If it is one of the unclean animals, he may buy it back at its set value, adding a fifth of the value to it.

34 These are the commands the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.

In order for something to be redeemed under the law, the person redeeming it must pay its full value plus “a fifth” which is 20%.  That is 120%

So what was our full value and what did Jesus actually pay to redeem us.

If our healing was worth 5 lashes…He took 6

Isaiah 53:5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

If our sorrows and grief are worth 10 hairs from His beard…they ripped out 12

Isaiah 53:4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows

If my bondage to the law or to demonic forces has a full value of 60 seconds hanging on the cross…Jesus hung for 72 seconds.

Galatians 3:13 – Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Sin…if my countless sins were worth 100 drops of His precious blood…my Redeemer did not stop there.  He shed 120 to make sure I belong to him.

1 Peter 1:17-19For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Let that sink in…think about what that means to you.  What I think I am worth is not the same opinion God holds.  Not only does he see my “full value” but he is willing to pay a fifth more for me.

Next time, when you feel like you are worthless.  When you feel like your sin could not possibly be covered.  Remember that Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient to pay the price.  Not only does it cover you…it goes 20% farther.

Lamentations 3:57-58You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”  O Lord, you took up my case; you redeemed my life.

Crucifixion Hurts

July 2, 2010 Leave a comment

No matter how you look at it…Crucifixion Hurts!

It hurt God to see Jesus hanging there.  To extinguish ALL of His righteous anger, wrath and punishment on His only Son.

It was painful for Jesus to be nailed to the cross.  Having already been beaten to the point of death, He clung to life understanding that the job He came to do had not been finished.

A man “lifted the weight of the Cross off Him, but the man did not know that it wasn’t the weight of the wood that bore Him down; it was the weight of the sins of the world that bore Him down…He was fastened to the Cross with these [nails]. But don’t think it was the nails that held Him; it was His love for us that …held Him to the Cross.” T.D. Jakes

It hurts us as well if we take to heart what is taught in Mark 8:34-35 and Romans 6:6.

Denying self…killing the flesh to bring new life to the spirit…Taking up our cross

This is often easier said than done.  The Christian life is far from easy and rightly so.  Continual sanctification only comes with sacrifice.  Recognizing our personal areas of weakness, confronting them, and pulling them up from the root will usually involve some level of anguish.  Don’t worry though…Jesus suffered for that too.  He took upon Himself every type of pain imaginable so we could have life, true life.

Each weed we pull from our personal garden can feel like each strand of hair that was ripped from Christ’s beard.  IT HURTS!

I thank God for the cross and all that it symbolizes.  Life/Death, Sin/Holiness, Love/Hate, Shame/Forgiveness, Evil/Truth.  I could not even pretend to understand the full impact of the cross but I know the cost was great…I was bought at a price.

Categories: The Cross