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Information: The location of sacrifices

December 25, 2011

Some of the “messianic jews” when attacking Judaism like to claim that we don’t follow the Torah because we don’t offer sacrifices anymore. They claim that the Rabbi’s just wanted to grab power for themselves and thus removed sacrifices, made up the excuse that sacrifices have to be offered in the Temple, and then stopped the rebuilding of the Temple. One of the things they try to bring to show they are right is the fact that Moses offered sacrifices in the desert. So, let us look at what the Torah and Tanakh have to say on this topic.

Vayikra (Leviticus)
Chapter 1
3. If his sacrifice is a burnt offering from cattle, an unblemished male he shall bring it. He shall bring it willingly to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, before the Lord. ג. אִם עֹלָה קָרְבָּנוֹ מִן הַבָּקָר זָכָר תָּמִים יַקְרִיבֶנּוּ אֶל פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד יַקְרִיב אֹתוֹ לִרְצֹנוֹ לִפְנֵי יְ־הֹוָ־ה:

5. And he shall slaughter the young bull before the Lord. And Aaron’s descendants, the kohanim, shall bring the blood, and dash the blood upon the altar, around [the altar] which is at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. ה. וְשָׁחַט אֶת בֶּן הַבָּקָר לִפְנֵי יְ־הֹוָ־ה וְהִקְרִיבוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת הַדָּם וְזָרְקוּ אֶת הַדָּם עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב אֲשֶׁר פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד:

Chapter 3
2. And he shall lean his hand [forcefully] upon the head of his sacrifice and slaughter it at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. And Aaron’s descendants, the kohanim, shall dash the blood upon the altar, around. ב. וְסָמַךְ יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁ קָרְבָּנוֹ וּשְׁחָטוֹ פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְזָרְקוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים אֶת הַדָּם עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב:

8. And he shall lean his hand [forcefully] upon the head of his sacrifice, and slaughter it before the Tent of Meeting. And Aaron’s descendants shall dash its blood upon the altar, around. ח. וְסָמַךְ אֶת יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁ קָרְבָּנוֹ וְשָׁחַט אֹתוֹ לִפְנֵי אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְזָרְקוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן אֶת דָּמוֹ עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב:

13. and he shall lean his hand [forcefully] upon its head and slaughter it before the Tent of Meeting, and Aaron’s descendants shall dash its blood upon the altar, around. יג. וְסָמַךְ אֶת יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁוֹ וְשָׁחַט אֹתוֹ לִפְנֵי אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְזָרְקוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן אֶת דָּמוֹ עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב:

Chapter 4
4. And he shall bring the bull to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting before the Lord, and he shall lean his hand [forcefully] upon the bull’s head and slaughter the bull before the Lord. ד. וְהֵבִיא אֶת הַפָּר אֶל פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לִפְנֵי יְ־הֹוָ־ה וְסָמַךְ אֶת יָדוֹ עַל רֹאשׁ הַפָּר וְשָׁחַט אֶת הַפָּר לִפְנֵי יְ־הֹוָ־ה:

7. And the kohen shall place some of the blood on the horns of the incense altar which is in the Tent of Meeting, before the Lord, and he shall pour all the blood of the bull onto the base of the altar [used] for burnt offerings, which is at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. ז. וְנָתַן הַכֹּהֵן מִן הַדָּם עַל קַרְנוֹת מִזְבַּח קְטֹרֶת הַסַּמִּים לִפְנֵי יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֲשֶׁר בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְאֵת כָּל דַּם הַפָּר יִשְׁפֹּךְ אֶל יְסוֹד מִזְבַּח הָעֹלָה אֲשֶׁר פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד:

14. When the sin which they had committed becomes known, the congregation shall bring a young bull as a sin offering. They shall bring it before the Tent of Meeting. יד. וְנוֹדְעָה הַחַטָּאת אֲשֶׁר חָטְאוּ עָלֶיהָ וְהִקְרִיבוּ הַקָּהָל פַּר בֶּן בָּקָר לְחַטָּאת וְהֵבִיאוּ אֹתוֹ לִפְנֵי אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד:

16. The anointed kohen shall bring some of the bull’s blood into the Tent of Meeting, טז. וְהֵבִיא הַכֹּהֵן הַמָּשִׁיחַ מִדַּם הַפָּר אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד:

18. And he shall then place some of the blood on the horns of the altar that is before the Lord in the Tent of Meeting. And then he shall pour all the blood onto the base of the altar [used] for burnt offerings, which is at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. יח. וּמִן הַדָּם יִתֵּן עַל קַרְנֹת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵי יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֲשֶׁר בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְאֵת כָּל הַדָּם יִשְׁפֹּךְ אֶל יְסוֹד מִזְבַּח הָעֹלָה אֲשֶׁר פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד:

I could go on like this through the book of Vayikra, and show others from Devarim, but the point has been made. Sacrifices in the desert (and before the building of the Temple) had to be made at the tent of meeting by the Kohanim (Aharon and his descendants)- i.e. the Mishkan. Before that they could be made anywhere. Since Moshe only offered sacrifices before the investure of Aharon and his sons, these laws never applied until they became relevant.

Hmm, but why do we say this is the only place they could be offered? Perhaps they could be offered elsewhere as well and this was just the best case scenario and preferred method rather than the only method? To teach us otherwise the Torah states:

Vayikra Chapter 17
3. Any man of the House of Israel, who slaughters an ox, a lamb, or a goat inside the camp, or who slaughters outside the camp, ג. אִישׁ אִישׁ מִבֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחַט שׁוֹר אוֹ כֶשֶׂב אוֹ עֵז בַּמַּחֲנֶה אוֹ אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁחַט מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה:
4. but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to offer up as a sacrifice to the Lord before the Mishkan of the Lord, this [act] shall be counted for that man as blood he has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people; ד. וְאֶל פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֹא הֱבִיאוֹ לְהַקְרִיב קָרְבָּן לַי־הֹוָ־ה לִפְנֵי מִשְׁכַּן יְ־הֹוָ־ה דָּם יֵחָשֵׁב לָאִישׁ הַהוּא דָּם שָׁפָךְ וְנִכְרַת הָאִישׁ הַהוּא מִקֶּרֶב עַמּוֹ:

8. And you should say to them: Any man of the House of Israel or of the strangers who will sojourn among them, who offers up a burnt offering or [any other] sacrifice, ח. וַאֲלֵהֶם תֹּאמַר אִישׁ אִישׁ מִבֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִן הַגֵּר אֲשֶׁר יָגוּר בְּתוֹכָם אֲשֶׁר יַעֲלֶה עֹלָה אוֹ זָבַח:
9. but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to make it [a sacrifice] to the Lord, that man shall be cut off from his people. ט. וְאֶל פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֹא יְבִיאֶנּוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת אֹתוֹ לַי־הֹוָ־ה וְנִכְרַת הָאִישׁ הַהוּא מֵעַמָּיו:

So before the Temple was built it seems unequivocal that sacrifices had to be brought to the Mishkan to be offered. How do we know this sanctity transferred to the Temple, and more importantly, how do we know the Temple has to be built in a specific place and thus why we cannot just rebuild it somewhere else?

First we have King David being ordered to build it in a specific area

Divrei HaYamim (Chronicles) 1 ch 21
18. And the angel of the Lord said to Gad to say to David that David should go up to erect an altar to the Lord in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite. יח וּמַלְאַךְ יְהוָה אָמַר אֶל-גָּד, לֵאמֹר לְדָוִיד: כִּי יַעֲלֶה דָוִיד, לְהָקִים מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהוָה, בְּגֹרֶן, אָרְנָן הַיְבֻסִי.
19. And David went up according to the word of Gad that he spoke in the name of the Lord. יט. וַיַּעַל דָּוִיד בִּדְבַר-גָּד, אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה.
20. And Ornan returned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves, and Ornan was threshing wheat. כ. וַיָּשָׁב אָרְנָן, וַיַּרְא אֶת-הַמַּלְאָךְ, וְאַרְבַּעַת בָּנָיו עִמּוֹ, מִתְחַבְּאִים; וְאָרְנָן, דָּשׁ חִטִּים.
21. And David came up to Ornan, and Ornan looked and saw David, and he went forth from the threshing-floor, and he bowed down to David with his face to the ground. כא. וַיָּבֹא דָוִיד, עַד-אָרְנָן; וַיַּבֵּט אָרְנָן, וַיַּרְא אֶת-דָּוִיד, וַיֵּצֵא מִן-הַגֹּרֶן, וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לְדָוִיד אַפַּיִם אָרְצָה.
22. And David said to Ornan, “Give me the place of the threshing-floor, so that I may build thereon an altar to the Lord; give it to me for the full price, so that the plague be stayed from the people.” כב. וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִיד אֶל-אָרְנָן, תְּנָה-לִּי מְקוֹם הַגֹּרֶן, וְאֶבְנֶה-בּוֹ מִזְבֵּחַ, לַיהוָה; בְּכֶסֶף מָלֵא תְּנֵהוּ לִי, וְתֵעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה מֵעַל הָעָם.
23. And Ornan said to David, “Take for yourself, and may my lord the king do what seems good in his eyes. See, I have given the cattle for burnt offerings, and the threshing tools for [fire] wood, and the wheat for a meal offering; I have given everything.” כג. וַיֹּאמֶר אָרְנָן אֶל-דָּוִיד קַח-לָךְ, וְיַעַשׂ אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ הַטּוֹב בְּעֵינָיו; רְאֵה נָתַתִּי הַבָּקָר לָעֹלוֹת, וְהַמּוֹרִגִּים לָעֵצִים וְהַחִטִּים לַמִּנְחָה–הַכֹּל נָתָתִּי.
24. And King David said to Ornan, “No, for I will buy [it] for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, and offer up burnt offerings for nothing.” כד. וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ דָּוִיד, לְאָרְנָן, לֹא, כִּי-קָנֹה אֶקְנֶה בְּכֶסֶף מָלֵא: כִּי לֹא-אֶשָּׂא אֲשֶׁר-לְךָ, לַיהוָה, וְהַעֲלוֹת עוֹלָה, חִנָּם.
25. And David gave to Ornan for the place shekels of gold weighing six hundred. כה. וַיִּתֵּן דָּוִיד לְאָרְנָן, בַּמָּקוֹם, שִׁקְלֵי זָהָב, מִשְׁקָל שֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת.
26. And David built an altar there to the Lord, and he offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and he called out to the Lord, and He answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of the burnt offerings. וַיִּבֶן שָׁם דָּוִיד מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהוָה, וַיַּעַל עֹלוֹת וּשְׁלָמִים; וַיִּקְרָא, אֶל-יְהוָה, וַיַּעֲנֵהוּ בָאֵשׁ מִן-הַשָּׁמַיִם, עַל מִזְבַּח הָעֹלָה.

Then King Solomon build the Temple in the specified area

Divrei Hayamim II
Chapter 3
1. And Solomon commenced to build the House of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where He had appeared to his father David, which he had prepared in David’s place, in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. א וַיָּחֶל שְׁלֹמֹה, לִבְנוֹת אֶת-בֵּית-יְהוָה בִּירוּשָׁלִַם, בְּהַר הַמּוֹרִיָּה, אֲשֶׁר נִרְאָה לְדָוִיד אָבִיהוּ–אֲשֶׁר הֵכִין בִּמְקוֹם דָּוִיד, בְּגֹרֶן אָרְנָן הַיְבוּסִי.

Then we have G-d appearing to King Solomon to bless him and declare that he had chosen the area thus sanctifying it

Chapter 7
12. And the Lord appeared to Solomon at night, and He said to him, “I have heard your prayer, and I have chosen this place for Myself for a House of sacrifice. יב. וַיֵּרָא יְהוָה אֶל-שְׁלֹמֹה, בַּלָּיְלָה; וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ, שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶת-תְּפִלָּתֶךָ, וּבָחַרְתִּי בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה לִי, לְבֵית זָבַח.

and then we have the statement that this was an eternal statute for where the Temple had to stand

16. And now, I have chosen and consecrated this House that My name be there forever, and My eyes and heart will be there at all times טז וְעַתָּה, בָּחַרְתִּי וְהִקְדַּשְׁתִּי אֶת-הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה, לִהְיוֹת-שְׁמִי שָׁם, עַד-עוֹלָם; וְהָיוּ עֵינַי וְלִבִּי שָׁם, כָּל-הַיָּמִים.

So, David chose the spot, Solomon built on the spot and then G-d said that would be the spot forever! So, once G-d has said that is the spot forever, its not exactly like we have the right to go against a direct statement by G-d for our convenience!

What this discussion does display very clearly is the fact that the “messianic jews” despite claiming to be knowledgeable in the Torah and Jewish beliefs clearly are ignorant in both! None of this is hidden, esoteric, hidden away or difficult to find. Anyone knowledgeable in Tanakh would have read these and understood their implications; thus this illustrates that the “messianic jews” are not knowledgeable and have little to no understanding of what is taught in the Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim

From → Comment

  1. Sam permalink

    Why doesn’t Israel rebuild the Temple and restart the sacrificial system? It seemed at one time, and my history may be wrong, the Israeli’s had control of the Temple mount, why did they give control back to the Muslims?

    • The only time that the Jews regained control of the Temple mount since the Roman expulsion of the Jews was in 1967. Since the Mashiach hasn’t arrived and the state is a secular one rather than one under Torah law, it has avoided starting a massive war with the entire Muslim world by demolishing Al Aqsa mosque and the dome of the Rock. There are those who would like to see this done, the vast majority of Orthodox Jews agree with the governments actions as the potential loss of life in such a war could well end up putting the entire Jewish people at risk. As such, we await the Mashiach to know when the time will be right

  2. What “messianic” groups are you talking about? All, but one, of the messianics that I have spoken to on this issue agree with you on this matter, or else they would be sacrificing animals in high places all over the world.

    • Heh, take a look at the comments made by “messianic jews” on yahoo! Answers claiming I know nothing because I have stated this? Plenty of “messianic jews” out there claiming things opposite to Jewish beliefs, no surprise since they are Christians and not Jews!

  3. Famous permalink

    Children of Israel are not required to performed animal sacrifices. they were informed to have them but never to actual performed them. This was done by a High Priest including Abraham. The children of Israel was not allowed to come near the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. According to Number 18:22,23 The priest performed the service of the tabernacle of the congregation and they shall bear their iniquity. YHVH instructed Moses who was a Priest how these things must be done. In modern times we know that the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. However, even if it was so today these sacrifices could not be performed unless there are Levites Priest to do them. Not only that, the Children of Israel were not instructed to performed service of the duty in the temple or congregation. But only to paid tithes to the Levites for an inheritance, for the Levites was not an inheritance to YHVH promise. So how is it that Jews.. Who YHVH never identified them by that word(Jew) would be able to performed sacrifices without a Levite Priest. Not to forget… It has to be a Levite Priest just like the sacrifices has to be in the designated location in Jerusalem. This is the reason why Yeshua became the ultimate sacrifices for all sin. This is the reason Yeshua is the son of YHVH our Lord and Savior.

    Repent and embrace the son of YHVH. Yeshua


    • Sadly what your comment shows is how little of the Torah you actually understand!

      The Kohen offering the sacrifice was acting as the agent of the person bringing the sacrifice. He was the means by which the sacrifice was done, but it was not his sacrifice but theirs. Claiming it was his sacrifice is like claiming it was the knife that he used sacrifice. The knife was the tool used by the Kohen to do the sacrifice, just as the kohen was the tool used by the person bringing the sacrifice!

      If we had a temple we could do the sacrifices today. The Kohanim are still known and still have a role – they are just unable to bring the sacrifices!

      No the fact that the Kohanim were the agents of the people bringing the sacrifice also speaks to why Jesus would have been a completely invalid sacrifice! There has to INTENTION for repentance, no intention no repentance. When the Kohen Gadol offered a sacrifice to atone for communal sins the entire nation was fasting with the intention of personal atonement and communal atonement through the sacrifice done by the Kohen Gadol. With Jesus there was no intention, he was disqualified as a sacrifice from that alone! But he was disqualified for other reasons as well:
      he was blemished from the nails, from carrying the cross, from being scourged, from the crown if thorns, from the spear wound
      He was human and not one of the seven species designated for sacrifices.
      He was killed in the wrong place
      He was killed in the wrong way

      As a Christian you of course believe differently, but those are your Christian beliefs- they have nothing to do with Judaism.

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