Does Judaism still practice Animal Sacrifice?
A blog reader, Barb, asks, “Why do Jews of today not preform the old animal sacrifices? If they don’t believe Jesus was the Messiah, and that He came to abolish the old law, why did unbelieving Jews stop using the old laws…or did they?”
Thanks Barb… and no, Jews today do not practice animal sacrifice. Here’s the backstory…
In 66 AD the Judean Jews rebelled against the Romans who ruled over them. This resulted in Nero ordering General Vespasian to restore order. By 68 AD order was re-established and the Romans focus shifted to Jerusalem. Nero died and Vespasian became Emperor while his son Titus pressed on in the attack on Jerusalem. By 70 AD the outer walls were breached and a full attack commenced. The climax of this siege was the burning and destruction of the Temple.
Now according to Mosaic Law the Temple was the only proscribed place of animal sacrifice:
“Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please. Offer them only at the place the Lord will choose in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you.” (Deut. 12:13-14).
So it was then that animal sacrifices stopped.
It is interesting to me that the God Who instituted the Mosaic Law and the requirement of blood sacrifice for sin, the God Who sent to us His One and Only Son Christ to be the fulfillment of that system by becoming the Lamb of God, the final sacrifice for our sin, that this God within this same generation also allowed the destruction of the Temple and thereby put an end to the old system of lesser sacrifices. Remember too that at the very moment of Christ’s death the heavy veil in the Temple was rent in two, symbolically making the way to the most holy open to all (see Matt. 27:51).
But despite all this the Jews have not yet embraced Christ as their Messiah. So, another question arises, “Upon what then does the Jew of today trust to receive the forgiveness of God?”
In the Law we read, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.“ (Lev. 17:11). Or as Hebrews states it, “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb. 9:22). The Christian trusts in the shed blood of Christ, as the promised Messiah, but the Jews do not. Since they do not trust in Christ for atonement, and can no longer offer animal sacrifices, where is their atonement for sin?
Today’s Jew rests his faith upon passages such as this: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hoses 6:6) Despite the clarity of passages like Lev. 17:11 cited above today’s Jew relies upon prayer, repentance and works (good deeds).
Scripture tells us the day will come when all Israel will return to Christ (Rom. 11:25-27; Isa. 59:20, 21; Jer. 31:33,34), but as yet that day has not happened. As believers in our Lord Jesus Christ we ought pray that this day will hasten.
Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.