Causing the Sacrifice and Oblation to Cease – Daniel 9:25-27

 
Whenever the subject of the Antichrist is raised, people who are ordinarily not interested in the Bible can quickly become very interested. The Antichrist is someone who can consistently sell tabloid newspapers. He is someone about whom lots of people have opinions, but few people know any of the facts. And although the Bible tells us a few things about him, it’s not enough to make his identification easy.

Some of the things which we know are given to us in these few verses. He will be a prince of the people who destroyed Jerusalem and cut off the Messiah – a Roman. This is one reason why so many scholars in the past have said that he must be a Roman Catholic Pope. He will broker and confirm some sort of seven-year peace agreement with Israel. But then in the midst of that seven-year week, he will break that agreement. Somehow he will cause the Jewish sacrifices to come to an end. And other scriptures seem to suggest that he will do that by walking into the temple and claiming it as a place for the worship of himself. We looked at the Antichrist a little bit last week, and we will do so some more as we continue through the prophecies which were given to Daniel.

But there is something mentioned here, which I’d like to expand and multiply. “And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” The sacrificeand theoblation………. In Hebrew words “sacrifice” and “oblation” are different, but they mean essentially the same thing. “Sacrifice” is “zebach” (zeh’- bakh) – it is translated “sacrifice” 155 times and “offerings” six times. “Oblation” is the word “minchah” (min-khaw’) – it is translated “offering” 164 times and then “present,” “gift,” “oblation,” and “sacrifice.” The experts suggest that the first word is talking about the daily sacrifices – the morning and evening lamb. Then the second word refers to all of the other offerings presented to the Lord.

Apparently, just prior to the Translation of the saints and the beginning of the Tribulation, or just afterwards, Israel will rebuild her temple and reinstate the Old Testament sacrificial system. Of course this will set the Muslim world on fire, igniting another potential world war. This time, with nuclear weapons in just about everybody’s hands, the outcome will look really, really bad. But it appears at that point, that the Antichrist will step in and calm the situation sufficiently to allow Israel to go on in what they will believe to be the worship of the Lord. But then, after three and a half years of relative peace, the Antichrist will possess the temple and cause the sacrifice and oblation will cease.

Let’s think about this end of the sacrifice, but doing so in three different ways.

Causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease – PHYSICALLY.
There shouldn’t be any problem in understanding or picturing this. The Antichrist will personally enter the temple, with his body-guards pushing their way through whatever temple guards there might be. He will walk into the outer court, pass the brazen altar, and then probably go into the Holy Place where the golden alter of incense will be. Who knows, he may even pull back the curtain and walk into the Holy of Holies. The fact that he will not be a Levite, and most likely a Gentile, will be an abomination to Israel, and render the temple unfit for the service of the Lord until the proper sacrifices of cleansing can be made. But he will not permit that cleansing, declaring that the temple will be used for the worship of himself.

I hope that you are aware that this act of temple pollution will only be the last of many such descrations. I can’t tell you exactly when the first occurred, or how often the daily offerings have been disrupted. Was the first during the days of the Tabernacle, before the construction of the Solomon’s Temple? Were the morning and evening lambs always consistently sacrificed while the Tabernacle or Temple were standing? Was the first descration before the days of before Northern and Southern Israel split? Were the sacrifices continued during the days of the wicked kings of Judah? The days of Athaliah? Certainly on when the army of Nebuchadnezzar walked into Jerusalem, the temple was shut down and stripped of the implements of the Lord’s worship. During the years that Daniel was in Babylon and Sushan, were the sacrifices and oblations continued? I know that he speaks of the time of the evening sacrifice, but that may only be a reference to time.

The prophecy in Daniel 8 has caused some of the Bible scholars of a couple hundred years ago, to become confused – and, quite frankly, wrong. The little horn that comes up on the head of the he-goat is definitely a type, or picture, of the Antichrist, but was not the true Antichrist of the end times and the Book of Revelation. “Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn … And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.” Although it is not as common an interpretation as it has been, in the past, it was often believed that the Antichrist was the Greek Antiochus Epiphanes, but that idea doesn’t hold up to the subsequent facts. And yet, that man did cause the “sacrifice and oblation to cease” in much the same fashion as the Antichrist.

Not too many years after Antiochus, a new temple was built, standing on the site of Solomon’s temple. It was to that temple, that Jesus and His disciples came from time to time. It was that Temple, called Herod’s Temple, of which they spoke together in Matthew 24 – “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Then about a generation after the crucifixion of Christ, the Romans under Titus, stormed Jerusalem and ransacked the temple once again. Once again they caused “sacrifice and oblation to cease,” and after this they have never been restored. Israel today does not observe the “sacrifice and oblation” because there isn’t a sanctified priesthood or altar.

Now let’s move on to consider “causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease” – THEOLOGICALLY.
First, we have to ask ourselves – are these oblations important? After a study of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the immediate answer is – “absolutely.” Over and over again, the Lord told Israel that they must offer proper blood sacrifices. He describes in vivid detail the procedures that both the people and priests must follow. At times there are details mentioned about salt, wood, herbs, body parts and much more. In regard to the morning and evening offering, we have several scriptures like this from Exodus 29 – “Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering. And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD. This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.” Notice the references to “continual burnt offering throughout your generations.” Numbers 28 – “The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even; And a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil. It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering. And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.”

Why are these daily offerings and special oblations so important? Scripture after scripture answers that question in unmistakable language. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” The daily sacrifice of a morning and evening lamb were to make a general covering or “atonement” for the sins of Israel. And when individuals sinned against the Lord, they were to offer special sin and trespass offerings in order to cover the corruption of their iniquities. When the tabernacle or temple was dedicated or cleansed there were multitudes of these special sacrifices, because everything that human beings touch become stained through their sins. Leviticus 16 – “And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.”

If these daily and special sacrifices were so important and necessary for the cleansing and forgiveness of the people, what happened when someone caused “sacrifice and oblation to cease?” This was in essence a declaration that the favor and forgiveness of God was no longer upon them. This was the end of their opportunity for salvation, because blood has always and ever been the only divinely commissioned means for man’s salvation.

Having said that I want to table the rest of this point for a few minutes, while we move on.

Causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease – BY DIVINE DESIGN.
Let’s go back to our text for the morning. “Know therefore and understand, that … After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary… And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate…”

In Daniel’s future and now in our past, the Messiah came into the world – the son of God was born. And after a life of sinless service to God and instruction to man, he was taken and crucified – “he was cut off.” But this was not merely the death of the Anointed – the Messiah. Christ died as “the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Over and over again, the New Testament declares that the death of Christ was with a special purpose. “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Him, “God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” “Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” “In (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. “In (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” “And he is the propitiation for our sins…” “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” All those “sacrifices and oblations” of the Old Testament led up to and culminated in the cross of Christ.

In fact the “sacrifice and oblation” were designed by God to completely “cease” upon the finished work of Christ. Listen to Hebrews 9 – “Verily the first covenant (the Old Testament) had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” “But this man (Christ Jesus), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”

The point of this is here – In eternity past God designed that the “sacrifice and oblation” would one day cease through the vicarious sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross. There is now, no need for more “sacrifice and oblation” in Israel or anywhere else for that matter. And there is no need for the sacrifice of the mass, or for sacrifices of any kind for the sins of man. The work has been completely and finally done by the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we are commanded to believe it and to trust what Christ has done – He has made an atonement for our sins.

With that, let’s consider “causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease” – more PRACTICALLY.
Israel will rebuild and consecrate their temple during the Tribulation, once again offering their sacrifices. But they will do so, generally speaking, as unbelieving religionists – religious lost men. Many of them will think that by offering blood sacrifices they will be washing away their sins. If that is their faith, they will be as disappointed as the Roman Catholic priest sacrificing the Mass every week. In the light of work that Christ Jesus has already completed, such bloody sacrifices are useless. But perhaps some of those Jews will be looking through the blood of the earthly lamb to the spotless Lamb of God who died for their sins. In that case, they will be saved by faith in Christ, not the picture of Christ.

“But,” someone might ask, “won’t those Tribulational Jews, be doing exactly what Old Testament Israel was doing when they offered their sacrifices?” In a sense, yes. And in the same sense, if those Old Testament Jews were looking beyond their lambs, rams and bullocks, trusting God to save them from their sins, then the purpose of their sacrifices was being accomplished.

Think about Daniel. Do you expect that he is with his Lord today? Of that I have no doubt. He was and is a saint of God. And it certainly will not be because he was in some way sinless – he wasn’t. But there were no daily “sacrifices and oblations” being offered in his day, and he wasn’t making any special sacrifices either. The “sacrifice and oblation” had been made to cease by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar. Well then, if that man really was a child of God, how? By the same method that people are saved and sanctified today – repentance and trust in the promise of God. Based upon the sacrifice that God has provided Himself, Daniel touched and applied the blood of that sacrifice by faith.

This is the kind of faith that the Lord demands of you and me. This has been the only way any sinner has ever been saved – repentance and faith. That was the way that Abraham, Jacob, Daniel, Paul and Silas were saved. It is the only way that you can be saved from the judgment that your sins deserve.

Unfortunately, there is one other aspect of this missing “sacrifice and oblation” which we must address. There are thousands of religious people – people claiming to be Christians – who are doing so without the blood of Christ. They have theologically eliminated the blood of Christ from their faith and from their salvation. Their trust is in themselves – their goodness or their good works. Or perhaps they have eliminated any need for the blood of the Sacrifice. They have deliberately and wilfully “caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease” as far as they are concerned.

Whether or not they understand it, they have rendered themselves without hope of salvation. The “sacrifice and oblation” may have come to a divine end, but their need is still as it has always been. “He that believeth on (the Lamb of God) is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” “Verily, verily, (the Lord Jesus said) unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

You and I still need the blood of God’s ordained sacrifice. We need the blood that the Lamb of God shed while He hung on the cross. He made an atonement for sin, but only for those who repent before God and who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.