BIBLE QUESTIONS ANSWERED
by Ron Merryman
Question #1: Do you interpret Ezekial 40-47 as the instructions for the millennial temple? If so, why would God reinstate the bloody sacrificial system at a time of unprecedented peace; peace even among animals? I accept the view that there will be sacrifices re-instated, but am wondering if you can offer a better answer than the one that states these sacrifices will look back to Christ's sacrifice on the cross just as the Passover and the Lord's Supper today looks backward. Maybe this is the best answer – I'd like your input.
Answer: It is true that sacrifices reinstated in the Millennial Temple will look back to Christ's sacrifice on the cross. But they will do more than that. Since the humans that populate and reproduce in the Millennium have sin natures, the sacrifices will serve as reminders: 1) that sin brings with it a penalty; 2) that Christ and Christ alone paid that penalty in full; and 3) that trust in Christ is the only way to God's forgiveness.
Let me also emphasize that Old Testament sacrifices did not take away sin(s); only the sacrifice of Christ did. Hebrews 10:1-14 makes this very clear. That is, there is only one sacrifice that effectively and efficaciously took care of the sin issue forever: the sacrifice of Christ. Therefore, for God to reintroduce the sacrificial system during the Millennium as a memorial or reminder in no way contradicts His saving plan in Jesus Christ. Amillennialists simply miss the point on this issue.
Question #2: Where does the teaching on the Seven Churches in Revelation 2 & 3 come from that puts each of them in a specific time period? (Age of the church)
Answer: I presume that you are referring to a laterally-layered-chronological concept of church history that goes something like this:
The original source of this idea is unknown to me, but the Scofield Reference Bible, first published in 1909, certainly popularized it for a while (see each church reference in Revelation 2 & 3, pp. 1332-1334, The Scofield Reference Bible). Though this might make for what some would call "good preaching," it will not hold up to sound exegesis. The churches of Revelation 2 & 3 should be understood as "the things that are (present tense)" mentioned in Revelation 1:19 (many good Bible teachers agree that 1:19 outlines the Book). As the things that are, these churches represent various categories of local churches; all seven of which exist throughout the Church Age. That is, they are to be understood vertically (not laterally) existing until Christ returns. For example, there will be throughout the Church Age, churches that are orthodox, but have left their first love (like Ephesus): there will be churches that are persecuted, yet hold true to God's Word (like Smyrna), etc. ¢
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Ron Merryman served the Lord in Bible colleges for 11 years, 3 of those as Acting President of Western Bible College. He also pastored Holly Hills Bible Church in Denver, Colorado, for 14 years. Ron currently teaches in the G.I.B.S., a ministry of Duluth Bible Church.