To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice

Hebrews 10: 4-9 quotes Psalm 40.  This psalm was written by David who lived about a thousand years before the time of Jesus Christ.  Hebrews was written during the apostolic age, called so because it took place during the generation that Jesus’ apostles were bearing witness to His resurrection from the dead.

Psalm 40 was a prophecy of the day that would come when the worship of God would change from the sacrifice of animals to the doing of God’s will.  Animal sacrifice was only to take place until the time of Jesus, when He would offer Himself as the sacrifice for our sins.  (For this reason, John the Baptist called Him “the Lamb of God”  – see John 1:29, 36.)  Thereafter, humanity would be called upon to do the will of God from the heart (This is the kingdom of God).

Church was ordained by God for the apostolic age.  It was the gathering of people who believed the apostles’ testimony about the risen Jesus.  These gatherings were teaching sessions to prepare the people for the coming kingdom of God, when there would be no physical house of worship or earthly priesthood.  We now live, of course, in that day for which they were preparing.  Since the kingdom of God has come, we no longer need the structure of church. 

When someone tells you that you should go to church because it’s in the Bible, you should remember that animal sacrifice is also in the Bible.  Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t mean you should imitate the act.  Rather, you should look at the spirit behind the act and imitate that spirit.  Thus, you should worship God today in humility and reverence, knowing that He is omnipresent.  He sees all the thoughts of your heart.  Jesus died to consummate the sacrifice of animals and the attendance at church so that we would have an understanding of what it means to live in the kingdom of God.

If church today were a gathering for the purpose of teaching people how to enter the kingdom of God, it would make sense.  Instead, church leaders make church the destination instead of the kingdom.  The kingdom of God is about obeying God in all that we do.  And, as Samuel the prophet has said, “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).  If that was true in the days when animal sacrifice was called for, how much more is it true in our day when animal sacrifice has been done away by the all-sufficient sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ!

The purpose of this blog is to praise Jesus Christ in biblical terms for those familiar with the Bible.

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