Wednesday, October 22, 2008

All Sacrifices Will Cease But One

Some of you may know this already, but there is an ancient Rabbinic tradition regarding sacrifice in the the Messianic Age. Although I've read it dozens of times, I'm still stunned every time I see it. 

According to Leviticus Rabbah 9:7 and Pesiqta Rabbati 12, several ancient Rabbis taught the following:

In the Age to Come all sacrifices will cease, but the thank offering will never cease; all songs will cease, but the songs of thanksgiving will never cease." (Cited in Hartmut Gese, Essays in Biblical Theology 133).

In Hebrew, the word for "thank offering" is todah; in Greek, it is eucharistia. The thank offering was a special sacrifice that consisted of both a bloody offering (of a lamb or goat) and an unbloody offering (of bread or wafers) (see Leviticus 7). According to the prophet Jeremiah, the saved will celebrate with thank-offerings at the coming of the Messiah and the ingathering of the exiles (Jeremiah 33).

The obvious question raised by this is: Did Jesus see the Last Supper as the eschatological sacrifice which would replace all the other sacrifices in the Age to Come?

More on this in Michael's forthcoming dissertation and my forthcoming book on the Last Supper.  (Who will finish writing first is another question!)


Josh McManaway said...

I was absolutely knocked out of my chair when I read this for the first time. It's so revealing.

And I'm hoping I can get my hands on both your and Michael's work as soon as it's available.

Also, are you both going to SBL?

Anonymous said...

Why is this never brought up by Jews when they talk about Jesus? Is it a conspiracy the pharisees did? No offense meant to Jews.