Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sacrificing a Plasma TV without Blemish?

My wife taught the 15-year-old's today duing Sunday School. The Lesson was on Ezekial 45-48. Those verses speak about the temple and make allusions to animal sacrifice. To make the concept of aminal sacrifice more real for the youth, she had them list all of the valuables in which they owned. She asked the kids how many TV's their families owned, how many x-box games, how many CD's or DVD's, and how much cash they think they had in the bank. Then she had them imagine if instead of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, God required us to sacrifice our valuables like in the Old Testament Days. Cattle were very valuable to people of the day and a sign of power and prestige. The kids went into shock just thinking about heaving armfulls of cash into a fire, or smashing their plasma TV on the alter of the temple.

The story of the conversion of Limhi's father teaches what God really wants of us---our sins. Limhi said he was willing to give up his whole kingdom to know God, but Aaron taught that what was required was that he simply give up his sins: "O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee" (Alma 22: 18).

One of the students astutely commented how the practice of paying indulgences for forgiveness of sin runs contrary to the teachings of the Bible. As you know, an indulgence is a payment to the church for forgiveness of past sins. There are also many recorded instances of payments being made for forgiveness of sin not yet committed. The true Church of Jesus Christ has never authorized of condoned the payment of money or goods for forgiveness of sin.

The Bible clearly teaches that obedience to God's law and righteousness is much more important than anything we could sacrifice to God. In the Old Testament, Saul was commanded in in the Bible by the Lord to destroy the Amalekite city and to "spare not." Saul was disobiedent and kept the best lifestock as spoil and to sacrifice to God. Samuel was commanded to correct Saul for his error: "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Sam. 15: 22).

Isaiah also teaches the importance of repentance, obedience and righteousness over temporal sacrifice and religious ritual observance alone. The Lord says to us via Isaiah, "what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land" (Isa. 1: 11).

Ofcourse, Christ himself succinctly taught this principle by saying simply, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14: 15).

1 comment:

JF said...

thanks, I'm sharing this tonight with my kids for FHE.