Rebecca asks, “When was the last animal sacrifice made, and why did those who reject Jesus as the Son of God stop sacrificing animals?”
For the Christian, we know that animal sacrifices ended at the moment of Jesus’ death, when the temple curtain was torn in two. That moment signified the final, once-for-all sacrifice of the innocent lamb, Jesus Christ, that replaced the need for animal sacrifices at the temple.
In the Old Testament, only a priest could offer sacrifices and they could only be carried out at the temple in Jerusalem. But the apostle Peter encourages us that through Jesus, all believers are “a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
The question here, however, speaks of Jews who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior, and so they continue to seek redemption through animal sacrifices as they continue to wait for who they believe will be the Messiah.
The reason why animal sacrifices have stopped is because of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Romans in the first century. In 70 AD, Titus and the Roman army put Jerusalem to the sword and to the torch, fulfilling the prophecy of Jesus, who said “The days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (Luke 21:6).
The Law of Moses commanded that animal sacrifice take place only on the altar of God, near the holy place in the designated house of the Lord. That was the tabernacle, then the temple, but there is no physical house of the Lord today.
Some Jews have begun preparing for animal sacrifice when the temple is restored. Some have even started practicing live animal sacrifices, dressed in priestly garments, to be ready for that day.
With our Great Commission in mind, I pray we can reach Jewish people with the truth of the gospel and show them that their temporary sacrifices are no longer needed, for the Lamb of God has already come!