“27b in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”
In the midst or middle of this 70th and final week, He, the Messiah Prince, shall cause “the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” How did He do this? Did He go into the temple and forcibly make them stop the sacrificial offerings? No, but he did so by His own perfect sacrifice. His own sacrifice on the cross made the temple sacrifices forever useless and obsolete.
In Hebrew 8:13, the writer states,
“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”
He points to the fact that at the time of writing, the first covenant was considered decaying and waxing old, on the verge of disappearing.
One other point should be made about this phrase in verse 27. The verb, which is “he shall cause . . . to cease,” is in the Imperfect Mood. So what does this mean?
A verb in the Imperfect Mood denotes an action that has starting point, and will finish its action in the progress of time. This points to the death of Jesus as the starting point of the sacrifices and oblations being caused to cease. [Remember the veil of the temple being torn in two at Jesus' death, opening the way of access to God?] This is due to the fact that the death of Jesus satisfies the legal requirements of the Levitical offerings. However, they obliviously continued to be offered up in the temple, only fully ceasing when the temple was destroyed in AD 70.
Is there any evidence of Jesus’ death being the cause of this cessation? Yes, indeed there is. From the testimony given in rabbinic literature, we have some very compelling evidences that the death of Jesus was the initial starting point of the sacrifices and oblations be stopped. [I should point out I don't usually trust rabbinic literature much at all, however, in the very few instances when they actually give witness, even unknowingly, to the validity of Messiah's claims, then it is worth noting.]
What is this evidence? Glad you asked.
"Forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the western light went out, the crimson thread remained crimson, and the lot for the Lord always came up in the left hand. They would close the gates of the Temple by night and get up in the morning and find them wide open.”(Jacob Neusner, The Yerushalmi, p.156-157) This information is taken from the rabbis' Talmud, Yoma 39b.
Four things began to occur forty years before the Jerusalem temple was destroyed, which occurred in AD 70. This would place the starting point for these four events in AD 30. This also happened to be the year of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah Prince.
These four events as given, are these:
- The western lamp in the temple went out and would not stay lit.
- The lot cast for the Lord always came up in the left hand of the high priest.
- The crimson thread hung on the door of the temple did not turn white.
- The temple doors would open every night of their own accord.
Could it be a coincidence that all four of these things began to occur in the same year, AD 30? If you believe that, then I have a bridge to sell you.
1. The western lamp in the temple went out and would not stay lit.
The lampstand in the holy place of the temple, had seven bowls or ‘lamps’, each able to hold oil for lighting the interior of the Holy Place. The Western Lamp, or the lamp on the western most end of the lampstand, was always to remain lit, much like what we call an “eternal flame”. Every day the other lamps were lit from the flame of this western lamp.
However, beginning in AD 30, regardless of the efforts of the priests, they could not keep the western lamp lit. The constant light of the western lamp represented the presence of God among his people. The light going out indicated that the glory of God had departed. The temple had become “Icabod”.
2. The lot cast for the Lord always came up in the left hand of the high priest.
On the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the high priest would cast lots in choosing between the two goats used for offering of the scapegoat. Each lot was a different color, a black stone and a white stone. The white stone was inscribed with the name of the Lord and the black stone the name Azazel.
The goat chosen for the Lord was sacrificed, the other goat for Azazel was sent into the wilderness, bearing the sins of the people. Beginning in AD 30, the lot for the Lord always came up in the left hand of the high priest, which was considered a bad omen. The chance of this happening every year for 40 years is astronomical. Your odds of winning the lottery are much better than the odds of this happening.
3. The crimson thread hung on the door of the temple did not turn white.
In conjunction with this miracle of the lot, the high priest would also tie a piece of scarlet cloth to the horn of the scapegoat, before it was sent away.
It was believed, that if the Lord had forgiven the nation of its sins, the scarlet cloth would turn white, according to Isaiah 1:18. A piece of the scarlet cloth that was tied to the horn of the goat, was taken and attached to the door of the temple. This way all could see when the scarlet cloth would turn white, signifying the offering had been accepted.
However, beginning with the Yom Kippur service in AD 30, and for the next 40 years, the scarlet cloth never turned white, signifying the sacrifices offered on Yom Kippur was not accepted by God, and their sins remained.
4. The temple doors would open every night of their own accord.
This particular miracle has more to do with the coming destruction of the temple than the ceasing of the sacrifices. However, it still speaks to the sacrifices being no longer needed.
Beginning in AD 30, every night the temple doors would swing wide open.
These were extremely huge, gold-plaited doors, which required 20 strong men to open and close them. Some of the common folks thought this was a good omen, but the more informed rabbis knew that it was an omen of the temple’s destruction.
"Said Rabban Yohanan Ben Zakkai to the Temple, 'O Temple, why do you frighten us? We know that you will end up destroyed. For it has been said, 'Open your doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars'" (Zechariah 11:1) (Sota 6:3).
The weight of evidence that the 'he' who would cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease can be none other than Jesus the Messiah, is beyond dispute. There is no other person or explanation that fits the Biblical and historical evidence.
The idea that this prophecy speaks of some future antichrist that will cause the Jews to cease their sacrifices in a newly built temple, which remains to be seen if God will allow it, is nothing but pure hollywood. The Jews have tried twice before to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem, but both times they were stopped dead in their tracks. Will they be stopped again? Only God knows.