Although the law of Moses was fulfilled by Christ, A Sacrifice is Still Required. Substitutes were provided when needed, …but A Sacrifice is Still Required. All sacrifices, if they are to be accepted, must reflect the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son.
It was only during the time of Moses that there ever was a distinction between a higher law and a lesser law, because that was when the children of Israel rejected entering into the presence of the Lord upon Mount Sinai. Prior to Moses, it was all one law, the Patriarchal Order. We call the law of Moses the lesser law, and claim that blood sacrifice will never be required again. However, Adam was the first patriarch, and when the earth receives it’s paradisiacal order all must return to it’s original order, “all as at first.” Adam offered up blood sacrifices, so did Abel, so did Enoch, Noah and Abraham. This points to the fact that A Sacrifice is Still Required. Joseph Smith explains it this way:
“The offering of sacrifice has ever been connected and forms a part of the duties of the Priesthood. It began with the Priesthood, and will be continued until after the coming of Christ [I suspect Joseph Smith is referring to the second coming of Christ, as he is speaking in future tense here], from generation to generation. We frequently have mention made of the offering of sacrifice by the servants of the Most Hight in ancient days, prior to the law of Moses; which ordinances will be continued when the Priesthood is restored with all its authority, power and blessings.” (TPJS pg. 172- Oct 5, 1840)
In 1840 the Priesthood hadn’t been restored with all its authority, power and blessings, and Joseph Smith said that restoration was considered to happen at a later date. He also stated that sacrificial offering has always been a part of the duties of the priesthood, from generation to generation. And that it would continue to be practiced, when the fullness of the Priesthood is restored with all it’s authority, power and blessings (The Patriarchal Order).
Abraham was required to offer up Isaac as a blood sacrifice, in similitude of the only Begotten Son. Abraham = the Father. And Isaac = the Son. However, before Abraham plunges the knife, an arrested sacrifice is provided in the thicket, and becomes the substitute for Isaac. The arrested sacrifice is a substitute sacrifice. The Ultimate arrested sacrifice was Christ. His life was offered on our behalf. Because of Him, we can claim God, as the price was paid by Christ. Christ suffered that man would not suffer, which suffering caused the greatest of all to shrink and cower. However, although Christ was the substitute arrested sacrifice, A Sacrifice is Still Required.
Any sacrifice, if they are to be accepted by God, must reflect the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son. It must be selfless. It must be for the welfare of those you bear as your backload into the heavens. It may require the shedding of your blood. It will probably cause great pain, grief and sorrow to you, on their behalf. It will cost you both time, money and your good name. It must provide love and peace to those who you are sacrificing for. It must be asked of you by the Father. If you are the greatest among you, you must become the least, lifting all others through your sacrifice. Your Sacrifice is Still Required.
Conclusion: I am not talking from experience here, as I have not made that kind of selfless sacrifice before. I am just learning that if anyone will be saved, they must be precisely what Christ is, or else not be saved (Lectures on Faith). It would be foolish for us to expect to be without sin, to atone, to have the fulness of the Spirit of God without measure, as Christ had in this life. And that is not what is being proposed here. However, I am saying that Christ did not become who He was in this life, or in the life just prior to this life. John the Beloved explains that at first Christ wasn’t the Son of God, but after growing from grace to grace, and grace for grace, then he became the son of God (D&C 93:12-18).
Your Sacrifice is Still Required, because it is only through your sacrifice that you grow from grace to grace, in this life.That’s how you gain intelligence. It is THAT intelligence that rises with you in the resurrection, that becomes your advantage in the world to come:
“18. Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
19. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his “diligence and obedience” than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.”
This scripture points to multiple probations (pre-existence, this life, resurrection, and the world to come). Eternity to eternity, life after life, we must practice the attribute of sacrifice, and that is described as growing grace for grace, moving-on from one eternity to another. The path that Christ goes ahead to prepare is the very same path He walked. He continues to go ahead and prepare places (worlds), for your progression, until YOU are able to perform an atonement for others, just as Christ has:
“1. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2. In my Father’s house are many mansions [temporary stopping-over places, or multiple life probations]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. [Christ is promising to be your personal tour guide, to walk you through the worlds to come]
4. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”
Thomas Didymus complained to Christ saying that they didn’t know the way. But Christ was telling them all that He, Christ, was the way, and that they know Him. Knowing Christ was and is always the way, world upon world, eternity to eternity.
Line upon line, precept upon precept is how you progress, a little at a time, when you are in the service of your fellow being in sacrifice, …until you are filled with light, …until you know the mysteries of God in full, …until you have ascended through the path that Christ has walked, and you become one with Christ, and with the Father.
It all starts with a little sacrifice, that reflects Christ. And over time, it ought to grow into larger sacrifices, as you further understand the Savior more intimately. Eventually, when you are prepared to do so, you will be required to offer precisely the same thing as Christ did, the sacrifice of all things. Now consider Joseph Smith’s comment about a religion that doesn’t require the sacrifice of all things:
Lectures on Faith- Lecture Sixth: 7-8
“7. Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.
8. It is vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they, in like manner, offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.”
The medium of sacrifice is the only way by which God ordains man into eternal life. When a man sacrifices all things in exchange for truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, doing God’s will, God will accept his sacrifice and offering. God know’s that this man doesn’t seek the presence of Christ in the flesh “in vain.” Many talk like they want the presence of the Lord, but aren’t willing to make the necessary sacrifices. So they seek the face of the Lord in vain, it’ll never happen, and they cannot lay hold on eternal life.
It is vain and foolish imaginations for any of us to consider ourselves heirs with those who have offered their all in sacrifice. If we are to be equal heirs, we must, in like manner, offer the same sacrifice. It is only through that same sacrifice that you may obtain the same knowledge (Sacrifice produces knowledge). Christ claims to be more intelligent than them all. He seeks to grow, increase, and add upon you- more intelligences. If we are to walk the path of Christ, we must grow from grace to grace, and grace for grace, as He did. And for that, A Sacrifice is Still Required.