Newsletter of the District
- December 2004
Jews have no Sacrifice Today
By Frank Duff
I talk to you about the Jews. It is necessary that we should devote
thought to this great problem, because it is one, which has defied
The Jews represent an amazing manifestation. They remind one of
the Church itself in many respects. Like the Church, Judaism is
persevering, indestructible, apparently destined to last till the
end of the world. If we might venture to parody very sacred words,"
the gates of heaven have not prevailed against it". That is
a doubly astonishing manifestation, because, Judaism, unlike so
many of the great causes of the world, seems to have so little to
recommend it. It is like something in the air, with no idea or purpose
in it. It is leading to nothing. It really possesses no programme.
It does not propose conquest. It does not try to convert. It is
not a religious force in the world. It has got nothing to teach.
It possesses no real spiritual life. In modern times it has been
at best a mere ritual, and at worst it has not been even a deism.
Much of it does not believe in God.
The foregoing represents a sorrowful generalization. It does not
upset it to point to the innumerable Jews who have signally distinguished
themselves in every walk of life.
An English paper has been running a series of articles on religion.
Into the series of course has entered Judaism. But the article contains
nothing whatever about beliefs or observances. It is nothing but
an account of the prominence and the wealth of the Jews in England.
To read it one would hardly believe that a religion was being discussed.
So what is the meaning of it all, and can we do anything?
Significant Prophecies Fulfilled
The central circumstance in Judaism is its non-acceptance of the
fact that the due time of the Messiah has long passed, that is altogether
apart from their rejection of Christ. Because the time declared
in the prophecies, as acknowledged by themselves, coincided with
the birth of Jesus. That was the time indicated in the prophecy
You will remember that most picturesque episode of the journeying
of the three Magi to Jerusalem in search of Him whom they said was
the new-born King. They had come there led by a star. When they
drew near Jerusalem, the star extinguished itself and so they expected
that they had reached their journey's end. They went to the King's
Palace, but they found no new-born king there. They found in possession
of that edifice a very sinister old ruffian, Herod.
Herod heard their story with apprehension. Then he sent for the
Sanhedrim, or Council of the Priests and the learned men, and he
put to them the question: “When was the Christ expected according
to prophecy?" The answer came pat to him that the time was
about now. And where is the place? The place is Bethlehem. Those
were the circumstances portrayed by the prophecies. That knowledge
was current among the Jews. It was their experts, not persons belonging
to another religion, who had worked out that time.
Another significant prophecy had just been fulfilled. It was the
one, which declared that the Messiah would come when the scepter
had departed from Judah. This event had accomplished itself: Rome
had conquered Israel.
Another great prophecy—Our Lord's this time and as such not
accepted by the Jews — was soon to be justified. It was His
prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem. You will remember His
words of sorrow as He looked down over the city. That calamity took
place in the year 70 of Our Lord's era, that is not very long after
His own death. One item of the capture of Jerusalem was the destruction
of the Temple.
The Temple — a Vital Consideration
We must discuss the Temple because it is vital to our consideration
of the whole question of the Jews. After the promulgation of the
Old Law at Mount Sinai, Moses erected what was called the Tabernacle.
As the name indicates, it was a tent-like structure, which could
be dismantled and moved, and actually it accompanied the Israelites
in their amazing wanderings in the desert. They continued to use
that particular structure until David took Jerusalem. Then his last
act was to erect an altar in the threshing hall of Araunah and there
the sacrifice was celebrated and the holy rites gone through
Years later Solomon, the son of David, had a vision in which the
Lord ordered him to construct a worthy Temple. Solomon obeyed and
built his great Temple about the year 1005 before the coming of
Our Lord. That Temple of Solomon was a colossal achievement. In
design it was almost identical with the one made by Moses, but made
of far superior materials and being about twice the size. During
the troubled history of the Jews, harm and even destruction were
often visited on this sacred building. A reconstruction of it about
the year 520 B.C. was called the Temple of Zerrubbable. Then once
again Herod whose name has just been mentioned renewed it with infinite
magnificence. That building was completed shortly before the advent
of Him to whom it was pointing; of whose coming it was the promise;
and whose expiatory death it daily portrayed. It was a thing of
splendor. Taken with the beauty of its site, it was unquestionably
one of the architectural masterpieces of all the ancient world.
When it was destroyed by the Romans the sacred vessels were taken
away — as depicted on one of the most beautiful of the Roman
The Temple was the centre of Jewish worship. The Scriptures expressly
commanded that every male Jew take part in the sacrifice there.
It would represent an obligation akin to our own Easter duty. The
book of Deuteronomy (XVI, 16) puts the frequency of that attendance
at three stated times in the year. But presumably such a frequency
did not bind those who lived in distant lands.
Thus every Jew at home and abroad looked to the Temple. In it there
was a daily sacrifice, and twice daily there was a service of incense.
This was doubled up on the Sabbath, and on the special feasts there
was an additional degree of ceremonial and beauty.
Emigrants and Exiles with Fading Hope
The Jews had always been an emigrating people. Moreover they had
gone through several great captivities such as those of Egypt and
Babylon. Those had left settlements of the Jews abroad. Many of
the Jews, too, left home for business reasons. Thus the position
at the time of the sacking of Jerusalem was that all the foreign
cities, and in fact almost every place, had its little community
of Jews. So that when this dreadful event of the year 70 took place,
in which one million Jews were massacred, the survivors flying abroad
found it not so difficult to establish new homes. For everywhere
their co-religionists stretched out welcoming, hospitable hands
to them and helped them to settle in
Behind them they left the Temple in ruins and the daily sacrifice
stopped. The full gravity of the situation was not grasped by the
leaders of the Jews. They expected to return. They looked back over
their scarred history and brought to mind the occasions on which
they had to clear out in similar fashion, but only to return after
more or less prolonged exiles. They thought this would happen again,
and we read that Rabbi Ishmael, the celebrated leader of that time,
put down on paper the minute detail of the sacrifice and of the
entire ritual so as to ensure its exact restoration on the day of
Soon afterwards the extraordinary rumor began to circulate among
the Jews that the Redeemer had been born on the day of the destruction
of Jerusalem. This legend kept hope vividly alive for a generation.
Incidentally it forms further evidence that the Jews were expecting
Him around that time.
Eventually it was realized that the restoration was afar. But hope
died hard. We read that up to mediaeval times the Jew at the stroke
of midnight arose, seated himself on the floor, put ashes on his
head, bewailed the Temple which had been destroyed fifteen hundred
years before, and prayed for the speedy coming of the Messiah.
Divided by a Gaping Void
Nowadays, due of course to many circumstances including the awful
tribulations through which that race has gone, a gaping void divides
the ancient from the modern Jew. Some Jewish writers say that the
Jew is forced to remind himself that the present Jews are the same
as those he reads of in the Old Testament. That void was never destined
to be bridged. The Temple was never destined to be re-built; the
sacrifice never to be restored.
other words the Christian contention worked out in practice. That
is, when the Messiah came He fulfilled all the prophecies. He completed
the Old Law and abrogated it, ushering in the New Law and the new
doctrine. In spite of themselves the Jews were forced by circumstances
to conform to this new Order.
There would be no further need for the sacrifice of the Temple —
that daily immolation of animals, because it was but a type of Christ's
Sacrifice, deriving its efficacy from His death. Calvary and its
continuance in the Mass, perfected and terminated the old sacrifice.
Indeed to make even one further bloody offering of the kind would
be the denial of Christ. If the Jews of that time had accepted Our
Lord, there could have been a violent but delightful transition.
The Temple could have become the Cathedral of Jerusalem and Mass
would be celebrated daily there. Such alas did not take place. Those
who had rejected Christ persisted with the sacrifice, which had
at a stroke became meaningless. This fact was dramatically symbolized
at the moment of Our Lord's death when the great veil of the Temple
was rent from top to bottom, indicating the departure of the Holy
Spirit from the edifice. That empty ritual was maintained until
that fatal year 70. Then the Romans besieged Jerusalem and those
words of Our Lord were brought true:" Thy enemies shall cast
a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on
every side, and beat thee fiat to the ground, and thy children who
are in thee: and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone:
because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation." (St.
Luke XK, 43-44)
Temple Ended—Sacrifice Gone
Three hundred years after, an attempt was made to rebuild the Temple.
Strange to say, this did not proceed primarily from the Jews themselves
but from the Emperor Julian, successor to the Emperor Constantine
who had transformed the Roman Empire into being Christian. Julian
is sadly known as Julian the apostate. He deserted Christianity
and attempted to restore the old pagan forms of worship in the Empire.
As one of his counterblasts to the Christianity he hated, he ordered
the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem. But a most extraordinary
set of phenomena began to operate there. Explosions and other portents
made the work impossible. When it finally became evident that these
were going to continue as long as the attempt continued, the enterprise
abandoned and was never renewed. Not even in Israel to-day! Now
they can do it if they want, but apparently have no idea of it.
The Temple is ended. The sacrifice is gone for good.
The supreme importance of this does not seem to be generally realized,
not even by the Jews themselves. Yet it is the dominant and decisive
fact. For it is a silent, solemn admission that Christianity has
superseded the Old Law; that it has terminated the old Jewish religion.
Without understanding those things, without accepting Christ, the
Jews are nevertheless submitting to the logical consequences. They
are not attempting to renew their old religion.
The Temple and its sacrifice represented the primary idea in the
Old Law. Everything tended to it as to a junction and depended on
it. It represented the casting forward of their minds through the
weary ages of waiting for that coming Messiah who was to operate
salvation. Their faith in that atonement meant the setting of it
at work in their own days. Through the sacrifice of the Temple their
faith thus ministered salvation to them. In other words the Sacrifice
applied the merits of Christ to their souls as the Mass applies
them to ours. But of course the sacrifice was only a shadow or substitute
for the Sacrifice of the Cross whereas the Mass is one with Calvary,
representing the substantial planting of that Sacrifice in our days.
As the Messiah was the future hope of their race, so the daily sacrifice
was the fixing of that hope in their hearts and the gaining of the
benefit of it in advance of the actual Redemption. It was the pivot
of the Faith of the Jews. Taken away, everything else would fall
asunder and lose its meaning. To judge as to the effect, perhaps
the nearest example would be the case of our own Eucharist and Mass.
Imagine these totally abolished. The Catholic system would be radically
altered into being a different thing altogether from what it is
— in fact into Protestantism.
Suspension not Abolition
Perhaps an objection may occur to minds: Has not the Mass been suspended
at times in many countries? Yes, but only suspended. Like the sun
that sets only to rise again! And even when the Mass was stopped
by force in one place, it was going on in other places. These circumstances
do not apply in the case of the Jews. There was no question of a
mere local or temporary abolition. The sacrifice was gone!
But for long years the Jews hoped that it was only a case of suspension.
Some of the Old Testament prophecies which seem to us to apply so
plainly to the past, they kept applying to the future, deriving
false hope from them.
A point which comes to one's mind is: Why did they not make do in
some other centre? We know that we would. Some of you went off to
Rome on a pilgrimage a while ago and on the way Mass was celebrated
in a huge railway station. The conditions were primitive, but nonetheless
it was the Mass. Why, we might think, should the Jews confine the
idea of the sacrifice to Jerusalem, and why to the Temple? The Bible
prescribed (Deuteronomy XI, 5) that the sacrifice be offered in
the place which God would choose. Could not this be held to designate
any place which would be the existing headquarters of Judaism? As
we have seen, the sacrifice was offered for a very long time outside
Jerusalem, that is in the traveling Tabernacle constructed by Moses.
Could not the sacrifice be offered without any building or in a
stadium — just as we are told that David offered it in that
threshing hall? In the wide movements of the dispersed Jewish people,
various places have had great numbers of them. At one time Spain.
At another Poland. To-day the United States of America is probably
the greatest abode of the Jewish people. Why is it that they do
not offer the sacrifice in Madison Park Gardens, the scene of the
triumphs of Billy Graham and Ronald Delany?
No, they never took any such obvious step although absolutely every
consideration would seem to call for it. For nearly two thousand
years they have had their eyes riveted on the mirage! They were
waiting for the great return to Jerusalem when they would rebuild
the Temple and reconstitute their ritual in all its pomp and detail.
The Day of Great Return
And that day did come: The return to the homeland. Israel was founded.
The Jewish people once more had a locality which they could call
their very own. They had taken their place among the free nations
of the earth once again. Now is the opportunity! Now is the sacrifice
to be renewed! But once again—No.
For we are presented with the startling fact that quite a number
of years of that nationhood have already elapsed and that they have
not attempted to rebuild the Temple. Apparently they have not even
thought of it, nor of continuing the sacrifice that formed the main
ingredient," the pillar and the ground" of their faith.
It seems to be accepted by them and by everybody else that the sacrifice
It is important for all to remember that there is an utter difference
between the Temple and a synagogue. There was only one Temple, but
every little place in the Jewish world has its synagogue. There
is likewise a complete difference between what took place in the
Temple and what took place and takes place in the synagogues. The
former was the place of the great sacrifice. The synagogue is a
prayer meeting place.
Why has Israel not restored the Temple and the dread rite of the
sacrifice that it housed? It is because they have recognised in
their hearts and in spite of themselves that something fatal for
them took place in the moment when Jesus Christ died. Without realizing
it, they are confessing that when He was immolated, the purpose
of the blood sacrifices of the Old Law died with Him. They acknowledge
this by their deeds, though they will not acknowledge it by their
lips. The sacrifice is abandoned. The old Jewish religion is definitely
voided. The Jews have something else in its place masquerading under
Cannot be Ignored or Forgotten
But perhaps it will be argued that there is time enough? Israel
is young! It has not fully organized itself yet! Give them a 'chance'.
Perhaps they have plans for a Temple in some architect's office.
Perhaps they will put into force at some future date those elaborate
plans of the Rabbi Ishmael for the resumption of the sacrifice and
the rest of the ritual!
Is there anything to be said for that argument? No, because now
it will not be possible to restore the sacrifice as it was. That
sacrifice was the immolation of animals to God, the shedding of
their blood in offering and the burning of their flesh. That is
not possible to-day in Israel or in Madison Park Gardens or anywhere
else. Why? Because public opinion would not allow such things today.
It was appropriate to an age of different mentality, and God built
on that. Nowadays He builds on a radically changed mentality, with
the amazing consequence that the door has now been shut and locked
on the old Temple and what took place in it. The real Jewish Religion
is not restorable.
That is the supreme fact which must be brought home to Jews, so
that they cannot ignore it, so that they cannot escape from it by
Therefore we must propose it to the Jews with all the simple directness
of a slogan: The Jewish people have no sacrifice today, and they
are never again going to have one until they accept the truth that
the Old Law ended tragically but fruitfully on Calvary; and that
the New Law with its Sacrifice was the orderly and greater growth.
The followers of Jesus Christ were the true Jews. The Judaism which
rejected Him was no longer the living religion. Its heart and its
meaning have gone. What is on earth to-day is not the old Jewish
religion. It amounts to an embalmed corpse around which empty rites
are being performed.
Christianity Logical Fulfillment
lies the logical fulfillment of their old religion. If logic were
to have its rights, the Jews would become Christian, because their
present stand is not logically tenable. But in the way of that logic
stands a force which is still greater. It is Prejudice. Prejudice
is the unconditional surrender of the mind to peremptory ideas.
The Jews believe that they have been and are the victims of injustice
throughout the ages. Their own history books would have us believe
that they have been treated with unvarying and insane savagery.
Of course that is a gross exaggeration — apart from which
the Jews themselves have shown a capacity for cruelty — but
unhappily there is a basis for it. And we have not done so much
to undermine that foundation of their prejudice. It is no matter
of ancient history but of our own time that half the Jews of Central
Europe were exterminated in circumstances of extreme horror.
to-day is too common, so that there is no use in proposing that
slogan of ours to the Jews except we put a twin-idea along with
it. That twin-idea is Christian love. We must love them, because
of their very need if there were no other reason, and we must prove
that love beyond question. We must deal with them on that footing.
We must repress those unworthy behaviors that fill so many Jewish
hearts with fear. In all countries there are many Jews who live
in a state of apprehension. They are always fearing that the turning
over of the next page of history is going to show a repetition of
what took place in past pages.
Vol. 13. No. 3, Sept-Nov., 1960, pp. 1-5