Will Sacrifices and Offerings Be Restored?





In my previous blogs I have shown that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon through the gift of the interpretation of languages, and that this involved Smith knowing the range of meanings of the words and phrases of the original Hebrew, but not necessarily knowing what was in the minds of the original authors.  Thus it was very possible for Smith to choose a word or phrase that was within the range of meaning of the original words and phrases but which did not express the intended meaning of the original author.

For this reason John Tvetness writes:


Some passages of the Book of Mormon can be better understood in Hebrew than in English because the Hebrew reflects word-play or a range of meaning which gives more sense to the passage.

(The Ensign; Oct. 1986 p.64)

In a recent blog, I showed that when the Book of Mormon speaks of the Torah (or its individual parts) as being “done away” that the intended meaning of the original authors was that the Torah would be “renewed” rather than “done away”.

One of the passages in question was a statement by Yeshua:

And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.

(3Nephi 9:19 (4:49 RLDS))

Here the intended meaning is that the “sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be renewed” rather than “done away” as Joseph Smith himself wrote:

“These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built, and the sons of Levi be purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings.”

(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 172–73 also Documented History of the Church 4:207-212 Oct. 5th, 1840)

So what of the phrase “And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood”?

I believe the Hebrew behind this phrase must have been:  לא יותר שפיכות דמים

Here the Hebrew word YOTER יותר (Strong’s 3148) can mean “more” or it can mean “greater” so that the passage can be understood “no more shedding of blood” but it could also be understood “no greater shedding of blood”.

There is confirmation for this reconstruction of the Hebrew in a passage of Alma:

Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.

(Alma 34:13 (16:213-214 RLDS))

Here we read a parallel phrase “there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood”.  In this passage the “Chronicles of the Nephites” 1988 translation of the Book of Mormon published by “Hebrew Translations, Inc.” translates the phrase in Hebrew as:

שלא תהיה יותר שפיכות דמים

I believe this Hebrew recaptures the original Hebrew in using the word YOTER so that the passage could have been understood “there shall be a stop to the shedding of blood” or more literally as [there shall be] “no more shedding of blood” (as in 3Nephi above) but was originally intended in both passages to mean “there shall be no greater shedding of blood.”

Now lets look at the phrase “a great and last sacrifice” the Hebrew word for “last” here (used in both the 1988 translation noted above and in the 1981 translation published by the LDS Church, is אחרון ACHRON (Strong’s 314) which can mean “last” but can also mean “to come, following, later.”

Clearly Yeshua was certainly not the final sacrifice. We see that Paul made offerings at the Temple long after Yeshua's death (Acts 18:18; 21:26; 24:17). We also see sacrifices and offerings being made during the Millennial Kingdom:  (Ezek. 40-48) also has such offerings made in it (40:38-43; 42:13; 43:18-27; 44:29-31; 45:1, 13-17; 45:18-46:24 etc.)

18 And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon.

19 And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering.

20 And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse and purge it.

21 Thou shalt take the bullock also of the sin offering, and he shall burn it in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary.

22 And on the second day thou shalt offer a kid of the goats without blemish for a sin offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock.

23 When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish.

24 And thou shalt offer them before the LORD, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offering unto the LORD.

25 Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin offering: they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish.

26 Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it; and they shall consecrate themselves.

27 And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD.

(Ezekiel 43:18-27 KJV) (see 40:1-48:35 inclusive)

Now lets look at the phrase “for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.” (3Nephi 9:19a (4:49a RLDS))

In a recently blog I showed that in Hebrew it is not necessary to use an interrogative clause as we know it in English. In Hebrew questions often appear as statements made in a questioning manner. As Yale Proffessor of Semitic Languages Charles Cutler Torrey wrote:

It sometimes happens in the O.T. Heb. that an interrogative sentence is not provided with any interrogative word or particle. In such cases the context is supposed to leave no room for doubt, but there are some instances of resulting misunderstanding and mistranslation, more or less disturbing. The Grk. translator ordinarily reproduces his original exactly, word for word, without undertaking to interpret; but in such passages as Is. 1:18 and (more significant) 43:23a and 24a the decision between the two varieties of sentence carries much with it.

(Our Translated Gospels; Charles Cutlet Torrey; 1936; p. 55)

This passage from 3Nephi should also be understood not as a statement, but as a question:

“…for will I not accept your sacrifices and your burnt offerings?”

In another recent blog I showed that the phrase "done away" in the book of Mormon often stands for an original  Hebrew word which can also mean "renew" or "restore".

So these passages were intended to mean:

And you shall offer up unto me no greater shedding of blood; yes, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be renewed, for will I not accept your sacrifices and your burnt offerings?

(3Nephi 9:19a (4:49a RLDS))

Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and coming (or later) sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be no greater shedding of blood; then shall the Torah of Moses be fulfilled; yes, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.

(Alma 34:13 (16:213-214 RLDS))

As Joseph Smith said:

“These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built, and the sons of Levi be purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings.”

(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 172–73 also Documented History of the Church 4:207-212 Oct. 5th, 1840)













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