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The Jews in the first century and even today interpret Deut. 12:5 to mean the Temple in Jerusalem.

But you shall seek the place that the LORD your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go,... (Deut. 12:5, ESV).

Was one of the reasons this was in place so that, when the Romans destroyed the Temple after Jesus' sacrificial death, the sacrifices under the Law of Moses ceased? The Jews interpreted Jerusalem Temple as the only place to sacrifice.

3 If any one of the house of Israel kills an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or kills it outside the camp, 4 and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it as a gift to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people. (Lev 17:3–4, ESV)

And you shall say to them, Any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice 9 and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it to the LORD, that man shall be cut off from his people. (Lev. 17:8–9, ESV)

While the Jews did move the sacrificial system from the Tabernacle to the Temple by first moving the Tabernacle to Jerusalem, they have not attempted to move the Sacrificial system and have not offered sacrifices sense the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.

A related question: Orthodox Jews take Deut. 12:5 to refer to the temple in Jerusalem. How should we?

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  • Deut 12:5 does not discuss the sacrifices ceasing. Are you able to clarify this question? I agree that Deut 12:5 talks about the (then undefined) location of the sanctuary/temple, initially in Shiloh and later in Jerusalem, etc.
    – Dottard
    Oct 14 at 23:19
  • Added Lev 17:3–4
    – Perry Webb
    Oct 14 at 23:52
  • OK, but this still does not discuss the cessation of the sacrificial system.
    – Dottard
    Oct 15 at 0:16
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But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: (Deuteronomy 12:5, KJV)

This command was given before the children of Israel had made their entrance into the promised land of Canaan. However, the people were already sacrificing in the tabernacle in the wilderness. The new place would be a place of worship that would be the central place for all Israel, but certainly it would not be the only place. For example, the Israelites were not all expected to gather in Jerusalem for worship every Sabbath--which would have been extremely difficult for many of them who lived farther away, if not impossible. There were several gatherings each year to which the men of Israel were commanded to assemble, and Jerusalem, which was the place later chosen by God for this, became the location for these festivals.

But look at the next two verses in Deuteronomy for appropriate context:

And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee. (Deuteronomy 12:6-7, KJV)

Yes, to this central location they were to bring their tithes, their freewill offerings, their sacrifices, etc. But notice that it also says "And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God." If Jerusalem, and especially the Temple, were the only place for these activities, then it would follow that they should only eat there as well.

Clearly, Jerusalem was not the only place for worship. It was, however, the place chosen for the general assemblies.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16, KJV)

The system of sacrifices did not end with the destruction of the Temple: they ended with the veil being rent at the death of Christ.

And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. (Mark 15:38, KJV)

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. . . . By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (Hebrews 10:10,20, KJV)

But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:14, KJV)

That veil being torn was God's signal that the Lamb of God had been offered, and that the system of sacrifices had forever ended. The Temple itself was not destroyed until 40 years later -- well after the sacrifices should have ceased. (The Jews, who did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, did not acknowledge this signal and continued to uselessly offer sacrifices; but the Christians understood it and accepted Christ's sacrifice in their place.)

Conclusion

Because the command did not prohibit sacrifices in other places, the passage cannot be used as the sole support for the sacrificial system having ended with the destruction of the Temple.

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  • Please document evidence that the Jews stopped sacrificing when the veil was torn..
    – Perry Webb
    Oct 15 at 0:56
  • @PerryWebb I don't think the Jews did, because they didn't accept that Jesus was the Messiah. The Christians did, though.
    – Polyhat
    Oct 15 at 1:05
  • So you are saying God accepting them ended, but not the Jewish practices. If so, you should make that clear.
    – Perry Webb
    Oct 15 at 1:55
  • @PerryWebb I had assumed that in saying they "should have ceased" that this would be understood, but I have now added a clarification.
    – Polyhat
    Oct 15 at 2:08
  • I'd put it this way: The sacrifices were replaced by something far better (Christ's sacrifice) and thus no longer being required they ceased to be relevant to God, but the unbelieving Jews continued to offer them until the temple was destroyed. They never ceased in their importance to the Jews. Oct 16 at 4:16
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Too long for a comment:

Judaism was already living on borrowed time, starting with the events leading up to the Babylonian captivity, in the early sixth century BCE, followed by the desecration brought on by Antioch Epiphanes, four centuries later. Then the Romans, a century after, eventually followed by the fall of the Hasmonean dynasty, under the non-Judean Herod the Great, a quarter century later. Then further Roman intrusion, a decade after his death, with the region coming under direct Roman rule, ultimately culminating with the outbreak of the (first) Jewish-Roman war, six decades later, inevitably ending in Jerusalem's final destruction, right in the middle of it, as reflected in Daniel (9:27).

After Titus had taken Jerusalem, and when the country all round was filled with corpses, the neighboring races offered him a crown; but he disclaimed any such honor to himself, saying that it was not himself that had accomplished this exploit, but that he had merely lent his arms to God, who had so manifested his wrath.

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, 6:29.

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