Friday, November 25, 2011

Does God Require Animal Sacrifice?

Objection: Some verses show that God requires animal sacrifice (Genesis 4:4; 8:20-21; 15:9-10; Exodus 20:24; 29:11-37; Leviticus 1:5; 23:12-18; Numbers 18:17-19; Deuteronomy 12:27); however, other passages indicate that God does not require animal sacrifice (Psalm 40:6; 50:13; 51:16; Isaiah 1:11; 66:3; Jeremiah 6:20; Micah 6:6-7). This is yet another reason why I won’t believe the Bible!
Answer: Yes, God did command animal sacrifice; but, the sacrificial system was never intended to be permanent. The purpose of the sacrifice was to show mankind the necessity of being morally clean.
Look at it from this perspective: regardless of whether they were Guilt Offerings, Sin Offerings, Peace Offerings and all the rest, how many offerings would be given before a man’s resources run out? He can’t just walk up to the flock, grab a lamb and kill it. There were specific offerings that had specific criteria for specific purposes. The point was to show man’s limitations and God’s provision both for and in the offering. One needed to get to the point that he looked to God for cleansing, period.

Even if one could consistently give sacrifices (the record shows that Israel did NOT keep up the sacrificial system), one is only receiving a ceremonial cleansing. God is not interested in the outward appearance, but the inward cleansing of the conscience. Some offerings were given just in case some sins were forgotten!
The greatest and final sacrifice was provided by God: “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  . . . . For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.” (Hebrews 9:13-16)

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