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Friday, November 29, 2013

"Does God Require Animal Sacrifices, Or Not?

QUESTION: “I read many times in the scripture where laws are given regarding animal sacrifices; yet, I also read many injunctions against killing, including statements where God does not accept sacrifices. Please address this contradiction.”

ANSWER: First, anyone who reads should be commended because reading demonstrates the desire to know. When we read we are challenged to think, which is better than merely hearing something and drawing a conclusion without checking out the facts.

There are many laws and instructions regarding the animal sacrifices and there are statements of God’s displeasure in them. What God desires is obedience, not sacrifice; but, since man would rather disobey, sacrifice was to remind man of God’s perfection.

Remember: from the beginning God and man enjoyed unbroken fellowship until man disobeyed God and brought death by his sin. So that man may keep before him the seriousness of the consequences of sin and the need to be clean before God, God required a symbol that would keep life and death before his eyes. The sacrifice does not do the cleansing--God does. This is why all the sacrifices point ahead to God stepping into time and space in the person of Jesus Christ, to meet God’s requirement of life-blood in payment for sin. The resurrection means the payment was complete. This is why sacrifice is no longer required.

Let’s look at a couple of verses:

Psalm 40:6, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.”

Reading the verse in its context one finds that the man who hears God and obeys (“I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” 40:8) has cleans hands and clean heart. God does not require sacrifice from one who is clean. One who is clean is able to minister the mercy God does require.

"But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Matthew 9:13)

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