Blood Sacrifice: Why Is Animal Sacrifice So Important To God?

Blood Sacrifice: Why Is Sacrifice Important to God? - T E Hanna | Of Dust & Kings
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[This Article Is Part Of The Old Testament God Series]

One of the most damaging criticisms leveled against Christianity is the argument that this “God of love” is, in reality, a violent, bloodthirsty deity with an unhealthy appetite for blood sacrifice. After all — as the argument so often goes — what sort of God connects forgiveness with the slaughter of innocent animals?

Were animal sacrifice in vogue today, practitioners would be guilty of any number of animal rights violations, not to mention that modern psychology identifies the killing of animals as an early marker for sociopathy. When seen from our modern vantage point, the blood sacrifice in the Old Testament is an understandable issue.

Definition of Sacrifice In The Old Testament

In fact, the first seven chapters of Leviticus are replete with the laws concerning various forms of animal sacrifice in the Old Testament. These are:

  • Burnt offerings, whereby the animal is sacrificed, drained of blood, and then completely consumed by fire.
  • Grain offerings (sometimes referred to as meat offerings in the KJV, as the Old English definition of ‘meat’ often referred simply to food), whereby grain or other foods from the field are presented and consumed by fire.
  • Peace offerings, whereby an animal is sacrificed, cleaned, cooked on the altar, and eaten as a shared meal. This is most typically a lamb.
  • Sin and guilt offerings, whereby a priest offers a blood sacrifice on behalf of the sin of another, the offering is then cleaned, cooked, and eaten by the priesthood.

The very fact that the opening seven chapters of Leviticus detail specifically how these are to be done belies the significance that blood sacrifice had to ancient Israelite worship. To get to the heart of Israelite animal sacrifice, however, one has to go back to the beginning.

The Origin of Blood Sacrifice

The birth of monotheism was with Abraham1, as God revealed Himself and made covenant. It was this covenant which eventually brought forth Israel, and it was through Israel that we bring forth a Messiah. In the ancient world, covenant was a very serious deal, and that gravity was signified through animal sacrifice. An animal would be killed, its lifeblood drained, and the carcass cut in half. The two individuals making the pact would then walk, together, between the two halves of the slain animal, visually marking the implications of the vow they had made. The idea was that, should either of them violate the covenant, the one in violation calls upo himself the same fate which befell the slain beast before them. Covenant was a big deal.

So it was that, when God made covenant with Abraham, He did it in the only manner which Abraham understood — through sacrifice. In Genesis 15:17-21, God Himself passed between the halves, forever sealing the vow He had made to Abraham. This is important, because it reveals an aspect of God that is central to Christian theology: God meets us where we are, and leads us forward.

Sacrifice in the Old Testament, from this point forward, was centered around the covenant which God made with Abraham. Burnt offerings and grain offerings were offerings of livelihood, offering up to God that which we rely on, reminding us that our hope is found in God alone. Sin and guilt offerings were offerings of covenant restoration, offered on behalf of the priesthood, restoring those who had violated the covenant back into relationship with God. Peace offerings were similar, but directed at the community. The sacrificed animal would be cooked and the meal shared, that relationship with one another may be restored.

Of course, God was very clear to set limits on sacrifice, and would eventually deal with the practice itself. When Abraham was sent to offer up Isaac, his son, this was a matter of establishing proper boundaries for sacrifice. There in Canaan, it was common practice to sacrifice the first-born child to one of the pagan gods in the hope of slaking that deity’s wrath and preserving the lives of future children. In a time where infant mortality was abysmally high, such sacrifices were not uncommon. God, through Abraham’s obedience, changed this practice for His followers.

Sacrifice in the Old Testament was limited to animals that were sources of food, not children. By the Exodus, in fact, blood sacrifice was explicitly linked to food offerings, as the lamb slain at Passover was to be eaten as part of the ritual. In time, however, even the covenant meaning which was the basis for blood sacrifice became lost, and animal sacrifice was reduced to a ritual. Thus, by Hosea, we hear the lament of the Lord, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.” (Hosea 6:6-7)

Animal Sacrifice At The Divine Table

This concept of food was particularly meaningful in an Ancient Near Eastern context. To the surrounding religions, both Canaanite and Egyptian, it was believed that the gods had need of sustenance. Food of all sorts would be burned, the act of their consumption by fire being a means of transferring their essence into the spirit world. Then, there in land of the gods, the deities that these people worshipped would feast. Animal sacrifice, outside of an Israelite context, was not just a means of appeasing divine wrath. It was a means through which the gods themselves would be fed.

Israelite theology changed this. The offered sacrifice would become communal, emphasizing the relationships between God and men as well and mankind with one another. The very notion that humanity would eat of those sacrifices offered to God communicated a place at the Divine Table. God does not remain aloof, but invites us into fellowship with Him.

This is a vital concept for us to understand as Christians. Despite God’s perfect holiness, He will still make use of the broken means which we understand. He comes to us and in seeking us out uses the language and customs that we understand. He engages us, beckons to us, loves us.

And then, He frees us.

The End of Blood Sacrifice

So it was that Jesus ended blood sacrifice for all time. The covenant with Abraham was that God would make him the father of many nations, and that through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. The fulfillment of that covenant was met in His son, Jesus.

The quintessential blood sacrifice under the Old Covenant was represented in the Passover lamb. This lamb would be brought forth three days prior to Passover, and observed for those three days to make sure it was without blemish or defect. On the third day, Passover Eve, the lamb would be sacrificed, drained of blood, cooked, and eaten with bitter herbs. Through this, it was remembered how the blood of the lamb protected the children from death in Egypt, and set them free from their slavery.

Jesus entered Jerusalem three days prior to Passover. For three days He was observed as He was tested by Caiaphas, Annas, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the teachers of the law, and finally Pontius Pilate… who declared that he found nothing wrong with Jesus. On Passover Eve, the Lamb of God was sacrificed on a cross, so that by His blood the angel of death may not claim us and we are set free from our slavery to sin. Jesus became the perfect sin offering.

It goes on. The night He was betrayed, He broke bread, announcing it to be His body, broken for us. He took wine, and, giving thanks, offered it to us as His blood of the New Covenant. Through Eucharist, we partake of Jesus as the perfect peace offering.

The only offering remaining was the burnt offering and the grain offering – the offering of livelihood, freely given to remind us that our provision is found in God alone. This we still practice, but it is instead found in the offering of our livelihood delivered into a little wooden plate passed around on Sunday morning. Our livelihood has changed; so the offering has changed to match.

Animal sacrifice in the Old Testament was necessary because it reflects a God who meets us where we are at and leads us from there. Blood sacrifice is now complete, perfectly fulfilled, as the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice, offered Himself once for all. God still meets us where we are at. Hopefully, we still follow as He leads us home.

  1. Some scholars argue that monotheism began with Zoroastrianism in the Persian Empire, not with Judaism. These arguments are dependent on a late-date hypothesis pertaining to the penning of the Torah. There is significant grounding for an early-date authorship, however, which dates the penning of the opening books of Scripture to the Exodus or shortly thereafter. If we accept the early date, then Judaism preceded Zoroastrianism by nearly 600 years, and the birth of Zoroastrianism can be traced to the period of Israel’s captivity in Persia. During their captivity, Israel would certaily have exerted significant influence on the cultural philosophy out of which Zoroastrianism was born.
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T E Hanna is the author of Raising Ephesus: Christian Hope for a Post-Christian Age and has published articles across the web on issues of faith and culture.

  • Kate

    In my mind Animal torture, spraying blood, waving pieces of meat, doting the right side of the body with blood is simply barbaric of of that time and culture.
    Not a God meeting man at his level? Isn’t the bible an historical revised accounting of the past, stories, songs and proverbs of how they imagined us to have come into existence.

  • Peggy

    Ok, so animal sacrifices were done away with with Christ. So then why did Paul still go through a purification ceremony and sacrificed animals in acts? It is like Paul is contradicting what he is preaching on the good news ? Confusing. Thanks!

  • kenneth dawson

    the way I see it is if god says his son must be crucified as a sacrifice for me and my sinfulness in order for me to be in a peaceful relationship with him then whether I understand why or not makes no difference-its gods call and that is all-believe it or perish.

    • T E Hanna

      In general, I think faith is not played out by trusting what we understand but rather by trusting when understanding eludes us. Having said that, I also think that there are hangups that get in the way of people understanding God as love, and the sacrifice of animals is one such hangup. Getting a grasp on the connection between the two is helpful in leading to faith.

  • Ruth Hoppers

    I understand (I think) about the distinction between the sacrifice for atonement of sin, and sacrifices earlier in Scripture. I wondered about the monotheism of Noah. Wouldn’t his monotheistic beliefs predate that of Abraham?

  • emeka

    God bless you bro.

  • Grin

    By modern standards of morality, killing animals needlessly for no reason is wrong. There are alternative ways to have a covenent that people in the Old Testament would have understood. I don’t think the bible justifies why the we need to sacrifice animals instead of some other means


    I liked your explaination of the passover lamb and Jesus Christ; well said.
    However you didn’t answer the question of ” why does God demand a blood sacrifice, why is there no remission of sins without blood.
    Abel offered a blood sacifice and he was accepted before God. his blood (Abel’s) cried out from the ground. Noah also offered a blood sacrifice. We know that God said there is life in the blood, but that doesn’t explain why God demanded it. Looking for some spiritual insight on the blood.

    thanks, Chris

    • Rick

      Thank you for your comment. I thought I was the only one who missed that question being answered.

  • Amy A

    I like your article and it has sparked ideas for me to be able to explain the passover sacrifice to my bible class. However, I would like you to consider adding to your biblical accuracy by addressing the killing of the animals used to cover Adam and Eve after they sinned in the Garden of Eden. Although the “covenant” may have started between God and Abraham, animals were killed the day that death became our penalty for sin. though there is no mention of those animals being offered up to God in any ritual or ceremony, the killing of the animals covered Adam and Eve’s sin in that the skins of the animals covered their bodies.

    • T E Hanna

      You raise a good question, and I would respond by pointing out three things:

      1. We have to be willing to address whether the Adamic narrative is a literal history or a theological metaphor. If the latter, then the potential killing in Genesis 3 isn’t a sacrifice yet.

      2. Even in a literal sense, there is no reference to the sacrifice of animals. We have the reference to the covering of skins, but we have no reference to the killing taking place to procure those skins. We can infer that death happened, but how it happened isn’t conveyed in the story. If this was the implementation of sacrifice and that was important, then I think we can recognize that such a detail would not have been omitted.

      3. We have no reference to this being a covering of sin. We see that there was nakedness and shame, and that nakedness caused the man and his wife to hide from God. The skins covered that nakedness, which was a redemptive act, but the following 8 chapters continue to deal with the impact of sin.

      We can come up with discussions of atonement and death and sacrifice, but we have to impose our theology upon the text to do so. I do think the covering of skins foreshadowed the latter development of sacrifice and the atoning work of Christ (the lamb slain before the foundation of the world), but I think we read too much into the passage to make this the actual initiating point of sacrificial practice.

      One other note: we DO see the cultural practice of sacrifice in surrounding cultures even before the Abrahamic covenant. The pagan view was that the gods had to eat, and the sacrifice a cooking of an animal offered up to them was a matter of feeding them. At the Abrahamic covenant, sacrifice first became a part of the worship of Yahweh, but for very different reasons. It became the implementation of the covenant.

      • CHRIS

        Thanks for your comments,
        Let me first say that reading the scripture without the presence of the Holy Spirit is not spiritually fruitful, this is where theologins normally miss it or try to frame it from physical/ human context.
        I’m speaking of Adam and Eve’s son Abel Gen.4:4″”Abel brought of the first born of his flock and of thier fat.” Gen.8:20 “Noah took of every clean animal and every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the alter. Check out Gen.9:4-6 do not eat the flesh with its life, that is the blood…
        So why the blood? why not the skin or hair or something else. There is a reason for it, it just hasn’t been revealed to me yet.
        2. Good catch on the no reference to killing an animal in Gen.3:21. I think your on to something. Adam and Eve already clothed thier naked body. Who said the covering God fashioned them covered the body; the Bible doesn’t. Context check: we are talking about the Creator of all aren’t we. :-)

  • Saleem Bhatti

    Get blessing

  • Mike Phin

    “So it was that, when God made covenant with Abraham, He did it in the only manner which Abraham understood – through sacrifice. This is important, because it reveals an aspect of God that is central to Christian theology: God meets us where we are, and leads us forward.”

    I have studied religion for most of my adult life and even decided to turn my passion of religious interest into my field of study. I graduated with a BA in religion last fall and was the only non-religious/atheist in my graduating class (about 30 students). I’ve seen many students, leaders, priests, rabbis, sheiks, preachers, and others use drastic assumptions, many of which shed a very disturbing light, about g(G)od in their explanations. This segment is only but one. And I do not intend to insult anyone on this site; I just find it very interesting to inquire as much as I can about people’s religious beliefs or lack thereof.

    The assumption is this; the only way God ‘knew’ how to communicate with Abraham was the only way Abraham understood, and that was sacrifice. If this assumption is used as a premise and centers around other widely accepted assumptions, than perhaps this article is logically sound. However, I must ask (in everyone’s professional/personal opinion), WHY is that what Abraham understood? Was it not in God’s power to enlighten Abraham? Perhaps show him a more civilized and humane way of displaying admiration? This is very important to the Old, and indeed the New, Testament, as this longing for blood, this requirement of sacrifice, is the essence of the entire Christian dogma; the suffering, crucifixion, and sacrifice of Jesus.

    Does this somehow shed light on the true ‘nature’ of god? It states in Genesis that man was created in the image of god; so, is the ‘image’ of god obsessed with sacrifice? Obsessed with suffering? Obsessed with death? Obsessed with blood? Why is that ‘natural’ for Abraham to understand?

    I am interested in any comments and look forward to hearing from any commenters out there!

    • T E Hanna

      This wasn’t about the way God ‘knew’ how to communicate to Abraham, this was about what Abraham understood in Abraham’s context. I am sure that, had God desired, He could have utterly changed Abraham’s consciousness, remolding him and his thoughts as God saw fit. The point, however, is that God doesn’t do this. He doesn’t usurp who we are, He engages with who we are right where we are. The decision to alter us against our will would be a violation of the free will He has chosen to imbue us with. To violate that is to violate freedom, and God very much values our freedom. One of the central purposes of creating us was so that we could CHOOSE to love God. The restriction of choice by divinely reshaping our cognition undermines that central principal.
      Instead, we see what underlies the essence of Christianity: that God, in His love and mercy, chooses to come to us. This is the heart of the incarnation as well. God, in His love, stepped out of heaven and became one of us, meeting us in our context where we are at. He did the same thing with Abraham. He met Abraham where Abraham was.
      The “longing for blood” is not at the heart of the crucifixion or the Christian faith at all. What lies at the heart of the crucifixion is the longing for justice. God became the accused, took the penalty as the accused and on behalf of the accused, meeting the demands of justice, and thereby extending mercy to all. So, as a result, we can effectively say that God is a God of mercy AND justice – two things that would otherwise be in opposition.
      As a side note, let me also point out that we villainize sacrifice beyond fair measure. This wasn’t about the infliction of pain and suffering on an animal, it was about food. An animal would be offered to God, killed, cooked, and eaten. Part of that food would be offered up to God as a burnt offering, which paralleled other surrounding cultural practices. In the surrounding culture, the animal would be completely burned when given in sacrifice, as the act of burning transferred the animal to the realm of teh gods, and they could eat. In Hebrew sacrifice, the animal was cooked and shared, and a portion set aside as an offering. The symbolism was powerfully relational: God invites us to the table. A relational God was entirely foreign to the surrounding ANE cultures, but entirely at home in ancient Judaism.

  • Harry

    I find it very telling that you post only positive feedback here. Why? In any case, I will at least let you know how I think you are misguided. First, what you are preaching is a god that changes or is not always present. You see, you cannot have an unchanging god that allows sacrifices for even an instance and then later changes what is acceptable with sacrifices. Then you are suggesting there is some limitation to God’s power where He has to meet us where we are where He must go along with our barbarism. Are you forgetting what Jesus said in that “with God, everything is possible”? Why then would God go along with barbaric rituals when that was not necessary?

    Read the Bible carefully and do not ignore the things that disagree with you and your eyes will be opened to the nonsense.

    “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
    Malachi 3:6

    Well, take care

    • T. E. Hanna

      Hi Harry! I’m glad you stopped by!

      Just for the record, I will post any comments so long as they are in good taste and not deliberately offensive. I very rarely have any issues with that, though. Everything that has been left as a comment on this post has been published, except for one or two that were duplicates. If you poke around the blog for a bit, you will find that there are numerous instances of people who openly disagree with me and that disagreement usually sparks some delightfully interesting conversations. So long as things are civil, I not only allow feedback that disagrees with me, I welcome it.

      As to your questions, you bring up some good points. You are right in saying that the idea that God changes or is not always present is theologically heretical. I’m not saying that God changes at all, however. I am saying that WE change, that part of the point is that we are SUPPOSED to change, and that the manner in which we change impacts the way that God interacts with us. In your opinion, does God interact the same way with unrepentant sin as He does with heartfelt devotion? Of course not. Is that because God is different, or because people are different? I’m sure you can agree that the differences boil down to humanity.

      Furthermore, I am contending that God is a God of sanctification. Scripture affirms this wholeheartedly, that “He who began a good work in you will be faithful and just to complete it until the day of Christ.” I am further suggesting that God not only sanctifies individuals, but entire cultures and entire people groups. This, ultimately, is Israel’s story and then the church’s story as well. God calls a people to Himself and then shapes them, restoring them into the purposes for which they were intended, and cultivating righteousness and holiness among them. Sacrifice is an example of that. We are transformed by a process. I suppose you could argue that God is capable of doing it in some other way, but I would strongly contend that this process is the only one that restores us to holiness while also preserving our free will. Further, I would contend that this is the pattern we see throughout the entirety of Scripture.

      Lastly, we continue to see that God meets us where we are and leads us from there. Remember Jesus? This is the whole point of the incarnation… God stepped out of heaven, became fully human, walked among us as one of us where we are, and even submit to our “barbaric practices” when He allowed evil men to crucify Him. He didn’t wait for us to go where He was. After all, part of the point is that such an accomplishment is impossible for us anyway. Further, when Jesus walked the earth look where He went and who He spent time with. His chosen companions were tax collectors, prostitutes, religious zealots, liars, traitors, and thieves. He came where they were, and led them from there.

      We see this elsewhere, as well. Moses was a murderer, David was an adulterer, Jacob/ Israel was a thief, Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute (and she made it into the lineage of Jesus!), and the list goes on. God has consistently used broken people in spite of their brokenness, encountered humanity in the midst of its brokenness, engaged with humanity in ways we can understand and follow, and then leads us from where we are towards holiness.

      I don’t think there is anything particularly revolutionary about this. Quite honestly, this is the heart of the Christian message:

      “For God demonstrates His own love for us in this: in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

  • T. R. Halvorson

    Thanks for the article. You might enjoy Joseph A. Seiss, Gospel in Leviticus.

    As to the offense people take at sacrifices, well, it’s part of the scandal of the cross. We don’t want to think we are so bad that anything’s blood, let alone the blood of the Only Begotten Son, was required to atone for us.

  • hando2012

    Dear Sir

    I understand Jesus having sacrificed Himself for me. Through Hid life, death and resurrection He shows me the way to true life. I do not believe that He died in order for God to forgive us. If God needs to punish something or someone before He can forgive, then He is too much like me to be worthy of worship.
    So my question to you is, do you believe that God sacrificed His son in order for Him to be able to forgive me?

    Yours in Christ,

    • T. E. Hanna

      What a great question!

      I’m actually devoting a blog article to this, and I’ll publish it in the morning and bump the scheduled article back. So… I will deal with this in detail, but you’ll have to come back tomorrow to see it! 😉

      • Terry

        I am looking forward to reading your answer in the blog post today. The atonement and its First Testament cognates are my area of study and passion right now.

  • themoderndaynomads

    For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

  • cindyhfrench

    Always just when i need the information, there it is. I don’t know if you remember that sometimes i misplace my information that once I absolutely knew, but I did it again. I couldn’t remember the story of Abraham and the Covenant and I studied it. Of course it all came back to me, once I ready your post which was so excellent! Thanks and BTW I am nominating you for the TEN Commandments Award

  • peaceinheaven

    No posts in a while all ok?

    • Admin

      Hit the last month of the semester, and all my final research papers are coming due, plus general conference, and the regular business with pastoring two churches. I will be back posting once things settle down a bit. Thank you for asking tho!

      • peaceinheaven

        You are welcome. God Bless!

      • Beatriz

        Certainly, you love the Lord and you seek to His will be done on earth as in heaven. But it called to my attention the fact that you are shepherding two churches, and that disturbed my spirit, since we see in His Holy Word that there is the universal church as His Body and the local expressions of this universal church in each city.
        For instance, the church in Jerusalem, the church in Rome, the church in Antioquia, and the churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea as stated in Revelation, one church one city, one city one church.
        May the Lord shine on us so that we can fulfill His prayer in John 17 and don’t destroy the building of His Body with our opinions, doctrines, self, character and with anything that is not Christ and Christ alone.

  • themoderndaynomads

    By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:10, 12)

  • themoderndaynomads

    Excellent post

  • Emi

    I feel like I’m always learning something from this blog and getting a fresh perspective on things! I just wanted to thank you for posting and I nominated you for the Sunshine Award! Click for more info! Thanks and Congrats! :)

  • shianwrites

    I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! You can see the post here: Congratulations! Here’s the website if you want more info on your award:

  • rebeccaoftomorrow

    Thanks for this.

  • branchl77

    Great Job! When a person becomes a bond servant they pierce their ear and shed blood on the doorpost of the house of the one they serve. We have become a living scrifice and now this earthly temple is dedicated to carry the Spirit of our Father within. Daily we must choose to no-longer live but let His Spirit live through us. Cool message and on point. Thanks!

  • momentumofjoy

    This was a very interesting take on the progression of sacrifice throughout the Bible. Good job as always smart boy. :)

  • Bird

    Beautiful and exactly right!!

  • Judy

    I have often wondered about the origins of the practice of sacrifice. The Bible, if the first pages of Genesis, seems to presume it rather than to demand it. When Cain and Abel offered sacrifices, are we to assume that God had asked for them? Furthermore, they apparently should have known what would have been an acceptable sacrifice since God disapproved of one and approved of the other. I understand that God, of course, knew the heart with which each sacrifice was given. Your post has given me new food for thought on this issue.

  • Kent

    You never fail to inspire me to be a better writer and a better Christian. I appreciate your extensive knowledge and thoughtful approach to your subject. As Irishsignora said above, you’re able to break it down into easily palatable language that anyone, even school children, can understand. I’m definitely printing this one out to keep for future reference, both for myself and my own kids! Blessings!

  • Cristal

    That He meets us where we are — that alone brings me such peace today. For I am far from where I know many others seem to be; yet, He will shepherd me tenderly and lovingly as He guides me steadily.

  • paperdollsgetcut

    I read it again. It does seem to me this pattern started in Genesis….WAY before Abraham. Adam and Eve drove God to do this thing and He put it back on us to continue to do it. Then with Jesus we still do it. We kill our own flesh in a symbolic way and continue to do it when we chose to be in and not of the world. And when we have so many “what WILL I do?” choices and try to discern God’s WILL…hence the whole WWJD thing. Please don’t take my remarks as flippant. I don’t mean it that way it all.

    • T. E. Hanna

      I don’t take it a flippant at all, and you raise some good points. Keep in mind that in Genesis 3, however, we deal with Adam and eve ashamed because of their nakedness. This is a natural result, as the effect of sin was a move towards selfishness, and this was the first time they looked at themselves with vanity. It broke relationship between the two of them first, and they attempted to cover themselves with leaves. It also broke relationship with God, and they attempted to hide. God did two things: he came looking for them, and he then clothed them before expelling them from the garden. Clothing was a reconciling act, but it did not atone for their sins… It dealt with their shame and cause for hiding, but they were still expelled from the garden. You see a sacrifice again with Cain and Abel, but this is certainly not an atonement sacrifice. As I said in the article, sacrifice was an aspect of the culture long before Abraham… But it was with Abraham where sacrifice first became an explicit aspect of the relationship between God and man. The Exodus secured this further, and by Leviticus it was a defined component of Hebrew worship, intimately linked with the idea of covenant. The covenant was established with Abraham, thus initiating salvation history.

      The New Testament idea of being a “living sacrifice”, of “putting to death the flesh”, and even of baptism… These are all means of entering into the death and resurrection of Christ, of identifying with His sacrifice, rather than becoming autonomous metaphorical sacrifices ourselves. Thus Hebrews speaks of Jesus as both the High Priest and the sacrifice “once for all”, offering His own blood on the mercy seat. We, in turn, are identified as the body of Christ.

      • paperdollsgetcut

        :) Nice to talk to someone who’s more interested in making it right than in being right and is open to dialogue. Thanks for following my blog. I hope to get the courage to write from the heart soon. About WHATEVER

  • paperdollsgetcut

    When Adam and Eve or Eve and Adam (?) sinned, THEY caused God to have to spill blood of animals that were important to him in order to cover their sin. Their nakedness was symbolic of their sin because they felt shame for the first time and attempted to cover themselves.

    God says we can’t cover ourselves. HE has to cover us, so he spilled blood to get covering. That kind of set a precedent didn’t it?

    Maybe you covered that and I missed it. I read it real fast. Furthermore, innocence lost, in a sentence. Lambs.

    If PETA was around, do you think God would have cut down a bunch of hemp plants, ruined a crop and made some eco friendly clothes?

  • jelillie

    Loved this…just taught the same thing last night in my Pentateuch class! Thanks for the corroboration!

  • irishsignora

    Thanks for the perspective. I’ve actually been dreading explaining this to my children when they’re of an age to ask why all those animals had to be sacrificed, and you’ve broken it down simply enough that I can use it to explain the concept to a first-grader. This is a great gift you’ve written down for this homeschooling mom!

    • T. E. Hanna

      I’m glad it is helpful!

  • terry1954

    very good

  • forhisgloryandpraise

    I hate to do this on such a thoughtful and wonderful post, but I’m new at doing this! You’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award!