What is the *REAL* Purpose for Animal Sacrifices

Hey everyone. Today, I want to continue our discussion regarding the post I talked about earlier in regards to homosexuality and the Bible.

Unfortunately, the entire post is such a theological mess, that it needs to be unpacked and reworked entirely in order to get to the meat of the post. So, once again, I ask that you bear with me as we look at the actual reason for God requiring animal sacrifices from the people.

To say that animal sacrifices, the requirements of which are laid out in both the books of Exodus and Leviticus, were instituted to atone for the sins of Adam and Eve and to atone for Original Sin would be one of the greatest misunderstandings to ever come out of studying the Old Testament.

Let’s look at the first instance of animal sacrifice: Abel, the second son of Adam and Eve. According to the book of Genesis, Abel would bring “of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.” (4:4; ESV) Abel was sacrificing the first born of his flock to the LORD. But why? There are no laws instituted regarding animal sacrifices, so why would Abel do such a thing that was not commanded of him?

He knew that the LORD was responsible for life on the earth and that God was God and God alone, and so he honored God by sacrificing the first born of his flock to him.

We find the same type of behavior exhibited by Noah (Genesis 8:20), Abraham (22:13-14) and even Moses (Exodus 5:1-4). All of these events took place before the sacrifices were even instituted by God as law. These were not meant to atone for Adam and Eve’s sins, but rather for the sins of the people that were living at that time within the nation of Israel.

However, there were also thanksgiving offerings, peace offerings, and celebratory offerings that took place, not for sin, but just because the people recognized the LORD for Who He is and wanted to honor Him with what they have. They realized that everything they have would not be possible without God and they wanted to return to Him the things that He had given them.

Theologians for years have stated that the point of the sacrifices was so that the people of Israel would not get attached to their possessions. Note that God didn’t want just any plain lamb or ox or sheep, but the best of the flock, and the firstborn, usually the strongest of the entire flock or herd.

The sacrifices served multiple purposes, and were most often held as a celebration for Who God is and thanking Him for what He has provided.

Keep your eyes set here on my page, because there is more to come soon!

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