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Why Did God Require Animal Sacrifices in the Old Testament?

Why Did God Require Animal Sacrifices in the Old Testament?

  • Charles Dyer
  • 2013 29 May

The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety. 

Why Did God Require Animal Sacrifices in the Old Testament?

I am convinced that from the Garden of Eden and on, the concept that God was trying to teach is that life requires life. We sinned against God and the day that you sin you should be put to death. That was God’s message to Adam and Eve. How could they stay alive? God had to kill an animal to clothe them, to cover this nakedness that they now felt before God. As the progress of revelation unfolds, we find that somewhere Abraham learned that sacrifices were required. Eventually, God gave the full picture of it.

It was all designed to ultimately point towards Jesus. Isaiah 53 comes along and uses animal sacrifice imagery of a servant who is going to come along and suffer. He is going to be wounded for our transgression and our inequity. Sacrifices were necessary because sin was a heinous crime against God that required death.

They had to continue offering multiple sacrifices because no sacrifice in the Old Testament was ever sufficient. It took someone who was a perfect individual who lived a perfect life, who was qualified to get to heaven on his own merits who could pay the penalty for all our sins. I think that all the sacrifices were intended to telescope along and lead us to recognize who the Ultimate One was. So that when they said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” the whole progress of revelation pointed down at that point and pointed to Jesus.  

Photo Credit: © Getty Images / Joaquin Corbalan