God is not a blood-guzzling vampire.
God rejects the sacrificial system insistently. He asks: “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. When you come to appear before me, who has required this from your hand?” (Isaiah 1:11-12).
Who, indeed, required it? It was Moses and not God. Jeremiah writes: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices’” (Jeremiah 7:21-22).
God states categorically through Hosea: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). But most Christians just ignore such declarations.
God is not a blood-guzzling vampire. He asks: “Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” (Psalm 50:13). Sacrifices mean nothing to God. He says this unequivocally: “I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens” (Psalm 50:9). “Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me” (Jeremiah 6:20).
God forgave David’s murder of Uriah without any sacrifices. David declares: “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings” (Psalm 51:16). He repeats this in his messianic psalm: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have opened; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require” (Psalm 40:6).
However, the ears of many Christians have yet to be opened. We are adamant God requires Jesus’ sacrificial death as atonement for sins.
God even uses very strong language to reject sacrifices. He says: “He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck; he who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine’s blood; he who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol” (Isaiah 66:3). This shows the sacrificial system is totally objectionable to God.
Sacrifices are ritualistic. When a man sins, he gives a sacrifice and assumes this takes care of his sin-problem. In effect, sacrifices are “bribes” given every-so-often to placate a demanding deity; without the burden of repentance for sins. Therefore, God declares to Israel: “Bring no more futile sacrifices” (Isaiah 1:13).
Sacrifices come from the perversion of those who claim the gods need to be appeased with violent and bloody death. It is the way of the idol-worshipper; therefore, according to kingdom dynamics, it cannot be of God.
What does the one true God require instead? David provides the answer: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart- these, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). Solomon concurs: “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice” (Proverbs 21:3).
Of all Israel’s sins, none was more abominable than the sacrifice of the first-born. God said in admonishment: “You took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough?” (Ezekiel 16:20).
This heinous ritual is lambasted by Micah who asks sardonically: “Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:7). The abomination of human sacrifice was one of the reasons why God sent the Israelites into Babylonian captivity: “They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence” (2 Kings 17:17/18).
Why then would God himself turn around only to offer his Son Jesus as a human sacrifice to himself?
Testimony of Jesus
Jesus demonstrated his disdain for sacrifices by smashing the sacrificial implements in the temple. He maintains the kingdom imperative is to love God and our neighbour instead of giving burnt-offerings and sacrifices (Mark 12:28-34).
As a matter of fact, Jesus blames his crucifixion on the diabolical sacrificial mindset. He said to the Pharisees: “If you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matthew 12:7). Since he was the guiltless who would be wrongfully condemned, he thereby foretold Caiaphas’ devious counsel to sacrifice him for the nation of Israel (John 11:49-53).
Furthermore, Jesus gives this directive to all God-seekers: “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’” (Matthew 9:13). However, most Christians refuse to learn. Worse still, we continue to insist Jesus himself was a sacrifice.