On a post in RPP, my good friend bography wrote:

“What I find very odd is how Jews (not “Messianic Jews,” of course) play down the idea of sacrifice – in Temple times – as an expiation for sin.

I listened to 4 talks by Rabbi Moishe Lichtenstein on “sacrifices” in the Torah. The gist of it was that sacrifices were pleasing to the Lord. I didn’t here anything significant – if anything at all – about the connection between sacrifice and sin.

So, what was those millions of litres of blood running down those troughs through the temple, and all that blood spattered over garments and altars – blood, blood everywhere, and all that gore for? To tickle the nostrils and tongue of the Holy One of Israel, the LORD of Lords.”

Allow me, bography, if you will, to explain to you how blood sacrifices and sin sacrifices are portrayed in the Bible and what it all means?

First off – the big false assumption that many missionaries make is that when you sinned in the times of the Temple – you needed to bring a blood sacrifice to atone – as the statement in the christian bible is very clear (Hebrews 9:22) “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission”

Shall we smash this assumption together?

Firstly – in many places in Leviticus (see chpt 4, for example), it is emphasized that sin sacrifices were only brought for unintentional sins. No sacrifices were brought for intentional sins or sins made under duress. This already chips away at the assertion that blood is needed for atonement.

What if you were poor? What if you couldnt afford an animal for a blood sacrifice? Leviticus 5:11 shows that the person brings fine flour as a sin offering (lets hope flour doesnt have blood! ewww)

But the big question is – what if you are living in a time when you do not have access to the Temple? there were 70 years between the destruction of the first and the rebuilding of the second temples (and no jesus around, of course). Is that whole generation of Jews left without a means of atonement?

The truth is that blood sacrifices were not necessary for atonement:

See Numbers 17:11, I Kings 8:46-53, Hosea 14:1-2, Psalm 141:2, II Chronicles 7:14, II Chronicles 6:21, Proverbs 15:8…I could go on and on.

But lets look at Proverbs 15:8 “The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.” This is clearly showing that sacrifices are not even sufficient if you continue to be wicked!

One last quote for you, Micah 6:6-8:

6 With what shall I come before the LORD
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?

7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

So in a nutshell, bography, I hope this answers your question. When you are able to bring a sacrifice for an unintentional sin, and you can afford it – it is part of the process and it does have deep significance. However – there are many circumstances when blood sacrifices are not required, and even when you do bring them – the important part is to do the repentance, and become righteous.