Verbal instructions concerning offerings and sacrifices were given by God from the very beginning, or we would not have read that Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. Some think that the first sacrifice occured when the Lord killed an animal to clothe Adam and Eve with its skin. Immediately after the fall, men began to offer sacrifices unto the Lord. This kept before man the fact of his fall and also the fact of the coming sacrifice through the shedding of Jesus' blood that we should be redeemed from sin and death and were meant to express faith and repentance. The sacrifices reminded people that sin has its consequences and a blood sacrifice is necessary for atonement.

Why Abel's sacrifice was honored and Cain's was not is not ours to question but we do know without the shedding of blood, there is no sacrifice for sin. God was in communication with Cain and Abel both at that time or they would not have know the need for sacrifice in the first place. This is the way that God did it and that we must accept. Cain's offerings may have been in sacrifice but God wants mercy and not sacrifice. It all ties in as a type of the supreme sacrifice that God gave us in His ultimate mercy to redeem mankind with the blood of Jesus at the cross.

Noah took a number of "clean" beasts into the ark for sacrifice. Fire was used to consume the burnt offerings and the incense offering, beginning with the sacrifice of Noah and continued in the ever-burning fire on the altar. Abraham was about to sacrifice his son and God provided one in his stead. Job, Isaac and Jacob all offerered sacrifices. Abuse began when the Israelites relied on offerings to take the place of a change of heart.

In the sacrificial flame the essence of the animal was resolved into vapor; so that when a man presented a sacrifice in his own stead, his inmost being, his spirit, and his heart ascended to God in the vapor, and the sacrifice brought the feeling of his heart before God.

The poor were unable to afford the prestigious offering of a lamb, they brought two doves from a dealer in the vast and crowded Court of the Gentiles. Jesus made the ultimate all-sufficient sacrifice of all on the cross, making atonement for all men for all time, thereby ending any further need of blood sacrifice. This applies also to us as Christians are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. We are to be as the altar of living stones that Peter wrote of and illustrated in the Old Testament, offering up "spiritual sacrifices. The Body of Christ is to be an altar of whole stones, offering up "spiritual sacrifices." Godly fathers need to follow the example of Job who continually rose up early in the morning to offer burnt offerings for all his children. David declares, "I will go into Your house with burnt offerings: I will pay You my vows." The people that the Lord brings to His holy mountain rejoice in His house of prayer, their burnt offerings and their sacrifices are accepted.
[345, 351, BD, 402, 415, Romans 12, Deuteronomy 27:6, Joshua 8:31, 1 Peter 2:5, Job 1:5, Psalms 66:13, Isaiah 56:7]

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