Sacrifice: The offering up of sacrifices is to be regarded as a divine
institution. It did not originate with man. God himself
appointed it as the mode in which acceptable worship was to be
offered to him by guilty man. The language and the idea of
sacrifice pervade the whole Bible.
Sacrifices were offered in the ante-diluvian age. The Lord
clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals, which in all
probability had been offered in sacrifice (Gen. 3:21). Abel
offered a sacrifice "of the firstlings of his flock" (4:4; Heb.
11:4). A distinction also was made between clean and unclean
animals, which there is every reason to believe had reference to
the offering up of sacrifices (Gen. 7:2, 8), because animals
were not given to man as food till after the Flood.
The same practice is continued down through the patriarchal
age (Gen. 8:20; 12:7; 13:4, 18; 15:9-11; 22:1-18, etc.). In the
Mosaic period of Old Testament history definite laws were
prescribed by God regarding the different kinds of sacrifices
that were to be offered and the manner in which the offering was
to be made. The offering of stated sacrifices became indeed a
prominent and distinctive feature of the whole period (Ex.
12:3-27; Lev. 23:5-8; Num. 9:2-14). (See ALTAR T0000185.)
We learn from the Epistle to the Hebrews that sacrifices had
in themselves no value or efficacy. They were only the "shadow
of good things to come," and pointed the worshippers forward to
the coming of the great High Priest, who, in the fullness of the
time, "was offered once for all to bear the sin of many."
Sacrifices belonged to a temporary economy, to a system of types
and emblems which served their purposes and have now passed
away. The "one sacrifice for sins" hath "perfected for ever them
that are sanctified."
Sacrifices were of two kinds: 1. Unbloody, such as (1)
first-fruits and tithes; (2) meat and drink-offerings; and (3)
incense. 2. Bloody, such as (1) burnt-offerings; (2)
peace-offerings; and (3) sin and trespass offerings. (See