An offering made to God on his altar, by the hand of a lawful minister. A sacrifice differed from an oblation; it was properly the offering up of a life; whereas an oblation was but a simple offering or gift. There is every reason to believe that sacrifices were from the first of divine appointment; otherwise they would have been a superstitious will-worship, which God could not have accepted as he did. See ABEL. Adam and his sons, Noah and his descendents, Abraham and his posterity, Job and Melchizedek, before the Mosaic law, offered to God real sacrifices. That law did but settle the quality, the number, and other circumstances of sacrifices. Every one was priest and minister of his own sacrifice; at least, he was at liberty to choose what priest he pleased in offering his victim. Generally, this honor belonged to the head of a family; hence it was the prerogative of the firstborn. But after Moses this was, among the Jews, confined to the family of Aaron.
There was but one place appointed in the law for the offering of sacrifices by the Jews. It was around the one altar of the only true God in the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, that all his people were to unite in his worship, Le 17:4,9; De 12:5-18. On some special occasions, however, kings, prophets, and judges sacrificed elsewhere, Jg 2:5; 6:26; 13:16; 1Sa 7:17; 1Ki 3:2-3; 18:33. The Jews were taught to cherish the greatest horror of human sacrifices, as heathenish and revolting, Le 20:2; De 12:31; Ps 106:37; Isa 66:3; Eze 20:31.
The Hebrews had three kinds of sacrifices:
1. The burnt-offering or holocaust, in which the whole victim was consumed, without any reserve to the person who gave the victim, or to the priest who killed and sacrificed it, except that the priest had the skin; for before the victims were offered to the Lord, their skins were flayed off, and their feet and entrails were washed, Le 1; 7:8. Every burnt offering contained an acknowledgment of general guilt, and a typical expiation of it. The burning of the whole victim on the altar signified, on the part of the offerer, the entireness of his devotion of himself and all his substance to God; and, on the part of the victim, the completeness of the expiation.
2. The sin offering, of which the trespass offering may be regarded as a variety. This differed from the burnt-offering in that it always had respect to particular offences against law either moral through ignorance, or at least not in a presumptuous spirit. No part of it returned to him who had given it, but the sacrificing priest had a share of it, Le 4-6; 7:1-10.
3. Peace-offerings: these were offered in the fulfillment of vows, to return thanks to God for benefits, (thank-offerings,) or to satisfy private devotion, (freewill-offerings.) The Israelites accordingly offered these when they chose, no law obliging them to it, and they were free to choose among such animals as were allowed in sacrifice, Le 3; 7:11-34. The law only required that the victim should be without blemish. He who presented it came to the door of the tabernacle, put his hand on the head of the victim, and killed it. The priest poured out the blood about the altar of burnt-sacrifices: he burnt on the fire of the altar the fat of the lower belly, that which covers the kidneys, the liver, and the bowels. And if it were a lamb, or a ram, he added to it the rump of the animal, which in that country is very fat. Before these things were committed to the fire of the altar, the priest put them into the hands of the offerer, then made him lift them up on high, and wave them toward the four quarters of the world, the priest supporting and direction his hands. The breast and the right shoulder of the sacrifice belonged to the priest that performed the service; and it appears that both of them were put into the hands of him who offered them, though Moses mentions only the breast of the animal. After this, all the rest of the sacrifice belonged to him who presented it, and he might eat it with his family and friends at his pleasure, Le 8:31. The peace offering signified expiation of sin, and thus reconciliation with God, and holy communion with him and with his people.
The sacrifices of offerings of meal or liquors, which were offered for sin, were in favor of the poorer sort, who could not afford to sacrifice an ox or goat or sheep, Le 5:10-13. They contented themselves with offering meal or flour, sprinkled with oil, with spice (or frankincense) over it. And the priest, taking a handful of this flour, with all the frankincense, sprinkled them on the fire of the altar; and all the rest of the flour was his own: he was to eat it without leaven in the tabernacle, and none but priests were to partake of it. As to other offerings, fruits, wine, meal, wafers, or cakes, or any thing else, the priest always cast a part on the altar; the rest belonged to him and the other priests. These offerings were always accompanied with salt and wine, but were without leaven, Le 2.
Offerings, in which they set at liberty a bird or a goat, were not strictly sacrifices, because there was no shedding of blood, and the victim remained alive.
Sacrifices of birds were offered on three occasions: 1. For sin, when the person offering was not rich enough to provide an animal for a victim, Le 5:7-8. 2. For purification of a woman after childbirth, Le 12:6-7. When she could offer a lamb and a young pigeon, she gave both; the lamb for a burnt offering, the pigeon for a sin offering. But if she were not able to offer a lamb, she gave a pair of turtles, or a pair of young pigeons; one for a burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering. 3. They offered two sparrows for those who were purified from the leprosy; one was a burnt offering, the other was a scape-sparrow, as above, Le 14:4,etc., Le 14:1; 27:34.
For the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, see PASSOVER.
The perpetual sacrifice of the tabernacle and temple, Ex 29:38-40; Nu 28:3, was a daily offering of two lambs on the altar of burnt offerings; one in the morning, the other in the evening. They were burnt as holocausts, but by a small fire, that they might continue burning the longer. The lamb of the morning was offered about sunrise, after the incense was burnt on the golden altar, and before any other sacrifice. That in the evening was offered between the two evenings, that is, at the decline of day, and before night. With each of these victims was offered half a pint of wine, half a pint of the purest oil, and an assaron, or about five pints, of the finest flour.
Such were the sacrifices of the Hebrews-sacrifices of divine appointment, and yet altogether incapable in themselves of purifying the soul or atoning for its sins. Paul has described these and other ceremonies of the law "as weak and beggarly elements," Ga 4:9. They represented grace and purity, but they did not communicate it. They convinced the sinner of his necessity of purification and sanctification to God; but they did not impart holiness or justification to him. Sacrifices were only prophecies and figures of the sacrifice, the Lamb of God, which eminently includes all their virtues and qualities; being at the same time a holocaust, a sacrifice for sin, and a sacrifice of thanksgiving; containing the whole substance and efficacy, of which the ancient sacrifices were only representations. The paschal lamb, the daily burnt-offerings, the offerings of flour and wine, and all other oblations, of whatever nature, promised and represented the death of Jesus Christ, Heb 9:9-15; 10:1. Accordingly, by his death he abolished them all, 1Co 5:7; Heb 10:8-10. By his offering of himself once for all, Heb 10:3, he has superseded all other sacrifices, and saves forever all who believe, Eph 5:2; Heb 9:11-26; while without this expiatory sacrifice, divine justice could never have relaxed its hold on a single human soul.
The idea of a substitution of the victim in the place of the sinner is a familiar one in the Old Testament, Le 16:21; De 21:1-8; Isa 53:4; Da 9:26; and is found attending all the sacrifices of animals, Le 4:20,26; 5:10; 14:18; 16:21. This is the reason assigned why the blood especially, as being the very life and soul
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 (Ge 3:21). Abel offered a sacrifice "of the firstlings of his flock" (Ge 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 (Ge 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 (Ge 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; Le 23:5-8; Nu 9:2-14). (See Altar.)
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 Offering.)
Every sacrifice was assumed to be vitally connected with the spirit of the worshipper. Unless the heart accompanied the sacrifice God rejected the gift (Isa 1:11,13). Corban included all that was given to the Lord's service, whether firstfruits, tithes (Le 2:12; 27:30), and gifts, for maintaining the priests and endowing the sanctuary (Nu 7:3; 31:50), or offerings for the altar. The latter were:
(1) burnt offerings,
(2) peace offerings,
(3) sin offerings.
(1) meat and drink offerings for the altar outside,
(2) incense and meat offerings for the holy place within.
Besides there were the peculiar offerings, the Passover lamb, the scape-goat, and the red heifer; also the chagigah peace offering during the Passover. (See PASSOVER.) The public sacrifice as the morning and evening lamb, was at the cost of the nation. The private sacrifice was offered by the individual, either by the ordinance of the law or by voluntary gift. Zebach is the general term for "a slaughtered animal", as distinguished from minchah, "gift," a vegetable offering, our "meat (i.e. food) offering." 'Owlah is the "burnt offering", that which ascends (from 'alah) or "is burnt"; also kaleel, "whole," it all being consumed on the altar; "whole burnt sacrifice." Shelem is the "peace offering". Todah the "thank offering". Chattath ("sin and punishment") the "sin offering". 'Asham, "trespass offering", accompanied by pecuniary fine or forfeit, because of injury done to some one (it might be to the Lord Himself) in respect to property. The burnt offering was wholly burnt upon the altar; the sin offering was in part burnt upon the altar, in part given to the priests, or burnt outside the camp. The peace offering was shared between the altar, the priests, and the sacrificer.
The five animals in Abraham's sacrifice of the covenant (Ge 15:9) are the five alone named in the law for sacrifice: the ox, sheep, goat, dove, and pigeon. They fulfilled the three legal conditions: (1) they were clean; (2) used for food; (3) part of the home property of the sacrificers. They must be without spot or blemish; but a disproportioned victim was allowed in a free will peace offering (Le 7:16-17; 22:23). The age was from a week to three years old; Jg 6:25 is exceptional. The sacrificer (the offerer generally, but in public sacrifice the priests or Levites) slew the victim at the N. side of the altar. The priest or his assistant held a bowl under the cut throat to receive the blood. The sacrificial meal was peculiar to the peace offering. The priest sprinkled the blood of the burnt offering, the peace offering, and the trespass offering "round about upon the altar."
But in the sin offering, for one of the common people or a ruler, he took of the blood with his finger and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and poured out what blood remained at the bottom of the altar; in the sin offering for the congregation and for the high priest he brought some of the blood into the sanctuary and sprinkled it seven times before the veil, and put some on the horns of the altar of incense (Le 4:3,6,25,30). The "sprinkling" (hizah) of the blood of the sin offering with the finger or hyssop is distinct from the "casting abroad" (as the Hebrew zarak expresses) with the bowl in which the victim's blood was received as it flowed. The Mishna says the temple altar was furnished with two holes at the S.W. corner, through which the blood made its way down to Kedron. The Hebrew for burning (hiktir) on the altar means to send up or make to ascend in smoke, rather than to consume (Le 1:9). The offering was one of sweet smelling savour sent up in flame to Jehovah, not merely consumed.
The fat burned on the altar was mainly "sweet fat" or suet, cheleb (Ex 29:13,22; Le 3:4,10,15; 4:9; 7:4), distinct from mishman or shameen (Nu 12:16). The cheleb, as the blood, was not to be eaten (Le 3:17); the other fat might be eaten (Ne 8:10). A different word, peder, denotes the fat of the burnt offering, not exclusively selected for the altar as the cheleb of the other sacrifices (Le 1:8,12; 8:20). The significance of its being offered to Jehovah was that it is the source of nutriment of which the animal economy avails itself on emergency, so that in emaciation or atrophy it is the first substance that disappears; its development in the animal is a mark of perfection. The shoulder belonging to the officiating priest was "heaved," the breast for the priests in general was "waved" before Jehovah.
The wave offering (tenuphah) was moved to and fro repeatedly; applied to the gold and bronze, also to the Levites, dedicated to Jehovah. The heave offering (terumah) was lifted upward once; applied to all the gifts for the construction of the tabernacle. Abel offered "a more excellent sacrifice than Cain" because in "faith" (Heb 11:4). Now faith must have some revelation from God on which to rest. The revelation was doubtless God's command to sacrifice animals ("the firstlings of the flock") in token of man's forfeiture of life by sin, and a type of the promised Bruiser of the serpent's head (Ge 3:15), Himself to be bruised as the one sacrifice. This command is implied in God's having made coats of skins for Adam and Eve (Ge 3:21); for these must have been taken from animals slain in sacrifice (for it was not for food they were slain, animal food not being permitted until after the flood; nor for clothing, as clothes might have been made of the fleeces, without the needless cruelty of killing the animal).
A coat of skin put on Adam from a sacrificed animal typified the covering or atonement (kaphar) resulting from Christ's sacrifice ("atone" means to cover). Wycliffe translated Heb 11:4 "a much more sacrifice," one which partook more largely of the true virtue of sacrifice (Magee). It was not intrinsic merit in "the firstling of the flock" above "the fruit of the ground." It was God's appointment that gave it all its excellency; if it had not been so it would have been presumptuous will worship (Col 2:23) and taking of a life which man had no right over before the flood (Ge 9:2-4). Fire was God's mode of "accepting" ("turn to ashes" margin Ps 20:3) a burnt offering. Cain in unbelieving self righteousness presented merely thank offering, not like Abel feeling his need of the propitiatory sacrifice appointed for sin. God "had respect (first) unto Abel, and (then) to his offering" (Ge 4:4). Our works are not accepted by God, until our persons have been so, through faith in His work of grace.
The general prevalence of animal sacrifice among the pagan with the idea of expiation, the victim's blood and death removing guilt and appeasing divine wrath, is evidently a relic from primitive revelation preserved by tradition, though often encrusted over with superstitions. The earliest offering recorded as formally commanded by Jehovah, and of the five animals prescribed, is that of Abraham (Ge 15:9-17). The intended sacrifice of Isaac and substitution of a ram vividly represented the one only true sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, in substitution for us (Genesis 22). (See ISAAC.) Jacob's sacrifices at Mizpeh when parting with Laban, and at Beersheba when leaving the land of promise, were peace offerings (Ge 31:54; 46:1). That sacrifice was known to Israel in Egypt appears from Moses alleging as a reason for taking them out of Egypt that they might hold a feast and sacrifice to Jehovah (3/18/type/mnt'>Ex 3:18; 5:1,3,8,17).
Jethro's offering burnt offerings and peace offerings when he met Israel shows that sacrifice was common to the two great branches of the Semitic stock (Ex 18:12). Balaam's sacrifices were burnt offerings (Nu 23:2-3,6,15); Job's were also (Job 1:5; 42:7-8). Thus the oldest sacrifices were burnt offerings. The fat is referred to, not the blood. The peace offering is later, answering to a more advanced development of social life. Moses' order of the kinds of sacrifices in Leviticus answers to this historical succession. Therefore, the radical idea of sacrifice is in the burnt offering; figuring THE ASCENT of the reconciled, and accepted creature to Jehovah: "'olah" (Le 1:9): his self-sacrificing surrender wholly of body,
As a technical religious term, 'sacrifice' designates anything which, having been devoted to a holy purpose, cannot be called back. In the generality of sacrifices offered to God under the law the consciousness is supposed in the offerer that death, as God's judgement, was on him; hence the sacrifice had to be killed that it might be accepted of God at his hand. In fact the word sacrifice often refers to the act of killing.
The first sacrifice we read of was that offered by Abel, though there is an indication of the death of victims in the fact that Adam and Eve were clothed by God with coats of skins. Doubtless in some way God had instructed man that, the penalty of the fall and of his own sin being that his life was forfeited, he could only appropriately approach God by the death of a substitute not chargeable with his offence; for it was by faith that Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. Heb 11:4. God afterward instructed Cain that if he did not well, sin, or a sin offering, lay at the door.
The subject was more fully explained under the law: "The life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." Le 17:11. Not that the blood of bulls and of goats had any inherent efficacy to take away sins; but it was typical of the blood of Christ which is the witness that they have been taken away for the believer by Christ's sacrifice.
Christ appeared once in the end of the world "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" and He having once died, there remains no more sacrifice for sins. Eph 5:2; 26/type/mnt'>Heb 9:26; 10:4,12,26. Without faith in the sacrificial death of Christ there is no salvation, as is taught in Ro 3:25; 4:24-25; 1Co 15:1-4.
The Christian is exhorted to present his body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is his intelligent service, Ro 12:1: cf. 2Co 8:5; Php 4:18. He offers by Christ the sacrifice of praise to God, and even to do good and to communicate are sacrifices well pleasing to God. Heb 13:15-16: cf. 1Pe 2:5. For the sacrifices under the law see OFFERINGS.
The peculiar features of each kind of sacrifice are referred to under their respective heads. I. (A) ORIGIN OF SACRIFICE. --The universal prevalence of sacrifice shows it to have been primeval, and deeply rooted in the instincts of humanity. Whether it was first enjoined by an external command, or whether it was based on that sense of sin and lost communion with God which is stamped by his hand on the heart of man, is a historical question which cannot be determined. (B) ANTE-MOSAIC HISTORY OF SACRIFICE. --In examining the various sacrifices recorded in Scripture before the establishment of the law, we find that the words specially denoting expiatory sacrifice are not applied to them. This fact does not at all show that they were not actually expiatory, but it justified the inference that this idea was not then the prominent one in the doctrine of sacrifice. The sacrifices of Cain and Abel are called minehah, tend appear to have been eucharistic. Noah's,
and Jacob's at Mizpah, were at the institution of a covenant; and may be called federative. In the burnt offerings of Job for his children
and for his three friends ch.
we for the first time find the expression of the desire of expiation for sin. The same is the case in the words of Moses to Pharaoh.
Here the main idea is at least deprecatory. (C) THE SACRIFICES OF THE MOSAIC PERIOD. --These are inaugurated by the offering of the Passover and the sacrifice of
... The Passover indeed is unique in its character but it is clear that the idea of salvation from death by means of sacrifice is brought out in it with a distinctness before unknown. The law of Leviticus now unfolds distinctly the various forms of sacrifice: (a) The burnt offering: Self-dedicatory. (b) The meat offering: (unbloody): Eucharistic. (c) The sin offering; the trespass offering: Expiatory. To these may be added, (d) The incense offered after sacrifice in the holy place and (on the Day of Atonement) in the holy of holies, the symbol of the intercession of the priest (as a type of the great High Priest) accompanying and making efficacious the prayer of the people. In the consecration of Aaron and his sons,
... we find these offered in what became ever afterward their appointed order. First came the sin offering, to prepare access to God; next the burnt offering, to mark their dedication to his service; and third the meat offering of thanksgiving. Henceforth the sacrificial system was fixed in all its parts until he should come whom it typified. (D) POST-MOSAIC SACRIFICES. --It will not be necessary to pursue, in detail the history of the Poet Mosaic sacrifice, for its main principles were now fixed forever. The regular sacrifices in the temple service were-- (a) Burnt offerings. 1, the daily burnt offerings,
2, the double burnt offerings on the Sabbath,
3, the burnt offerings at the great festivals;
(b) Meat offerings. 1, the daily meat offerings accompanying the daily burnt offerings,
2, the shewbread, renewed every Sabbath,
3, the special meat offerings at the Sabbath and the great festivals,
... 4, the first-fruits, at the Passover,
the firstfruits of the dough and threshing-floor at the harvest time.
Nu 15:20-21; De 26:1-11
(c) Sin offerings. 1, sin offering each new moon
2, sin offerings at the passover, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets and Tabernacles,
3, the offering of the two goats for the people and of the bullock for the priest himself, on the Great Day of Atonement.
... (d) Incense. 1, the morning and evening incense
2, the incense on the Great Day of Atonement.
Besides these public sacrifices, there were offerings of the people for themselves individually. II. By the order of sacrifice in its perfect form, as in
... it is clear that the sin offering occupies the most important: place; the burnt offering comes next, and the meat offering or peace offering last of all. The second could only be offered after the first had been accepted; the third was only a subsidiary part of the second. Yet, in actual order of time it has been seen that the patriarchal sacrifices partook much more of the nature of the peace offering and burnt offering, and that under the raw, by which was "the knowledge of sin,"
the sin offering was for the first time explicitly set forth. This is but natural that the deepest ideas should be the last in order of development. The essential difference between heathen views of sacrifice and the scriptural doctrine of the Old. Testament is not to be found in its denial of any of these views. In fact, it brings out clearly and distinctly the ideas which in heathenism were uncertain, vague and perverted. But the essential points of distinction are two. First, that whereas the heathen conceived of their gods as alienated in jealousy or anger, to be sought after and to be appeased by the unaided action of man, Scripture represents God himself as approaching man, as pointing out and sanctioning the way by which the broken covenant should be restored. The second mark of distinction is closely connected with this, inasmuch as it shows sacrifice to he a scheme proceeding from God, and in his foreknowledge, connected with the one central fact of all human history. From the prophets and the Epistle to the Hebrews we learn that the sin offering represented that covenant as broken by man, and as knit together again, by God's appointment through the shedding of the blood, the symbol of life, signified that the death of the offender was deserved for sin, but that the death of the victim was accepted for his death by the ordinance of God's mercy. Beyond all doubt the sin offering distinctly witnessed that sin existed in man. that the "wages of that sin was death," and that God had provided an atonement by the vicarious suffering of an appointed victim. The ceremonial and meaning of the burnt offering were very different. The idea of expiation seems not to have been absent from it, for the blood was sprinkled round about the altar of sacrifice; but the main idea is the offering of the whole victim to God, representing as the laying of the hand on its head shows, the devotion of the sacrificer, body and soul. to him.
The death of the victim was, so to speak, an incidental feature. The meat offering, the peace or thank offering, the firstfruits, etc., were simply offerings to God of his own best gifts, as a sign of thankful homage, and as a means of maintaining his service and his servants. The characteristic ceremony in the peace offering was the eating of the flesh by the sacrificer. It betokened the enjoyment of communion with God. It is clear from this that the idea of sacrifice is a complex idea, involving the propitiatory, the dedicatory and the eucharistic elements. Any one of these, taken by itself, would lead to error and superstition. All three probably were more or less implied in each sacrifice. each element predominating in its turn. The Epistle to the Hebrews contains the key of the whole sacrificial doctrine. The object of the epistle is to show the typical and probationary character of sacrifices, and to assert that in virtue of it alone they had a spiritual meaning. Our Lord is declared (see)
to have been foreordained as a sacrifice "before the foundation of the world," or as it is more strikingly expressed in
slain from the foundation of the world. The material sacrifices represented this great atonement as already made and accepted in God's foreknowledge; and to those who grasped the ideas of sin, pardon and self-dedication symbolized in them, they were means of entering into the blessings which the one true sacrifice alone procured. They could convey nothing in themselves yet as types they might, if accepted by a true though necessarily imperfect faith be means of conveying in some degree the blessings of the antitype. It is clear that the atonement in the Epistle to the Hebrews as in the New
SACRIFICE, properly so called, is the solemn infliction of death on a living creature, generally by the effusion of its blood, in a way of religious worship; and the presenting of this act to God, as a supplication for the pardon of sin, and a supposed means of compensation for the insult and injury thereby offered to his majesty and government. Sacrifices have, in all ages, and by almost every nation, been regarded as necessary to placate the divine anger, and render the Deity propitious. Though the Gentiles had lost the knowledge of the true God, they still retained such a dread of him, that they sometimes sacrificed their own offspring for the purpose of averting his anger. Unhappy and bewildered mortals, seeking relief from their guilty fears, hoped to atone for past crimes by committing others still more awful; they gave their first-born for their transgression, the fruit of their body for the sin of their soul. The Scriptures sufficiently indicate that sacrifices were instituted by divine appointment, immediately after the entrance of sin, to prefigure the sacrifice of Christ. Accordingly, we find Abel, Noah, Abraham, Job, and others, offering sacrifices in the faith of the Messiah; and the divine acceptance of their sacrifices is particularly recorded. But, in religious institutions, the Most High has ever been jealous of his prerogative. He alone prescribes his own worship; and he regards as vain and presumptuous every pretence of honouring him which he has not commanded. The sacrifice of blood and death could not have been offered to him without impiety, nor would he have accepted it, had not his high authority pointed the way by an explicit prescription.
Under the law, sacrifices of various kinds were appointed for the children of Israel; the paschal lamb, Ex 12:3; the holocaust, or whole burnt- offering, Le 7:8; the sin-offering, or sacrifice of expiation, Le 4:3-4; and the peace-offering, or sacrifice of thanksgiving, Le 7:11-12; all of which emblematically set forth the sacrifice of Christ, being the instituted types and shadows of it, Heb 9:9-15; 10:1. Accordingly, Christ abolished the whole of them when he offered his own sacrifice. "Above, when he said, Sacrifice, and offering, and burnt- offerings, and offering for sin, thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein, which are offered by the law; then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all," Heb 10:8-10; 1Co 5:7. In illustrating this fundamental doctrine of Christianity, the Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, sets forth the excellency of the sacrifice of our great High Priest above those of the law in various particulars. The legal sacrifices were only brute animals, such as bullocks, heifers, goats, lambs, &c; but the sacrifice of Christ was himself, a person of infinite dignity and worth, Heb 9:12-13; 1:3; 9:14,26; 10:10. The former, though they cleansed from ceremonial uncleanness, could not possibly expiate sin, or purify the conscience from the guilt of it; and so it is said that God was not well pleased in them, Heb 10:4-5,8,11. But Christ, by the sacrifice of himself, hath effectually, and for ever, put away sin, having made an adequate atonement unto God for it, and by means of faith in it he also purges the conscience from dead works to serve the living God, Heb 9:10-26; Eph 5:2. The legal sacrifices were statedly offered, year after year, by which their insufficiency was indicated, and an intimation given that God was still calling sins to his remembrance, Heb 10:3; but the last required no repetition, because it fully and at once answered all the ends of sacrifice, on which account God hath declared that he will remember the sins and iniquities of his people no more.
The term sacrifice is often used in a secondary or metaphorical sense, and applied to the good works of believers, and to the duties of prayer and praise, as in the following passages: "But to do good, and to communicate, forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased," Heb 13:16. "Having received of Epaphroditus the things which ye sent, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God," Php 4:18. "Ye are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ," 1Pe 2:5. "By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name," Heb 13:15. "I beseech you, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service," Ro 12:1. "There is a peculiar reason," says Dr. Owen, "for assigning this appellation to moral duties; for in every sacrifice there was a presentation of something unto God. The worshipper was not to offer that which cost him nothing; part of his substance was to be transferred from himself unto God. So it is in these duties; they cannot be properly observed without the alienation of something that was our own,