Skip to content

Skip to table of contents


Why Did the Law Require Sacrifices?

Why Did the Law Require Sacrifices?

“The soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have put it upon the altar for you to make atonement for your souls.”LEVITICUS 17:11.

GOD made provision for individuals and for the nation as a whole to atone for their sins by means of sacrifices, or offerings. According to the Law, anyone committing a sin had to rectify the wrong and then present to Jehovah an appropriate offering. Various sins required specific offerings, and these provided a measure of relief from guilt.Leviticus 5:5-7.

Sacrifices provided relief from guilt

On one day each year—Yom Kippur—the high priest entered the Most Holy of the temple with the blood of sacrifices made for his own sins and for those of the people. (Leviticus 16:11, 14, 15) This and the other ceremonies on that day gave everyone a feeling of relief from the accumulated burden of guilt for all the past year’s sins. Without pouring out the blood of the sacrificial animal, no forgiveness could take place “because it is the blood that makes atonement.”Leviticus 16:30; 17:11.

Why does God not just forgive us outright?

Jehovah is willing to forgive “in a large way.” (Isaiah 55:7) But he will never rescind his moral laws. Since God respects his own perfect standards, he cannot simply ignore our imperfections and sins. “The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he.”Deuteronomy 32:4.

Ask yourself: ‘What would happen to society if the authorities just pardoned all criminals and released them from jail? What would happen to the entire universe if God suddenly rescinded his physical laws, such as the law of gravity?’ His moral laws are equally important.

So if no imperfect human could carry out the Law perfectly, what kind of sacrifice is needed to cover our sins?