…VAN EEN VERNUFTIGE MAKELIJ…
(1 Nephi 18:1)
THE LAW OF SACRIFICE – Part 2, The Offering
After Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden, we learn a huge principle regarding the Law of Sacrifice:
5 And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
6 And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
7 And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
8 Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
Members of his church for centuries were commanded to offer to the Lord sacrifices by the shedding of the blood of animals. The sacrifice was a similitude of the sacrifice that Christ would suffer for our sins. Christ literally sacrificed his life, enduring unimaginable suffering, by shedding of blood to bring about the atonement so that all mankind may be redeemed. Only Christ was able to do this. He was called and prepared in the pre-existence, as the son of God he was immortal so he was able to remain alive to suffer enough before he chose to give up the ghost and he was sinless not requiring any punishment according to the law of justice. God would stand by and watch without interfering.
Later after Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden, we gain more insight into the law of Sacrifice. We read:
“And Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan commanded him saying: Make an offering unto the Lord.
And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
An Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offing;
But unto Cain, and to his offing, he had not respect. And Satan knew this, and it pleased him. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” (Moses 5:18-21)
In short, Cain offered vegetables as a burnt offering not a blood sacrifice and the offering was rejected. This was a complete insult of disrespect to God and Jesus Christ. God would send his son to earth to be lifted up on the cross. He would literally sacrifice his beloved son’s life and Jesus Christ would be doing the suffering motivated by their love of all of God’s children. They commanded in return that God’s children remember and respect this great sacrifice that was to come by offering, animal, blood sacrifices at alters. The record says that Satan knew and was pleased that this was offensive to God. He has no respect for the atonement. It was the bases of God’s plan that won-out over Satan’s rival plan. It is also interesting to note that Cain reacted with anger where one would think most people who offend God would react with humility.
Members of the church obeyed the law of sacrifice for centuries until the death of Christ. After his death and resurrection, Christ appeared to the people on the American Continent. The following is the first thing Christ told the inhabitants of the new world after announcing who he was:
“And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost…”
This was a huge change. The law of sacrifice was not done away, but the required sacrifice was changed from animal blood sacrifices on an alter to a personal sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and this new sacrifice that we are commanded to offer is tied to the baptismal covenant.