User Tools

Site Tools


Does God Require a Sacrifice

(for the atonement of sins)

Also see section in brother article A sacrifice is not required.

The claim that Christians make is that without blood being shed, there is no atonement for Sin, and Jesus was that ultimate sacrifice.

Hebrews 9:22 (KJV) (NIV) (RSV)
22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:22 is the claim that without the shedding of blood there is no atonement. This is a big one. It certainly looks ominous – it's quite an important point he's making.

However, I will provide the following examples of why this is a logically inconsistent statement and how early Christian eisegises alters the Old Testament source texts of Christianity.

Is Blood Really Required?

In study bibles the cross reference is to Leviticus 17:10-11. Yet this passage is only a prohibition against the eating (or drinkig) of blood. It isn't about forgiveness of sins, cleansing, or anything like that (cross-ref with Leviticus 10:18 “18 Since its blood was not taken into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the goat in the sanctuary area, as I commanded.””). It's just a prohibition against eating blood.

Secondly, in at least Leviticus 5:11 we see that if someone was not able to bring a blood sacrifice, he could substitute a day's sustenance worth of flour.

Therefore it seems blood is not actually required, and is in fact downplayed as a requirement in the Torah. What is required seems to be a sacrifice of some kind – the point being made of such a ritual being performed.

What is really required then?

It seems from these passages ex. Leviticus 5:5 that what God really wants is repentance. The blood sacrifice is a nice touch but isn't actually a requirement (as shown above):

Leviticus 5:5-6 (KJV)
5 And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: 6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.

So! As we see a sacrifice (not even a blood sacrifice) is the “really important thing” here but the acknowledgement of one's guilt, his repentance and his return to the Lord!

We find this confirmed all over the bible ex. Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Please see below for a more complete list of passages.

Accidental vs. Intentional

Furthermore, sacrifice only atoned for accidental sin, not intentional sins (Lev 4:1-2, and Num 15:24-31). The difference is maybe something like going to a barber, falling asleep, and waking up to find the barber shaved off your beard, and you're really sorry, versus shaving it off yourself in the full knowledge you shouldn't have done that.

Passover Sacrifice

The Passover sacrifice equated to Jesus (1 Cor 5:7) is unrelated to sin and atonement, and not mentioned as part of any sacrificial system for sin, but rather as a symbol for freedom from Egypt

Sacrifice was not the only method to atone for sin. (Psalm 40:7 or 6 in some versions) (which was contradicted or mistranslated in Hebrews 10:5). Not only do the below verses provide examples of sin being atoned for without sacrifice, but the town of Nineveh and the story of Esther give us two concrete stories in the Old Testament where sins are forgiven, even en-masse, without an atoning sacrifice.

More Verses (Exegesis)

Forgiveness via Repentance

13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.2 Samuel 12:13 (KJV)

Sacrifice vs. Repentance & Keeping the Commandments

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is[a] a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.Psalms 51:16-19 (NIV)


  • I Sam 15:22
  • Micah 6:6-8
  • Hosea 14:2-3
  • I Kings 8:46-50
  • Proverbs 10:2
  • Proverbs 11:4
  • Proverbs 16:6
  • Proverbs 21:3
  • Hosea 6:6
  • Daniel 4:27


Vicarious atonement is verboten in the OT. See Ezekiel 18:1-4,19-32 (as well as 'more verses' above).

Unfortunately this conclusion stands in direct contradiction to Hebrews 9:22, II Cor 5:21, (and others).

My speculation on how this happened, is that Christians failed to consider how Judaism reacted in the wake of the diaspora and exilic periods between temples, and in turn created an untenable contradictory foundation.


does_god_require_a_sacrifice.txt · Last modified: 2018/03/03 12:07 by serena