In order to understand the idea of sacrifices and offerings, we must go back to the very beginning of the Bible. By Genesis 4, the first sons, Cain and Abel, were practicing an early form of sacrifice: “Later Cain brought some crops from the land as an offering to the LORD. Abel also brought some choice parts of the firstborn animals from his flock. The LORD approved of Abel and his offering, but he didn’t approved of Cain and his offering. So Cain became very angry and was disappointed” (Gen 4:3-5). From the beginning, offerings and sacrifices generally expressed two attitudes: gratitude and repentance. In the case of Cain and Abel, later history of sacrifice might lead us to think that God’s rejection of Cain’s offering was because it wasn’t a blood sacrifice, but the text doesn’t indicate such a conclusion. Cain’s offering was casual and perhaps careless; Abel’s was costly. Cain brought “some crops”; Abel presented “some choice parts.” Cain’s response to God’s correction revealed his heart. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (SACRIFICE/OFFERING)
Wine was one of the most valuable agricultural commodities in Bible times. People grew grapes to make their own wine, and many farmers produced wine for sale as a commercial product. This verse, from Jesus’ parable of the vineyard owner, gives insight into how grapes were grown and made into wine.
Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (CARING FOR A VINEYARD)
To kill an innocent animal seems quite cruel. Our modern sensibilities are often by this requirement. But the lesson is this: Sin is serious! It offends a holy God. Human behavior bears consequences for all of creation. Continue reading ANIMAL SACRIFICE SEEMS BARBARIC AND PRIMITIVIE. WHY WOULD GOD REQUIRE SUCH AN UNPLEASANT RELIGIOUS EXERICSE?
Even in Bible times deer were game animals, and they were permitted in the Israelite diet because they chew the cud and “divide the hoof.” They are admired for their agility and grace, even in difficult terrain, and when they sense danger they are able to run swiftly. As the sole caretakers for fawns, does are gentle. In an arid environment like that of Israel, deer would have had to travel long distances to find water. Beautiful, graceful, swift, and sure-footed, deer were often used by the writers of Scripture to portray personal and spiritual qualities.
Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (DEER)