Many believe the first sacrifice occurred in the Abraham/Isaac story, where God tested Abraham and asked him to sacrifice Isaac. After God intervened and told Abraham to stop just before he was going to slay Isaac, we read:
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." (Genesis 22:13-14)
This was a picture of what was to come. Some 2000 years later Christ would be offered as a sacrifice in the exact same spot (Mt Moriah), with thorns in his head just like the lamb, as our ultimate sacrifice! However, this was not the first animal sacrifice.
The first animal sacrifice occurred in Genesis chapter 3 after man's first sin.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. (Genesis 3:6-7)
Adam and Eve first tried to cover their sin themselves with fig leaves. It was manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first attempt at Ã¢â‚¬Å“religionÃ¢â‚¬Â. This is a picture of all the religions outside of Christianity today. Every single religion except Christianity teach that man can bridge the gap between himself and God, that through works man can reconcile himself to God, and that ultimately many paths lead to God. But the Bible teaches the opposite, that there is only one way, through the blood of God the Savior (there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:12). The Old Testament established a foreshadowing of the ultimate Lamb with animal sacrifice. The very first sacrifice occurs after the very first transgression, just a few verses after Adam & Eve tried to cover their sin themselves:
For Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)
Tunic of skin clearly indicates an animal had to be sacrificed. We know from Hebrews that:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“According to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Hebrews 9:22)
This was a Ã¢â‚¬ËœtypeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ of Christ, a foreshadowing or Ã¢â‚¬Å“reminderÃ¢â‚¬Â, because we know ultimately God himself would have to be the substitute:
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:3-4, 14).
So the first sacrifice, a picture of the gospel, was in the 3rd chapter of the Bible, Genesis 3. All essential Christian doctrines have their basis in the foundational book of the Bible, Genesis.
Edited by Bonedigger, 21 August 2013 - 04:17 PM.
Corrected Genesis reference typos