I read a lot of Biblical commentaries that have little respect for the Old Testament sacrificial system. The most common dismissive remarks call the sacrificial system something like, a barbaric practice for a blood-loving deity. Humm. Seems too many people are unclear on the concept. In fact, those people are guilty of imposing modern expectations on an ancient practice.
I've talked to Jewish folks who are quite proud of the fact that they no longer offer sacrifices for salvation. And yet, that still misses the point. You see, the point of sacrifice is not that God enjoys suffering and slaughter. The point is substitution; a life for a life. And the funny thing is, you--yes, modern urban you--participated in a sacrifice today. If you haven't yet done it today you did it yesterday. If you didn't do it today or yesterday you are either fasting or facing some serious health problems.
You see, every bite of food you put in your mouth is a participation in the sacrificial system. Something died in your place; a life for a life. And don't get all righteous and vegan on me, either. plants are living things, too. To sustain our own life we must kill and consume living things. We moderns have conveniently ignored this fact because we don't do the violent deed ourselves, anymore. No, we pay the farmer, butcher and Sara Lee to murder our fellow creatures and discreetly package them for us. Hey, I'm not knocking eating living creatures, I'm knocking our current, smug hypocrisy.
Which brings me back to the sacrificial system. The whole point of the system is to point out our need. We are not self-contained, self-sufficient creatures. We are not gods. We need life. and we sustain the life within us by taking life from other creatures. The book of Hebrews points out the ultimate futility of the Old Testament sacrificial system; offering daily sacrifices that never end. Those sacrifices were reminders of sin, they never absolved sin. That is the reason Jesus gave his life on the cross for us. His death was a cosmic event. A one-time ultimate sacrifice for sin. Life for life. The sacrificial system and our dependence on food is the daily reminder of our need in this life and a BIG, RED pointer to Jesus the Christ, who offers us life eternal, through the shedding of his blood.
Believe and repent.