From the book, ‘Whole Bible Christianity’
Now let’s talk about animal sacrifices, or what I like to call God’s barbecue. Animal sacrifices were never, ever, intended to save anyone. There is no mention anywhere in the Word of eternal life given through the blood of an animal. The best that an animal sacrifice could ever do was show obedience.
By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil. (Proverbs 16:6 NASB95)
If a person’s sacrifice was accepted, then the person was accepted. Accepted does not mean eternal life. It just means that God hears and approves, and/or forgives a sin. This was because the sacrifice was accepted based on a person’s heart, as well as his or her actions. A person who loves God and wants to do what He says will try to present a sacrifice the way God wants. The person who is sloppy shows how little they care. Just like Cain (Genesis 4:3-5).
Animal sacrifice is a shared experience with God and with others in the community. Most sacrifices are parceled out to the people involved (Leviticus 7). Some sacrifices are all God’s, and are burned completely. Parts of the other sacrifices are God’s (the part that is burned up) part is for the priests (for the work of prep and cooking) and part is for the person doing the offering (and family and friends). That’s why I call it God’s barbecue.
The sacrifices were also a reminder of Jesus. They were stand-ins, so to speak, for what would eventually happen with Him. We can think of them as memorials, because that’s how God thought of them. The blood and the burning were like a constant prayer, asking God to treat the people with mercy and grace on the basis of the Ultimate Sacrifice (Jesus).