Discoveries in ancient caves, carved stones, tombs and excavations have repeatedly shown the inherent need for human to seek its origin and to worship that which gave it life and provided all the material wealth and beauty of the earth. Remnants of fires, ceremonial instruments, fragments of bone and stones shaped to form altars further testified to their feeling that some form of "sacrifice" was the proper method to worship their god(s.) Today, many such rites would be considered inhuman and satanic when they included the slaughter of living beings … even the lower animal life. Blood and fire had a great deal to do with the thought of "sacrifice" … the most treasured possession, the most perfect of animals or fowl, the strongest of adversaries (sometimes even eating the heart of the enemy with the thought that it would give them the strength that their enemy did have.) Pagan, to say the least, in today’s society!
       However, to the ancient peoples, this was the proper way to honor and appease their source of life and sustenance. Only the very best was to be sacrificed. Only the things that they placed most value on was adequate … the most beautiful maiden, the most perfect fruit, the youngest and most tender of the flock. They destroyed that which they cherished most in the world in order to pay homage to that which they owed gratitude for the world.
       This was an innate drive in human that existed in no other element of creation. It was a natural inner knowledge seeking that which brought meaning to all materiality. Without schools, books or philosophers; the knowledge was part of their inbred being. The archaic human produced crude and, in today’s terms, inhuman rituals … but it was the best they could conceive at the time. Through the ages human became more social and compassionate which rendered changes to the rites of human sacrifice.
       In Ur of the Chaldeans there lived a man named Terah. Around 2100 BC (according to The Timetables of History published by Simon & Schuster) Terah took his family from Ur to the land of Canaan. Among the family was Abram (whom God would call Abraham) and his baren wife, Sarai (whom God would call Sarah.)
       And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans. Then Abram [Abraham] and Nahor took wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai [Sarah], and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. (Genesis 11:28-31 NKJ)  
       After Terah died in Haran at the age of 205, God gave Abraham an order and a promise … Leave his country and his kindred to go to a land that would be shown to him and Abraham would establish a great nation and would be greatly blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3 NKJ) At age 75, this was the start of his journey as the first patriarch of Israel. He took with him his wife, Sarah, and his nephew, Lot.
       Abraham had a son, Ishmel, by his bondswoman, Hagar (who was Sarah’s maid), but Sarah remained baren until, in their old age, God gave them a son, Isaac, their pride and joy. When Isaac was about 14 years old, Abraham received instructions from God (as a test of his faithfulness) to take Isaac and offer him as a burnt offering to God.
       Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." And He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you." So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. (Genesis 22:1-13 NKJ)  
       The unblemished lamb became the prime offering to God as it was slain and burned on the altar of God. Abraham built many altars and they became the model of Israel’s worship and the Temple was identified with Abraham’s altar on Mount Moriah.
       Nearly 2000 years passed as the Israelites grew in number, suffered, wandered and prospered … with kings and priests and prophets who foretold of a coming Messiah. The spotless lamb was the blood sacrifice to God and God was always with them in the Arc of the Covenant. In their hunger, God even provided food, which they called Manna, that came down from Heaven. (Ref: Exodus 16:1-31)
by Nathan [April 1997]