Quotes About Sacrifices

Quotes about sacrifices from throughout Christian History.

Clement of Rome, A.D. 95-96

The Lord, brothers, stands in need of nothing, and he desires nothing of anyone except that confession be made to him. "For," says the elect David, "I will confess to the Lord and that will please him more than a young bull that has horns and hoofs. Let the poor see it and be glad" [Ps. 69:30-32]. And again he says, "Offer to God the sacrifice of praise, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon me in the day of your trouble. I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me" [Ps. 50:14-15]. For "the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit" [Ps. 51:17]. (First Clement 52)

Pseudo-Barnabas, A.D. 120-130

[God] has revealed to us by all the prophets that he needs neither sacrifices, nor burnt offerings, nor oblations. He says it in this way, "'What is your multitude of sacrifices to me?' says the Lord. 'I am weary of burnt offerings, and I do not desire the fat of lambs or the blood of bulls and goats. When you appear before me, who has required this of your hands? … " [Is. 1:11-12]. He has therefore abolished these things that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is without the yoke of necessity, might not have a man-made oblation.

   Again he says to them, "Did I command your fathers when they left the land of Egypt to offer me burnt offerings and sacrifices? Instead, this is what I commanded them: Let none of you cherish any evil in your heart against your neighbor, and do not love a false oath" [Jer. 7:22 & Zech. 8:17]. Therefore, since we possess reason, we ought to perceive the gracious intention of our Father. For he speaks to us, not wanting us to go astray like them but to ask how we should approach him. To us, then, he declares, "The sacrifice that is pleasing to God is a broken spirit. A smell of sweet savor to the Lord is a heart that glorifies him that made it" [Ps. 51:19, poorly quoted]. (Letter of Barnabas 2)

Letter to Diognetus, A.D. 80 - 200

The Christians do not observe the same forms of divine worship as do the Jews. The Jews [are right], then, if they abstain from the kind of service described above[i.e., idol worship] and deem it proper to worship one God as being Lord of all. However, if they offer him worship in the way which we have described [i.e., by animal sacrifices], they greatly err.

   The Gentiles, by offering [sacricifices] to [idols] that are destitute of sense and hearing, furnish an example of madness. [The Jews], on the other hand by thinking to offer these things to God as if he needed them, might justly consider it an act of folly rather than of divine worship. For he that made heaven and earth, and all that is in them, and gives to us all the things of which we stand in need, certainly requires none of those things which he himself bestows on [us]. (ch. 3)

Justin Martyr, c. A.D. 150

But we have received by tradition that God does not need the material offerings which men can give, since, indeed, he himself is the provider of all things. (First Apology 10)

Under [Moses] your nation [i.e., the Jews] appeared unrighteous and ungrateful to God, making a calf in the wilderness. Therefore, God accomodated himself to that nation and commanded them to offer sacrifices, as if to his name, so that you would not serve idols. (Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew 19)

Tatian, c. A.D. 165

Nor even ought the ineffable [unnameable] God to be presented with gifts, for he who lacks nothing is not to be misrepresented by us as though he were needy. (Address to the Greeks 4)

Athenagoras, A.D. 177

As to our not sacrificing, the Framer and Father of this universe does not need blood, nor the odor of burnt-offerings, nor the fragrance of flowers and incense. He is perfect fragrance, needing nothing either within or without.

   The noblest sacrifice to him is for us to know who stretched out and vaulted the heavens, fixed the earth in its place like a center, gathered the water into seas, and divided the light from the darkness. He adorned the sky with stars and made the earth to bring forth seed of every kind. He made animals and fashioned man. When we hold God to be this Framer of all things … and we lift up holy hands to him, what need has he further of a hecatomb [sacrifice of 100 cattle]?

    … And what have I to do with holocausts [whole burnt offerings], which God does not stand in need of? Though indeed it does behoove us to offer a bloodless sacrifice and the service of our reason. (A Plea for the Christians 13)


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