Why/how exactly did the shedding of the blood of animals and Jesus cover sin?


Having a bit of trouble understanding the concept.


Deuteronomy 12: 23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood; for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.

The blood is the life. It is used to seal covenants, because covenants are declarations made of our lives and in making you mine and me yours.

The animal blood on the altar was a stand in for our own blood and our fallen state. By splashing the blood on the altar, the blood it stood for, which was unclean by sin, was purified and made clean. Though the truth is that animal blood, even if symbolic, could never truly stand in for us in a perfect way.

It’s not that God desired blood. But blood is precious. It is our life. That is how the culture understood it, and so it was incorporated into worship.

Only the divine man, in which the blood of man is truly in contact with the divine nature and made clean, could redeem us in His blood, and in which it is given as a sign of an everlasting covenant and a declaration that God is adopting us into his family (his blood, in a sense). In the blood, which is life, could God give his divine life with us, and make us brothers and sisters of His Son.

Just a quick sketch. My phone is about to die.


the sacrifice of animals is part of the old covenant

no need to do that anymore

the new covenant is that jesus’ body is the sacrifice once & for all for our salvation


Not just “any animal”, but the first born male, and there may be no more born; you are risking your own life when you sacrifice this, because what do you live on if there are no more.
You give your first fruits of harvest, but what if there are no more due to a sudden storm; again you are called to give your life back into God.

With Jesus, he came to be man giving his whole being into the Father, by doing his will to the point of death. He did give his life to the Father, but he also gave something into us, his whole body and blood. We eat his flesh and drink his blood. When you are handed that wafer, the priest does not say, “a part of the body of Christ”, nor “a drop of his blood”. He says, as he holds that wafer, this wafer is “The Body of Christ”. You consume All of Jesus Body and Blood in that little wafer and that little sip.

Just as the Son, from eternity, pours his whole being into the Father, the Holy Spirit proceeding from him into the Father, so also, from eternity the Father pours his entire being into the Son, the Holy Spirit proceeding from him into the Son. But in time, the Son is also Man, Jesus. In the resurrection, the life poured out into the Father was now the Father pouring his whole being, life, into the Son, and Jesus rose.

But with what Jesus gave us, his body and blood, the Father does not “ignore” this. But pours his whole being into the body and blood of his son, which is in us. The Holy Spirit proceeds into us who have been given the body and blood for resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection was not just to his body on the third day, but to his body. And where is his body, if you went to Mass on Sunday?


What do you mean by covering sin? Do you me forgiven of sin?

The term covering makes me think of Martin Luther, that his belief was that the blood of Christ covers over our sins, liken to a dug pile with white snow covering us. We look good on the out side but under, inside we are still evil.


They are suffering in our place, they are being punished for our sins.


No. It was not a matter of penal substitution. It’s not that the suffering of animals was intended to make up for our sins or satisfy God’s justice. It was a stand in for us, but what you said is not the reason why. At least not in Catholic teaching.

It should also be noted that it was not just animals that were offered. Grains and other such things were offered, too. Another reason for such offerings is the idea that we offer God the first and the best of what we reap. We don’t offer him nothing. We don’t offer him the defects or even what we can do without. We offer him the prizes among what we own. The best. The most perfect. And that is true today. We should put God first, not just in places that least interfere with our lives.


Jesus suffered for us


Let’s suppose that you go out to dinner with your family, and when the food arrives, one meal is not prepared well. You speak to the waitress, and she takes it back to the kitchen. But by the time the second plate arrives, you’ve been waiting a long time.

Now the manager gets involved, and he says, “I’m very sorry. What can we do to make this right in your eyes?” You could thank him and simply let it go. You could ask for a free dessert. You could ask him to take the price of that meal off the ticket. The point is that satisfaction is dependent upon what YOU, the aggrieved party, think is reasonable.

Similarly (I hope), God is the aggrieved party when it comes to our sins which offend him. Therefore, if God asks for the sacrifice of a sheep or His own Son, then that is what we present to Him.

Why? How? Because this is what God has asked for.


This is ALMOST the Jewish understanding of the blood sacrifice. Yes, the life is in the blood. But, the victim had to be unblemished, male. and young, for that matter. It wasn’t the blood that was purified by the altar, but the other way around. The altar was purified by the blood. The Temple altar was dedicated and consecrated with blood, and the repeated sacrifices and sprinkling with blood RE-DEDICATED the altar, at least twice a day (morning and evening sacrifices) SO THAT GOD WOULD NOT DEPART FROM THEM because of their constant and repeated sinning (which desecrated the altar and God’s dwelling in the Holy of Holies).

This blood offering, of course, symbolizes and pre-figures Jesus. Without the Tabernacle offerings in this manner, the manner of Jesus’ death would not be clear, at all.It would not be clear why he had to die (for our sins) on the cross.

People who ridicule the Bible simply don’t understand it. We have to go inside the Bible and submit to it to understand who Jesus is and what he did for us. This is the reason the “old testament” doesn’t just go away after Jesus comes. In fact, C. Joseph Ratzinger says the “new testament” doesn’t make sense without the old testament.

There had been many crucifixions and deaths, but only one that atoned for our sins and the sins of the world.


Thank you! I’ve never quite understood the concept either and these ideas actually make sense to me. And thanks to the OP for posing the question, which I’ve not been able to formulate properly to ask.


Justice is about giving someone what it DUE to them. So the sacrifice, to satisfy God’s Justice, is to give God what is due to him.

Love is what is Justice to God, and for God, the Father doing Justice to the Son is to Love him, to pour his entire life into the Son, from eternity. From eternity he is emptying himself into the Son.
Justice to the Father from the Son is the Son giving or pouring his entire life into the Father, from eternity he is emptying himself into the Father.

Love, Justice for God, is uniting oneself with the beloved by giving oneself into the other.

Sin misses that mark of giving one’s life to God, one’s whole being, when our very being is God giving life to us. So a sacrifice signifying what gives us life (the first born, the first fruits) is given to God. And the Jews “received life from God in return love” by the remainder of the flocks and crops.

But with Jesus, a man actually did full Justice to God, giving his whole life back to the Father, as a human can do, by doing his Father’s will, leading to his only Son whom he loved being the sacrifice. When a human pours out his entire life and being into another, he dies. And Jesus did; Justice from Man was Given to God - his Justice was satisfied - he was given what was due to him, LOVE, by a man. Now he would do justice to the man also; he poured his whole life into his Son (who was both God and Man, and the Man Jesus rose with the glory that only is divine).

But the Man not only gave his life to God, but he gave his flesh and blood to us.
And they live in us with this Justice of God, he is fully living in us with this justice of the Father loving the Son, We were first loved (because Jesus did justice to the Father first and to us, giving love first) and now we have the life of God, the Holy Spirit, with which we can also do justice, give the love due to God, and to one another, pouring out all, and also always receiving all from our God and Father, and from our Lord Jesus.

The blood of the lambs on the doorposts and lintels kept out the angel of death. The blood of the Son is the place sought by the Spirit of the Father to raise his Son. And it is in you who went to Mass and took and ate, took and drank, what was handed to you, with “Amen” on your lips.


Ive wondered about this as well, some good answers on here, I realize it is OT, but it is kind of strange that at one time, our God desired blood sacrifices from mankind, Ive read thru the explanations on here, but its still a bit foggy, im not sure how the blood of an animal in OUR world, or the act of doing it, had any effect, good or bad, on the creator of the universe…maybe I just need to read thru the replies again.


In “The Father’s Plan” bible study, Scott Hahn likens the sacrifice of animals to an alcoholic who is trying to quit drinking. Every day he pours a bottle of booze down the drain, to demonstrate his determination to quit.

The Hebrew people had a really hard time quitting themselves of worshiping the Egyptian gods. God’s requirement was to sacrifice animals that represented the gods of Egypt. (For instance, the bull was considered to be the incarnation of the god Phthah.) However, the blood was NEVER to be eaten. The blood (wherein was the life of the “god”) was always poured out. You didn’t want to take THAT life into you!

Now comes Jesus. A man, so he can freely choose to give himself (the true incarnation of God) as sacrifice. Now we can participate in that true sacrifice, giving our own lives to God. AND we can partake of His precious blood, and receive His divine life into our own.


Well, thanks for writing before the phone died. This makes great sense to me and I have wondered too about the “blood”!
Yours was an answer I could understand… :slight_smile:


Wow, John, what a lot for an old Catholic to think about and savor… I love it…




I have great difficulty in accepting the Father asking for the torture/sacrifice of his innocent Son in order to appease him for the sins of others. First this is patently immoral even if the son volunteered. Secondly, the guilty , at least, at that instance, remained unpunished. Even if the guilty were to be subsequently punished(which will happen upon their death or Final Judgement) , then the punishment would have been inflicted twice which is also immoral. The Just Father must reject this offer of substitution because two wrongs don’t make it right.

This is the Father where the Son says He and I are I. This is the Father that the Son described in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the one who saw from afar that the lost son had came back, ran all the way to embrace him and ordered the finest robe, ring, shoes to cloth him. There is not a whisper of wrath or anger that need to be recompense or appeased.

In the 4 Gospels, not a word of such type of appeasement language was uttered by Jesus. In the OT, atonement language was frequently used in Leviticus but there isn’t very clear example the atonement were to appease God’s anger so as to effect the reconciliation. Reconciliation is one thing, but to appease an angry God isn’t very convincing at all. (Expiation and propitiation carry different meanings.)

Perhaps there are other theories more holistic than can explain this. I am leaning towards the “scapegoat theory” however there are still issues I haven’t come to terms with.

At the moment, I am still stuck with the words of “Jesus died to save us from our sins”. “He bore the sins of the whole world.” Such a basic fact of Christianity and yet I am so block headed to comprehend it. Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention in catechism class.

How did his death actually do that? The world still sin. We still get punished upon death/Judgement. So what does “save us from our sins” really mean? I don’t think it refers to Original Sin either. Add to it is that his death redeemed us all but not all are saved. How did his death redeemed us all? Who was paid off and how did the debt originated? How to put all these together so that all of it makes sense?

Someone please help.


God could just say, your sins are forgiven, and they would be forgiven. so I am not sure that it is for God’s benefit, that blood had to be spilled.

When Jesus spent his time on Earth, he would have lived by the greatest commandments, he could do nothing greater than love all his neighbours as he loves himself. But how did Jesus love those who condemned him to death and nailed him to the cross?

We know he prayed forgive them Father for they know not what they do. But it is also my sins and everyone else’s that nailed Jesus to the cross.

Jesus gave us a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you. Can we forgive our enemies as Jesus did? It seems that nothing should get in the way of loving all our neighbours.

The greatest commandments and the resurrection are profound teachings, that we might never fully understand.


I had to shorten your quote; I talk too much and went past the 6000 character limit…

God’s priests did not sacrifice Jesus, nor torture him. and God did not require any payment for sin, (for missing the mark of true justice)…
The enemies of God killed Jesus, not a religious ritual established by God.

God requires Justice. For God, there is only one Justice toward him: Love with one’s whole being. And he, in his Love does the same for his beloved (for his Son, and for us).

By his Justice to the Father, he poured himself, his whole self, into the Father, by doing the will of the Father, which was “being light and truth in our presence for us to see in our human ability, since we were unable to see spiritually.” We did not like it; we killed him, because the truth looked like it kept us from our Mark Missing (from our own ideas of what makes us alive).
Further, the Father’s will was that he give himself fully into us, so he gave us his flesh and blood to eat.
When a person does the justice of Love, it means to die. Your whole being is now in and for the other.
What we do not see is that same sacrifice of the self in the Trinity. Eternally, the Father is pouring his entire being into the Son, so that the Son has the Unity of the Father within him fully. And the Son pours himself wholly into the Father, so that the Father has the wholeness of the Son united within himself and the Son is nowhere else except in the Father.

And today, when you go to Mass, the whole Jesus, his whole body, all of his blood, will be inside you. That individual wafer you eat, you ericc, is the whole body of Christ, not a portion of it (he is not divisible, you eat his entire body of flesh, then the person behind you is given his whole body of flesh). He is pouring his whole human sensible life into you ericc. You have your beloved in you; you are first loved.

You are dealing with God, with the Father. And in eternity he is pouring himself completely into his beloved Son, whose human body is now in you. He pours himself into the human body of his Son which is in you. Jesus is risen and his whole soul and divinity now dwell alive in and with you, with your soul, as light and truth for you now to know this union of Justice, union of Love, of the beloved united in you.

Jesus began this “circle of Love”, of giving the self into the other (“we love because he first loved us”) with us. And sins are forgiven because of this: Only God can forgive sins, yet he is in us; we leave Mass and pour our lives into others by being light and truth for them to see, and letting them have our good works rather than holding back from those who do injustice to us. It is death, but there is resurrection by the Love of the Father whose Son is in us. There is Justice - love is due to the beloved, and love is given to the beloved (the whole self is given to the beloved), and the beloved lives.

John 6 is the Lover’s song about how he will give himself into his beloved actually, and then be alive in the beloved, making the beloved alive also. And his beloved says she will accept his gift of self when she replies from the mouth of Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

There is no anger in God. His Justice was not appeased with Jesus. His Justice was completed in Jesus, and was given to us for participation in this Love, this Justice.
Forgiven sin means God included us in this participation even though we did not originally do the pouring out of our being in Love into him. He did the Love first before we were able. Love the Lord your God with your whole being, Love your Neighbor. With him in us, by his Spirit, we now present our bodies as a living sacrifice, our whole being pouring daily into him and our neighbor. Justice is happening, divine Justice, of Love, self-giving. And we are like our Father, and we are then in our Father and he in us.

(go to my website below and read about “Law and Grace” - how God sanctifies us, if you want to see more about it.

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