The Old Testament clearly states that God stands opposed to human sacrifice. For example, in Deuteronomy 12:31 He said, "You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods." Deuteronomy 18:10 adds, "There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering." Since God hates human sacrifice, how could the sacrifice of Jesus serve as payment for our sins?
Since God hates human sacrifice, how is it that Jesus' sacrifice could be the payment for our sins?
First, Jesus was not merely human; He was both fully God and fully man (John 1:1). His sacrifice was clearly painful, but was only temporary. As God in human form, Jesus is unique in His person and in His ability to serve as a perfect sacrifice on behalf of humanity.
Second, Jesus voluntarily gave His life on the cross; the Father did not force him to be sacrificed. This makes the action of Jesus on the cross a willing, loving gift rather than a cruel punishment by parent. Jesus said, "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again" (John 10:18).
Third, human sacrifice was permanent; the death of Jesus was only temporary. Jesus knew beforehand He would return victoriously from the dead. He appeared to many people over a period of 40 days, proving Himself as the risen Savior. We are even told He appeared to more than 500 people at one time: "Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:6).
Fourth, the sacrifice of Jesus was necessary. In the same Old Testament that commanded against human sacrifice, there are prophecies of one who would come and be punished on our behalf. Isaiah 53:4-5 shares, "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."
God is opposed to human sacrifice and even states he "hates" it. The sacrifice of Jesus, however, was an act of love that offers eternal life to all. It is different and unique in the sense that Jesus is both human and divine, Jesus voluntarily gave His life, His death was temporary, and His death was necessary to complete God's plan to provide redemption through Jesus Christ.
Why did Jesus have to die?
Why was a blood sacrifice required in the Old Testament sacrificial system?
Why is Christianity so bloody?
How is Jesus' sacrifice propitiation for our sins?
How is Jesus the Lamb of God?
Truth about Salvation