Hosea 6:6, Jesus and Animal Sacrifice
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
//Hosea is among the first writing prophets, back in the 8th or 9th century BC. At a time when animal sacrifice seemed common, Hosea opposed this practice, as seen in this verse. Hosea foresaw a day when mankind and animals would live in harmony:
In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. –Hosea 2:18
Isaiah and Jeremiah also opposed animal sacrifice. See Jeremiah 7:21-22 and Isaiah 1:11-13. Jesus quoted Hosea directly in Matthew 9:13, and again in Matthew 12:7:
But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
In Keith Akers’ book Disciples, he argues that Jesus, too, opposed animal sacrifice. When Jesus drove the animals from the Temple, he was not objecting to fleecing pilgrims as much as sacrificing animals.
Might Jesus have been hoping to introduce the day of peace that the prophets promised?