God clothed Adam and his wife with animal skin. This would have been the first sacrifice, and it was made by God because of their sin. When did man start making animal sacrifices for sin?
ESV - 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
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At least by the time of Cain and Abel (the sons of Adam and Eve), if not before that by Adam himself (though there is not a scriptural reference to this). "In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard." (Genesis 4:3-5) The specific details of how this was conducted are not written, but it is a clear indication of animal sacrifice.
Great question; asked ten years ago, and has gone mostly unnoticed. Genesis 3:21 tells us when innocent animals began to be used to cover man's self-imposed nakedness. It was the beginning of a very challenging practice and cultural concern: how to cover our shame. (the word 'skins' in vs 21 presupposes the death of an animal; it does not, however, state that God slaughtered and skinned the animal. It also doesn't say how many animals were used). Too many assumptions have been traditionally made about this; assumptions don't gain us insightful understanding. I don't think God killed the animals for them; nowhere do we read that he did; they had to learn to do it! This was a beginning for them that had to be continued; they would need to begin killing animals and harvesting the hides for clothing. How long did it take the animal skins to cure that God used to clothe Adam and Eve? These are not empty questions; to ponder the practical nature of this process is to gain a better understanding of the institution of "animal sacrifice" as an act of worship. It didn't start as worship but as a way to hide their shame, and to bring attention to it also. (let that marinate) clothing is an admission of shame for our natural body. Here's a question: how long were animal skins used to clothe people? Another question: when did plant life (Adam and Eve's idea of how to cover their nakedness) become a reality and a preferred practice? Somewhere in time clothing began to be made by weaving fibers to make fabrics. The first mention of "clothing" is in Genesis 27:29 when Joseph's big brother Reuben "tore his clothes" after he went back to the pit that he and his brothers had thrown Joseph into, and the boy was gone. When did cloth replace animal skins? It doesn't matter; it was much bigger than just covering our genitals! Why did they start wearing turbins? Is there something shameful about our heads? Well, yes. Isaiah 1:5,6 - The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores... (He isn't talking about a person, he's talking about a whole nation of people and their leaders). There's a lot about us that's shameful: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift running to evil... (Proverbs 6:17,18) Genesis 3:21 ~ And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins and clothed them. It says God made the garments but it doesn't say he killed the animals he used to make the garments. Again, I don't believe God killed the animals; I believe they had to do it. I believe animal sacrifice as an act of worship was foreshadowed in this cultural way long before it was recognized for its doctrinal and ecclesiastical purposes. (the Son of God would be our substitute in the way that a lamb was used to portend the concept. Did God put the Lamb to death, or was it us, the people God was saving (covering))? Animal sacrifice wasn't used to clothe Aaron, the high priest. The breeches or underpants (Lev 6:8-10), the girdle, ephod, the linen coat, and the breastplate of judgment (Lev 8), were pieces of the holy clothing that the high priest wore; they were all made of pure white fabric, and contained embroidery patterns that were symbolic for the wearer and the viewer. What does it all mean? It all points to Jesus, the Lamb that was slain (sacrificed) before the world was founded (Rev 13:8); He is also the High Priest over the house of God... (Heb 10:21) No animal was sacrificed for the holy clothing the high priest wore. The priestly garments were holy; Adam and Eve's animal skin covering was not... Animal sacrifice was never meant to endear us to God. We can't get to God without our High Priest (John 14:6), who wears the holy garments. (righteousness)
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