What is the Point of Animal Sacrifice? - Why would God allow such a thing?

Weirdly enough, animal sacrifice keeps coming up more than ever before. (Though, it's possible the reason animal sacrifice keeps popping up is because of what we are discussing in the P40 Ministries Podcast right now.) In my college and career class, animal sacrifice came up as a topic of discussion last week. Then later on, I was discussing some biblical stuff with my sister-in-law, and animal sacrifice came up again.

The one thing I learned was that Christians really, really don't want to discuss animal sacrifices! Many believe that it's too gruesome, weird, and unnecessary. If we're being honest, it's a part in the Bible that we kind of like to pretend doesn't exist. We think of it as a cruel act. We sometimes even wonder why God would command such a thing to be done! When we do acknowledge animal sacrifice, it's often brushed over as something that is antiquated and unnecessary to discuss, since Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

However, I believe that animal sacrifice is something we should discuss today. Though it technically is antiquated because of Jesus's sacrifice, it is important to understand why animal sacrifice was at one time necessary.

Thousands of years ago, when God told the Israelite nation to practice animal sacrifices, He was being merciful... Yes, merciful. You see, people had done a lot of damage to themselves and others as a whole. They were sinful people who were dying in their sins,