And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
I know not, save the Lord commanded me
I feel that Adam’s reasoning for performing sacrifice perfectly captures the simple faith behind so much of our own obedience. Why do you go to church? Pay your tithing? Hold back that insult? Tell the truth that harms you? Perhaps for some of these things we have learned the reason why, but at some point I think the answer for each of us is “I dunno…it just seemed like the right thing to do.”
Now I am a firm believer in doing the right thing because it is the right thing, that is more than reason enough, but at the same time I do believe that there are deeper reasons, even if I do not yet comprehend them. Just as I believe that there are reasons and rules for every behavior in physics, even if I do not know what they all are.
This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father
Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son
In this case we learn what the reason for animal sacrifice was: to signify the greater sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Performing this ritual was to help the disciples of the Old Testament understand that their sins required atoning, and that it would be the blood of the lamb which would ultimately fulfill that need.
But this second line, the one about doing all that we do in the name of the Son, gives us the reason for our other types of sacrifice. Why do you give up your addiction? Your anger? Your idle wastes of time? Because by the Son’s sacrifice you were purchased, and his name is upon you, and now you are to become an embodiment of him. You are to do the things that he would do, and not the things that he wouldn’t. So sacrifice, that you may better become him.