God states that he did NOT speak to Israel or command them to offer burnt offerings when they came out of Egypt. This shows that this was a later addition in the law which only came about because of their transgressions against him
Jeremiah 31- 21Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. 22For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. 24But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
Abel’s offering was according to the law.
Genesis 4- 4And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
There is NO record in scripture of Abel being commanded or instructed by God to offer his offering. It therefore has to be asserted that Abel was doing so according to the oral law that existed before but was the same as the law that was given in writing through Moses.
So let’s have a look at the law regarding the firstling
Exodus 13- 12That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S.
The first thing to notice is WHEN this was stated as being in effect which is recorded in the previous verse
Exodus 13- 11And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee
So it only came into effect IN the promised land, just like the rest of the law.
Notice that it very clearly states that the MALES shall be the LORD’S
The Hebrew word for firstling in Exodus is פֶטֶר Peter. It simply means the firstborn but does NOT mean firstborn male,it just means the firstborn. So if the firstborn was female then it would not belong to the LORD. It would NOT be sacrificed. ONLY if the firstborn was a male would it be the LORD’S. This is important.
The law is also stated in Deuteronomy 15
Deuteronomy 15- 19All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep.
The Hebrew word for firstling in Deuteronomy is בְּכוֹר Bekor this is MALE
However when we go back and look at the offering of Abel we will see that the Hebrew word used for firstling is בְּכוֹרָה bekorah . This is actually FEMININE. Abel offered a FEMALE not a male.
This is even how the youngs literal translation renders it
Genesis 4- 4 and Abel, he hath brought, he also, from the female firstlings of his flock, even from their fat ones; and Jehovah looketh unto Abel and unto his present,
Abel was not in the promised land which is when the law took effect and neither did he offer a male firstling as per the law of the firstling.
We must also notice the command as per the law to eat the offering (within thy gates is a reference to THEIR portion of the promised land)
Deuteronomy 15- 22Thou shalt eat it within thy gates: the unclean and the clean person shall eat it alike, as the roebuck, and as the hart. 23Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof; thou shalt pour it upon the ground as water.
Abel as already stated was not in the promised land and there is NO reference to him eating the offering. In fact there is no mention of this offering being killed. It is assumed that Able killed the firstling as an offering but the scripture does not say that Abel sacrificed the animal only that he offered it. If Abel was not offering as per the law then there would have been no need to kill it at all. The fact the Bible does not state that the animal was sacrificed or eaten at least supports the fact that it was neither killed or eaten. As it wasn’t until after the flood that meat was allowed to be eaten it is very unlikely that Abel ate his offering had he killed it or not. Therefore he would not have been offering as per the law had he killed the offering or not.
The claim that Abel’s offering was that of the law is nothing more than proof by assertion and can be dismissed as such.
How did Noah know to build an altar and sacrifice?
So the claim being that Noah knew how to build an altar and sacrifice as he was following the law.
As there is no command to do either in the text it is just as easily asserted, if we simply wish to assert, that Noah did so because he chose to do so. There are many things that humans did throughout the Bible narrative that God did not command such as sacrificing children. Men did this yet I can’t imagine anyone trying to argue that God commanded men to do so and it most certainly is not part of the law. If we accept that Abel’s offering was not as per the law then offerings that were not part of the law can be shown to have taken place all the way back to Abel.
If Noah building an altar is used as proof that he did so as per the law then we must ask why the first use of an altar is by Noah himself. There is NO record of anyone building an altar before Noah. If everyone before Noah were under the oral law why does
the Bible not record anyone building an altar as per the law? To assert without scriptural evidence that Noah’s sacrifice and building of an altar is that as per the law is to commit the fallacy of association.
But again let’s look at Noah’s sacrifice.
Genesis 8- 20And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Noah took one of EVERY clean beast and EVERY clean fowl. There simply is no law that states to do this. While Noah may have built an altar and made sacrifice on the altar which LATER became part of the law in no way can show that Noah was following the law in regards to his sacrifice seeing there is no law that would require him to sacrifice one of EVERY clean beast and fowl. Again we see no command for Noah to do so and so again it has to be asserted that Noah was following the law which is simply the fallacy of assertion. Noah did not sacrifice as per the law as no law requires a sacrifice that Noah made.
There is no record of Abel and Noah keeping the rest of the law. There is no record of them keeping Sabbath or tithing. We do not see either one being circumcised.
How did Abraham know how to build an altar?
Well altar building can be shown to go back to Noah so it could simply be that after Noah built his altar people started building altars. This is an assumption but it is just as reasonable an assumption as to assume that Abraham was following the law.
Interestingly when Abraham builds his first and second altar to the LORD there is NO record of any sacrifice just the building of the altar.
Genesis 12-7And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 8And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD
There is no record of any sacrifice being made on Abraham’s 3rd or 4th altar either
Genesis 13- 4Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.
Genesis 13- 18Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.
Now Abraham’s first record of making a sacrifice was AFTER he had just been stopped from sacrificing his son.
Genesis 22- 9And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
God provided for him a sacrifice. This sacrifice was not the choice of Abraham but the command of God, a substitute sacrifice provided by God.
Genesis 22- 11And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. 13And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son
This was NOT a sacrifice as per the law.
Abraham is never recorded in scripture making a burnt offering apart from this one time. Nowhere is there any record of Abraham sacrificing as per the law.
We see that Abraham was instructed to be circumcised and all his family. However the law states circumcision must be done on the 8th day. Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised. He was not circumcised as per the law. Circumcision was instigated through Abraham. It later became part of the law but CANNOT be shown as being done as part of an oral law. It was done by command of God as a sign of his covenant with Abraham. This was later included in the law given through Moses.
If God could include something in the law that was instigated before the law then there is no reason why God could not include the offering of Abel and Noah’s building of an altar into the law when the law was given.
There simply is no evidence beyond assertion and association that the law was kept in oral form before it was given through Moses.