Incensed with your incense

What could have brought Yahweh to declare the offerings of Israel undesirable after two whole scrolls, Exodus and Leviticus, were dedicated to establishing the sacred tent and prescribing its procedures is neither mindboggling mystery nor monstrous myth. If atonement was the focus one had to be fairly brainnumb to invest in the belief that an animal could be an appropriate propitiation or could amount to suitable acknowledgment of guilt. If fellowship was the focus of the tabernacle an Israelite had to admit to being lonely most of the time.

Away with the killing and burning

The objection was intended to bring about awareness of the inadequacy of minchah and zebach מנחה זבח grain and animal offering. Nothing was going to change until the appointed time anyway, and it was clearly a review that could not be treated as a commendation.  The objection is real.  It is not rhetoric.  As long as the tabernacle (or temple) stood Isrselites could feel that they were still in possession of the way.  Without it there was no reason to believe that a kingdom of priests was functioning.

The alternative was a person whose ears were tuned to God, not to Adam or to the better parts of human nature. God had an effective sacrifice for the human race just as surely as he had a ram to save Isaac’s life and leather coats for Adam and Eve.

Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

Psalms 40:6

The more sobering parts of the law are shown to be temporary and ineffective.  Here are two which have no righteous value.   The Sabbath – Matthew 12:5-8.

Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

The Bread of the Presence – Matthew 12:3-4 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

Who needs symbols when the real has arrived?

Incense is a symbol of prayer, and wood, stone, gold,and silver are not holy things that can affect our approach to God. All the sacred times are equally irrelevant, being matters of the divine timetable.

Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

Isaiah 1:13-14