Leviticus 3-7: The Sacrifices pt.2

We saw how in every day the gospel is imprinted every morning and every night: that when the Israelites wake up, they see the burnt offering which preaches the message of both sin and reconciliation simultaneously (so as not to ‘guilt-trip’ them every morning, yet also remind them of their position in God’s grace!); and every night they thank God for the day through the grain offering which also preaches the message of urgency with the combination of oil and unleavened bread.

Let’s turn to the last three types of offerings in Leviticus.

1.  Fellowship Offering (3:1-17; 7:11-21, 28-34)

2.  Sin Offering (4:1-5:13; 6:24-30)

3.  Guilt Offering (5:14-6:7; 7:1-7)

4.  Conclusion for the fundamental five offerings

5.  Breakdown of the Priests and the (Peace) Offerings (7:11-21)

1.  Fellowship Offering (3:1-17; 7:11-21, 28-34)

In the ESV subtitle it is also named as “peace offering” which is suitable, but does not actually reflect the expression of thankfulness and love for the LORD like “fellowship” offering.  Fellowship implies a certain sense of unity amongst diversity, but “peace” offering sounds very much like an overly personal affair; as if salvation is something personally wrought and personally experienced, when it is just as much something experienced as a church body of Christ.

Voluntary Offering and the “fat” portions

Unlike the previous two offerings of burnt and grain offering, this one is a bit different: it is voluntary.  Secondly, where the previous offerings required the worshipper to give up the sacrifice in totality (through different means), the person who sacrificed the animal can actually eat the sacrifice.  The relevant passages are found in chapter 7:11-21:

11“And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the LORD. 12If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice(DZ) unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour(EA) well mixed with oil. 13(EB) With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving he shall bring his offering with loaves of leavened bread. 14And from it he shall offer one loaf from each offering, as a(EC) gift to the LORD.(ED) It shall belong to the priest who throws the blood of the peace offerings. 15And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings(EE) for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering. He shall not leave any of it until the morning. 16But(EF) if the sacrifice of his offering is a vow offering or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and on the next day what remains of it shall be eaten. 17But what remains of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burned up with fire. 18If any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten on the third day, he who offers it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be credited to him. It is(EG) tainted, and he who eats of it shall bear his iniquity.

19“Flesh that touches any unclean thing shall not be eaten. It shall be burned up with fire. All who are clean may eat flesh, 20but the person who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of the LORD’s peace offerings(EH) while an uncleanness is on him, that person shall be cut off from his people. 21And if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether(EI) human uncleanness or an(EJ) unclean beast or any(EK) unclean detestable creature, and then eats some flesh from the sacrifice of the LORD’s peace offerings, that person shall be cut off from his people.”

There is a lot of detail behind these verses.  And there is much similarity between this offering and the grain offering, save the voluntary nature of the type of sacrifice to be given (an animal from the herd, lamb, goat – all covered between v. 1-17 of chapter 3).  What unites these three types of peace offerings is this (v.16-17):

All fat is the LORD’s. 17It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, in all your dwelling places, that you eat neither(O) fat nor(P) blood.”

We understand that in the blood is the life (Genesis 9:4), and now we also understand that fat and blood are somewhat related.  Genesis 4:4 compared with Genesis 45:18 suggests that what is ‘fat’ is the best portion (the “fat” of the land; the “fat” portions) – therefore, Abel understood quite clearly the meaning not only of burnt offering, but also of this peace offering combined.  Burnt offering speaks of propitiation, but it is also a matter of thankfulness – hence, the worshipper is not only providing the LORD with the life of the sacrifice, but also the best portion of the sacrifice!

Of course, we learn much about Jesus through the peace offering, and something about the worshipper as well.  The worshipper should give the best portions to the LORD in response to his initiating love for us; yet this “best portion” business stems from Christ offering the best of himself to the LORD.  It is the Christ who, as a male young and without blemish, in the prime of his life (~30 years old), who offered himself willingly and voluntarily to appease the wrath of Himself and of His Father against sin and sinner.  This offering is one that is given wholeheartedly, expressed through the message of giving the “best portion” of the sacrifice to the LORD.

There is more to be said about fellowship offering in Chapter 7 v.12 and v.16 pertaining to the priestly duties which I will cover below.

Eating the offering and the Holy Communion

On the point about eating the offering, the person sacrificing the animal is shown to be allowed to invite brethren to enjoy the meat at the tabernacle in the presence of the Seen God in the Holy of Holies.  This is the reason why I think ‘fellowship’ offering is far better than relying on the ESV translation of ‘peace’ offering – because there is now an image of the smaller fellowships of Israel congregating outside the tabernacle, having their self-sacrificial meal with the LORD.

This message is quite profound.  Unlike the last two burnt and grain offerings; and the following two concerning sin and guilt offering, the voluntariness and the grounded nature of this offering points to the importance of this offering is a natural outshoot of our Christian lifestyle.  Do we want to enjoy our fellowship with God, or do we want to go to ‘heaven’ where God does not preside (i.e. the Islamic heaven)?  Do we want to eat with God, or do we want to make God our omnipotent genie?

The fellowship offering therefore points towards the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in Revelation 19:6-9 – we will take part in consuming from the same table which the LORD eats; we will take part in consuming from the same food which the LORD partakes.

There is only one time that the fellowship offering is made compulsory, which is the Feast of Pentecost mentioned earlier in Exodus and later in Leviticus 23.  I have already spoken that the Feast is one which prophesies the coming of the Holy Spirit, and is a clear expression of the forward looking hope of New Creation – and there is no doubt that this fellowship offering speaks the same message of the Marriage Feast with the LORD which even Exodus 24, the manna, and the bread of presence merely point towards.

As application: the fellowship offering as we know it should be a time of spiritual intimacy and further bonding within the family (Deuteronomy 12:7):

7And(A) there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and(B) you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the LORD your God has blessed you.

and Jude 12:

12These are hidden reefs[a](A) at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear,(B) shepherds feeding themselves;(C) waterless clouds,(D) swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead,(E) uprooted…

May we try and understand the utter importance of the Holy Communion and that though it is a physical manifestation of the spiritual truth, our LORD isn’t only Spirit, but he is also MAN – and he will come down to eat with us in New Jerusalem in physical form, just as we partake the meal with him in our physical bodies.

2.  Sin Offering (4:1-5:13; 6:24-30)

The purpose for sin offering is cleansing.  This is easily explainable by just how there is so much focus on hygiene in these few chapters.  What is interesting to note again is how the priest represents the people of Israel, just like Christ represents us:

3if it is the anointed priest who(S) sins, thus bringing guilt on the people…

Here, there is no real concept of sin being something entirely personal.  If anything, sin affects other people: in the context of the high priest, his sin and his righteousness is imputed onto the people of Israel because he stands as a representative for us before the Father in heaven.

What is very interesting about sin offering, and unlike burnt offering, is the focus on the different types of unintentional and intentional sins.

Unintentional and intentional sins

The division may be a bit technical, pedantic or perhaps artificial: is there such thing as an intentional or unintentional sin, or even a ‘level’ of sins?  In fact, yes!  However, remember that all sins are seen as a breaking of covenant (Galatians 5:3), each and every sin explains something of our standing with Christ, and the consequent of the sin.  The sin of the high priest is far more serious and needs more sin offering cleansing than failing to testify at court – because the implication of the high priest sinning actually concerns the entire congregation which relies on the high priest as mediator, just as we rely on Christ as mediator.  If Christ sins, then the implications are gigantic.  However, by failing to testify at court, the implication isn’t comparatively as destructive, although both sin represents a lack of our faithfulness to Him.  Yet, these laws, these 613 commandments from God, are just there to add to our transgressions, to show how utterly incapable it is for us to be like God, unless we stand IN the everlasting ark, Christ.

Numbers 15:28-31 displays unintentional sin with defiant sin:

28(A) And the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who makes a mistake, when he sins unintentionally, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. 29(B) You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them. 30(C) But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31Because he has(D) despised the word of the LORD and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.”

However, there are times when we DO sin defiantly, knowing that we ARE sinning.  What does that mean?  Does that mean we should be cut off permanently?  NO – the “defiant” and the “unintentional” sin has very specific definitions.  The definition of the sin lies in the heart of the sinner.  Do you have a heart of repentance, of true repentance whatever sin you may have committed?  The defiant sin is done wilfully without repentance of any sort; but the unintentional sin, which the sinner later realises or the sin is brought to his/her attention and knowledge, causes deep sorrow in the heart of the Christian.  That is why Paul’s heart is one of repentance, despite his sinful nature in Romans 7:19:

19(A) For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

That is why the context of Numbers 15 is important, given the example of a man gathering wood on the Sabbath: this man is completely unrepentant, and doesn’t even say anything nor show any expressions of remorse.  Numbers 15:28-31 indicates that this man should simply be executed.  In the physical church of God, we should not allow non-seekers remain; they should be ostracised.  To remain within the physical church, to claim to be a spiritual descendant of Abraham, but to continue a life of non-repentance, a life of non-redemption, is to live a life of defiant sin, ignorantly denying the knowledge of God and his statutes.

This is actually quite different from saying that if you still sin (even after repenting of other sins), then you are going to lose your salvation.  No.  The message preached in Hebrews (about running the race of faith, hearing God when he speaks to you, and especially chapter 10:26-29) is that of defiant sin, exemplified by the unrepentant man gathering wood on the Sabbath.  Here is a man who had always belonged to the physical Israel: he expresses no remorse and presumptively assumed that being physically part of Israel is sufficient.  But he misunderstood the significance of the Sabbath and wants to continue in his ignorance.  Thus, the unregenerate heart, which rejects Jesus will continue to reject Jesus for failing to look to Christ. But the regenerate, with the Spirit dwelling within, will continue to look to Christ for he is the perfecter and founder of our faith (Hebrews 12).

Common similarities and differences of the sin offering

There is a common refrain for each subsection of sin: that the sin is brought to the attention of the sinner, or that the sinner becomes aware of it.  This is very important.  The current Catechism of the Catholic Church sees the Pope explaining there is no condemnation for unintentional or ignorant sins.  But, the message shown in Leviticus is very different: each unintentional sin needs the cleansing offered from the blood.

Another common refrain is the fat of the animal is offered to the LORD, as well as the rest of the animal being brought outside to a clean place, to the ash heap, and burnt up on a fire of wood; on ash heap it is burnt up.  (Chapter 4:8-12, 19-21).  This refrain however only refers to the unintentional sin of the HIGH PRIEST and the CONGREGATION.  For the LEADER and the COMMON PERSON/PEOPLE, only a sacrifice and blood needs to be given: there is no mentioning of burning of the flesh at the ash heap, although there is mentioning of the fat being offered (Chapter 4:26, 35).  Finally, for the rest of the sins mentioned in Chapter 5:1-11, only atonement needs to be made: no mentioning of fat, nor ash heap/burning of flesh.

For all the sin offerings, the priest does the offering either for himself, or for others, representing the mediatorial nature of the priest.

The different types of sin offering

Thus, we begin with the high priest’s unintentional sin:

4He shall bring the bull to the(U) entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD and lay his hand on the head of the bull and kill the bull before the LORD. 5And the anointed priest(V) shall take some of the blood of the bull and bring it into the tent of meeting, 6and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and(W) sprinkle part of the blood seven times before the LORD in front of the veil of the sanctuary. 7And the priest(X) shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense before the LORD that is in the tent of meeting, and(Y) all the rest of the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting.

Then we continue with the congregation’s unintentional sin:

the assembly shall offer a bull from the herd for a sin offering and bring it in front of the tent of meeting. 15And the elders of the congregation(AH) shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD, and the bull shall be killed before the LORD. 16Then(AI) the anointed priest shall bring some of the blood of the bull into the tent of meeting, 17and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD in front of the veil. 18And he shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar that is in the tent of meeting before the LORD, and the rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting.

Then we continue with the leader’s unintentional sin:

he shall bring as his offering a goat, a male without blemish, 24and(AO) shall lay his hand on the head of the goat and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD; it is a sin offering. 25(AP) Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering. 26And all its fat he shall burn on the altar, like(AQ) the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. So(AR) the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin, and he shall be forgiven.

Then we continue with the common people’s unintentional sin

he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. 29(AU) And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill the sin offering in the place of burnt offering. 30And the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. 31And(AV) all its fat he shall remove,(AW) as the fat is removed from the peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a(AX) pleasing aroma to the LORD.(AY) And the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. 32“If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring(AZ) a female without blemish 33(BA) and lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and kill it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. 34Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar.

Then we have a multitude of sins:

(i)  Failing to testify as a witness (Chapter 5:1)

(ii)  Touching unclean thing (v.2-3)

(iii)  Rash oath (v.4) – verses shown here:

1“If anyone sins in that he hears a public(BD) adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall(BE) bear his iniquity; 2or(BF) if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean wild animal or a carcass of unclean livestock or a carcass of unclean swarming things, and it is hidden from him and he has become unclean, and he realizes his guilt; 3or if he touches(BG) human uncleanness, of whatever sort the uncleanness may be with which one becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and realizes his guilt; 4or if anyone utters with his lips a(BH) rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people(BI) swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these; 5when he realizes his guilt in any of these and(BJ) confesses the sin he has committed, 6he shall bring to the LORD as his compensation[d] for the sin that he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.

For these sins, if the sinner cannot bring a lamb for atonement, then they should bring two turtledoves and two OR two pigeons.  If the sinner cannot bring two turtledoves OR two pigeons, then they should bring a tenth of an ephah of fine flour like a grain offering – however, these three options are all sin offering and are offered similar to burnt offering, or grain offering (for the fine flour) – but they are all considered as sin offering.

Concluding thoughts on Sin Offering

There is clearly a progression over the seriousness of the sin in these various instances, from the gravest to the least offensive.  However ‘small’ the sin may be, a sacrifice of life needs to be given.  Can you imagine how many animals were killed innocently in the process?  A lamb for atonement, just because you fail to testify at court?  Two pigeons killed innocently, because you touched a carcass of an unclean wild animal?

God is teaching something entirely important here: the necessity of cleansing; which is synonymous with holiness.  The flip side, therefore, points to sin as being dirty.  Many may consider sin as a corruption of morality/ethics – but not many consider sin as something dirty.  We know that dirt does not coagulate only in one person’s heart: it effectively influences other people as well.

Beginning with the first two: the high priest’s and the entire congregation’s sin identically needs the blood of the bull, the laying of hands on the head of the bull, the blood being sprinkled onto the dividing veil 7 times (a number representing the Sabbath, representing God, representing perfection), and then the blood being smeared onto the horn of the altar of incense and the rest on the altar of burnt offering.  The blood is everywhere!  Yet, the blood covers the veil; it covers the altar of incense (Revelation 5:8; Malachi 1:11 – the incense representing the prayers of the church); it covers the burnt offering altar (meaning propitiation).  Thus, the blood of the animal sacrifice will provide the cleansing for the veil which protects us from the Father, through the prayer of us, the saints, which cannot be heard if there is no blood on the propitiation!  This is very thorough, and indeed points out the seriousness of the sins of the high priest as akin to the entire congregation.  The high priest is tied up to the congregation: he doesn’t just die for the individual; our High Priest Jesus Christ died for the entire church.

This is also an interesting thing to note: unlimited atonement does not actually teach universalism (the idea that Jesus died for the entire world, therefore the entire world will be saved regardless of whether they acknowledge Christ’s death on the cross or not as their personal salvation).  Rather, the message of the high priest and the congregation offering the same offering when they commit unintentional sin shows just how the high priest acts only for the congregation, and that the blood only works for the congregation.  Yet, the congregation is ever expanding – the numbers in Israel are always growing.  The blood which the high priest offers will continually apply to those who JOIN the church in Christ, their true pre-destination (Eph 1) – the blood of the high priest does not elect who should or shouldn’t take part in this blood sacrifice.  If you may, it is blind to the individual person: but it is simply applying the blood to the entire church in the Elect One.

The extra message of the ash heap for the HIGH PRIEST’s and the CONGREGATION’s unintentional sin preaches the message of the remaining flesh which has neither fat of the flesh, nor blood – it is subsumed in the fire of punishment far away from the tabernacle, far away from the presence of the LORD.  That is what happens to the sinner’s body – and that is the message preached for the high priest’s/congregation’s sin.  If Jesus had failed to complete his duty, then all of us would have had that same destiny.

This is why I think the message of the ash heap and the wood-fire is not preached for the leader’s and common people’s sin.  Not that the sin is less offensive in God’s eyes, but the message of the church’s/Christ’s sin is tied up together, as we are part of Him; we are in Him.  So if He sins, then we all sin and will partake in the death in the ash heap.  But Jesus’ body did not see corruption, which is why the next two sins concerning the LEADER and the COMMON people’s need not refer to the ash heap – but just referring to the necessity of both fat and blood.

And then the ‘smaller’ but equally deadly sins, which require the death of an animal.  This brings us back to the most important message preached in Genesis 3: that however grave the sin may be (even if Adam and Eve were simply to eat from the tree of good and evil), an animal still needs to be sacrificed.  Such is the gravity of our sin!  If the Israelites were subjected to this visual portrayal of the gospel of death and their life at the cost of an innocent animal’s death, then their ability to understand the death of the Lamb of God for their own life should be far more profound than ours!

A final note before we move onto guilt offering: is the absolute necessity of knowing God’s commandments clearly.  If even such a little thing can offend and display our lack of faithfulness to God, and we choose to defiantly sin (i.e. to not know what is required of us in marriage, whether we should date non-Christians or even date at all, whether we should tattoo our bodies, whether we could smoke, whether we should work hard at our secular jobs rather than actively pursue a missionary attitude in preaching at the work place… just to name a few examples), then it is a mark of a hard heart.  Worse yet, it is the mark of an unregenerate heart.  If you wish to know Him, Him who saved you, then you would simply not short-change God by failing to study the Scriptures, by failing to know Him in clarity, and look to Him who uses you and sanctifies us by the power of the Spirit.  If you wish to know Him, you will learn to obey Him in the Spirit, and learn to humbly accept his commandments however ‘out-dated’, or ‘irrational’ they seem, for God transcends contemporary culture, and He defines logic by the Logos Christ.

To cut the paragraph short – look to Christ when you read the Scriptures in the Spirit!

3.  Guilt Offering (5:14-6:7; 7:1-7)

Contrarily, this is a repayment offering, displaying a facet of the understanding of incurring a debt against the LORD God and human beings.  This offering is one of restoration.  Burnt offering is one of propitiation; sin offering is one of cleansing; guilt offering is one of repayment and restoration.

The concept of guilt offering is restoration in full, and then adding a 1/5th to it. This effectively means a 120% restoration, but Exodus 22:4, and Leviticus 6:4-6 implies that it may be 220% restoration. The fundamental message is that not only is restoration in full restoring the innocent party’s position to prior the sin – but even better than before the commission of the act of the sinner!

Chapter 5:14-17:

14The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 15(BU) “If anyone commits a breach of faith and sins unintentionally in any of the holy things of the LORD,(BV) he shall bring to the LORD as his compensation, a ram without blemish out of the flock, valued[h] in silver shekels,[i] according to the(BW) shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering. 16He shall also make restitution for what he has done amiss in the holy thing and(BX) shall add a fifth to it and give it to the priest.(BY) And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and he shall be forgiven.

17(BZ) “If anyone sins, doing any of the things that by the LORD’s commandments ought not to be done,(CA) though he did not know it, then realizes his guilt, he shall bear his iniquity. 18(CB) He shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish out of the flock, or its equivalent for a guilt offering, and(CC) the priest shall make atonement for him for the mistake that he made unintentionally, and he shall be forgiven. 19It is a guilt offering; he has indeed incurred guilt before[j] the LORD.”

And again chapter 6:4-6:

…will restore(CJ) what he took by robbery or what he got by oppression or the deposit that was committed to him or the lost thing that he found 5or anything about which he has sworn falsely, he shall(CK) restore it in full and shall add a fifth to it, and give it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt. 6And he shall bring to the priest as his compensation to the LORD(CL) a ram without blemish out of the flock, or its equivalent for a guilt offering.

What is different in guilt offering is the focus on the financial restitution. Chapter 5:15 speaks of the valuation in silver shekels, according to the currency of the sanctuary.

Secondly, is how everything is attributed to the LORD (Chapter 6:2):

2“If anyone sins and(CD) commits a breach of faith against the LORD by(CE) deceiving his neighbor in(CF) a matter of deposit or security…

When was the last time you thought that your sin against someone is first and foremost your sin against God himself? The deception of one’s neighbour is a breach of faith against the LORD! (Psalm 51:4)

Another thing which people normally miss out is chapter 5:15 –

15(BU) “If anyone commits a breach of faith and sins unintentionally in any of the holy things of the LORD…

Paul Blackham makes the distinction that compensation needs to be made against the holy things of the LORD. Why against the holy things, and not directly to the LORD? Surely the holy things were merely symbolic? 2 Samuel 6:6-7:

6And when they came to the threshing floor of(A) Nacon, Uzzah(B) put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and(C) God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.

I think this is really quite significant. The story of Uzzah has angered many Christians and non-Christians alike, but I feel that it betrays something of their theology of Sacraments. Many Christians today over-spiritualise things and end up espousing ‘philosophies’ which actually have no biblical bearing. God takes the physical and the spiritual equally seriously: if one defiles and sins, the tabernacle is effectively seen as corrupted (Leviticus 16). If one touches an unclean person, the LORD doesn’t just expect you to understand the spiritual meaning of being unclean, but to actually go through the act of cleansing by blood. If the LORD expected you to commit to infant baptism and communion, then don’t over-spiritualise it.

The visual is just as important as the spiritual. Christ is both man and God. Glen’s essay on “Creation and Redemption – the One work of the One Word” covers these antinomies (a term coined by JI Packer in “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” which explains the accepted ‘paradoxes’ of Scripture – like human responsibility vs. God’s sovereignty). Our Christ is both Creator and Redeemer; Alpha and Omega; God and man; Within time yet Eternal; Spirit and Flesh. This understanding of both physical and spiritual truth undercuts Gnosticism and shapes our eschatological theology of new creation entirely.

4.  Conclusion for the fundamental five offerings

If one may quickly sum up the differences of the five offerings: the burnt offering uses a personal picture of man, the guilty sinner, and the innocent and clean animal dying in his place.

The sin offering is a medical specimen, of sin making the world dirty so much that God cannot dwell there until His re-creation.

The guilt offering is thus an example of a financial, a commercial picture of sin – it is a debt which man accumulates against God, and it also can be paid through the offered animal.

The grain offering shows a picture of a present pre-new-creation view of life – that we thank God for his blessings, but after the grain offering, we enter the night and the inevitability of the day returns to preach the truth of the inevitable second coming of the Light of lights.

The fellowship offering looks forward to renewed creation, that we may partake of the Holy Wedding Feast with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

5.  Breakdown of the Priests and the (Peace) Offerings (7:11-21)

11“And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the LORD. 12If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice(DZ) unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour(EA) well mixed with oil. 13(EB) With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving he shall bring his offering with loaves of leavened bread. 14And from it he shall offer one loaf from each offering, as a(EC) gift to the LORD.(ED) It shall belong to the priest who throws the blood of the peace offerings. 15And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings(EE) for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering. He shall not leave any of it until the morning. 16But(EF) if the sacrifice of his offering is a vow offering or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and on the next day what remains of it shall be eaten. 17But what remains of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burned up with fire. 18If any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten on the third day, he who offers it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be credited to him. It is(EG) tainted, and he who eats of it shall bear his iniquity.

19“Flesh that touches any unclean thing shall not be eaten. It shall be burned up with fire. All who are clean may eat flesh, 20but the person who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of the LORD’s peace offerings(EH) while an uncleanness is on him, that person shall be cut off from his people. 21And if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether(EI) human uncleanness or an(EJ) unclean beast or any(EK) unclean detestable creature, and then eats some flesh from the sacrifice of the LORD’s peace offerings, that person shall be cut off from his people.”

If you notice in v.11, the laws are addressed to the priests.  We already understand the significance of the priests in relation to the assembly, the church of Israel.

What is really confusing here is the fellowship offering being split into three types (v.12 and 16): thanksgiving, vow, or freewill.  These three represent the three facets of fellowship offering: that we thank God, that we vow our commitment with Him as a response to his unwavering faithfulness to us, and that there is much freedom in our desire to fellowship with Him (the last one has already been shown via the freewill offering of the giving of silver and other things for the building of the tabernacle).

Then in v.12-13, there is the detail of the (i) offered animal, (ii) yeast-free bread with oil, (iii) yeast-free wafers with oil, (iv) cakes with oil and (v) bread with yeast.  We already understand the significance of the yeast symbolising one’s stay in the world (shown through the history of Egypt).  Thus, the fellowship offering having bread with yeast represents the time when we arrive at our eternal new home, along with the oil representing the Holy Spirit.  This image is further amplified with the food fellowship with God after atonement; and for those Christians whose sins are already atoned for by the blood of Christ, we can enjoy the fellowship of the Spirit shown in the oil right now as a seal (Esther 8), firstfruit and deposit of new creation (Eph 1).

We then move to the detail of v.16-18 which speaks of the meat which the people are allowed to eat on the day after the sacrifice, extending the eating for 2 days, and then destroyed on the third day.  This example of the third day, destroying the symbolic bread, displays the significance of the ‘third day’ even in eating.  On the third day there is new life – the resurrection of Christ.  Perhaps this points towards the significance of the sign of the third day, the sign of Jonah: that after the resurrection of Christ would people have something to rejoice in.  After the resurrection of Christ, the prophetic eating of the flesh is ended by the prophecy fulfilled, replacing this Old Testament law with the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

v.19-21 serves to substantiate the point in Numbers 15 – either we are clean… or we are unclean (the distinction between clean and unclean is not the same distinction between holy and unclean – I will dwell on this point in the next post on the sanctification of the priests; therefore, “clean” is merely the middleground between holiness and uncleanness), in which case we must be sent out of the city of God which we cannot live in.  Either we are wearing the wedding garments of the robes of righteousness… or we are kicked out of the wedding.  This message cannot be preached enough.  Let us dwell on this truth: the truth of animal sacrifice, of pleasing aroma, of partaking in the food and reminding ourselves that we cannot even wear the robes of righteousness, bear the oil representing the Holy Spirit, eat of leavened bread of the wedding feast if not for Jesus’ magnificent work on the cross.  Matthew 22:1-14:

1And again Jesus(A) spoke to them in parables, saying, 2(B) “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave(C) a wedding feast for his son, 3and(D) sent his servants[a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4(E) Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my(F) dinner,(G) my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ 5But(H) they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his servants,(I) treated them shamefully, and(J) killed them. 7The king was angry, and he sent his troops and(K) destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not(L) worthy. 9Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10And those servants went out into the roads and(M) gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there(N) a man who had no wedding garment. 12And he said to him,(O) ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and(P) cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are(Q) called, but few are chosen.”

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Leviticus 3-7: The Sacrifices pt.2

One thought on “Leviticus 3-7: The Sacrifices pt.2

  1. You have produced really good research on Leviticus. It is so good to see how the whole book opens up when you place Jesus at the centre of the whole Levitical system. When I produced the Book by Book study guide I was constantly torn between how much I could fit into the small guide and all the amazing truths that are bursting out of Leviticus. Be enouraged. Keep going. Paul.

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