The Levitical Offerings
THE BURNT OFFERING
This was one of the sweet savor sacrifices that pleased God and brought favor to the bearer. The five types of animals required were typical in themselves of different aspects of our Lord. The bullock speaks of Christ's patience and endurance; the sheep of his unresisting obedience; the goat of his vicarious suffering for the sinner; and the doves of his innocency and poverty.
The offerer led his sacrificial animal to the entrance of the Tabernacle and laid his hand upon its head, fully identifying with it in compliance the substitutionary principle. He then would slay the animal. From there, the priest would sprinkle its blood on the horns of the brazen altar. The skin was kept by the priest but the animal itself was cut up and washed and laid upon the altar to be fully consumed by the fire of God. Doves were simply handed to the priest who carried out the ritual from there.
This sacrifice, a male without blemish or spot, was a foreshadowing of Christ, the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Jesus said in John 10:17 & 18, that his Father loved him because he lay down his life for the sheep in complete obedience to the Father's will. This is fulfilled by Ephesians 5:2 where Christ has given himself for us a sacrifice of sweet savor.
The application for us would be in fully consecrating our lives to him. This is the idea in Romans 12:1, but also in Hebrews 10:8 & 9, which states that God has no pleasure in sacrifice, he only desires the true dedication of our hearts. "By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us." (Heb. 10:20a). This is to be voluntary and out of love. "If we hate our lives for his sake, we shall gain life eternal." (John 12:25)
THE MEAT OFFERING
This was really a meal offering, also of a sweet savor unto the Lord and was often given in connection with the burnt sacrifice. The ingredients are also significant in their typology. Fine flour represents Christ as the perfect man tried by suffering, oil as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, salt as a preservative of life, and frankinscense as the aroma of dedicated service toward God. Notice that leaven, a picture of evil; and honey, a natural sweetener, were prohibited.
There were three methods of preparation for the sacrifice. It could be offered as unbaked flour, pan baked loaves or cakes, and parched or roasted ears of corn or wheat, as it was thought to be.
The offerer would bring his sacrifice to the priest who lay upon the altar a portion of flour or cakes, mingled with a portion of the oil, and all of the frankinscense, adding a touch of salt. The remainder of the flour or cakes and the oil belonged to the priests.
Christ was the perfect man, full of truth, but not naturally desirous. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and suffered greatly performing the will of his Father, whom he did well please. The typology of the ingredients point directly to Christ, and his life of service. In John 6:38 Christ said, "I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." This was completed at Calvary when Jesus cried, "it is finished." (John 19:30).
Just as God desires us to consecrate our lives to him, He expects that we put our efforts toward his work in a life of service because we are "created unto good works," (Ephesians 2:10). If our hearts are dedicated to him, then he can use us to do those great and mighty things that our labor be not in vain. Flour came from the grain that was farmed by men as a fruit of their labor, so should we labor for our God.
THE PEACE OFFERING
This sacrifice is the last of the sweet savor offerings and was similar in manner to the burnt offering. The animal prescribed could be a bullock, sheep, or goat; doves were not allowed. The animal was to be without blemish, but could be a female in this case.
The sacrifice was to be brought to the tabernacle and slain, the offerer identifying with it by laying his hand upon its head. The priest would then sprinkle its blood upon the consuming altar. The fat, kidneys, and rump were offered to God. The right shoulder was heaved up and down and the breast was waved before the Lord. This portion was presented to God but consumed by the priest. The remainder of the animal belonged to the offerer. The priest would eat his portion with his family, friends, or servants in the courtyard.
The sacrifice was made for one of three reasons, as a thank offering, a freewill offering, or a votive offering. This points to Christ the one who would reconcile us to God when we were by nature his enemies. "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1).
This offering is not just one of reconciliation and peace but also one of thanksgiving and emphasizes our fellowship with God. We should always be thankful and full of praise, seeking his presence. We should desire that nearness to the one who has made peace with us because of his love. The table is a picture of fellowship and is portrayed by the priest dining with his loved ones. This is exactly what we do at the Lord's table when the entire congregation gathers in fellowship to remember their great peacemaker in corporate testimony.
THE SIN OFFERING
This sacrifice was mandatory and therefore was not of a sweet savor unto the Lord. Bullocks, goats, lambs, and doves could be offered (either male or female). The sin offering was distinguished by four types of offerers, a priest, a congregation, a ruler, and an individual. The animal used would depend upon the position of the offerer. Two methods were used for performing the ritual, one for the priest and the congregation, and a slightly different method was used for a ruler and an individual.
As in previous sacrifices the animal was always put forth as a substitute for the offerer by the laying on of hands followed by the slaying of the victim. An offering for the priest and the congregation was carried out in the following manner: The blood of the sacrifice was taken by the priest and sprinkled before the inner veil seven times and upon the horns of the altar of incense, the rest being poured out at the base of the brazen altar. The fat of the animal was cut out and offered to God on this altar. The remaining parts were taken and disposed of without the camp.
For rulers and individuals the blood was only put on the horns of the brazen altar and the rest was poured out at the base. The fat was also burned on the brazen altar but the remainder was the priest's portion. On the Day of Atonement, blood was actually taken into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled upon the mercy seat of the ark.
This sacrifice was for those who sinned in ignorance and weakness, in error and not defiently; because of carelessness or expedience, not intentionally. This substitutionary sacrifice removed the guilt of sin against the holy God as perceived by the first four commandments. It was an atoning sacrifice and covered the sins of the offeror until Christ would come and taken them away. This foreshadowing is brought to light in II Corinthians 5:21 where "Christ became sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
THE TRESPASS OFFERING
This sacrifice is the second of the non-sweet savor offerings and closely associated with the sin offering as it was offered in similar manner. There were three types of sacrifices accepted, a female lamb or kid, two doves, or an tenth ephah of fine flour.
Similarly, the sacrifice was made as the sin offering for the common people It was brought, identified, and slain. The priest sprinkled blood on the horns of the brazen altar and offered the fat upon it. The rest of the meat and the skin was the priestly portion.
The sin offering was for our atonement, but this sacrifice was more specific in nature. It dealt with the injury or damage caused by sin, and likewise is linked to the last six commandments, which are manward and deal with our responsibilities. If a man would swear, or witness a swear; or would touch an unclean thing, or lie, commit fraud, or steal or withhold from his neighbor, he was to bring an offering.
Christ is our trespass offering, "to wit, that god was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." (II Cor. 5:19a). When we received Christ as Savior, he became our sin offering. After we were saved, we still sinned, so Christ was also our trespass offering to keep us in unbroken fellowship with our God. In John 13:10a Christ said, "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet. As Christians, we need to be sanctified daily, walking in this sin stained world.