Thursday, April 17, 2008

Old Testament Sacrifices

In the Old Testament, there were several types of sacrifices.

The burnt offering (Lev. 1; 6:8-13; 8:18-21; 16:24) required a bull, ram or male bird (dove or young pigeon for the poor) to be sacrificed. The stipulations were that there must be no defect in the animal and that it had to be wholly consumed. This was a voluntary act of worship. The purpose was atonement for unintentional sin in general. It was an expression of devotion, signifying commitment and complete surrender to God.

The grain offering (Lev. 2; 6:14-23), required grain, fine flour, olive oil, incense, baked bread (cakes or wafers), and salt; no yeast or honey was to be used. This accompanied the burnt offering and the fellowship offering (along with a drink offering). It too was a voluntary act of worship, and signified recognition of God’s goodness and provisions, as well as devotion to God.

The fellowship offering (Lev. 3; 7:11-34) required any animal without defect from the person’s herd or flock, and a variety of breads. This was another voluntary act of worship, signifying thanksgiving and fellowship, and included a communal meal.

The sin offering (Lev. 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30; 8:14-17; 16:3-22) required (1) a young bull for the high priest and congregation; (2) a male goat for the leader; (3) a female goat or lamb for the common person; (4) a dove or pigeon for the poor; (5) a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for the very poor. This was mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin; signifying confession of sin, forgiveness of sin and cleansing from defilement.

The guilt offering (Lev. 5:14-6:7; 7:1-6) required a ram or lamb. It was mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution. It included cleansing from defilement, making restitution and paying a 20% fine (i.e. in addition to returning whatever he stole, took by extortion, or whatever was entrusted to him, or the lost property he found, or whatever it was he swore falsely about).

When more than one kind of offering was presented, the procedure was usually as follows: (1) sin offering or guilt offering, (2) burnt offering, (3) fellowship offering and grain offering (along with a drink offering). This sequence furnishes part of the spiritual significance of the sacrificial system. First, sin had to be dealt with (sin offering or guilt offering). Second, the worshiper committed himself completely to God (burnt offering and grain offering). Third, fellowship or communion between the Lord, the priest and the worshiper (fellowship offering) was established. To state it another way, there were sacrifices of expiation (sin offerings and guilt offerings), consecration (burnt offerings and grain offerings) and communion (fellowship offerings ---these included vow offerings, thank offerings and freewill offerings). This procedure or order also applies to the way someone is saved. It even applies to the general order in which we should pray. As far as salvation, this is the order: (1) repentance, (2) surrender to Christ, (3) indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whereby our body becomes God’s temple.


Jeff said...

This post is not really to prove any point. Rather, its meant merely to summarize the various sacrifices as laid out in the Old Testament, for the purpose of explanation, awareness and education.

The Old Testament sacrifices were not an end in themselves. They were merely a foreshadowing of the Final, Ultimate, Complete, Perfect Sacrifice Who was to come---Christ Jesus (Yeshua Hamashia) the Suffering Messiah, Who will come again as the Reigning, Ruling Messiah. Those Old Testament sacrifices were sort of like an object lesson, or a symbolic representation, which served as a temporary, preliminary substitute of sorts, until it was time for the real thing to show up.

Sin brings the punishment of death, and those sacrifices provided substitutionary death, so that the sinner could be spared. But again, they only represented the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, Who alone could pay for sin, because He was and is perfect, sinless and holy, and is, in fact, God Himself.

satire and theology said...

As far as salvation, this is the order: (1) repentance, (2) surrender to Christ, (3) indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whereby our body becomes God’s temple.

In my Reformed view, from God, the believer is elected/regenerated and therefore freely simultaneously believes in Christ, and repents. The Holy Spirit is God in the process.

Good information, Jeff.