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The Blue Letter Bible

Clarence Larkin :: Chapter 31. The Offerings

The third Book in the Old Testament is called Leviticus. It is called Leviticus because it treats of the duties of the priests, the sons of Levi. It is the

Book of Sacrifice.

The Keyword is "Atonement." Lev. 16:34. The Book contains the Very Words of God Himself dictated to Moses B.C. 1490, from the newly set up Tabernacle, except the last three chapters given from Mt. Sinai. The time occupied in giving it was about 30 days. Over 50 times, in its 27 chapters, it declares that its words are the words of God.

Critical scholars of today claim that it was not written by Moses, but is "a priestly forgery of the times following the Babylonian Captivity," nearly a 1000 years after Moses, and that it is a compilation of certain Jewish priests who wished to magnify their office, and to give it authority they assigned it to Moses.

But this is an absurd claim. How could the priests of the Captivity persuade the people that a book they had just written had been in existence for 1000 years?

Then we have the testimony of Christ that the Book of Leviticus was written by Moses. If Moses did not write it, then Christ was mistaken, or guilty of misrepresentation. Neither of which we can believe and claim that Jesus in His teaching was divine and inerrant.

The Book of Leviticus is little read in these days, and is considered by many to be obsolete and only fit for the shelves of a religious antiquarian, because it treats of a system of worship which they claim has been done away with.

The fact is, we cannot understand the Office and Work of Christ without studying the Book of Leviticus in the light of its exposition in the Epistle to the Hebrews. And the Book is of value because it contains the laws of the Priesthood, that are to be again in force when the Children of Israel are gathered back into their own land in the Millennial days, and the Temple of Ezekiel shall be built and the Mosaic order of worship re-established.

But the Book of Leviticus has a value beside that of throwing light on the High Priestly Work and Office of Christ. It is not only a "Ritual," it is more. It contains a body of

Civil Laws.

Laws as to Marriage and Divorce, as to Capital and Labor, as to the Social Evil, as to the Accumulation of Property, as to Capital Punishment, as to the Observance of the Sabbath, as to the use of the Quarantine.

If the statesmen of today desire to make laws in conformity with the will of God, laws that will conserve the public health, and minister to the well-being of mankind, let them study the "Civil Laws" of the Book of Leviticus, and they will find that they throw a flood of light on these subjects.

The two main divisions of the Book are

1. The "Way to God" by SACRIFICE.
Chapters 1-16.
Chapters 17-27.

The main teaching of the Book is-


The two great commandments of the Book are, be Holy, be Clean. The word "blood" occurs 87 times.


The Offerings were 5 in number-

  1. The Burnt Offering.
  2. The Meat Offering.
  3. The Peace Offering.
  4. The Sin Offering.
  5. The Trespass Offering.

These Offerings were divided into two classes. The first three were

"Sweet Savor Offerings,"
the last two were
"Sin Offerings."
I. The Burnt Offering

The "Burnt" Offering was of three grades according to the ability of the offerer. If the offerer was well to do he brought an offering from the herd. If he was in moderate circumstances he brought an offering from the flock. If he was poor, he brought a fowl, either a turtle dove or a young pigeon.

Only clean animals or fowls could be offered. That which lived by the death of others, or fed on carrion, was unfit to offer as a type of the "Holy Victim" (Christ), who was prefigured in the Offering. Israel was not to offer as the "food of God" that which they themselves were forbidden to eat.

And even among clean animals, only "domestic" animals were permitted to be used, for it was fitting that only that should be offered that had cost something and was more or less endeared to the offerer. Then domestic animals are "tame," and easily led, and are a fit type of Him who was led as a sheep to the slaughter. Isa. 53:7.

Not only must it be a "domestic" animal either from the herd or the flock, but it must be a "male," and a male without "blemish," that is, ideally perfect. The Israelite was taught to give the "best" that he had, not for unselfish reasons, but because only the animal "without blemish" could typify the Spotless Son of God.

The fault that God found with the Children of Israel in Malachi's day was, that they "brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick." Mal. 1:8.

The offerer having brought his offering into the Court of the Tabernacle, the officiating priest approached him and led him and his offering to the North side of the Altar of Burnt Offering, facing the Door of the Tabernacle. The Offerer then laid his hand heavily upon the "head" of the Offering, thus symbolizing the "identity" of the Offerer with his Offering, and confessing by the act that he deserved the death which the animal was to suffer.

The Offerer then with his own hands slew the Offering, if it was of the herd or of the flock, but if it was a fowl the priest himself wrung off its head.

When the Offerer slew his Offering, whether bullock, sheep, or goat, the priest caught the streaming blood in a basin and sprinkled it round about the Altar of Burnt Offering.

The animal was then skinned, the slain becoming the property of the priest, probably as compensation for his work.

The body of the Offering was then cut in pieces, every joint being separated. The legs and intestines were washed in water, and the whole was then rearranged in order upon the Altar and completely consumed with fire. For this reason it was spoken of as a "Whole Burnt Offering."

The animal was dissected before being burnt to see that it was perfect and without blemish in any of its parts.

When the Offering was a fowl all the Offerer did was to bring it to the priest. The priest took it, wrung off its head, permitted the blood to squirt out at the side of the Altar, and then cleaved it open between the wings without separating the two halves, removed the crop and intestines and cast them on the pile of ashes beside the Altar, and then burnt the body of the fowl on the Altar.

Now what is the typical meaning of the "Burnt Offering?" It is clearly not an offering for "sin," for that is made in the "Sin Offerings."

The meaning is plain. It typifies the


of the Offerer to the Lord. The purpose is beautifully expressed in Paul's Letter to the Romans-

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye


holy (without blemish), acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Rom. 12:1.

God wants us to present ourselves (as a man volunteers for service), a Living Sacrifice. He wants us in the full vigor and strength of our lives, not when we are more dead than alive and unfit for service.

The Burnt Offering was also a type of Christ, of whom the Apostle writing to the Ephesians said-

"Christ also hath loved us, and hath given HIMSELF for us an Offering and a Sacrifice to God for a SWEETSMELLING SAVOR." Eph. 5:2.

This verse exhibits the surrender of Christ to God as a "whole burnt offering." On the "Altar of the Cross" Christ was our BURNT OFFERING.

By our accepting Him as our "Burnt Offering" we identify ourselves with Him, and confess that He died as our substitute. As a substitute He is the ideal of consecrated service, for His will was always in complete submission to the Father's. Of Him the Father could say, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased."

Thus he was an Offering of a "sweet smelling savor," such as was the Burnt Offering.

But while individual Offerers at different times brought their offerings to the Lord, there was a "daily" Burnt Offering for the whole congregation of Israel. Ex. 29:42.

This consisted of two lambs, one offered at the time of the morning sacrifice, and the other at the time of the evening sacrifice.

In the morning the officiating priest laid off his ordinary garments, and putting on his "linen garments," overhauled the fire that had been burning on the Altar all night, and removed the ashes and laid them by the side of the Altar. He then put off his "linen garments," and replacing them with his ordinary garments he carried forth the ashes and deposited them in a clean place outside the camp. Returning he put on his "linen garments" again and offered the lamb of the morning Burnt Offering. This he repeated in the afternoon, and from clay to clay, as a "continual" Burnt Offering, thus typifying the fact that Christ is a "continual" Burnt Offering for His people, and that the believer should offer himself, not merely once for all, but continually in consecration service.

II. The Meat Offering.

The term "Meat" Offering should read "Meal" Offering, as there is no "meat" in it.

When the King James' version of the Bible was printed in A.D. 1611, the word "Meat" meant all kinds of food, and not "flesh" merely.

The "Meal" Offering was of three kinds.

  1. Unbaked flour ground fine.
  2. Baked loaves or cakes, baked in a pan.
  3. Green Ears of corn parched or roasted.

By "corn" we are to understand "wheat," as what we know as corn was unknown in Bible Lands in Bible times.

The "Meal" Offering was to be mixed with Oil, seasoned with Salt, sprinkled with Frankincense, and was not to contain any Leaven or Honey.

The Offerer was to bring his "Meal" Offering to the officiating priest, who was to take a "handful" of it and throw it upon the sacrifice upon the Altar of Burnt Offering as the "Meal" Offering was never offered by itself but always in connection with a burnt sacrifice.

The remainder of the "Meal" Offering was to be eaten by the priests. The Offerer did not eat of it. In the preparation of the "Meal" Offering we must note the ingredients "commanded," and the ingredients "forbidden." "Oil," "Salt" and "Frankincense" were to be used and "Leaven" and "Honey" omitted.

"Olive Oil" was largely used for food by the inhabitants of Bible lands, and is a type in the Bible of the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.

"Salt" is an antiseptic and a preventive of putrefaction, and was used for its preserving qualities.

"Frankincense" was a resinous gum that exuded from a tree, and that when dried and beaten fine and thrown on a fire, gave out a sweet fragrance. The Frankincense was not mixed with the "Meal" Offering but sprinkled only upon the handful that was thrown upon the sacrifice on the Altar to be burnt, to make the sacrifice of a sweet smelling savor. All the Frankincense was burnt.

"Leaven" was forbidden because it has fermenting qualities, and "Honey," because Honey is spoiled by heat and would make the batch sour.

What is the meaning of the "Meal" Offering?

The "Meal" Offering was to be of "Wheat," the best and most valued of all grains for food, and it was to be of the "finest of the wheat." Now wheat does not grow spontaneously like weeds, it has to be planted after the soil has been laboriously prepared for its reception. Wheat then represents the outcome of man's labor and toil. It was also a common article of food of both rich and poor, as was the olive from which the oil was extracted, and so obtainable by all.

But the "wheat" was not to be presented to the Lord as grain, it was to be ground and sifted; and where the Offerer had an oven and could prepare the wheat as cakes for food for the priests, he was to do so, and where he could not grind or bake it he was to parch it and present it in that form.

The meaning of the "Meal" Offering therefore is plain. It was to be offered with the Burnt Offering; and as we saw that the meaning of the Burnt Offering was the consecration of the Body of the Offerer, it follows then that the "Meal" Offering which is the fruit of a man's "labor," means that we are not only to consecrate our "bodies" a living sacrifice to God, but we are to consecrate the Fruit of Our Toil.

This not only means the fruit of our "physical" toil, but all our "spiritual work" in the Lord's Harvest Field.

The fact that only a "handful" of the "Meal" Offering was consumed on the Altar, and the rest was eaten by the priests, is not without its significance. It means that the bulk of our gifts should go to the support of the Gospel.

How beautifully the "Meal" Offering represents Christ the great anti-typical "Meal" Offering.

He was the "corn of wheat," bruised in the "Mill of Calvary," that was mixed with the "Oil of the Holy Spirit," seasoned with the "Salt of Incorruption," and offered with the "Frankincense of a Holy Life." In Him was no corrupting Leaven or Sour Honey and He, when offered, became the Bread of Life.

III. The Peace Offering.

The "Peace" Offering was of two kinds, of the herd or of the flock, and was different from the Burnt Offering in that a male or female could be offered. The Offering was however to be without blemish.

The Offerer brought his Offering, either a bullock, lamb or goat, into the Court of the Tabernacle to the Altar of Burnt Offering, and there, before the Lord, he laid his hand upon its head and then killed it, the officiating priest catching the blood in a basin and sprinkling it around the Altar.

The animal was then opened and the fat and kidneys and rump were burned upon the Altar. The remainder of the animal was to be eaten by the Priests and the Offerer and his family and friends.

The "breast" was "waved" to and fro before the Lord and given to the High Priest and his sons. The "right shoulder" was heaved up and down before the Lord and given to the officiating priest; the remainder of the animal belonged to the Offerer.

There were two kinds of "Peace" Offerings. Lev. 7:11-21. The "Offering of Thanksgiving," and the Offering in fulfillment of a "Vow."

The flesh of the "Peace Offering of "Thanksgiving" was to be eaten the same day that it was offered, but the flesh of a "Vow" Offering could be kept over until the next day; but if any of it remained over until the third day it was considered corrupt and must be burnt.

If the Offerer ate of it on the third day his Offering was not accepted, and he, and any who ate of it, were guilty of committing an abomination before the Lord and would have to bear their iniquity.

If the flesh of the Offering touched an unclean thing it was not to be eaten, and if any person ate of the Offering while unclean that person was to be cut off from his people.

The Offerer did not have to eat of his Offering alone. He had the privilege of inviting his sons and daughters, his menservants and maidservants and the Levites within the gates to feast with him, Deut. 12:5-12, but the feasting must be "before the Lord" in the Court of the Tabernacle, and nowhere else.

The "Peace" Offering was an Offering of Reconciliation. Not for the purpose of reconciling the Offerer, for it was not made by God, but by the Offerer, but to show that the Offerer "had been" reconciled to God.

While Christ is our "PEACE OFFERING" by whom we have been reconciled to God, yet He is more, He is the One upon whom we are to "feast," for He said, "my Flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." John 6:53-56; Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:23-26.

We see then that the "Peace" Offering has an antitypical fulfillment in the "Lord's Supper" where we feast before the Lord by faith, on His broken body and shed blood.

IV. The Sin Offering.

We now come to the second class of Offerings. The first class, the "Burnt," the "Meal" and the "Peace" Offerings, were voluntary and therefore "sweet savor" Offerings, the second class, the "Sin" and "Trespass" Offerings are compulsory, and because they were for sins committed there was no "sweet savor" in them.

Once a year on the

"Day of Atonement,"

atonement was made by the High Priest for his own sin, and the sin of the people, but the "Sin Offering" we are now about to consider is the Offering for sin made from time to time during the year.

These Offerings were for four classes of persons, namely, the anointed Priest, the whole Congregation, a Ruler, and an individual member of the congregation.

In each case the animal offered was to be without blemish and was to be slain at the door of the Tabernacle before the Lord.

The anointed Priest who sinned was to bring a "young bullock," and lay his hand upon its head and then kill it. When the Congregation had sinned they brought a "young bullock," and the Elders of the Congregation laid their hands upon its head and it was killed. When a Ruler sinned he brought a "male kid" and laid his hand upon its head and killed it. When one of the common people sinned he brought a "female kid" and laid his hand upon its head and killed it.

The difference between the Offerings is seen in the Treatment of the Blood and in the Disposition of the bodies.

The blood of the Offering for the Anointed Priest and the Congregation was taken by the Priest into the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, and he dipped his finger in the blood and sprinkled it seven times before the "Veil" of the Tabernacle, and put some of it on the Horns of the Altar of Incense, and coming out he poured the remainder of the blood at the bottom of the Altar of Burnt Offering.

But the blood of the Offering of a Ruler or of one of the common people was not taken into the Tabernacle, but the officiating priest took of it and put some of it on the Horns of the Altar of Burnt Offering, and the remainder he poured out at the bottom of the Altar. In the disposition of the body of the victim the Offering of the Priest and of the Congregation was skinned, and all the fat, and the fat upon the kidneys, and the kidneys and the rump were burned on the Altar of Burnt Offering, and the rest of the bullock, its skin, its head, its legs and all its flesh and inwards were carried forth outside the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes were poured out, and burnt.

But in the disposition of the body of the Offering of a Ruler, or of the common people, while the fat was removed and burnt upon the Altar, the body of the Offering was not carried without the camp and burnt, but was given to the priests who boiled it and ate it in the Court of the Tabernacle. The flesh was considered holy, and any garment on which its blood was sprinkled had to be washed in the Holy Place, and the earthen vessel in which it was boiled was to be broken, and if it was boiled in a brazen pot, the pot was to be scoured and washed with water. Lev. 6:24-29.

The two distinguishing features of the "Sin" Offering are the taking of the "blood" Into the Tabernacle, and sprinkling it before the "Veil," and the carrying of the "body" Outside the Camp.

In these two features we see the meaning of the "Sin" Offering. It speaks of Him who shed His blood on Calvary Outside the City to make Expiation for Sin.

V. The Trespass Offering.

The difference between the "Sin" Offering and the "Trespass" Offering seems to be that the first was to be made for sins against God, the second for sins against Man or Holy Things. The Offerer was to bring a "Trespass" Offering if he "overheard swearing and kept silent," if he "touched any unclean thing," if he "sinned ignorantly in the things of the Lord," if he "lied to his neighbor," if he "found and kept lost property and lied about it," etc.

There were three kinds of Offering he could bring according to his ability, a "female lamb or kid;" "two turtle doves, or young pigeons," one of which was to be offered for a Sin Offering, the other for a Burnt Offering; or the "tenth part of an ephah of fine flour" for a "Sin" Offering, that should contain no oil or frankincense.

If his trespass was against "holy things," or against the "property of his neighbor," he was to make "restitution" and add thereto one-fifth of the value in silver money. The meaning of the "Trespass" Offering is, that if I have done anything that has caused injury to any one else, I should seek to make all the reparation I can, and where necessary, make restitution. See Chart of Leviticus.

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