A REVIEW OF THE OFFERINGS
Similarities and Comparisons:
• All the offerings point to Christ (see Hebrews 10:1, 5-7).
• Of three offerings in Leviticus it is said: ‘an offering by fire to Jehovah of a sweet odour’.
These are the burnt offering, meal offering and peace offering.
• The burnt offering, peace offering and sin offering involve the person who brings the offering laying his hand on the head of the animal. This conveys identification with the offering or sacrifice.
• In Hebrews 10:5-7, we have four major offerings mentioned. They are sacrifices (peace offerings); offerings, or in Psalm 40, oblations (meal offerings); burnt offerings and offerings for sin (sin offerings).
• The burnt offering is a picture of Christ doing the will of His Father, and giving up all that He has. Psalm 40 portrays this offering, as does John’s Gospel. The burnt offering includes the thought of acceptance (Lev. 1:4): we are accepted and God accepts our worship.
• The meal offering is a picture of Christ’s perfect life when He was here on earth. Psalm 16 presents the features of the meal offering. Leaven (a type of sin) was not to be used in the meal offering, nor honey as this is typical of what is only natural sweetness.
• The peace offering is a picture of our fellowship or communion with God and one another through the perfect work of Christ. Psalm 85 and Luke’s Gospel speak of the peace offering. And it has this distinguishing feature – it can be of a male or female animal – because it speaks of God’s side and our side in the matter of fellowship.
• The sin offering is a picture of Christ on the cross, bearing the judgment for our sins at the hand of God during the three hours of darkness. It was not the Father who forsook Him, as some hymns suggest; God, in His holiness and righteousness, forsook Christ, the
Son of Man. The sin offering conveys the thought of forgiveness for the person who brings the offering (Lev. 4:35). Psalm 22 and Mark’s Gospel give us the features of this offering.
• The red heifer in Numbers 19 is a special offering. It is separated from the offerings in Leviticus, and also one that had to be offered – it was not voluntary. God prescribed the offerings in Leviticus because He wanted the people of Israel to draw near to Him, and this is conveyed by the offering of the red heifer because it was available for the people as a whole. It was a constant provision for Israel’s journey to Canaan – ‘a water of separation … a purification for sin’ – in view of the defilement of the ‘great and terrible wilderness’. If this was required in those far-off days, how much more we need cleansing
from the defiling effect of what we hear and see in our day. The water for this is the Word of God as we find in John 13 and Ephesians 5:26-27. We do not offer animals anymore, but we offer that of which they speak and look to the One who offered Himself once and
To conclude, these offerings, which were to be presented continually, were only types or shadows of the true offering and sacrifice of Christ.
• See Hebrews 9:13-14 and 10:22. If the blood of animals could cover sins for a very short time only, how much more precious is the blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19), which cleanses us from all sin?
• The voluntary offerings in Leviticus 1-3 were provided for all who were exercised among God’s people, Israel. So today, we ought to worship God in spirit and truth as true worshippers together (John 4:23).
• The priests of old interceded for the people, but now we have our Great High Priest who intercedes for us (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 4:14-16).