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The Five Major Offerings

Introduction:  The five major offerings must first be introduced:

Identity of the Five Offerings:

The Levitical sacrificial system had five separate and distinct offerings that could be made to the Lord. These are the five major offerings that are introduced in the first five chapters of Leviticus. They are:

The Burnt Offering (Leviticus 1)

The Meat Offering (Leviticus 2)

The Peace Offering (Leviticus 3)

The Sin Offering (Leviticus 4)

The Trespass Offering (Leviticus 5)

Other offerings are mentioned in the Mosaic Law. These other offerings include those made for a vow (called votive), thank offerings, drink offerings, heave offerings, and wave offerings. However, these offerings are usually, if not always, a subset of the five major offerings. For instance, the thank offering is a type of peace offering. These offerings will not be considered in detail in this introduction.

Purpose of the Five Offerings:

The offerings of the law almost require a threefold approach.

  • First, they provide a way for the Israelites to make and keep a right relationship with God.
  • Second, they are a type of Jesus Christ and a description of His sacrifice for us.
  • Third, they are a pattern for our own approach to God. The difference between the Old Testament Israelites and the New Testament saints is the Israelites were to

Survey of the Five Major Offerings:

Burnt Offering (Leviticus 1)

  • Only offering to be totally consumed on the altar with nothing eaten by men
  • First offering mentioned by name in the Bible (Genesis 8:20)
  • Most common of the offerings mentioned in scripture (197 times)
  • Voluntary offering and a sweet savor to the Lord
  • Indicates entire surrender

Meat Offering (Leviticus 2)

  • Only offering made without the shedding of blood and without an animal sacrifice
  • Offering of fine flour; no animal flesh
  • Voluntary offering and a sweet savor to the Lord
  • Indicates a living sacrifice

Peace Offering (Leviticus 3)

  • Only offering in which the offerer could eat of the meat of the sacrifice
  • Voluntary offering and a sweet savor to the Lord
  • Indicates fellowship or communion

Sin Offering (Leviticus 4)

  • Required offering; not a sweet savor
  • Dealt with the sinner and the problem of sin
  • Indicates payment for the sin nature

Trespass Offering (Leviticus 5)

  • Required offering; not a sweet savor
  • Dealt with particular sins
  • Indicates forgiveness of committed sins

The Five Animals Used in the Offerings: (first mentioned together in Genesis 15:9)

  • Oxen service and strength (Proverbs 14:4)
  • Sheep meekness and purity (Isaiah 53:7)
  • Goats sin and judgment (Christ became sin for us)
  • Pigeon poverty (Leviticus 12:8)
  • Turtledoves innocence (Psalm 74:19)

The Order of the Five Offerings in Leviticus 1-5

They mark a progression of closeness to God with the first offering mentioned being the closest to God and the last one being the first step in approaching God.  This seemingly backwards approach is not unusual in the Bible.  God usually begins from His perspective, not ours.  He describes the furniture of the most holy place first and then proceeds to the holy place and the courtyard.  He creates heaven and then earth (Genesis 1:1).  He lists the three-part nature of man as spirit first, then soul, then body (1 Thesalonians 5:23).

First, consider the order of the offerings as they point to the sacrifice of Christ.

Burnt Offering Christ surrendered Himself entirely to God being fully consumed in His commitment (Philippians 2:6-8)
Meat Offering
Christ gave Himself as a living sacrifice continually doing the will of the Father (John 4:34)
Peace Offering
Christ made peace with God on the behalf of man (Ephesians 2:13-14)
Sin Offering
Christ atoned for our fallen sin nature on the cross and satisfied the wrath of God (Isaiah 53:10-11; Hebrews 9:26)
Trespass Offering
Christ paid for our individual sins in His death on the cross (Hebrews 10:12)

However, when we come to God, we must do so in reverse order. Notice the following table with the offerings given in reverse order and their symbology explained.

Trespass Offering
We realize the guilt of our sins and our need for forgiveness of these sins in Jesus Christ (1 John 2:2)
Sin Offering
We need a power that can even conquer our sin nature or else we will lose our salvation as soon as we gain it (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Peace Offering
We find that through the cross of Christ He opened the way for true fellowship with God (1 John 1:3)
Meat Offering
Through His obedient life, Christ shows us the way to be a living sacrifice for God (Romans 12:1)
Burnt Offering
We find the greatest blessing in being fully consumed in our commitment to God (Philippians 2:17)

The Burnt Offering:

The burnt offering is the first offering specified by name in the Bible.  Noah offered burnt offerings when he left the ark (Genesis 8:20).  Abel’s offering was certainly a burnt offering as well although it is not called such (Genesis 4:4).  The burnt offering is also the most common of the offerings mentioned in scripture and probably the most commonly offered.  The table shows the five offerings in rank as to which of them are mentioned most in scripture.

Burnt Offering
Meat Offering
Sin Offering
Peace Offering
Trespass Offering
    1. According to the Word of the Lord (Leviticus 1:1)
      1. As a continuation of the earlier books of the law
        1. Leviticus 1:1 And the Lord
        2. The conjunction, And, indicates a continuation
        3. Leviticus is a continuation of the law of Moses
      2. The Lord called unto Moses
        1. The Lord spoke to Moses many times
          1. The seven-word verse, And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, is found 72 times in the Bible; all in Exodus, Leviticus, or Numbers.
          2. Many other times a slightly different wording is used
        2. However, the times that the Lord called unto Moses are limited
          1. The Lord called unto Moses out of the burning bush (Exodus 3:4) this was the call of Moses to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt
          2. The Lord called unto Moses out of Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:3, 20) this is on the occasion of the giving of the Ten Commandments
          3. The Lord called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud (Exodus 24:16) this is when Moses entered the top of Mount Sinai in order to receive the remainder of the law
          4. The Lord called unto Moses out of the tabernacle of the congregation (Leviticus 1:1) this is when the Lord gives the sacrificial system of atonement to Moses
      3. God spoke to Moses out of the tabernacle of the congregation
        1. This could not be done until the tabernacle was completed and set up according to the command of the Lord (Exodus 40:1-2, 16-17, 33-35)
        2. It was through the tabernacle that the Lord dwelled among the children of Israel (Exodus 25:8; Exodus 29:44-45; Leviticus 26:11; Ezekiel 37:27-28; Revelation 21:3)
        3. The Lord spoke to Moses from between the two cherubim that stood over the ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:20-22; Numbers 7:89)
    2. Unto the Lord (Leviticus 1:2)
      1. They had to bring the offering to the place where God had chosen to put His name (Deuteronomy 12:5-6)
      2. To bring their offering to the priests was to bring it to the Lord
      3. The burnt offering was especially offered unto the Lord because all of it was burned to Him (Leviticus 22:18)
    3. Of the Herd and of the Flock (Leviticus 1:2)
      1. We are to bring of what we have (2 Corinthians 8:12)
        1. The word cattle is often used in scripture in a generic sense. When used this way, as here, it refers to cows, goats, and sheep (Genesis 1:24-25)
        2. Of the herd and of the flock
          1. Herd of cows
          2. Flock of sheep or goats
      2. Application: Christ came as a man; as one of us (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:14-18)