The Priesthood, Offerings, and Sacrifices

It has been fun examining six of the biblical characters in the Holy Word but now is the time to move on. First, we will tie up some loose ends. Then, present the subject of “offerings.”

Six People From Genesis

Through six people, we tried to show many things.

In the first two pair, Adam and Eve, sin originated and the consequences began. As a woman, I will try to show where the sin was on Adam and Eve was deceived. Yes, Eve had faults like Adam.

Genesis 3:9–13 (NASB)
9Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 11And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The command was given to Adam. Women, whether we like it or not, we are under man and man is under God (Colossians 3:18–21). It is for women’s protection and provision to be under man.

The Second pair, Cain and Abel, represent the generational sin. For a deeper study into generational sin, Beth Moore has a 10 week Bible study course and is now a book both called Breaking Free. Here is a little bit about generational sin. Have you noticed patterns in a family’s shortcomings? Look at alcoholism, drug abuse, abusive situations, etc,. Do you see a pattern in these families? Now look at what we call little shortcomings like lying, overspending, laziness, procrastinating, and remember the goat story. Do we see this pattern in families? Have you seen these patterns in your family including grandparents and grandchildren? Generational sin can skip a generation but eventually it raises its ugly head. With God’s help, you can break free from these patterns!

The third pair, Abraham and Isaac, both made mistakes in their walk with God. But we saw where Abraham was called righteous and a friend of God. The faith he showed in God ,in the Moriah region, started a burning flame 1,000 years later. It takes only one match to start a forest fire. It can take one redeemed person to bring others to the Messiah. Keep praying for that lost love one or friend. God hears our prayers.

The Priesthood

Before we go into offerings we need to examine a few things.

God called Moses to lead the Hebrews from Egypt. Moses was a very humble person (Numbers 12:3). Moses thought the task was too large and needed help from his brother, Aaron, and sister, Miriam. Do we think we need help? Are we humble enough to ask for help?

Aaron, the First High Priest from the Levites

The LORD made Aaron the first High Priest. He was to stay away for anything that would defile him, because he was an intermediary between the LORD and the people. Only Aaron’s descendants were allowed to be priests. Aaron was from the tribe of Levi. The Levites were the only ones allowed to move the Tabernacle and to carry the Ark. (Numbers 1:51)

On the day of atonement, the High Priest made sacrifices of bulls and goats for his own sins and the sins of the people. He placed the blood of the sacrifice on the altar to atone (pay) for the sins and to receive the LORD’s forgiveness. But offerings were constantly being burned throughout the year for sins of individuals.

Did Aaron stay away from anything that would defile him? How about when Moses was on the mountain with God? Aaron listened to the people and build an idol. With generational sin, what did Aaron’s sons do that caused their death in Leviticus 10:1–2? Aaron and Miriam (Exodus 15:20–21) were a help but also a thorn in Moses side (Numbers 12:1–2).

The Offerings

The High Priest and the other priests were the ones to make the offerings.

Types of offerings:

Burnt Offering (Leviticus 1):
This sacrifice represented complete dedication and surrender to God. The animal, the best of the flock, bore the worshiper’s sins, and died in his/her place. After the blood was sprinkled on the altar, the animal was completely burned. None of it was roasted for eating.
Sin Offering and Guilt Offering (Leviticus 4–6; Numbers 15:1–12):
Sin offerings and guilt (or trespass) offerings focuses on paying for sin. The sin offering atoned for sin against God. The guilt (or trespass) offerings were for sins against others, and included paying damages with interest. Various animals were offered, depending on the person’s position and income. Priests and leaders, as examples to others, had to offer larger sacrifices for sin, while the poor offered what they could afford. Blood was sprinkled in the Holy Place, smeared on the horns of the Altar of Incense, and poured on the altar. The parts of the animal were burned, often with wine poured on them (drink offering). In some cases, the meat could be eaten by the priests. Since the priests were full-time Tabernacle or Temple workers, sacrificed animals were their main source of food.
Grain (Meal) Offering (Leviticus 2):
This offering was given to God in thankfulness. The people brought fine flour, unleavened cakes, or roasted grain to the priests. The priests burned a symbolic handful at the altar, and could partake of the rest. There was very little ceremony involved.
Fellowship (Peace) Offering (Leviticus 3; 7:11–38):
This offering symbolized fellowship and peace with God through shed blood. After some meat was ceremonially waved toward heaven and given to the priests, worshipers and their guest could share in the feast as a meal with God.

There are more offerings and a lot more to be said about sacrifices. That is enough for now. There will be more about offerings and sacrifices later on.

Animal Sacrifices

Let us end this week’s segment on offerings with the five animal sacrifices offered. They portray the works of Jesus, a picture-to-person. These are listed in the book The Tabernacle: Shadows of the Messiah on page 108.

The five animal Sacrifices:

  • The ox (1) typified Jesus as a strong, enduring servant who was obedient unto death.
  • The lamb (2) was symbolic of Jesus’ meekness, purity, and silent, voluntary surrender to death on the cross.
  • The goat (3) referred to sinners separated for judgment, but it also typifies Jesus, who was numbered with the transgressors.
  • The turtle-dove (4) and pigeon (5) were symbols of mourning and innocence. Jesus became poor for mankind but enabled believers to become rich in Him. These became the poor people’s sacrifice.

The Priests Became Dependent on Sin

Hosea 4:7–9a (MSG)
7The more priests, the more sin.
  They traded in their glory for shame.
8They pig out on my people’s sins.
  They can’t wait for the latest in evil.
9The result: You can’t tell the people from the priests,
  the priests from the people.

Over time, it seems the priests became dependent on the offerings. So, the more sin the people committed, the more the priests benefitted from the offerings. Eventually, the priests were committing as much sin as the people bringing the offering.

Unfortunately, there are many examples of this happening today. In the U.S., take the Sin Tax as one such example. An extra tax is placed on behaviors that cause harm such as smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol. There are heavy taxes on cigarettes and beer. The government knows that people won’t stop the harmful behavior. So, it was decided to benefit from such behavior.

Let’s bring this closer to home. Many Christians feel better about themselves seeing how bad the world is. But, is there much of a difference? One barrier the world has in becoming “Christian” is the perception that we do not seem different from them. We tend to exhibit many of the same behaviors, divorce rates, addictions, etc. True we make mistakes. The world does not see us seek repentance. We need to remember, God has set us apart from the world to be a light to the world. We should continuously strive for holiness in both word and deed. The Holy Spirit is here to help us do so.

Comments About This Blog

Please bare with us as we take a moment to comment on these writings. All Scripture having been given by inspiration of God, the little details are as important as the great principles. Skimming the Bible or reading it like a novel may show its beauty and bring some satisfaction. But, scrutinizing the Bible shows its wonder and creates a tremendous fascination. This is why we are all encouraged to “search the Scriptures,” to “compare scriptures with scriptures,” and to “be diligent to present ourselves approved to God.”

We will try to put certain truths of God’s Word under the microscope of His Holy Spirit. And, to behold details and wonders that some have never dreamed would be in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. One of the many functions of the Holy Spirit is to be a teacher.

Hopefully we, over these weeks, have shown a few nuggets to whet your appetite. On some occasions, we will lay down some more basic facts and then start peeling off one layer of the many layers of wonderful truths. The Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle where every piece is a perfect fit.

Next time, we will continue building the foundation by continuing our overview of the offerings.

Until then,
שָׁלוֹם (Shalom!)