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Leviticus 6-7: Offering Laws

Original Publication Date
November 4, 2015
Updated
Jan 10, 2023 1:24 AM
Tags
LeviticusChapter StudySacrificeLawAaronPriesthood
Bible References
Leviticus 6; 7
Status
Done
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Table of Contents
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This page was originally posted on my Blogger version of the blog on November 4, 2015 The content below has a few minor tweaks for clarity, and additional references, and some updated information.

Introduction

As with everything else in the books of law, for everything God commanded the Israelites to do, He had to provide a how-to and consequences for not abiding His instructions. The end of Leviticus 6 clarifies what is necessary for trespass offerings with respect to whether the sinner committed the sin willfully or ignorantly. Leviticus 7 goes on to provide additional information on the types of offerings listed in Leviticus 1-6.

The Law of the Burnt Offering

Burnt offerings were named for the fire used to burn the offering all night. The priest was to wear his linen garments to take up the ashes and place them by the altar. Those ashes were to be taken to a clean place after the priest removed the holy garments. The fire on the altar was never to go out. This would have been a nearly impossible task had the Israelites lived in a climate where it rained heavily and daily.

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Not sure why I didn’t think of this in 2015, but it also reminds me of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which has a flame that never goes out. Many associate eternal fire with hell, but it is God who often appears as fire and it is God who is eternal. A fire burning day after day likely reminded the Israelites of when God appeared as a pillar of fire to lead them through the wilderness.

The Law of the Meat Offering

Meat or grain offerings required the priest to burn a handful of flour anointed with oil and frankincense. The rest of the offering was for the priests to eat. it was specified that they were to eat it at the tabernacle court, unlike offerings that could be eaten anywhere clean. These offerings were not to be baked with leaven and were deemed most holy by God. All males descended from Aaron were to eat from this offering. In addition to the meat offerings, Aaron and his sons were also to offer a grain offering in the morning and evening. With these special grain offerings, nothing was to be eaten and everything was to be fully burnt.

The Law of the Sin Offering

When a sin offering was given, it had to be killed in the same location as the burnt offering, with special instructions concerning the blood of the sacrifice. When the priests garments became splattered with blood, he was to wash them in the holy place. If an earthen pot was used, it had to be destroyed (the blood would seep inside the pores), however a brass pot could be cleaned. The priests were permitted to eat the offering provided they ate it in the tabernacle and it was not brought by a priest. Sin offerings given by priests were to be burnt in their entirety.

The Law of the Trespass Offering

The trespass offering was to be killed in the same place as the burnt and sin offerings. God repeats which parts are to be given to Him and dictates that the hide of the animal belongs to the priest. The officiating priest was to receive a portion, with the rest being given to the other priests.

Sins Against theΒ Lord

Sin against God is considered to be defiling holy objects. Those who did this through ignorance or accident were to bring a ram for a trespass offering, as well as the sum of the estimated value of damages in shekels of silver. After making amends, the priest was to perform the atonement.

Unknown Sins

If a sin was committed unknowingly, the person was still considered guilty because the consequences of their sins would still occur. For instance, if you accidentally break a window, the window is still brokenβ€”while the person owning the window may be less angry, it still has to be fixed somehow. To make amends for this offense, they were to sacrifice a ram as a trespass offering instead of as a sin offering and were not required to pay restitution.

Known Sins

God also addresses those who act against His law knowingly. God gives the examples of lying, violent theft, swearing falsely, and not speaking up when finding a lost item. For this he must pay restitution, as well as, give an offering. The restitution was to be paid in the value the priest placed on the sin plus a fifth more. Thus, if you stole $100.00, you would owe $120.00. The sacrifice was to be a ram without blemish that would serve as a trespass offering. The priest could then make atonement for the sin.

The Law of the Peace Offering

There were three types of peace offerings: thanksgiving, vow, and freewill. All of these were voluntary and joyous offerings. Thanksgiving offerings required a blood sacrifice along with 3 breads: unleavened cakes mingled with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil of fine fried flour. In addition, God's peace offering required a leavened piece of bread. This is the only offering where leaven is allowed. As with the other sacrifices, the priest was to handle the sprinkling of the sacrifice's blood. Everything from the thanksgiving offering was to be eaten by the next day. Vow and freewill offerings could be eaten on the second day, but were to be burned on the third day.

Reminders

In the last few verses of the chapters God takes the time to remind the Israelites not to eat fat or blood, as well as, identify what would make a sacrifice unacceptable. Sacrifices that were eaten past when God specified became unacceptable. A person who was unclean or touched something unclean was not to partake in eating the sacrifice of a peace offering; anyone who did so was to be cut off from Israel. If the flesh of a sacrifice touched something unclean, they were to burn it instead of eating it. The priest was to get the breast and shoulder of peace offerings.

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I want to come back to the idea of not eating fat or blood and the duration God set for eating things. Modern science tells people to eat lean meats, low in fat and we know that certain foods, particularly meat (of an animal) spoils after a certain time or may become contaminated.

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