Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #24 Vayikra (Leviticus) 1:1-5:26(6:7)
This week I am presenting a teaching focused on the offerings as the major topic in our parashah this week. References to the B’rit Chadashah are throughout the teaching described in the context of each offering. I encourage you to read the associated Haftarah and B’rit Chadashah selections to add to your understanding of the concepts of the offerings, their importance physically and spiritually.
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 43:21-23
B’rit Chadashah: Romans 8:1-13; Hebrews 10:1-14; 13
Typology of the Offerings
The sin offering was first directly commanded in Lev. 4. “If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the L-rd concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them”, then that conduct would require a sin offering. The idea is that some sins are unintentional, “in error”, and may have been committed through ignorance, hurry, lack of consideration, or carelessness, in other words, sins which came from human weakness, as opposed to sins which are deliberately and knowingly done in rebellion against G-d and His commandments. [The penalty for presumptuous sin was to be cut off from among G-d’s people (Lev. 15:30).]
The effect of the sin offering was forgiveness of the sin and cleansing from the pollution of sin (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10; 12:8; 14:20; 16:19). Its presentation assumed that the offeror was conscious of sin; and the laying on of the hands was understood to mean that the sin was to be transferred to the animal (Lev. 4:4, 14).
The soul was brought into fellowship within divine grace through the pouring out of the blood of the sacrifice, analogous to the death of Yahshua. The burning of the fat on the altar was an offering of a “sweet savour” to G-d, and was symbolical of the handing over to G-d the better part of man, that which is capable of cleansing and renewal, in order that it might be purified by the fire of G-d’s holiness and love Previously we saw that in the Sin Offering: the blood signifies expiation and separation, the flesh stands for sin that is burned outside Israel’s camp and, the fat and its rising smoke depict the spirit and its ascension. Why burn the fat separately? (3:3-5) The fat was considered the choice portion of the meat and thus the best part of the sacrifice. It became the aroma pleasing to the L-RD. G-d later commanded that fat not be eaten in certain instances (Lev. 7:23-25 Why was all the fat the Lords? (3:16) The fatty portions of meat were considered the tastiest. Normally, when they were not sacrificing to the Lord, the Israelites could eat the fatty portions themselves. But by offering all the fat of their sacrifices to the Lord they were offering their best to G-d.
Tabernacle & Sacrifices: The Tabernacle is one of the greatest teaching aids for the atonement of Yahshua. It is a self-revealing plan of YHVH’s revelation to humankind. I’m going to take a back door kind of approach to this subject. Instead of taking you through the typology of the Tabernacle proper, I will initially address the sacrifices here. There are Five Principal Offerings: 1. Burnt Offering 2. Meat Offering 3. Peace Offering 4. Sin Offering 5. Trespass Offering These offering can also be divided into two categories, 1. Sweet 2. Non-sweet savor. The burnt, meat, and peace offering were called the sweet savor offerings (Lev 1:9; 2:9, 3:5; Eph. 5:2) Burning meat does not have any particular sweetness of smell, but they were called sweet because they typically represented the absolute perfection and obedience of Yahshua HaMashiach. The sin and trespass offerings were called non-sweet because YHVH is not pleased with sin. The division is made clear in Numbers 15: 1-12. The fact that the sin offering in Leviticus 4:31 is called a sweet savor is because the fat of any offering was a sweet savor. The fat was regarded with as much sacredness as the blood (Lev. 3:17; 7:22-27). In the Messianic Scriptures, “fat “ is not mentioned once, but “blood” continues to be mentioned. Fat represented perfection and good health in the sacrificial animal. The penalty for anyone eating the “fat” was to “be cut off from his/her people.” YHVH required the best for the offering simply because it represented a sinless Yahshua, the best of YHVH; even though the sin offering was not a sweet savor because it represented the sin Yahshua bore. From a practical standpoint, the “fat” was a fuel to the fire to consume the sacrifice. The actual means of expiation is typified in the animal sacrifice but only the death of Yahshua was actually accepted by YHVH as expiatory (Heb. 10:4). All previous sacrifices were a shadow of what was to truly come as expiatory. All the animals used for sacrifice were edible meeting the legal dietary conditions of YHVH, and had to be at least 8 days old. Only perfect animals were acceptable because they represented a perfect Yahshua. The only exception to this was in the free-will offerings (Lev. 22:23). The first biblical law regulating the use of blood is found in Genesis 9:4, which prohibits the eating of any animal not well bled, because life is in the blood. There goes your rare meat! The same principle is stated in the Mosaic Law. The blood of any animal is not to be eaten (Lev. 3:17; 7:26-27; 17:10-16; Deu. 2:16, 23-25; 15:23). The penalty was to be cut off from Israel. Leviticus 17:11 explains the reason why blood was held in such esteem: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Since blood is life it typifies and gives full meaning to YHVH’s provision for the expiation of our sins, as well as the efficacy of Yahshua’s blood. Professed believers sometimes overlook the fact that YHVH’s method of entering into a covenant is through sacrifice. In Psalms 50:5 we read: “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Noah, (Gen. 8:20-21; 9:8-9), Abraham, (Gen. 15: 1, 2), and Moshe, (Exodus 24:5-8). We should understand that YHVH has educated His people through the Tabernacle sacrifices giving in them a shadow of His plan for redemption.
The Sin Offering: The first offering took place at the consecration of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood (Leviticus 8:15). To be a mediator between B’nai Yisrael (children of Israel) and YHVH Elohim required a sinless Cohen Gadol (High Priest), a typology of looking ahead to Yahshua. It is the easiest offering to understand. The sin offering made the people more aware of the cost of sin. An innocent life (animals) had to be sacrificed. This was effected by each individual repentant who had to personally kill the animal learning in the process that sin brought death, which revealed the wrath of YHVH against sin and man’s need for pardon. And only by the remission of blood was YHVH’s wrath satisfied and atonement granted. Again this prefigured Yahshua. I also want you to remember who Yahshua was; He was YHVH incarnate. YHVH Himself became our sacrifice. The sin offering was always the first offering because sin separates us from YHVH and atonement is necessary for reconciliation and restoration. Another fact to consider is that no meat or drink offering was made in conjunction with the sin offering. This further amplifies that there must be atonement through the application of blood from the sin offering before YHVH Elohim can grant pardon. The daily sin offerings were not so much a type of Yahshua’s sacrifice as was the sin offering once a year on the Day of Atonement. The daily sacrifices looked forward to the Day of Atonement that prefigured Yahshua. Although the wrath of YHVH toward sin and His justice was seen in the death and offering of an animal, the love of YHVH could also be seen in that He had prepared a way for pardon by accepting a substitution sacrifice. This clearly speaks of Yahshua in His vicarious act of accepting the penalty of the Law. If you and I clearly see the depth of our sin and its wickedness we can more clearly see the depth of YHVH’s love by His taking upon Himself the penalty of our sin. We see that the offering had to be without blemish as was Yahshua without leaven (sin) as typified in the Passover Lamb. The sacrifice was killed before YHVH on the north side of the brazen altar (Lev. 1:11) the offering had to be killed by the offerer and there was a laying on of hands (Lev. 4:4). Blood from the offering of the High Priest and for the congregation was sprinkled (7) times (the number of spiritual perfection) before the inner veil of the sanctuary. Some was also applied to the horns of the incense altar and the rest was poured out at the bottom of the brazen altar, (Lev. 4:6-7, 17-18; 6:30). Blood of animals offered by the rulers or common people was applied to the horns of the brazen altar and the rest poured out at the bottom of the altar. Bird’s blood for the very poor was sprinkled on the sides of the brazen altar and the rest at the bottom of the altar. The reason for the offering was personal or congregational sin. The Burnt Offering: This offering (Olah) actually predates the institution of the Levitical system of sacrifices. Its meaning before the Levitical system was instituted may have been exclusively for expiatory purposes, but after the sin and trespass offerings were instituted it became an offering with a more specific meaning. It was offered for a variety of reasons but more specifically as a need for renewal and consecration because of sin, or for a change of circumstances where the offerer might devote more time to YHVH or to an increase in moral knowledge. For Messianic believers the burnt offering on one level represents the perfect and total consecration of Yahshua to YHVH. The burning of the whole animal on the brazen altar indicated this. The offerings of only the fat, kidneys and caul of the other offerings were not adequate to represent total consecration. On another level it bespeaks of our need for total consecration. The sacrificial animals of the burnt offering were more thoroughly examined for imperfections than the animals of the other offerings. This animal had to be flayed (a reference to Yahshua’s scourging), to afford closer examination for blemishes. If none were found the inwards and legs were washed signifying that the animal was pure. Yahshua in His sinless life was the anti-type of the pure sacrifice acceptable to YHVH Elohim (Heb. 4:15). Therefore Yahshua was a sweet-savor offering (Eph. 5:2) The “to make atonement” in Leviticus 1:4 does not here refer to making atonement for sin as in the sin and trespass offerings. The offerer of the burnt offering approached YHVH not as a sinner but as a saint; sin being forgiven with the sin of the trespass offering. The burnt offering here identifies with YHVH in total consecration. Yahshua’s consecration to YHVH made it possible for Him to remove the effects of sin in the world (atonement) allowing for us reconciliation to YHVH. The Olah (burnt offering) represents to the believer what Sha’ul (Paul) obviously had in mind when he said in Romans 12: 1-2, “presenting your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto YHVH which is your reasonable service.” This Olah offering makes it possible for the offeror, cleansed by the Sin and trespass offering of Yahshua, to be consecrated and to remove prior sin from his life (atonement). Again this speaks of Trust and obedience as the definition of a true worshipper or believer is defined in the Seven-Fold witness in Revelation. It was Yahshua’s perfect obedience that made Him acceptable to YHVH as a sacrifice. We gain entry with the sin or trespass offering as represented by Yahshua, but maintain our status by the Olah offering of consecration and atonement (removal of sin from our lives). Olah (burnt offering) means to ascend. Only the believer (trust) who has a consecrated life (obedience to YHVH’s Torah) can be acceptable to YHVH and ascend as a sweet savor (2 Cor. 2:15). Jeremiah spoke of a time when the nation of Judah forgot and no longer obeyed His Word (Jer. 6:10) and their burnt offerings were no longer acceptable to Him. The offering of the whole animal taught that the believer must offer his whole self with all his love, heart, mind and soul; while the variety of animals acceptable teaches that no matter the circumstances of the believer everyone is capable of meeting YHVH’s conditions. Everyone is capable of devoting all they possess in their consecration to YHVH Elohim. YHVH requires all from us both spiritually and materially regardless of our station in life for anything less is not consecration. The rich could express their devotion to YHVH by the value of their offering and at the same time the poor who could not afford the more valuable animals could be as great in YHVH’s sight as the thousand burnt offerings offered by Solomon (2 Chron. 1:6). Also The Burnt Offering was offered on a daily basis speaking of a need for us to offer continual consecration. Meat Offering: The Hebrew word translated “meat” here may mean any kind of food. If you explore chapter two in Leviticus, you will discover that this offering was actually flour and grain. It is the only bloodless offering of the five principal offerings of the Levitical system. In Numbers chapter 15 we read that this offering always accompanied the other offerings except the sin and trespass offerings. It should be offered either baked or dry. Its description in Leviticus gives no measure of the fine flour offered in dry meat offerings, but it is given in Numbers 15 along with the amount of oil and wine for the drink offering. A drink offering always accompanied a meat offering. Numbers 15 does not mention the frankincense as in Leviticus 2 or the amount offered. When we read Scripture the total picture cannot always be gained by only one section surveyed, and that is why so many people evolve contrary doctrines because they do not consult the whole counsel of scripture. This example from the whole counsel of the bible insures us that frankincense was certainly offered. We also see that the amounts of flour, oil and wine varied according to the animal sacrificed. What was not burned on the altar went to the Priests. In the burnt offering (Olah) we saw Yahshua’s Consecration, as it was directed toward G-d. Most of you know that the first four of the Ten Commandments relate to our relationship to YHVH and the other six relate to our relationship to mankind. Teaching true godliness means that we must be consecrated to both YHVH and mankind. We have to have a proper understanding of our relationship and duty to our neighbor and it must be based on our proper relationship to YHVH Elohim. This is why the “meat offering” was with the “burnt offering” and not vice versa. In the Olah “burnt offering” we see Yahshua’s service to mankind. We too are to consecrate ourselves in the service of mankind. The “meat offering” being bloodless speaks of life and not death. Yahshua could have come and lived an obscure life and died for our sins but then mankind would have learned nothing about YHVH and godliness. Yahshua’s life is of infinite value to us in teaching us our relationship not only to YHVH the Father but to mankind as well. We again need to understand that Yahshua was the manifested Word (Torah) of YHVH and if we really want to know Him we have to know Torah. When I hear preachers, etc. teach that the Law (Torah) is dead I immediately think then their god is dead. For professing “Jesus” even as the demons do does not save. If YHVH’s Torah is “dead” then Yahshua is also “dead” since He was the Living Manifested Torah of YHVH Elohim and His resurrection is then just a myth. And the power of salvation is through the resurrection. The prohibition against leaven, honey, and the addition of salt, oil, and frankincense, and a drink offering to the meat offering all teach lessons of Yahshua’s service to mankind as well as give us an example for ourselves. Throughout the bible “leaven” is used as a type or symbol of sin. Leaven was to demonstrate the pervading effects of sin in that a very small amount in a lump of dough produced fermentation of the whole amount. A little sin leavens the “whole lump.” Sin in our lives pervades our total existence and corrupts us and those around us. That is why it was forbidden to be used in the “meat offering” or upon the brazen altar as a firstfruit offering. Honey was forbidden for the same reason. Honey represents things of the world that in themselves are not sinful if not overdone or done with the right attitude, but may become sin if we over indulge. Proverbs 25:27 tells us that “honey is good, too much will sour the stomach.” This prohibition against leaven and honey extended only to their use at the brazen altar. Both could be offered as a firstfruit offering (Leviticus 2:12). Salt was to be cast on all offerings. Because the instructions related to salt only accompanied instruction related to the meat offering some people have interpreted this to mean it applies only to the meat offering. However, we read in Ezekiel 43:24 that salt was cast on the “burnt offering” and again in Mark 9:49 that Yahshua substantiates this more general use among all offerings. Salt seasons, preserves, and helps control bacterial and fermentation, and its physical attributes are used in a spiritual application throughout Scripture (see Matt. 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34; Col. 4:6). Salt represents how Yahshua’s life, death, and resurrection checked the corruption of sin and preserved life in this world. Oil was another important factor and ingredient of the “meat offering.” Anointing oil was used then and now to ceremoniously anoint, consecrate, and set-apart persons to the work of YHVH Elohim. In Yahshua we see the anti-type of this practice. He was the One anointed, consecrated, and set-apart by the Ruach HaKodesh, which is the real oil used to consecrate a person to YHVH’s work. Just as oil makes flour useful for baking so the Ruach HaKodesh (oil) makes men/women useful for YHVH’s purpose. Frankincense is seen in its use as a type representing prayer. It can be understood as representing the prayer of Yahshua to the Father. Prayer is the invisible link to the Father for all of us. It is the vehicle from which Yahshua and we may draw strength, understanding and guidance. Prayer should not be denigrated. I have so often witnessed people who see it as a line of communication to a god who is no more than a Santa Claus to fulfill their material dream wishes or else as a means of public self-aggrandizement. The drink offering is not specifically described in any sacrifice although Numbers 15 states it was offered with the “meat offering.” We have to consult other scriptures for understanding. Moshe identifies the fruit of the vine (Wine) as representing blood (Deut. 32:14) Yahshua also identified wine at Passover commonly referred to by Christians as the Last Supper with His blood. Since the “meat offering” was the only bloodless offering this identification of the “drink offering” with the “meat offering” is a logical and symbolic accompaniment. This would teach that Yahshua by His blood (Lev. 17:11) poured out His life (blood) for the remission of sins. This too represents Yahshua’s giving of his life in the love of his neighbor (humanity). Believers who are to emulate the life of Yahshua are equally obligated to keep YHVH’s commandments and remove the leaven (sin) from their lives and must be aware that carnal pleasure (honey) must be above reproach and balanced so that the believer’s good works will shame the world. The believer’s life must be full of oil (Ruach HaKodesh) to make it useful to the Father and he must exercise the privilege of the prayer (frankincense) of thanksgiving and praise seeking YHVH’s will and purpose for his life. The Believer must also pour out his life surrendering to YHVH; loving his neighbor as himself (drink offering). Peace Offering: The Peace offering is unique in that in all the sacrifices it is the only one that a portion of the sacrifice went to the offeror. (What does this teach or mean to you?) It was always offered last in conjunction with other offerings although it could be offered by itself. This offering was designed not to offer peace between YHVH and a supplicant, but rather was meant to express the peace experienced by a sinner who had received pardon and consecrated their lives to YHVH, as expressed in the preceding sacrifices we have already discussed. It was for someone in a state of grace or peace. The peace offering laid on the burnt offering (Lev. 3:5; 6:12) taught that only a consecrated life could lead to peace. This typified Yahshua as it portrays his expiatory death by which reconciliation, communion and peace with YHVH are possible. YHVH’s portion was called food in the peace offering to distinguish it from the priest and offeror’s portion. We must take this with special significance since it is related only to the peace offering, but the same word is translated bread in Leviticus 21:6, 8, 17,22; 22:25 and numbers 28:2. We learn from Leviticus 21:22 that this bread (food) of YHVH was divided into two categories, “Most Holy” and “Holy.” “Most Holy’ refers to the meat offering (Lev. 7:1) and the shewbread (Lev. 24:9). The priests received a portion of YHVH’s “most Holy” food because they were YHVH’s representatives. It could be eaten only in the outer court. YHVH’s portion was burned on the brazen altar. “Holy” refers to the heave and wave offerings of the peace offering, firstfruits, and devoted things (Numbers 18:11-19, which were primarily for the priests and they were not permitted to be taken from the tabernacle. The portions given to the priests were the wave-breast and heave-shoulder, which were appointed to the priests at the time of their consecration at the priest’s office (Exodus 29:28). The heave and wave offerings (animal’s shoulder and thigh) were divided and these portions were shared with their families. The kidney and caul were burned on the brazen altar as YHVH’s portion and the remainder went to the offerer and his family to feast upon in the court of the Tabernacle (Lev. 7:15-16; 1 Sam 1:4). There were three types of peace offering: the thanksgiving, the vow, and the freewill. The Hebrew word for “peace offering” means ,” to give in return.” The circumstances and attitude of the offeror determined which kind of the three types was used. Thanksgiving for YHVH’s “past” goodness in forgiveness of sins, protection from enemies and natural afflictions as expressed in Psalms 107: 19-22 and 116: 9-7. Vow offerings were offered only after certain conditions of a specific vow had been fulfilled. This offering was not given in hopes of enticing YHVH to answer certain prayers as we hear some pray today, but if the needs were met the vow offering was given in thanksgiving (Gen. 28:20-22; Judges 11:30-31; 1 Sam. 1:11). Vows were made on a voluntary basis, but once made they were obligatory upon the person making the vow to complete the pledge (Eccles. 5:4-6; Deut. 23:21) unless abrogated legally as stated in Numbers 30. If a person made a vow of some tangible thing they were to be redeemed, which actually involved a given amount of silver given to the priest. The amount of silver was set according to age (Lev. 27:1-8). Land, animals, houses could also be redeemed at their estimated value plus a fifth. This should serve to show us that what we have materially does not in fact belong to us, but to YHVH. The nature of the free will offering that is called a voluntary offering in Leviticus 7:16, is that of a spontaneous thankfulness to YHVH. It was different from the “thanksgiving offering” is that it was not in recognition of some specific past goodness of YHVH, and it was distinguished from the “vow offering” in that nothing had previously been vowed. The Hebrew word for this offering means “spontaneous,” which characterized its nature as springing from the offeror’s heart. From this offering you should learn many lessons as to how you are to live your life in relationship to YHVH and to each other after reconciliation to YHVH through Yahshua’s sacrifice. Profession only and then apathy does not seem to suffice as demonstrated by the typology of the Tabernacle sacrifices. The Trespass Offering: Many people believe that scripture reference to the Trespass offering begins at Leviticus 5:14 and continues to Leviticus 6:7. However, there are differences. The Trespass offering was like the sin offering in that it was expiatory but it differed in that it had no efficacy in the offering until the restitution was made. The sin offering (substitutionary animal) bore the full penalty of the offeror’s sin whereas the trespass offering was only valid if restitution was made to satisfy YHVH’s justice. The trespass offering seems to have been made where there could be monetary value assessed to the damage done and where the law broken was not so fundamentally important for the wellbeing of the victim. For the trespass offering only a ram could be offered, whether the offeror was poor or rich. This taught the offeror that his duty to redress wrong was not altered by his circumstances. This differed to the sin offering where the animal offered was permitted according to the ability of the offeror. It also taught that restitution was not enough. It might be to redress the grievances had against the offeror by the victim, but it required a ram sacrifice to as well to redress YHVH’s law. The trespass offering clearly typifies Yahshua who redressed YHVH for our trespasses. Multiple sacrifices were not permitted for the trespass offering or sin offerings as they were for other offerings. Offerings were calculated to show the people that it wasn’t sufficient to just address the victim of their sin for their sin was not just against a neighbor it was also against a Holy YHVH who the perpetrator dishonored by dishonoring His laws for the nation. Since restitution was the common penalty, the importance of the trespass offerings is obvious. There was always a fifth added to the amount of restitution. Did you know that when you withhold your tithe it is commanded that you add a 1/5 to the amount, which amounts to 30% of the tithe, you are commanded to give? So if you go on a trip and do not make your tithe you owe that tithe plus another 30% to be right with YHVH. If the offeror only pays the damage he has done he has lost nothing. However, by paying a 1/5 more he learned that sin never profits. Furthermore, the sacrifice taught that there was no virtue in the offeror’s restitution unless he made and offering for atonement. Trespass offerings were broken into two categories: those against man and those against YHVH or pertaining to holy things such as tithes, first born, first fruits, vows, or redemption money for a firstborn child. The price of the trespass plus a fifth more would be given to the priest to make restitution before the offering of a ram for atonement. Four specific trespasses against man are listed in Leviticus 6: 2-3 but there certainly are a variety of offenses just as those listed for sin-offerings in Leviticus 5:1-4 are not the only ones.
The description of the sin in this case described in 5:17 is the same as that in Leviticus 4:2; 4:13; 4:22; 4:27.. In what respect do these sins (which here require a Guilt-Offering) differ from those in Ch. 4 for which a Sin-Offering is prescribed? The difference is indicated in the words ‘though he knew (‘wist’ A.V.) it not.’ They are not the same as the Heb. expression rendered unwittingly (concerning his ignorance A.V.), for in Leviticus 5; 18 they occur as a further qualification of a thing done ‘unwittingly.’ The sins of Ch. 4 are those of which a person becomes conscious (Leviticus 4:14; 4:23; 4; 28). In such case he must offer a Sin-Offering. But the case here supposed is that of one who fears that he has been guilty of some infringement of the Divine commands, but cannot specify it. He brings a ram as Guilt-Offering (in the same manner as in the preceding case (15, 16)), but no restitution is demanded as the amount cannot be estimated, since the offence remains unknown. This sacrifice was called by the Jews (’âshâm tâluy), lit. a suspended Guilt or Trespass-Offering. It was a voluntary offering, and relieved a troubled conscience. It is recorded of one pious Jew that he brought a sacrifice of this kind every day except on the day following the Great Day of Atonement. In the Messianic Scriptures, we see Yahshua extends the crimes to damages to the spiritual wellbeing of a person, which are as great as physical trespass sins and need expiation also. Again, we see the inextricable connection between the spiritual and the physical. Damages by anger, malice and so forth can often be more harmful than those of a physical nature. Yahshua came to show us an example of how to live within YHVH’s Torah and showed us the spiritual dimensions of it. Not only was it a sin to commit adultery, but it was a sin to just contemplate it. We may not always be able to avoid sinful thoughts, but we can abort acting on them by spiritually and perhaps physically fleeing from the situation that prompted the thought just as did Joseph from Potiphar’s wife. We can do all things through Yahshua who strengthens us.
Shalom v’ brachas, Rabbi Tamah Davis