Last week we said there were three things that God gave specific instructions to Moses to do: construct the Tabernacle, setup the system of sacrifices, and create the priesthood.
God gave the law, not as a part of the blood covenant, but as His way of revealing Himself to the world. It was His calling card to show the world His character.
When the Hebrew looked into the Ten Commandments, he would see God’s holiness and his sinfulness.
He could understand that he had sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and without the shedding of blood, there would be no forgiveness of sins. This revelation would drive the Hebrew to the blood covenant as his means of being reconciled to God.
The same is true for us.
The law, the Tabernacle, the priesthood and the sacrifice system were of the Old Covenant but they pointed the Hebrew to the New Covenant when God Himself would come in the flesh.
God gives us a preview:
- Man sinned and they covered themselves with leaves and hid from God.
Genesis 3:6-7 NKJV So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (7) Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
- This was their way of covering their sin.
- God had a better way:
Genesis 3:21 NKJV Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
- God must kill an innocent animal and accept its blood in substitute as a temporary covering of their sin.
- So God killed an animal and showed it to Adam and Eve. Now Adam and Even had never seen death before. We are accustomed to death but they weren’t. It must have sickened them to see life taken away from one of God’ creatures.
- I believe He had Adam watch Him as he killed the animal.
- When God looked at them with those fig leaves on, He still saw their sin. He saw what it looks like when man in his own puny strength tries to cover his own sin.
- When God looked at them with the animal skins on, He knew that blood had been shed and the price to cover their sin had been paid.
Adam teaches his sons about the blood.
- Cain was older and was a farmer.
- Abel was a shepherd.
Genesis 4:1-16 NKJV Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” (2) Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. (3) And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. (4) Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, (5) but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. (6) So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? (7) If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (8) Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. (9) Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (10) And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. (11) So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. (12) When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” (13) And Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! (14) Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” (15) And the LORD said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. (16) Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden.
- God approved of Abel’s offering because this was the way that had been established for sinful man to approach Him. Therefore, Abel was acceptable to God, not by his own goodness, but based on the innocent blood sacrifice.
- The blood was the evidence that the penalty for sin had been paid.
Hebrews 11:4 NKJV By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
- Cain rejected God’s way. Instead of bringing an innocent sacrifice, he brought the fruit of his own labor. Cain probably brought his very best but it represented the best of his own good works.
- Cain was trying to approach God with his own self-righteousness.
- There was no evidence that the penalty for sin had been paid.
- It was sinful man trying to approach a holy God on his own good works rather than through the blood of an innocent substitutionary sacrifice.
- We later see that Adam’s son Seth called upon the Name of the Lord and accepted the sacrifice to cover their sins.
- Noah offered a sacrifice to God as soon as he stepped on dry land following the flood.
- Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac and Jacob made sacrifices.
The Ten commandments were to serve as a mirror. It was designed to show the people God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. It was meant to send man running to the blood covenant for any kind of hope in a relationship with God.
It also served to reveal God’s grace to man. No matter how hard man tries, he cannot come to go in anything that he can do and earn a relationship with God.
The God shows Moses the sacrificial system.
The system has five types of sacrifices. Each sacrifice would uniquely reveal something about the nature of the final sacrifice when God would give Himself on man’s behalf. Taken as a whole they would form a complete picture of the perfect sacrifice.
The system called for 1273 public sacrifices a year. It included sacrifices each morning and evening, each Sabbath, the first day of the month and during special feast days of assembly and celebration. That amounts to almost 2,000,000 public sacrifice ceremonies from the time God established the system to the time that He would show up to be the perfect sacrifice.
In addition to the public offerings, there were millions of individual offerings.
God was making it clear that man can only approach Him through an innocent blood sacrifice.
The five types of sacrifices were:
- Sin Offering
- Trespass Offering
- Burnt Offering
- Meal Offering
- Peace Offering
The Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering were mandatory offerings associated with the sins of the nation and the individuals.
The Burnt Offering, Meal Offering and Peace Offering were spontaneous, voluntary offerings of praise and thanksgiving.
- The Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-5,13; 6:24-30)
- You offered this offering because you were a sinner not because you had sinned.
- The offering had to be spotless, no defects or blemishes.
- The priest meets you at the altar and you lean heavily on the head of the animal and kill it. In this way you are personally identifying with the animal. You felt him dying on your behalf and you are grateful for this substitute.
- The priest catches the blood and sprinkles some on the horns of the altar.
- The priest takes the fat of the inward part because it was the choicest part and protected all the vital organs and he burns it on the altar. Symbolically you are giving your heart to God.
- The priest then takes the carcass of the animal outside of the camp away from the presence of God and then the ashes are brought there. The rest of the carcass was then burned away from the camp because it represented sin.
- You got none of the offering because that would indicate communion with God and God cannot commune where there is sin.
- Jesus was offered for us outside of the gates of the city.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV (21) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
- Trespass Offering (Leviticus 5:14-19; 7:1-10)
- The Sin Offering deals with your position before God, the Trespass Offering deals with your walk with God. You offer it for the sins you have committed, rather than for sin itself.
- As you lay your hands on the offering, you confess your particular sin.
- Confessing your sin removes the burden of guilt.
- The priest offers the fat of the inward parts to God upon the altar.
- He sprinkles the blood back and forth on the altar.
- The priest eats the remainder of the offering.
- You receive none of this offering.
- You must make restitution for the wrongs that you committed against others, adding 20% for their loss.
- God has already forgiven us for all of our sins because all of them, past, present and future, were nailed to the cross of Jesus. Not only has God forgiven us for all of our sins, but He doesn’t even remember them. He blotted them out of His memory.
- We stay free of condemnation and guilt by confessing our sins to God and claiming the forgiveness that is already ours through the blood of Jesus.
Through these two offerings you were expressing your desire for God but you must go on. The Christian must move past these two offerings in order to experience the abundant Christian life. Christians that do not experience these things have not moved on to these offerings.
- The Burnt Offering (Leviticus 1:3-17; 6:8-13)
- This expresses your readiness to commune with God. You present yourself of your own free will.
- You bring a bull, lamb or goat, or if you are poor you bring a turtledove or pigeon. These were domesticated pets you have personally raised and must be spotless.
- As you lay your hands on the animal and kill it on the north side of the altar.
- The priest catches the blood and sprinkles it around the altar.
- The priest skins the animal to expose all of its inward parts. He then checks it for defects. If satisfied with the examination, he burns the entire animal on the altar except for the skin.
- The offering represents your willingness to give your entire being to God.
- The smoke then ascends as a sweet smelling aroma to the Lord.
- Jesus was killed on the north side of Jerusalem.
- We present ourselves as a living sacrifice by yielding to the Lordship of Jesus over our lives.
- As a burnt offering, we lay ourselves before the Lord to inspect us and search us.
- The Meal Offering
- This represents your walk in communion with God.
- This was the only offering without blood.
- The offering consisted of fine flour mingled with oil. Salt was added for seasoning and frankincense for spice. You offer it as raw flour or unleavened cakes and wafers and no leaven or honey is used.
- You present it to the priest. The priest offers a handful to God and eats the remainder.
- The handful in God’s eyes represents the whole offering.
- In the Bible leaven represents sin. Honey when used with leaven represents the pleasures of sin. As the perfect Meal Offering, Jesus knew no sin.
- There was no leaven or honey in His life. Jesus was filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit.
- God desires for us to have no leaven or honey but to be filled with the oil of His Spirit.
- The Peace Offering
- Through the sin and trespass offering you have expressed a desire for communion with God. You have expressed a readiness for communion through the Burnt Offering and Meal Offering.
- You are now going to celebrate that communion through the peace offering.
- This is the one you have been looking forward to because you get to keep a portion of this offering. It symbolizes the completion of your union with God.
- You lay your animal on the altar placing your hands on it and kill it.
- The priest catches the blood and sprinkles it around the altar.
- He takes the fat, places it on the altar and offers it to God.
- With the help of the priest, you now offer to God the breast and right shoulder of the sacrifice. The breast represents your heart and the should represents your strength. The priest places his hands on yours and together you move the sacrifice up and down, right and left in a waving motion resembling a “T”.
- God then gives back this portion.
- The high priest receives the breast portion and the right shoulder goes to the priest that is helping you.
- Along with the animal sacrifice, you also bring unleavened cakes and wafers mixed with oil plus loaves of unleavened bread. There in the courtyard of the Tabernacle you eat the remainder of the sacrifice along with the loaves, with your family and friends.
- You are celebrating together the communion of God.
- Because God returned His portion to you, you are symbolically feeding on His divine nature to become one with Him.
- Jesus is the true meat and drink that satisfies the cries and longings of man’s heart.
- The portion of this offering that we get to keep is God’s very own divine nature coming in us by the person of the Holy Spirit.
- Because of the sacrifice of Christ and through His blood, we now walk in communion and fellowship with Him.
- God’s favor rests on all those who have accepted Jesus as their peace offering.