Monday: Types of Offerings

In Old Testament times, believers could bring offerings on different occasions and in different personal circumstances. Different objects they were allowed to “offer” included clean animals, grain, or drink, as well as other things. The animal sacrifice is the oldest element in the sanctuary service, and together with the priestly service, it belongs to the center of the Israelite service. Religious life without sacrifice was inconceivable.

Image © Jeff Preston from

Image © Jeff Preston from

Which kinds of offerings are described in the following texts? Exod. 12:21–27, Lev. 2:1–3, Exod. 25:2–7, Lev. 4:27–31.

God established the sacrificial system so that believers could enter into a close relationship with Him. This is why offerings could be brought in all different kinds of situations: for thanksgiving, for an expression of joy and celebration, for a gift, for a petition for forgiveness, for a penitential plea, for a symbol of dedication, or for restitution.

Among the most important types of offerings were the burnt offering (Leviticus 1) and the grain offering (Leviticus 2), as well as the peace, or well-being offering (Leviticus 3), the purification offering (Leviticus 4), and the reparation (trespass) offering (Lev. 5:14–6:7). The first three were voluntary offerings, which were to remind the giver (and us) that, in the end, everything that we are and all that we have belong to God. The burnt offering symbolizes the total dedication of the one making the offering. The grain offering symbolizes the dedication of our material possessions to God, whether they be food, animals, or something else. The well-being offering is the only sacrifice in which the participant receives a part of the offering for personal consumption.

The other two sacrifices were obligatory. They reminded the people that, though wrongs have consequences, those wrongs can be“healed.” The purification offering, often called “sin offering,” was offered after ritual defilement or after the person became aware of a moral defilement through sin.

The widespread function of the offerings shows that every aspect of our life must come under God’s control. How can you learn to surrender completely everything you have, or are, to Him? What happens when you don’t do this?



Monday: Types of Offerings — 16 Comments

  1. Both the sin offering and the Trespass offering deal with intentional and unintentional sins. The sin offering seems to focus on unintentional sins more than the trespass offering does. Unintentional sins are those that we commit because of the way we are as creatures with a fallen nature or because circumstances push us into a dilemma where no matter what we do damage happens. It concerns sins that we have no intention of committing. So God covers all sins whether intentional or not as long as we confess those that we know of (1 Jn 1:9).

    The business of unintentional sins raises some very interesting questions depending on how we define sin and there are many valid definitions in Scripture. If we use one of the main Greek words for sin (hamartano {ham-ar-tan'-o}: 1) to be without a share in 2) to miss the mark 3) to err, be mistaken 4) to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong 5) to wander from the law of God, violate God's law, sin) as a definition then sin can be either willful or not because we are simply missing the ideal, the mark.

    My favorite definition is 1 Jn 3:4 as the New King James and most other translations render the verse because it says that sin is a mental attitude toward law in general (absence of law thinking), that is, in rebellion to the authority who establishes law. I prefer it to other definitions because of our situation and the fact that the law is a transcript of the character of God. It means that a sinner is intentionally in rebellion against what God is (1 Jn 4:8) and fights against the thought that he is commanded to have the same frame of mind that Jesus has (Phil 2:5).

    But, what about the times when we sin without intending to do so especially after probation closes? According to my favorite definition we won't sin after probation closes but does that mean that we won't miss the mark or that we will have attained to the perfection that is Christ (Phil 3:12; Counsels for the Church, p 51.2)?

  2. "The sinful state of man can only be corrected through the shedding of innocent blood."

    In ancient times, goats, rams, turtle doves without blemish were required. The sinner remained alive and the innocent died.
    As times elapsed, when sacrifice in this fashion was no longer pleasing to God, another innocent died whilst the sinner remained alive. Jesus became the emblem of suffering and shame...... "His sinless life was acceptable to God, and by God's grace, we are accepted because of Christ."
    An old adage reads "It is better to obey than sacrifice ......All God asks is that we obey him ....
    I am thankful today that "this sacrifice, once for all time, atoned for our sins and restores our relationship with God."

    • I must admit, I find this sentence disturbing "As times elapsed ,when sacrifice in this fashion was no longer pleasing to God ,another innocent died whilst the sinner remained alive.", to be specific it is the 'no longer pleasing to God' part. It leaves me with the impression that God is capricious, fickle, inconsistent, changeable, variable, mercurial, moody and flighty. It goes against the concept in the verse(I can not remember where I read it) that God does not change. I believe it was not an issue of no longer pleasant to see innocent creatures die, but the result of a plan based on reasoning that is way beyond our current capacity to comprehend due to the lack of adequate record in the scriptures. Our current usage of the word 'pleasant' is better applicable to human behavior.

      • Neven, I agree with you. Such a thought is highly disturbing!

        Additionally, animal sacrifices were never "pleasing to God." He didn't want sacrifices. He wanted obedience to the Law of Love. (Check out these verses, for instance: 1 Sam 15:22; Ps 40:6-8; Ps 51:16-17; Micah 6:6-8; Jer 7:22-23; Hosea 6:6; Matt 12:7; Mark 12:33)

        The sacrifices were always meant to impress the sinner with the deadly nature of sin and that the Creator would some day come Himself and be the sacrifice.

        What was 'pleasing to God" in connection with sacrifices was the contrition of heart that the sacrifices represented. God was always more interested in the heart than in sacrifices.

        The personal relationship which the sacrifice of Christ restored was open to persons living in ancient times, just as it is now. That's how Enoch, Abraham and Moses walked with God.

        The sacrifice of Christ is only effective for us today as we accept the power He offers, as a result of His sacrifice, to live according to His Law of Love.

        There was no magic in the ancient sacrifices. There was no magic in the sacrifice of Christ. Both had/have to be accepted by faith and "the blood applied." Without such working faith, neither kind of sacrifice was/is effective.

        The Bible makes clear that "the blood" represents the life. So the life of Christ has to be "applied" to our life to make the sacrifice effective. Paul uses a different metaphor in his theme of being "in Christ" - that is, so identified with Christ, that we are totally covered by Him and His character.

        May God help us to daily submit ourselves to Christ so that we may live in Him!

  3. As the sinner laid his hand on then innocent animal, he tranfered his sin to the innocent one. He the slay the innocent animal himself for the priest to atone for him. On one dark Friday, the hands of all sinners was laid on the one great sacrificial lamb of God to whom the offerings pointed to. He was slain by those for whom He died in order to atone for them. As they nailed the hands that created men, He prayed that they will be forgiven. By His stripes we are healed of our sins.

  4. God doesn't want our sacrifices, He wants our hearts. He wants our whole lives.I find it very interesting that when it came to building the tabernacle God only wanted one type of giving. He wanted giving that was prompted by the movement of the heart. He would only accept offerings for His temple that were given freely, and not under compulsion. I think this is a good place to start when it comes to our personal stewardship. Let us not look for rules and percentages so that we can be certain we did our part. Instead, start with giving the Lord your entire life. Give Him all your time, talents and possession; they are His gifts to you anyways. Dedicate all that you are to Him. Whether it is used directly for His Church or for aspects of your personal and family life, may it be used in response to God's grace and mercy.So, what should we give back to God? We should give whatever our heart is moved to give. Let's give of our time, talents and possessions freely. Let's give from a heart that is moved by gratitude for all that the Lord has done for us

  5. When I think about God's love and that He initiated reconciliation also his willingness to forgive and his desire for a relationship with me, a sinner I am amazed at his relentless love

  6. I thank God every day for the unfailing love that he has given me and my family, and friends, that every morning we have waken up all accounted for, every one are all in their right minds, we are notdeserving of such love, but that shows us what an awsome God we serve. Let's continue to give him all the praise and glory that he deserves. Amen

  7. Ms. Charles said it simply. Jesus was innocent when he agreed to stand in the sinner's place. What a merciful God we serve! Let us give praise and thanks always to our Redeemer and King. Thank You Father!

  8. Monazwe, I agree with all u said. Those words we ALL should never forget. Our Father gave all without question.....
    May we enter into HIS courts with thanksgiving and remember. "lust of the flesh is fleeting"GOD is ever for us....

  9. Q1: How can you learn to surrender completely everything you have, or are, to Him? Well, to become completely nothing is to be at the foot of the cross. Here is an SOP quote:

    "Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Saviour. By prayer, by the study of His word, by faith in His abiding presence, the weakest of human beings may live in contact with the living Christ, and He will hold them by a hand that will never let go". Ministry of Healing 182.

    That's living by faith.

    Q2: What happens when you don’t do this?

    "Oh, for a living, active faith! We need it; we must have it, or we shall faint and fail in the day of trial. The darkness that will then rest upon our path must not discourage us or drive us to despair. It is the veil with which God covers His glory when He comes to impart rich blessings. We should know this by our past experience. In that day when God has a controversy with His people this experience will be a source of comfort and hope". - Counsels for the Church 334

    • Thanks FERDI,you've said it all, I am so touched with these words. God bless you abundantly. Indeed if we won't do what pleases God, we will surely fail in the day of trial.

  10. I believe you are right Ferdi,
    I read the other day a heart warming passage that said if we have turned to Him with what seems as just a feeble grasp, He is there for us with a tight grip on us that is guaranteed to never let us slip away unless we choose. Choose Him my friend. Yes we need to have an exuberance in our faith, David did. And God called him a man after His own heart. Read Psalms 27. Again the implication is we just turn to Him with our feeble minds, that is enough surrender for Him to grab us with a big tight hug and say welcome home my child. What more do we need? Nothing!

  11. Tue:sacrifice at moriah.
    One of the reasons as to why Abraham was told to sacrifice his son was to impress Abraham's mind with the reality of the gospel,as well as to test his faith.

  12. My 10 yr old son wanted to burn something like to praise God & I felt like a ninny for not knowing how to explain we don't do that anymore. And bad because he wanted to do something for God & I could not direct him.


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