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by Dr Surya Kumar Daimari  
12/07/2014 / Bible Studies

Continued from CH-2, Part- 3
Sacrifice in the Old Testament Sanctuaries

Today's Topic:

The Terminology of Sacrifice:
The Heb terms for sacrifice in the OT are (i) "minha" means "gift", "present", "offering" or a gift
Presented to the deity.
(ii) "qorban" from the root "qrb" means to draw near or approach. The important fact is that the sacrifices were a means of approach to God for a Hebrew worshiper. This term was specifically used for sacrificial offering either with or without blood, vegetable or animal, entirely or partially burnt (Lev 1:2-3,10,14; 2:1,4;3:1-2;7:13 Num 5:15;7:17)
(iii) "Zebah" means simply a "sacrifice, a slaughtered animal also called a sacrifice of peace offering (Lev 3)
(iv) "Ola" means burnt offering burnt to ashes that goes up as a soothing aroma to the Lord. The rising of smoke from the altar toward God signifies an irrevocable gift in the spiritual sense, Lev 6:10
(v) "asham" --- trespass offering, guilt offering, a blood sacrifice to make an atonement for sin.
(vi) "hattat" - a sin offering, a blood sacrifice made to make an atonement for unintentional sin.
The classification of sacrifices in Leviticus:
(1)The Burnt Offering
The Heb word for burnt offering is "ola" which means 'that which goes up' as a soothing aroma to the Lord, "a sweet savor unto the Lord" (Lev 1:9b, 13b, 17b), burnt to ashes because the entire animal was offered on the altar. Hence it is also called the whole burnt offering (Lev 6:8-13). The animal must be male without blemish. The burnt offering was a voluntary offering. The burnt offering was a sacrifice of complete consecration and dedication of the offerer. The purpose of the offering is to "make atonement" v4b) literally means "to cover over". It implies the meaning of covering over of sin as something upon which the God of Israel who is holy cannot look. Therefore the sin of the offerer must be covered over by the atoning blood' A sweet savor unto the Lord" is a human way of describing the satisfaction of the Lord in the offerings of the people.
(2) The Cereal Offering or the Grain offering: Lev 2:1-16
It is a non-blood offering. The material for offering was fine flour evenly milled. The flour is mixed with oil and frankincense is placed on it. The priest takes a handful of this flour to burn on the altar. This handful portion is called the memorial (Heb azkara). The offering was intended to bring the individual worshiper into the remembrance before God. The meal, the oil and the wine of the drink offerings were the three most important elements in the daily food of the people. These represented their daily food they received from God. In the offering of the first fruits, salt is mentioned as "the covenant of thy God."

(3) The Peace Offering : Lev 3:1-17
The peace offering is paramountly a thanksgiving offering which also represents peace with God in fellowship. The animal brought for sacrifice was a male or female without blemish. But unlike the burnt offering, only a part is burnt on the altar. It consists of the fat which is upon the internal organs, together out on the ground and covered with earth. The term "peace offering" apparently implies that the worshiper is in a state of reconciliation with God. The remaining portion of the sacrificed animal was eaten by the priests and the worshipers together. This meal was considered to be a means of reconciliation or fellowship with God. Deut 12:6-7; Ex 18:12; 24:11

(4) Sin offering : Lev 4:1-5, 13;6:24-30
The sin and guilt offering were obligatory. It dealt more specifically with the forgiveness of Israel's sin and restoration of fellowship with God. The sin-offering is considered with special reference to the status of the one whose sin is to be expiated: the anointed priest, the whole congregation, a ruler and one of the common people.
The anointed high priest occupies a place of great importance. He represents the whole congregation. When he sinned, the whole congregation sinned, when he appeared before the Lord in the most holy place, the whole congregation appeared. Since by virtue of his office, the high priest is permitted to enter the Holy place and minister in the holy things, it is likely that his sin has profaned the Holy place. So atonement must be made in the Holy place and the bullock was sacrificed. Blood must be brought into the Holy place and sprinkled towards the veil and placed on the horns of the golden altar of incense.
The sin offering for the congregation (13-21)
The same ritual is performed when all the congregation sins. The Israel is considered to be a "kingdom of Priests" (Ex 19:6) and the Lord dwells in her midst. In the case of laying hands, it must be performed by the elders as representing the people. In the case of the lay individual, whether a ruler or one of the common people, the blood is not brought into the Holy place, but applied to the horns of the altar of burnt sacrifice and poured out beside it. It is of utmost significance that the blood is not only shed, for atonement is made only when the blood was applied to the horns of the altar. It meant that God was covering the sins of his people and their sins were forgiven. The ruler offers a male goat, the common man a goat or a ewe-lamb. In the case of this sacrifice, all the flesh except the fat became the portion of the officiating priest. "the priest who offers it for sin shall eat it." V26

(5) THE Guilt Offering : 7:1-10; 5-14-6:7
In the case of a sin against the Lord or against the man, restitution is required and the restitution must precede the performing or the sacrifice. The offering in each case is an unblemished ram (5:15, 18; 6:6
Also called a "male lamb (14:12), "a male lamb a year old" (Numb 6:12) "The portion of the priest is the same in this offering as in the case of the sin offering. Everything except the Lord's portion goes to the priest.
Occasions of the Sacrifices:
1. Daily sacrifices:
Regular sacrifices were performed by the priests every day both in the morning and evening in the tabernacle while in the wilderness and later in the temple. (Num 28:3-9)

2. On the day of Sabbath
Offerings and sacrifices were doubled on the Sabbath day. (Num 28:9; Lev 24:8)

3. At the New Moon:

A monthly sacrifice was made at the new moon. The sacrifices consisted of two young bullocks, one ram, seven lambs, and a kid of the goats as a sin offering. Num 28:11-15 Sacrifices were also performed on special occasions, i.e. on festivals or feasts.

4. On the day of Passover : Lev 23:5,6

The root meaning of the Heb term "pesah" is "to pass (or spring) over", and signifies the passing over of the houses of Israel when the first born of Egypt were slain (Ex 12). The Passover was the first of the three annual pilgrimage festivals. It was celebrated on the 14th of Nissan which refers to the paschal supper on that evening and from the 15th to the 21st follows the Feast of unleavened Bread.

Institution and Celebration:

The purpose of the Feast of Passover was to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian bondage and the sparing of Israel's firstborn. On the 10th of Nissan, each family of Israelite had to set apart a lamb without blemish and on the 14th evening the lamb was slain and the blood was sprinkled on the door posts and lintel of the house. The lamb was then roasted wholly and eaten with the unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The remaining portion was burnt in the next morning. Every body had to eat in haste with loins girded, shoes on the feet and staff in hand.

Later observance: some distinctions were made in the celebration of the Passover after the establishment of the priesthood and the tabernacle. See page 21

5. The Day of Atonement. Lev 16:7-10

It was the annual day of atonement "Yom nakkippurim"---
The national day of atonement of sins of the people of Israel. The day fell on the 10th day of the seventh month, Tishri. On that day "he (the high priest) shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats, one for the Lord, and the other for the scape goat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scape goat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, to let him go for a scape goat into the wilderness.'
"Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people and bring his blood within the veil----- and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat seven times" V 15
In this way an atonement was made for the most holy place.
"And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions and all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness; and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited" Vs 21,22.
See "wonder of the mercy seat" on page 105

(6) Public sacrifices:

(i) Making of a covenant:

We have seen through the passages of the OT that whenever a covenant was made between God and His chosen, the covenant was ratified and confirmed by sacrifices. Such was the case with God and Israel at Mt. Sinai under the leadership of Moses (Ex 24:1-8) and at Mount Ebal under Joshua (Josh 8:30). Both burnt offerings and peace offerings were made at the time of making covenants. These sacrifices were necessary for expiation and showing an act of thanks and praise.

(ii)At the time of dedication or consecration

Sacrifices were made at the time of consecration of a priest (Lev 8-9) or a Levite (Num 8), at a coronation (I Sam 11:15; II Sam 6:13; I Kings 1:9). A total of 142,000 animals were sacrificed by Solomon at the time of the dedication of the Temple to God. (I Kings 8:63)
Apart from "the feast of Passover" and "the day of atonement" the Israelite also observed other national feasts specially known as the agricultural feasts.

(1) The Feast of Unleavened Bread:

The feast of unleavened bread immediately followed the feast of Passover in remembrance of their affliction and God's bringing them out in haste from Egypt (bread of affliction) Deut 16:3.
On the second day of unleavened bread (16th of Nisan), a sheaf of first fruits of the barely harvest was presented as a wave offering (Lev 23:9-11). The ceremony came to be known as" the Omer ceremony" from the Heb. Word "Omer" for sheaf.

(2) The Feast of Pentecost. Lev 23:15-22

The Heb word for Pentecost is "hagshabuot" meaning the "fiftieth" which is also called "the feast of weeks" (Ex 31, 22; Lev 23:15-22). The feast was celebrated seven weeks after the Passover on the fiftieth day. It has also been called "the feast of harvest" (Ex 23:16) and "the day of first fruits" (Num 28:26). A new cereal offering in the form of two wave loaves was offered. These were of fine flour baked with leaven and were described as the first fruits to the Lord which implied a consecration of their daily bread to God. It was a day of thanksgiving and free will offering to God, for God gave them their daily bread.
Though the feast of Pentecost was celebrated as one of the great agricultural feasts, it was of great significance on the fact that the law of God through Moses at Mount Sinai came to Israel on the fiftieth day after the Passover. In the NT, the significance is that the Holy Spirit came down upon the believers and the church was established (Acts 2).

3.The Feast of Trumpets: Lev 23:24,25
The new moon of the seventh month the first of Tishri was designated as "rosh hashshana", the first of the year or "Yom terua", day of sounding or the trumpet also described as a day of solemn rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, and as a holy convocation. The blowing of the trumpets could be understood in two senses
Firstly, it is God reminding the people of Israel of their duty to prepare themselves for the solemnities and the people remind God of His covenant towards them.

(3) The Feast of Tabernacles : Lev 23:33-44

The day of Atonement was soon followed by the feast of Tabernacles. The people were to live in the booths for seven days so that the generations may know that it was God who made the people of Israel dwell in booths and He brought them out of the land of Egypt. The fasting on the day of Atonement was a sign of sorrow for sins but the feast of Tabernacles was a sign of great joy. Therefore the people were to rejoice before the Lord. In Heb for tabernacle is "Sukkot" which means booth. It is very significant in the respect that the people of Israel dwelt in the tents while in the wilderness. Isaiah says that Jerusalem is likened to a cottage (booth) in a vineyard (Is 1:8), so frail and poverty stricken has the abode of the daughter of Zion became.
The feasts were seasonal in character and suited well to an agricultural people. The emphasis is however very historical in remembrance afresh the great deliverance from Egypt. For NT believer, these feasts and sacrifices foreshadow the great deliverance from the bondage of sin and death that God had made for us on the cross of Calvary in the person of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ.

To be continued

Name of the Author of this article: Dr. Surya Kumar Daimari, MA,M.Ed, PGDTE,D.Min.(Doctor of Ministry)
The author is a freelance writer.
Book published: The Names of the Believers in the Bible in Types and Symbols .

Article Source: WRITERS

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