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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus

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FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus 1: The Burnt Offering

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE OFFERINGS

 

Many people are put off by the first seven chapters and their Offerings, but actually it is quite simple: chapters 1 to 6 lay out the general approach to these FIVE Offerings for the ordinary person presenting their offering, and then chapters 6 & 7 are additional instructions to the priests on how to go about presenting the offerings. All Offerings except the Cereal offering consisted of young unblemished animals. The Offerings are:

 

1. The BURNT OFFERING

- the very basic offering that anyone with a desire to simply say thank you to God or please Him, the most second commonly mentioned offering (59 times in Leviticus).

 

2. The GRAIN or CEREAL OFFERING

- often used with the Burnt Offering, part given to God, part retained for the Priests, again for thanksgiving or to please God (35 times in Leviticus)

 

3. The FELLOWSHIP or PEACE OFFERING

- considered as food offered to God to bless Him, a sharing in fellowship and harmony, part burnt up as given to the Lord, and part eaten by the Priests (29 times in Leviticus)

 

4. The SIN OFFERING

- to cover unintentional sin, for atonement before God, part burnt up, part eaten by the Priests, the most commonly mentioned. ( 62 times in Leviticus).

 

5. GUILT OFFERINGS

- for acknowledgment of specific guilt, part burnt up, part eaten by the Priests (27 times in Leviticus)

 

Note also that some offerings above will be referred to as FOOD OFFERINGS (42 times in Leviticus), as with the burnt offering, in each case as ‘food given to God' is implied. Sometimes part of the offerings were waved before God and were thus also known as WAVE OFFERINGS (14 times in Leviticus).

 

BREAKDOWN OF CHAPTERS 1-7

 

1:1,2

Introduction

1:3-17

BURNT OFFERING from herd (1:3-9), from flocks (1:10 -13) and from birds (1:14 -17)

2:1-16

GRAIN OFFERING of flour (2:1-3), of cakes baked (2:4), of cakes on a griddle (2:5,6), cooked in a pan (2:7) + general instructions (2:8-16)

3:1-16

FELLOWSHIP OFFERING from herd (3:1-5), from sheep (3:6-11), and from goats ( 3:12 -16)

4:1- 5:13

SIN OFFERING – Introduction (4:1,2), for a priest (4:3-12), for the congregation (4:13-21), for a leader (4:22-26), for an individual, ( 4:27-35) + 4 specific reasons for (5:1-4) + dealing with those things (5:5-13)

5:14 - 6:7

GUILT OFFERING – sins over holy things (5:14-16), sins over disobedience (5:17 -19), and sins against neighbours (6:1-7)

 

 

6:8-13

BURNT OFFERING – Practicalities

6:14-23

GRAIN OFFERING – Practicalities

6:24-29

SIN OFFERING – Practicalities

7:1-10

GUILT OFFERING – Practicalities

7:11-21

FELLOWSHIP OFFERING – Practicalities

7:22-27

Instruction not to eat blood or fat

7:28-36

Wave Offering as part of Fellowship Offering

7:37,38

Summary of Chapters 1-7

 

FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus 1: The Burnt Offering

 

Context:

1:3-17

BURNT OFFERING

2:1-16

GRAIN OFFERING

3:1-16

FELLOWSHIP OFFERING

4:1- 5:13

SIN OFFERING

5:14 - 6:7

GUILT OFFERING

 

v.1-2 Introduction

v.3-9 Burnt Offering: A Bull

v.10-13 Burnt Offering: A Ram

v.14-17 Burnt Offering: A Dove or a Pigeon

 

 

[Opening Notes: Burnt Offerings were the very basic offering that anyone with a desire to simply say thank you to God or please Him, might bring. We might, before reading, note the following:

•  It depended on how wealthy you were and what you owned, bull, ram, bird.
•  It was an entirely voluntary offering.
•  In each case each animal was to be a male. Apart from possibly looking forward to one day Jesus taking the role of all of the offerings, this is quite possibly the Lord's grace in not allowing them to bring female animals which, of course, would be the way herds & flocks would be increased by their reproduction.
•  Although these killings may appear gruesome to the modern reader, the fact was that this was a farming community and farmers would regularly be killing beasts for food.
•  Thus the owner did the killing and then the priests played their part. Note it below.
•  Known as a ‘burnt offering' because it was all burnt up on the bronze altar, no one shared in any part of it, which did happen with some other offerings.

In the chapters that follow, the reader should note that the word ‘sins' does not appear until chapter 4 in respect of the Sin Offering. However the word ‘atonement' appears here in respect of the burnt offering (1:4) and then in 4:20,26,31,35 in respect of the Sin Offering.]

 

v.1-2 Introduction

 

v.1 The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said,

v.2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.

 

[Notes: These instructions were given by the Lord to Moses at Mount Sinai – see 7:37,38. The text assumes a free-will offering – “when” – but something that would become part of their worship ritual. The assumption was that it would be from herd or flock and the bird offering is only a concession to the poor.]

 

 

v.3-9 Burnt Offering: A Bull

 

v.3 “‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord.

v.4 You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you.

v.5 You are to slaughter the young bull before the Lord, and then Aaron's sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

v.6 You are to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces.

v.7 The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire.

v.8 Then Aaron's sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar.

v.9 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

 

[Notes: The young bull (a male ‘from the herd' v.3) may be a free-will offering but is seen as making ‘atonement', language of being made acceptable to a holy God, paying for their own sin [in every person since the Fall]. It was brought to the bronze altar outside the front of the tent and there killed and its blood drained off.

The priests [note Aaron's sons, not Aaron] splashed some of it on the sides of the altar, figuratively associating the life of the beast with the altar before it is cut up and entirely burnt, parts of it being washed beforehand.

It is also called a food offering and the imagery is off its roasting smell ascending to please God who we so often view as ‘up there'.

Without wanting to be cynical, if you are a farmer with herds, you don't want a lot of bulls – cows yes, but bulls no! Thus it was much easier for a farmer to part with ‘yet another' young bull! Atonement is only mentioned in respect of the bull, and not the lesser offerings.]

 

 

v.10-13 Burnt Offering: A Ram

 

v.10 “‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the flock , from either the sheep or the goats, you are to offer a male without defect.

v.11 You are to slaughter it at the north side of the altar before the Lord, and Aaron's sons the priests shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar.

v.12 You are to cut it into pieces, and the priest shall arrange them, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar.

v.13 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to bring all of them and burn them on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

 

[Notes: Same as with the bull except using a ram instead.]

 

 

v.14-17 Burnt Offering: A Dove or a Pigeon

 

v.14 “‘If the offering to the Lord is a burnt offering of birds , you are to offer a dove or a young pigeon.

v.15 The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar.

v.16 He is to remove the crop and the feathers and throw them down east of the altar where the ashes are.

v.17 He shall tear it open by the wings, not dividing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is burning on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

 

[Notes: This time, the poor person brings a bird and hands it over to the priest to kill it, removing the crop (and food) and feathers, then opening it up to be burnt.

In addition we should note that the practicalities for the priests, how to go about their part in this offering, are laid out in 6:8-13]

   

 

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 2