Troublesome Topic: A Mid-length Summary of Four Sacrifices

Lesson 6 of 12

The primary purpose of the grain offering was to show gratitude to God for the harvest. It also represented God’s purifying and preserving work in their lives (salt) and a commitment to live under the direction of the Holy Spirit (oil). What’s more it demonstrated a willingness to go through the “fire” of suffering in order to become more like God (when frankincense is heated its odor becomes more intense and possibly more pleasant).

The purpose of the peace offering/fellowship offering was to establish, reestablish or solidify a wholesome relationship between the worshipper and God. It was a way of showing God that the worshipper was putting aside luxuries (fat) and anything that was unnecessary in order to focus only on Him. It was also a powerful demonstration of one’s burning devotion to God (the large flames caused by fat dripping into the fire).

The sin offering (which I call the “oops” offering) was offered when someone had committed an unintentional sin or had unwittingly hindered their relationship with God. God’s offer of acceptance still stood; nothing had changed that. But the one bringing this offering needed to be more vigilant and more careful next time in order to not slip into more serious offenses. Because it burned fat like the peace offering, it was either a commitment to refuse to allow the luxuries of life to steal one’s heart, or it was a sign of the on-fire passion that one had (or was rekindling) toward God, or both.

The guilt offering/restitution offering seems to have had more than one function – it was for unintentional sins committed against God’s “Holy things,” and also for offenses committed knowingly or unknowingly against another person’s possessions. The consistent part was that every time this offering was offered it had to be accompanied by a payment of restitution to God or to the offended neighbor.

The next lesson in the mid-length series on covenants is Why Did God Hold Them Guilty for Unintentional Sins?