The Meaning of the Old Testament Offerings

The Meaning of the Old Testament Offerings

I studied in the Old Testament and found the different kinds of offerings the Jews offered up to GOD. They are all in Leviticus.

But I was just wondering what their symbolic meaning and typology was.

Why did they offer the...


Leviticus 4:1-3 -- 1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them: 3If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering.

...the peace-offering...

Exodus 20:24 -- An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

...the heave-offering...

Leviticus 7:14 -- And of it he shall offer one out of the whole oblation for an heave offering unto the LORD, and it shall be the priest's that sprinkleth the blood of the peace offerings.

...the wave-offering...

Exodus 29:24 -- And thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave offering before the LORD.

...the sheaf-offering...

Leviticus 23:15 -- And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

...the freewill offering...

Leviticus 22:18 -- Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering;

...the burnt-offering...

Leviticus 1:6 -- 6And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.

...the grain offering...

Leviticus 2:14 -- 14And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the LORD, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.

...the fellowship offering...

Leviticus 7:11-12 -- 11And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the LORD. 12If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried.

...and the guilt offering?

Leviticus 7:1-6 -- 1Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering: it is most holy. 2In the place where they kill the burnt offering shall they kill the trespass offering: and the blood thereof shall he sprinkle round about upon the altar. 3And he shall offer of it all the fat thereof; the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, 4And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul that is above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away: 5And the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a trespass offering. 6Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy.
Interesting topic, I guess because I've been into types and shadows these days. Ordered book I found last week, Law of the Offerings: The Five Tabernacle Offerings and Their Spiritual Significance.

Hope to learn more about their spiritual symbolism.

Larry II
Hey, Whitelioness! This is a very interesting topic! I watched a series of videos by a Messianic Jew that explained about the sacrifices and the tabernacle and stuff. If its alright, I'd like to share some of my notes from that series:

(side note here, some of the offerings were not really explained in the bible, nor in this series. I will only be able to give what was explained in the video)

There are 5 major offerings
Lev. 1 Burnt
Lev. 2 Meat or meal
Lev. 3 Peace
These were voluntary, you could choose to do these, or not.

Lev. 4 Sin
Lev. 5 & 6 Trespass
These were compulsory.

The "natural' sacrifices were a picture of the spiritual.
There are 7 areas of the Law of Trespass (actually, there are 10, but I missed the other 3)

Lev. 5:1 Oath- If you conceal a wrong, or dont speak up when you know the truth.
V.2 Touch a dead body- You cant move in God's will and hand onto the past (dead things, ties to the past-relationships, experiences, thought processes) or touch unclean things (example: pornography, violence for violences sake, hypocracy)
V. 3 Swearing-vows Making a rash vow (example: "I'll never...(fill in the blank)" or vows with no intention to fulfill it (example: taking something on credit and not paying it)
V. 15 Sin thru ignorance
These first 5 deal with our conscience, or relationship with God

V. 17 Breaking a commandment
Lev. 6:2 Lying - A thing taken by violence or deception, finding something lost and does not return it.

The trespass offering was the most serious and most holy.

Interesting facts:
Lev 4:22 The head of the household was responsible for taking the offering to the priest. No matter who in the household had sinned, it was his responsibility to take care of it. The head of the household is the one that killed the offering, not the priest. It was done by his own hand.

Lev. 5:6 The Priest killed the offering.

Jesus is the fulfillment of all the offerings. He is the Sin Offering-WE killed Him.

Other interesting facts:
The High Priest was responsible for 2 major offerings a day Exodus 29:38
The 1st at 9 am.
The 2nd at 3pm.
At the beginning of the 1st sacrifice the High Priest had to oversee the entire proceedings and make sure it was all done correctly. He was not allowed to sit down until after the 3 pm sacrifice was totally consumed by fire, then he had to say "Negmar". It is finished. All done properly and correctly.

When Caiaphas tore his garment,(Matthew 26:65) he nullified his office as High Priest. You have to be a priest before you could offer a sacrifice. Jesus is our High Priest (the scriptures proving that will have to be in another post) and He offered Himself as our sacrifice.
At 9 am, Jesus was nailed to the Cross.
At 3 pm, He declared "Negmar" and died.
Then, after He ascended to heaven, He sat down at the right hand of the Father.

Just some interesting things. I find this study fascinating! How The Old Testament all points to and pictures Jesus!
Offerings in the Old Testament

I must commend you Whitelioness and Fluffy too, for this candid worthy involvement you're undertaking right here!
I must also point out that it is the Mystery behind why the bullock, and etc diversities, that attract me. -To know that it is for Reference and use all through Eternity. The Authority by which it came will sustain its relevance for ever. Every move is counted. And I firmly believe we are dealing with the building blocks. Not to deviate from the topic but allow me point out also that the wrong move to conceal the Glory shining from his face, Moses has until today affected the understanding of God's People -Israel, by blocking their minds from perceiving, that the content of the Prophets and Law is Christ. To simplify this for us God said we will account for everyword we speak. Lets our moves be counted carefully.
Excellent points, Charles!
When we understand the offerings and the meanings behind them, and the tabernacle and all its symbolism, we begin to understand (just a little!) the greatness of God. We can see some of the threads of the embroidery of His Master Plan. And the meaning of the Cross and His sacrifice becomes more dear.