Message – Offerings of Freewill
Series: Thru the Bible
***Video is HERE***
Freewill Offerings: Leviticus 1-3
Starting our Study of Leviticus
“Now the LORD called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock.”
Sacrifice has been part of God’s relationship with man since the fall. We see it with Adam’s sons, Noah, Job, Abraham and Jacob before we ever see it with Moses.
It has always involved the blood of an animal and even though it is not specified who knew nor how they found out, God had clearly begun a list of clean versus unclean animals since before the flood. Furthermore, it is also clear that many herd animals were on the clean list…though not all.
Cain & Abel – Gen. 4:3-5
“(3) And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. (4) Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, (5) but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”
Noah – Gen 8:20-22
“(20) Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (21) And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. (22) “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”
Job – Job 42:8
“ Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.”
Abraham – Gen 22:1-8
“(1) Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” (2) Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (3) So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. (4) Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. (5) And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” (6) So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. (7) But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (8) And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.”
Jacob – Gen 31:53-55
“(53) The God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their father judge between us.” And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. (54) Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his brethren to eat bread. And they ate bread and stayed all night on the mountain. (55) And early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.”
Sacrifices & Offerings
Though we have already seen a fair share of sacrifice and offerings so far in our trek ‘Thru the Bible’, Leviticus is where much of it is defined.
The word “offering” in nor a verb but a noun – so it not in reference to the action per se, but what is BEING offered. This noun means “a sacrifice…a gift”.
Their were 5 Offerings in all=
The first 3 were freewill and therefore usually voluntary, the other 2 were for sin. Notice how God works from the voluntary to the required – from the relational to those things which strain relationships.
It has been said that these sacrifices have numerical meaning.
- 3 is the number of completeness and unity
- 2 is the number of division
And in Jewish circles 5 is the number for protection while it is claimed by some in Christian circles that 5 symbolizes grace.
The Burnt Offering
The burnt offering is the first one mentioned in Leviticus and is an offering made by fire to the Lord.
“’If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD. Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. He shall kill the bull before the LORD; and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting. And he shall skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces. The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire. Then the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar; but he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water. And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.”
It is sometimes referred to as the “Whole Burnt Offering” because the entirety of the sacrifice was offered up by fire to the Lord. In fact, that is the meaning of the word “burnt offering”. In this case, the two words “burnt” and “offering” (or “sacrifice”) are actually one word olah which means “to ascend”. Most likely this is because the entire essence of the animal is converted by fire to smoke and so – in an altered state of smoke the sacrifice is literally offered up to God or ascends towards Him. This is also why the offering is called a pleasing odor to the Lord (vs.9)
The burnt offering was a VOLUNTARY offering. Most often the Burnt Offering was given along with a grain or peace offering. Throughout the Old Testament you will see the Burnt Offering along with the Grain &/or Peace Offering given at the same time during times of celebration, feasts & at festivals.
The Offering and it’s meanings:
The one offering the Burnt Sacrifice, as in all the offerings – presented the animal at the door of the tabernacle for approval, they then pressed their hands upon the creature’s head. In this case – it was not being offered for known sin specifically and so no confession of sin is spoken and transferred upon the animal. Even though this was not directly associated with specific sins, in certain places it is implied that it does have a “general” cleansing effect of the whole person in that in the offering they become acceptable before God.
So what WAS happening in this offering? Well, this animal was being offered to God symbolically representing the Israelite offering it which is why ALL of it was consumed. It was a offering of complete dedication and consecration to God of the whole person – the entire being and life! In this way the offering might have some connection with an offering for sin – but not of the acts of – but the nature of sin in the individual so that once offered – he and his life are acceptable to God.
This is why the offering took all night – the entire animal had to be completely consumed in the flames.
This is seen in a negative way in places like Jeremiah and Amos when God would not accept their Burnt Offerings because they were offered in pretense and not sincerity…
Amos 5:18-27, NKJV
“Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him! Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it? “I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream. “Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings In the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? You also carried Sikkuth your king And Chiun, your idols, The star of your gods, Which you made for yourselves. Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,” Says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.”
Isa. 66:1-4, NKJV
“Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word. “He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck; He who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine’s blood; He who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol. Just as they have chosen their own ways, And their soul delights in their abominations, So will I choose their delusions, And bring their fears on them; Because, when I called, no one answered, When I spoke they did not hear; But they did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight.”
(You may also want to look up Jer. 6:8-21)
This agrees with David’s observation recorded in Ps. 51:16-19,
“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart– These, O God, You will not despise. Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.”
Lev. 1:10-17, NKJV
“’If his offering is of the flocks–of the sheep or of the goats–as a burnt sacrifice, he shall bring a male without blemish. He shall kill it on the north side of the altar before the LORD; and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar. And he shall cut it into its pieces, with its head and its fat; and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar; but he shall wash the entrails and the legs with water. Then the priest shall bring it all and burn it on the altar; it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD. ‘And if the burnt sacrifice of his offering to the LORD is of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or young pigeons. The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off its head, and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out at the side of the altar. And he shall remove its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar on the east side, into the place for ashes. Then he shall split it at its wings, but shall not divide it completely; and the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.”
The Grain Offering:
Now both this and the Peace offering I will not read the passage, but only work through its particulars and meanings.
The Grain Offering like all of the first three were offered entirely voluntarily – except upon special circumstances like at the daily sacrifice or at the consecration of priests into service or at the waving of the Sheaf.
The wording of the first verse was very deliberate – but it’s full meaning is lost on us. The words “when anyone” or “when a man” is better rendered “soul” and the reason is because of it’s freewill nature – it was an offering which one gave voluntarily with all their heart and soul and were therefore in some regard seen as offering their soul before God.
They were right in this, because like the burnt offering, the Grain Offering represented the person offering it. Bread sometimes is associated with the heart and the whole person. Jesus was called the bread of life and God is said to have made bread to strengthen man’s heart…
Ps. 104:1 & 15,
“Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great: …The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works. He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the service of man, That he may bring forth food from the earth, And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, And bread which strengthens man’s heart.”
Also, you may remember that the showbread was called the bread of faces or the bread of the presence – representing God before the priests and Israel before God.
As such, it was to be offered with oil and frankincense without leaven and only in a broken state.
I can see your mental wheel turning even now…
- The symbolism of the oil is clear enough.
- The frankincense we learned a while ago has a history of being known for aiding memory. In modern science this is supported on some level in that Frankincense is high in sesquiterpenes (sis-quitter-peen) which stimulates and oxygenates the limbic system of the brain. As a result, our brain processes better, our memory retention improves, and our mood is elevated. Hmm…the symbolism of using this herbal resin may be more direct than we think! If nothing else – it is a resin which is odorless until it is burned and THAT offers a symbolism all it’s own!
- Without leaven – Leaven had meaning under the Old Testament, but like so many things – it’s meaning is made more clear through direct revelation in the New Testament. Jesus said leaven represented false doctrine and hypocricy in Luke 12:1 and Paul equated it with malice, wickedness and Koinonia with profane and scandalous people in 1 Cor. 5:1-8. Therefore, being free of leaven represents purity of truth, honesty and sincerity of heart.
- Broken represents true and honest humility before God. Again it represents a state of heart. These four verses stand as beacons attesting to this truth –
- Psa. 34:18, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
- Psa. 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.”
- Isa. 57:14-21, “And one shall say, “Heap it up! Heap it up! Prepare the way, Take the stumbling block out of the way of My people.” For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would fail before Me, And the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him And to his mourners. “I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,” Says the LORD, “And I will heal him.” But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt. “There is no peace,” Says my God, “for the wicked.”
- And as we read earlier – Isa. 66:2, “For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.”
The Peace Offering:
This was an voluntary offering made by fire to the Lord and it fell into one of two categories…which is seen in Leviticus 7:16 as well as in other places.
- At the fulfillment of a vow
- A Freewill offering to God
If the sacrifice was in fulfillment of a vow this is what that meant…
Vows were sometimes made almost like a “if You do this – I’ll do this” proposition to God. So that if God favoured the person with whatever benefits they prescribed, or delivered them out of such and such troubles and distresses, then that person would offer a Peace Offering as a sacrifice.
Other times it was a Freewill offering or a voluntary offering; without any condition or obligation. In such cases it was from the freely offered, without any command of God, or under any necessity from a vow of his own, and without any view to; any future good to be enjoyed as a result of it. It was 100% freewill.
The particulars of this offering are:
- It was voluntary
- It was of blood
- It was by fire
- It had to be free of blemish though either gender may serve
- If a LAMB or a GOAT – hands on head, killed before the Lord, sprinkle blood all around the altar, it will consist of all the fat (that of the fat tail, the fat covering the internal organs – epc. The fatty lobe above the liver) and the two kidneys with their fat . These two organs mentioned specifically seem to point to the purification of blood and water (both spilling from Christ’s side).
This came with a charge to not consume ANY blood at all and a forbidding to eat the fat of the animals offered by fire in sacrifice to the Lord – which is seen in Lev. 7:22-27,
“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘You shall not eat any fat, of ox or sheep or goat. And the fat of an animal that dies naturally, and the fat of what is torn by wild beasts, may be used in any other way; but you shall by no means eat it. For whoever eats the fat of the animal of which men offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, the person who eats it shall be cut off from his people. Moreover you shall not eat any blood in any of your dwellings, whether of bird or beast. Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from his people.’”
Next week we will be starting our study of the book of Leviticus!
There is more information in the audio/video of the actual message. I hope you listen, learn and enjoy!
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