In the Book of Exodus, we are told that the people of Israel promised to obey the instructions Moses shared with them, only to participate in the Golden Calf incident later. When God promised not to punish the entire nation immediately, they contemplated on his mercy, which motivated their giving for the construction of the Tabernacle.
But what was the Tabernacle built for, and how are people supposed to interact with God?
The events leading up to the end of Exodus raise these questions, and the answers are given in the Book of Leviticus.
Before we get started in Leviticus, there is something we need to keep in mind. The Universe we live in has two parts to it. There is a natural and a supernatural side, and most of what I have shared on this website has tried to expose how they are connected in the Bible.
In Leviticus, the narrative being told is put on hold so that we, along with the people of Israel can take a good look at how the natural and supernatural sides of the universe interact with each other. in addition to that, we should be very clear on this: God is extremely intolerant of the things he disapproves of.
Leviticus contains a lot of information about how to interact with God. In Genesis we were shown the importance of righteousness, in Exodus we were shown the covenant and the Tabernacle, and in Leviticus we are shown God’s sense of justice and the importance of holiness.
With that in mind, we can begin exploring Leviticus.
This chapter outlines what is known in English as the Burnt Offering. The Hebrew word used here is “olah.” The “olah” was an offering that would be placed on the bronze altar outside of the Tabernacle. When it was placed there, it would begin to burn, and the smoke would rise to heaven where God lives.
There were three different ways to perform the “olah.” It could be done with a 1) male bull, 2) a male sheep or a male goat, or 3) a pair of doves or pigeons. The kind of animal used was determined by a person’s place in society. Someone who was poor could use the doves, an average middle class family would use a sheep or a goat, and someone who was wealthy would be expected to bring a bull to the Tabernacle for the “olah.”
God wanted the “olah” to be something that everyone in Israel could afford. The “olah” was called a food offering with a “pleasing aroma to the LORD” In Leviticus 1:17 (ESV). The proof that an “olah” was accepted by God was shown by the rising smoke. An “olah” that God rejected would have its smoke blown away by the wind, while an “olah” that was accepted would not. So already we can see the natural and supernatural sides of the universe interacting with each other.
So what was the point of the “olah” offering? The purpose of an “olah” offering was to ask for permission to be intimate with God. A person bringing the “olah” would come to the Tabernacle with one question weighing on their heart and mind. The question was simply this: “God, can I be your friend?”
Let’s look at this in the context of the Bible so far. The people Moses brought to Sinai promised to be obedient, and as soon as they were unsupervised the Golden Calf incident occurred. Now the people who were alive at the time that happened were given instructions on the “olah.”
They were given a way to know if God thought of them as a friend.
In the Old Testament era, God’s response to this question was shown by the smoke rising off the altar. Today, the answer can be seen by looking at the cross and an empty grave. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Bible says.
This chapter outlines what is known in English as the Grain Offering. The Hebrew word used here is “minchah.” The minchah was an offering that would be placed on the bronze altar outside of the Tabernacle. The “minchah” would require bringing finely ground semolina, olive oil, salt and incense to the Tabernacle for the priests to set on the bronze altar. When it was placed there, the incense added to it would begin to burn, and the smoke would rise to heaven where God lives, just like the smoke of the “olah” offering (Leviticus 1).
So what was the purpose of the minchah?
The purpose of the minchah was to ask a question. The question on the heart and mind of the person who brought a minchah was this: “God, can I be your slave?” The minchah was not an offering that everyone could afford. The cost of the olive oil, salt and incense made this offering to expensive for the average poor person in Israel.
There was a commitment involved here that not everyone could afford. Just to be clear, when Moses was sharing this with the people, they had taken everything of value from the land of Egypt, and when they reached Canaan everyone was given a piece of land but not everyone was able to hold on to that wealth or their inheritance.
Some of the people of Israel rose to the top and became wealthy, and others sank to the bottom of society and became poor.
Those who became poor, could not afford the olive oil, salt or incense required for a minchah. They could not embrace a life of slavery to the will of God. Let’s be clear – this failure does not involve sin. The people who fail to embrace the will of God are not guilty of bad behavior.
The sad reality is that there are forces completely outside of our control that prevent us from paying the price involved in the minchah offering, and these forces do not include us engaging in bad behavior.
Let’s plug this into the context of the Bible so far. The people Moses brought to Sinai became disobedient as soon as they were unsupervised. God chose not to kill them all because Moses asked God to have mercy on them. God granted Moses request, and gave them the minchah offering so they could sign up to be obedient slaves to the will of God.
We should notice that the minchah offering was performed by the Levites on behalf of the other tribes of Israel. The Levites who remained loyal to God are able to perform the minchah offering on behalf of the other tribes who rebelled against God in the Golden Calf incident.
The Levites, who did not rebel against God during the Golden Calf incident, were available to help the members of other tribes who did rebel come and ask God “can I be your slave?” The opportunity presented here to be God’s slave was available to everyone, no one was disqualified on the basis of their bad behavior concerning the Golden Calf incident in the past.
This chapter outlines what is known in English as the Peace Offering. The Hebrew words used here is “zevah shelamim.”
The zevah shelamim was a sacrifice that the priests would place on the Bronze Altar. In order to make this kind of sacrifice, the worshiper would have to bring 1) a male or female cow, 2) a male or female sheep, or 3) a male or female goat. Turtledoves or pigeons were not used for the zevah shelamim.
The zevah shelamim was not an offering the poor would present to God. This offering also does not provide redemption, because the people of Israel were already redeemed by the Passover events in Exodus chapter 12.
So what was the point of this offering?
Allow me to explain it in the form of a question. The basic question on the mind and heart of a person who brings the zevah shelamim to the Tabernacle is this: “God, can you teach me to obey you so I can be a good person?”
This was done in response to one of three different things. The zevah shelamim was appropriate if:
If you were in trouble of some kind and God intervened to rescue you (from your enemies, or maybe a case of divine healing).
If you were in a situation and decided to make a vow. If you said, for example, God if you help me fix this now, I will do something special for you later. When you were ready to uphold your end of the deal, you would bring this to the Tabernacle.
If things in life had been going really well for you lately on a regular basis, and you wanted to say thank you.
This chapter outlines what is known in English as the Sin Offering. The Hebrew word used here is “hatta’at.” There is no word in English we can use as a direct translation of hatta’at; which means the best we can do is describe its purpose. The purpose of the hatta’at is to deal with sinful behavior.
Let’s consider who could engage in the sinful behavior the hatta’at was meant to resolve. Here is a list: The High Priest, The Whole Congregation of Israel, A Tribal Leader, or Anyone of the Common People. The kind of “hatta’at” depends on who is guilty of sinful behavior.
The High Priest would have to bring a bull. The whole congregation of Israel would also bring a bull. A tribal leader could bring a male goat. Anyone of the common people could bring a female goat or a female lamb. The value of the animal used in this sacrifice decreases based on the amount of influence a person has over the lives of others.
If the High Priest sins, the consequences of his sinful behavior are worse than that of a man whose influence is limited to simply being a husband and father. This tells us that all sins are the same in the eyes of God. To live completely in line with God’s intentions for this offering, we need to consider what kind of sinful behavior this sacrifice was meant to resolve.
God has a very strong sense of justice, and his terms are set in stone and cannot be changed. Sin is a violation of God’s sense of justice. Lucifer and the Evil Elohim’s only goal is to spread sin through every part of human culture they can, so that God’s holy hatred of sin will crush humanity through incidents like the one we saw in Exodus 32 with the Golden Cow.
The whole point of everything written in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy was written to provide insight into how to recognize the existence and influence of Lucifer and the Evil Elohim, so we can avoid being brainwashed and corrupted by their influence.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Bible says to the Churches: we ignore these Old Testament insights at our own risk.
Leviticus 5:1-13 deals with the hatta’at offering described for us in Leviticus 4. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the examples we are given about the hatta’at offering. Leviticus 5:1-13 deals with how the hatta’at offering can resolve problems between people, and the rest of the chapter introduces the “asham” offering which can be used to resolve problems with God Himself.
I. Uses For The Hatta’at Offering
(1) Public Testimony
Imagine for a moment that you wake up one morning and find out that during the middle of the night someone came and built an altar and used it for a private worship service. When the news began to spread, the local leaders would want to know who was responsible and why it was done. Their concerns would have come in response to the command(s) given by God to Moses as Sinai, and they were trying to decide how to respond.
The potential response(s) involved executing the person responsible.
Let’s say that you just happened to be in the area when the altar was being built, and know exactly who did it. You saw the Philistines coming into someone else’s field and building an altar to Lucifer and the Evil Elohim, and the owner of the field was being questioned, with his life is on the line.
““If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity” (Leviticus 5:1 ESV).
Maybe you wanted the neighbor’s field for yourself. Maybe you wanted your neighbor’s wife…and you decided not to speak up in his defense when he was on trial. In that case, the hatta’at (sin offering) could not wash away your guilt in this matter. God was going to hold you responsible for his death, and there is nothing you can do about it.
God will never have mercy on you.
(2) Touching An Unclean Thing
Imagine for a moment you are walking through a field. The farmer’s have finished their planting, and the crops are beginning to grow. The crops are growing so high that you can’t see the ground beneath your feet. So while you are walking through a field after it has rained, you did not notice there was a dead animal lying on the ground in front of you and you stepped on it.
God is aware of what has happened, and he is personally offended. He is working to create an awareness of your current “unclean” status so that you can apologize and be reconciled to God.
“if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean wild animal or a carcass of unclean livestock or a carcass of unclean swarming things, and it is hidden from him and he has become unclean, and he realizes his guilt; or if he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort the uncleanness may be with which one becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and realizes his guilt” then God will have mercy on you, after you bring the hatta’at (sin offering).
(3) Making Vows and Taking Oaths
Imagine for a moment you have just been given a position of authority within your community, and you dream about using your influence to correct an injustice of some kind. You even went so far as to promise your friends that you would be able to have someone arrested and tried for a crime they committed in the past in exchange for their support.
When you went to uphold your end of the deal, the situation became really complicated and you had to break the promise you made to your friends because the ruler of the neighboring kingdom (who just happened to have a bigger army than yours) wanted the person you were looking for and got to him first.
“if anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these when he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed, he shall bring to the LORD as his compensation for the sin that he has committed” – because he did not know all the facts, – “And the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.” (Leviticus 5:4-6 ESV)
(4) Concerning the Poor
As a final note, there are some circumstances where people who do not hold positions of authority can end up in a situation that requires the hatta’at in order to remain on good terms with God. So God also includes offerings for those who do not hold positions of authority, and as a result, might not be able to afford anything more expense than a pair of pigeons or doves.
God would even be willing to accept an offering of grain for the hatta’at, just to make sure the poorest of the poor would be able to remain on good terms with God; without going into debt to purchase a lamb or a goat or even going deeper into debt just to obtain a pair of pigeons or doves.
II. Uses For The Asham Offering
We are introduced to a different kind of offering when we need to settle problems with God. This offering is called the Guilt Offering in English, but the Hebrew word for it is “asham.”
“If anyone commits a breach of faith and sins unintentionally in any of the holy things of the LORD, he shall bring to the LORD as his compensation, a ram without blemish out of the flock, valued in silver shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering. He shall also make restitution for what he has done amiss in the holy thing and shall add a fifth to it and give it to the priest. And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and he shall be forgiven. If anyone sins, doing any of the things that by the LORD’s commandments ought not to be done, though he did not know it, then realizes his guilt, he shall bear his iniquity.” (Leviticus 5:15-17 ESV)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Bible says to the Churches: Sins against God are not the same as sins against other people. The penalty for our offenses against God are harder to resolve than the sins we make against other people.
With the hatta’at offering you could resolve guilt before God for a sin against another person with grain, assuming you were very poor. If you had to bring an asham offering to resolve guilt before God for a sin against God there had to be money involved. You would have to bring an offering with 20% of the offerings value to God in order to receive forgiveness.
The sacrifice required for an asham to resolve guilt before God was a ram. No turtledoves or pigeons, or grain offerings could be used to resolve guilt over a sin against God. This places the pursuit of forgiveness beyond the reach of the poor. The only way a poor person could resolve their guilt before God involved going into debt.
I. Leviticus 6:1-7
Before we go any further, we need to establish a context for the offerings we have seen so far in Leviticus. God’s goal for his people is that they become “righteous.” The path to righteousness was laid out clearly for us in the life of Abraham:
“And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6 ESV)
Now Moses is having to restore righteousness to Israel because they have been brainwashed by their time spent in the land of Egypt where they had to make compromises with the human servants of Lucifer and the Evil Elohim. Moses is writing here to help us understand what a righteous person’s life looks like.
At this point in the story of redemption, a righteous person has a sin problem on two levels. First there is a sin nature, and second there is sinful behavior. The sacrifices we have been shown in Leviticus were designed to resolve the problems created by our sin nature and our sinful behavior.
According to Moses, a sin nature and sinful behavior can exist in the life of a righteous person. In addition to that, Moses tells us that there are some things that God is unwilling to forgive. Moses is warning us that it is possible for a righteous person to become so corrupt that there can be no peace with God.
God is willing to forgive people who become guilty of sinful behavior in their ignorance, but anyone who knows that stealing or lying is wrong and chooses to be a thief or a liar can receive no mercy from God for what they have done, according to Moses.
Let that sink in for a moment. When God sees you do something wrong, and you know what you are about to do is wrong, Moses says God will never forgive you. God will never have mercy on you. God will never share his love with you.
The rest of Leviticus begins to explain how to receive forgiveness for offenses we have committed without realizing that we were doing something wrong. The rest of chapter 6 and 7 is written for the priests.
The text so far explains what the people who approach God have to do at the Tabernacle. Now Moses begins explaining what the priests are supposed to do when they are working in and around the Tabernacle. The first set of instructions involve the Olah Offering from Leviticus 1.
I. The Olah Offering (Leviticus 1)
The Olah Offering had to be placed on the Bronze Altar outside of the Tabernacle by the priests. As a part of their responsibility, the priests were obligated to make sure the fire never went out (see Leviticus 6:13).
In order to make sure the fire never went out, the priests would perform the Olah offering twice a day, in addition to any requests brought to them by the people of Israel. The first Olah offering was done first thing in the morning, and the second Olah offering was done at the end of the day.
So every morning (and evening) a priest would stand at the Bronze altar, asking “God, can I be your friend?” in order to make sure the fire on the altar never went out. In addition to that, the priest would have to clean the altar first thing in the morning.
One of the priests would remove all of the ashes that were burning all night, and place some wood on top of the coals that were still burning on the altar to make sure the fire kept going. The ashes left over from the night before would be carried outside of the camp and left behind.
II. The Minchah Offering (Leviticus 2)
For this offering, the priests would take a handful of it and let it be burned on the altar. The remaining portion was given to the priests to eat. This would be their main source of food, since they had to remain at the Tabernacle while most people would be farming or hunting.
This could only be eaten inside the Tabernacle by the priests who were performing the ceremonies. It was considered to be holy.