Holiness Bible Study, Lesson 3
The Grain Offering
The grain offering was also called the meal offering or the cereal offering, because it was made from fine flour. The grain offering was a gift given to God much like the peace offering was given as a gift of thanks. The Hebrew word used was mincha, or korban. In Genesis 43 we see Jacob telling his sons to take a mincha (gift) to the governor of Egypt, which was Joseph, his long-lost son. So the grain offering should be called the gift offering. We also see this tribute given when Yeshua the King was born, and the three wise men each brought Him a mincha of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The ingredients of a grain offering were grain (usually wheat flour), frankincense, and olive oil. The offering was unleavened like the Passover matzah. It was baked or deep fried or even left uncooked. The grain offering was brought by those who were poor and could not bring other sacrifices. The grain offering was brought in conjunction with the burnt offering and peace offerings. It was like the bread that went along with the meal of the peace offering, and the mincha was a voluntary gift like the peace offering. To understand the meaning behind these offerings, we must first take a closer look at what they consisted of first.
The three types of public grain offerings were the twelve loaves of bread that went on the table of showbread in the holy place of the temple, the omer of wheat that was waved on the second day of Passover which begins the fifty day counting of the omer to Pentecost, and the two loaves that are waved at Pentecost. All of these are offered by the priests. There are four types of private grain offerings recommended by the Torah: (1) the daily grain offering of the high priest according to Leviticus 6:14, (2) at the consecration of priests according to Leviticus 6:20, (3) those offered by the poor in substitution for a sin offering (Leviticus 5:11‐12), and (4) that of jealousy (Numbers 5:15).
The Ritual of it All
In all baked grain offerings, an omer of the flour was made into ten loaves, except when the high priest offered his offering, when it was made into twelve loaves, which represented the twelve tribes of Israel. The priest would bring the offering on a gold or silver dish in which it was prepared and then place it upon a holy vessel (a consecrated vessel of the temple) and put oil and frankincense on it. He would stand at the southeastern corner of the altar, and he would take a handful of the offering that was to be burned and place it on another vessel and place some of the frankincense on it. Then he would walk up the stairs to the top of the altar and salt it and then place it on the fire. The rest of the offering belonged to the priests, except with the grain offering of the high priest and at the consecration of a priest when the offering was totally burned.
So why the salt? The salt was symbolic of the covenant. Every covenant was made with salt because salt was a preservative and represented the longevity of the covenant. Every grain offering was accompanied by a drink offering of wine.
So What Does It All Mean?
Everything in the temple represents the Messiah, even the sacrifices and the offerings. The grain offering was made without leaven because leaven represents sin. Yeshua was a sinless sacrifice and the grain offering represented that fact (1 Peter 2:21‐24, Hebrews 4:15). The portion that was thrown into the fire represents Yeshua and His testings, and even believers who are tested by fire (1 Peter 1:7, 4:12). The frankincense symbolizes the beauty of the Lord and the prayers of the saints; Revelation 5:8 speaks of the incense which was made from frankincense (Exodus 30:34). The oil represents the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit and Yeshua’s conception (Matthew 1:18, 3:13‐17, John 1:32). We too, as believers, are to live by the Spirit, and we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices without spot or blemish. (1 Peter 2:5, Galatians 5:25, Romans 12:1)
It starts with repentance, filled with the Holy Spirit, offering up our sacrifices of praise. But what about those who do not bring their freewill offering to God? They do not come and bow down and bring their gifts to Him.
In Matthew 15:5‐9 it says:
But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,” he is not to honor his father with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
God does not want us to serve Him by just going through the motions. He does not want us just to keep a set of rules for the sake of keeping rules, but God wants our love. God loves a cheerful giver, and He wants us to joyfully serve Him. He wants us to give joyfully because He came into this world joyfully to give of Himself. He is our example, and we must follow in His footsteps.
Let us bring our gifts to Him like the wise men who traveled a long distance to humbly give their gifts to the King. We too must bring our greatest gift to Him (and that is our lives), bring the sacrifice of praise which is the fruit of our lips, praise our redeemer joyfully, and willingly lay down our lives by crucifying our flesh so we may be resurrected as our Lord was.
The grain offering, our Messiah, was unleavened, fragranced, and salted, and so too we must be.
The Guilt Offering
The guilt offering in Hebrew is called asham, and it means “reparation.” There were several types of guilt offerings for several different crimes.
The first is called the variable; these were usually things done that were not known at first and then became known: 1) If a person did not offer testimony in a court of law and held back information, 2) ritual impurity, and 3) a forgotten oath which was not kept. All of these required the person to confess the sin and repent and seek God for forgiveness and offer the sacrifice. Why was this so important if in most cases the person did not know or remember? Because doing wrong is still sin no matter if we know it or not. If we are caught speeding, even if we did not know it when the officer stops us, we are still guilty. And so that person who sinned, even not knowing, entered into the sanctuary and defiled it. God’s sanctuary is holy and must be kept holy.
The next is called the fixed guilt offering. This was for anyone who either misused the holy things of the Lord or took His name in vain by 1) committing sacrilege unintentionally by misusing the holy things, 2) committing sacrilege by attempting to use God’s name to conceal a financial misdealing, or 3) committing sacrilege by having relations with a married person. This person was guilty and was required to repent, repay the value of damages plus a fifth of the value, and then offer the sacrifice. The law of paying 120 percent applied to both Jews and God‐fearing Gentile believers in the land of Israel when the temple and Levitical system were in operation, but many believe that it still applies today, no matter if you are in Israel or not.
The next guilt offering is called the uncertainty. This is when a person is uncertain whether he has sinned, and to be on the safe side, he offers a guilt offering of uncertainty, asham talui. They would call this sacrifice the “hanging guilt offering,” because the offense that might have been done would have required that person to be cut off from Israel. So instead of leaving the person hanging, it was better to offer the sacrifice. Yeshua tells the parable of the sheep and the goats, and when asked, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or naked or imprisoned or sick?” He replies, “When you do to one of these little ones you did to me” (Matthew 25:31‐46). So when we cheat or steal or unintentionally neglect or harm someone, we are also doing this to God.
It was known among the Jewish people that Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth was called the Talui or ha Tului, “the Hanged One,” meaning “the Crucified One.” Anti‐Christian writings would use this description to imply “uncertainty” regarding Yeshua being the Messiah. Isaiah 53:10 says, “When His soul makes an offering for guilt (asham)….” Yeshua the crucified one (talui) hung on the cross as an asham. This is where we get the term a “Hung Jury,” because the jury is uncertain if the person is guilty or not.
The guilt offering did not take away a person’s sins, it only averted the consequences of his sacrilege; he still needed to make restitution where it was needed to be made. A thief still was obligated to restore the stolen article. Again, this applied to both Jews and Gentiles, and it applies even today. We see this in the story of Zacchaeus. Yeshua was passing through Jericho when a chief tax collector named Zacchaeus climbed up a sycamore tree to get a glimpse of the Master, because Zacchaeus was small in stature. When Yeshua looked up and saw him, He called to him and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” Zacchaeus stopped and said to Yeshua, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back to him four times as much.” And Yeshua said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a Son of Abraham” (Luke 19:1-10).
Zacchaeus went above and beyond the required law, but when we love God by keeping His commandments, His Laws are not troubling to us, for we serve Him out of a thankful heart.
The Burnt Offering
Now we are going to look at the burnt offering. You could say that this is the love offering. We celebrate Valentine’s Day and we give valentines as tokens of our love for each other. Well, the burnt offering is just like that Valentine.
The burnt offering was called the korban olah, which means “the sacrifice that rises.” As we know, a sacrifice was for the purpose of drawing near to God, and the burnt offering was for the sole purpose of just that. Like every sacrifice, the animal was to be without defect or blemish. It had to be the best of the flock. This is why it was an outward sign of one’s love and devotion to God, because when a person offered a burnt offering, he offered it as an act of surrender to God. Unlike the other offerings, this offering was totally burnt up, and there was nothing for the offerer like there was with the peace offering or grain offering, which allowed the offeror to partake of the offering. So because of this, the smoke from the sacrifice went straight up, as to heaven, as a sweet sacrifice to the Lord. We give gifts to those we love, and we don’t mind what we spend for those gifts because we love them and we give to them with great joy, and we wait to see their faces when they receive them. So too the Jewish people came with songs of praise unto the house of the Lord. It was a time of communion, a time of worship, a time for one to not only give thanks but to act out his faith and trust in God that not only will his sacrifice be accepted, but that God would meet his needs; after all, he was giving God the best of his herd for no other reason than the fact that he loved God.
This Can’t Be for Me
It was known that God‐fearing Gentiles also offered such offerings to the God of Israel. So that leads us to today and to believers in the One true living God of Israel. How much do we love God? How do we show it? Well, Romans 12:1‐2, for one, tells us:
“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your service of worship; and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
1 Peter 2:5 tells us, “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).”
Hebrews 13:16 tells us, “And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Yeshua tells us, “If you love me, then keep My commandments” (John 14:15, 21, 23, 1 John 5:3).
These are just a few; so now ask yourself, “How much do I love God?” Is it enough to forsake all and follow him? Is it still fresh and new? Is it still binding and true? Maybe you need to bring the Lord a new burnt offering, renewing your commitment, love, and devotion. Maybe you need to get back on the altar and continue being that living sacrifice for the one you truly love.
The Sin Offering
We have looked at the different types of sacrificial offerings, and we have seen that the thanksgiving, freewill, and Passover lamb were all peace offerings. The peace offering was never offered for sin, yet Scripture tells us that Yeshua (Jesus) is our Passover Lamb. So we must ask ourselves, “If Yeshua is our Passover Lamb, how is He our sin offering?” Let’s first look at sin to see exactly what it is.
“Sin” is a word that comes from the Greek which means to miss the mark, as in archery. Sin is a transgression of the Torah. Sin is Lawlessness (1 John 3:4). Whether committed knowingly or unknowingly, sin keeps us from having a proper relationship with God. Sacrifices were God’s way of bringing a person close or drawing him near. The sacrifice was for the sole purpose of worship. So when we become defiled by known or unknown sin, we too must offer up an offering to become right again with God. But you may say, “That is the Old Testament,” or, “That was done away with; we now have Yeshua (Jesus).” Well, let’s take a close look and gain some insight into all of this.
The Sin Offering
A person who brought the sin offering was not offering up his offering voluntarily as with the peace, grain, and burnt offerings. A sin offering was required when a person inadvertently committed a sin that would require him being “cut off” from the community. There was a sin offering for the nation and for the individual. The priest would offer a sin offering for the sins of the nation for different reasons. For example, if the priesthood declared that something was according to the Torah but then later realized that no, it was not, this would require a sin offering. Even though it may have been the sin of the priesthood, it was still carried out by the whole community. Then there was the sin of the individual. Maybe a person unintentionally broke a commandment of Torah; he would bring a sin offering when he realized his sin. Other types of sin offerings are for a woman who has given birth to a child, a leper after being cleansed, a nazarite who came into contact with a corpse, and a nazarite who has completed the term of his vow.
These people are all required to offer up a chatat, or in English, a sin offering. Why are these people required to give a sin offering even when there is no sin committed? It is for the sole purpose of purification. You see, a sin offering was made to purify the Sanctuary from certain types of Levitical impurity and from the spiritual stain of sin. A person’s sins spiritually contaminated the Sanctuary, even if a sinful or unclean person entered into a holy place unknowingly. It would have to be purified, and the sin offering removed the stain. The sin offering was never made for atonement. A person did not bring an offering to clear his conscience or to acquire forgiveness. Hebrews 10:4 tells us, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Now if this sacrifice did not pertain to us, then why was Yeshua our sin offering?
You see, there is the cleansing of the flesh, and there is the cleansing of the spirit, the soul of man that lives on. Hebrews 9:13‐14 addresses this issue, telling us that the blood of bulls and goats may cleanse the flesh, but only the blood of Yeshua can cleanse our conscience from dead works so that we may serve the living God. Yeshua’s offering was done in the spiritual realm. How?
Paul tells the Colossians in chapter 1:26-27,
The mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God will make known what is the riches of glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Messiah in you, the hope of glory.
We want to look at one mystery of Messiah, and that is that He was slain before the foundation of the world.
Revelation 13:8b tells us, “Everyone whose name has not been recorded from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain (in sacrifice) from the foundation of the world…” (Amplified Bible).
Some other versions say it this way: “And all who dwell on the earth will worship Him, whose names have not been written in the book of Life of the Lamb slain from the creation of the world.”
Revelation 5:6, 12 also tells us, “And I saw between the throne and the elders a lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.”
We must understand that after Satan and all the rebellious angels who followed him fell, it made the sanctuary unclean, and so the heavenly temple needed to be cleansed. A sin offering had to be made. God in His sovereignty knew that the devil was coming down to earth, and man would also fall. Because we were also going to sin and needed to be cleansed, Yeshua prepared the way. It is because of this that when Adam and Eve sinned, God could sacrifice an animal; without the sacrifice of Yeshua first, any other sacrifice would not have been accepted because God always goes before man, not the other way around. Yeshua was the Lamb, the sacrifice that was made. Scripture tells us that He entered into the heavenly sanctuary, not with the blood of bulls and goats, but His own blood which was sprinkled on the altar. Now, Yeshua still had to die in the physical realm because the devil was the prince of this world, and he had come down to cause men to fall. Before Yeshua died on the cross, the innocent Lamb of God said, “It is finished.” In other words, it was finished in the spiritual realm and now completed in the physical realm and the veil could now be torn and the way for us to have access before the throne of God was now available. We were reconciled with God.
This is a mystery, but the Bible does reveal to us that Yeshua was a sin offering before the foundation of the world. The Scriptures do tell us that the names were written in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).
Yeshua our Sin Offering
No man can come to the Father except through Yeshua.
2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, “God made Him who knew no sin to be a sin offering on our behalf, so that we might become righteous (or in right standing) with God in Him.” Yeshua’s shed blood purified the altar in Heaven, and so it was done to cleanse us spiritually (Hebrews 9:22‐26). When we come to God in prayer, we come in the name of Yeshua (Jesus), and we draw near by His sacrifice, washed in His blood to cleanse us of our sins. This is why it is important for us as believers to understand the temple service and the duty of the priesthood; for we too are a royal priesthood serving at the altar of God. We must understand that God and purity go hand‐in‐hand. His sanctuary is holy, and we are to be holy before God, for we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. No offering, be it the sin offering, guilt offering, or the offering made on the Day of Atonement, can bring cleansing without repentance from one’s sin and, of course, all we do must be done in faith in Yeshua’s sacrifice for us.
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
“Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience” (Hebrews 10:22).
“Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:19).
Let us remember that Yeshua is our Passover lamb, our peace offering, and as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:6‐8,
Do you not know that a little leaven (sin) leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven (sin), that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened (without sin); for Messiah our Passover Lamb also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Yes, believers can celebrate Passover, because Yeshua is our Passover lamb (peace offering), and He is our guilt offering, our burnt offering, and our grain offering. He is our sacrifice by which we draw near to God.