Brief Comparisons of the Offerings

Arthur G. Clarke

Part 8 of 8 of the series Concise Notes onLevitical Offerings

1. In the sweet savour offerings the offerer came as a devoted worshipper to render in his unblemished substitute that which brought grateful satisfaction to God. In the non-savour offerings the offerer came as a convicted sinner to receive in his appointed substitute the judgment due to his sin or trespass.
2.  In the sweet savour offerings we behold the antitype, Christ, offering Himself for us to God without sin. In the non-savour offerings He is seen offering Himself as our representative for sin.
3.  In the burnt offering we see LIFE offered, which is God's exclusive portion, Gen. 9. 4, what the creature owes to the Creator. God's claim on man is symbolized - duty to our God. In the meal offering we see FRUITS offered, which is man's allotted portion, Gen. I. 29, what the Creator bestowed upon the creature. Man's claim on man is symbolized -duty to our neighbour.
4.  In the burnt offering God's holy requirements are satisfied. Typically Christ is seen accomplishing the will of God. In the sin offering God's offended justice is satisfied. Typically Christ is seen bearing the sin of man. Hence in Lev. 1 there is no mention of sin, whereas in chapters 4 to 6 sin is frequently mentioned.
5.  In the burnt offering we learn the preciousness of the sacrifice; in the sin offering the heinousness of the sin.
6.  In the burnt offering by the laying on of the hand, the acceptableness of the unblemished offering is transferred to the offerer. Righteousness is imputed to him. In the sin offering by the laying on of the hand the sinfulness of the offerer is transferred to his unblemished offering. Sin is imputed but not imparted to it. In both instances Christ is viewed typically as the sinless substitute, suffering under the imputation of sin, Ps. 40. 6, 7, 12; 69. 5; 2 Cor. 5. 21.
7.  In the burnt offering atonement is viewed according to the measure of divine complacency in the person and work of Christ. In the sin offering atonement is viewed as meeting the claims of divine justice.
8.  In the burnt offering the altar fire consumed the sacrifice in token of Jehovah's acceptance; the offerer's worship approved. In the sin offering the fire in the place of ashes outside the camp consumed the sacrifice in token of Jehovah's displeasure; divine wrath appeased.
9.  In the burnt offering the sinner beholds what he is 'covered' with; in the sin offering what he is 'covered' from.
10.  The ashes of the burnt offering proclaimed the acceptance of the sacrifice and so of the worshipper. The ashes of the sin offering proclaimed the judgment of the sin resulting in forgiveness.
11.  As the burnt offering Christ gave Himself for us, Eph. 5. 2. As the sin offering He gave Himself for our sins, Gal. 1. 4.
The three blood offerings seem to be in the mind of Paul when in writing the Roman epistle he makes a threefold reference to the death of Christ (see ch. 5). Those readers who have carefully followed the 'Notes' will readily see the burnt offering in v. 6, the sin offering in v. 8 and the peace offering in w. 10, 11.
In the sin and trespass offerings four moral principles stand out in orderly sequence:
(i) Identification, in which the sacrificial victim becomes one with the offerer;
(ii) Substitution, in which the sacrificial victim takes the offerer's place;
(iii) Expiation  in   which   the   sacrificial   victim   having suffered the death penalty in the offerer's stead, the guilt of the offerer is removed;
(iv) Propitiation, in which as the result of the sacrifice every moral barrier to the display of divine grace is removed. God becomes propitious (that is, able to act favourably) towards the sinner. In the sin offering satisfaction is rendered to God for the evil nature that results in evil deeds. The person himself is prominent and there is simple reference to the Law neglected or broken. Sin is viewed as an affront to God's holy nature. In the trespass offering, including the intermediate sin-trespass offering, 5. 13, satisfaction is rendered to God for the evil deed that is the fruit of the evil nature. The offence itself is prominent and there is detailed reference to the wrong done against God and against man. Sin is viewed as an affront to God's righteous government.
In the Levitical offerings we have been considering there is a threefold application namely:
(i) primarily to Israel;
(ii) typically (and principally) to Christ;
(iii) instructively to Christians.
(i) The application to Israel need not detain us as the preceding 'Notes' have made this clear.
(ii) The application to Christ in beautiful types presents Him under three aspects, namely as
(a) the Offerer;
(b) the Victim;
(c) the Priest. These aspects arc brought together in a most instructive way in Heb. 7. 21 to to. 18 (cf. Eph. 5. 2).
a. As Offerer He is seen in His personal character, Man under the Law standing before God as our representative.
b. As Victim He is seen on earth accomplishing His substitutionary work on the cross.
c.  As Priest He is seen in His official character in heaven acting as Mediator in the interests of God's people, Heb. 9. 11, 12; 8. 4.
(iii) The application to Christians. With careful discrimination and wholly apart from the question of vicarious atonement, which was the Saviour's work alone, some of these types may be applied in a secondary sense to believers as offerers, offerings and priests:
a. In the burnt offering they may be seen as yielding themselves wholly to God by the Spirit for the accomplishment of His will, Rom. 6. 13, though this lead to suffering and may be to death, 2 Sam. 24. 24. They seek in their measure to fulfil the first table of the Law, though not as under it but under grace, Matt. 22. 37, 38; Rom. 8. 4; 13. 8-10. Of course, their self-sacrifice cannot make Christ's offering more acceptable to God, Heb. 10. 10, 14. In the application to Christ we have seen the varieties bringing out certain elements in our Lord's character. In each of these may be found an example to follow of prompt service, patient submission and patent sincerity (see notes under the burnt offering).
b. For the believers' example in the drink offering see notes thereunder.
c.  As in the peace offering pattern (which see) Christians hold joyful communion with God and fellow-saints in regard to the offering of their fives and their gifts. God does find satisfaction in these notwithstanding many imperfections (in marked contrast to the perfection of the Pattern Offerer), Heb. 13. 16; Phil. 4. 18 (Septuagint version uses the same phrase to describe the peace offering). Christ as Priest presents to God the offerings of believers, note the words 'through Him', Heb. 13. 15; Eph. 5. 20, and compare with the type, Lev. 3. He also has a satisfying portion in the service of the saints, Matt. 25. 35-40. The peace offering was the one offering in which the offerer had a portion. Even so Christians find joyful satisfaction in their gifts to and service for the Lord, Phil. 2. 17, 18; Col. 1. 24; Phil. 4. 4-7; Acts 20. 24; 2 Tim. 4. 7.
d. Our Lord by the work of the cross made full restitution to God and to man for Adam's trespass. Believers too are still debtors to God and to man meeting the claims of both, and not making bare restitution of what they owe but adding 'the fifth' thereto. In other words, they are to go beyond simply yielding to fellow men their due by acting in grace after the divine pattern, Matt. 5. 38-44; 6. 12, 14, 15; Mark 11. 25 (R.V.); Luke 6. 32-35; Eph. 4. 32. Thus, as we have seen, believers as offerers and offerings are privileged to approach God in connexion with His holy requirements and according to every aspect of their own need. As priests they are viewed in their official capacity serving God after the due order, 1 Pet. 2. 5, 9. As typified in 'Aaron's sons' they are seen in family relationship with their Great High Priest, Heb. 2. 13; 4. 14.