One of the most misunderstood topics in the
scripture today is the sacrificial system, and
specifically, the offerings explained in the book of
Leviticus. Today we are so far removed from
anything like it that to practice them would seem
very foreign to us. It is my contention that a
proper understanding of these sacrifices would lead
many to believe that we should still do them today.
In fact, in a way, we do practice them today.
It is the intent of this article to identify the
purpose of the offerings in the book of Leviticus
and find the proper application for them today.
I understand that there are many symbolic meanings that go along with these
offerings, but the scope of this article is to stick
with the literal and practical interpretations from
the book of Leviticus. Before we can
understand the meaning of the offerings we must
first understand what the Tabernacle and Temple were
The Tabernacle can be a confusing topic, but it
shouldn't be. Many times we get confused by a
difference in language. This difference in
language causes us to see the Tabernacle as a religious
institution rather than a legal institution.
The bottom line is this, the Tabernacle was designed
to enforce the Law of God. This makes the
Tabernacle more like our modern courts today.
In fact, the tabernacle was not only like our modern
courts, but also like our modern hospitals and
butchers as well. We simply do not make these
connections because the Bible does not use these
words. We need to remember, there was one main
Tabernacle for the people of God, but there were
several other locations where people could go to
avail themselves of the Tabernacle services (Ex.
18:21-22). These locations are what the New
Testament called Synagogues (Matt. 13:54, Luke 4:16,
John 6:59) and were probably located in every city.
This is just like our current Judicial System.
We have the Supreme Court as our highest court and
many, many Appellate Courts below it. Our
current Judicial System comes from the Law of God.
For more on this please see my video "The
Tabernacle/Temple as a Judicial System:
The Temple was designed to enforce the law of God.
The direct instrument used to do so was called the
High Priest's Servant (2 Chron. 24:11, 1 Sam. 2:13,
Matt. 26:51). This is what we would call the
police today. The High Priest servant's job was to enforce
the law of God and was at the direct disposal of the
High Priest. If someone were found guilty of a
crime/sin (1 John 3:4) they would be charged and
have to appear before the Judges (Ex. 22:9).
If the crime/sin permit so, they can be sent to
ward/jail until their trial is completed (Num. 15:34).
When trial starts all testimony will be heard at the
mouth of two or three witnesses (Deut. 19:15).
This was always before a jury (the congregation Num.
35:12, 24-25, Josh. 20:6, 9). This is what is
meant when the scriptures use the phrase,
"tabernacle of the congregation." This is a
tabernacle of the people/jury to decide matters of
judgment. The High Priest, Priest, or Judge
oversees this trial by helping the congregation/jury to understand the law of God. Those on
trial were permitted to have lawyers/intercessors
to represent them. By the time of the Messiah
they had become corrupt (Matt. 5:20, 16:6, 23:2-3,
13, Luke 11:39, 42). After the
trial, if you were found guilty, you would receive a
punishment such as fines (Ex. 21:22), restitution
(Ex. 21:23-25), punitive damages (Ex. 22:21) and
even the death penalty (Ex. 21:12). The
Tabernacle/Temple no doubt represented what we would
call a Judicial Court today.
Tabernacle/Temple as a Hospital:
The Tabernacle/Temple also represented what we would
call a hospital today. The Israelites were to
bring their sick to the Tabernacle to be seen by the
Priest (Lev. 13:2-3, 6). The Priest was to
look upon the man with leprosy and keep watch over
him. If he was determined to have leprosy he
would be quarantined for the protection of the
people (Deut. 23:10-11). Those who were sick
were to seek natural remedies such as herbs (Psalm
51:7, Is. 38:21) and oils (James 5:14). If you
study the scripture carefully concerning herbs and
oils you will find that many of the herbs and oils
mentioned have great healing properties. Here
is a short list of some of these:
1. Hyssop (Lev. 14:4, Psalm
2. Mint (Luke 11:42)
Parsley (Ex. 12:8, Num. 9:11)
Anise/Cumin (Is. 28:25, 27)
Mallow (Job 30:4)
6. Mandrake (Gen.
7. Rue (Luke 11:42)
1. Calmus (Ex. 30:24)
Cassia (Psalm 45:8)
3. Cedar wood
4. Frankincense (Num.
5. Myrrh (Gen. 37:25, Esther
6. Myrtle (Is. 41:19)
Spikenard (Son 4:13-14)
The Tabernacle/Temple is God's design for our
current hospitals. The problem today is we
have corrupted God's design to heal our bodies. In fact, if you do your
biblical research you will discover that the Greek
word used for "witchcraft" and
"sorcery" is pharmakeia (Gal 5:20)
which means "medication, pharmacy"
(Strong's Concordance - G5331). This is a word
used to describe the prescription of drugs for
healing purposes. God warned us
not to use drugs for healing purposes, but we don't
listen. If you
think about it, a drug is designed to cover up a
symptom, but not get rid of the problem. If you
have a headache and take an aspirin it does not get
rid of the headache, it only blocks the signal of
pain to your brain so you don't feel the headache.
Was it the lack of an aspirin that caused the
The headache is our bodies warning system to warn
us of a problem. We are most likely missing a
nutrient that our body needs, which is what is
causing the head ache. We would be better off
trying to discover what our body needs instead of
taking a drug to get rid of the symptom. Our
modern hospitals are what the scripture refers to as
Tabernacle/Temple as our Butcher:
This might seem odd, but consider the following.
There is a law in Leviticus that states, "What
man soever there be of the house of Israel, that
killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or
that killeth it out of the camp, And bringeth it not
unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,
to offer an offering unto the LORD before the
tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto
that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be
cut off from among his people" (Lev.
17:3-4). An Israelite could not kill an animal
to eat without first taking it to the Tabernacle to
have the Priest kill it. This was most likely
connected to other laws such as not eating fat or
blood (Lev. 3:17). This required a specific
type of killing to make sure that the blood was
drained and the fat was trimmed. The fat was
considered God's portion of the meal (Lev. 3:16) and
the meat was for us to eat. If an Israelite
wants to eat of the meat of one of their clean
animals, they must offer this meat up in the
Tabernacle first so God and the Levites can have
their portion, then we can eat our
Offerings of Leviticus:
With all this in mind let's try to gain a better
understanding of the Offerings of Leviticus.
There are five offerings in the book of Leviticus.
They can be split into two different categories:
compulsory and voluntary. The compulsory
offerings are the Burnt Offering, the Sin Offering, and the Trespass
Offering. The voluntary offerings are the Meat or Meal Offering, and the
Peace Offering. Another way of categorizing
these are those that deal with sin and those that do
not. Those that deal with sin are the Burnt
Offering, the Sin Offering, and the Trespass
Offering. Those that do not deal with sin are
the Meat or Meal Offering and the Peace Offering.
Here is a brief look at each one and its purpose.
The Burnt Offering is the most common offering of
the scriptures. As such, it is to be offered
every morning and evening (Ex. 29:38-39). An
additional offering was to be offered each Sabbath
(Num. 28:9-10), at the beginning of each month (Num.
28:11), and at many of the mandatory feasts (Num.
28:16, 27, 29:1, 6). This offering was
continual and the smoke from this offering could be
seen day and night (Num. 9:15-16). This
offering was often offered with another offering
such as the Sin Offering (Lev. 5:7, 6:25, 9:2-3, 7,
12:6, 8) and the Trespass Offering (Lev. 5:7, 10,
17-18). In fact, it was mandated to be offered
every time an Israelite made a freewill offering
(Lev. 22:18, 23:12, 18). The Burnt Offering
was offered every time an Israelite entered the
Tabernacle to use it's services.
This offering was always made on a voluntary basis
(Lev. 1:3). It was done for various reasons,
such as cleansing a woman after childbirth (Lev.
12:6-8), the cleansing of a leper (Lev. 14:19-20),
and of a man with a bleeding issue in his skin (Lev.
15:14-15). This was a voluntary offering for
personal sin. When an Israelite committed a
sin that caused an illness or injury, which was the
punishment for their sin (Ex. 15:26, Deut. 28:21-22,
27), this offering was to be made voluntarily.
This is contrary to being caught of a sin and tried.
This offering was voluntarily made as the sinner
came to terms with his own sin.
This offering was also given for the nation as a
whole. Sins can be committed on a national
level as well (Lev. 4:13-14).
This is why it was offered so often. The
services of the Tabernacle were not open to the
people until this offering was made each morning.
The service of the Tabernacle did not end until this
offering was made in the evening.
The Burnt Offering is a contract offering.
This offering was always given to ratify a covenant
such as with Noah (Gen. 8:20), with Abraham (Gen.
15:9, 18), and with Moses, (Ex. 24:5).
Whenever a contract, or vow, was given, a burnt
offering was to be given voluntarily for the
ratification of that vow (Psalms 66:13-14).
This can be likened to what we call notorization
today. In ancient times a vow was confirmed
(ratified) with a burnt offering.
This offering was also given whenever a contract
term was enforced. For example, burnt
offerings were required from a woman after
childbirth (Lev. 12:6), when men recieved an open
wound (Lev. 15:14-15), for the cleansing of a leper
(Lev. 14:19-20), and when defiled by a dead body
(Num. 6:11, 14). These are all examples of
natural consequences of breaking a
contract/covenant. Child birth is a curse of
the Adamic Covenant. Open wounds are the
result of the curse of having to work because of the
Adamic Covenant. Leprosy is a curse for
breaking the Mosaic Covenant. And death is a
result of sin, which is breaking Covenant with God.
When we recieve a natural consequence of breaking a
covenant we owe a burnt offering. These were
The Burnt Offering
||1. The wealthy are to
offer a bull.
2. The middle class
are to offer a male sheep/goat.
The poor are to offer a bird (male or
4. Must be without
5. Offerer shall place his
hand on the head and kill it at the door of
6. The Priest shall
sprinkle the blood around the altar.
The entire animal shall be burned (except
the skin goes to the Priest).
The Sin Offering is categorized as a compulsory
offering. It is an offering for sin.
However, where the Burnt Offering is for sin in
general, the Sin Offering is for a specific sin
committed in ignorance (Lev. 4:2-3). There is
a distinction between what to offer based upon one's
status in Israel. A Priest must offer a bull
without blemish, the whole congregation must offer a
bull without blemish, a ruler must offer a kid of
the goats or sheep without blemish (male or female),
and a commoner must offer a kid of the goats or
sheep without blemish (male or female). There
are some exceptions for the commoners who are poor.
They can substitute two turtle doves or two pigeons
if necessary, or even a 10th part of an ephah of
fine flower. This is a statute to protect the
poor and needy.
To understand the purpose of this offering we need
to keep in mind some of the specifics. First,
this was an offering for a specific sin and only if
you "are guilty" (Lev. 4:13, 22, 27).
The question to ask is, how do we know if someone is
guilty? In Deuteronomy 19:15 we learn that,
"at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth
of three witnesses, shall the matter be
established." To be found "guilty"
they must first be brought to trial with witnesses, and this trial
must be before the congregation/jury (Num. 35:12,
24-25). If found guilty, they will then be
sentenced to pay their sacrifice/offering.
Today we would call this a fine and the court costs
were the portion paid to the Priest for his work
(Lev. 6:26). This is another example of how
the Tabernacle is like our current Judicial System.
When we commit a crime/sin today, we are sent to
court/tabernacle to atone/pay for our crime/sin.
This offering is what we would call a fine today.
The Sin Offering
|1. Must offer a bull.
|1. Must offer a bull.
|1. Must offer a kid of the
goats or sheep.
|1. Must offer a kid of the
goats or sheep (male or female).
Can substitute two turtle doves or two
3. Can substitute a 10th
part of an ephah of fine flower.
||1. Sacrifice shall be
2. Shall bring the
sacrifice to the door of the Tabernacle.
3. Shall lay their hands upon the head
of the sacrifice and kill it.
The Priest shall sprinkle the blood seven
times with his finger by the veil.
The Priest shall put some blood on the horns
of the alter (remainder on bottom).
The Priest burns all the fat (kidneys,
loins, above liver) on the altar.
The remainder shall be burned outside the
camp in a clean place.
The Trespass Offering is another compulsory
offering. This offering is mandated for all
sins that cause a damage (Lev. 5:16). This
means that the individual has committed a sin in
ignorance (Lev. 5:15) or intentionally (Lev. 6:2-3)
and has caused damage to another individual.
The offering is made plus restitution for the
damage, including punitive damages (Lev. 5:16).
One fifth is also paid to the priests as an extra
payment for punitive measures. The
"estimation by shekels of silver" are paid to
the damaged party for punitive measures as well.
We learn from Exodus 22 what to do in specific
cases. For example, in matters of theft he is
to pay double if the property is returned (Ex. 22:4)
to the original owner. If the property is not
returned, he is to pay four times for misdemeanor
theft and five times for felony theft (Ex. 22:1).
This can be paid in real property like sheep or ox
(Ex. 22:1) or it can be measured by shekels of
silver (Lev. 5:15, 6:6). This is the law
concerning punitive damages.
This is another example of how the Tabernacle is
like our current Judicial System. When we
commit a crime/sin today, we are sent to
court/tabernacle to atone/pay for our crime/sin.
This offering is what we would call a fine today.
The punitive damages paid for by two times, four
times, or five times is similar to our punitive
The Trespass Offering
||1. Shall offer a lamb
2. Shall kill the
animal at the door of the Tabernacle (Brazen
3. Shall offer restitution
for the damage caused.
4. Shall pay
one fifth of the restitution in punitive
5. The Priest burns all
the fat (kidneys, loins, above liver) on the
6. The Priest shall eat of
the trespass offering in the Holy Place.
The Peace Offering is a confusing title for this
sacrifice. It would probably be better called
the Meat Offering, for this was an offering to be
able to eat of your animals. We know from Lev.
17:3-4 that an Israelite can not kill of their
animals without bringing it first through the door
of the local Tabernacle. In fact, the penalty
for killing an animal apart from the Tabernacle was
excommunication (Lev. 17:4). The way for an
Israelite to eat meat was to offer the Peace
Offering (Lev. 17:5). If you think about it, it makes
sense. The Levites did not have time to keep
their own animals for meat. They were required
to attend at the Tabernacle and they were to eat of
the offerings of the LORD (Lev. 18:1). The way
for them to get meat was to be able to eat of the
people's animals. To ensure that they would
get their portion, God forbid the Israelites from killing
their animals themselves (Lev. 17:3-4).
This is how the Tabernacle is like our modern day
butcher. The Levites knew how to correctly
butcher an animal to make sure the meat was fit to
eat. This is why the chapter which contains
the Peace Offering ends with, "It shall be a
perpetual statute for your generations throughout
all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor
blood" (Lev. 3:17). This offering was
designed for us to be able eat clean meat correctly.
Since we were not allowed to eat fat or blood, the
animal was taken to the Tabernacle to be killed in a
manner to keep us from eating fat or blood.
The animals neck was cut and the blood drained (Lev.
3:2, 8). All the fat was removed (Lev. 3:4)
including the rump (Lev. 3:9). The rump is the
meat near the back end of the animal. This
meat is considered of lesser quality today.
Perhaps this is why it is burned rather than eaten.
Another possibility is the chance of toxins due to
its location near the bowels. Either way, the
rump portion of the meat was not to be eaten.
The Peace Offering
||1. The offering shall be
without blemish (sheep/goats/bull, cow).
lay hands on animals head and kill it at the door of the Tabernacle.
3. The Priest burns all the fat
(kidneys, loins, above liver) on the altar.
4. The Priest shall sprinkle the blood
around the altar.
5. If this
offering is for thanksgiving it shall be
offered with unleavened bread.
Must be eaten on the first or second day
(third day all is burned).
Meal (Meat) Offering:
The Meal Offering is similar to the Peace Offering,
except for grains. We are to offer an offering
to the LORD of both our animals and our crops.
The animals are given in a Peace Offering and the
crops are given in a Meal Offering. Israelites
are required to give of their firstfruits as a means
of sharing their portions with God and the Levites.
To start off the year this is done through the Feast
of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits.
During this feast the Israelites would offer the
firstfruits of their crops (Lev. 23:10, 17).
This was a feast to celebrate the start of the
harvest season. This season would last for
months and the Meal Offering would be given
throughout this season as different harvests were
reaped. The Israelites were to give of the
firstfruits of all their animals and crops (Deut.
18:1-4). This would provide the food and
products necessary for the Levites to live and was
to compensate them for their service in the
Tabernacle. When an Israelite harvested of
their crops they were to give their firstfruits to
the Tabernacle to share with the LORD and the
Levites. This was a meal provided for the
LORD, the Levites, and the Offerer.
The Meal (Meat) Offering
||1. Shall be of fine flower
mixed with oil and frankincense.
The Priest shall burn a hand full on the
3. The Priest receives the
remainder of the offering.
be of unleavened cakes of fine flower mixed
5. Can be baked in an
oven or pan.
6. Cannot contain
leaven or honey.
7. Shall be
seasoned with salt.
With all this said, I believe we should
still practice these offerings today. Our
Temples, what we call Judicial Courts today, should
require just weights and measures to make these
payments just as the scriptures require (Deut.
25:15, Prov. 11:1, 16:11). We should have to
make these offerings/payments in property like
wheat, honey, beans, corn, oxen, sheep, bulls, gold,
or silver. This was God's plan. Making
payments in unjust weights and measures like Federal
Reserve Notes, checks, and credit cards is against
God's law and should not be tolerated. It is
too easy to simply write a check to pay the damages
we have caused, especially when money is no object.
However, killing an animal and offering it before
the LORD is a very difficult and dirty job.
All it takes is to have to do this once and you will
most likely be deterred from breaking that law in
The confusion of the Tabernacle comes from our lack
of understanding of how it works. Most believe
that the Tabernacle/Temple was simply a place of
teaching. This is definitely true for the
Messiah Himself taught often on the Sabbath in many
synagogues (Matt. 13:54, Luke 4:16, John 6:59), but
there is more to the Tabernacle than just education.
The best comparison is that of our modern Judicial
System with all of it's courts. This, however,
would be an over simplification, for it can also be
compared to our hospitals and our butchers.
God had a plan for how we are to treat disease and
properly kill our animals for food. We should
still follow this example today. In fact, in
many ways we still do, although we have corrupted it
in our modern times. Instead of having to kill
an animal to pay for our crimes/sins, we simply
write a check for our fine/sacrifice. Maybe if
we did have to kill an animal as Leviticus
prescribes, it would help to deter us from further
crimes/sins. I doubt we will ever go back to
utilizing a Tabernacle/Temple the way God intended.
The Tabernacle was intended to enforce God's law for
a rebellious people. Since we still rebel
against God today, shouldn't we still utilize His
means to deal with this rebellion. After all,
"the law is not made for a righteous man, but
for the lawless and disobedient" (1 Tim.
1:9). If we were practicing the Tabernacle
today, those who do not break God's law would have
little use for it. For more on how the
Sacrificial System works please see my video