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.'” (Leviticus 1:1-2)
As we discuss the sacrificial system and seek to learn from it, we should take note that, in all the different scenarios, repentance and/or restitution had to precede the sacrificial act. In other words, the individual was expected to turn from his transgression and, when necessary, make things right with his fellow man before coming to the Sanctuary with his offering. This concept should sound familiar to us because the Messiah taught that, when someone brought a gift (offering) unto God and then realized there was an issue between them and another party, that person was to, “Be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:24).
Other lessons that are helpful to our walk as believers can be learned from these different sacrifices. For example, the burnt offering (עלה olah) expressed complete surrender to God’s will. The peace offering (שלמים shalamim) expressed gratitude for His mercy. The sin offering (חטת chatat) demonstrated one’s sorrow over the error while the guilt offering (אשם asham) acknowledged one’s guilt. All of these concepts were and are necessary if we are to acknowledge the need for repentance and the desire to walk in obedience. Yet, as we look at these different sacrifices something very important is made evident and that is, with very few exceptions, deliberate sin is excluded from the sphere of sacrifice.
There was a recourse for sins made in ignorance or those committed accidentally but there was no sacrifice that would accommodate intentional sins — those which were premeditated and then executed. God told them exactly what to do in almost every situation but left that one scenario missing. It seems to me that this should have provoked them to wonder how can the murderer, the adulterer and the robber be forgiven? There was only one way and it was made manifest when Yeshua went to the cross. Therefore, the greatest value in these different offerings is that they act as tutors and teach us about the work of Messiah. He is our sacrifice for every situation, and so, let us forever be thankful.
Blessings and Shalom,