Q. What is the significance of the bread, grain and drink offerings in Leviticus?
A. The Levitical offerings are usually discussed in relation to their function, not the ingredients used. There are five offerings as follows:
1. Burnt Offering
• Lev 1:3-4 If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf.
This is the most basic offering in which the whole animal (except the skin) is burned on the altar and offered to God. No portion is to be eaten by the worshipper. It signifies atonement on behalf of the sinner so that he may be accepted before the Lord, and complete surrender to God.
2. Grain Offering
• Lev 2:1 Now when anyone presents a grain offering as an offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour, and he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it.
• Lev 2:11 ‘No grain offering, which you bring to the LORD, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the LORD
• Lev 2:13 Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.
This is the only offering without the shedding of blood, a “living” sacrifice. It is a gift to God from the best of the worshipper’s fruit of the land, in thanksgiving to his acceptance before God. The oil is emblematic of the Holy Spirit, the frankincense of prayer, no leaven representing no evil, and salt symbolic of an enduring covenant.
3. Peace Offering
• Lev 3:1 Now if his offering is a sacrifice of peace offerings, if he is going to offer out of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without defect before the LORD.
• Lev 7:15 Now as for the flesh of the sacrifice of his thanksgiving peace offerings, it shall be eaten on the day of his offering; he shall not leave any of it over until morning.
This is the only offering in which the offerer shared in the meat of the sacrifice, and signifies the fellowship between God and men. There are three types of peace offerings:
• Thanksgiving offering – gratitude for blessing without asking
o Lev 7:12 If he offers it by way of thanksgiving, then along with the sacrifice of thanksgiving he shall offer unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of well stirred fine flour mixed with oil.
• Votive or freewill offering – gratitude for blessing granted in response to a vow, or freewill without regard to any specific blessing
o Lev 7:16 But if the sacrifice of his offering is a votive or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and on the next day what is left of it may be eaten;
• Wave offering – priest’s portion of the peace offering
o Lev 7:30 His own hands are to bring offerings by fire to the LORD. He shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be presented as a wave offering before the LORD.
(To be continued)