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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sin and Guilt Offerings

During this season of Lent we are all called to make different sacrifices. But in the OT, the Israelites made sacrifices that prefigured the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Last week, we saw how sacrifices were made to express communion with God. This week we are looking at sacrifices that restored communion with God.

In Leviticus Chapters 4 and 5, it very clearly spells out two different sacrifices that restore communion with God.
The first sacrifice is found in Lev 4. It is called the "Sin Offering." The second, which is found in Lev 5, is called the "Guilt or Trespass Offering."
Now, a Sin Offering actually wasn’t called a Sin Offering. It was just called a "sin." Here are some great examples:

2 Corinthians 5:21 "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Ezekiel 44:29 "They shall eat the cereal offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering; and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs."

Hosea 4:8 "They feed on the sin of My people, and direct their desire toward their iniquity."

I have heard whole sermons on Protestant television about how Jesus became sin, and so God hated Him and damned Him to Hell.
And in the Creed, when we say that "He descended into hell," that is what we are talking about.
Well, they are confused on two points. The first is that Jesus became a Sin Offering and not sin. You have to know the Hebrew language for that one. Second, is that Jesus descended into Hades, or the abode of the dead, and you have to know Greek for that one. So these people are just unstudied I guess, or had poor training.

Anyway, back to the Sin Offering.

What it did was made atonement for the sinner and restored communion with God.
An example of this is in the Jewish feast of the "Day of Atonement," which hopefully we will talk about soon.
But it is, of course, fulfilled in Jesus with His death on the Cross for us, that is why
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

What about the "Guilt Offering?"

A Guilt Offering is like a Sin Offering, except that it is specific to one offense. For example, if you make a rash oath, sin unwittingly, or become ritually unclean.
For example:

Mark 1:40-44 "And a leper came to Him, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." 41 And moved with compassion, He stretched out His hand, and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." 42 And immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. 43 And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, 44 and He said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a testimony to them."

We see another aspect of this Offering in that penance is involved. Not only do you have to restore what is lost, but more must be added.

This is Leviticus 6:
Leviticus 6:1-5 "Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "When a person sins and acts unfaithfully against the LORD, and deceives his companion in regard to a deposit or a security entrusted to him, or through robbery, or if he has extorted from his companion, 3 or has found what was lost and lied about it and sworn falsely, so that he sins in regard to any one of the things a man may do; 4 then it shall be, when he sins and becomes guilty, that he shall restore what he took by robbery, or what he got by extortion, or the deposit which was entrusted to him, or the lost thing which he found, 5 or anything about which he swore falsely; he shall make restitution for it in full, and add to it one-fifth more. He shall give it to the one to whom it belongs on the day he presents his guilt offering."

So not only did they have to fix what was broken, but also pay for the inconvenience of it being broken in the first place.

We do this today as Christians when we sin against someone, or at least we should.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

This is a great "tidbit" on the sin offering. Our family is *almost* Catholic - we'll be received into the Church on Easter Vigil - and, as evangelical protestants, we'd been taught that explanation, that Christ actually became sin. Thank you for your work.