Sin Offerings

Having inquired into the truths involved in the sacrifice by blood, let us now have regard to the different kinds of sacrifice. These, as was said (in a previous article) were five in number, to wit, the sin, trespass, burnt, peace, and meat offering. All these different kinds of sacrifice were needed to bring out the whole truth in connection with the work of Christ. They were needful to the believer as the medium for the adequate expression of the faith that was in him, of his contrition, gratitude, and praise, thus of the response of his heart to the grace of God that he was caused to experience. The manifold riches of this grace (so I wrote) called for just such an elaborate ritual sacrifice, if anything like a complete representation, was to be given and supplied of this grace. What was needed is a service in the face of which every feature of the redemption and salvation of the elect of God should stand out in plain relief, and  a service that as performed in faith and love should at once betoken all the hallowed and variant states and feelings of the true people of God.

Let us now concentrate on the sin offering. The scriptures that concern this sacrifice are the following: Lev. 5:1-6; Num. 15:27-31; Lev. 4:27-35; Lev. 5:7-13; Num. 15:22-26; Lev. 4:13-21; Lev. 4:22-26; Lev. 4:1-12; Lev. 6:24-30; Lev. 10:16-20; Lev. 16:1-28.

Private offences requiring sin offerings: (Lev. 5:1-6)—If a man withholds evidence when testifying in court, or swears a rash oath or without knowledge of the facts involved, or if he unintentionally touches anything communicating ceremonial uncleanness, or if he in any other way inadvertently transgresses the law, he must confess his sin and bring to Jehovah a female lamb or a goat for a sin offering.

Resident aliens subject to the same law (Num. 15:27-31)—Resident aliens or native-born Israelites, inadvertently failing to comply with the commands of the law, may secure Jehovah’s forgiveness by confessing their sin and by bringing a she goat to Him as an offering. But the man who deliberately defies the divine commands shall be destroyed by the Lord.

Ritual to be observed (Lev. 4:27-35)—In presenting a female lamb or goat as a sin offering, the offerer shall lay his hand upon the head of the victim and then slay it when the burnt offerings are sacrificed. Then the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and smear it upon the horns and pour out the rest at the great altar. The fat shall be burned thereon. Thus the offerer shall secure divine forgiveness for his failure to obey the demands of the law.

The form of the poor man’s sin offering (Lev. 5:7-13)—If the offerer cannot afford to bring a lamb or a goat he may bring two turtledoves or young pigeons. One the priest shall present as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering. If the sacrifice cannot afford to bring even birds, he may present an offering consisting of three quarts of finely ground flour, but he shall not put on the usual oil or frankincense. A part the priest shall burn on the altar, and the rest he shall take as his portion. The offerer shall thus secure full forgiveness for his unconscious failure to obey the law.

Offences of the community (Num. 15:22-26)—If the community inadvertently fails to observe all the commands of Jehovah, it also shall present a bullock for a burnt offering and a he-goat for a sin offering.

Ritual for the sins of the community (Lev. 4:13-21)—If the community inadvertently does something forbidden in the law, and later the sin is discovered, a young bullock shall be provided as a sin offering. Upon its head all the elders, who represent the community, shall place their hands. Then the victim shall be killed, and a part of its blood shall be sprinkled by the priests seven times before the veil of the inner room of the sanctuary and upon the horns of the altar of incense. The rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of the burnt offering and upon this he shall burn the fat. The carcass of the bullock shall he burn outside the sacred precincts. Thus shall the community be restored to the normal relation with Jehovah.

Sin of a ruler (Lev. 4:22-26)—Similarly, if a ruler inadvertently transgresses the law, he shall provide a he-goat which shall be offered in his behalf.

Sin of a highpriest (Lev. 4:1-12)—The high priest, who thus inadvertently sins, shall offer for himself a young bullock, following the same ritual as in the case of the sin offering in behalf of the community.

In the consecration of priests (Lev. 8:14, 15; 9:7-11)—In the consecration of priests in their sacred office a bullock shall be sacrificed as a sin offering. After the priests have placed their hands upon the head of the victim, a portion of its blood shall be smeared upon the horns of the altar and the rest poured out at the base. After the fat has been offered to Jehovah, the rest of the animal shall be burned outside the temple precincts.

Disposal of the ordinary sin offerings (Lev. 6:24-30; 10:16-20)—Like other sacrificial food, which is designated as most holy, the portions of the sin offerings which fall to the priests shall be eaten only by them and within the sacred precincts of the temple. Any blood, which spatters from it upon the garment, shall also be washed off within the limits of the temple. Earthen vessels in which the meat is cooked shall afterward be broken, and brazen vessels thoroughly purged and then rinsed lest the contagion of holiness be imparted.

The yearly sin offering in behalf of the nation (Lev. 16:1-28)—Clad in the insignia of his office and freshly bathed, the high priest shall appear each year at the entrance of the sanctuary with two he-goats as a sin offering on behalf of the people and with a ram as a burnt offering. One of the two goats shall be selected by lot. Upon its head he shall lay his hands and confess the sins of the people of Israel. Then it shall be sent away in the wilderness; while the other goat shall be offered as a sin offering to Jehovah. The blood of the goat he shall sprinkle upon the top of the ark and upon the space in front of it to secure Jehovah’s forgiveness and favor for the nation. Blood of the goat shall also be sprinkled upon the great altar to symbolize its ceremonial cleansing and also that of the entire sanctuary. The fat of the goat offered to Jehovah shall be burned upon the altar and its carcass burned outside the temple precincts. In addition the high priest shall offer a bullock as a sin offering in behalf of himself and his fellow priests.