Temple 101-The Five Korbanot (Sacrifices)

We are going to briefly look at the five korbanot, or sacrifices, given by God in the Scriptures. You offered these because you wanted to “draw near” to the Lord. The term “korbanot” means “to draw near” and these were very important. They started in Gan Eden (Garden of Eden) and they were considered rehearsals and instructions given to understand Yeshua. There were three levels beginning with bulls (considered the highest one) and they penetrate deep (Hos 14.2) Then there were sheep/goats and doves. Num 28.1-8 gives the instruction for the Tamid (continual) offering and it was offered twice a day, morning and evening. It was called the “Olat ha Tamid.” There were bread offerings called the “mincha” and there were 13 types. Plus you had drink offerings which were performed at the Altar. All of these were accompanied by Psalms by the choir. Each day had certain psalms that were sung. For instance, on the Sabbath Psalm 92 was sung and so on. The Altar was divided into three parts. The base, the walkway and the top with three fires going at all times. It was 15 ft high with a ramp leading to the top. It was covered with white plaster. The three elements of a korban involved the person, the priest and the offering. You had to know what korban to offer at the right time. You had to have the right heart attitude called “kavanah” which was the real point of the korbanot, not the animals or bread. The first offering in Scripture is called the Olah, or burnt offering (Lev 1.3-17, 6.8-13, 8.18-21, 16.24). You offered an olah when you neglected a positive commandment (“you shall do”) and it expiates a transgression of a negative commandment (“you shall not do”), specifically one that can be rectified by a positive commandment. Also it was offered if one had sinful thoughts. It is a voluntary act of worship and devotion to God and showed total surrender. In Gen 22.2 we read that Isaac was to be an olah. It is totally consumed and burned on the Altar and given by free will. You had to have an attitude of joy and derive no personal benefit from it. The animals given showed that God was with the persecuted. The bullock was hunted by lions, the sheep by panthers and goats by wolves. Doves were hunted by predatory birds. These are all pictures of Yeshua. The Mincha ( Lev 2.1-16; 6.14-23), is the bread offering and there were 13 types. They are: Mincha Soless, Mincha Challah, Mincha Rekikin, Mincha Machvas, Mincha Marcheshess, Mincha Chotech, Mincha Chavitin, Mincha Chinuch, Micha ha Omer, Shtai ha Lechem, Mincha Sota, Lechem haPonim and Mincha Nesachim. They were prepared five ways: raw flour, deep mold, shallow mold, challah and wafers. They were made with flour, oil and levonah (frankincense). The raw flour was made by putting oil in a flat pan and sifted wheat flour and oil was mixed into a gummy, rough dough. A priest takes his middle three fingers and reaches in scoops some of the dough and frankincense and salt were mixed in and burned on the Altar. The deep mold was prepared with raw flour but mixed with water and shaped into thick cakes. It was fried in a deep mold pan. After this, it was broken up into smaller pieces. A priest poured incense over them then a fistful was salted and put on the Altar. The rest is given to the priests to eat. The shallow mold was prepared like the deep mold, only in a shallow pan. Challah was “pierced” and prepared like the above only with no oil after it was baked. It was baked in a pan at the bottom of the oven, but not like we think. Heated rocks and the round dough was taken in and out with a flat paddle. It was not allowed to rise. The wafers were baked with a pan at the bottom of the oven. They were thin wafers like matsah bread. Oil was smeared on them in the shape of a cross. These bread offerings were done in addition to the other offerings. The purpose was to recognize God’s goodness and provision and were voluntary. They reflected devotion to God and his teachings (Torah). This offering teaches the doctrine that the “basar” (good news, Gospel) was to “spread.” Leaven in the Bible means sin, the Kingdom of God (Matt 13.33) and teaching (Matt 16.12). Salt was used to picture the salt covenant (Lev 3.13) and a covenant that would not cease. It was a preservative and it also symbolized friendship. You would buy the offering of bread, bring the receipt from the room of oil at the southwestern part of the Court of the Women to a bakery on the north side of the Court of the Men. The priest would take a hunk of it and burn it. The Shelamim is the peace offering (Lev 3.1-17; 7.11-34) and it was seen that the Lord brings peace to the world and to those making the offering. Any animal was used without defect from the herd or the flock. It is slaughtered anywhere in the inner court (azarah). It is without blemish and checked in the Royal Stoa. You killed the animal and the priest takes the breast and the thigh. It is offered at the fulfillment of a vow with gratitude (todah=thanks). A certain portion is burned at the Altar. The blood and inner organs are not eaten (fat covering the stomach, fat of the stomach, two kidneys and fat, fat on the loins, lobe of the liver and part of the liver on sheep). The Altar was to be of “uncut stones” (Deut 27.6) and the word uncut is “shalem”and is the root for “shelamim” and it means peace, so the Altar brought peace. No fat was to be eaten (Lev 3.4, 7.23). Fat is a type of lust and the folly of our ways, a block rendering our hearts dull and oblivious to the truth. The purpose of the peace offering was to bring peace and express your happiness or in remembrance of what God had promised. It speaks of the Messianic Kingdom when Messiah comes, bringing peace. It would conclude a series of offerings being a picture of when God, in the end, will bring peace. It promotes peace because you would have a Lord’s Supper (meal consecrated to God) like a Passover, which was considered a peace offering. Now, when the Scriptures say that an offering is holy it means that it can be eaten anywhere in Jerusalem. These include a peace offering of an individual, a “todah” or thank offering. The tithe of animals and the Passover were also considered peace offerings. If the Scriptures said it was “most holy” it means that it can only be eaten within the Temple. This included the olah, the minchah, the chat’at (sin offering), the asham (guilt offering) and the peace offering of the community. Free will offerings included the olah, the peace and bread offering. Obligatory offerings included the sin offering, the guilt offering, the first born of animals, the tithe of animals, the Passover, the thank offering, the High Priest daily bread offering, the consecration korban of a priest, the korban of a leper (zara), the offering of one with a chronic discharge (zav), a child -bearing woman and a communal offering. Now, people have a revulsion to the thought of a korban as being cruel and pagan. But it is in the depth of what God is trying to communicate to us that we begin to see their value. Whether it is an animal or a bread offering, it is not the animal or bread that is really required, but a proper heart attitude (I want to not I have to). Next we have the Chata’at or sin offering (Lev 4.1-35, 6.24-30, 8.14-17, 16.3-22). This is mandatory for sin, as in the case of a person who sins unintentionally or a person sins intentionally against God where he can be “karet” or cut off from Israel. It is also offered when something is done by mistake. Not knowing is no excuse. One can still sin against God without knowing it (Hag 1.5-10). You can be blocked by God spiritually so one needs to go back and “consider your ways.” There are three special types of chata’at. A bullock of the High Priest, a bullock offered by the community for a communal sin and a sin offering of the Prince. A sin offering is brought when a sin is committed deliberately that could cause a person to be “karet” or cut off, otherwise it was for unintentional sin. Here is an interesting concept. A sin offering is brought by people who didn’t sin, too. For instance, a sin offering is brought by a woman who had a baby (Lev 12.1-6). Did she sin? No, but here is the teaching. Blood is the most important element in the korbanot and it was applied at the Altar. Life is brought forth with the shedding of blood. The woman and the baby have not sinned, but man was created in God’s image and man sinned and was diminished. The Lord sacrificed an animal on the day they sinned in Gan Eden and he made clothing from the animal. The purpose of a korban was to draw near to God. A sin offering was done because there was a loss of blood and blood belongs to God. Life is in the blood and life was given in exchange for blood and it is to recall the fact that sin caused man to be diminished and to be in a fallen state. A Nazarite is another example of when a sin offering is given. Did the Nazarite sin coming out of his vow? No, but he entered the vow to “draw near” to the Lord and when he comes out of it he is “drawing away” from his consecration and back in “touch” with death and so he is reminded that sin is what caused this separation in the first place. The chata’at is most holy (Lev 6.25) and is killed on the north side of the Altar (Lev 1.11) in the same place as the olah and eaten within the Temple. It is a picture of Yeshua, who was killed north of the Altar on Golgatha. Last, we have the Asham, or guilt offering. This is offered when one sins against another (Lev 5.1-6.7, Lev 7.1-10). The required animal is a ram or lamb and it is mandatory for unintentional sin requiring restitution and cleansing from defilement. It was also offered when one benefited from a holy object belonging to the Temple. An example of this is when stones from the old Altar were not thrown away, the Brazen Serpent was used for idolatry, people ate from an offering meant for the priests or when you used something that was to be burned. A sin with a slave could be another reason. You were not to abuse them, you paid them and they were to be set free after so many years (Lev 19.21). If you didn’t do it, an asham was offered. A Nazarite offered an asham and also a leper. When someone thought that he committed a sin and a chata’at was offered, but he isn’t sure he committed the sin (ate wrong fat, etc), his offering is not final and called a pending offering. If he finds out later that it was sin, then he needed a chata’at. Why does the Torah have an offering in the case of a person who isn’t sure he sinned or not? This teaches that we are to avoid any situation that might lead to sin. We are not to be negligent in spiritual matters (Zeph 1.12, Rev 3.16, !Kings 18.21). The asham was most holy (Lev 7.1-10) and eaten within the Temple. It was killed north of the Altar and the blood was dashed around the Altar because it was not expiatory. The inner parts were burned on the Altar. If a person couldn’t afford a ram or lamb, then two doves and two pigeons were given. If one could not even afford that, then one tenth of an ephah of fine flour with no oil or incense was offered. This is just a brief overview of the korbanot but they need to be understood in order to understand salvation. The blood of these offerings never took away sin, as some teach, but they did sanctify the flesh (Heb 9.13). Only Yeshua can sanctify the spirit and bring salvation. These offerings will be reinstituted again once Messiah returns (Ezekiel chapters 40 through 48) and have not been “done away with” because of the cross. If that were so, there would be no reason for the Lord to reinstitute them. The Apostle Paul offered korbanot in Acts 21.15-26 and said so in Acts 24.17, 28 years after Yeshua, so the teaching that says they were done away with is in error. There is much to learn about the ways of the Lord in these offerings.

Posted in Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, The Tanach, The Temple, Understanding the New Testament

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