We are going to do an introduction to the korbanot (sacrifices) and then build on it. Most people are unfamiliar with them and so it is like being lost somewhere. You are going to ask “what am I doing here” and “how do I get from one place to another” but a major portion of the Scriptures deal with them and they relate directly to the Messiah. There is necessary information to understand.
The Gospels and Epistles use terminology directly related to the korbanot. To study these things requires labor. Once you go over them you may still feel “lost” but a foundation will have been laid for further instruction and insight and when you study other topics you will see how it all fits. The word “korbanot” means “to draw near” to God. The root is “karav” and it is the word for close relations (Isa 8.3) or it can mean to be “here” and intimately close with something or person (Joel 1.15).
The korbanot is hard to study because so many have a bias against them. There were detailed situations as to when to offer them and all of this is unfamiliar to us. Who was eligible to offer one in the Mishkan/Temple? Any Jewish person (male or female) or a non-Jew. Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar had burnt offerings done for them. Your motive and heart determined whether or not they were accepted. Korbanot were rejected if they were acquired by deceit (Isa 61.8).
What we are going to do is go over the 11 steps required to offer a korban. These were learned by a child before his thirteenth birthday and the first thing a child learned was the Book of Leviticuswhich concerned all this. Why? Because it is a book of “holiness” and what the Lord expected. So, let’s go over the steps.
The first step was called “ha’va’ah” (bringing the korban). You had to purchase it and you brought it yourself (in your name). Next, we have the “semichah” and this word comes from the word “lismokh” meaning “to lean.” The person lays his hands on the head and leans on it. By leaning, the oerson basically transfers his weight to another for support. The transfer of his weight represented the transfer of the weight of responsibility, authority or title. In a korban, the animal is standing in the place of the offerer. So, semichah is the laying on of hands (Gen 48.14; 1 Tim 5.22). This was done on the head to identify with it. The Semichah is also used in ordination (Num 27.18-23; Consecration (Lev 1.4) and Blessing (Lev 9.22) as the agent of God. Heb 6.2 calls this an elementary teaching of the Faith.
After this we have the “viddui” (confession) and this is where we confess something to the Lord, especially in the asham, or guilt offering. The “shochita” (slaughtering) comes next after the head of the animal is placed in rings and a sharp knife is used. Any movement by the animal in pain makes it invalid.
Then came the “kabbalah ha’dam” (receiving the blood) and this is done by the priest into a vessel called a mizrach. After this comes the “holech” (walking the blood) where the priest bears the blood. The priest, animal and blood is considered holy. Yeshua referred to this step in John 20.16 when Mary was clinging to him after the resurrection. He said “I have not ascended to the Father” in the same way a priest would tell a person who was trying to detain him with the blood “I have not ascended the Altar” to present the blood of the korban. There can be no delay at this point because the blood was not to coagulate, invalidating the offering.
Then came the “zerika” (sprinkling) where the blood is jerked on the Altar. Sometimes it was done at two different places on the Altar (upper and lower; north and west, etc). Without the blood there was no worship (avodah). Psalms were sung, depending on what day it was and what korban was offered. There were animal sounds, the Altar was red and white, you could smell blood and the priestly garments were stained red.
Next we have the “shefrichat sherayim” (the pouring out left over blood) after the jerking was done. There were two drain holes on the Altar (southwest side) and there was a conduit to the Kidron Valley. This valley was called the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” and Yeshua passed through this valley after he was arrested (Psalm 23). This valley was where people were buried and it is believed that the resurrection will start there. Idols were also thrown into this valley by righteous kings.
After this came the “hafshata venituach” (skinning and severing). This was done on tables in the slaughtering area and not done on the ground. There was to be no corruption in the Temple. A post had a hooks on them and the animal was skinned and the organs separated (rightly dividing) and the blood drained. Anyone who has field dressed a deer knows what this is like. This area was portable to make room at Passover due to the crowds.
Next came the “hadacha” (rinsing) and there was a chamber for this. The “melacha vehaktara” (salting and burning) was done to remove more blood because life was in the blood and it was not to be eaten. There were two tables next to the Altar, one silver and one gold, for this and this was called the “salt covenant” (Lev 2.13). Every korban was salted here then brought to the top of the ramp and the sciatic nerve removed. A kohen (priest) would throw some of the pieces into the fire to be burned and the rest was eaten by offerer. There is a salt covenant (Lev 2.13; 1 Chr 13.5) called the “brit melach.” Salt was a preservative, it is a symbol of the eternal and also friendship (Num 18.19; Matt 5.13; Col 4.6). You were considered the guardian and protector of anyone who ate with you. How far would you go with this? Lot went so far as to offer his daughters to protect his two visitors! Salt also makes clean as seen in Ezek 16.4. Salt was part of the korbanot so it was part of a Lord’s Supper, a salt covenant meal with God.
These are the steps involved in presenting a korban to the Lord. These steps were done by the Lord himself and all the writers of the New Testament. They have much to teach us. The korbanot will be done again, not only in the coming Temple of the Tribulation (Dan 9.24-27), but also after Yeshua returns in the Messianic Kingdom (Ezek chapter 40 through 48; Isa 66.15-24).