We have begun discussing the five types of offerings, or “korbanot.” We are talking about the Olah, or burnt offering (Lev 1.3-17, 6.8-13 and 8.18-21, 16.24). Olah in Greek is translated “holocaustos” and it means to be totally burnt. It is where we get the word “Holocaust” from which describes what happened to the Jews by the Nazi’s. Now, a floor plan of the Temple and illustrations on how this was done will help you.
The Olah is totally burnt, except the hide. It is done in the outer “altar” which is called the “Mizbeach Olah” which is north of the Altar. It has the status of “Kodshai Kodeshim” or “most holy” so that means that it cannot leave the Azarah because it has an elevated status, or kedusha. We have already discussed in Part 1 what types of animals are used in this ceremony. The blood is applied to the lower part of the northeast and southwest corners of the Altar. The blood is “jerked” out of the Mizrach where it splashes on both sides at that corner.
For a bull, you would have a bigger Mizrach than for sheep, and you only catch a certain amount. Just imagine what the Altar and the Azarah looked like after just a few days of worship. The blood that is not caught drains out of the animal. The kohanim had blood all over them. This is seen in a messianic prophecy about the coming of Yeshua in Isa 63.1-6. Rev 19.13 also alludes to this concept. So, by “jerking” the blood on the northeast and the southwest corners of the Altar it places blood on all four sides of the Altar. The Mishnah calls this ceremony “Shetaiyim Shehain Arbah” which basically means “two applications that are in reality four” (Zevachim 5.4).
The hide of the Korban Olah belongs to the kohanim and what they will do with it we will talk about later. All the pieces of the Korban Olah are carried up to the Altar, salted and tossed on the fire. We taught on the daily Tamid service previously, and the Tamid lamb was an Olah. You can refer back to that teaching for more detail.
In Lev 1.1, the first word there in Hebrew is “Vayikra.” It has a small “aleph” at the end of the word. The next word in Hebrew in that verse is “El” and it has a large “aleph” at the beginning of the word. This alludes to the fact that Moses was the small aleph, but after him will come the “big aleph”, who is the Messiah (Deut 18.18). In Lev 1.2-3 we see that the animal used in the Olah ceremony is inspected and it needs to be unblemished. There is a gate at the eastern side wall of the Temple where this was done. Animals were kept to the north, outside the Temple. Sheep pools were also north of the Temple where they washed the sheep. This was called the Pool of Bethesda and it was near the Sheep Gate. Yeshua performed a miracle there in John 5.2-9. Just to the east is the Sha’ar Benjamin” or the “Lion’s Gate” and the sheep market. This area dates back to Temple Times.
Where the Golden Gate is on the eastern, outer wall of Jerusalem, another gate lies beneath it. This gate is mentioned several times in Nehemiah and is called the “Gate of Inspection.” It is through this gate that they brought all the korbanot in through, it is not a “people gate” because of the refuse there after so many animals came in.
Num 28.1-8 discusses the Tamid ceremony, and as we have stated previously, we have already discussed this in “The Daily Tamid Service.” Also, the Mishnah in the tractates Tamid and Yoma give more details.
In the Olah ceremony, the hide is removed and the pieces of the animal are carried to the Altar, salted and tossed on the Altar fire. The tractate Tamid tells how they did this and how they cut up the animal. Paul refers to this act of dividing up the animal in pieces when he says we should “rightly divide” the Word of God in 2 Tim 2.15. Every Olah, either voluntary or obligatory, must be accompanied by a Minchah (bread) and a Nesek (oblation=wine) offering. The amount depended on the type of animal being offered. Here is a list of some offerings that required a Korban Olah:
1) The Tamid (Num 28.1-8).
2) The Mussaf (additional offering) on Sabbaths and festivals (See Num 28.9-10. For instance, on Sukkot there are korbanot offerings for seven days. On the first day 13 bulls, 14 lambs and two rams. On the second day 12 bulls, 14 lambs and two rams. The amount of bulls brought decreases by one each day. Why? Sukkot is called the Festival of Nations. There are 70 nations biblically according to Exo 1.5 and Deut 32.8. There will be 70 bulls offered at Sukkot. The teaching is, during the Messianic Kingdom the influence of the nations will decrease, and Israel will increase.
3) You also have an additional offering to the Mussaf on Shavuot called the Shtai he Lechem (Lev 23.18) and these were elevation offerings, requiring a “Tenufa.” We will have a teaching on the Shtai ha Lechem at a later time.
4) An Olah accompanies the Omer, a Mincha (bread) offering brought on the day they wave the Omer. The Olah is a male lamb (Lev 23.9-14).
5) A bull is offered as an Olah for communal idolatry (Num 15.22-26). This is for when an erroneous ruling by the Sanhedrin results in leading the people into idolatry.
All of the above were communal offerings. Now we are going to discuss individual offerings.
6) The Kohen ha Gadol offers an Olah on Yom Kippur (Lev 16.3).
7) Three times a year the males were to come to Jerusalem, these were called the “Pilgrim festivals” or the “Shelosh Regalim.” Each pilgrim was to offer an Olah during the festival, that means Yeshua did this.
8) After childbirth (Lev 12.6), the woman was to offer an Olah with a bird as a Korban Chata’at (sin offering). A bird can be given for the lamb if she was poor. This was given 40 days after the birth of a male, and and 80 days for a girl. Miriam did this 40 days after the birth of Yeshua (Luke 2.22-24). Now, let’s look at this ceremony with Miriam and Yeshua and calculate something. Yeshua was born during Sukkot most likely, about Tishri 15. He was circumcised on the eighth day which would be the eighth day of Sukkot called Shemini Atzeret. So, Miriam came to offer the Korban Olah 40 days after childbirth (Tishri 15 plus 40 days) on Cheshvan 25.
9) The Korban Metzora (after a leper is healed) is brought (Lev 14.10-20). When a person has Zara’at he is called a Metzora. Yeshua healed many Metzorim and he told them to go show themselves to the priests to start the procedure in Lev 14. He had to be inspected and go through this ceremony, including the giving of a Korban Olah. He will anointed with blood on his right ear, right thumb and right toe.
10) The Nazir, or “nazarite” gives an Olah when coming out of his vow (Num 6.14). Paul did this in Acts 21 when he came out of his Nazarite vow, and paid for the offerings of four other messianic believers who where coming out of their vows. Why? To show that he was Torah observant because people were being told he was teaching against the Torah. This is exactly what people today teach about Paul, but Paul bought animal offerings (korbanot) to prove he was Torah observant.
11) The Korban ha Ger was given by a non-Jew who converts, but there is no Torah commandment for this. There was a rabbinic decree by the Sanhedrin based on Num 15.14.
12) The voluntary Olah was called the Olah Nedavah which was donated Olah and it must be a male.
13) The Kayitz ha Mitzbeach is an Olah given so that the Olah is not idle, or the fire burning with nothing on it. This is paid for from surplus funds (Shekalim 4.4). The Altar was a “soothing aroma” to the Lord and you could see the smoke rising to heaven at all times. The people had a special love for the Altar.
In Part 3 we will pick up here and talk about the Tapuach, the pile of ashes in the middle of the Altar.