Bible Religion
There are all sorts of religions in this world. Bible-based religion is different than most.

Betty H asks: One of the sacrificial offerings the Levites used in the Old Testament was called the 'Meal Offering'. Please tell me how it was used, ie: how often,when,for what purpose,for what sin, etc. I have to do a report on 'The Sacrificial Meal Offering' used by Aaron and his sons at the Tabernacle for the people of Israel. I have not been able to find much information? I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks, Betty
Question about A General Question: Meaning of a passage
Motivation - Student: Writing a paper
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 88, Saturday, 17-Mar-2012]

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
- James 1:27 [KJV]

Religions in this world come in every size, shape, color, and form. Some are constructive. But most, left to themselves, are very controlling and destructive. They cast men and women into the grips of a few unscrupulous leaders. People with ulterior motives abuse religious power and the lives of millions are diminished, shackled, downtrodden, shortened, or worse.

True religion sets free. False religion enslaves. We look now to the Bible to find the roots of true religion in order to separate it from false religion. The question Betty asks about the Meal Offering leads directly to the discussion of what is required to have fellowship with God. We will answer Betty's question in the context of Bible-based religion.

The Torah: Foundation of Bible Religion

The foundation of the New Testament is the Old Testament, and the foundation of the Old Testament is the Torah, the first five books, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

There are many ways to view the Torah. The serious Bible student, Christian, Jewish, or of any other background, will do well to study and scrutinize the Torah until a sure understanding is gained. You cannot make sense of the Old Testament without understanding the Torah, and you cannot make sense of the New Testament without understanding the Old Testament. The Torah is the Bedrock upon which the entire Bible is constructed. In our figure we have parsed the Torah into four broad types of passages: lessons from history, civil and criminal law, moral law, and religious law.

The Torah as the Bible foundation
The first five books, the Torah, form the foundation for the Old Testament, and the Old Testament forms the foundation for the New Testament

The following figures use the white, yellow, green, and orange color codes to present an overview of the first five books. The Meal Offering is one part of the religious law. It is presented in Leviticus Chapter 2.

Synopsis of Genesis
The book of Genesis conveys the Bible message through history lessons, from the creation of the universe to the time of Joseph in Egypt.

Synopsis of Exodus
Exodus picks up the history of the Jews where Genesis leaves off, and then introduces God's moral law summarized in the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments. Civil, criminal, moral, and religious laws follow.

Synopsis of Leviticus
Leviticus is almost all religious (orange) and moral (green) law.

Synopsis of Numbers
Numbers, like Genesis, is mostly history. There are also several religious laws put forth.

Synopsis of Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy or 'second law' re-states, summarizes, and expounds the prior Torah teaching with much civil, criminal, moral, and religious law, including the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) which affirms the oneness of God.

Focusing on the religious aspects of the Torah, that is, those passages highlighted in orange in our figures, the essence of Bible-based religion culminates in the following eight topics:

  1. The Sanctuary, the Sacrifices, and Worship
  2. The Priesthood and Levitical order
  3. The Sabbaths and Feasts
  4. Religious Vows
  5. The Nazirite
  6. Hear and Obey: The Oneness of God
  7. Prophets
  8. The Power of Repentance

As always, the author is indebted to the writings of Dr. J. H. Hertz, chief Rabbi of the British Empire, from which much of this answer is derived

The Sacrifices

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
- Hebrews 4:14 [KJV]

Worship in ancient Israel consisted of sacrifices offered at the Brazen Altar of the Tabernacle. The principal sacrifices are presented in the first five chapters of Leviticus. These sacrifices were voluntary and open to all, including the laity (regular folks like you and me), the Levites (a group of helpers in religious duties), and the priests (selected Levites who represented the laity and the Levites to God). The sacrifices expressed gratitude, prayer, spiritual communion, or a desire for expiation (atonement, forgiveness of sin). The ancient Israelites, like all men of conscience to this day, recognized that a person's sin breaks his or her fellowship with God, and that sin must be properly dealt with in order to restore that fellowship.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
- Genesis 3:21 [NASB]

The book of Genesis lays a foundation for the Torah and, therefore, the entire Bible, both Old and New Testament. Recall the account of Cain and Abel in Genesis chapter 4. Abels's sacrifice was accepted by God, but Cain's sacrifice was rejected. Why? It is both the physical nature of Cain's errant sacrifice, and the spiritual way he offered it, that come short of God's requirement.

Cain's sacrifice was of vegetables and did not involve the shedding of blood, as did Abel's. Even as early as Genesis 3:21, before Cain and Abel arrive on the scene, we see that shedding of innocent blood is necessary to cover mankind's sinful acts. Cain knew this, but decided in his heart not to do it, and this heart disobedience was the spiritual thing wrong with his sacrifice.

The theme of blood sacrifice to cover sin recurs throughout the Bible. In fact, this theme recurs throughout human history, both biblical and non-biblical. (Remember Ann Darrow in the movie King Kong? Ann was to be a blood sacrifice. There are hundreds of non-biblical examples.) In God's economy, only blood sacrifice can erase the negative effects sinful behavior. It is gruesome, but that is what the Bible says.

The application to Christianity today is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). So sacrificial worship in ancient Israel points the way to the Cross of Christ.

The Burnt Offering - embodied the idea of voluntary submission of the worshipper to the will of God completely, for the animal was killed, placed on the altar, and burned completely. The animal could be large or small (e.g., a bull, a sheep, a goat, a turtle dove or young pigeon), for God does not look to the quantity or cost of the sacrifice, but to the spirit in which it is offered (from the Talmud). But it must be a domestic animal, not a wild animal which costs nothing, and it must be an animal without blemish. The result of the a contrite worshipper's burnt offering was a sweet savor unto the Lord (Leviticus 1:17)

The tabernacle in the wilderness
God delivered to Moses precise specifications for the Tabernacle. Sacrifices were offered at the Brazen Altar, the first feature of the Tabernacle encountered by all who visited. The Shekinah manifested the very presence of God.

And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon:
- Leviticus 2:1 [KJV]

The Meal Offering - did not involve slaughter of an animal, but consisted of two parts, fine flour and oil, which are obtained as a result of toil. As such, the meal offering consecrated man's work to the service of God. There were prohibitions in the meal offering against leaven, a symbol of fermentation and corruption (sin), and against honey, a heathen favorite food of the gods (idolatry). Salt, on the other hand, was to be used in the meal offering as a symbol of preservation. Salt prevents putrefaction; leaven and honey produce it.

The Peace Offering, or Thank Offering was made in fulfilment of a vow or in gratitude for benefits received or anticipated. The selected animal was not burned completely, but eaten by the priests, the offerer, his kinsmen, and guests, often in celebrating a happy occasion or event in the offeror's life or the life of his family. The Peace Offering promoted the feeling of solidarity in the entire nation or in the family, and it pointed to God as a Protector and Provider.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
- Ecclesiastes 12:13 [KJV]

The Sin Offering was for purging, purifying, and washing away sin committed unwittingly, that is not deliberate sin. In both Jewish and Christian thought, sin means missing the mark (Hebrew chata -- to miss). A sinner misses the mark of human living, that is, the whole duty of man, to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). The sin offering was not burnt on the Brazen Altar in the Tabernacle. If it was offered there, it might be misinterpreted as a means for purchasing forgiveness from God. Instead the sin offering was carried outside the camp (Leviticus 4:12) to be burnt. In a strong parallel, Jesus was crucified on a hill outside Jerusalem as an offering for mankind's universal sin (see Hebrews 13:11-12).

The Guilt Offering, or Trespass Offering, dealt with any act, open or covert, that was a breach of faith or a breach of trust, that is, a misappropriation of those things that explicitly belong to God. Such deliberate sins include acts against God and against man (If anyone sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and deal falsely with his neighbor ... Leviticus 5:21). The apostle Paul in the New Testament expands the concept (for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23). When the sinner combined the Guilt Offering with confession of sin (Leviticus 5:5), full restitution (Leviticus 5:24a), and payment of a 20% fine (Leviticus 5:24b) the stain of the sin was washed away and the gravest sinner, if repentant, became a new man. He was at peace with his fellow man and with his Heavenly Father.

In addition to these five primary offerings, each of which dealt with specific aspects of everyday life, several other types of offerings are delineated in Numbers chapter 28:

  • Daily offerings
  • Sabbath offerings
  • Passover offerings
  • New moon offerings
  • New year offerings
  • Day of Atonement offerings
  • Feast of Weeks offerings
  • Feast of Tabernacles offerings

Bible Religion

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
- Hebrews 9:22 [KJV]

The message of Bible-based religion is clear: fellowship with God requires forgiveness of sin, and forgiveness of sin requires shedding of blood. This was a requirement in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:21), throughout the entire Bible, and it is still a requirement today.

Without the shedding of blood there is no remission [Hebrews 9:22]

While there are plenty of religions that recognize the detrimental effects of sin, that is, missing the mark of human living, only Bible-based Christianity declares that God Himself, out of pure grace and love extended to mankind, solves the sin problem by shedding His own blood on a sacrificial altar.

Mon, 26-Jun-2017 22:32:42 GMT, unknown: 642723 ABjRrOpdGg3QQ
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