1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “If anyone sins and commits a breach of faith against the Lord by deceiving his neighbor in a matter of deposit or security, or through robbery, or if he has oppressed his neighbor 3 or has found something lost and lied about it, swearing falsely—in any of all the things that people do and sin thereby—4 if he has sinned and has realized his guilt and will restore what he took by robbery or what he got by oppression or the deposit that was committed to him or the lost thing that he found 5 or anything about which he has sworn falsely, he shall restore it in full and shall add a fifth to it, and give it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt. 6 And he shall bring to the priest as his compensation to the Lord a ram without blemish out of the flock, or its equivalent for a guilt offering. 7 And the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven for any of the things that one may do and thereby become guilty.”
-This section is still talking about guilt offerings from the last chapter. We previously saw in Exodus 22:7-9 that restitution is considered double. However, realizing guilt and wanting to right a wrong only requires an extra fifth in restitution. This is teaching the people through the law itself that it is better to repent then to hold fast to a sin because if you don’t, it will cost you double. Of course, if we don’t repent in our lives, it costs us eternal damnation. Repentance in this life leads to eternal life with only a possiblity of some additional suffering temporarily in this life depending on the path. Some might not suffer at all. The flip side of this is that if you are the victim, you are actually getting one fifth extra from what was taken from you. This is often true of life as well, the more we give the more we recieve. Although the next life is what really matters, the Lord sends us blessings in this life as “engagement gifts” because He loves us and never wishes to see us suffer. Not always, but often times when we are wronged, we receive more later than what we had before. If there was no repentance, we would have received double for what we gave up. Remember that all these physical laws for the nation of Israel are representative of who God is and how He works and in turn, how life itself works.
The Priests and the Offerings
8 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 9 “Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering. The burnt offering shall be on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it. 10 And the priest shall put on his linen garment and put his linen undergarment on his body, and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has reduced the burnt offering on the altar and put them beside the altar. 11 Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. 12 The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not go out. The priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and he shall arrange the burnt offering on it and shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. 13 Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.
-There is always a fire burning on the altar for burnt offerings. Remember that burnt offerings are a rededication to commitment to God and what is right. The fire always burns because the offer is always open as long as you draw breath. There are never too many chances or too few opportunities to repent and come to God.
14 “And this is the law of the grain offering. The sons of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord in front of the altar. 15 And one shall take from it a handful of the fine flour of the grain offering and its oil and all the frankincense that is on the grain offering and burn this as its memorial portion on the altar, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 16 And the rest of it Aaron and his sons shall eat. It shall be eaten unleavened in a holy place. In the court of the tent of meeting they shall eat it. 17 It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their portion of my food offerings. It is a thing most holy, like the sin offering and the guilt offering. 18 Every male among the children of Aaron may eat of it, as decreed forever throughout your generations, from the Lord’s food offerings. Whatever touches them shall become holy.”
-This not only has a spiritual significance but a physical one as well. This is where the priests get their carbohydrates. The priests are completely dedicated to their role as priests to the point that they do not do anything else to earn income or come up with food. They can eat grain from the grain offering and they can eat meat from other offerings except for the burnt offering which must be wholly consumed on the altar. Levites were often invited to homes as guests to receive meals as well. It was up to the other tribes to take care of their Levite brothers and sisters because they had no land or other occupation. They are not too disimilar to pastors or missionaries. We all require the donations and support of others to be able to do our work. Sometimes pastors do have a regular job or missionaries have some work to earn some extra income, but they cannot fully support everything they do on that income.
19 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 20 “This is the offering that Aaron and his sons shall offer to the Lord on the day when he is anointed: a tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a regular grain offering, half of it in the morning and half in the evening. 21 It shall be made with oil on a griddle. You shall bring it well mixed, in baked pieces like a grain offering, and offer it for a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 22 The priest from among Aaron’s sons, who is anointed to succeed him, shall offer it to the Lord as decreed forever. The whole of it shall be burned. 23 Every grain offering of a priest shall be wholly burned. It shall not be eaten.”
-Normal grain offerings are consumed but this is a special one done “when he is annointed”. This is the priests themselves giving the grain offering, rather than an individual. They are giving an offering to God to annoint a new priest so this is like a burnt offering in that a dedication is being made. But since Levites don’t own animals to sacrifice, they offer up grain that is part of what they themselves live on.
24 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 25 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering. In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord; it is most holy. 26 The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tent of meeting. 27 Whatever touches its flesh shall be holy, and when any of its blood is splashed on a garment, you shall wash that on which it was splashed in a holy place. 28 And the earthenware vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken. But if it is boiled in a bronze vessel, that shall be scoured and rinsed in water. 29 Every male among the priests may eat of it; it is most holy. 30 But no sin offering shall be eaten from which any blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place; it shall be burned up with fire.
-Burnt offerings and sin offerings are both brought into the tent of meeting, hands are laid on, and they are killed. Although a burnt offering appears more significant from the instructions, it is actually equally so. One must dedicated themselves to the Lord and repent for sins at the same time. It’s not enough just to repent for sins. We are asked to believe in God and that involved more than just believing He exists. It also involves believing that He can and wants to forgive our sins but also we must seek after Him. If there is repentance but no dedication whatsover, it is like what James wrote about in James 2:17, “..faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”. Works cannot save but if you do not have works or some kind of effort moving forward, then you are not saved! It’s immensly important we all understand this!