There are five offering or sacrifices in the Bible. They are the (1) Sin, the (2) Trespass (Guilt) , the (3) Burnt offering, the (4) Meal Offering, and the (5) Peace Offering. If you were a Jew in ancient Israel you had to offer two sacrifices to be in good standing- the Sin offering and the Trespass offering. These two sacrifices were mandatory, while the other 3 were voluntary.
It takes all five to present Christ's work. The first two (Sin & Trespass) are non-sweet savour; they have to do with sin - that is, they picture Christ as the sinner's substitute. The last 3 are a Sweet Savor unto the Lord.
There were different types of sacrifices demanded by God. There were three kinds of four-footed beasts - oxen, sheep, and goats. There also were two birds of sacrifice - turtle-doves and young pigeons. All sacrifices were either such as were offered on the ground of communion with God (Burnt and Peace), or else as were intended to restore that communion when it had been dimmed (Sin and trespass).
The burnt offering is introduced in Leviticus 1. It represents complete surrender unto God whether of the individual or the congregation. The entire sacrifice was burned to ashes upon the altar and portrays our Lord's perfect submission to the Father. He was obedient unto death. The sacrifice was always a male animal indicating strength and energy. His blood was sprinkled on altar and he was cut in pieces and wholly burned.
The meat (meal) offering of Leviticus 2 was really a meal offering since there is no flesh in it. It represents fine flour, that is a picture of Jesus Christ and his perfection. It was ground and sifted. This speaks of evenness and balance of Christ. There is no excess or lack of any quality. The grain, ground between the millstones and exposed to fire, speaks of Christ's sacrifice It also included oil, both on and mixed into the sacrifice, which again refers to Christ as He had the Holy Spirit without measure, both within and upon Himself [John 3:34]. There was also frankincense, which speaks to us of one of the gifts offered by the Wise men. Frankincense is highly fragrant when burned, and was, therefore, used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God. ("Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the LORD for the generations to come. - Exodus 30:7,8) ("He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the LORD and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain." Leviticus 16:12). It was also used as medicine and as perfume.
[The primary lesson from frankincense is that our worship is to be pleasing to God. Remember, this sweet smelling resin comes as the result of the tree's woundedness and pain. When we can worship God in the midst of our sorrow, our brokeness, then it is a sweet smelling offering. That's why David said, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalms 51:17 )]
Next there are baked loaves. They are cakes mixed with oil. No leaven is permitted. there was no decay or corruption in our Lord. There could also be no honey. Honey is a natural sweetness which stands for natural sweetness apart from grace. Honey causes and promotes fermentation. Salt was to be used, preserving against corruption.
Green corn was dried by fire and beaten. This pictures the suffering of Christ. Full ears show excellence and perfection. The firstfruits of the harvest were the best, full, first, and finest ears.
The peace offering of Leviticus 3 speaks of happy fellowship. It was the final sacrifice. It could be either public or private, as well as male or female. Leviticus 7 tells us that the "inwards" were waved before the Lord, along with "the breast" and "right shoulder." The purpose of the waving was to present the sacrifice to the Lord and then to receive it back from Him. This offering is typical of Christ in relation to the believer's peace. Col. 1:20. The wave offering is also waved in the pattern of the cross!
The sin offering of Leviticus 4 was not like the trespass offering, which only atoned for one special offense. The sin offering symbolized general redemption, and was given because of our sin nature inherited from the blood of Adam. This is the most important of all sacrifices. Every spot of blood from a sin offering on a garment conveyed defilement.
The trespass offering in Leviticus 5 provided for certain transgressions committed through ignorance (unknown sin). This demands confession. It was prescribed in the cases of healed lepers in Leviticus 14:12. In this offering, blood was thrown on the corners of the altar.
Let us now compare the offerings.
Sin offering & Trespass (expiation). Christ settles the question of sin.
Man is a sinner and needs atoning sacrifice (Sin offering).
Man is a guilty transgressor and needs forgiveness - (Trespass offering).
VOLUNTARY- "SWEET SAVOR"
Man is unworthy and needs to be identified with a Worthy One (Burnt offering).
Man, fallen and depraved, needs a substitute (Meat (Meal) offering).
Man has a heart alienated from God and needs reconciliation (Peace offering).
The farther you go in the sacrificial system, the more it costs, the more that you have to give, and the closer you come to God! These animals were not cheap, and represented a very real "sacrifice". The animals? Bulls, Lambs, &
Goats, as well as Doves or Pigeons for the less fortunate (that could not afford a bull, lamb or goat).