Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

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The Levitical Offerings
by Dr. James Modlish


The Sin and The Trespass Offering
(Leviticus 5:1-6:7)


The Sin and Trespass offerings are so together that there is much confusion as to where to draw the line between the two. For example: J. Sidlow Baxter in his Explore the Book places the division at the beginning of Chapter Five. Warren Wiersbe does likewise in his Expository Outlines on the Old Testament as does R. B. Thieme in Levitical Offerings. Clarence Larkin lumps the two together and Harry Ironside, Lectures on Levitical Offerings, Irving Jensen, Leviticus a Self-Study Guide and Andrew Bonar, A Commentary on the Book of Leviticus make the split at Chapter (5:14).

Some of the Differences suggested:

[1]. The in offering deals with sins done in ignorance while the trespass offering deals with known sins.

[2]. The Sin offering has to do with the fact that man has a sin nature, while the trespass offering is f or sinful acts.

[3]. One author uses (1 Tim. 2:13-15) as an example of the difference: Adam sinned deliberately (trespass offering) while Eve was deceived.

[4]. Another says that offerings picture the two sides of the death of Christ, one for the sin nature of man and one for his sins.

[5]. The trespass offering apparently requires restitution where the sin offering does not.

Much of this depends on where the division is made.

Some questions that need an answer:

[1]. If the sin offering is for sins of ignorance, what does (Lev. 15:15) mean?

[2]. If the division is made at (5:1), why are there two offerings in (Chapter 5? 5:6 & 5:15).

[3]. What is the difference between a trespass and a sin? (Eph. 2:1, Lev. 5:15,16) Are they separable.

[4]. If it is true that the sin offering deals with basic sin nature and the trespass offering deals with overt or covert acts, can you separate the two? Can a man have a sin nature and never sin?

[5]. Since there is such a difference of opinion concerning the division why is it that no one mentions it.


I. The Trespass Offering -

We will assume that the division point is at the beginning of chapter 5, verse six is certainly the strongest argument for taking this position and probably rightly so. If this is true then there are apparently two types of offerings under this category:

[1]. (Lev. 5:1-13)

[2]. (Lev. 5:14-19)

The first of these two apparently deals with sins of negligence, fraud, omission, violations of personal rights, failures to keep promises, and taking an oath to harm or do evil to someone (see Acts 23:12ff). These are apparently willful and knowledgeable acts.

The second group falls again in the ignorance category as did those in the sin offering of chapter four. These acts done in ignorance, require a different object of sacrifice, a ram. There is also a financial obligation connected with it. (vs. 15)

Let us look at the two offerings:

A. (Lev. 5:1-13)

[1]. Sin, Oaths, Failure

    (a). (vs. 1) s in of concealment.

    (b). (vs. 2,3) Sins of uncleanness.

    (c). (vs. 4) Oaths jeopardizing the welfare of another (malice of forethought.).

    (d). (vs. 4) failure to keep a promise.

[2]. Confession is required before he is to present his offering.
[3]. There are a number of acceptable offerings, again dictated by the individuals financial well being.
    (a). A female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of a goat. (vs. 6)
    (b). Two turtledoves, or two young pigeons (vs. 7)
    (c). The tenth part of the ephah of fine flour (vs. 11)

B. (Lev. 5:14-19)

[1]. The sacrifice is a ram. (Gen. 22:13)

[2]. An estimation of the worth of the animal had to be taken and the offender had to not only bring the ram but also 1/5th or 20% of its worth as a penalty. (vs. 15,16) This is making amends.

[3]. Verse 17 declares that the individual is guilty even in his ignorance.

[4]. Verse 19 declares that his sin is a sin against the Lord. (see Gen. 39:9; Ps. 51:4; Gen. 20:6; 2 Sam. 12:9,13)

[5]. No alternate sacrifices are offered.


II. Restitution - (Lev. 6:1-7)

A. Four categories of violations are found in these verses requiring, to make Restitution:

[1]. Refusal to return something to a neighbor which had been deposited for safe keeping; i.e. defrauding (vs. 2)

[2]. Oppression of others. (vs. 2)

[3]. Cheating or stealing at the expense of someone else. (vs. 2)

[4]. Defraudation of property through falsehood or misrepresentation. (vs. 3)

B. The means of Restitution:

[1]. "restore the principal" (vs. 5) Give back the property or item in question.

[2]. He must add the fifth part, so that the one who was offended receives interest on his temporary loss. (vs. 5)

[3]. Then he had to bring the ram for his trespass offering, one without blemish.

[4]. He had to present the silver to 1/5th the ram's estimated worth.


III. Practical Lessons -

A. One who is knowledgeable of a crime and hides it, is an accessory to the fact (5:1).

B. Associations with evil or compromise is a sin. (5:2,3) If you fellowship with sin, you partake of it.

C. Broken promises constitute a form of fraud. (5:4)

D. Confession precedes forgiveness - (5:5) (1 Jn. 1:9; Ps. 32:5; 38:18; 2 Cor. 13:5; Lev. 5:5).

E. The Lord makes forgiveness available to all. (5:6-13)

F. Forgiveness is not complete until amendment is made or at least intended. (5:16)

G. Sins of ignorance bear the same guilt as those who sin knowingly - (5:15)

H. All sin is a direct affront to our Lord - (5:19) Gen. 39:9; 2 Sam. 12:9,13.

I. Sin costs you a lot, more than its worth, (6:1-7)

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1. The Burnt Offering | 2. The Meat Offering | 3. The Peace Offering | 4. The Sin Offering | 5. The Sin and Trespass Offering