Easton's Bible Dictionary
The offering up of sacrifices is to be regarded as a
divine institution. It did not originate with man. God himself appointed it as
the mode in which acceptable worship was to be offered to him by guilty man. The
language and the idea of sacrifice pervade the whole Bible.
Sacrifices were offered in the ante-diluvian age. The Lord clothed Adam and Eve
with the skins of animals, which in all probability had been offered in sacrifice
( Genesis 3:21 ). Abel offered a sacrifice "of the firstlings of his flock" (
Genesis 4:4 ; Hebrews 11:4 ). A distinction also was made between clean and unclean
animals, which there is every reason to believe had reference to the offering
up of sacrifices ( Genesis 7:2 , 7:8 ), because animals were not given to man
as food till after the Flood.
The same practice is continued down through the patriarchal age ( Genesis 8:20
; 12:7 ; 13:4 , 13:18 ; 15:9-11 ; 22:1 - 18 , etc.). In the Mosaic period of Old
Testament history definite laws were prescribed by God regarding the different
kinds of sacrifices that were to be offered and the manner in which the offering
was to be made. The offering of stated sacrifices became indeed a prominent and
distinctive feature of the whole period ( Exodus 12:3 - 27 ; Leviticus 23:5 -
8 ; Numbers 9:2 - 14 ). (See ALTAR.)
We learn from the Epistle to the Hebrews that sacrifices had in themselves no
value or efficacy. They were only the "shadow of good things to come," and pointed
the worshippers forward to the coming of the great High Priest, who, in the fullness
of the time, "was offered once for all to bear the sin of many." Sacrifices belonged
to a temporary economy, to a system of types and emblems which served their purposes
and have now passed away. The "one sacrifice for sins" hath "perfected for ever
them that are sanctified."
Sacrifices were of two kinds:
1. Unbloody, such as (1) first-fruits and tithes; (2) meat and drink-offerings;
and (3) incense.
2. Bloody, such as (1) burnt-offerings; (2) peace-offerings; and (3) sin and trespass
offerings. (See OFFERINGS.)
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
I. The peculiar features of each kind of sacrifice are referred to under their respective heads.
(A) ORIGIN OF SACRIFICE. --
The universal prevalence of sacrifice shows it to have been primeval, and deeply
rooted in the instincts of humanity. Whether it was first enjoined by an external
command, or whether it was based on that sense of sin and lost communion with
God which is stamped by his hand on the heart of man, is a historical question
which cannot be determined.
(B) ANTE-MOSAIC HISTORY OF SACRIFICE. --
In examining the various sacrifices recorded in Scripture before the establishment
of the law, we find that the words specially denoting expiatory sacrifice are
not applied to them. This fact does not at all show that they were not actually
expiatory, but it justified the inference that this idea was not then the prominent
one in the doctrine of sacrifice. The sacrifices of Cain and Abel are called minehah,
tend appear to have been eucharistic. Noahs, ( Genesis 8:20 ) and Jacobs at Mizpah,
were at the institution of a covenant; and may be called federative. In the burnt
offerings of Job for his children ( Job 1:5 ) and for his three friends ch. (
Job 42:8 ) we for the first time find the expression of the desire of expiation
for sin. The same is the case in the words of Moses to Pharaoh. ( Exodus 10:26
) Here the main idea is at least deprecatory.
(C) THE SACRIFICES OF THE MOSAIC PERIOD. --
These are inaugurated by the offering of the Passover and the sacrifice of ( Exodus
24:1 ) ... The Passover indeed is unique in its character but it is clear that
the idea of salvation from death by means of sacrifice is brought out in it with
a distinctness before unknown. The law of Leviticus now unfolds distinctly the
various forms of sacrifice:
|(a) The burnt offering : Self-dedicatory.
(b) The meat offering : (unbloody): Eucharistic.
(c) The sin offering ; the trespass offering: Expiatory. To these may be added,
(d) The incense offered after sacrifice in the holy place and (on the Day of Atonement)
in the holy of holies, the symbol of the intercession of the priest (as a type
of the great High Priest) accompanying and making efficacious the prayer of the
In the consecration of Aaron and his sons, ( Leviticus 8:1 ) ... we find these
offered in what became ever afterward their appointed order. First came the sin
offering, to prepare access to God; next the burnt offering, to mark their dedication
to his service; and third the meat offering of thanksgiving. Henceforth the sacrificial
system was fixed in all its parts until he should come whom it typified.
(D) POST-MOSAIC SACRIFICES. --
It will not be necessary to pursue, in detail the history of the Poet Mosaic sacrifice,
for its main principles were now fixed forever. The regular sacrifices in the
temple service were--
|(a) Burnt offerings.
|1, the daily burnt offerings, ( Exodus 29:38 - 42 )
2, the double burnt offerings on the Sabbath, ( Numbers 28:9 , 28:10 )
3, the burnt offerings at the great festivals; ( Numbers 26:11 ; 29:39 )
(b) Meat offerings.
|1, the daily meat offerings accompanying the daily burnt offerings, ( Exodus
29:40 , 29:41 )
2, the shewbread, renewed every Sabbath, ( Leviticus 24:6 , 24:9 )
3, the special meat offerings at the Sabbath and the great festivals, ( Numbers
28:1 ; 29:1 ) ...
4, the first-fruits, at the Passover, ( Leviticus 23:10 - 14 ) at Pentecost, (
Leviticus 23:17 - 20 ) the firstfruits of the dough and threshing-floor at the
harvest time. ( Numbers 15:20 , 15:21 ; 26:1 - 11 )
(c) Sin offerings.
|1, sin offering each new moon ( Numbers 28:15 )
2, sin offerings at the passover, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets and Tabernacles,
( Numbers 28:22 , 28:30 ; 29:5 , 29:16 , 29:19 , 29:22 , 29:25 , 29:28 , 29:31
, 29:34 , 29:38 )
3, the offering of the two goats for the people and of the bullock for the priest
himself, on the Great Day of Atonement. ( Leviticus 16:1 ) ...
|1, the morning and evening incense ( Exodus 30:7 , 30:8 )
2, the incense on the Great Day of Atonement. ( Leviticus 16:12 )
Besides these public sacrifices, there were offerings of the people for themselves
II. By the order of sacrifice in its perfect form, as in ( Leviticus 8:1 ) ...
it is clear that the sin offering occupies the most important
place; the burnt offering comes next, and the meat offering or peace offering
last of all. The second could only be offered after the first had been accepted;
the third was only a subsidiary part of the second. Yet, in actual order of time
it has been seen that the patriarchal sacrifices partook much more of the nature
of the peace offering and burnt offering, and that under the raw, by which was
"the knowledge of sin," ( Romans 3:20 ) the sin offering was for the first time
explicitly set forth. This is but natural that the deepest ideas should be the
last in order of development.
The essential difference between heathen views of sacrifice and the scriptural
doctrine of the Old Testament is not to be found in its denial of any of these
views. In fact, it brings out clearly and distinctly the ideas which in heathenism
were uncertain, vague and perverted. But the essential points of distinction are
two. First, that whereas the heathen conceived of their gods as alienated in jealousy
or anger, to be sought after and to be appeased by the unaided action of man,
Scripture represents God himself as approaching man, as pointing out and sanctioning
the way by which the broken covenant should be restored. The second mark of distinction
is closely connected with this, inasmuch as it shows sacrifice to he a scheme
proceeding from God, and in his foreknowledge, connected with the one central
fact of all human history.
From the prophets and the Epistle to the Hebrews we learn that the sin offering
represented that covenant as broken by man, and as knit together again, by Gods
appointment through the shedding of the blood, the symbol of life, signified that
the death of the offender was deserved for sin, but that the death of the victim
was accepted for his death by the ordinance of Gods mercy. Beyond all doubt the
sin offering distinctly witnessed that sin existed in man, that the "wages of
that sin was death," and that God had provided an atonement by the vicarious suffering
of an appointed victim.
The ceremonial and meaning of the burnt offering were very different. The idea
of expiation seems not to have been absent from it, for the blood was sprinkled
round about the altar of sacrifice; but the main idea is the offering of the whole
victim to God, representing as the laying of the hand on its head shows, the devotion
of the sacrificer, body and soul. to him. ( Romans 12:1 ) The death of the victim
was, so to speak, an incidental feature.
The meat offering, the peace or thank offering, the firstfruits, etc., were simply
offerings to God of his own best gifts, as a sign of thankful homage, and as a
means of maintaining his service and his servants. The characteristic ceremony
in the peace offering was the eating of the flesh by the sacrificer. It betokened
the enjoyment of communion with God. It is clear from this that the idea of sacrifice
is a complex idea, involving the propitiatory, the dedicatory and the eucharistic
Any one of these, taken by itself, would lead to error and superstition. All three
probably were more or less implied in each sacrifice. each element predominating
in its turn. The Epistle to the Hebrews contains the key of the whole sacrificial
doctrine. The object of the epistle is to show the typical and probationary character
of sacrifices, and to assert that in virtue of it alone they had a spiritual meaning.
Our Lord is declared (see) ( 1 Peter 1:20 ) "to have been foreordained" as a sacrifice
"before the foundation of the world," or as it is more strikingly expressed in
( Revelation 13:8 ) "slain from the foundation of the world." The material sacrifices
represented this great atonement as already made and accepted in Gods foreknowledge;
and to those who grasped the ideas of sin, pardon and self-dedication symbolized
in them, they were means of entering into the blessings which the one true sacrifice
alone procured. They could convey nothing in themselves yet as types they might,
if accepted by a true though necessarily imperfect faith be means of conveying
in some degree the blessings of the antitype.
It is clear that the atonement in the Epistle to the Hebrews as in the New Testament
generally, is viewed in a twofold light. On the one hand it is set forth distinctly
as a vicarious sacrifice, which was rendered necessary by the sin of man and in
which the Lord "bare the sins of many." It is its essential characteristic that
in it he stands absolutely alone offering his sacrifice without any reference
to the faith or the conversion of men. In it he stands out alone as the mediator
between God and man; and his sacrifice is offered once for all, never to be imitated
or repeated. Now, this view of the atonement is set forth in the epistle as typified
by the sin offering. On the other hand the sacrifice of Christ is set forth to
us as the completion of that perfect obedience to the will of the Father which
is the natural duty of sinless man. The main idea of this view of the atonement
is representative rather than vicarious. It is typified by the burnt offering.
As without the sin offering of the cross this our burnt offering would be impossible,
so also without the burnt offering the sin offering will to us be unavailing.
With these views of our Lords sacrifice oil earth, as typified in the Levitical
sacrifices on the outer alter, is also to be connected the offering of his intercession
for us in heaven, which was represented by the incense. The typical sense of the
meat offering or peace offering is less connected the sacrifice of Christ himself
than with those sacrifices of praise, thanksgiving, charity and devotion which
we, as Christians, offer to God, and "with which he is well pleased," ( Hebrews
13:15 , 13:16 ) as with an odor of sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable to God."
( Philemon 4:28 )
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
SACRIFICE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
SACRIFICE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, define, incense, offering, sacrifice, types of sacrifice