The Unintentional Sin and Trespass Offerings

The Sin Offering

The instructions begin with these two verses, Leviticus 4:1-2. Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them…

Did you catch that? If a person sins UNINTENTIONALLY. How do we unintentionally sin? We are careless and say or do something hurtful without thinking. We don’t know God and His word and do something against what He’s told us to do. In other words, you do something without realizing you were sinning. 

Leviticus 4 is all about the sin offering. Verses 1-12 are the requirements for a priest who sins unintentionally. Verses 13-21 is the protocol in case the entire congregation participates in an unintentional sin. Verses 22-26 have to do with rulers. And verses 17-35 have to do with individuals. 

These instructions applied to everyone whether a native-born Israelite or a foreigner living among the people. –Numbers 15:29-30 You shall have one law for him who sins unintentionally, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel and for the stranger who dwells among them. 30 ‘But the person who does anything presumptuously (intentionally), whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be cut off from among his people.

Let’s stop and consider intentional sin. Intentional sin is open unrepentant rebellion toward God. Intentional sin is done publicly. It not only defies God but stirs those observing to join in the rebellion. It can cause division in the group or nation. There are not any sacrifices to atone for intentional sin. 

We find an example of this in Numbers 15:32-36 where a man who knew it was unlawful to work on Sabbath, went out and gathered wood while others were watching. He was put to death. Or Achan in Joshua 7 who rebelled against God’s instruction and stole some valuable objects from Jericho. Because of his rebellion Israelites died in the battle with Ai. 

Later Achan confessed he stole the objects but wasn’t repentant. The people of Israel stoned his entire family. 

Even on the Day of Atonement, when the High Priest offered an atonement sacrifice for the nation of Israel, it was only for unintentional sins.

Hebrews 9:7 But into the second part (he is speaking about the Holy of Holies) the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance.

Hebrews 9:11-15 goes on to explain the difference Yeshua provided for us.

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

In Acts 13:38-39 we hear what Paul preached to those in Antioch: Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him, everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Christ overcame all sin. He came to seek and save the lost. He forgave the adulteress, the tax collector Zacchaeus, and the thief on the cross. Christ told the story of the prodigal son who returned home. His Father welcomed him with open arms when he saw him coming. He came to seek and save the lost and gave Himself as the sacrifice. 

Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Sanctification is the work of a lifetime. He wants us to live without sin but if we stumble, He wants us to repent—confess our sin and return to Him. “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins…” 1 John, 2:1-2.

If you take the time to read through Leviticus 4 you will see sin offerings were handled in the same way as the burnt offering. You will also notice that the offering for unintentional sin was burned outside the camp. 

In Hebrews, we understand that Jesus went outside the city to bear reproach. They treated him as an unclean criminal, unqualified to remain in the city. 

In Hebrews, Paul tells us, “For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” Hebrews 13:11-13

Jesus died the death of a criminal, outside the city. By His blood we have righteousness, eternal life, and can be part of His Kingdom.

The Trespass Offering.

The trespass offering was for sin against God and man. It was a sin needing restitution–payback. The word trespass in Hebrew is ‘asham.’ It means guilt. 

The trespass offering was like the sin offering but the trespass offering was an offering of money. It was for unintentionally cheating another person out of money or property. His sacrifice equaled the amount taken, plus one-fifth to the priest, and to the one offended. So, he repaid twice the amount taken plus 40%. 

For example, it is hunting season, and a hunter unintentionally wanders onto someone else’s land and shoots a deer. He needs to pay the owner for the deer because it came from his land. What if you borrowed a tool and forgot to return it? A trespass offering was in order. 

Consider Zacchaeus. Before conversion, he was a tax collector and charged high taxes to his countrymen. After he converted, his heart changed, and he decided to restore what he stole from them. He went to Yeshua and said, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” Luke 19:8

During the Sermon on the Mount Yeshua spoke these words. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” Matthew 6:14-15

As we celebrate Passover and Yeshua’s resurrection next week, let’s remember what the angel told Joseph. “And she (Mary) will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:21

He gave Himself as the sacrifice for each of us. “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:8 

Let’s live lives of praise and worship to Him. And let’s continue to walk in holiness by following Him—confessing our sins, with our conscience cleansed by Holy Spirit, walking as children of the King. 

Next week we will talk about the Meal or Grain Offerings and the Peace or Fellowship Offerings.  Passover begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 5.

If you’d like to read more about Passover, here are a couple of options:

The Bride, Passover, and Communion – There is a Connection

12 Amazing Similarities Between Jesus and the Passover Lamb

Shalom ♥

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