LEV. 5:14-6:7; 7:1-7
The TRESPASS (GUILT – NIV) OFFERING was mandatory for all unintentional sin requiring restitution, and was to be eaten by the priests. As the title implies, this sacrificial offering was to be made for specific sins where the rights of God or man had been infringed. The word “guilt” used in the NIV means that a specified or implied offence has been committed (Oxford Dictionary), while in the KJV the word “trespass” indicates that an unlawful or unwarranted intrusion has been made upon someone’s rights or property (Oxford Dictionary). Thus we can see that there is a definite difference between the Sin-Offering and the Trespass-Offering. The sin-offering atoned for sin in general, especially where restitution was not practical or possible; whereas, the trespass-offering was required for special situations where someone’s rights were violated, and restitution was a requirement as part of the offering, otherwise pardon from God could not be obtained. The description of the ritual brings to our attention two types of violations for which God required a sacrifice. (1) When the rights of God had been violated, ; and (2) When the rights of man had been violated, . As stated previously, the distinctive between the sin-offering and the trespass-offering is God required that restitution be made with the trespass-offering. It should be noted however, that this restitution was to be assessed according to God’s standard and not by man’s standard. The guilty person was to bring an offering to the priest, who was to asses or value the offering according to the “shekel of the sanctuary”; meaning that a monetary value was to be attached to the offering and to this monetary value a “fifth” or 20% was to be added .
Therefore we see, that where the sin-offering represented the idea of atonement through the payment of a penalty for sin committed; the guilt-offering also represented atonement but in addition, satisfaction and re-payment for a specific sin committed. We should also note that the guilt-offering always referred to the sin of an individual, and never to the sin of the nation or congregation. The sin-offering was varied according to the person or position in the society, but in the guilt-offering the victim was always the same. The idea portrayed is that when the rights of God or man are violated, the guilty person is regarded as a debtor, and in this respect is obligated to “pay in full” and to provide satisfaction for loss to the person offended. Hence the victim was always “a ram of the flock”, which no doubt was costly to the individual offering it.
1. TRESPASS AGAINST THE LORD . We “trespass” against the Lord when we rob Him of what is rightfully His. In the case of the Israelite: when the first fruits of his possessions were not given or presented to God; when a vow was broken; when the tithe was forgotten; or when anything that was consecrated to God was violated. We today rob God in similar ways: when we withhold any part of our life or possessions; when we withhold our talents; when we withhold our fellowship or worship. In this respect we are to recognize that our trespass is sin, and as worshippers we must not loose sight of the fact that sin is a debt that is owed to God; and it was ordered by God that a victim was to be sacrificed in atonement for the debt, and furthermore satisfaction or full repayment is to be made according to His standards.
2. TRESPASS AGAINST ONES NEIGHBOUR . This included sins of trust (using what is not my own); theft (fraud-misrepresenting a value); robbery (cheating); oppression (unnecessary retention of rights); and lying or perjury (in any way that may deprive another of money or property). Lev.5:16 and 6:5 states that in all cases the requirements are the same: first, the guilty person must confess the wrong that has been done, and then restitution must be made of what has been defrauded together with 20% added . While this action may satisfy the demands on the human level, it will not satisfy God’s demands. The guilty person must bring a guilt-offering unto God, “a ram without blemish out of the flock” according to the estimation of the priest ; “and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord” . Thus the condition for God’s pardon was the offering of a costly sacrifice appraised by the priest. Note however, “He must make restitution for what he has failed to do add a fifth of the value …….a ram……..of the proper value……” ; That is, the amount of the default (theft, damage etc) had to be returned + 20% together with the ram for an offering.
PRESENTATION AND IDENTIFICATION . “he is to bring to the LORD as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel….give it all to the priest….” (NIV)
KILLING AND SPRINKLING OF THE BLOOD . Notice here that the sprinkling of the blood is different to that of the sin-offering. The blood of the guilt-offering is to be sprinkled on all sides of the altar; it is not taken into the sanctuary as was the case of the sin-offering.
BURNING OF THE SACRIFICE . “The priest shall bum them on the altar…” (NIV)
THE SACRIFICIAL MEAL . “Any male in a priest’s family may eat it, but it must be eaten in a holy place…” (NIV). Note here that no part of the offering is returned to the offerer.
WHAT LESSONS SHOULD WE LEARN FROM THIS ORDINANCE? (1) God claims from man, especially from His own people, certain rights of property of which He will not allow Himself to be defrauded. Israel of old was reminded of this , and in this age God has not changed His demand This then is the first lesson we should learn: God claims His tithe, His first-fruit, and the fulfilment of all vows. (2) Man also has certain rights, and God, who is King and Judge of all, will see to it that such rights are satisfied: and where these have been violated, He will ensure that no forgiveness will be granted until all material restitution has been made together with ample compensation. Thus we should understand that the guilt-offering called for repentance as a condition of pardon, and was no less essential than the sin-offering which called for faith as a requirement of Divine forgiveness . If this teaching was needed in the days of Moses, it is just as important today; for we are to be very careful in our day-to-day dealings with our fellow-believers and unbelievers in particular. Therefore, we must be very careful in what has been entrusted to us; we should be honest in our financial dealings – do not bargain unfairly; we must not rob others of what is rightfully theirs – whether property or recognition; we should not oppress others – especially those who are ignorant of their rights or are not in a position to claim or exercise them; and we must be extremely careful of what we say about others, especially when they are not present to defend themselves. Gossip is not always good.
The spiritual aspect of this teaching is in the fact that this offering, as well as all other offerings, pointed to our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Burnt-Offering He is pictured as our righteousness; in the Peace-Offering He is our life; in the Sin-Offering He is atoning victim for our sins; and in this the Guilt-Offering He presents Himself to God as our satisfaction, in that He has “paid in full” our debt to God . Here in this verse we see that our Lord was made a guilt-offering in His suffering and death for us sinners. There was no way that we could ever repay our debt to a holy God for the sins we have committed; so our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself in satisfaction to God for our debt of sin. Our sins must be regarded as debts to God, in that He has claims on our lives in respect to our service for Him which we have not performed; for His portion of our material wealth which we have withheld or are giving grudgingly. We should be reminded that God has no bankruptcy law so all our debts must be repaid to the full extent . We are often greatly troubled about our debts which are owed to man, but we seldom are concerned about our greater debt to God. Let us not forget the fact that we are, and ever will, be debtors to a holy God. The law required that if a man was found guilty of an offence for which the guilt-offering was designated, and he failed to make full restitution plus the added 20%, he was to be brought before the judge and the full penalty of the law was to be brought upon him . And so it is also required of us to repay our debt to God “to the last penny”; but as was stated earlier, we are unable to pay the debt of our sin. So Christ became our guilt-offering and “settled” or “satisfied” our debt with God; and God accepted His payment for us . And to His offering He added the 20% in the fact of His humiliation and suffering on the cross So our Lord fully discharged our debt to God in His act of obedience to the will of His heavenly Father; He settled to the “last penny” including the added 20%.
Thus we must come before a holy God, confessing all wherein we have wronged Him, producing “fruit suitable for repentance” and present our Lord Jesus Christ as our guilt-offering; and what was true of the ancient Israelite will be also true of us .