“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season.” (Numbers 28:1-2)
Israel was to offer daily, monthly and annual sacrifices of various sorts. These were offered on behalf of the nation, rather than for individuals. Individual sacrifices for sin or thanksgiving were provided by the individual himself. The following passages give a basic description of what the average person needed to know about the sacrifices. Leviticus is the instruction manual for the priests and gives far more detail regarding the rituals involved in offering of the sacrifices.
All the sacrifices were to be taken from the tithes given to the Levites and their herds of livestock, which had been claimed by God.
The Daily Sacrifice
“And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering. The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even; And a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil. It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.
And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.” (Numbers 28:3-8)
Every day, at dawn or shortly there after, and about sunset, a one year old lamb was to be offered as a sacrifice. They were to be in perfect health, and to have no blemishes. Later generations of Jews would not even accept a lamb with a single off color hair.
About a half gallon of flour mixed with a quart of pure olive oil was to be offered along with each lamb as a burnt offering. In addition a quart of strong, or fermented wine was to be poured out before the Lord. Just the daily sacrifices would require seven hundred thirty yearling lambs, forty bushels of flour, and a hundred eighty gallons each of olive oil and fermented wine each year.
The daily sacrifice represents the Christian’s need for daily forgiveness and communion with God if he is to maintain a proper relationship.
The Sabbath Day Sacrifice
“And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.” (Numbers 28:9-10)
On the Sabbath each week, an additional two lambs were to be offered, accompanied by the meat and drink offerings, effectively doubling the daily sacrifice. This would require and additional one hundred four lambs, about nine bushels of flour and twenty five gallons each of wine and olive oil each year.
The Sabbath sacrifice illustrates the need for taking a special time for worship each week in addition to the daily times of devotion.
The Monthly Sacrifice
“And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot; And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram; And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.
And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year. And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the LORD shall be offered, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.” (Numbers 28:11-15)
In addition to the daily sacrifice and the extra sacrifice on the Sabbath, they were to offer two young bulls, a mature ram and seven more lambs on the first day of every month, accompanied by a specified amount of flour, olive oil and wine for each animal.
The Sacrifices During Passover Week
The Passover and seven days of unleavened bread commemorates Israels deliverance from Egypt commencing with the passing over and destruction of the firstborn in Egypt which resulted in Israel being driven out. For the next six days Israel fled Pharaoh’s army and on the seventh day, the army was destroyed in the Red sea.
In addition to the special observances to commemorate this week by the people of Israel, Special sacrifices for the entire nation were to be made by the Levites. Once again Numbers gives only the basic requirements while Leviticus goes into detail as to how the priests are to make the sacrifices.
“And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein: But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish: And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil: three tenth deals shall ye offer for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram; A several tenth deal shalt thou offer for every lamb, throughout the seven lambs: And one goat for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you.
Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering. After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. And on the seventh day ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work.” (Numbers 28:16-25)
The first and last of the seven days of unleavened bread were to be set aside as days devoted to the Lord, similar to the Sabbath, during which only essential work was to be done.
On each of the seven days, a sacrifice was to be offered which was just like that offered the first of each month, at the time of the daily morning sacrifice. In addition, a goat was to be offered as an atonement sacrifice each day. The daily sacrifice was to be offered as well.
The Sacrifice On the Day of Firstfruits
“Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto the LORD, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: But ye shall offer the burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the LORD; two young bullocks, one ram, seven lambs of the first year; And their meat offering of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals unto one bullock, two tenth deals unto one ram, A several tenth deal unto one lamb, throughout the seven lambs; And one kid of the goats, to make an atonement for you.
Ye shall offer them beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, (they shall be unto you without blemish) and their drink offerings.” (Numbers 28:26-31)
Exodus 23:19 commanded, “The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God.” When they picked the first of their crops each year, Israel was to bring them as an offering to the Lord. That day was to be set aside as a holy day to the Lord, with no unessential work being done. A national sacrifice was to be made offered on the day of Firstfruits. It was the same as what was offered for the start of each new month and each day of the feast of unleavened bread, thanking God for providing them food.