Question & Answer Forum: Manna & Offerings

Why is there a sin offering that did not include blood?

The sin offering was compulsory for all members of the nation of Israel. It was required on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16), for the ordination of priesthood for Aaron and his sons (Lev 8:2), the cleansing of a leper (Lev 14:12) and for the purification of a mother after childbirth (Lev 12:6-8). God’s holiness required a blood sacrifice for sinful man and for his sins before communion could be enjoyed.

Our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished the perfect sacrifice for sin (Heb 9:14, 22, 26, 10:12). At Calvary, God laid upon His Son, the “Lamb without blemish and without spot” (1Peter 1:18), the guilt and penalty of sinful mankind. He accomplished the sin offering to God’s eternal satisfaction and today believers are “made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor 5:21).

Leviticus 4 and 5 introduce sacrifices which God separates from the offerings and sacrifices of chapters 1 – 3. He speaks of the former as being a sweet savor; they were offered voluntarily. The sin offering was compulsory for restoration and restitution. The varied animals and materials for the sin offering emphasize accountability and comprehension of the cost of sin. God required animals of greater value for ranks of understanding and responsibility in holy things. Priests, rulers, and elders (who represented the whole congregation of Israel) were to be models and teachers of God’s law. Their sin offering reveals the costliness of sin whether unintentional or inadvertent.

If the “common people,” “be not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering” (ch 5:11). The words, “not able,” may be rightly interpreted, “too poor.” His material poverty which necessitated and allowed the bloodless sin offering, is a picture of a believer with a very limited awareness of the seriousness of sin. The handful of naked unembellished flour magnifies God’s grace and the utter poverty of the sinner. Neither the cost nor fragrance of oil or frankincense were to be added to the fine flour. It has been suggested that as the handful of flour was placed upon the altar it thus had association with the daily burnt sacrifice whose blood had been shed. Perhaps so, but in the fine flour we have the incarnate Son of God. He was sinless in nature, impeccable in manhood, and always acceptable as an offering to God. Divine grace accepts a handful of fine flour from a poor man as He equally accepts the necessary bullock for the priest.

Believers, having learned the precious truths of redemption and justification cannot claim the “poor man’s” offering. Sin is serious and truth learned magnifies the cost of responsibility to God and us.

James N. Smith

What is the thought contained in the instruction to keep an omer of manna in a pot and to lay it up before the Lord (Exo 16:33)?

According to the teaching of our Lord Jesus in John 6:32-33, we learn the manna was a type of the incarnation and accessibility of the Son of God as the bread of life to the world of humanity. In verses 47–69, the Lord teaches us the necessity of eating of the living bread. One’s initial appropriation of the Lord Jesus by faith gives eternal life. In the following verses we see eating of the living bread is to sustain spiritual life and communion with God. Finally the Lord teaches that His word and His person are equal in virtue and power. Therefore faith in His spoken or written word is equal to receiving Him as Lord and Redeemer. In verses 68-69, Peter expresses this truth so beautifully. “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

In Exodus 16:15 the word “manna” is a transliteration of the Hebrew word. The people, when they saw it, used the literal translation, “It is what is it?” There was wonder and mystery about this substance. The earth and mankind had never seen nor experienced an equal to the manna. It came daily, excluding the Sabbath, undefiled in its relationship to the earth (upon the dew), yet suited for human consumption. It was given from God to sustain His people in their trials and 40 years of wilderness journeys. Studying the manna is a beautiful and enriching exercise. It reminds us of 1Timothy 3:16: “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

The “golden pot that had manna” (Heb 9:4) laid up before the Lord was called a memorial. Interestingly, it was preserved from decay for 40 years. We recall that the manna gathered by the people and saved for the next day (except in the case of the Sabbath), bred worms and decayed. God related the bread which came down from heaven with God’s rest in Christ (Heb 4:3). That was not to be compromised.

The memorial pot of manna (bread of life) was placed within the Ark of God along with the two tablets of the law (government) and Aaron’s rod that budded (high priest and advocate). The Ark was the place of the throne from which God spoke to His people. It is a striking type of the glorious person of our Lord Jesus Christ in His sovereignty and power. These three articles, the manna, the law tablets, and Aaron’s rod within the Ark were covered by the mercy seat sprinkled with blood. They were thus both memorials and promise of God’s sustaining government, grace, and gifts for His journeying people. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13:8)

Revelation 2:17 reminds us that throughout eternity believers may enjoy the unspeakable bliss of feeding upon the hidden (covered, secret) manna, our glorified Lord Jesus Christ.

James N. Smith