Sacrifice for the sin of ignorance

Sam Jones was a preacher who held revival services, which he called “quittin’ meetings.” His preaching was directed primarily to Christians, and he urged them to give up the sinful practices in their lives. Sam’s messages were very effective, and many people promised to … More


The Lord asked Moses to tell the Israelites when they eat food they shall set apart a portion of it for the Lord called a heave offering (vv. 17-21). If they have erred or not observed these commandments they will have to make a sin offering (vv. 22-23). The sacrifices described in Leviticus chapters 1-7 took care of sins of commission, but the instructions here have to do with unintentional sins of omission, things that the people should have done but didn’t do. The sin might be corporate and involve the entire nation (vv. 24-26) or it might be the transgression of an individual (vv. 27-29). Even though the people who sinned didn’t realize their failure, what they didn’t do was still a sin and had to be dealt with.

One of the laws of Mount Sinai was, “Whosoever doeth any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death” (Ex. 31:15). Moses records an example of this type of sin by a man who was found gathering sticks on the Sabbath day (vv. 32-36). Certainly this man knew God’s commandments (Ex. 20:8-11); and yet he deliberately disobeyed them. Apparently he was gathering sticks to start a fire, and it was unlawful to kindle a fire on the Sabbath (Ex. 35:3). This was a new experience for the Jews, so Moses sought the Lord’s will, and God told him to have the people stone this offender to death.


It is a dangerous thing for Christians to say, “I’ll go ahead and sin, because afterward, I can ask God to forgive me” based on I John 1:9. Professing Christians who repeatedly and deliberately sin probably aren’t Christians at all (I John 3:7-10); true believers who adopt this careless attitude will be chastened by the Father until they submit to His will (Heb. 12:3-15). Lord, please help me to never feel that I am allowed to sin because you will forgive me if I do.

Numbers 15:17-41 (English Standard Version)

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land to which I bring you and when you eat of the bread of the land, you shall present a contribution to the LORD. Of the first of your dough you shall present a loaf as a contribution; like a contribution from the threshing floor, so shall you present it. Some of the first of your dough you shall give to the LORD as a contribution throughout your generations. "But if you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments that the LORD has spoken to Moses, all that the LORD has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the LORD gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations, then if it was done unintentionally without the knowledge of the congregation, all the congregation shall offer one bull from the herd for a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma to the LORD, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the rule, and one male goat for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the people of Israel, and they shall be forgiven, because it was a mistake, and they have brought their offering, a food offering to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD for their mistake. And all the congregation of the people of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who sojourns among them, because the whole population was involved in the mistake. "If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who makes a mistake, when he sins unintentionally, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them. But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him." While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. And the LORD said to Moses, "The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp." And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the LORD commanded Moses. The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD your God."

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