The Offerings: The Trespass Offering
This continues a series on the Offerings and what they tell us of the Lord Jesus Christ as the supreme sacrifice. The Trespass Offering is found in Leviticus 5 and 6:7. It is similar in principle to sin offering but deals with specific sins as opposed to the condition of sin. This appeared in ‘The Bible Handbook’ by Walter Scott. My own notes are given in purple.
The Trespass Offering (Leviticus 5 and 6:7)
The distinction between sin and trespass may here be pointed out. Trespass refers to acts done against God or man, sin to the root from whence these acts proceed. It will be observed that in the sin offerings, particular acts are not specified, as the immediate object is the condemnation of sin itself, there the man is regarded as a sinner, but in the various trespass offerings particular offenses are carefully enumerated, and the man regarded as a transgressor. All transgression is sin, but all sin does not necessarily partake of the character of transgression. In the sin offerings the victim and the offerer are identified, the laying on of hands on the head of the victim being the fit expression of this identity; but this was never done in cases of trespass, although confession, full and ample, was required. Thus in the sin offerings the condemnation of sin is the great point, while in the trespass offerings the confession of sin is a necessity.
It is of profound importance to note carefully that sin is not measured by conscience or knowledge of what is evil, but by the holiness of God. Thus sins of ignorance were not excusable or passed lightly over, but had to be provided for in the most solemn manner possible (Leviticus 4).
In the trespass offerings, to meet offenses done against the Lord, whether known or unknown, the blood of a victim alone could suffice, besides the offender making ample amends for the harm done. In the first thirteen verses of Leviticus 5, the prescribed ritual is to meet sin and trespass together.
In cases of trespass against one's neighbour, restitution for the wrong done must be full and ample, the principal had to be restored and a fifth part added. This would satisfy man's claim, but even in these cases, forgiveness and atonement, as always, can only be obtained through the death of another, "for without the shedding of blood is no remission." After these sacrifices had been duly instituted, and the laws regulating their due observance been established, the consecration of the priesthood naturally follows, which we do not enter upon here. Sacrifice necessarily precedes priesthood; yea, more, is the basis of all true acceptable worship, and the ground of the priestly grace of Jesus.
So the trespass offering involved a particular sin that needed to be dealt with and the person offering had to also make amends for the trespass they had committed to fellow Man and before God. The sin offering dealt with the condition of sin and the trespass offering could be said to deal with sins.