preserved in the record. Asa heeded the words of Azariah (15:2-7) and those of his father Oded.
2. A prophet of Samaria during the overlapping reigns of Pekah of Israel and Ahaz of Judah (761-758 B.C.E.). After Israel and Syria delivered a smashing defeat to Judah, two hundred thousand captives from the southern kingdom were brought toward Samaria. Oded, however, intercepted the victorious army and warned them of God’s wrath if they enslaved their brothers. ‘After all,’ he explained, ‘it was only because of Judah’s wickedness that Jehovah permitted you to defeat them. Now do not make servants out of them and bring Jehovah’s rage upon yourselves; return the captives!’ Four Ephraimite leaders supported Oded, and the captives were cared for and repatriated.—2 Chron. 28:5-15.
From early times men have presented offerings to God. In the first recorded instance, Adam’s oldest son Cain presented the firstfruits of the ground, and his younger son Abel, the firstlings of his flock. Evidently the attitudes and motives of the two brothers were different, for God approved Abel’s offering but looked with disfavor on Cain’s. (Later, the Law covenant provided for both animal and grain offerings.) Abel must have had faith in God’s promise of liberation through the promised Seed (Gen. 3:15) and evidently recognized the need of the sacrifice of a life for redemption from sin. Acknowledging himself as a sinner, he was led by faith to present an offering requiring shedding of blood, thereby accurately foreshadowing the real sacrifice for sins, Jesus Christ.—Gen. 4:1-4; Heb. 11:4.
IN PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY
The family head Noah, on coming out of the ark, offered a thanksgiving sacrifice to Jehovah that was “restful” (soothing, tranquilizing), after which Jehovah made the “rainbow” covenant with Noah and his offspring. (Gen. 8:18-22; 9:8-16) We read later of the faithful patriarchs presenting offerings to Jehovah. (Gen. 8:20; 31:54) Job, as family head, acted as priest for his family, sacrificing burnt offerings to God in their behalf. (Job 1:5) The most notable and significant of ancient sacrifices was Abraham’s attempt to offer up Isaac, at Jehovah’s direction. Jehovah, after observing Abraham’s faith and obedience, kindly provided a ram as substitute. This act of Abraham foreshadowed Jehovah’s offering of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ.—Gen. 22:1-14; Heb. 11:17-19.
UNDER THE LAW
The sacrifices commanded under the Law covenant all pointed forward to Jesus Christ and his sacrifice, or to benefits that flow from that sacrifice. (Heb. 8:3-5; 9:9; 10:5-10) As Jesus Christ was a perfect man, so all animal sacrifices were to be sound, unblemished specimens. (Lev. 1:3, 10; 3:1) Both the Israelite and the temporary resident who worshiped Jehovah were included in presenting the various offerings.—Num. 15:26, 29.
Burnt offerings were presented in their entirety to God; no part of the animal being retained by the worshiper. (Compare Judges 11:30, 31, 39, 40.) They constituted an appeal to Jehovah to accept, or to signify acceptance of, the sin offering that sometimes accompanied them. As a “burnt offering” Jesus Christ gave himself wholly, fully. Certain features of these offerings were:
I. Regular times offered: Every morning and evening (Ex. 29:38-42; Lev. 6:8-13; Num. 28:3-8); every sabbath day (Num. 28:9, 10); first day of month (Num. 10:10); Passover and seven days of unfermented cakes (Lev. 23:6-8; Num. 28:16-19, 24); Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:3, 5, 29, 30; Num. 29:7-11); Pentecost (Lev. 23:16-18: Num. 28:26-31); each day of festival of booths. (Num. 29:12-39)
II. Other occasions: At consecration of priesthood (Lev. 8:18-21; see INSTALLATION); at installation of Levites (Num. 8:6, 11, 12); in connection with making covenants (Ex. 24:5; see COVENANT); with communion offerings and certain guilt and sin offerings (Lev. 5:6, 7, 10; 8:18; 16:3, 5); in performing vows (Num. 15:3, 8); in connection with purifications. (Lev. 12:6-8; 14:2, 30, 31; 15:13-15, 30)
III. Animals offered and procedure: Bull, ram, male goat, turtledove or male pigeon. (Lev. 1:3, 5, 10, 14) If it was an animal, the offerer laid his hand on the animal’s head (acknowledging the offering as his offering, and for him, in his behalf). (Lev. 1:4) The animal was slaughtered; the blood was sprinkled round about upon the altar of burnt offering (Lev. 1:5, 11); the animal was skinned and cut up into its parts; its intestines (no offal was burned on altar) and shanks were washed; the head and other body parts were all put on altar (the officiating priest received the skin [Lev. 7:8]). (Lev. 1:6-9, 12, 13) If it was a bird, the crop and feathers were removed, and the head and body were burned on the altar. (Lev. 1:14-17)
Communion offerings (peace offerings)
Communion offerings acceptable to Jehovah denoted peace with him. The worshiper and his household partook (in the courtyard of the tabernacle; according to tradition, booths were set up around the inside of the curtain surrounding the courtyard; in the temple, dining rooms were provided). The officiating priest received a portion, and the priests on duty, another portion. Jehovah, in effect, received the pleasing smoke of the burning fat. The blood, representing the life, was given to God as his. Therefore the priests, the worshipers and Jehovah were as if together at the meal, signifying peaceful relationships. The person partaking while in a state of uncleanness (any of the uncleannesses mentioned in the Law) or who ate the flesh after it had been kept beyond the prescribed time (in the warm climate it would begin to putrefy) was to be cut off from his people. (Lev. 7:20, 21) He defiled or desecrated the meal, due to being either unclean himself or eating that which was foul before Jehovah God, showing disrespect for sacred things.—Lev. 7:16-19; 19:5-8.
The Lord’s Evening Meal (Memorial or Last Supper) is a communion meal. (1 Cor. 10:16) Those in “the new covenant by virtue of [Jesus’] blood” share with one another in faith, partaking of the emblems representing Jesus’ body and blood. They share also with Jehovah as Author of the arrangement. These are seeking Jehovah’s approval and are at peace, not only with one another, but also with Jehovah through Jesus Christ. In line with the requirement of cleanness for sharers in a communion meal, Paul warns that the Christian should examine himself before the Memorial meal. To treat the occasion or the emblems of wine and unleavened bread lightly or with contempt would be desecration of sacred things, meriting adverse judgment.—1 Cor. 11:25, 27-29; see LORD’S EVENING MEAL.
In the thanksgiving offering, which was a communion offering praising God for his provisions and loving-kindnesses, flesh and both leavened and unleavened bread were eaten. The worshiper therefore celebrated the occasion using what might be termed “daily food.” (However, no leavened bread was at any time put upon the altar as being offered to God.) And, in this expression of thanks and praise to God, the flesh had to be enjoyed that day, not the next. (In other communion offerings, the flesh could be eaten the second day.) (Lev. 7:11-15) This brings to mind the prayer Jesus Christ taught his followers: “Give us today our bread for this day.”—Matt. 6:11.