As far as I can tell there was no offering that covered intentionally sinning against God.

  1. Burnt - express devotion to God
  2. Grain - express thanks
  3. Peace - to fulfil a vow, give thanks, or just because you want to
  4. Sin - unintentional sins
  5. Guilt - when monetary restitution is needed

Am I missing something, or is there a theological reason it isn't there or hasn't been highlighted?


4 Answers 4


And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; 3Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: 4Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, 5Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. 6And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: 7And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.

[Leviticus 6:1-7 KJV]

It is a common misconception that 'there is no sacrifice for intentional sin against God'. I believe this idea came from a single source and was simply repeated by others, following a scheme of theology.

I have no desire to name that source.

I have added the bold highlights above to indicate just how false this theological theory is.

Note especially the first words 'if a soul sin and commit a trespass against the LORD'.

  • All sins are trespass against the Lord. Leviticus 6:1-7 was talking about sin of one man to another man. The sin against the Spirit is blasphemy against God, which has no pardon. Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 15:55
  • 1
    @VincentWong Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Psalm 51:4 And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. 2 Samuel 12:1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 17:33
  • 1
    @VincentWong The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a very specific sin. And, yes, thst is unforgiveable. But before discussing that Jesus says quite clearly : All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men Matthew 12:31.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 17:36
  • 1
    +1. Good answer.
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 22:26
  • 1
    @VincentWong I didn't really have a clear and specific sin in mind, I was just reacting to the sin offering as being explicitly for unintentional sins and that raising all sorts of questions in my mind about intentional ones. Maybe there are two ways of looking at it: 1) sins against people that are also an offence against God - the guilt offering makes your right with the person, but does it automatically make you right with god? or 2) For example, you worshiped and idol, but did not lead anyone else astray and did not withhold anything from the temple.
    – Steven
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 5:50

Sacrificial System Covered Intentional Sins as Well

Intentional sin is specifically mentioned and is commanded to be atoned for by blood sacrifice. In Leviticus 6:2, the Torah says that fraud, lying, and even theft are to be atoned for by repentance, restitution, and blood sacrifice. Also, Leviticus 5:1, still speaking of the sin offering mentions a failure to rescue an innocent plaintiff with truthful testimony and 5:4 mentions the violation of rash oaths as forgivable under the rules of the sin offering. The sin of the “high hand” is not inclusive of all intentional sin, but of “despising” God’s commands in a defiant and blasphemous manner.

The penalty of the sin of the “high hand” is execution in the divine theocracy, but this does not eliminate the possibility of atonement. Achan, before he was stoned to death for taking loot from those whom God had placed under the ban (Joshua 7) was given a chance to confess and repent. Joshua asked Achan to confess and “bring glory to the LORD”. Atonement does not erase the temporal penalties and consequences of sin, but is a matter of peace with God. (Lightofmessiah)

The gospelcoalition states:

Readers of Leviticus, not least of the NIV, have by now become familiar with the distinction between unintentional sins (e.g., much of Lev. 4) and intentional sins. Some interpreters have argued that there are no sacrificial offerings to pay for intentional sins. Those who sin intentionally are to be excluded from the community.

Part of the problem is with our rendering of intentional and unintentional. Intentional commonly reflects a Hebrew expression meaning “with a high hand”; unintentional renders “not with a high hand.” That background is important as we think through Leviticus 6:1–7. The sins described here are all intentional in the modern sense: one cannot lie, cheat, or commit perjury without intending to do so. There are God-given steps to be followed: restitution where possible (following the principles laid out in Ex. 22), and prescribed confession and sacrifices.

After clarifying the meaning behind intentional and unintentional as the severity and intention of the sin, we can move on to read that the intentional sins were included in the sin or trespass offering, and sometimes guilt offering; where trespass is understood as misdemeanour, fault; and sin as mistake, wrongdoing.

In the footnotes of this site biblestudying-rabbinic, we read Michael Brown's quotes explaining that Lev 4-6 covers intentional sins. You should also focus on Lev 16 concerning the day of atonement sacrifice which covers all sins.

    1. As codified and explained by Maimonides (Laws of Repentance, 1:2):

Since the goat sent [to Azazeil] 229 atones for all of Israel, the High Priest confesses on it as the spokesman for all Israel, as [Lev. 16:21] states: “He shall confess on it all the sins of the Children of Israel.” The goat sent to Azazeil atones for all the transgressions in the Torah, the severe and the lighter [sins]; those violated intentionally and those transgressed inadvertently; those which [the transgressor] became conscious of and those which he was not conscious of. All are atoned for by the goat sent [to Azazeil]. This applies only if one repents. If one does not repent, the goat only atones for the light [sins]. Which are light sins and which are severe ones? Severe sins are those which are punishable by execution by the court or by premature death [karet]. [The violation of] the other prohibitions that are not punishable by premature death are considered light [sins]. 230 – Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, p. 130

  • The rabbis (see b. Shevu’ot 2b; 6b-14a) comment specifically on the words rebellion (transgressions in Hebrew) and sins, explaining that “transgressions” refers to acts of rebellion – which are certainly intentional – while “sins” refers to inadvertent acts. 232 And it is the goat whose blood is sprinkled in the Most Holy Place that effects atonement for the people, just as the blood of the bull offered up by the High Priest effects atonement for him (m . Shevu’ot 1:7, following Lev. 16:11, “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering.”). – Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, p. 131

    1. Dr. Rich Robinson, a research scholar for Jews for Jesus, has put together some important quotations on this subject. He observes that “according to the sages, repentance could turn an intentional sin offering into an unintentional sin and so be eligible for sacrifice,” offering the following ancient and modern sources in support:

R. Simeon b. Lakish said: Great is repentance, which converts intentional sins into unintentional sins (b. Yoma 86b; this is the rendering of Milgrom; as rendered in the Soncino edition, it reads: Great is repentance, for because of it premeditated sins are counted as errors). This literary image [of the “high hand”; Num. 15:30-31] is most apposite for the brazen sinner who commits his acts in open defiance of the Lord (cf. Job. 38:15). The essence of this sin is that it is committed flauntingly. However, sins performed in secret, even deliberately, can be commuted to the status of inadvertencies by means of repentance. 239

…I submit that the repentance of the sinner, through his remorse…and confession..., reduces his intentional sins to an inadvertence, thereby rendering it eligible for sacrificial expiation. 240

…The early rabbis…raise the question of how the high priest’s bull is capable of atoning for his deliberate sins, and they reply, “Because he has confessed his brazen and rebellious deeds it is as if they become as unintentional ones before him” (Sipra, Ahare par. 2:4,6; cf. t. Yoma 2:1). Thus it is clear that the Tannaites attribute to repentance – strikingly, in a sacrificial ritual – the power to transform a presumptuous sin against God, punishable by death, into an act of inadvertence, expiable by sacrifice. 241 – Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, p. 135


Jesus said in Matthew 12:31-32

31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (NIV)

So this verse reflects two broad categories of sin against God - intentional and unintentional sin;

  1. Sin against the Son of Man will be forgiven - it is because while Jesus was still the Son of Man, people who spoke against Him can be pardon as un-intentional sin against God.
  2. Sin against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven - it is because the Holy Spirit is the witness that Jesus is Christ, the Lord. Speaking against the Holy Spirit is a sin intentionally against God, and this sin will not be forgiven.

As intentional sins against God will not be forgiven, there is nothing can save them, or pardon from that sin.

  • Good answer. I attempted to clarify what seemed to be implied.
    – Austin
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 15:38
  • @Austin - appreciated your edit. But there may have more than two ways of sinning against God. Matthew only recorded two ways of direct contrast. Is there a way further improve it? Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 15:46
  • Ok, does that look better?
    – Austin
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 15:51
  • @Austin - sure it is better, thank you. Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 15:58
  • Thanks for the feedback. Glad to help.
    – Austin
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 16:13

This answer should be seen as an addendum to NigelJ's excellent answer, which I have upvoted.

Let us be very clear - ALL sin by God’s professing people – is a sin against God, no matter who is the victim or perpetrator. Consider the following:

  • When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 1 Cor 8:12.
  • Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. Ps 51:4
  • He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Prov 14:31.
  • Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God. Deut 20:18.
  • I will set my face against that man and I will cut him off from his people; for by giving his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. Lev 20:3.
  • You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them. Lev 15:31.
  • Whoever touches the dead body of anyone and fails to purify himself defiles the Lord's tabernacle… But if a person who is unclean does not purify himself, he must be cut off from the community, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. Num 19:13, 20.

See also 2 Sam 12:13, 14, Gen 39:9, 1 Sam 12:23, 1 Sam 14:34, 2 Chron 19:10, Prov 17:5, Jer 34:19, Eze 13:19.

Thus, ALL believers’ sins are sins against God – they misrepresent Him and malign His Character. Lev 7, as NijelJ has documented, sets out a series of Levitical procedures for expiating intentional sin. Such sacrifices were known as "Guilt Offerings".

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