Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


The Levitical Offerings
by Dr. James Modlish


(Leviticus 4:1-35)



The first three offerings of Leviticus picture Salvation. The burnt offering was a picture of New Testament justification. The meat offering demonstrated propitiation and the peace offering was a type of reconciliation. All of these offerings deal with Gods extended offer of salvation and mans response. The next two offerings deal with the subject of restoration The primary difference between the sin offering (Lev. 4) and the trespass offering (Lev. 5) is that the sin offering deals with sins that were done in ignorance, while the trespass offering dealt with specific known sins. The sin offering was for the inborn sin - the root sin, or the sin nature. The trespass offering for the outward acts of sin the fruit of sin. Man is prone to think that a sin committed in ignorance does not carry guilt. Thus he pleads ignorance as an excuse. However, neither the Law nor the holiness of God recognizes such a plea as valid, Sin is sin, whether done intentionally or committed in ignorance of an established norm. All sin is abhorrent to the character of God and must be dealt with. First (Jn. 1:9), a parallel passage in the New Testament, describes the sins of ignorance as "Unrighteousness." When we meet God's condition of confession. His method of dealing with sin is called "cleansing". On the Cross Jesus Christ was judged For ALL sins. (You usually offend people different than yourself.)


I. The sins of the priesthood - (Lev. 4:3-12)

A. The bullock - The function of the spiritual leadership in the land was of paramount importance, as the priests were responsible for the dissemination of Bible doctrine. The anointed priest, ordained to serve the Lord in his official position, represented the nation before God. As went the priest, so went the nation, and God always held spiritual leadership responsible.

The significance of the young bullock in relation to the priest's sin offering was that the bullock was the greatest offering; therefore it was appropriate for those in high spiritual office. You see, the more prominent and exalted the man, the more flagrant the sin! A man in public office is very much like the town clock, as more depends on it than on the watch of the individual. If a man's watch goes wrong, only he is misled; but when a public clock is off, many are led astray!

Some of you may be ambitious for spiritual prominence. Let me remind you that grave responsibilities are involved in the fulfillment of your desires. God will not tolerate the abuse of high spiritual office. He metes out a heavier dose of discipline to pastor-teacher who get out of line than He does to the members of the congregation. The Lord will properly discipline your pastor-teacher when he needs discipline, unless, of course, you interfere by criticizing and maligning him. Then, the Lord takes the heat off the pastor-teacher, and you collect comeuppance yourself (Matt. 7:1,2)!

In one respect, the priest was no different from the common people - he, too, committed sins in ignorance. For that reason, the priest had to periodically bring this specified offering to show that he recognized the principle involved. Until he committed a known sin and confessed it, recovery of fellowship with God was impossible.

B. The blood - The blood was to be collected in basins and brought into the Tabernacle proper. This was as far as he might go. Seven times he dipped his finger into the blood and sprinkled it before the veil that separated the Holy Place from, the Holy of Holies. "Seven" is the number of Perfection, it signified the future work of Christ on the Cross. Salvation is a work of grace; perfect, it cannot be improved upon. God has done all the doing and man simply receives what God has provided. In this way, God gets all the credit'

The sprinkling of the blood toward the veil anticipated the rent veil of (Matt. 27:51 & Mark 15:38). The veil in the Temple was an exquisite masterpiece and enormous in size, measuring sixty feet in height and thirty-two feet in width. Rabbinical writings claim that it was four inches thick and so tightly woven that two teams of oxen, pulling in opposite directions, could not tear it apart. Yet, at the very moment that our Lord died on the Cross, that veil was miraculously torn from top to bottom.

Scripture declares the typology of the veil: unrent, it represented Jesus Christ in the flesh (Heb. 10:20) rent, the veil signified that a way was now open into God's presence for all who would who relied solely on His work (Heb. 10:19).

Again, the priest dipped his finger into the basin of blood, this time to put the blood on the horns of the altar of incense. The golden altar of incense had a specific and a general meaning; specifically, it portrayed Christ's twofold ministry in heaven -intercession (Heb. 7:25) and advocacy (1 Jn. 2:1,2). Generally, it stood for prayer, the horns being symbols of power. Together, the altar and its horns indicated the power of prayer.

Coming out from the Holy Place, the priest returned to the brazen altar, still carrying his basin with the blood. At the bottom of the altar he had to pour out what blood remained. Here we have the principle of (1 Jn. 1:7) as the concept behind (1 Jn. 1:9) namely, that the blood of Christ is the basis for restoration in the twentieth century or in any period of history.

C. The disposition of the sacrifice differed from that of the bullock of the peace offering only with regard to the outer part of the offering - (Lev. 4:8-12) Since the laying on of hands had symbolically transferred the sins of the priest (here the offerer) onto the animal, the animal must be judged. Christ, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, had to suffer the wrath of God in Judgment. With the exception of the fat, the two kidneys and the caul above the liver, the whole bull, skin and all, was carried off to a clean place "without the camp." (Heb. 13:11-13)


II. The collective sins of the congregation - (4:13-21)

This section of the Word deals with "group-sinning." It presupposed that the congregation of Israel was ignorant but still guilty of some violation of God's holy Law. The sin of the people may not have been obvious at first; but in time, the sin or its effect would be revealed. Upon its discovery by the assembly, action had to be undertaken by the elders of the congregation. They were required to bring a young bull as an offering, not necessarily because of their consciousness of this one particular sin incident, but because of the principle of sin. Remember that the sin offering concerned the unknown sins in the life!

In the transfer of the sins of the congregation to the innocent animal, there was no mention of confession. The elders of the congregation (who would be comparable to our deacons) merely carried out the divine instructions, whereupon the sin bearing animal was judged by death.

From all these instructions, one word was missing the word "confess." Confession is in order for known sins. Since the sin offering dealt with sins of ignorance, confession was impossible at this point.

When the New Testament unfolded some advanced revelations we see sin was given an expanded definition to include even our thought life (Matt. 5:27-30). It's interesting to know however that this definition did not come until the time of Christ. It would have been impossible to offer all those offerings, but with the death of Christ it was no longer necessary. (Heb. 10)


III. Sins of a ruler and of the common people - (4:22-35)

The procedure to be followed for the sins of a ruler are in Leviticus 4:22-26. The prescribed offering was a male goat without blemish. The notable contrast here is that the blood was not taken to the Holy Place but was put on the horns of the brazen altar, where the reminder of the blood was poured out. As for the animal's body, the fat was separated from the skin and body and was burnt on the brazen altar; but the flesh was given the priests to be boiled and eaten by them in the court of the Tabernacle (Lev. 6: 24-29).

(Lev. 4:27-35) outlines the prescribed ritual for the sins of the common people. Essentially, this duplicated the procedures observed by the rulers. The only contrast was that the specified offering consisted of either a female goat or lamb. This reminded the offerer that the female sacrificial animal represented the passive volition of the coming Messiah, who would willingly receive their sins and be judged for them.


IV. The vessels - (6:27-28)

If the vessel in which the sin offering was sodden, if of earth, was to be broken; if of brass, was to be scoured and rinsed with water. What have we here? While the offering, representing Christ, was holy, the vessel in which it was offered was earthy. The atoning blood is a holy thing. Even things without life, such as garments, vessels, etc., are held in dreadful sacredness if this holy blood so much as touch them, and the earthen vessel in which the blood was caught must never be used for any meaner purpose. So this earth, the earthen vessel which caught that holy Blood of our Lord's precious sacrifice will be broker and cleansed (scoured) and made new through the eternal decree of God.


V. The fellowship - (Lev. 6:26)

Eating is always a picture of hospitality and fellowship in the Word. So in the peace offering (reconciliation) the priest had an opportunity to feast with God after restoration had been effected.

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1. The Burnt Offering | 2. The Meat Offering | 3. The Peace Offering | 4. The Sin Offering | 5. The Sin and Trespass Offering