Leviticus 3-6 Chapter Study
As we saw in our
first study in Leviticus 2 weeks ago, this book is largely concerned with
instructions for the Levites, the priests of
The book is filled with details about how they were to serve in the tabernacle and lead the nation in the worship of God.
It’s these details many people find so difficult to wade through when reading the book.
Why would God gives such an exacting set of instructions to the priests?
There’s a good reason why.
God wanted the people to realize that He is real and His holiness has specific content.
They could not come to Him any old way they wished.
The path to God is narrow and if they would be His people, then they must come the way He has proscribed.
While the religions of the pagans are something they dreamed up out of their own imagination, the worship of God was revealed to them, not made up by them.
These rites and forms of worship were given TO them by God.
And because He is holy – they must realize that access to Him can only be gained through the means He has given.
But there’s another reason why God is so specific in the details here in Leviticus.
All of these sacrifices, offerings, and rituals are meant to be a picture of the Coming Messiah.
They are the shadow; He is the substance.
The details are given to paint a clear picture of the work Christ would come to do.
So far in our study we’ve covered . . .
The burnt offering was an offering of total dedication.
In most of the offerings – the worshipper kept a part of it for himself.
But none of the burnt offering was kept – the whole thing was offered up on the altar.
It spoke of total dedication or consecration to the Lord.
Then we looked at the Grain offering, which speaks of service.
This offering of bread was something the worshipper prepared before coming to the tabernacle.
It pictured the offering of one’s work to serve the Lord.
1‘When his offering is a sacrifice of a peace offering, if he offers it of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the Lord. 2And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of meeting; and Aaron’s sons, the priests, shall sprinkle the blood all around on the altar. 3Then he shall offer from the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire to the Lord. The fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, 4the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove; 5and Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is on the wood that is on the fire, as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.
6‘If his offering as a sacrifice of a peace offering to the Lord is of the flock, whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish. 7If he offers a lamb as his offering, then he shall offer it before the Lord. 8And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of meeting; and Aaron’s sons shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar.
9‘Then he shall offer from the sacrifice of the peace offering, as an offering made by fire to the Lord, its fat and the whole fat tail which he shall remove close to the backbone. And the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, 10the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove; 11and the priest shall burn them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire to the Lord.
12‘And if his offering is a goat, then he shall offer it before the Lord. 13He shall lay his hand on its head and kill it before the tabernacle of meeting; and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar. 14Then he shall offer from it his offering, as an offering made by fire to the Lord. The fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, 15the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove; 16and the priest shall burn them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma; all the fat is the Lord’s.
The peace offering was a celebration of the covenant with God.
This offering wasn’t a way for the worshipper to MAKE peace with God, but to ENJOY the peace of God that had come through the next offering, the Sin Offering.
Before we came to faith in Christ, we were sinners, at enmity with God.
There was no peace between God and us because in our rebellion against Him we were at war.
Jesus came to make peace between God and man. So, now we are at peace WITH God. The war and enmity has ended.
But there’s more to peace than just a cessation of hostility – God wants us to enter into His peace, to enjoy it!
Think of it this way –
When the war ended, peace ensued – but it wasn’t an amiable peace.
‘Peace’ merely meant and end to the violence and killing.
A border was established which was like a line drawn in the sand that said, “You stay on your side and we’ll stay on ours and that’s how we’ll have peace.”
That kind of peace is a negative thing- it’s merely a lack of hostility.
But what if the US and Mexican leaders agreed to work together, opened the border, and there was a free flow of trade back and forth so that people on both sides built healthy, happy, and prosperous relationships?
The peace and prosperity of
That’s the idea here. Peace with God should lead to an enjoyment of the peace OF God.
Is God at peace? Is He free of fear & anxiety? Does He enjoy abundance, wholeness, and all good things? Sure enough! God is at peace – His peace means complete satisfaction.
That’s the peace God wants His people to know.
Romans 5:1-2 • 1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Philippians 4:6-7 • 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The peace offering was a personal celebration of the covenant God had made with the nation. It was a way for the people to enjoy it personally.
As we’ll see later when more details are given about the offerings in ch. 7, the worshipper took the edible portion of the peace offering with him to enjoy in a festive manner with his family.
The eating of meat by the people of that time was a relatively infrequent occurrence.
Their flocks and herds were valuable for the products they produced.
Cattle & goats produced milk. Sheep produced wool, the main fabric for clothing.
Slaughtering one of the animals was counterproductive to your financial health.
So they usually only ate meat at special festivals and celebrations.
When they did eat meat, the prime cuts were the fatty ones because they had the most flavor.
So in the ancient world, the greatest delicacy was the fat.
They had no idea that it was unhealthy to consume it – but God knew.
So He gave instructions here that the fat was to be given to Him.
17‘This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood.’”
This would serve two purposes.
1) Since they believed the fat was the choice cut, it would mean they were giving the best to God.
2) But at the same time, God was preserving them against ill-health by requiring the fat be burnt as an offering to Him.
There are many such requirements in the law as we’ll see, in which God commands the people that they do something which at that time in history would have been deemed backwards or unnecessary.
But today we know it was the right and best course because science has proven it out.
For instance, God required the people to wash with water and to remove their refuse out of their camps.
This was thousands of years before man had any knowledge of germs or how disease is spread.
Yet God commanded it because He knew all about these things and wanted to protect His people.
Now think about it – to the people of that time, oblivious to the reality of contamination, the requirements probably seemed just plain laborious and silly.
Those who ignored them got sick, while those who in simple obedience obeyed them enjoyed better health.
The point is this – it is ALWAYS BEST to obey God, even when His commands don’t make sense or are contrary to my present desires.
God sees the end from the beginning; we see only this moment.
God knows how to steer the safest course from birth to death and He’s given us the chart [Bible] and the star to steer by [the Holy Spirit].
All we can see is the water around our ship.
Along with the fat, the blood also was not to be consumed; this too belonged to the Lord.
There were hygienic reasons for this too, but even more importantly was the fact that the blood symbolized the entire life of the sacrifice – and the life belonged to the Lord – so it had to be dedicated wholly to Him.
1Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak
to the children of
The 4th offering that is about to be given here is the Sin Offering.
Here we find out what kinds of sins are being referred to and for which this offering can be made.
It is for “unintentional” sins – meaning they are sins that are committed in ignorance, or simply because a person has lapsed into a place of moral carelessness.
This is for people who genuinely love God but who are imperfect and so will stumble and fall.
This is not for what are called “presumptuous sins” in Numbers 15:30-31.
But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be cut off from among his people. 31Because he has despised the word of the Lord, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him.
The sin offering was for people who wanted to follow the Lord but did so imperfectly.
This was a way for their walk to be renewed & restored when they blew it and fell.
As we’ll see a bit later, the sin offering a person brought was proportional to their financial standing.
The rich brought a bull, the middle-class a goat, a poor person a bird, and if desperately poor, fine flour.
3if the anointed priest sins, [meaning the high priest who has been anointed by the holy oil to serve in the capacity of high priest] bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering.
Along with the Sin Offering which could be made by the individual who sinned and wanted to be restored to God, was the offering to be made by the high priest who sinned in some way by violating the procedures of his office.
He may have erred because of simple carelessness and lack of attention, or because of haste.
Whatever the reason, he did not follow the divine instructions regarding his office, and so incurred a sin that would result in the offerings of the people being rejected.
Remember, the high priest officiated before God on behalf of the people.
So if he messed up, then the people He was representing before the Lord would incur the penalty.
If this was the case, he was to bring a fit, young bull as a sacrifice.
4He shall bring the bull to the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, lay his hand on the bull’s head, and kill the bull before the Lord. 5Then the anointed priest shall take some of the bull’s blood and bring it to the tabernacle of meeting. 6The priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the Lord, in front of the veil of the sanctuary. 7And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord, which is in the tabernacle of meeting; and he shall pour the remaining blood of the bull at the base of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
The blood of the sin offering was applied in 3 places –
1) on the veil that shields the inner sanctum of the tabernacle where God’s presence was manifest
2) on the incense altar, which represented the worship and prayers of God’s people
3) at the altar of burnt offering, which was the place of forgiveness.
The blood on the veil in the inner reaches of the holy place represents atonement – of being restored to relationship with God, for that is where God’s presence was manifested.
The blood on the altar of incense represents a renewal of our fellowship with God through prayer & worship.
The blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering speaks of our forgiveness – of the judgment for our sin being passed to a substitute so that we might enjoy forgiveness.
8He shall take from it all the fat of the bull as the sin offering. The fat that covers the entrails and all the fat which is on the entrails, 9the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove, 10as it was taken from the bull of the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn them on the altar of the burnt offering. 11But the bull’s hide and all its flesh, with its head and legs, its entrails and offal—12the whole bull he shall carry outside the camp to a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire; where the ashes are poured out it shall be burned.
Once again, the fat is offered up to God on the altar of burnt offering.
But the rest of the bull; the meat, the guts, and the hide, is taken outside the camp to the place where the ashes from the altar are disposed of, and there it is wholly burnt.
This is meant to be
a picture of how Jesus, as our sin offering, was taken outside the walls of
13‘Now if the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally, and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done something against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which should not be done, and are guilty; 14when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a young bull for the sin, and bring it before the tabernacle of meeting.
An example of this
kind of sin is when Achan took of the forbidden things in the destruction of
Though only one man had broken the commandment of God, it was reckoned as a nation sin.
Achan was discovered, the sin exposed and he was judged. But the nation’s guilt remained until they followed the procedure given here and offered a young bull – the same offering the high priest was to make.
15And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the Lord. Then the bull shall be killed before the Lord. 16The anointed priest shall bring some of the bull’s blood to the tabernacle of meeting. 17Then the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, in front of the veil. 18And he shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the Lord, which is in the tabernacle of meeting; and he shall pour the remaining blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 19He shall take all the fat from it and burn it on the altar. 20And he shall do with the bull as he did with the bull as a sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 21Then he shall carry the bull outside the camp, and burn it as he burned the first bull. It is a sin offering for the assembly.
22‘When a ruler has sinned, and done something unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord his God in anything which should not be done, and is guilty, 23or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a male without blemish. 24And he shall lay his hand on the head of the goat, and kill it at the place where they kill the burnt offering before the Lord. It is a sin offering. 25The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering. 26And he shall burn all its fat on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of the peace offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.
The sin offering for a ruler was a male kid of the goats.
27‘If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty, 28or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. 29And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering. 30Then the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. 31He shall remove all its fat, as fat is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the Lord. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.
32‘If he brings a lamb as his sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish. 33Then he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill it as a sin offering at the place where they kill the burnt offering. 34The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. 35He shall remove all its fat, as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering. Then the priest shall burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire to the Lord. So the priest shall make atonement for his sin that he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him.
The common people could bring a less expensive female goat or sheep as their sin offering.
Now we get some specific instances that require the offering of a sin offering.
1‘If a person sins in hearing the utterance of an oath, and is a witness, whether he has seen or known of the matter—if he does not tell it, he bears guilt.
This means a person has testimony they could give in court, but they refuse and as a result justice is not served.
As we are going to see in the rules spelled out in the Law, truthfulness is a high priority with God. He expects His people to be a people of truth.
Truthfulness and honesty are two of the core values of the
When you hear lies and misinformation being spread, and know that you have the accurate information, respectfully and tactfully speak up.
2‘Or if a person touches any unclean thing, whether it is the carcass of an unclean beast, or the carcass of unclean livestock, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and he is unaware of it, he also shall be unclean and guilty. 3Or if he touches human uncleanness—whatever uncleanness with which a man may be defiled, and he is unaware of it—when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty.
This refers to ceremonial uncleanness – to touching something that would make a person unfit to worship or serve God.
Two causes of uncleanness are mentioned – touching a dead body and contact with human uncleanness – which will be described in chs. 12-15.
If a person was made ceremonially unclean, they would offer a sin offering in order to be made clean again.
4‘Or if a person swears, [not as in profanity, but in taking an oath] speaking thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, whatever it is that a man may pronounce by an oath, and he is unaware of it—when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty in any of these matters.
Because truthfulness and honesty are so crucial to the covenant God has made with His people, He wants them to make sure if they give a promise to do or not do something they’d better keep it!
But He knows that people often utter a vow they have no intention of keeping – it’s just a figure of speech to them.
When a person realizes they’ve failed to keep a promise, they must bring sin offering.
5‘And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing; 6and he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin.
Ignorance of sin is no excuse. When I become aware of the fact I’ve sinned, the only right course is humble repentance and the request of forgiveness.
Protesting by saying, “I didn’t know!” or “I didn’t mean it!” doesn’t excuse my sin.
I had a friend years ago who had a very sarcastic sense of humor.
He loved to poke fun at people, often doing so in ways that really hurt.
When someone would tell him what he has said was hurtful – rather than apologize, he would say, “I was only joking!”
Then he would turn it around and act all angry because the other person was hurt at his jokes! This happened again and again with him.
He seemed incapable of admitting he was in the wrong, ever, about anything.
The person who goes through life always having to be right and never able to admit he/she is wrong is not going to have a very solid walk with God or healthy relationship with anyone else.
The key to the acceptance of the sin offering was that the person CONFESS. Look at v. 5 again –
And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing;
To confess means to agree with. When we confess our sin, we agree with God that it is wrong and deserving of judgment.
We don’t excuse it, rationalize it, put it in perspective, blame it on our parents or society.
We own it, admit it, and agree with what God says about it – that it’s utterly yucky!
7‘If he is not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring to the Lord, for his trespass which he has committed, two turtledoves or two young pigeons: one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering. 8And he shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off its head from its neck, but shall not divide it completely. 9Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, and the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar. It is a sin offering. 10And he shall offer the second as a burnt offering according to the prescribed manner. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him.
11‘But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it, nor shall he put frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. 12Then he shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it as a memorial portion, and burn it on the altar according to the offerings made by fire to the Lord. It is a sin offering. 13The priest shall make atonement for him, for his sin that he has committed in any of these matters; and it shall be forgiven him. The rest shall be the priest’s as a grain offering.’”
Those who could not afford a bull or sheep or goat could bring two birds, and those who couldn’t even afford birds, which were cheap, could bring grain.
When Mary came to the temple after giving birth to Jesus, she came to offer the sin offering because the birthing process would have brought her into contact with the substances of human uncleanness.
The offering she brought was two doves, indicating that she & Joseph were poor.
14Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 15“If a person commits a trespass, and sins unintentionally in regard to the holy things of the Lord, then he shall bring to the Lord as his trespass offering a ram without blemish from the flocks, with your valuation in shekels of silver according to the shekel of the sanctuary, as a trespass offering.
This is the 5th offering the Lord calls for, and it’s known as the Trespass or Guilt offering.
The trespass offering was needed for 2 kinds of sins:
1) as mentioned in v. 15 – for sins against “the holy things of the Lord”
2) and in 6:1-7, for sins against one’s neighbor.
The 1st category included offenses that involved sacrifices to God, vows, tithes, the celebration of special feast days, and other religious duties.
The offering began by confessing the sin, then by offering a ram.
This ram had to be of a certain value as accounted in shekels.
The shekel was a Jewish silver coin that weighed a little less than half an ounce.
Jewish tradition says that the value of this ram of the trespass offering was 2 shekels.
16And he shall make restitution for the harm that he has done in regard to the holy thing, and shall add one-fifth to it and give it to the priest. So the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him.
What makes the trespass offering different from the other offerings is that along with the offering was the payment of restitution at 20% of whatever was withheld.
This restitution was what removed the legal guilt of the sin or crime
For instance, let’s say a person forgot to give a tithe of their grain harvest.
The first 10% of the harvest was to go to the Lord.
But if for some reason this tithe wasn’t given and was diverted to some other use, then when the person realized they’d forgotten to pay the tithe, they would have to offer the trespass offering.
They would come to the tabernacle with their ram that had been valued at 2 shekels, confess their sin to the priest, lay their hands on the ram’s head and then offer it up.
Then they would pay the tithe, and add 20% of the tithe on top of it.
If the tithe was 10 shekels, they would have to pay a total of 12 shekels, because of the 20% restitution that was added to it.
17“If a person sins, and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord, though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity. 18And he shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him regarding his ignorance in which he erred and did not know it, and it shall be forgiven him. 19It is a trespass offering; he has certainly trespassed against the Lord.”
Now to those trespass offerings for crimes committed against another person.
1And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2“If a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if he has extorted from his neighbor, 3or if he has found what was lost and lies concerning it, and swears falsely—in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins: 4then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has extorted, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found, 5or all that about which he has sworn falsely. He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering. 6And he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord, a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering, to the priest. 7So the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven for any one of these things that he may have done in which he trespasses.”
These are basically theft of property crimes.
In the 1st case in v. 2 a person has been loaned some property for safekeeping and he falsely claims it was lost or stolen.
In the 2nd case he lies about a security deposit.
The 3rd case is outright theft - the 4th is extortion.
The 5th case is when someone finds property and instead of returning it to the rightful owner, keeps it for himself.
And 6th is lying under oath so that another person loses a court settlement.
In some of the prison reforms that are being implemented today for non-violent offenders, the most effective rehabilitation is when felons are made to do a Biblical form of restitution to their victims.
They are given day jobs in which their wages are then paid to their victims, with 20% added to the total.
What this does is satisfy the justice due the victim for what was taken, and it builds within the offender a sense that they have evened the score and truly paid their debt.
We’ve examined 5 offerings in these first 6 chapters.
1) The Burnt Offering – which speaks of total consecration.
2) The Grain Offering – which speaks of dedication of service
3) The Peace Offering – which looks to restored fellowship
4) The Sin Offering – Which looks to forgiveness
5) The Trespass Offering – Which Justification (removes guilt)
Looking at them in the order they are given, we can see how they are prophetic of Christ and all fulfilled in His ministry.
First, in fulfillment of the burnt offering, as it says in Philippians 2, Jesus emptied Himself of His divine glory and in a life of total consecration, took on a humble body to live among us. [Philippians 2:5-11]
Second, in fulfillment of the grain offering, to begin his public ministry, He was baptized to fully identify with sinful man, and then went into the desert and fasted for 40 days, dedicating Himself to the work and service of the Lord. [Matt 3:15, 4:1-10]
Third, in fulfillment of the peace offering, Jesus lived a life of consummate communion with the Father. So much so that He said, “I and My Father are one.” [John 10:30]
Fourth, in fulfillment of the Sin offering, Jesus offered Himself up to make atonement for our sins, so that we could know forgiveness. [2 Corinthians 5:21]
Then fifth, in fulfillment of the Trespass offering, Jesus paid the price for our sins and bore our judgment in His own body on the Cross. [Isaiah 53:4-11]
Because of what Christ has done, these 5 offerings are all now emblematic of our walk with God. But in reverse order.
It’s as though Jesus came from heaven to earth for us, so that now we can come from earth to heaven through Him.
First our guilt is paid for by Christ, as we enter into the awareness of our forgiveness.
Which brings us into the place of restored fellowship with God.
As we walk with God, we come to the place where we offer Him our service.
But then we come to the place where it isn’t just service we want to give Him but our very selves in a life of total dedication.
8Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 9“Command Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the burnt offering: The burnt offering shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it. 10And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen trousers he shall put on his body, and take up the ashes of the burnt offering which the fire has consumed on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. 11Then he shall take off his garments, put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.
With all the offerings that the people of the entire nation would be bringing, the ashes would build up and need to be removed.
They were to be scooped out by the high priest while he was still in his official garments.
Of the offerings placed on the altar of burnt offering, the one that would take a long time to burn as the first one, the burnt offering – because it was the whole bull!
It was mostly just the fatty portions of the other offerings that were burnt.
The rest of the meat went to the priests or the worshipper.
Fat burns quickly – but the whole carcass of the burnt offering was laid on the altar and would take a long time to burn – all night!
Seeing that the burnt offering speaks of total dedication, this points to the truth that once we offer ourselves to the Lord as a whole offering, it may take some time before every little nook & cranny of our lives is touched by the flame of His altar & becomes a holy thing.
The key is to stay on the altar of offering, to continually present ourselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice.
The problem with living sacrifices is that they often find it hard to endure the heat of God’s holy refining fire; they want to crawl off the altar.
This is why the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 118:27 –
12And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. 13A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.
The priests were to make sure that the fire on the altar was always ready for sacrifices.
There is never a moment when God isn’t ready to receive the offering of ourselves.
14‘This is the law of the grain offering: The sons of Aaron shall offer it on the altar before the Lord. 15He shall take from it his handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, with its oil, and all the frankincense which is on the grain offering, and shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma, as a memorial to the Lord. 16And the remainder of it Aaron and his sons shall eat; with unleavened bread it shall be eaten in a holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of meeting they shall eat it. 17It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, like the sin offering and the trespass offering. 18All the males among the children of Aaron may eat it. It shall be a statute forever in your generations concerning the offerings made by fire to the Lord. Everyone who touches them must be holy.’”
The priests were allowed to partake of a portion of the grain and sin and trespass offerings made by the people.
19And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 20“This is the offering of Aaron and his sons, which they shall offer to the Lord, beginning on the day when he is anointed: one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a daily grain offering, half of it in the morning and half of it at night.
This was the daily offering to be made by the priests.
An ephah was roughly equal to about 40 liters, so a 10th of an ephah would be about 4 liters, or a bit less than a gallon.
21It shall be made in a pan with oil. When it is mixed, you shall bring it in. The baked pieces of the grain offering you shall offer for a sweet aroma to the Lord. 22The priest from among his sons, who is anointed in his place, shall offer it. It is a statute forever to the Lord. It shall be wholly burned. 23For every grain offering for the priest shall be wholly burned. It shall not be eaten.”
When the common people gave their grain offering, the priests got to take some of it.
The grain offering represented the dedication of one’s work or service to the Lord.
When the priests offer up a grain offering, it belongs wholly to the Lord. It speaks of their service being rendered to Him, in His sight.
And they were to offer this DAILY!
It was important they do so, because in the service of the holy things they could easily let their hearts and motives slip into the place of mere routine.
By making this offering both in the morning and at night, it would remind them of the holiness of what they were doing.
I can speak from experience that it is easy for those who are engaged in full-time ministry to begin to treat the holy things of God as a mere job.
There is the study of the Word and the preparation of messages.
There is the prayer list of needs in the body.
And it is rather easy for these to become something done by rote, by habit, with a loss of sincerity and heart.
24Also the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 25“Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed, the sin offering shall be killed before the Lord. It is most holy. 26The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of meeting. 27Everyone who touches its flesh must be holy. And when its blood is sprinkled on any garment, you shall wash that on which it was sprinkled, in a holy place. 28But the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken. And if it is boiled in a bronze pot, it shall be both scoured and rinsed in water. 29All the males among the priests may eat it. It is most holy. 30But no sin offering from which any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of meeting, to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten. It shall be burned in the fire.
Along with the grain offering, the priests were allowed to take some of the sin and trespass offerings given by the people as food.
The only sin offerings they weren’t allowed to take from were those brought by the high priest and the nation at large.
In both those cases, the blood was carried into the
Because their blood had entered into the inner sanctum they were to be totally dedicated to the Lord – the priests could not partake of them.
As we’ve been reading along so far, we may get the impression that the priests ate a lot of BBQ’ed meat, but that is not the way their meat was usually prepared.
They made a stew out of most of their meat.
They would take the cuts assigned to them and cook them in earthenware or metal pots.
God says here that if the meat is prepared in an earthenware pot, the pot can be used only once – it must be broken afterward.
If it’s cooked in a metal dish, then the dish must be thoroughly scrubbed before being used again, and can only be used for the same purpose, to cook the meat from the altar.
All of these regulations were given to impress on the priests the holiness and specialness of their calling and what they were doing as priests.
They were mediating between a holy God and sinful people, and providing a means by which God’s righteous judgment could be satisfied while at the same time protecting the people from the judgment.
Sin is a big deal; God’s holiness is nothing to be trifled with.