LEVITICUS:  DIVISION I

THE WAY TO BECOME ACCEPTABLE TO GOD (PART 1): BY THE OFFERING OF A SACRIFICE, A SUBSTITUTE, 1:1-7:38

»Offerings of the OT

(1:1-7:38) DIVISION OVERVIEW: from the very beginning of human history, man has sensed his alienation (separation) from God and the need to be reconciled to God. People who are knowledgeable and who are spiritually-minded and honest have acknowledged that they could never reach God, never secure reconciliation with Him, not on their own. They have confessed the obvious truth...

•  that God is Spirit, of the spiritual world, and man cannot penetrate the spiritual world: the physical just cannot enter the spiritual world, not in and by its own strength nor by its own power.

•  that God is perfect and man is imperfect, that man's imperfection can never be allowed to enter God's presence lest his imperfection taint the perfection of God and the spiritual world.

What then can man do? Is he hopelessly lost and separated from God forever? This is where the Burnt Offering entered.

1.  The Burnt Offering is the offering that symbolized or pictured the atonement, the offering that symbolized the perfect sacrifice—the sacrificial substitute that would take the place of man, bear his sins and the judgment of God against sins. Simply stated, atonement means to ransom, to pay the price for. The perfect sacrifice, the substitute without defect and without blemish, is Jesus Christ, God's very own Son. Jesus Christ paid the price, the penalty of sin for man. He is the perfect sacrifice and substitute who died...

•  for man

•  in behalf of man

•  in the place of man

•  instead of man

Before Christ, God instructed people to approach Him through the Burnt Offering, through the sacrifice of an animal without defect or blemish, an animal that was considered perfect, an animal that symbolized or pictured the promised seed who was yet to come. But when Christ came, note what happened:

⇒  "But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, made of a...woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law....that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:4-5).

The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God...

•  was "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

•  was the fulfillment of the Burnt Offering, the perfect Sacrifice and Substitute who died for man, who redeemed man.

The Burnt Offering was the very first approach man ever made to seek reconciliation with God. No doubt God told the very first family, the family of Adam, to seek reconciliation through the Burnt Offering. Thus, Adam's son Abel is seen seeking God through the sacrifice of an animal, obviously the Burnt Offering (Genesis 4:4). Scripture tells us time and again that believers—those who truly followed God—sought to be reconciled with God through the Burnt Offering. This is seen from the very beginning of human history:

⇒  Abel (Genesis 4:4)

⇒  Noah (Genesis 8:20)

⇒  Abraham (Genesis 22:9)

⇒  Jacob (Genesis 46:1)

⇒  Moses demanded that Israel be freed from Egypt so they could worship the Lord through sacrifices and Burnt Offerings (Exodus 10:25).

2.  But note this fact: there are at least two factors that necessitated more than one offering, more than the sacrifice offered in the Burnt Offering. These two factors are clearly seen within the nature of man and the plan of God in sending His Son to be the Savior of the world.

First, man has several very basic needs that must be met through his worship of God. All of these needs cannot be met through one type of offering or sacrifice. For example, man has a need to express thanksgiving and dedication to God, the need to have his sins forgiven, and the need to have his guilt removed. All these needs are not fully pictured or symbolized in the Burnt Offering. Man just needs other offerings to picture and symbolize how God meets his needs, offerings that fully express his worship of God.

Second, man needs to understand the complete ministry of Jesus Christ. Scripture clearly says that all the offerings and sacrifices—even the Tabernacle and the Priesthood—were all a symbol or type of Jesus Christ: His perfect life, ministry, and sacrifice (cp. Hebrews 5-10).

This is the reason for the offerings, to meet the basic needs of man and help him understand God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is, in fact, the very purpose for the entire book of Leviticus: to reveal the holiness of God and the need for man to live a holy and righteous life before God. Moreover, one of the ways God reveals man's need to be holy is through the offerings, the offerings that so clearly symbolize the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

⇒  Through the offerings, man's need to approach God for acceptance, and to worship and live before God is symbolized.

⇒  Through the offerings, man's need to see and grasp the full ministry of Jesus Christ is met (see the next point, point three).

 

"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour" (Ephes. 5:2).

 

3.  The offerings picture the believer's life and walk before the Lord. When we look at the offerings, we see a sequence, an overview of the believer's life with God.

a.  The Burnt Offering: pictured the atonement, the ransom price paid so that man might escape the death penalty demanded by God's holiness. To say it another way, the Burnt Offering pictured the atonement, the ransom price paid to reconcile and make the person acceptable to God (Leviticus 1:3-4). In today's terms, this is a picture of salvation, of Jesus Christ dying for us, of His paying the ransom price so that we might escape the penalty of death and live forever with God.

b.  The Grain Offering: pictured the believer's thanksgiving to God both for the atonement and for God's provision of food and all the other necessities of life. It also pictured dedication when the Grain Offering was being laid upon the sacrifice of the Burnt Offering. The person was symbolizing that he was laying his life and dependence upon God. In today's terms, this is a picture of thanksgiving and dedication being offered to God for salvation and for God's goodness in meeting all of our needs.

c.  The Fellowship or Peace Offering: pictured the way to grow in peace and fellowship with God. Once a person was reconciled to God, he immediately gave thanks to God (the Grain Offering). He was then to walk forth seeking to grow in the fellowship and peace of God. When sensing a special need for God's presence and spiritual growth, he was to offer the Fellowship or Peace Offering.

d.  The Sin Offering: pictured the way to secure forgiveness of sins. As the believer walked about growing in fellowship and peace with God, he found himself faced with a barrage of temptations and trials. In fact, the more he grew in fellowship and peace with God, the more he saw just how short he was of God's glory, just how much he disobeyed God. He needed forgiveness of sins—continual forgiveness. The Sin Offering met his need, gave him a way to secure forgiveness of sin as he walked in open confession day by day.

e.  The Guilt Offering: pictured the way to be set free from the weight and anguish of guilt, the pricking of conscience. Suppose a believer refused to confess and ask forgiveness for his sin. His standing, his position before God, was guilty. He was to be judged and condemned unless he repented. The Guilt Offering met his need. When a person approached God through the Guilt Offering, God forgave his sin and removed the guilt. He was set free from sin and guilt, ready to begin his life and walk with the Lord anew, in a spirit of thanksgiving and rededication (the symbol of the Grain Offering).

Note how the life and walk of the believer is a progressive walk. Note also how the offerings give an overview of the life or walk of the believer. In simple statements, the believer...

•  is saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ upon the cross (the Burnt Offering)

•  gives thanks and dedicates his life to God immediately (the Grain Offering)

•  begins to walk and grow in the fellowship and peace of God (the Fellowship Offering or Peace Offering)

•  walks in open confession of sin throughout the day in order to maintain fellowship with God (the Sin Offering)

•  experiences the pricking of conscience, the weight and anguish of guilt, if he refuses to repent of sin: he suffers guilt and stands guilty before God until he confesses and turns back to God (the Guilt Offering)

 

THE WAY TO BECOME ACCEPTABLE TO GOD (PART 1): BY THE OFFERING OF A SACRIFICE, A SUBSTITUTE, 1:1-7:38

A.  The Burnt Offering (a Picture of Christ's Atoning Sacrifice): The Only Way to Approach God, to Become Acceptable and Reconciled to God, 1:1-17

B.  The Grain or Meal Offering (a Picture of Christ, the Bread of Life): The Way to Give Thanks and to Show One's Dedication to God, 2:1-16

C.  The Fellowship or Peace Offering (a Picture of Christ's Atoning Sacrifice): The Way to Grow in the Peace and Fellowship with God—Seeking a Deeper Life with God, 3:1-17

D.  The Sin Offering (a Picture of Christ's Atoning Sacrifice): The Way to Secure Forgiveness of Sin, 4:1-5:13

E.  The Guilt Offering (a Picture of Christ's Atoning Sacrifice): The Way to Be Set Free from the Weight and Anguish of Guilt, the Pricking of Conscience, 5:14-6:7

F.  The Special Duties of the Priests in Conducting the Offerings: The Duties of Ministers, 6:8-7:38