As we’re fast-tracking through Leviticus, we find in the next few chapters further instructions from God to Moses and the priests. God doesn’t want to leave any circumstance regarding sin and how to get atonement to doubt. So, the burnt, grain and peace offerings that we covered in the last post, is just the start, but not enough. These cover the “what ifs”. Let’s dig in…
What if you sin unintentionally or by accident? That’s happened to me a few times. In the supermarket, I’ll place an item in the child seat next to my purse on the cart and forget to give it to the cashier. I’ll walk out of the store and then find it as I’m putting my groceries in my car. Technically, I’ve just stolen it. What I’ll do, especially if it’s something I really don’t need, is walk it back to the store and put it on a shelf. No one noticed. Had I taken it, the Holy Spirit in my heart would have convicted me and bugged me until I took it back or paid for it.
Back in the days of Moses, God had to cover all the bases. I summarize and quote a few passages, but read it all for yourself here.
Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. This is how you are to deal with those who sin unintentionally by doing anything that violates one of the Lord’s commands.
3 “If the high priest sins, bringing guilt upon the entire community, he must give a sin offering for the sin he has committed. He must present to the Lord a young bull with no defects. 4 He must bring the bull to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle, lay his hand on the bull’s head, and slaughter it before the Lord. 5 The high priest will then take some of the bull’s blood into the Tabernacle, 6 dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord in front of the inner curtain of the sanctuary. 7 The priest will then put some of the blood on the horns of the altar for fragrant incense that stands in the Lord’s presence inside the Tabernacle.Leviticus 4:1-7 NLT
- a priest or a leader sins?
- a person accidentally sins?
- the entire community sins?
- a person accidentally touches a dead animal?
- someone refuses to testify?
- someone unintentionally breaks something?
Everyone has to be made right with the Lord.
We have the…
- sin offering
- guilt offering
[The priest] will burn the fat on the altar on top of the special gifts presented to the Lord. Through this process, the priest will purify the people from their sin, making them right with the Lord, and they will be forgiven.Leviticus 4:35 NLT
Depending on the sin, they bring a bull, sheep or goat — without defects — or pigeons, if they were poor, for their sin or guilt offering. The priest will lay his hands on the animal, symbolically transferring the sinner’s sin into the animal. Then the blood of the sacrifice is sprinkled on the altar and the sacrifice burned in the fire that is never to go out.
5 “When you become aware of your guilt in any of these ways, you must confess your sin. 6 Then you must bring to the Lord as the penalty for your sin a female from the flock, either a sheep or a goat. This is a sin offering with which the priest will purify you from your sin, making you right with the Lord….
17 “Suppose you sin by violating one of the Lord’s commands. Even if you are unaware of what you have done, you are guilty and will be punished for your sin. 18 For a guilt offering, you must bring to the priest your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value. Through this process the priest will purify you from your unintentional sin, making you right with the Lord, and you will be forgiven. 19 This is a guilt offering, for you have been guilty of an offense against the Lord.”Leviticus 5:5-6, 17-19 NLT
Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Suppose one of you sins against your associate and is unfaithful to the Lord. Suppose you cheat in a deal involving a security deposit, or you steal or commit fraud, 3 or you find lost property and lie about it, or you lie while swearing to tell the truth, or you commit any other such sin. 4 If you have sinned in any of these ways, you are guilty. You must give back whatever you stole, or the money you took by extortion, or the security deposit, or the lost property you found, 5 or anything obtained by swearing falsely. You must make restitution by paying the full price plus an additional 20 percent to the person you have harmed. On the same day you must present a guilt offering. 6 As a guilt offering to the Lord, you must bring to the priest your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value. 7 Through this process, the priest will purify you before the Lord, making you right with him, and you will be forgiven for any of these sins you have committed.”Leviticus 6:1-7 NLT
We have a New Testament example of this in the story of Zacchaeus…
Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”Luke 19:1-10 NLT
Forbidden Blood and Fat
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, 23 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. You must never eat fat, whether from cattle, sheep, or goats. 24 The fat of an animal found dead or torn to pieces by wild animals must never be eaten, though it may be used for any other purpose. 25 Anyone who eats fat from an animal presented as a special gift to the Lord will be cut off from the community. 26 No matter where you live, you must never consume the blood of any bird or animal. 27 Anyone who consumes blood will be cut off from the community.”Leviticus 7:22-27 NLT
Jesus’ Blood Shed for You
Now, imagine what the Jewish disciples thought when Jesus, at the Last Supper, stood up, held the cup of wine and said, “This is my blood shed for you”. Do you think they understood what He was referring to right then and there? Or did it take His dying on the cross, rising from the dead and appearing to them alive, for them to understand?
Jesus is the FINAL Sin Offering!
Again, I borrow from “Jesus in all of Leviticus” by Spoken Gospel found in the free YouVersion Bible app.
When Jesus died for us on the cross, he made a way for us to be de-sinned. He is the final sin offering.
By believing in Jesus, we symbolically put our hand on his head like those in Leviticus did with the animal. We put our faith in the fact that Jesus’ death dealt with the penalty our sins deserved and we are forgiven (Romans 4:24-25).
His blood also cleanses the temple of our bodies so that God, in his Spirit, may come dwell in us (1 John 1:7).
Jesus’ blood not only makes a way for God to dwell with us, but for us to dwell with God.
As we saw in Leviticus, the higher the status of the person making the sin offering, the deeper into the tabernacle the blood would have to go. So when Jesus, who has the highest status imaginable, made the sacrifice of his own blood, it wasn’t taken into the depths of an earthly tent, but into the very presence of God (Hebrews 9:24).
Through his sacrifice, we have full access to God’s presence. What Leviticus and all its sacrifices do partially, Jesus does completely.
The guilt offering is meant to point us forward to Jesus’ offering. When we put our faith in Jesus’ final sacrifice, Hebrews 10:22 says that our consciences are sprinkled clean with the blood of Christ. We no longer have just an outward sign that our guilt is dealt with. We have the inner witness of Jesus through his Spirit that we have been made guiltless because of Jesus’ perfect guilt offering.
Jesus also paid for the effects our sin has on the world around us.
He fixes the effects of sin through us. Time and again in the New Testament, we see pictures of people who are so radically changed by the love of Jesus that they make above and beyond reparations for the bad ways they’ve treated people around them (like Zachhaeus). Jesus changes us so we can change our world and others.
But we can’t fix everything. Thankfully Jesus can, does, and will. He can work in people’s hearts to restore what we have broken. And what’s more, when he returns, he will fix everything that’s broken and make it perfect. He won’t add 20% to it. He will make everything 100% new. That’s why he says in the book of Revelation, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5).“Jesus in all of Leviticus” by Spoken Gospel
He’s knocking at the door to your heart. Why don’t you let Him in? What are you waiting for?