Feb. 2 Reading: Leviticus 5-7 Commentary
“The priest shall make atonement for him, for his sin that he has committed in any of these matters; it shall be forgiven him.” (Lev. 5:13)
The offerings and sacrifices discussed in Leviticus deal with restitution for personal or national sins. If they had sinned, a person had to get right with God or the person they had wronged. This happened through a sacrifice at the tabernacle with the assistance of the priest.
The priest served as the intermediary between the people and God. The people could not achieve forgiveness for sin without the priest’s help. That is much different than what we experience today as believers. Under the new covenant which came into existence when Christ died on the cross, believers have direct access to the Father for the forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 4:16). Our intermediary (mediator) today is Jesus Christ (I Timothy 2:5).
It’s also important to note that these instructions were not given to the people in order to achieve their own salvation. Since the beginning of time, and then clearly defined during the days of Abraham, salvation has always been about belief (Genesis 15:6). A person cannot be saved by their good works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is a gift from God (Romans 6:23) that can only be received through faith.
In Leviticus 1-5, God details the reasons for the burnt, grain, peace, sin and trespass offerings. Then, in Chap. 6-7, He give instructions to Aaron and the priests for conducting these sacrifices.
Leviticus 5 – The Trespass Offering
The trespass offering granted forgiveness for sins that a person committed without knowing (5:14-6:7; 7:1-7). Additionally, a person granted restitution to the Lord or to another person they had wronged. They were required to make good the loss the person experienced.
In this case, if the person wronged the Lord, God required them to bring an unblemished lamb to sacrifice. In order to cover the restitution value, the priest calculated the value of the offense plus one-fifth (vv. 15-16).
However, if someone wronged another person, God required them to bring an unblemished ram for the sacrifice. The restitution was calculated in the same way (6:4-6).
Leviticus 6 and 7 – Instructions for the Offerings
God put Aaron and his sons in charge of the proper handling and execution of all the offerings brought to the tabernacle. It was important they followed each step for each offering just as the Lord commanded. Failure to follow the Lord’s instructions for any sacrifice or ceremonial procedure at the tabernacle could result in the ultimate punishment – death (see Leviticus 10).
Some noteworthy items from this passage about the sacrifices in Chap. 6 and 7 include:
1. The fire on the altar of burnt offering was never to go out (6:9, 13). The priests cleaned the altar (6:11) and renewed the fire each morning (6:12) for the daily sacrifices.
2. The high priest (Aaron) specifically offered the grain offering twice per day (6:20).
3. Part of the grain offering God reserved for Aaron and his sons to eat (6:16). In this way, God provided for their daily nourishment.
4. God emphasized holiness in some capacity with the grain (6:18), sin (6:25, 27) and trespass offerings (7:1).
5. The priest sacrificing the sin offering could eat a portion of it but only in a specific place within the tabernacle (6:26).
6. Fat was burned off in the peace offering (7:3-4), symbolizing giving the best portions of ourselves to God. No worshipper or priest was to eat of it.
7. Three types of cakes could be offered for the peace offering (7:12). Some of it could be eaten by the officiating priest (7:14).
Finally, God reiterates what could and could not be eaten and what provisions Aaron and his sons were allowed to have (7:22-38). The instructions speak to God’s orderly and detailed nature. But mostly, they point to His holiness and His desire for the people to mimic that holiness in their own lives.
So, what is our takeaway from these offerings? What application can we pull for us today?
Mainly this, if you’ve sinned against God, you need to get right with Him. If you’ve wronged another person, you need to get right with them. And if you are dealing with guilt or shame from either of those, you need to get right with yourself. When all is made right through your own personal confession and reconciliation with God, you can move forward with a clean slate.
Questions to Consider:
Some offerings mentioned in Leviticus deal with national sins. God held the nation collectively accountable for their actions, even if some individuals in the nation remained true to Him. How should believers today manage living under ungodly leaders? What is their role in the collective group?
What other points would you want to know about in our Leviticus 5-7 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.