We left Moses at the end of Exodus unable to enter the Tabernacle because God’s Presence was too Holy, too great. Besides that, Moses, Aaron and the priests were unworthy. So, the next book in the 5 Books of Moses, is Leviticus — or for the Levites — the priests. It is God giving Moses specific instructions on the sacrifices and offerings the people were to bring to the Tabernacle. In these first 3 chapters, we see what types of offerings were acceptable. First there was the male bull, then a sheep or a goat and then a dove — depending on what the people could afford. I’ll skip over some of the gory parts and let you read them for yourself, here.
Leviticus 1 – the Burnt Offering
The Lord called to Moses from the Tabernacle and said to him, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you present an animal as an offering to the Lord, you may take it from your herd of cattle or your flock of sheep and goats.
3 “If the animal you present as a burnt offering is from the herd, it must be a male with no defects. Bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle so you may be accepted by the Lord. 4 Lay your hand on the animal’s head, and the Lord will accept its death in your place to purify you, making you right with him. 5 Then slaughter the young bull in the Lord’s presence, and Aaron’s sons, the priests, will present the animal’s blood by splattering it against all sides of the altar that stands at the entrance to the Tabernacle. 6 Then skin the animal and cut it into pieces. 7 The sons of Aaron the priest will build a wood fire on the altar. 8 They will arrange the pieces of the offering, including the head and fat, on the wood burning on the altar. 9 But the internal organs and the legs must first be washed with water. Then the priest will burn the entire sacrifice on the altar as a burnt offering. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.Leviticus 1:1-9 NLT
It then goes on to explain if the offering was from the flock — either a sheep or a goat–it, too, must be male with no defects. And the section ends with, “It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.”
If the people were poor, then they could bring a turtledove or a young pigeon. Again, the section ends with “It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.”
Points to Ponder
- The animal had to be male and without defects. Jesus was God’s only Son who was spotless, sinless, blameless, innocent. Yet, He sacrificed His life in atonement for our sins.
- Atonement – Made right with God — at-one-ment. Without Jesus, we can never be made right with God.
- The priest’s placing of his hands on the sacrifice transfers his sin to the offering.
- Leviticus is an exploded diagram of the cross. It goes into detail of what people had to do, back then, to make themselves pure enough to come into the Presence of God.
- The problem with this is that it wouldn’t stick. People would go and sin again. Kind of like Catholic confession to a priest. As soon as one sins, they are not right with God. What if you die between confessions? That’s where Jesus comes in. (Related: Why did Jesus Have to Die?)
- We read in Hebrews…
Christ Is the Perfect Sacrifice
11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. 14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. 15 That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.Hebrews 9:11-15 NLT
Leviticus 2 – the Grain Offering
“When you present grain as an offering to the Lord, the offering must consist of choice flour. You are to pour olive oil on it, sprinkle it with frankincense, 2 and bring it to Aaron’s sons, the priests. The priest will scoop out a handful of the flour moistened with oil, together with all the frankincense, and burn this representative portion on the altar. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 3 The rest of the grain offering will then be given to Aaron and his sons. This offering will be considered a most holy part of the special gifts presented to the Lord.
4 “If your offering is a grain offering baked in an oven, it must be made of choice flour, but without any yeast. It may be presented in the form of thin cakes mixed with olive oil or wafers spread with olive oil. 5 If your grain offering is cooked on a griddle, it must be made of choice flour mixed with olive oil but without any yeast. 6 Break it in pieces and pour olive oil on it; it is a grain offering. 7 If your grain offering is prepared in a pan, it must be made of choice flour and olive oil.
8 “No matter how a grain offering for the Lord has been prepared, bring it to the priest, who will present it at the altar. 9 The priest will take a representative portion of the grain offering and burn it on the altar. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 10 The rest of the grain offering will then be given to Aaron and his sons as their food. This offering will be considered a most holy part of the special gifts presented to the Lord.
11 “Do not use yeast in preparing any of the grain offerings you present to the Lord, because no yeast or honey may be burned as a special gift presented to the Lord. 12 You may add yeast and honey to an offering of the first crops of your harvest, but these must never be offered on the altar as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 13 Season all your grain offerings with salt to remind you of God’s eternal covenant. Never forget to add salt to your grain offerings.
14 “If you present a grain offering to the Lord from the first portion of your harvest, bring fresh grain that is coarsely ground and roasted on a fire. 15 Put olive oil on this grain offering, and sprinkle it with frankincense. 16 The priest will take a representative portion of the grain moistened with oil, together with all the frankincense, and burn it as a special gift presented to the Lord.Leviticus 2 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Points to Ponder
- This makes the bread of the last supper make sense! Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.”
- Yeast is the symbol for sin. So this bread had to be made with no yeast, just like Jesus was sinless.
- Jesus told us that we are the salt of the earth because we’ve got the Holy Spirit in us.
- Frankincense was one of the gifts of the Magi when Jesus was born.
- Oil is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Messiah — the anointed one. A holy person was anointed with oil. When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit came down upon Him.
Leviticus 3 – the Peace Offering
“If you present an animal from the herd as a peace offering to the Lord, it may be a male or a female, but it must have no defects. 2 Lay your hand on the animal’s head, and slaughter it at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Then Aaron’s sons, the priests, will splatter its blood against all sides of the altar. 3 The priest must present part of this peace offering as a special gift to the Lord. This includes all the fat around the internal organs, 4 the two kidneys and the fat around them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver. These must be removed with the kidneys, 5 and Aaron’s sons will burn them on top of the burnt offering on the wood burning on the altar. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
6 “If you present an animal from the flock as a peace offering to the Lord, it may be a male or a female, but it must have no defects. 7 If you present a sheep as your offering, bring it to the Lord, 8 lay your hand on its head, and slaughter it in front of the Tabernacle. Aaron’s sons will then splatter the sheep’s blood against all sides of the altar. 9 The priest must present the fat of this peace offering as a special gift to the Lord. This includes the fat of the broad tail cut off near the backbone, all the fat around the internal organs, 10 the two kidneys and the fat around them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver. These must be removed with the kidneys, 11 and the priest will burn them on the altar. It is a special gift of food presented to the Lord.
12 “If you present a goat as your offering, bring it to the Lord, 13 lay your hand on its head, and slaughter it in front of the Tabernacle. Aaron’s sons will then splatter the goat’s blood against all sides of the altar. 14 The priest must present part of this offering as a special gift to the Lord. This includes all the fat around the internal organs, 15 the two kidneys and the fat around them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver. These must be removed with the kidneys, 16 and the priest will burn them on the altar. It is a special gift of food, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. All the fat belongs to the Lord.
17 “You must never eat any fat or blood. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation, wherever you live.”Leviticus 3 NLT
Points to Ponder
- With the Peace Offering, the worshiper would take part of it back to their family to eat in God’s Presence.
- This one is about restoring broken relationships — like the relationship between you and God.
- No doves here. Only a bull — either male or female, with no defects, or a sheep or a goat.
This is from “Jesus in all of Leviticus” by Spoken Gospel from the free YouVersion Bible App…
In order for us to be in God’s presence and be his people, Jesus fulfilled every aspect of this system of sacrifice.
Jesus is the true whole offering who gave himself completely for us on the cross to earn our atonement (Romans 8:32).
Jesus is the final grain offering who provided the final sacrifice of his own body, which he called the “bread of life” (John 6:35). And as the grain offering provided food for the priests, Jesus’ sacrifice is what sustains all believers as his new priests to the world (2 Corinthians 4:10).
Finally, Jesus is also the fulfillment of the peace offering. We get to sit down to a communal meal with God and other believers now, in the Lord’s Supper. But, when Jesus returns we will sit down to a final meal with him physically present at the table at the marriage supper of the lamb (Revelation 19:9).
Jesus is the whole offering that makes atonement, the grain offering that sustains us, and the peace offering by which we commune with God.“Jesus in all of Leviticus” by Spoken Gospel
The Peace Offering helps us make sense of this passage in Revelation…
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart. Can you hear Him?
Jesus didn’t die so we could have religion! He died so He could have a Relationship with YOU! Why don’t you let Him in?
Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!
Top image by Marian van der Kruijt from FreeBibleImages.org. (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)