The offerings. (Verse 1,2.)
From the herds. (Verse 3-9.)
From the flocks, and of fowls. (Verse 10-17.)
1 And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
“And” – by beginning this book with the conjunction “and,” its events are naturally seen to be a continuation of the book of Exodus. By comparing scripture, it is possible to see when the events of Leviticus took place. The Passover took place on the fourteenth day of the first month (Ex. 12:2-3,6). The tabernacle was set up one year later – the first day of the first month of the second year (Ex. 40:17). The book of Numbers begins on the first day of the second month of the second year after leaving Egypt (Num. 1:1).
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
“speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them…” – instead of God speaking directly to the people, he spoke through a mediator – Moses.
According to I Tim. 2:5, who is our mediator between God and man?
3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.
“burnt sacrifice” – those animals sacrificed on the altar at the entering in of the tabernacle were burnt with fire. – “at the door of the tabernacle” – looking through the door of the tabernacle, the first thing one would see would be the altar, covered with blood and burning with the smell of roast meat, burning hair and blood. Such a sight would have made the very deep impression that God can not be approached without the shedding of blood.
The book of Leviticus gets its name from the first few words in the first verse, (And he called). It is the heart of the Torah and it is connected by its first word “and” to the book of Exodus.
It is connected also to the book of Numbers by its first word, which you guessed it, it was the word “and” also. It has a lot to say about sacrificial offerings. Notice where the LORD speaks for the first time, out of the tabernacle.
The first offerings found in the bible were those of Cain and Abel and we all know that God had respect unto Abel’s offering and not unto Cain’s because Abel’s offering was by faith and according to Hebrews 11 it was a more excellent offering than that of Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous.
By faith people under the Law and before the Law obeyed what they were told to do in their particular economy or dispensation and by it obtained witness that they were righteous.
We do not offer any offerings to God today to have our sins covered (atoned for) because Jesus Christ atoned for all sins when he offered himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world and when God accepted that offering, he was appeased.
Leviticus has more of God’s word in it than any other book of the bible and what I mean by that is that God directly speaks more in this book than in any other.
The Torah has many stories told by Moses but in Leviticus we have more of God actually speaking than in any other book of the Bible.
What does Heb. 9:22 say about this?
Today we can only approach God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ as that is the only possible way to receive remission of our sins! What does Col. 1:14 say in this regard?
4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
“atonement” – remember that atonement is a reference to being entirely forgiven of one’s sins. This is the state of “atone-ment” or being “at-one” with God Almighty.
5 And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
6 And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces.
7 And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire:
8 And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
The words “a sweet savour unto the LORD” is first mentioned after the flood when Noah offered an offering of every clean beast and of every clean fowl that he had on the ark after he had released all the other animals.
Remember Noah had two of every kind of animal and seven of every clean animal. The clean animals were of course for sacrifice, but it appears that God told Noah which animals he could and could not eat by classifying them as clean and unclean.
10 And if his offering be of the flocks, namely, of the sheep, or of the goats, for a burnt sacrifice; he shall bring it a male without blemish.
11 And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.
12 And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:
13 But he shall wash the inwards and the legs with water: and the priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
14 And if the burnt sacrifice for his offering to the LORD be of fowls, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves, or of young pigeons.
different animals could be offered depending upon the ability of the offerer; those more wealthy were to bring a bullock (ie. bull) and the least wealthy could bring a bird. God never discriminates against those who are poor; the Lord he has made sure that a lack of money can never be used as an excuse for not genuinely worshiping and serving him. The principle being stressed in the offering of these animals is that a “substitute” is necessary before one can approach God in worship. Many today claim to be worshiping God, but this can never happen in the true sense of the word until a person has had their sins forgiven and been saved through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ – our Substitute!
What does Luke 12:48 say about those to whom God has given much?
15 And the priest shall bring it unto the altar, and wring off his head, and burn it on the altar; and the blood thereof shall be wrung out at the side of the altar:
16 And he shall pluck away his crop with his feathers, and cast it beside the altar on the east part, by the place of the ashes:
17 And he shall cleave it with the wings thereof, but shall not divide it asunder: and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
[asunder – divide into parts]
There are a couple of similarities used in the offerings so far. The first is that the offering had to be a male of the first year, then it had to be without blemish just as they were commanded to do with the Passover back in Exodus 12:5.
It would have its blood shed for the guilty one and it was sprinkled on the altar while the other was struck on the door posts. These were pictures of Christ and his sinlessness, his sacrifice his shedding of blood, and his age.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1,2 – The offering of sacrifices was an ordinance of true religion, from the fall of man unto the coming of Christ. But till the Israelites were in the wilderness, no very particular regulations seem to have been appointed. The general design of these laws is plain. The sacrifices typified Christ; they also shadowed out the believer’s duty, character, privilege, and communion with God. There is scarcely any thing spoken of the Lord Jesus in Scripture which has not also a reference to his people. This book begins with the laws concerning sacrifices; the most ancient were the burnt-offerings, about which God here gives Moses directions. It is taken for granted that the people would be willing to bring offerings to the Lord. The very light of nature directs man, some way or other, to do honour to his Maker, as his Lord. Immediately after the fall, sacrifices were ordained.
Verse 3-9 – In the due performance of the Levitical ordinances, the mysteries of the spiritual world are represented by corresponding natural objects; and future events are exhibited in these rites. Without this, the whole will seem unmeaning ceremonies. There is in these things a type of the sufferings of the Son of God, who was to be a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world? The burning body of an animal was but a faint representation of that everlasting misery, which we all have deserved; and which our blessed Lord bore in his body and in his soul, when he died under the load of our iniquities. Observe,
1. The beast to be offered must be without blemish. This signified the strength and purity that were in Christ, and the holy life that should be in his people.
2. The owner must offer it of his own free will. What is done in religion, so as to please God, must be done by love. Christ willingly offered himself for us.
3. It must be offered at the door of the tabernacle, where the brazen altar of burnt-offerings stood, which sanctified the gift: he must offer it at the door, as one unworthy to enter, and acknowledging that a sinner can have no communion with God, but by sacrifice.
4. The offerer must put his hand upon the head of his offering, signifying thereby, his desire and hope that it might be accepted from him, to make atonement for him.
5. The sacrifice was to be killed before the Lord, in an orderly manner, and to honour God. It signified also, that in Christians the flesh must be crucified with its corrupt affections and lust.
6. The priests were to sprinkle the blood upon the altar; for the blood being the life, that was it which made atonement. This signified the pacifying and purifying of our consciences, by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ upon them by faith.
7. The beast was to be divided into several pieces, and then to be burned upon the altar. The burning of the sacrifice signified the sharp sufferings of Christ, and the devout affections with which, as a holy fire, Christians must offer up themselves, their whole spirit, soul, and body, unto God.
8. This is said to be an offering of a sweet savour. As an act of obedience to a Divine command, and a type of Christ, this was well-pleasing to God; and the spiritual sacrifices of Christians are acceptable to God, through Christ, 1st Peter 2:5.
Verse 10-17 – Those who could not offer a bullock, were to bring a sheep or a goat; and those who were not able to do that, were accepted of God, if they brought a turtle-dove, or a pigeon. Those creatures were chosen for sacrifice which were mild, and gentle, and harmless; to show the innocence and meekness that were in Christ, and that should be in Christians. The offering of the poor was as typical of Christ’s atonement as the more costly sacrifices, and expressed as fully repentance, faith, and devotedness to God. We have no excuse, if we refuse the pleasant and reasonable service now required. But we can no more offer the sacrifice of a broken heart, or of praise and thanksgiving, than an Israelite could offer a bullock or a goat, except as God hath first given to us. The more we do in the Lord’s service, the greater are our obligations to him, for the will, for the ability, and opportunity. In many things God leaves us to fix what shall be spent in his service, whether of our time or our substance; yet where God’s providence has put much into a man’s power, scanty offerings will not be accepted, for they are not proper expressions of a willing mind. Let us be devoted in body and soul to his service, whatever he may call us to give, venture, do, or suffer for his sake.