SBC Banner


Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

August 29, 2018

Leviticus  4:1-33

  1. The sin offering was a sacrifice that provided atonement for sin. In Leviticus is the offerings that is most spoken about. Sometimes it is called the purification offering. The idea is that breaking the law of God was a defilement before God that had to be removed. The offerings reminded the sinner how costly sin was. The sin offering was made for sins committed in ignorance, or unintentional sins. The sins which are dealt with are those which, for some reason, were not immediately apparent, but which, in the course of time, came to a conscious level. This point about unintentional sins brings home the idea of just how easy it was to break the perfect law of God. Notice that all sins required a sacrifice. The impression which we get is that the Sin Offering was to be made immediately after the knowledge of sin was present. The ritualistic method of the sin offering and the animal to be offered varied depending on the status of the sinner. For example, a high priest who sinned unintentionally would offer a young bull. The Priest is the only one who can sin and bring guilt on the entire nation (vs 3). A leader would offer a young male goat. Any other person would sacrifice a young female goat or lamb, unless they were too poor, in which case they were only required to offer two turtledoves or pigeons. (Numbers 15). Again, the sin offering was sacrificed when a person sinned unintentionally by breaking one of the Lord’s commandments and later realized his guilt (Leviticus 4:27). Sin offerings were also part of the ceremonies on the Day of Atonement, as the high priest made two sin offerings: a bull for himself and a young male goat for the congregation (Leviticus 16:11, 15). Unlike some other offerings, the sin offering was not eaten. The live animal was brought to the altar and the sinner was required to lay his hand on the head of the animal (Leviticus 4:29). Then the animal was killed, at which point the priest would take some of the blood and put it on the horns of the altar (verse 30). In some cases, some of the blood was also sprinkled inside the tabernacle (verses 6 and 17). Then all the rest of the blood was poured at the base of the altar (verse 34). The fat of the sin offering was removed and burned on the altar. But all the rest of the carcass was taken “outside the camp to a place ceremonially clean, where the ashes are thrown,” and there the carcass was burned “in a wood fire on the ash heap” (verse 12). “In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven” (verse 35).

  2. The sin offering was a poignant picture of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world. He was a “lamb without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19; cf. Leviticus 4:32) whose precious blood was spilled after being publicly slain. Jesus was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem, just as the sin offering was to be burnt outside the camp (Hebrews 13:12; cf. Leviticus 4:12). Just as the sacrificial lamb makes atonement for unintentional sins, Jesus’ blood made atonement for the sin of any person who realizes his guilt before God and asks for that atonement to be applied to him (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7). “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22).

  3. Every person has broken the Law of God in one way or another, whether we realize it or not. Humanity is sinful, and we are all guilty before God (Romans 3:23). It must have been painful for sinners under the Mosaic Law to slaughter an innocent animal when they knew they were the ones who had done wrong. In the same way, it is painful for us to admit our guilt and to know that the innocent and holy Son of God took the punishment for our sin. But this salvation God has provided, and it is the only way. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Praise the Lord that sin offerings are no longer required, because we have been redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19).

  4. In chapter 4 there is a sequence of terms which are repeated. In essence, the sequence is as follows: 1. There is sin, resulting in guilt. 2. There is a blood sacrifice, resulting in atonement and forgiveness. If sin defiles, blood that is shed in accordance with God’s commandments purifies and sanctifies. Thus, it was through the sprinkling of shed blood that the tabernacle, all of its furnishings, and the priests were purified (cf. Lev. 8). The Sin Offering was holy, and what it touched was also made holy: “Anyone who touches its flesh shall become consecrated; and when any of its blood splashes on a garment, in a holy place you shall wash what was splashed on” (Lev. 6:27). The principle function of the Sin Offering was to purify those people and things which were defiled by sin. Only by the shedding of innocent blood, in accordance with the instructions of God, could one’s sins be atoned for. This explains why only the blood and the fat of the Sin Offering were used, while the rest was disposed of. By using the blood and throwing away the rest of the animal, God was demonstrating in a very dramatic fashion that it was only the blood that atoned for Israel’s sin; only the blood cleansed the tabernacle, the priests, the people, and the land from the defilement caused by the sin of the people. In the words of the writer to the Hebrews, “…without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22, Isa. 53:4-12, John 1:29, Heb. 9:11-14, 1 Pet. 1:13-21).

click here to select another lesson