As we get into Leviticus we get into the various offerings and the method by which they were to be offered unto the Lord. It is getting into a system that is very foreign to us, because it is a covenant that has now been set aside, that God might establish a better covenant with us. This covenant of the sacrifice of the animals could never make anything perfect, but all it could do is to point ahead to that sacrifice that was to be offered, whereby we could be brought into full perfection before the Lord.
Paul tells the Ephesians that they are to be followers of God as dear children. "Walk in love as Christ also hath loved us and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor." (Ephesians 5:2) So Christ was more than just our sin offering; He was also the sweet savor offering.
Now, the offerings that were given to the Lord were divided into the sweet savor offerings and the sin offerings. There were three basic sweet savor offerings and we will be talking about these in more detail, but there was the burnt offering, which was the consecration. There was the meal offering, which is translated in your Bibles "meat," but it should be meal offering because it was made of fine flour and oil, and that was a sacrifice of service unto God. And then there was the peace offering, which was the fellowship and communion with God. Those were the sweet savor offerings. Then we had the two sin offerings: one, the sin offering and the other the trespass offering. And we will be noting the difference in those two as we move through the text.
It is important to notice that in verse three of Leviticus chapter one that any sacrifice or offering that you offered unto the Lord had to be of one's own voluntary will. Man exercised his own free will when he left fellowship with God. It is necessary that man exercise his own free will to return to fellowship with God. So the own voluntary will is something that God required. God does not force you to love Him. God does not force you to serve Him. God does not force you to give to Him. It must be something of your own voluntary will.
And in the sacrifices, when it was an animal sacrifice, there was always the laying of your hand upon the sacrifice before the slaying of it. And that laying of your hand upon the sacrifice, the head of the sacrifice, was in essence a transference of yourself, so that the animal was dying in your stead. In the case of the sin or trespass offering it was the laying of your hand upon the head of the animal in order that your guilt and your sin might be transferred onto the animal, and thus, it was slain for your sins. In the case of the burnt offering, your consecration again the laying on of hand was the symbolizing of the animal is taking my place as a complete offering unto God, a total consecration unto Him.
The word atonement in verse four, the later portion there,
to make atonement for him (1:4).
It is important that we distinguish between the word “atonement” in the Old Testament and the word “atonement” in the New Testament. For in the Old Testament the word "atonement" comes from the Hebrew word kaphar, which means, "to cover." Now it was impossible that the blood of bulls or goats could put away our sin. They never put away sins for anybody. But they did make a covering for sin, so that the guilt of the person was covered, but it wasn't put away. So the word atonement in the Old Testament usage out of Hebrew, from the word kaphar is actually a covering. And kaphar, you can think of the cover. Actually our word "cover" comes pretty much from it. A kaphar for the sins, a covering.
In the New Testament through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our sins were put away by His sacrifice once and for all. So the new covenant that God has established through Jesus Christ is far superior, as you get into the old covenant here and all of the various sacrifices. How grateful we should be for that sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us whereby this old relationship with God is no longer valid, but has been invalidated by the new covenant in Jesus Christ.
The purpose of all of the sacrifices, the purpose of the covenant was that God might establish a basis, whereby you can have fellowship with Him. When God created man, it was in the heart and mind of God to create man, in order that God might fellowship with man. But in order to fellowship, and the word means "oneness," in order for me to have a oneness with God, I must be obedient to the will of God.
The Bible says, “can two walk together except they be agreed?”(Amos 3:3) Can I really walk with God unless I am in agreement? I cannot have real fellowship with God unless I am in agreement with God. And so God creating man for the purpose of fellowship, that fellowship with God was broken early there in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed the commandment of God. And with the entrance of sin there came a broken fellowship with God. Now man alienated from God, God sought to restore him to fellowship. But the law of God had been violated. And God said, "the soul that sinneth, it shall surely die. In the day that thou eatest thereof," God said, "thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:17) So here is the law that is broken and the penalty that is there hanging.
And for God to restore man into fellowship with Him something had to be done about the law. And thus, God established in the Old Testament this system of sacrifices where the animal became your substitute and where the animal was slain for you. As we said the laying on of hands, the transference of yourself to the animal, and then the animal dying in your place. It became your substitute and through the death of the animal your sin was covered, and you could have fellowship with God until you sinned again, then you had to bring another animal. And so unless you were very wealthy and had a big herd, you were really in trouble, you know, as far as a continued fellowship with God.
Now, that covenant failed to bring man into a full complete fellowship with God. What it did do was point forward to that day when God would send His only begotten Son to be as a Lamb sacrificed for our sins. So Peter said, “We are redeemed not with corruptible things such as silver and gold from our vain manner of living, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ who was slain as a lamb without spot or blemish” (1Peter 1:18,19). So as we study these sacrifices, we must realize that they were, all of them just fingers pointing ahead to Jesus Christ. They were saying, "We're not it. We can't do it. But there is One who is coming who will." And they are all pointing man to the Perfect Sacrifice that God was to offer when Jesus Christ was crucified and went before the Father to make atonement.
Now the word "atonement" in the New Testament is to make one with, or the Koinonia, the idea of fellowship. Now I have become one with God through Jesus Christ, His blood having now atoned or making possible atonement for my sins in order that I might now have this beautiful fellowship with God.
So as we get into the offerings, chapter one deals with the burnt offering. Now the burnt offering was an offering of consecration. If I wish to really consecrate my life completely to God, I would signify this desire of total consecration by bringing an ox to the priest, laying my hand upon the head of the ox, slaying it. The priest taking the blood in and putting it on the horns of the altar and then the ox was to be burnt entirely. The whole thing was to be consumed on the altar as a sweet smelling savor unto God. That neat smell of barbecued beef. As smoke arises and ascends upward, it becomes a sweet smelling savor unto God. But the whole thing was to be burnt in the fire and totally consumed by the fire. He is speaking of the fact that my consecration to God needs to be a total consecration, not holding back any area for myself.
One of the problems today is the incomplete consecration of so many lives. We hold back so many areas from God, what God wants really, if we are to consecrate ourselves to Him. "I beseech ye therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you will present your bodies holy and accessible unto God which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1) And God wants you to present yourself totally, completely to Him not reserving, not holding back anything for yourself, but a total consecration. Now, you could use an ox, you could use a sheep, or if you were poor, you could use turtledoves for this offering.
In chapter two the next offering that we have is the meal offering. And this they would take the fine flour, mix it with oil and frankincense, and make up a dough that they would put on the fire to more or less bake unto the Lord. Now, these things bespeak the work of man's hand. I am bringing flour, mixing it with oil. Where did I get the flour? I had to till the soil. I had to plant the seed. I had to harvest the seed. I had to thresh the seed. I had to grind the seed into flour itself. And so it was the work of my hands. I picked the olives and put them in the olive press and got the oil. It was the work of my hands. So I am offering to God in the offering, in the meal offering, I am offering to God my service, dedicating the work of my hands unto God, giving unto God my service. And thus this meal offering again was a sweet smelling savor. And what smells better than homebaked bread? You know, that smell of bread baking is always just a great smell.
When we were kids in Ventura just a block and a half from the church, on Sunday nights there was a bakery that would bake bread. And, oh, we were overcome by the neat aroma. We would go up and buy a quarter pound of butter and get a loaf of bread right off the rack as it was coming out of the oven, so hot you would have to juggle it from hand to hand and break the thing in two and drop the butter down in and eat it. In those days I didn't worry about weight. I was running so much that I ran the thing off. Oh boy, I'll tell you the smell of homebaked bread is really great.
And the idea is that of, again, that it might be a pleasant odor unto the Lord. It might arise as a pleasant aroma before Him and an offering to God. “Here it is, Lord, my service. I'm giving now my labor unto you. I am offering you myself as a servant to do your work.” And thus was the significance of this meal offering. The idea was the offering unto God, the work of my hands as service unto the Lord. And so, in chapter two it deals with this meal offering.
Now there were two things that were never to be mixed with the flour; one was leaven and the other was honey. The leaven, of course, always through the Scripture is a type of sin, and thus, it was never to be mixed. It causes a putrefaction actually, or it causes a decay is what leaven does. And honey can also have that same effect, but honey really represents a natural sweetness. Now some of you are naturally sweet, but it is interesting that doesn't buy you any points with God. It is only that sweetness that comes from Him that is acceptable. And so honey or leaven were two forbidden additions to these little loaves of bread.
But there was one thing that it had to always be offered with: salt, because salt has the opposite effect of putrefaction. Salt was used in those days as a preservative and, of course, to make things really more tasty. If you forget to put salt in your rolls, you'll find they taste very flat. Potatoes without salt can be very flat. And so the salt was to give the flavor. It is being a preservative. They were to use salt in the meal offerings, but never the leaven or the honey. And again the idea is offering to God service. Giving to God my life to serve Him. Offering Him the work of my hands.
Now the final of the sweet savor offerings was the peace offering. And again this could be the ox, or actually, it could be out of the herd. It could be a cow also. It had to be without blemish. It could be from the flock, a lamb or again, if you are poor, it could be a turtledove. But this is the offering of communion and fellowship with God. In this offering a part of it would be returned to you to eat; and thus, the idea was here, “God, I have given this to you”, and part of it is burned. That's for God. But then part of it is given back to me that I might sit down and eat of it so that I am actually fellowshipping with God, eating together with God is the idea. God is eating part of it. I am eating part of it. I am becoming part with God. And it was called the peace offering, but it was that of fellowship with God, the idea of eating together with God.
It is interesting in the New Testament how often Jesus sought to eat with people. In fact, the last message of Jesus to the church, in the Lord's epistle to the church—what was His very last message? "Behold I stand at the door and knock and if any man will hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat supper with him," (Revelation 3:20) because the Lord always enjoyed eating with people.
It spoke to them in their culture of the deepest possible fellowship when we ate together. We were entering into such a deep fellowship that we were actually becoming a part of each other, because in those days it was really family style. You have the big, old leg of lamb out there and you don't have utensils. Your fingers are your utensils. And so you reach out and grab and pull off a piece of the meat and your friend reaches in and grabs a piece of meat. And you're eating together having pulled off from the same leg of lamb that portion that you're eating. And you're eating of that same leg of lamb. Thus, that leg of lamb that is nourishing you is also nourishing me. That leg of lamb that is becoming a part of your body is becoming a part of my body; thereby I am becoming a part of you, you're becoming a part of me. We are becoming related through this common eating together.
And then as we would finish the meal, we would take the bread and we would break it. And they didn't have napkins in those days so they used the bread for a napkin. You wipe the lamb grease off your fingers and all the juices, and then you ate the bread or quite often that bit of bread was thrown to the little puppies that were around the table. The last piece that was used to sort of clean up. But by eating the same bread, by eating of the same meat, by partaking from the same table, from the same bowls, we were becoming part of each other. And they looked at it as that. For that reason they would never eat with their enemies. They didn't want to become a part of their enemy. And for that reason a Jew was always extremely careful never to eat with a Gentile. There is no way that he wanted to become one with a Gentile. So that's why that strict separation. The Jew never eating with the Gentile, because of the fear of becoming a part of a Gentile or a Gentile becoming a part of him.
And so here is the idea in the peace offering of offering the sacrifice unto the Lord. And part of it goes up unto the Lord, roasted for Him and all, but part of the roast given back to me, and I eat of it myself. So I sit down to eat with God.
And in the great feast days most of the offerings that were brought by the people in the great feast days were peace offerings. So that they were just what they say—they were feast days. The Passover Feast, The Feast of Pentecost, The Feast of Tabernacles—they were feasts, great feasts. People would come in and you'd have just all kinds of meat, all kinds of feasting together. They were holidays of feasting for seven days. With all of these sacrifices, these peace offerings would be offered, and then you'd receive yours back to eat. And thus, people were just sitting and feasting with God was the idea. And really it is a very beautiful thought in deed.
Man, it would be great if we had a seven-day feast with God around here sometime. You know, just the idea of here we are to sit with the Lord, just to feast together with Him realizing the oneness that is ours with Him, feasting together with the Lord, God's people.
Now as we get into chapter four, we get in now to the sin offerings. First of all, God said, ”if a soul should sin through ignorance against any of the commandments” (4:2)—It is interesting to note that sins of ignorance needed forgiveness. We hear so often ignorance of the law is no excuse. This actually comes from God because God made provision for those sins of ignorance. Quite often sin is related to ignorance. Transgression is never really related to ignorance. Sin is related to ignorance because there is a vast difference between sin and trespass, and thus, the difference between the sin offering and the trespass offering.
Sins were often due to ignorance, "I didn't know." The word sin has as its root word "missing the mark." In Greek "hamartia," "the missing of the mark." Now I could be trying to hit the mark and still miss. That is still sin. There are a lot of people who are sinning who don't want to sin. They are trying not to sin. They are doing their best not to sin, but they are still sinning. They are still missing the mark for the word "sin" means to miss the mark.
Trespass is not ignorance. It's more than missing the mark, for it is missing the mark deliberately. I know what I am doing. I know that God doesn't want me to do it. I do it anyhow. That's a trespass. It's a deliberate, willful act against God. So often when you are dealing with sin, you deal with ignorance. The person didn't know, yet the sin needed taking care of. You remember Jesus when he was being nailed to the cross, prayed, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." (Luke 23:24) It was a sin of ignorance, and yet it needed the forgiveness of God. "Father, forgive them." They needed that forgiveness, though the sin was being done by them in ignorance, not really knowing what they were doing.
And so, if a man sinned against the Lord—ignorance, he was to
bring a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a sin offering (4:3),
And again the idea of putting on your hand upon its head, transferring the guilt, slaying it, the blood being taken in by the priest,
dipping his finger in the blood, sprinkling the blood seven times before the veil of the sanctuary. And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar…; and shall pour out the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar… (4:6-7)
And then also they were to take a part of the bullock and to place it upon the altar and burn it on the fire, mainly the fat and the kidneys, and all.
And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and his legs, and the inwards, and all, even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt (4:11-12).
So the whole skin and everything was taken outside of the camp and there burnt with fire in this place where they would carry the ashes of the burnt offerings and all. There was a place outside of the camp they would carry them and lay them out, and at that place is where the skin and all. Now the skin of the—coming back to the first offering, the offering of consecration, those hides could be kept by the priest. And they would make them into coats and wear them and all. So the sheepskin coats and so forth would be worn by the priests, because they got the hides of those offerings. But with a sin offering, the priest couldn't keep the hides. They were to be taken out and burnt completely with fire outside of the camp.
And the whole congregation of Israel sinned through ignorance, and the thing is hid from the eyes of the assembly, they've done somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty; when the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, to the congregation, they shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle (4:13-14).
And so forth, and thus the sin offering following the same routine. A sin offering for the congregation and then the sin offering for the rulers. In verse twenty-two, the same idea of ignorance, the rulers and so forth. And then they were to bring a kid of the goats, a male without blemish, and it was to be offered in the same manner as the bullock before the Lord.
And then, we get down to us in verse twenty-seven.
And if any of the commoners sin through ignorance [and so it comes down to every one of us], while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and is guilty; if the sin, which he has sinned, comes to his knowledge: then he shall bring an offering, of the kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has sinned (4:27-28).
Now the rulers brought the male kid of the goats and the commoners brought a female kid of the goats. And they would lay their hand upon the head of the sin offering, and the priest would go through the same routine of putting the blood upon the altar and sprinkling it before the Lord.
And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish (4:32).
And thus the sin offerings. And as I say, sin was related to ignorance. It was the missing of the mark. It comes to your attention; it wasn't really a deliberate thing. But now what about those deliberate things.
And if a soul sinned, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he has seen or known of it; and he does not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity (5:1).
If you touch any unclean thing and it goes on with some of the sins that you know to be wrong, and you swear against God, or do things that are to you knowledgeable, you're guilty, you know it.
Then you shall confess that he has sinned in that thing (5:5):
So even though you were to bring a sacrifice yet the necessity of the confession of your guilt.
Now in Proverbs we read, "whoever seeks to cover his sin shall not prosper; but who so will confess his sin shall be forgiven." (Proverbs 28:13) God cannot really deal with sin in your life as long as you're trying to hide it. As long as you're trying to deny it, as long as you're trying to excuse it, as long as you're trying to give the rationale for it, God can't deal with it. If you can just sit down and tell me all the reasons why you sinned and give me all the excuses for why you were doing it, then God can't deal with your excuses. God can only deal with it when you come to the place of confession. And when I confess my sin, it is then that He is faithful and just to forgive me and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. So always with a trespass there was the necessity of confession. "God I have sinned against you in this thing. I was wrong. God I am sorry." And with a confession, I make the possibility of forgiveness.
And so first of all the necessity was that of confession of the guilt, verse five.
And then he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, a female from the flock, a lamb, or a kid of the goats, for the sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement [or a covering] for his sin. And if he is not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, which he has committed two turtle doves, or two young pigeons, unto the Lord; one for his sin offering, the other for a burnt offering. And he shall bring them unto the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first (5:6-8),
And goes ahead how they are to take care of the turtledoves and so forth, if that is what is brought as an offering. And they are to be offered before the Lord for the trespasses.
Verse fifteen is
If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the Lord a ram without blemish out of the flocks, of his estimation according to shekels (5:15),
And so forth, shall make amends.
And thus, dealing with the trespass offerings and going on into Chapter six.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, if a soul sins, and commits a trespass against the Lord, and lies to his neighbor in that which was delivered (6:1-2)
In other words, if you are my neighbor and you loan me your car, and I go out and smash it, and then I say, “Well, you know I parked it at Lucky's and I just left the keys in the ignition. And I went into the store and when I came out, it was gone, you know. You better file a stolen report.” And then they find the thing wrapped around a telephone pole some place and oh my, you know, they must have wrecked it. And I am lying to you about something that was entrusted to me. This is a trespass, and it would be necessary for me to make a confession and to offer an offering before the Lord for the forgiveness or the covering.
The Lord spake unto Moses [verse eight], saying, command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: and the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fires of the altar shall be burning in it. And the priest shall put on his linen garments, his linen breeches and he shall put upon his flesh, and take the ashes which the fires consume with the burnt offering and the altar, and shall put them beside the altar (6:8-10).
And then later carry them out.
But in verse thirteen,
the fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out (6:13).
So God was the one who was to kindle the fire on the altar, but the priests were to never let it go out. Once God kindled the fire, it was their duty. All night long a priest would be on duty to put wood on the fire so that the fire of the altar would never go out. And so he goes ahead and explains again the offerings, the burnt offering. And then in Verse fourteen, the meal offering and the priest would get to eat this neat, hot bread themselves on this meal offering, what was left over. Part was unto the Lord and part was given to the priest more or less. Let's see now, just a minute, hold on. On the meal offering was one that was to be wholly burnt and not to be eaten. There were other meal offerings of bread that the priests were to eat but not the meal offering.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, This is the offering of Aaron and his sons, which they shall offer to the Lord the day in which they are anointed; and the fine flours, the meal offering the perpetual, half in the morning, and the other half at night. It shall be baked in the pan, and thou shall bring it in: and bake the pieces for the meal offering, the sweet savor to the Lord. The priest and his sons that is anointed in his stead shall offer it: as a statute forever unto the Lord; it shall be wholly burnt. For every meal offering for the priest shall be wholly burnt: it shall not be eaten. [That is if the priest himself offered the meal offering for himself.] The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, This is the Law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed, so the sin offering was to be killed before the Lord: it is most holy. The priest that offers it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation. Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy: and when the thing is sprinkled with the blood (6:19-27).
Now, the priest did get a part of the offering. They always were able to take a part of the offerings to eat for themselves that the people brought. It was, in a way, a payment to the priest, but this thing became corrupted. You remember later on when Eli was the priest at the time of Samuel? He had a bunch of greedy sons who were also working in the office of the priest. And these guys, when people would come to offer their sacrifice to the Lord, they would take their hooks and they'd reach in and grab the fillets, the very best of the meat and all. And if people would object, then they'd give them a bad time and curse them and everything else. And so Eli got into trouble because he didn't correct his sons in these things. But the bad thing about it is that they were creating in the minds of the people a negative reaction towards God because they were the priests representing God to the people. But they were so misrepresenting God by their greed, that they made the people actually hate to bring sacrifices to the Lord because of the horrible way that Eli's sons were treating them; and thus, Eli was judged by the Lord for his failure to reprimand his sons in that regard.
Going on into chapter seven, sort of a repetition again as God deals with the trespass offering, offering a few additions to what has already been said, and then in verse eleven as God gets into the peace offering.
The peace offering was also
for a thanksgiving (7:12),
It was fellowship, but it was fellowship in thanksgiving unto God. And it was to be offered in—it talks about a heave offering. Now the heave offering is the offering that they would lift up in a heaving motion before God. The wave offering was where they would move it back and forth and wave it before God. And so you read also of the wave offerings and the heave offerings. And so the requirements and so forth for the offering of the peace offering are in chapter seven.
We get into chapter eight and now that God has laid out for them the various offerings and the ordinances regarding these offerings. How they were to be offered, who was to offer them, what part the people were able to eat, what part was to be burnt, where it was to be burnt, what part was the priests and all. God has laid out the whole thing for them in these offerings.
And now the Lord said unto Moses, Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bullock for a sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread; And gather all the congregation together at the doors of the tabernacle of the congregation. And so Moses did as the Lord commanded; and gathered all the people there together at the door of the tabernacle. And Moses said unto the congregation, This is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done. And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water (8:1-6).
This great big brass laver, a bath that was there in front of the tabernacle and Moses washed Aaron and his sons. And he put on them the coat, and all of the garments of the high priest and put upon the sons of Aaron the garments of the priest. And so here is Aaron now for the first time being decked out in this magnificent robe of the high priest; the breastplate, the Urim and the Thummim, the whole thing; the mitre on his head with the little plate, the gold plate that said “holiness to the Lord”. And Aaron is being dressed for the first time in the garments of the high priest.
And then Moses took the anointing oil, and he anointed the tabernacle that was therein, and sanctified them (8:10).
The tabernacle is now set up. Now is the time to dedicate the thing, more or less, and to sanctify it unto God. The word “sanctify” means to set apart for exclusive use. This was to be a single-use building. It was there only for the purpose of man having a place to come and meet God. And it wasn't to be used for den mothers’ meetings or anything like that. It was just strictly a place where people met the Lord.
And so he sprinkled the altar seven times, he anointed the altar and all the vessels, and the laver, to sanctify them. And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him to sanctify him (8:11-12).
So they took this anointing oil, went by, and anointed all of the things within the tabernacle, anointed the tabernacle. Everything was anointed. It was set apart and this is for God. It is to be used only for God and all. And then Aaron, who was actually also to be used only for God. He was to be God's instrument; thus, Aaron was anointed with the oil.
And Moses brought in Aaron's sons, and put the priests’ coats upon them, and the priests’ girdles, and he put on the bonnets as the Lord had commanded. And he brought the bullock for the sin offering (8:13-14):
Now that these guys are being set up as priests the first thing that was necessary was that the sin offering be offered for them. They were sinners just like everybody else. And so before they could really serve the Lord and act as God's representatives to the people, there had to first of all be a sin offering offered for them. And this, of course, yearly when the high priest would on Yom Kippur go into the Holy of Holies to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the whole congregation. The first sacrifice that he would make on Yom Kippur was his own sin offering. He had to take care of himself first, and his own sin offering would be first. He would have to offer for himself before he could ever offer for the people. And so the first offering in this whole tabernacle, new tabernacle set up, was the sin offering for Aaron and his sons that they might then be sanctified for the ministry unto the Lord.
And having offered the sin offering,
then he brought a ram for a burnt offering (8:18),
Verse eighteen, because now that the sin is taken care of, now I can consecrate my life completely to God. And so the idea was first the atoning of the sins for the priests and then the consecration of their lives, a total consecration of themselves to God.
And so they brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head. And they slew it; and Moses took the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot (8:22-23),
Symbolic actually, of consecration. “May your ears be consecrated that they might hear the voice of God. May your hands be consecrated that they might do only the work of God. May your feet be consecrated that they will walk only in the path of God.” So it was the idea of the consecration of a man's ears, of his hands, and of his feet. A complete kind of a consecration of himself unto the Lord.
Then there was the anointing oil in verse thirty,
Moses took the anointing oil, and of the blood which was upon the altar, and sprinkled upon Aaron, upon his garments, upon his sons, upon the sons’ garments with him; and sanctified Aaron, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him (8:30);
Imagine taking all these beautiful new clothes and sprinkling oil on them and blood on them. But it was the idea of the consecration of these men and of their lives to God.
And Moses said unto Aaron and to his sons, Boil the flesh at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and eat it [before the congregation.] (8:31).
And so the priests were then to be separated before God.
And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation for seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you (8:33).
So they were to go through this period of consecration. Seven days they weren't to leave that holy place there in the presence of the Lord, there in the tabernacle.
Ye shall abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night for seven days, and keep charge of the Lord, that ye die not: for so I am commanded. And Aaron and his sons did all the things which the Lord commanded Moses (8:35-36).
And so it came to pass on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel; and he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord (9:1-2).
Now Aaron is to begin his ministry. First of all with a calf for a sin offering, a ram for a burnt offering and,
Take ye the kid of the goats for a sin offering; a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering; A bullock and a ram for a peace offering, to sacrifice before the Lord; and a meal offering mingled with oil: for today the Lord will appear unto you (9:3-4).
So he's going to go through the whole route except for the trespass offering. And he's to make all of these offerings; the various types of animals so that Aaron can more or less be schooled in the way that these offerings are to be brought before the Lord. And so they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle.
And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commanded you should do: and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you (9:5).
And so Moses then instructed Aaron. He followed through with him. He went through with him sort of step by step the processes by which the sacrifices were to be made and the methods and all by which they were made. And so they offered first the sin offering, then the consecration offering, then the fellowship offering unto the Lord, and then finally they offered unto God the offering of service, the meal offering.
So in verse twenty-two,
Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offering (9:22).
So, having gone in and offered these before the Lord. Now Aaron, the congregation of Israel is out there, and Aaron now comes out and blesses the people, and thus we see the twofold function of the priests. Going before God to represent the people because you and I could not directly come to God. Our sin had separated us from God. So, if I wanted to approach God under the old covenant, I had to come to the priest with an offering, and then he would take and go before God on my behalf. And having gone before God on my behalf he would return and then bless me on God's behalf.
Now later on in Leviticus, we'll get the blessing whereby the people were blessed from God. When Aaron came out, that beautiful blessing that he would put upon the people as he was representing, now, God to the people. So coming out from the sacrifices he now blesses the people as he is God's representative in standing for God before the people, offering God's blessing upon them.
And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people (9:23).
Now Moses kept telling them, “You are going to see the glory of the Lord today. Now let's get everything worked out right because today you're going to see the glory of the Lord.” And so the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. In what form? How? We don't know. But yet they were all made conscious of it and aware of it and in one way it was demonstrated was that
fire came out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell upon their faces (9:24).
So, there was the altar; it was there. The wood was there; the pieces of meat of the burnt offering were laid upon it and the fat. And suddenly like a spontaneous combustion fire from the Lord just kindled and the wood began to burn and the sacrifices were consumed. And the people seeing this miracle all began to shout for excitement and fell upon their faces worshipping God.
And Nadab and Abihu, the two sons of Aaron, took both of them their censers, and they put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not (10:1).
Now in this moment of excitement, in this moment of high emotional pitch, the people are excited. They have seen a miracle of God. They have seen fire from God suddenly consuming this sacrifice, no one around. The glory of God. Aaron's two sons in the midst of this emotional fervor grabbed their little incense burners and took fire in them and put the incense on and began to go in before the Lord to offer incense, “strange fire, which the Lord commanded not”.
It is interesting God does want us to worship Him, but God has really prescribed the way that we are to worship Him. You see I am not really free to worship God any old way I feel. I can't come to God any old way I want. If I am to come to God, God has laid out prescribed ways by which I am to come. If I am to worship God, God has laid out prescribed ways by which I am to worship Him. It isn't up to me to choose how I am to worship God.
So here they were coming in a way in which God didn't command them to take this fire and to offer the incense at this point. It was something that was totally done on their own part. Juices were flowing because there's a lot of excitement, people are shouting and all. And, of course, they are important; they are priests and maybe they are wishing to show their importance. Everybody is all excited and watching, now, the things that are happening. And so maybe they want to get into the public eye. And so as they started in with these incense burners and the smoke rising, fire came from the Lord and they both fell dead.
And Moses said this is the thing that God spoke about saying that He would be sanctified before the people and that God would be glorified before the people.
I will be glorified [the Lord said]. And so Aaron held his peace (10:3).
Perhaps they were seeking, at that point, to rob God from some of His glory. Perhaps, at that point, they were seeking to draw attention to themselves away from God. It is always tragic when the instrument of God receives more attention then God or when the instrument of God seeks to draw attention to itself.
We are to be as a mirror reflecting Christ before the world. The only time a mirror attracts attention to itself is when it is dirty. You really never notice a mirror unless it's got a flaw in it or unless it's dirty. When you look at a mirror, you are looking for the reflection. And the only time you really notice the mirror is when there is something wrong with it. Now, we are to be a reflection of Jesus Christ as mirrors reflecting His glory before the world.
Now any time that people are being attracted to me or drawn to me or attention is being put on me, it only indicates there's something dirty, there's a flaw, there's something wrong. I shouldn't be drawing attention to myself. It is tragic that so many do seek to draw attention to themselves. And I think that we perhaps have all been guilty of that at one time or another in our experiences and for me more times than I wish to remember.
Now, if I'm to worship God, I must come in the way that God has prescribed. And Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). So I don't care how pious you are or anything else. If you don't come to God through the prescribed way of Jesus Christ, you're never going to make it to God. No matter how idealistic you might be in your thought patterns. No matter how sincere you might be in your endeavor to reach God. You are never going to reach Him unless you come the prescribed Way through Jesus Christ. It cannot be Jesus and others. Jesus said, "I am the Way, no man comes to the Father but by Me."
So Aaron's sons were guilty of taking attention of the people from God to themselves. They had a high hazard job.
And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron and said unto them, Come near, and carry your brothers from before the sanctuary out of the camp. So they went near, and they carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said. And Moses said unto Aaron, to Eleazar and to Ithamar, the other sons, [the brothers of these two guys,] Don't uncover your heads, don't tear your clothes; lest you die, lest the wrath of God come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled. And you shall not go out from the doors of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses. And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when you go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout all your generations: that ye may put the difference between the holy and the unholy, between the clean and the unclean (10:4-10);
So Aaron was not to mourn for his two sons publicly or God would wipe him out, because what God had done to his two sons was just. For Aaron to mourn before the people would be actually to indicate an unfairness on God's part. And then the warning don't drink any wine or strong drink when you come in before the Lord. He wasn't to go out either. The anointing oil was upon him, the anointing of God was upon him. He was to stay right there, not to leave as long as the anointing oil was on him. But then the warning not to drink wine or strong drink when you're doing service to God in order that you might have a clear head, in order that you might be able to discern between the holy and the unholy, between the clean and the unclean. There is perhaps there a hint that Aaron's sons, the false fire was that they were actually a little bit inebriated, and thus under a false stimulant. Not able to clearly discern their own actions because of drinking and thus in their minds being beclouded and fuzzed because of their drinking. Not really responding to God in the right way that that was what caused them to be wiped out.
In Proverbs we read concerning Lemuel the king. Wine is not for kings. Why? Because if can cause a deterioration of judgment, it can remove natural inhibitions. It can cloud or fuzzy your thinking processes. God wants your mind to be perfectly clear when you worship Him, when you serve Him. He doesn't want you to be under some kind of a false stimulant.
Now, He will accept people in any condition. We saw God working marvelous miracles in taking kids who were high on LSD and on some wild trip, and we've seen the Lord bring them right down and deal with them, bring them right off of it and clear them up and deal with them. But there are a lot of, you know, guys down at the bar tonight who are sitting there, you know, sobbing and saying how horrible they are and how much they need God and all this kind of stuff. But tomorrow they will be right back out cursing and in their old, you know, but it's just that the booze is working on them. And so their repentance is not a true repentance of their heart. It isn't from a really clear mind, thus it is of little value, no value really.
God wants you to have your wits about you when you come before Him. He wants you to think of what you're doing, which is your reasonable service. Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord. He wants you to be sharp. He wants you to be able to think things through and reason things out to know the difference, to know what you’re doing.
David, in talking about our praises, said, “Let us praise Him with understanding”. A lot of times, I think people praise God really without understanding, in that you start just a little routine of “Oh Bless God, Hallelujah, Praise the Lord. Bless Jesus, Hallelujah kind of thing.” And you can go on uttering these words of praise but your mind can be a million miles away. And that praise is totally worthless and totally meaningless. In fact, it’s almost insulting to God for you to praise Him out of an empty head, you know, be thinking of something else while you're just mouthing praises to Him. That's an insult.
If you come up and start to carry on a conversation with me with just inane repetitions and chatter, and I knew that your mind was way off some place else, you weren't even thinking of what you were saying, you're just talking for the sake of uttering words; it would be very insulting indeed. And yet we do it when we come to God. “Bless God. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Bless Jesus”, you know. And we get into the little singsong, and we start going on and then our minds start tripping out. Man, I wonder if there'll be much snow on Mammoth this year, you know, and coming down those slopes and “Bless God. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord”, you know and how insulting that must be to God. He wants you to have a clear head.
I think that sometimes it's good to pray with your eyes closed but sometimes I think it's good to pray with your eyes open. I like to just sit in my chair and just talk to God, just as though He's sitting in the chair across the room from me and just to talk to God in conversational tones and in a conversational way. Somehow we have prayer all confused. We even have a prayer voice and a prayer style and we suddenly lapse into Old English because surely that's more spiritual than modern English in prayer. “O Lord, Thou hath created the heavens and the Earth and Thou hast by Thy mighty hands formed the seas and now we comest Lord to Thee.” But usually we've got that prayer voice and so we're sustaining a little bit because it makes it more spiritual, too. "Oh Lord, how much we need Thee," a little quiver in the voice and a little sustain of the notes and prayer becomes much more effective.
What if your friends would come up to you, "Oh Doc, I have these symptoms," and you think what in the world is going on here. And yet people in their prayer have a tone of voice and all which again are totally meaningless as far as prayer goes. I think it's great to talk with God intelligently. To think of what you're saying. I'm sure He appreciates it.
And so God wants a clear mind. The warning not to drink wine, strong drink. Now it is interesting that this follows through in the New Testament. The overseers of the church, the bishop, were not to be given to wine or strong drink. So, God said this is to be forever among the priesthood and then He carried it over into the church. Any pastor of a church, any overseer of the body of Christ should not drink wine or strong drink because he must keep his mind clear.
Paul the apostle said, "All things are lawful for me." But then he added, I will not be brought under the power of any. I will not use my liberty in Christ in such a way indulging myself in some things that could bring me under their influence or under their power. Sure, I'm free to do it. Sure, it's lawful for me but it would be stupid of me to do it because it could bring me under its power. It could bring me under its influence and once I'm under the influence or the power of this drug, or beverage, or whatever, I am no longer free. That very thing that I prize so highly, my glorious freedom in Christ is something that I have to guard very carefully because it's so easy to exercise my freedom in such a way as to bring me into bondage.
Take a look at Adam. Sure he had the freedom to eat of that fruit, but in so doing, he led himself into bondage. He exercised his freedom in such a way that he was never free again. And it's possible for you to exercise your freedom in such a way as to bring yourself into bondage and that isn't very wise because then you're no longer free.
And so the Lord said He wanted them to have a clear mind so that they could put a difference between the holy and unholy. And that they might be able to teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken by the hand of Moses.
And so Moses spoke unto Aaron, to Eleazar, to Ithamar, his sons—the two that were left, [they said] Take the meal offerings that remain of the offerings of the Lord that was made by fire, and eat it without the leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy: And you shall eat it in the holy place, because it is your wages, and your son's wages, of the sacrifices to the Lord that were made by fire: so I am commanded. And so the wave breast, the heave shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; you, and your sons, and your daughters with thee: for it shall be your wages, and thy son's wages, which were given out of the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the children of Israel (10:12-14).
And so Aaron and his sons did as Moses commanded.
So now as we go into chapter eleven of Leviticus, next we then get into some of the dietary laws that God established for them. What animals they could eat, what animals they could not eat. And then the purification ritesfor the women after they had borne children and all. And then the cleansing for leprosy and on into some very interesting things.
Now there is an interesting book called "None of These Diseases," by Dr. Maxwell, I believe it is, that deals with some of the dietary laws. And some of these laws in Leviticus, the laws of cleansing and all, showing that the promise of God that if the children of Israel would keep His commandments and do His statutes and all that none of these diseases which came upon the Egyptians would come upon them. And was showing, actually, the wisdom of a lot of the dietary laws and the laws of cleanliness that God gave unto them, that actually they are strictly health codes.
God is interested in your good health. I don't think God is behind junk food. And I don't think that we can load ourselves up with junk food and ask God to give us a healthy body. I think there's an inconsistency there. It used to be going home from Bible school, we would stop by the Boston Market and buy a gallon of ice cream, a pint of whipped cream, and chocolate syrup and bananas, and we'd go home and I would whip up a quick banana cream pie, and then we'd sit down to eat. And the guys would say, “Who's going to ask the blessing?” I'd say, "You've got to be kidding. You can't in all good conscience ask God to bless this. Just eat it and suffer the consequences.” But don't ask God to bless what you know is no good for you. And yet some of us are so foolish, you know. We keep supplying our bodies with junk kinds of food and then we ask God for strength and for health. That's a whole other subject, but we'll get into that next Sunday as we get into Leviticus and the dietary laws and the value of a good diet and all, as God lays it out to the people. God was interested in their health and in the foods that they ate. And so I think we'll find it very fascinating.
Shall we stand.
Aren't you glad you're not living under the old covenant? Wee, it's so neat just to have Jesus Christ and to realize that all these ordinances and sacrifices and the whole thing have been done away and now we can relate to God freely, fully, openly. We don't have to even go to a priest. We don't have to have this mediator between us, but we can come directly to the throne of grace that we might find mercy because Jesus through His sacrifice has made the way for all of us. And so one thing this does in Leviticus is makes you really appreciate more and more what Jesus Christ has done, for He is our total Sacrifice; the peace offering, our meal offering, our burnt offering, our sin offering, our trespass offering, He's everything. By His one sacrifice, He's taken care of it all and made, now, access for each of you directly unto God. How glorious! How wonderful! God be with you and God bless you and watch over you this week. And just give you a wonderful time in Jesus. As you fellowship together with Him may you experience more and more the glory of God upon your life. I'm convinced that God once again is wanting to reveal His glory to His people. And may He minister to us this week of His love and of His grace. And may you thus be strengthened and blessed in your walk with Him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.