Leviticus 3-4

Thursday Evening Bible Study

September 17, 2009

Introduction

We have begun to look at God’s instruction book to the Levites concerning their priestly duties.

The main theme is “Holiness”

(Lev 19:2 NKJV) "Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: 'You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

God wants His people to be different.  He wants them “set apart” from the world.  He wants them to reflect His purity.

We’ve seen:

The burnt offering – total consecration

The entire animal is consumed on the altar, a picture that the worshipper is being completely given over to God.

The grain offering –giving to God from my very substance

Leviticus 3 – Peace Offerings

3:1-6 Peace Offering: Beef

:1 'When his offering is a sacrifice of a peace offering, if he offers it of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.

offeringqorban – offering, oblation

This was a word used by the Jews to describe the things they’ve promised to give God.  Some of the Jews used this word as an excuse not to help others, like their parents:

(Mark 7:11 NKJV)  "But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban"; ' (that is, a gift to God),
If they set aside a portion of their income and “promised” to give it to God, then they were off the hook with using that money for other obligations, like helping their poor parents.

Here we see the word being used in it’s original context, as something that’s going to be given to God.

:1 peace offeringshelem – peace offering, sacrifice for alliance or friendship; voluntary sacrifice of thanks; fellowship offering

The peace offering was like a supper among friends, a meal between people that are experiencing “peace” between them.

But the key here is that it’s peace with God that is being experienced.

We could also call it a “fellowship” offering.

There was a general order to the offerings.

First was the sin offering and/or a burnt offering, followed by a peace offering.
First you deal with your sin and give yourself to God.
Then you enjoy fellowship with God.
We see a hint of this in the New Testament:
(Rom 5:1 NKJV)  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

The peace offering was offered to express thanks to God, or just to say “I love You” to God.

A person wanted to express thanks to God for something.
A way of keeping a vow (“I promise to sacrifice to you if you’ll do this in my life …”)
Just a way of saying “I love You” to the Lord.
At the dedication of the temple, Solomon sacrificed 142,000 peace offerings and the people feasted for two weeks (1 Kings 8:62-66).
That would be a lot of barbeque for a lot of people.
One of the neat things about the peace offering was that it wasn’t supposed to be celebrated alone, it was a party for the whole family.

An animal was killed and roasted.  God got His portion (the fat, kidneys, liver), the priest got a portion (the breast, Lev.7:31), and you and your family got a portion (the rest).

The party could go on for three days.  Lots of leftovers.

Lesson

Getting right with God first

Fellowship with God leads to fellowship with people.
Getting things straightened out with God ought to lead to things being straightened out with others.
John wrote,

(1 John 1:3 NKJV)  that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

John is saying that the relationship we have with others is best when it’s based on our relationship with God first.

Getting things lined up in the vertical (with God), leads to getting things lined up in the horizontal (with others).

This doesn’t mean that getting things right with God automatically fixes all my problems with other people.

I’ve known men who think that going to church once or twice ought to mean that the wife that left them ought to come back.

It doesn’t work that way.

This is a general principle.

If you start by getting right with God, it ought to affect the way you treat others.

You will still need to change.  You will still need to make things right with the other people.

But the priority is getting things right with God first.

:2 'And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of meeting; and Aaron's sons, the priests, shall sprinkle the blood all around on the altar.

:2 lay his hand – identification between the animal and the one making the sacrifice.

Instead of confessing sins, a worshipper would give thanks to God.

In distinction from other offerings though, there was no confession of sin made over the animal.

With sin offerings and burnt offerings, you would lay hands on the animal, and confess your sins over the animal, your sins being the reason the animal was offered.

With the peace offering, you would give your thanks to the Lord, words of praise for what He had done in your life.

:3 'Then he shall offer from the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire to the LORD. The fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails,

:4 'the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove;

:5 'and Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is on the wood that is on the fire, as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.

:6 'If his offering as a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD is of the flock, whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish.

:7-11 Peace Offering: Lamb

In verses 7-11, your peace offering could be made with a lamb instead of a bull.

:7 'If he offers a lamb as his offering, then he shall offer it before the LORD.

:8 'And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of meeting; and Aaron's sons shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar.

:9 'Then he shall offer from the sacrifice of the peace offering, as an offering made by fire to the LORD, its fat and the whole fat tail which he shall remove close to the backbone. And the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails,

:10 'the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove;

:11 'and the priest shall burn them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire to the LORD.

:11 as food – the peace offering was a big dinner meal.

Lesson:

God desires intimacy with you.

Those in the mid-east have the idea that if you share a meal with someone, it makes you closer to them.  You eat the same food, are nourished with the same food, you grow closer together.
This is why sometimes you see that one group of people won’t eat with others (like the Egyptians and Hebrews) because they don’t want to get too close with them.
Yet to people who think like this, God says in a sense, “I want to be close to you, I want you to grow closer to me”
Jesus said:
(Rev 3:20 NKJV)  "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
God wants you to hang out with Him, so you will get to know Him better, and hopefully become a bit more like Him.  We end up picking up the habits of the people we hang around with.

:12-17  Peace Offering: Goat

Verses 12-17 talk about the procedure for a peace offering with a goat.

:12 'And if his offering is a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD.

:13 'He shall lay his hand on its head and kill it before the tabernacle of meeting; and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar.

:14 'Then he shall offer from it his offering, as an offering made by fire to the LORD. The fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails,

:15 'the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove;

:16 'and the priest shall burn them on the altar as food, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma; all the fat is the Lord's.

:16 all the fat

Did you notice the things that were given to God?  It’s like these are the things on God’s plate at the supper table:

Fat from the entrails
Kidneys and fat
Fatty lobe of the liver

The Jews were not to eat any fat.  It all belonged to God.

You could probably make a case about the Jews having a “no-fat” diet.
There was even a penalty for Jews eating any of the fat:

(Lev 7:25 NKJV)  'For whoever eats the fat of the animal of which men offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, the person who eats it shall be cut off from his people.

It appears that God does not have a problem with cholesterol.

Why no fat?

There may have been dietary reasons.  But this is just a byproduct of following God’s ways.
Now we know that fat is bad for you.  Heart disease, etc.  But I don't think so, I think this is just a by-product of what God's trying to prove.
Fat in our society has come to mean something bad.
In an ancient society, “fat” meant that you were prosperous.

(Prov 13:4 NKJV)  The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

Fat was considered the best part of the meat.
It’s the ribbons of fat in prime rib that makes it taste so good.
Not convinced?  What kind of ice-cream would you rather eat?  Non-fat ice-milk, or Baskin-Robbins?

Lesson:

Give God your best.

Too often we just give to God the leftovers.
Too often we just give him whatever time we have left.
God wants us to learn to give Him the best.

:17 'This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood.'"

:17 nor blood – Why no blood?

Blood was the essence of life, the basis for atonement, the covering for sin.

(Lev 17:10-11 NKJV)  'And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. {11} 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.'

God wanted His people to start identifying the blood with the life of the animal.

God wanted to use the blood as a way of covering our sins, by giving one life in exchange for another.
In the New Testament we read:
(Heb 9:22 NKJV)  And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

This is all leading us to one point –

(Mat 26:26-28 NKJV)  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." {27} Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. {28} "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

God wanted the people to stay away from the blood, because He was going to have a special use for it, for His own Son to shed His blood to pay for our sins.

Leviticus 4 – Sin Offerings

:1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

:2 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them,

:2 unintentionally[email protected] – sin, inadvertent sin

One of the qualifications of the sin offering - The sin must have been unintentional, or, non-defiantly.

Illustration

A city man was tooling down a country road when his car sputtered to a complete stop near a field filled with cows. The driver, getting out to see what was the matter, noticed one of the cows looking at him. “I believe it’s your radiator,” said the cow. The man nearly jumped right out of his city slicker britches! He ran to the nearest farmhouse and knocked on the door. “A cow just gave me advice about my car!” he shouted, waving his arms frantically back toward the field. The farmer nonchalantly leaned out beyond the doorframe to glance down the field. “The cow with them two big black spots on it?” the farmer asked slowly. “Yes!  Yes!  That’s the one!” the excited man replied. “Oh. Well, that there’s Ethel,” the farmer said, turning back to the man. “Don’t pay no attention to her. She don’t know a thang about cars.”

Ethel didn’t know what she was talking about… unintentional …

If the sin was done intentionally...

(Num 15:31 NLT)  Since they have treated the Lord's word with contempt and deliberately disobeyed his commands, they must be completely cut off and suffer the consequences of their guilt."
A rapist in Israel could not just present a sacrifice and go free.  His was a willful sin and would be punished.

There was no sacrifice for willful, intentional sins.

Look at David, intentionally sinning with Bathsheba, he had to fall upon God for mercy.
(Psa 51:1-3 NKJV)  Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. {2} Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. {3} For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.
(Psa 51:16-17 NKJV)  For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. {17} The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart; These, O God, You will not despise.

We, on the other hand, are able to have ALL of our sins paid for by the blood of Jesus.

(1 John 1:6-9 NKJV)  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. {7} But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. {8} If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. {9} If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Does this mean that if some monstrous killer/rapist confesses his sins to God, that he won’t have to go to jail or be executed?  No.  There is a difference between paying your debt with God and paying your debt to society.  You may be forgiven by God, but you will still pay your debt to society.

:3-12 The Priest sins

:3 'if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the LORD for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering.

:3 anointed priest – the high priest.  The price for a high priest sinning was a bull.

:4 'He shall bring the bull to the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD, lay his hand on the bull's head, and kill the bull before the LORD.

:4 lay his hand

Gill quotes the Rabbis:

… it must be his own hand, and not the hand of his wife, nor the hand of his servant, nor his messenger; and who also observes, that at the same time he made confession over the burnt offering both of his sins committed against affirmative and negative precepts: and indeed by this action he owned that he had sinned, and deserved to die as that creature he brought was about to do, and that he expected pardon of his sin through the death of the great sacrifice that was a type of.

:5 'Then the anointed priest shall take some of the bull's blood and bring it to the tabernacle of meeting.

:6 'The priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the LORD, in front of the veil of the sanctuary.

:7 'And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of meeting; and he shall pour the remaining blood of the bull at the base of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

:8 'He shall take from it all the fat of the bull as the sin offering. The fat that covers the entrails and all the fat which is on the entrails,

:9 'the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove,

kidneys … fat – God’s favorites, just like in the peace offering

:10 'as it was taken from the bull of the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn them on the altar of the burnt offering.

:11 'But the bull's hide and all its flesh, with its head and legs, its entrails and offal;

:12 'the whole bull he shall carry outside the camp to a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire; where the ashes are poured out it shall be burned.

:12  the whole bull

The rest of the bull would be burnt outside the camp, not as a sacrifice, but as a way to dispose of the bull.

The only thing put on the altar was the blood and the fat.

Perhaps this was to make a distinction between the burnt offering (giving oneself completely to God) and the sin offering (paying for your sins).
Perhaps the bull was considered too full of sin to be counted as a sacrifice to God, hence being taken outside the camp and burned.

:12  outside the camp

There is a picture here of the separation that comes between us and God because of our sin.

The altar is in God’s presence.  The animal was taken away from God’s presence and burnt outside the camp.

The writer of Hebrews brings some of these concepts together:

(Heb 13:11-12 NKJV)  For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. {12} Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

:13-21 The Nation sins

Verses 13-21 gives us the sacrifice required when the entire nation sinned:  a bull.  God then goes through the ceremony, it is just like that for the high priest.

:13 'Now if the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally, and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done something against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which should not be done, and are guilty;

:14 'when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a young bull for the sin, and bring it before the tabernacle of meeting.

:15 'And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD. Then the bull shall be killed before the LORD.

:16 'The anointed priest shall bring some of the bull's blood to the tabernacle of meeting.

:17 'Then the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, in front of the veil.

:18 'And he shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of meeting; and he shall pour the remaining blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

:19 'He shall take all the fat from it and burn it on the altar.

:20 'And he shall do with the bull as he did with the bull as a sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them.

:21 'Then he shall carry the bull outside the camp, and burn it as he burned the first bull. It is a sin offering for the assembly.

Lesson

A nation can be guilty

I am concerned about our nation.
Not only have we blatantly disobeyed God in so many ways, we frankly don’t seem to care.
Even though our society has now come to rewrite history and try to take God out of our society, we were clearly formed as a nation with the purpose of honoring God.
The Mayflower Compact (1620):

The current school versions like to edit certain uncomfortable words out.  But the real thing speaks volumes:

“In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten … having undertaken, for the glorie of God, and advancemente of the Christian faith … a voyage to plant the first colony …”

John Adams, one of our nation’s founding fathers, wrote in 1798:

“We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion … Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”

Address to the Officers of the Massachusetts Militia, 1798

Daniel Webster (1800):

“To preserve the government we must also preserve morals.  Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall.  When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper”.

4th of July Oration at Hanover New Hampshire

I am concerned for our nation.  We need to pray for our nation.  We need to pray for revival, when men and women’s hearts are turned toward God.

:22-26 A Ruler sins

The prescription when one of the nation’s rulers sins was a male goat.

:22 'When a ruler has sinned, and done something unintentionally against any of the commandments of the LORD his God in anything which should not be done, and is guilty,

:23 'or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a male without blemish.

If the sinner were a ruler over the nation, the price for his sin was a male goat.

:24 'And he shall lay his hand on the head of the goat, and kill it at the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD. It is a sin offering.

:25 'The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering.

:26 'And he shall burn all its fat on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of the peace offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.

:27-35 A Common Person sins

The price for sin for a common person was a female goat or lamb.

:27 'If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty,

:28 'or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed.

The price for a common person’s sins was a female goat or lamb.

:29 'And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering.

:30 'Then the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar.

:31 'He shall remove all its fat, as fat is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the LORD. So the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.

:32 'If he brings a lamb as his sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish.

:33 'Then he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill it as a sin offering at the place where they kill the burnt offering.

:34 'The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar.

:35 'He shall remove all its fat, as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering. Then the priest shall burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire to the LORD. So the priest shall make atonement for his sin that he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him.

Did you notice how there was a different price tag associated with a sin depending on who sinned?

Don't focus on the difference in people, but the difference in their positions.

Lesson

Responsibility and consequences

Leaders are held to a higher standard.  Their actions carry greater responsibility.
It's not that one person's sin by itself is any more heavier than another's, but what kind of influence it has on others.
If a young single man is caught in the sin of pornography …

He will experience guilt.  He will feel cut off from God.  He will experience a filthy mind.  His relationships with girls and women will be affected.  He will treat women differently.

If a young married man is caught in pornography…

He experiences all the things of the guy above, but his sin now affects his wife, even if she doesn’t know.  When she does find out, she will be devastated.  She will feel betrayed.  She will wonder what’s wrong with her.

If a young married man with kids gets caught in pornography …

Even if his kids don’t know about it, they will pick up on how he is treating women.  They will pick up on the attitudes.

If a young married dad begins to teach a small group Bible Study …

Now his influence begins to expand.  Even if the others in his Bible Study don’t know about his sin, they will be affected.  Hidden sin has a way of rubbing off on others.  It might come across simply as a hardened heart towards the things of God.  When the group finds out about the sin, they will be affected by the person who has been leading them.

If the man is a leader in society, perhaps even a prominent politician …

Society will react.  You can’t tell me that President Clinton’s well publicized sins haven’t affected our nation.  People have learned to redefine their “sin” as in how Clinton redefined what “sex” was.  The moral standards of the nation were affected.

If a man is a pastor …

Whether it’s the pastor of a large church or a small church, a pastor is looked at as a moral example.  People who have come to know the Lord through his ministry will wonder if it was real.  People will feel betrayed.

Some who have struggled with pornography may say, “What the heck?”, and give up fighting. 

Some who were close to conversion may turn their backs, saying, “He’s no different than anyone else...”

We learned from Spiderman that with great power comes great responsibility.
James wrote,
(James 3:1 NKJV)  My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

Sometimes I wish Jesus would come back, or maybe if I just had a heart attack and died before I do something really, really stupid.

Pray for me.  This is indeed a fearful thing.

The answer is really not in leaving before you screw up.  The answer is in setting a good example for others to follow.