Leviticus 9-10

Thursday Evening Bible Study

October 8, 2009


Leviticus is an instruction manual for the Levite priests.

The main theme is “Holiness”

(Lev 19:2 NKJV) …'You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

We’ve had a primer on the various kinds of sacrifices:

Burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, and sin offerings.

Last week we saw the early stages of worship beginning as the priests went through their ordination ritual which involved being washed, clothed, anointed, sacrifices made, and then waiting for seven days.

Note to self:  I am a priest.  All believers are priests (Rev. 1:6).

Leviticus 9

9:1-6 Priestly worship starts

:1 It came to pass on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel.

To keep things clear chronologically:

The people were delivered out of Egypt.

They found their way through the Red Sea and ended up at the foot of Mount Sinai.

At Mount Sinai the people saw God’s presence coming like fire on the mountain, and the people heard God speak the Ten Commandments.

Moses went up to the mountain to receive more instructions from God while the people waited in their camp. God gave Moses detailed instructions on how to build the things necessary for worship, including the Tabernacle, altars, and the Ark of the Covenant.

During the first forty days the people became impatient and made a golden calf.

Moses went back up to the mountain, received a few more instructions, then came back and they built the Tabernacle and all the stuff that goes in it.

When the Tabernacle was set up, Moses offered the first initial sacrifices, and God showed up in glory at the tent. This ended the book of Exodus.

Leviticus starts with Moses receiving further instructions for the priests about the sacrifices.

The priests have now gone through their seven day ordination/preparation ceremony to begin their work as priests.

:2 And he said to Aaron, "Take for yourself a young bull as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD.

These two offerings will be for the priests.

:3 "And to the children of Israel you shall speak, saying, 'Take a kid of the goats as a sin offering, and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering,

:4 'also a bull and a ram as peace offerings, to sacrifice before the LORD, and a grain offering mixed with oil; for today the LORD will appear to you.'"

These offerings will be on behalf of the people.

:5 So they brought what Moses commanded before the tabernacle of meeting. And all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD.

:6 Then Moses said, "This is the thing which the LORD commanded you to do, and the glory of the LORD will appear to you."

9:7-14 The priests’ offering

:7 And Moses said to Aaron, "Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the LORD commanded."

:8 Aaron therefore went to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.

:9 Then the sons of Aaron brought the blood to him. And he dipped his finger in the blood, put it on the horns of the altar, and poured the blood at the base of the altar.

:9 on the horns of the altar

Aaron is actually putting the blood on the horns of the golden altar of incense, not the outdoor bronze altar. He is taking the blood into the tabernacle.

This was the way a sin offering was done for a priest (Lev. 4:7).
(Lev 4:7 NKJV) '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.

:10 But the fat, the kidneys, and the fatty lobe from the liver of the sin offering he burned on the altar, as the LORD had commanded Moses.

:11 The flesh and the hide he burned with fire outside the camp.

The purpose of the sin offering was to take care of sins.

With most sin offerings, part of the meat was given to the priest as payment for his work.

But not in this case.

The rule for eating sin offerings had to do with where the blood was sprinkled:

(Lev 6:30 NKJV) 'But no sin offering from which any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of meeting, to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten. It shall be burned in the fire.

Since this blood had been sprinkled on the altar of incense (vs. 9), both hide and flesh were taken outside the camp and burned.
In a practical sense – a priest got some benefit when atoning for other people’s sins, but he got no benefit when atoning for his own sins.

:12 And he killed the burnt offering; and Aaron's sons presented to him the blood, which he sprinkled all around on the altar.

The burnt offering was a little different. The entire animal was burnt on the altar, a picture of the worshipper being given completely to God. It is a picture of “consecration”, of giving yourself completely to God.

:13 Then they presented the burnt offering to him, with its pieces and head, and he burned them on the altar.

:14 And he washed the entrails and the legs, and burned them with the burnt offering on the altar.

In case you forgot, we’ve seen that a week prior to these events, we saw that Aaron and his sons went through an ordination ritual that had already contained a sin offering and a burnt offering.

Now, one week later, they have to repeat these two sacrifices.

The Old Testament system was filled with these images of continual and repeated sacrifices. In contrast, Jesus was able to pay for our sins with a single sacrifice.

(Heb 7:26-27 NKJV) For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; {27} who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
The Old Testament sacrifices were painting a picture for the people. It showed them that their sins needed to be paid for. Having to do this over and over again was a constant reminder of their constant need for forgiveness.
When Jesus died, His sacrifice was so awesome that He only needed to present one sacrifice. He was laying down an eternal, infinite life to pay for the sins of the world. He only needed to offer one sacrifice.

Note about Catholicism: We love our Catholic friends. But we need to recognize that when they celebrate the Eucharist (kind of like our communion), the Catholic church teaches that they are again offering up Jesus body and blood as a sacrifice. This is not only unnecessary, but I would imagine that it is quite offensive to God. If God only felt it necessary for His Son to pay with one sacrifice, why would we need to repeat it?

on the other hand, we may not need to keep sacrificing, but …


Cleansing is always necessary

You never stop needing forgiveness and cleansing.
I think its pride that sometimes keeps us from admitting that we are still sinners.
I might tell myself, “Well, if I had gotten drunk, committed adultery, or watched pornography on the internet, then I’d have something to ask forgiveness for”.
But in reality, yelling at your wife, not keeping a promise to your kids, or having unforgiveness in your heart are just as serious to God.
We always need forgiveness.
God's preference is for ministry to come out of a clean vessel.
(2 Tim 2:20-22 NKJV) But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. {21} Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. {22} Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Have you ever gotten milk out of the refrigerator, poured yourself a glass, only to find that the milk had gone sour?

What do you do with the glass of sour milk?

Do you drink it? Do you pour out the bad milk and refill the glass without rinsing it? You rinse the glass, then pour out fresh milk.

When we share with people about the Lord, we certainly don’t want to leave a taste of “us” in their mouths. We want them to just taste Jesus.

9:15-24 The people’s offering

Now that the priest’s sins have been once again taken care of, it is time to present the first offerings for all the people. This will be the first offerings made for the nation.

:15 Then he brought the people's offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and killed it and offered it for sin, like the first one.

:15 the goat

Remember the “sin offerings” of Leviticus 4? The type of animal sacrificed had to do with who had sinned.

When the nation had sinned, the offering was to be a bull (Lev. 4:14)

(Lev 4:14 NKJV) '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.

A goat was the prescription for a ruler (Lev. 4:23) or for a common person who had sinned (Lev. 4:28).

(Lev 4:28 NKJV) '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.

It’s as if the first sin offering was for individuals, not just the nation as a whole.

:15 took the goat

The goat would be slaughtered, then blood was sprinkled on the outdoor bronze altar, and the fat was burned on the altar. (Lev. 4:30-31).

(Lev 4:30-31 NKJV) '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.

Because the blood wasn’t taken inside the Tabernacle, part of the animal was to be given to the priests to be eaten (Lev. 6:26,30).

(Lev 6:26 NKJV) 'The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of meeting.
(Lev 6:30 NKJV) 'But no sin offering from which any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of meeting, to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten. It shall be burned in the fire.

Keep your eye on this goat. It will come into play in the next chapter (Lev. 10:16).

:16 And he brought the burnt offering and offered it according to the prescribed manner.

:17 Then he brought the grain offering, took a handful of it, and burned it on the altar, besides the burnt sacrifice of the morning.

:18 He also killed the bull and the ram as sacrifices of peace offerings, which were for the people.

:18 The peace offering was the sacrifice that constituted a big family meal with God. Peace has been made with God and now God and the nation will celebrate with a big barbecue where everyone gets a portion to eat.

:18 And Aaron's sons presented to him the blood, which he sprinkled all around on the altar,

:19 and the fat from the bull and the ram; the fatty tail, what covers the entrails and the kidneys, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver;

:20 and they put the fat on the breasts. Then he burned the fat on the altar;

:21 but the breasts and the right thigh Aaron waved as a wave offering before the LORD, as Moses had commanded.

:22 Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings.

:23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people,

:23 blessed the people

To “bless” means to call a “happiness” down on a person.

A little later, God will give Aaron some words to use:

(Num 6:23-26 NKJV) "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: {24} "The LORD bless you and keep you; {25} The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; {26} The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace."'
The priests were to ask God to protect His people.
They asked God to look with favor, to smile on the people.
They asked for peace.


We receive to bless

This is the whole essence of ministry.
It’s not just about coming to church and receiving great blessings and healing from the Lord.
It’s about receiving from God so we can bless others.
Ministry is all about passing on to others what we’ve received from the Lord.

:23 the glory of the LORD

glorykabowd – glory, honor, glorious, abundance

fromkabad – to be heavy, be weighty; honorable, glorious, grievous
We sometimes think of God’s glory as a bright shining light:
(1 Tim 6:16 NKJV) dwelling in unapproachable light…
When the glory first appeared at the Tabernacle:
(Exo 40:34-35 NKJV) Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. {35} And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

The glory seemed to be related to the “cloud”. It was so “heavy” that Moses couldn’t enter the tabernacle.

This is what some call the “Shekinah”, the glory of the Lord, the “presence” of the Lord. It comes from the Hebrew word shakan, which is translated “rested” in Ex. 40:35.

:24 and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

:24 fire came out

Keep in mind, there is already fire on the altar.

Moses had offered sacrifices back in Exodus 40.
There have been sacrifices for the ordination of the priests.
They’ve just finished the sin and burnt offerings for the priests.

Now God sends His fire and consumes the burnt offering for the people and the fat of the sin offering.

:24 from before the LORD

Did the fire come from heaven or from the holy of holies inside the tabernacle? We don’t know.


Fiery beginnings

It’s interesting to note that God has done this at other times:
God send fire here, when the Tabernacle worship is first started.
God sends fire when Solomon first starts worship with the temple (2Chr 7:1)

(2 Chr 7:1 NKJV) When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

God answered Elijah’s prayer with fire to bring the people back to God. (1Ki. 18:38)

(1 Ki 18:38 NKJV) Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.

God sends fire again when the church is started. “Tongues of fire” rest on the heads of each of the disciples. (Acts 2:3)

(Acts 2:3 NKJV) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

It seems that fire is a confirmation that a new thing has begun.
Note: God doesn’t do this all the time. These few times where God has sent fire are not the only times that the sacrifices have been acceptable to God. A continuing work doesn’t need this new “fire”.

Leviticus 10

10:1-7 Profane Fire

What an amazing morning it’s been.

Sacrifices, blessing, glory, and fire. God showed up.

:1 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.

:1 NadabNadab – “generous”

:1 Abihu‘Abiyhuw’ – “he is (my) father”

:1 censer – the bronze basket used to burn incense

:1 profane fire

profanezuwr – to be strange, loathsome

What is “profane fire” or “strange fire”?

We aren’t told. All we’re told is that it’s something that God did not ask for.

Put yourselves in the sandals of Nadab and Abihu, sons of the high priest.

They know they’re supposed to be doing “priestly” kinds of stuff.
As Pop and Uncle Mo are offering these sacrifices, suddenly fire comes down from heaven, and … hey … shouldn’t they be doing something too?
They pick up their “censer”, the little things used to burn incense in (after all, that is a priestly kind of thing!), stick some incense in, and took a couple of coals from their cooking fire, and ran off to burn incense before God.
It could be the actual coals or “fire” that was wrong.
It could be they used the wrong incense.
It could be that the fire and incense was right, but this wasn’t the time to be burning it.


Strange Fire

I want to be careful here. I don’t want you thinking that if you do something wrong in church that fire is going to come out and burn you up.
But sometimes we can do things that God isn’t asking us to do:
I wonder sometimes about churches that are very careful to use emotional manipulation with lighting, music, and encouragement from the stage, all based to create an emotional response.
Sometimes when we pray together, things get quiet. It’s okay that it’s quiet. But some of us don’t like quiet and we think someone should speak up and say something. So they pray. They don’t really have anything worth saying, but they are at least filling the time. It’s better to just be quiet.
I’ve been in churches where a soloist gets up to sing, and I wonder why this person is singing. I feel like they are just up in front to get attention. I think that’s a danger all of us face who get up in front of people – just trying to get attention.
A.W. Tozer said, “If God were to take His Holy Spirit out of this world, much of what the church is doing would go right on; and nobody would know the difference.”
Are we truly Spirit-led?  Would we be lost without Him?

:2 So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

God wasn’t too thrilled with these guys coming in and doing their own “thing”.

God wants us to be on HIS program, not ours. He wants us to be following His direction and not just making things up as we go.

Why so harsh a penalty?

1. It was serious because of their position. They were representatives of the Lord. They, above all, should be examples of obedience to God.

(1 Tim 5:19-20 NKJV) Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. {20} Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

2. Things need to be right at the beginning.

This was the beginning of Judaism.
There is a parallel with another time in scripture, during the time of another beginning, the beginning of the church. (Ananias and Saphira, Acts 5)
A teacher starting in a new class of children needs to demonstrate first his ability to follow through on discipline, or else the class is never in control.

:3 And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.' " So Aaron held his peace.

:3 holyqadash – to consecrate, sanctify, dedicate, be hallowed, be separate

God is concerned that those who draw near to Him realize just Who He is, and What He’s like!

You don’t treat the King of the Universe just any old way that you may feel like.
Sometimes we get to thinking about God being our friend, and forget just who this FRIEND is!
(Eccl 5:2 NKJV) Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few.

How do those in God’s presence treat Him?

(Isa 6:1-5 NKJV) In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. {2} Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. {3} And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!"
Look at how the angelic beings act toward God:

They cover themselves

They cry out to each other, declaring God’s holiness.

{4} And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. {5} So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts."
Look at Isaiah’s response to the vision:

He cries out, “Woe is me!”

He is aware of his unholiness.

:4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, "Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp."

If I were these fellows, I’d be a little reluctant to get anywhere near the tabernacle.

:5 So they went near and carried them by their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had said.

:6 And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons, "Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the people. But let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD has kindled.

:7 "You shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you." And they did according to the word of Moses.

Though the rest of the nation was allowed to mourn for Nadab and Abihu, Aaron and his sons were not.

:7 Why no mourning?

1. To demonstrate the righteousness of God’s judgment.

I think this is because God wanted them to demonstrate before the people that they understood what had happened and why. God was just and righteous in toasting Nadab and Abihu.
Aaron and his sons had a choice to make, were they going to choose to follow after God, or make these two men more important by mourning after them?
If they had mourned Nadab and Abihu, it could have been interpreted as disagreeing with God’s judgment on them. It could be interpreted as feeling that what God had done was wrong.
Jesus said,
(Mat 10:37-38 NKJV) "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. {38} "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
There are times when God’s judgment seems kind of harsh to us. We can find ourselves explaining God’s judgment away. Kind of making excuses for God.
Defensive about hell:  There is no reason to apologize for hell. The problem is that we don’t realize the horrible offense of our own sin. We think that all a person deserves is a little slap on the wrist.

A young lady writes …One day my Mother was out and my Dad was in charge of me. I was maybe 2-1/2 years old. Someone had given me a little ‘tea set’ as a gift and it was one of my favorite play things. Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought Daddy a little cup of ‘tea’, which was just water. After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my Mom came home. My Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was ‘just the cutest thing!’ My Mom waited, and sure enough, here I came down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watched him drink it up. Then she said, (as only a mother would know...) ‘Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach to get water is the toilet?

Our sin might seem pretty harmless, but in reality it’s quite sickening.

We need to be careful that we don’t end up mourning for poor old Nadab and Abihu, when God was very just and correct in judging them.

2. Ministry’s secret pain.

They were not to go out, lest they die, because the anointing oil was on them.
In other words, their ministry wasn’t over yet. They hadn’t finished their ministry in the tabernacle.
They were still required to eat their portions of the sacrifices before they left their duty.
A priest has to learn to put his ministry before his own self.
(Phil 2:3-8 NKJV) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. {4} Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. {5} Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, {6} who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, {7} but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. {8} And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
It is our human nature to take care of Number One first. “Number One” usually means “me”.
A priest has to learn to live for others.

10:8-11 Instructions about Alcohol

:8 Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, saying:

:9 "Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die.

It might be tempting to think this is a new chapter, perhaps another day. It’s not. After this great tragedy, God pulls Aaron aside and gives him some instruction about alcohol. God connects it with not dying.

The implication is that alcohol was an indirect reason why Nadab and Abihu were killed.

The direct reason was the strange fire. They were killed for offering strange fire.

But the reason they offered strange fire seems to be because they had been drinking before the whole event took place.

:9 It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations,

:10 "that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean,

:11 "and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them by the hand of Moses."

We talked a few weeks back on Sunday about drinking. It is allowable for a Christian to drink. It is not allowable for a Christian to get drunk.

Here we see a warning for “priests”, for those who want to serve the Lord.


Reasons for sobriety

1. Discernment
So they can be able to make a distinction between the holy and profane, between the unclean and clean.
Things are going to get a little clearer in coming chapters of what some of those distinctions are.
Nadab and Abihu didn’t have clear heads to tell that they were doing a stupid thing.
They weren’t clear at all as to just what God’s holiness was all about.
A person who has their discernment impaired begins to allow all sorts of garbage into their lives that shouldn’t be there.
2. Teaching
Priests were not only to have their own lives in order, being able to tell the clean from the unclean, but they were to learn how to teach others as well.
If you don’t have it straight in your own head as to what’s right and wrong, how can you help someone else?
Just a loving reminder, we all have some responsibility to teach one another:

(Col 3:16 NKJV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

10:12-20 Finishing the job

A horrible thing has happened. Things went horribly wrong. This was supposed to be their initial offerings of worship to God, and instead two men have died.

Moses is faced with a problem. What do you do when things go horribly wrong, but you are in the middle of something that is so important? Do you stop? Do you quit?

Moses feels that it’s important for the priests to finish what they started.

They still need to eat the grain offering from the sacrifice (vs. 12-13).

They need to eat their portion of the peace offering (vs. 14-15)

Then Moses notices something wrong …remember that goat? … skip to verse …

:12 And Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons who were left: "Take the grain offering that remains of the offerings made by fire to the LORD, and eat it without leaven beside the altar; for it is most holy.

:13 "You shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your due and your sons' due, of the sacrifices made by fire to the LORD; for so I have been commanded.

They had been in the middle of the sacrifices when Nabad and Abihu stepped over the line.

Some of the rituals involved the priests eating a portion.

:14 "The breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering you shall eat in a clean place, you, your sons, and your daughters with you; for they are your due and your sons' due, which are given from the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel.

:15 "The thigh of the heave offering and the breast of the wave offering they shall bring with the offerings of fat made by fire, to offer as a wave offering before the LORD. And it shall be yours and your sons' with you, by a statute forever, as the LORD has commanded."

They have food left on their plate.

:16 Then Moses made careful inquiry about the goat of the sin offering, and there it was; burned up. And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left, saying,

There’s that goat from Lev. 9:15 …

:17 "Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a holy place, since it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?

:18 "See! Its blood was not brought inside the holy place; indeed you should have eaten it in a holy place, as I commanded."

Remember the sin offering rules from a couple weeks ago?

1. If the blood isn’t brought into the Tabernacle, then the priest is to eat the meat (Lev. 6:26)

(Lev 6:26 NKJV) 'The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of meeting.

2. If blood from the sin offering is brought inside the Tabernacle, then the meat is to be burned (Lev. 6:30)

(Lev 6:30 NKJV) 'But no sin offering from which any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of meeting, to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten. It shall be burned in the fire.

Moses is upset because this goat should have been eaten by the priests, but instead it had been left on the fire to be burnt up.

:17 to bear the guilt

There were two types of sin offerings where the blood was not taken into the Tabernacle: The sin offering for a ruler and the sin offering for the common person.

With these two offerings, the priest was to eat the meat of the sin offering.
This wasn’t just some sort of payment for the priest’s work, it was actually a part of the ceremony.

The priest was “bearing the guilt” of the people.

The picture is that the sin of the person was transferred to the animal.
The animal with the sin dies.
The priest eats part of the animal, taking the sin into himself, “bearing the sin”.
It is another part of the picture of Jesus Christ, taking our sins upon Himself.
(Isa 53:6 NKJV) All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

:19 And Aaron said to Moses, "Look, this day they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD, and such things have befallen me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD?"

Aaron is kind of saying, “Hey brother, back off, if you’d look at what my family has gone through today, losing two sons, do you think God is that worried about us eating our portion of the sacrifice?”


Holiness and grace.

Even though we see the severity of God in Nadab and Abihu’s burning, we also see the understanding and grace of God in Eleazar and Ithamar’s mistake.
We can focus entirely on the burning up of Nadab and Abihu, and on God’s holiness, and completely overlook the entire chapter, in which God turns around and allows them to get away with breaking one of the guidelines.
We need to learn balance.
We need to understand both holiness as well as grace.

:20 So when Moses heard that, he was content.

Are you content with grace?