The Mediator’s Duties, Part I
The book of Leviticus gives lots and lots (and lots) of rules for the priests to follow. And when speaking of the duties of the high priest, it will often note that the same duties will devolve to the next high priest who is anointed to assume the duties of the previous high priest.
What is implied there is that the high priest was limited to a certain term which was due to end at his death. As this is the case, then it tells us that the high priest was not immune from death, nor would he ever be capable of being immune from it. If it was possible, then the Bible would have said as much.
But in speaking of the ordination and carrying on of the duties of the high priest by another generation, the implication is that death was a certainty. As the Bible clearly shows from its first pages that death is the result of sin, then we can easily deduce that the law could not cure the sin problem.
If the law is the super duper thing that Israel, even Israel of today, seems to think it is, then the law would be able to take care of the whole “I’m destined to die” thing. But nobody ever talks about being exempt from death because of the law.
Christians, on the other hand, talk about it all the time. While at the same time as expecting our end because of inevitable death, Christians also have the hope of actually never tasting death. If that is available to Christians, and it is, then that means that the sin-generated death problem is already fixed. The plan just has not yet been fully put into place.
Text Verse: “Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:23-25
God did something marvelous in Christ Jesus. He fixed the death problem for us, by having Someone die who could not stay dead. Think about that for a moment. When someone offered a sacrifice for sin in Israel, the priest would eat of that person’s sacrifice because he was bearing the sin of that person as the mediator between him and God.
However, when a priest sacrificed for himself, he could not eat of the sacrifice because it would be as if he was taking his sin back upon himself again. But in Christ, we have a High Priest who is always alive. He died for our sin, but not His own. There was no sin that could come back to Him. And so for us, there is now no sin that can come back to us as well.
The sinless One is there mediating for His people, bearing their sins, but not facing death because of His own sins. The law which stood opposed to us was nailed to His cross. It died with Him, and so now we can live to God through Christ. It really is an amazing thing which God has done.
As we go through the many verses today, think about the symbolism as it looks forward to Christ. Some of it will be explained, some of it will be reexplained, and some of it should be well known enough to you already where it doesn’t need to be explained, but it is all about Jesus, and it is all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. A Trespass Against the Lord (verses 1-7)
These words were last seen in verse 5:14. They are brought in now to signify a new train of thought is being introduced. The previous section dealt with things holy to the Lord; this now deals with offenses against one’s neighbor. Something you should know is that the division of the Hebrew Bible is different than how we divide it. Charles Ellicott explains this for us and it is well worth remembering –
“It is repeatedly stated, in some of our best commentaries, that Leviticus 6:1-7 form part of Leviticus 5 in the Hebrew Bible, and that our translators unfortunately adopted the division of the Septuagint, instead of following the Hebrew. Nothing can be more erroneous than this statement. The Hebrew Scriptures in manuscript have no division into chapters at all. The text is divided into sections, of which there are no less than 669 in the Pentateuch. The book of Leviticus has ninety-eight of these sections, while in our Authorised Version it has only twenty-seven chapters. The divisions into chapters, now to be found in the Hebrew Bibles, were adopted in the fourteenth century by the Jews from the Christians for polemical purposes, and the figures attached to each verse are of a still later period.”
In other words, the Jews of the 14th century illogically divided the Scriptures as a means of attacking the divisions of the Christian Bible, but the Christian Bible follows the divisions of the Greek translation of the Old Testament which predates even Christ’s coming. The words of this first verse of chapter 6 show us that this is an entirely separate thought from that of verse 5:14, and therefore, the new chapter division is appropriate.
The same word, maal, which was introduced into the Bible in verse 5:15 is used here again. It indicates committing a trespass, or dealing treacherously. In both verses, it is called a trespass against the Lord, even though this offense is against a neighbor.
The idea is that when someone defrauds or steals from a neighbor, it subverts social life. As the social life of the Israelites is established by God in His law over them, then to act against a neighbor is an insult to God. Thus, the sin is against the Lord, even if it is the neighbor who has been violated.
2 (con’t) by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if he has extorted from his neighbor,
The word for “lying” here is kakhash. It has only been used once so far, in Genesis 18:15 when Sarah denied that she laughed when the Lord said she would bear a child. It is a lie of denial or deception. This lying is said to be to the person’s amith, or neighbor. This is a new word in Scripture which will be found only in Leviticus with one exception which is Zechariah 13:7. It gives the sense of an associate or a companion.
Each of the things which involve lying to the neighbor are based on rare Hebrew words, or words which are now introduced for the first time, or even the only time. The words then, like those of any judicial instruction, are specific and precise. When one listens to a court proceeding, they may hear words which they have never heard before, but the law carries the need for precision which is often meant to explain the regular evil-doing of man in a way which intimately describes the actions he is involved in.
What is being relayed in this verse concerns the normal way things were done in Israel. If a person was going on a journey perhaps, they would need their things taken care of while gone. Suppose they had animals which needed to be tended to. They would be given over as a piqadon, or a deposit. The intent was that the thing would be kept safe for the individual.
The next example might be something precious which needed to be kept. The term is bitsumet yad, or a security (in) hand. This would be something small and precious, like money or jewelry. It would be handed to another for safekeeping. This is an offense which has already been explained, at least in part, in Exodus 22 –
“If a man delivers to his neighbor money or articles to keep, and it is stolen out of the man’s house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double. 8 If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges to see whether he has put his hand into his neighbor’s goods.” Exodus 22:7, 8
The third example is of a gazel, or robbery. It is something taken by violence. And the final example is that of ashaq. This is extortion or taking through oppression. Each of these was wrongdoing against one’s neighbor, but it is an offense within society, and thus offensive to God.
This is a fifth thing which falls under the same major category, finding something which was lost by another and lying concerning it. Exodus 23:4 specifically speaks of an enemy’s ox going astray which is found by someone. Even in such a circumstance, they were to acknowledge that which they found and return it to its rightful owner. Thus the enemy of Exodus 23:4 must be considered as the amith, or neighbor, of this verse for sake of the law.
3 (con’t) and swears falsely—in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins:
The swearing falsely here covers all of the previous five categories. One may lie about a deposit, a pledge in hand, about robbery, extortion, or finding something which didn’t belong to him. Each of the categories against another man unites in the one idea of it being sin against God.
The question we should stop and ask ourselves at this point is, “Have we ever done any such thing?” Even if the answer is, “No,” we have probably thought of doing one or more of them many times. The law is intended to bring out of us a sense of the state of wrongdoing that exists deep in the human heart.
4 then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has extorted, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found,
The idea here is that the person willingly admits his guilt through a sense of remorse or a nagging conscience. It is not to include being caught and being convicted without a confession. This is certain because of the penalty which is imposed in the next verse. For someone who is guilty without confession, the penalty has already been established in earlier Exodus verses, one of which I cited a minute ago. For this, the first thing he is to do is to restore the thing which was involved in the offense.
The person who was defrauded is to receive the restoration and accept one-fifth of the value added to it by the offender. What is implied, is that it is to be accepted. There is nothing stating that he has either a right to deny it or to request more. The matter is to be considered as settled. If one looks at it from this viewpoint, it is as much a protection for the one who is trying to make right, as it is for the person who was defrauded in the first place.
From here, he is then to also give his trespass offering. The two were to occur one immediately after the other. The restitution to the aggrieved party was not considered sufficient for the offense. A trespass offering was required as well. It was to be a sign of sorrow for his transgression against another, against society, and against God. The penalty of this offering, and its accompanying ritual are the same as for the offenses noted in chapter 5 as is seen next…
The difference between this trespass and one directly against the Lord is that the one who is offended receives the additional one-fifth value for the wrong done toward him. Whereas in an offense against the holy things of the Lord, the one-fifth value was given to the priest. Other than that, the same ram is required as before.
This verse corresponds to 5:16. In both instances, the priest makes atonement for the offender, and he is forgiven for the wrong he has done. Again as in the previous chapter, the entire process looks ahead to the work of Christ for all of these same offenses which we have committed against our fellow man, our society, and our God. In the end, our offenses are ultimately offenses against Him.
I defrauded my neighbor, but have taken it to heart
I did him wrong, when I should have been upright
Now it is time I make a new start
A new day now ends the anxious, sleepless night
No more will I swear falsely, I will pay for what I have done
And to the Lord I will offer a ram to set things right
Against Him I have sinned; He the offended One
But my offering will end this miserable plight
My High Priest will make atonement for me
I will be made right because of my Lord
I am trusting in Jesus to once and forever set me free
I have faith in the truth of His marvelous word
II. The Law of the Burnt Offering (verses 8-13)
8 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
Again, after just a few verses, an entirely new section is introduced which will include the laws for the burnt, grain, sin, trespass, and peace offerings which have all been laid out already. One might wonder why these are detailed now instead of in those chapters.
The reason is that up to now, the details showed the people the circumstances which necessitated bringing an offering, and how it was to be done. Now the directions are given for how the priests are to actually conduct their duties on behalf of the people.
Many scholars claim that this is where the chapter should actually begin, and that verses 1-7 should belong to chapter 5, but there is no reason to conclude this. Verses 1-7 were their own section. Their placement here is therefore not at all uncalled for. The divisions are logical and orderly as they are compiled in the Christian canon.
The directions from the Lord now are to be relayed as a commandment to Aaron and his sons. The intent is that until the next major section, everything that will be spoken is a responsibility of theirs. This section will take us all the way to verse 7:21 when the children of Israel are again the addressees.
9 (con’t) ‘This is the law of the burnt offering:
The term, “This is the law of” will be seen at the beginning of each section right through verse 7:21, all of which are spoken to Aaron and his sons. After that, instructions will be spoken again to the children of Israel. Each section is a part of the larger set of instructions which the Lord is giving.
9 (con’t) The burnt offering shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it.
This first type of offering, the burnt-offering, is the one detailed in Exodus 29. It is the daily lamb offerings which were offered in the morning and then in the afternoon at a time known as “between the evenings.” They were to be offered every day without fail, and they pointed in a marvelous way to the work of Christ on the day of His cross. If you missed that sermon, or if you have forgotten it, it’s time for you to brush up by re-viewing it once again.
The last sacrifice upon the altar each day was one of the lambs of this burnt-offering, and the first offering upon the altar each next day was, again, to be this daily lamb offering. It was to be kept burning all night, right up until morning, and then the next offering was to be made. The fire was never to go out, but was to be kept burning perpetually. The reason for this is that the fire was sanctified by the Lord at the consecration of the altar. After that, the same fire, sanctified by Him, was to consume all sacrifices from then on out. This will be seen in just a few more chapters –
“Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, 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.” Leviticus 9:23, 24
This then is a picture of the eternal fire of the Lord, consuming the sin of man. Either it is done on behalf of man by Christ, or it is done to man in the Lake of Fire. Either way, sin will be judged, and the fire is that from the Lord Himself.
10 And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen trousers he shall put on his body, and take up the ashes of the burnt offering which the fire has consumed on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.
The specificity for the priest to put on his linen garments is not unnecessary. The ashes were a part of the holy offering of the daily sacrifices. Therefore, the person doing the labor of removing the ashes was to be attired properly for the task. The linen garment he is to wear is described by a new word in Scripture, mad. It would be a full length robe. The “trousers” are undergarments which come from a word which gives the sense of “hiding.”
The linen they are made of in Hebrew is bad. It is probably from the word badad, or “shoots.” Thus one gets the idea of divided fibers that are woven together. The nakedness of the priests was to be covered in order to reflect purity and holiness instead of indecency. A sense of the holiness of the duties was to be reflected in the wearing of this attire. In these garments, he was to gather up the ashes of the burnt-offering, and then place them by the altar.
The holy garments were to be worn in the sanctuary and for holy duties. However, he was not to go outside the sanctuary with them. And so after gathering the ashes of the fat, he was to change into common garments where he would then carry them outside of the camp to a place which was not defiled in any way. No carcasses, dung, or any other thing which caused defilement was to be found in the place where the ashes of the fat were disposed of.
These words are given as a stern warning that while the ashes were being removed, the priest was to ensure that the fire would not be quenched during the process. He was not to knock the still-burning pieces of the offering which were the fuel for the fire and thus cause the fire to go out. And then to stress this it says…
12 (con’t) it shall not be put out.
The word for “shall be put out” is a new word in Scripture, kabah. It means to extinguish. The same thought is restated in a new way. The fire was not to go out, but was to be kept burning always.
12 (con’t) And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings.
The fire that was left from the previous night was to be rekindled with wood each morning in preparation for the morning offering. When that lamb was sacrificed, it was then laid on the wood in its regular order as prescribed, and any time peace offerings were offered, the fat of those, as previously detailed, was to also be burnt on it. The fire then was to be continuously fueled by the fire provided by the congregation, and by the sacrifices of these daily offerings. And then, once again, the strict warning is given…
There is no exception. When the altar was moved, the fire was to be kept burning. From day to day and year to year, the same fire that was first sanctified by the Lord was to burn. It is His fire of judgment, and only His fire. No strange fire was to be introduced, because only the Lord’s judgment upon sin is acceptable.
The repetition is intended to show us this truth. All judgment is of the Lord. His judgment upon our sin in Christ is eternally effective, or His judgment upon man’s sin will be eternally applied. This is seen in Isaiah 66 where the same word, kabah, which was in both verse 11 and 13 is seen there –
“And they shall go forth and look
Upon the corpses of the men
Who have transgressed against Me.
For their worm does not die,
And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” Isaiah 66:24
A lamb precious and pure is given
For to my God I desire to provide my very best
He has brought me to the place of abundant livin’
And to please Him is my heart-filled quest
How good and pleasant it is to offer the lamb
I pray that He is pleased with the condition of my heart
I love my Lord God, the great I AM
And so to Him this precious lamb I do impart
May the Lord accept this offering in my place
And look with favor upon me as I go my way
May the Lord turn to me His glorious shining face
And may He bless my steps each and every day
III. The Law of the Grain Offering (verses 14-23)
14 ‘This is the law of the grain offering: The sons of Aaron shall offer it on the altar before the Lord.
The directions here are a close repeat of Leviticus 2:1-3, but with some additions as well. The Hebrew says that the grain-offering was to be offered before the Lord and before the altar, not “on the altar” as the NKJV reads. Further, conducting this duty was limited to the sons of Aaron, meaning any of the descendants of him from that point on who were ordained to be priests.
15 He shall take from it his handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, with its oil, and all the frankincense which is on the grain offering, and shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma, as a memorial to the Lord.
These words are a close repeat of Leviticus 2:2, all of the symbolism as we saw points to Christ. The fine flour, the oil, the frankincense, all of it is given as anticipatory pictures of the coming work of Christ. It is He and His work which is ultimately the true sweet aroma and memorial to the Lord.
The word “with” does not belong here. The remainder of the grain-offering was not to be eaten “with” unleavened bread. Rather, it was to be eaten “as” unleavened bread. If your Bible says “with,” make a note. The grain-offering was to be made into unleavened cakes and then eaten in a holy place. Only males could eat this as it was deemed as a most holy offering. However, any male who ceremonially defiled could not partake of this offering.
This shows that the word “with” in the previous verse is incorrect. The remainder of the offering was not to be baked with leaven. It was to be eaten as unleavened bread. The reason is…
17 (con’t) I have given it as their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, like the sin offering and the trespass offering.
Notice the use of the first person. The Lord claims this offering as His, but He gave it to the priests as their portion. Thus it is considered qodesh qadashim, or holy of holies. As leaven pictures sin, there was to be no leaven mixed with this most holy offering.
The words are specific and exclude any female, and they also exclude anyone outside of the priesthood of Aaron and his sons from partaking of this offering. This was to be a statute forever according to the time of the continuance of the covenant. The term, “forever” simply means “to the vanishing point.” It does not mean eternally. In Christ, the law is ended, and the prohibitions no longer apply. However, as there are seven years left for Israel under the Old Covenant according to Daniel 9, then this prohibition will be in effect during those final seven years.
18 (con’t) Everyone who touches them must be holy.’”
There are two views on this. The first is that only someone who was holy, or set apart, could touch these offerings. The second is that if someone touched them, they became holy. If the latter is true, and which seems to be the case, it means that any common person who touched them would become devoted to the Lord. As they had no right to the priestly privileges, it would mean a life filled with inconvenience because of their transgression.
This introduces a new section within “the laws of” which began in verse 9, and they continue the laws of the grain offering, but the instructions are solely for the anointed priest concerning the grain offerings which apply to him, not to those of the general congregation.
The wording here needs a moment of explanation. Aaron was anointed, and the ordination process took seven days to complete. During that time, this offering wasn’t made. It only took effect upon the completion of his ordination, and from that time forwards. The term “on the day” then is speaking of the time-frame of the ordination. Upon the completion of that time-frame, the offerings were to be made day by day.
20 (con’t) one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a daily grain offering, half of it in the morning and half of it at night.
One-tenth of an ephah is an omer, or as much as a person would eat in a single day. This was to be offered each day as a grain-offering to the Lord, and it was to be divided into one portion in the morning, and the second in the evening. The term here for “night” is not the same as the time of day that the lamb was sacrificed. This word means precisely, “in the evening.”
The wording here is very precise, and it was solely the responsibility of the high priest to accomplish this task each day. He was to use a flat pan, like a griddle, mix it with oil, and bake the pieces before offering them to the Lord on the altar. Jewish tradition says he made six pieces in the morning and six at night, being the same number as the bread of the Presence, but this is not included as part of Scripture.
The word for “mixed” here is rabak. It is found just three times in Scripture, and all three are pertaining to this same process. It gives the sense of soaking bread in oil for the purpose of frying it.
The meaning here is that this duty each day rested solely with the high priest. Whoever succeeded him would then assume this particular duty. This is the meaning of “who is anointed in his place.” There was but one anointed priest at at time. Nothing is said about what was done if the high priest was sick or incapacitated. And this verse does not seem to give the high priest any chance of going on vacation, even for a weekend.
The duty was his, it was done twice a day, and it was done by him until he was succeeded by a new high priest. This was to continue on as long as the law remained in effect. As Christ is the fulfillment of this practice, and the Initiator of the New Covenant, the words “forever to the Lord” point to Him having accomplished this now, once and forever.
22 (con’t) It shall be wholly burned.
The other grain-offerings brought by the people had a memorial handful taken out and presented to the Lord on the altar. After that, the rest belonged to the priests for their use. On the other hand, this offering had to be kalil taqetar, or wholly burned (as incense). The reason for this is that it would be unseemly to make an offering to the Lord and then partake in it. And, as he was the highest official, the offering could not be passed down to a lower station from Him. It was solely the property of the Lord, and it was to be wholly burnt up as an aroma to Him.
This offering which is not a bloody offering was not intended for expiation of sin, but was rather a type of the fruits of sanctification. Again, it looks forward to Christ. As the daily sacrificed lamb was a type of His cross as a perfect sin-offering, this is a type of His perfect life, lived wholly to God.
Again, the prohibition is repeated as a type of emphasis. The grain-offering of the priest belonged to the Lord, not to the priest. In picture, it is the priest living for the Lord, not for himself. As he is a type of Christ, it is emblematic of Christ living for God and not for Himself. He yielded His life to the Father, being literally saturated in the Holy Spirit, just as this bread was saturated in oil. This is what is seen in this daily grain-offering of the high-priest.
What will it take to please the Lord; how much work will do?
When will my deeds be enough?
I think I have satisfied Him through and through
But then I ponder about my life… all the bad stuff
And then I see that the bad outweighs the good
And so I do a bit more hoping it will be enough
But the nagging sensation makes it understood
That doing wrong makes the good disappear like a puff
And then I heard that He had done it all for me
Jesus’ works were perfect; God deemed it enough
Like frankincense, His life was accepted. How can it be?
His works are sufficient to cover all of my bad stuff
IV. The Law of the Sin Offering (verses 24-30)
24 Also the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
The word “also” here is inappropriate. It is the exact same words as have been seen at the beginning of each section. It should simply read, “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,” just as it has each time. However, though it is a new direction from the Lord, it still continues the same major section which began in verses 8 and 9 which are commandments directly to Aaron and his sons. This section expands on the instructions given in Leviticus 4.
The place where the burnt-offering is killed is specified in Leviticus 1:3 as being at the door of the tent of meeting, but this properly means, at the altar, and specifically on its north side (1:11). It is the sacrifice at the altar which allows entry through the door. The two are linked together as one. A sin offering is considered one which falls into the class of most holy offerings. As Albert Barnes notes about this term being applied here –
“The flesh of the victim, which represented the sinner for whom atonement was now made, was to be solemnly, and most exclusively, appropriated by those who were appointed to mediate between the sinner and the Lord. The far-reaching symbolism of the act met its perfect fulfillment in the One Mediator who took our nature upon Himself.” Albert Barnes
26 The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it.
The symbolism here is that the priest thus bore the sin of the person that brought the offering. This is explicitly stated in Leviticus 10:17. Thus, it looks forward to Christ bearing the sin of His people. In practical day to day life, it also was a means of providing for the priests who had no inheritance of their own. Unfortunately, this symbolism of the priests bearing the sin of the people was abused by them when they went on to revel in their own sins. This is seen in Hosea 4 –
“The more they increased,
The more they sinned against Me;
I will change their glory into shame.
8 They eat up the sin of My people;
They set their heart on their iniquity.
9 And it shall be: like people, like priest.
So I will punish them for their ways,
And reward them for their deeds.” Hosea 4:7-9
26 (con’t) In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of meeting.
The court is everything outside of the tent itself, but within the hangings which surrounded the tent, forming the courtyard. The priests would have a place set apart where they would gather and eat their meals within this courtyard.
The same terminology is used here as before. Either the person touching the flesh must be holy, or the person who touches the flesh will become holy, meaning devoted to the Lord. Scholars punch it out over which is correct, but the latter does seem to be more likely. This seems even more so because of what is next said about the blood.
27 (con’t) And when its blood is sprinkled on any garment, you shall wash that on which it was sprinkled, in a holy place.
Any blood which was inadvertently sprinkled on any garment needed to be washed off, there in a holy place designated for such things. This was done to show the high and precious value of the blood of the sacrifice which was not to be taken into any profane place, or among anything common or unclean. The blood of the sin-offering is typical of the precious blood of Christ which is to be treated with the highest respect and regard for what it signifies in the life of the believer.
The kheres, or earthen vessel, is introduced here. It is any pot or potsherd made of earthenware. If such a vessel was used for boiling the sacrifices, it was to be broken, because it could absorb the fat of the offering into it. Later in Leviticus, the exact opposite will necessitate the breaking of earthen vessels. If they touch anything defiled, they were to likewise be broken.
In the Bible earthenware jars are used at times to symbolize people and the Lord is the Potter. The lesson should not go unlearned. The holy is not to be mixed with the profane, and we, as earthen jars, are to be filled with that which is holy. After that, we are to keep ourselves from being mixed with that which is profane.
28 (con’t) And if it is boiled in a bronze pot, it shall be both scoured and rinsed in water.
A pot of bronze would not be subject to soaking up defilement, and so it would need to be scoured and then rinsed to purify it. Both words, scour and rinse, are introduced here. One gives the sense of polishing, the other gives the sense of overflowing with water in order to cleanse. As bronze signifies judgment in Scripture, there is a picture of sin being judged and cleansed away. In such a case, the bowl could be reused. Such was not the case with a vessel of clay.
The typology is impressive, and it shows that the Lord has our sanctification and holy living on His mind, even with the vessels used in the sacrificial rites and customs.
The meat of the sin-offering was allowed to be eaten not only by the officiating priest, but by any of the priests, and any of their male children. Despite the high honor of this for the priests, the New Testament says that believers in Christ have an even higher honor in that we have an altar from which those who served at the tabernacle have no right to eat. We have partaken of what these types and shadows only prefigure in the Person and work of Christ.
This takes us back to the sin offerings for the high priest, or of the congregation as a whole, which were seen in Leviticus 4, and which will be seen for the sin offering of the Day of Atonement rites of Leviticus 16. Any such sin offering had its blood brought into the holy place of the tent of meeting. There atonement was made by sprinkling seven times, and upon the horns of the altar of incense before the Lord. Such an animal was not to be eaten by the priests as it would then symbolize the sin returning to the one who needed atonement in the first place.
Again as we keep seeing, the verses show us of the fallible nature of the law. Not because the law was with fault, but because man is with fault, and the law is above man’s ability to to meet its requirements. The symbolism keeps showing us this.
Each step of the process shows the fallible nature of the common people, and the fallible nature of the priestly class as well. Anyone who has to sacrifice for himself is in need of that sacrifice. And any sacrifice that cannot be partaken of by the offeror implies that what has occurred with that sacrifice becomes beyond the holiness of the that same offeror.
In order for perfection to be realized under the law, there must be One who is already perfect. Thus He would need no sacrifices for His own sins, and He could then fulfill the law in this capacity. In fulfilling the law, then He could give His life in exchange for the sins committed under the law, not as an offering for Himself, but as an offering for others.
And as sin under the law brings death, but because He had no sin of His own, then death could not hold Him. One receives wages for what He has earned. If He did not earn the wages of death, then death could not be a final payment for His works. The state of death must release Him. And in His release, our release would also be realized because He had died in exchange for our sins. If you just think each step through to its logical conclusion, it is more than amazing… it is perfect. What God has done in and through Jesus Christ is absolutely perfect.
And it is ours to be received by a mere act of faith. This is the most marvelous part of the entire deal. The work is done and it is fully effective to complete the task of reconciliation for us, and all God asks for is simple faith. “I believe that what You have done is all-sufficient for what I need. I receive it by faith.” In that act, you are set on a new path, and are freed from the constraints of the law which could save no one.
I would hope that you are seeing this more and more with each new passage we look at. God has been doing something absolutely marvelous in the stream of human existence, all leading up to the glory which was revealed in Christ Jesus. And now that is leading up to a new glory which lies ahead for those who have received this marvelous offer. Call on Christ, and be reconciled to God today through His shed blood.
Closing Verse: “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26
Next Week: Leviticus 7:1-21 More things for the priests to do… (The Mediator’s Duties, Part II) (9th Leviticus Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if you have a lifetime of sin heaped up behind you, He can wash it away and purify you completely and wholly. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
The Mediator’s Duties
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying
These are the words he was relaying
If a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord
By lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him
For safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery
Or if he has extorted from his neighbor; an action quite grim
Or if he has found what was lost
And lies concerning it, and swears falsely
In any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins
Then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty
That he shall restore what he has stolen
Or the thing which he has extorted
Or what was delivered to him for safekeeping
Or the lost thing which he found, when it went unreported
Or all that about which he has sworn falsely
He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it
And give it to whomever it belongs
On the day of his trespass offering, as to you I submit
And he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord
A ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation
As a trespass offering, to the priest
Such is the set determination
So the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord
And he shall be forgiven for any one of these things
That he may have done in which he trespasses
When upon himself guilt he brings
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying
This he next began relaying
Command Aaron and his sons, saying
This is the law of the burnt offering, as I to you submit
The burnt offering shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night
Until morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it
And the priest shall put on his linen garment
He shall do this thing
And his linen trousers he shall put on his body
And take up the ashes of the burnt offering
Which the fire has consumed on the altar
And he shall put them beside the altar; in this he shall not falter
Then he shall take off his garments
Put on other garments; yes the others he shall replace
And carry the ashes
Outside the camp to a clean place
And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it
It shall not be put out, so to you I submit
And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning
And lay the burnt offering in order on it
And he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings, no doubt
A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out
This is the law of the grain offering; according to this word
The sons of Aaron shall offer it on the altar before the Lord
He shall take from it his handful of the fine flour of the grain offering
With its oil, and all the frankincense which is on the grain offering
And shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma
As a memorial to the Lord, so shall be this proffering
And the remainder of it Aaron and his sons shall eat
With unleavened bread it shall be eaten in a holy place
In the court of the tabernacle of meeting they shall eat it
It shall not be baked with leaven; such shall be the case
I have given it as their portion of My offerings made by fire
It is most holy, like the sin offering and the trespass offering too
All the males among the children of Aaron may eat it
Follow now as I am instructing you
It shall be a statute forever in your generations
Concerning the offerings made by fire to the Lord
Everyone who touches them must be holy
So shall it be according to this word
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying
These words the Lord began relaying
This is the offering of Aaron and his sons
Which they shall offer to the Lord
Beginning on the day when he is anointed
On that day according to My word
One-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a daily grain offering
Half of it in the morning and half of it at night shall be this proffering
It shall be made in a pan with oil
When it is mixed, in it you shall bring
The baked pieces of the grain offering you shall offer
For a sweet aroma to the Lord, such is this offering
The priest from among his sons
Who is anointed in his place, shall offer it
It is a statute forever to the Lord
It shall be wholly burned, as I to you submit
For every grain offering for the priest shall be wholly burned
It shall not be eaten: follow these instructions you have learned
Also the Lord spoke to Moses, saying
These continued words He was relaying
Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying
This is the law of the sin offering; according to this word
In the place where the burnt offering is killed
The sin offering shall be killed before the Lord
It is most holy
This is how it is to be
The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it
In a holy place it shall be eaten, so shall it be
In the court of the tabernacle of meeting
Everyone who touches its flesh must be holy
And when its blood is sprinkled on any garment
You shall wash that on which it was sprinkled, in a holy place
But the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken
Such instructions shall be the case
And if it is boiled in a bronze pot
It shall be both scoured and rinsed in water, so shall it be
All the males among the priests may eat it
It is most holy
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, of them there shall be no eating
Lord God, in ourselves we are not acceptable to You
But You have made a way for it to come about
Through the offering of Your Son who is faithful and true
We can approach You without fear or doubt
We now can come home to You once again
We are reconciled through what Christ alone has done
May we be willing to share this marvel with all men
That God has given us new life through His Son
Praises to God who has done this most marvelous thing for us!
All praises to God, through our glorious Lord Jesus!
Hallelujah and Amen