Leviticus 1:5-17 (The Burnt Offering, Part II)

Leviticus 1:5-17|
The Burnt Offering, Part II

Unlike the books of Genesis and Exodus, the book of Leviticus started out without any story or historical narrative. It simply and immediately begins with the details of the burnt offering. And, the entire first chapter is filled up with the details of it. From this chapter, we will go on to more detailed offerings.

It is therefore, something that is, shall we say, very on the mind of God. We’re being shown, clearly and unambiguously, that the God who resides in the Most Holy Place has specific and absolute requirements for the people to follow.

The details are minute and there is no room for any variation in them. Considering this, one would think that by following them, there would be a sense of completion after going through with them. “Honey, let’s go down to the sanctuary and make our offering. Once we do that, we can go right through the door of the tent, past the Holy Place, and talk to God at the Ark.”

But of course this isn’t the case. Even the High Priest couldn’t go in there except when He was directed to, and when He did, it would be as he followed very specific details. The offerings didn’t really allow the people to draw any nearer to God, except in their hearts. And that itself was only temporary at best…

Text Verse:For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.” Hebrews 10:1

The author of Hebrews goes on to explain what he means in this verse, but if someone in Israel simply sat down and thought it through, they would probably be able to figure it out. For us though, we have such a Sacrifice. It is one that can and does perfect us.

And how wonderful that is! We don’t have to keep going back year after year to make the same offering again and again. Instead, it is a one-time-for-all-time offering. And it is an all-encompassing one as well. Every type of sacrifice and offering is fulfilled in it.

Thank God for Jesus who has, in fact, given us both the right and the ability to enter the Most Holy Place. We may not be there now, in reality, but if we have come to God through Him, we are there positionally. As adopted sons of God, we can petition Him as if we are standing right in front of the ark, gazing at the glory which dwells between the cherubim.

Let us remember this as we face life’s difficulties and struggles. In Christ, we have access to the very throne of God. We don’t need to drop off our offering and go back home. Because of Jesus, we are, even now, in the Sanctuary and able to revel in what these things only pictured. This is a truth which is revealed 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 Sacrifice from the Herd (verses 5-9)

The sacrifice from the herd began in verse 3, but we had to cut that short. And so today we will pick up in the middle of this thought with the words of verse 5…

He shall kill the bull

The verse literally says that he shall kill a “son of the oxen.” A male only is to be used for the burnt offering. The word for “kill” here is shakhat. It means specifically “to slaughter.” It was first used when Abraham took the knife in his hand to slay Isaac. It was used in the slaughtering of the goat by the sons of Israel with the intent of dipping Joseph’s coat of many colors in the blood from it. It is also the word used in the slaying of the Passover lamb. It can speak of the slaughtering of one’s enemies, and it is even used figuratively in Jeremiah 9:8 concerning speaking deceit –

Their tongue is an arrow shot out;

It speaks deceit;

One speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth,

But in his heart he lies in wait.” Jeremiah 9:8

Although it is found in these various ways throughout the Old Testament, it is used mostly in Leviticus concerning sacrifices and offerings, more than thirty-five times.

The slaying process, here and elsewhere, is to cut the throat while another person would hold a bowl under the cut in order to collect the blood of the animal. While we cringe at the thought of this, a few things need to be considered. First, all things are destined to die. No being, person, or animal, is exempt.

For animals in nature, they generally do not die well. For those under the hand of man, it depends on the one controlling the animal as to how its end will come, but the Bible promotes the care of animals, and never their abuse. But, it demands that they are to die at times, and it is for specific purposes according to the will of the One who created them. No wrongdoing can be found here.

These sacrifices were conducted until the time when Christ would come and fulfill what they only pictured. They were a necessary step in understanding what lie ahead.

Secondly, we all eat.

And finally, in the death of the animals here, we are to remember the death of the Lord. What the animal endured was quick, rather painless, and without abuse. What the Lord endured covered an entire day, it was fraught with abuse and pain, and it was done for our salvation.

As we continue through the many offerings, we need to keep these things in mind. Our modern sensibilities are far too geared toward Fifi or Fido to remember that, though we love our pets, there is a whole world of animals that all belong to the Lord. What He directs, or what He determines for each, is according to His will.

5 (con’t) before the Lord;

This male bull was to be slain “before” or in the face of the Lord there at the prescribed place. The place is always the same, but the terminology will continuously change. Sometimes it will say “on the north side of the altar.” Or it may say, “at the door of the tent of meeting,” “before the tent of meeting,” etc. Or it may combine two of the terms from time to time.

Though not recorded in Leviticus, the psalms tell us that the sacrifice was first bound to the altar. Thus it is, in type and picture, the binding of Christ to the true and final Altar – the cross of Calvary –

God is the Lord,
And He has given us light;
Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.” Psalm 118:27

5 (con’t) and the priests, Aaron’s sons,

The term as is rendered here is faulty. Instead of saying, “the priests, Aaron’s sons,” it should say, “the sons of Aaron, the priests.” It is an exclusive term, limiting the priesthood to the sons of Aaron.” Otherwise, it could be inferred that other priests from other lines existed, but were not selected from Aaron’s sons.

The same term is used seven times, five in Leviticus, once in Numbers, and once in Joshua 21:19. It is always consistent in the Hebrew in order to show that the sons of Aaron alone are designated as priests suitable to perform functions under the Law of Moses and before the Lord.

5 (con’t) shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar

Again, the translation does not give the correct sense of what is done with the blood. It is not sprinkled, but splashed or scattered. The word is zaraq. The word for “sprinkle” is nazah, and it will not be seen in Leviticus until verse 4:6. I will remind you of this from time to time so that you have the correct sense of what is happening. If your translation says “sprinkle” instead of “splash,” “scatter,” “throw,” “dash,” or the like, make a note of it.

The blood of the animal was taken and literally cast upon the sides of it. One does not sprinkle from a bowl. Instead, they cast it forth. There is specificity here which demands attention. The purpose of this blood being splashed on the altar “expresses one’s complete, voluntary surrender, and readiness to die while yet living” (Lange). The offeror’s blood is what should be poured out; a substitute, however, is taken in his place.

This was, at least in type and picture, the most important part of the rite. Leviticus 17:11 will tell us that the life is in the blood. Therefore, the life is transferred by the hands of the offeror on the

substitute to the hands of the priest as he receives it in the bowl where it is then cast out unto God.

In type, it points to Christ who poured out His blood for us, and yet as High Priest, He then offered it to God. The same word for “offer” in verse 3 is now translated as “bring” here. The offering simply transfers from offeror to priest. This was all accomplished through His work on the cross. He is the ultimate olah, or burnt offering to the Lord, and He is the Priest who brings that offering to God.

As this is what Christ did for us, when we are in Christ, then that same yielding on our part is reckoned as acceptable to God. However, even our very best services and offerings to God, are still not acceptable without the covering of Christ’s blood. Only as seen through what He has done can the things we do be considered in that same acceptable light.

As a note, Alfred Edersheim says that there was, “A red line all round the middle of the altar marked that above it the blood of sacrifices intended to be eaten, below it that of sacrifices wholly consumed, was to be sprinkled” (Pulpit). This is not in the Bible, but Edersheim’s commentary is considered an invaluable tool for understanding what occurred in the tabernacle and temple rites.

5 (con’t) that is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

The words “is by” are inserted. It says, “that door tent (of) meeting.” Again, the altar is directly connected to the entrance of the tent of meeting. Despite the laver standing between the two, it is the altar which grants access to move further toward God. It represents the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, who is the Door as we are told in John 10:9. Each detail points to Christ.

And he shall skin the burnt offering

The actions performed on the sacrifice would be accomplished by the priests, not by the offeror. However, the priests could also designate Levites to assist in the work. This is seen, for example, in 2 Chronicles 29:34 –

But the priests were too few, so that they could not skin all the burnt offerings; therefore their brethren the Levites helped them until the work was ended and until the other priests had sanctified themselves, for the Levites were more diligent in sanctifying themselves than the priests.”

The skinning of the animal was done for a couple reasons. The first was practical, the second was typical. First, the skin had value for clothing and for use in scrolls for writing, among other things. The skins belonged to the priest who officiated at the sacrifice.

However, in type, we see that in slaying the animal, the life departs, but in the skinning, the old appearance of life is removed. This is then typical of the transformation which Christ went through. At the same time, the transfer of the skin to the priest was an act of transferring Christ’s righteousness.

Just as God covered Adam and Eve with skins to cover their nakedness, the transfer of the skin gives the same idea. It is emblematic of the temporary covering which is imparted until we are finally glorified and bear Christ’s true image. At that time we too shall appear as He is. Paul speaks of this transformation in 1 Corinthians 15 –

The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” 1 Corinthians 15:47-49

6 (con’t) and cut it into its pieces. 

After the animal is skinned, it would then be divided according to its parts. The word is nathakh, a rare word which means “to divide by joints.” An animal will not fully burn if it is not divided in this way. But by doing this, it could be piled onto the altar and fully burnt.

The dividing of the animal is, in type, looking to the many aspects and offices of Christ which are recorded in the gospels. After His work was accomplished, and upon His death, all of these together became a whole burnt offering to God. Each was consumed upon the altar as a satisfaction of the law which He had fulfilled.

The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire. 

The special mentioning of the priests concerning the fire and wood is because no other person could touch the altar as it was considered most holy. If they did, they became devoted to God. That was recorded in Exodus 30:29.

Understanding that, care still needs to be taken here to understand the context, and so we need to go forward to the first lighting of the fire on this altar. It is found in Leviticus 9:23, 24 –

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.”

That initial fire was never to go out, as is seen in Leviticus 6:13 –

A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.”

That initial fire was lit by the Lord. From that time on, it was never to go out, even when the altar was transferred from place to place there is no stated provision that it would be extinguished. The fire is the Lord’s doing, and so to “put fire on the altar” signifies feeding the fire with wood. When an offering was made, the wood would then be arranged for such an offering.

This is a picture of the consequences of sin. It is emblematic of the eternal fire of the Lake of Fire where all sin will finally be consumed. Either one’s sin is consumed by Christ and thus forever removed from the offender, or their sin will be consumed when they are cast into that final place of God’s judgment. There are no other options. The pictures are given to show us the consequences of our choices.

Then the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar;

Again, only the sons of Aaron, who were the priests of Israel, were allowed to touch or work with the altar. They would take the animal and lay its parts out in a particular order which is believed to have resembled as closely as possible the order in which they were when the animal was alive.

The head and the fat are explicitly named because they, together with the pieces, complete the whole animal with the exception of its blood and hide. Again, it looks to Christ’s death. He died wholly upon the cross rather than some other type of execution, such as being drawn and quartered, beheaded, or the like.

His entire body was an offering to God as a whole burnt offering. The blood and the hide excepted, because the life is in the blood, and because He was so marred that He was otherwise unrecognizable, as is recorded by Isaiah.

The word for fat here is peder. This is the first of only three times it is seen, all are in Leviticus. It comes from a primitive root meaning to be greasy. Thus, it is the suet or fat. This would increase the flame, and thus the picture of judgment we are to see. Even this was offered, wholly and completely to God.

but he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water.

These parts are specifically said to be washed for two reasons. The first is because of the word translated as burn in this verse, and the second is because of what that then pictures. The innards of the animal were washed as a picture of the inward purity of Christ. There was no defilement in Him at all.

The kera, or leg, specifically signifies from the knee to the ankle. This is the part of the body which would pick up worldly defilement. This is seen in the washing of the feet throughout the Bible as symbolic of washing away worldly defilement. This is why Jesus said in John 13:10, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet.”

Abraham understood this and brought water to wash the Lord’s feet when He arrived at his tent in Genesis 19:2. For this reason, the legs along with the entrails were washed. The animal pictures the purity of Christ, offered up to God as a perfect offering.

9 (con’t) And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.

The word “burn” here is not the regular word which means “to consume.” Instead, it is qatar, or “to make sacrificial smoke.” It is the word used to describe the burning of incense. This offering, picturing Christ in all ways, is an olah isheh reakh nikhoakh l’Yehovah – “a burnt sacrifice by fire, a savor sweet to Yehovah.” Paul explains this for us in Ephesians 5 –

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:1, 2

A burnt offering, a bull is presented at the altar
It has value and it could be used for other things
But in presenting this bull, I shall not falter
For in giving it to the Lord, my heart rejoices and sings

For to Him it is a sweet smelling aroma, pleasant and nice
And my heart delights in offering such as this
It is a perfect bull, and thus an acceptable sacrifice
It is as if sending to heaven an aromatic kiss

Bless the Lord who has accepted my offering
Bless the Lord who has received me because of it
He has accepted from my hand this proffering
To Him through the bull my soul I do submit

II. A Sacrifice from the Flock (verses 10-13)

10 ‘If his offering is of the flocks—of the sheep or of the goats—as a burnt sacrifice, he shall bring a male without blemish.

The bull was the more expensive animal, and so it would normally be the richer person who offered one. Now an allowance for the less-wealthy is provided. The offering could be of either the sheep or the goats, but it was still to be a male without blemish. The sheep would have been the preferred animal, but the goat was also considered acceptable. And both, like the bull also, are seen as types of Christ elsewhere in Scripture.

The bull looks to Christ’s strength and enduring labors. The sheep looks to His innocence, harmlessness, and quiet patience. The goat looks to His human nature where he was seen in the likeness of sinful flesh, though He was Himself without sin. However, our sin penalty was imputed to Him.

Because the directions would be the same for these animals as were given for the bull, they are not repeated. Only those requirements which further define the instructions are given, such as in the next verse…

11 He shall kill it on the north side of the altar before the Lord;

The north side is now specified as the place of slaughter. There is a reason for this. In verse 16, the ashes and refuse were to the east of the altar. Also, the laver was to the west, and the ascent to the altar was said by Josephus to be on the south. If Josephus is correct, the north was then the most conducive to be used for this purpose.

The north being set aside in this manner is probably more importantly a picture of where Christ would later die. In Psalm 48, we read this –

Beautiful in elevation,
The joy of the whole earth,
Is Mount Zion on the sides of the north,” Psalm 48:2

On the “sides of the north,” meaning of Jerusalem the city, is the place where the cross of Christ was. Thus the slaying of the animal on the north side of the altar was an anticipatory look at the crucifixion of Christ, dying on the north sides of Zion.

And further, the word for “north” is tsaphon, which means hidden or dark, and it even gives the sense of gloomy. It comes from tsaphan, which gives the idea of hiding, and even treasure or treasuring up something.

The death of the animal, symbolic of the work of Christ was the dark side of His ministry, and yet, it is in death that He was treasured and protected, having fulfilled the law. Now for those in Christ, we are hidden in Him and likewise treasured until the day of redemption. This is alluded to several times in Scripture, such as in Psalm 27 –

For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion; (tsaphan)
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5

Paul also says in Colossians 3:3 that we have died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God. Every detail points us to Jesus.

11 (con’t) and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle its blood all around on the altar.

As before, the blood was splashed, thrown, dashed, or cast, but it was not sprinkled. Please put a note of correction in your KJV.

12 And he shall cut it into its pieces, with its head and its fat; and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar;

In what is known as a zeugma, one verb here is used for the action involving more than one noun. The action of cutting is referring to both the pieces, and to the head and the fat. This is not uncommon in Hebrew, nor is it in English. If I say that John lost his wallet and his temper, I am using a zeugma. This is what is occurring here in verse 12. It is the same action as that of which occurred with the bull in the earlier verse though.

13 but he shall wash the entrails and the legs with water. Then the priest shall bring it all and burn it on the altar; it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.

The same procedures for the sheep or the goat were to be followed as for that of a bull. The requirements do not change based on status or wealth. All must be perfect, all must die in the same manner, all must be purified in the same way, and all were to be considered as a sweet smelling savor to the Lord. Each animal pictures Christ in a different way, but in the end, each pictures the same perfect Christ.

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. A Sacrifice of Birds (verses 14-17)

14 ‘And if the burnt sacrifice of his offering to the Lord is of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or young pigeons.

In contrast to the four-legged animals, an offering of birds could be made. In this, only two were allowed. The first is the tor, or turtledove. The second is the yonah, or dove, also termed a pigeon. And so, in all, five types of animals are allowed.

Five being the number of grace, it is fitting that this many have been allowed. The grace of God in Jesus Christ is realized in the five allowable burnt offerings. And interestingly, they correspond to the five that were requested of Abraham in Genesis 15 –

So He said to him, Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’” Genesis 15:9

Allowing these birds is an exceptional act of care for the poor among the people. This provision sets the Law of Moses apart from the others in this regard. The turtledoves are said to appear in large numbers in early April and are easily captured before migrating again. The pigeons, or doves, are common in the land and have several broods each year, making them easy to capture when young and abundant enough to do so. They are also easy to keep and maintain.

As you can see, there is no restriction on age for the turtledoves because they were always in the prime during their short time of migration in the land. However, pigeons were only considered in the prime when young. If a man would reject an older pigeon as a meal, it would be wrong to offer it to the Lord.

These birds picture Christ in their simplicity, purity, and humility. But further, the affection of the dove for their mate makes them a splendid picture of Christ who is so affectionate for His people that He came to dwell among them and give Himself for them.

15 The priest shall bring it to the altar,

There is no laying of the hands on the bird, probably because the bird was transferred by hand to the priest. Thus there is still the symbolic transfer of guilt seen in the act.

15 (con’t) wring off its head,

The word “wring” here is translated from a word, malaq, which is only found here and in Leviticus 5:8. It is not really known what is being said. It could mean either wring its neck, but not take off its head, or it could mean to completely sever the head. Scholars argue; no one is sure. It seems that what is done with it later would necessitate wringing the head completely off, but verse 5:8 complicates that notion. Either way, the bird dies at the altar, just as the other animals do.

15 (con’t) and burn it on the altar;

The order here does follow the Hebrew. It says that it is to be burned after its neck is wrung, but before the blood is said to be drained out. The order then is reversed from what must actually occur. Despite this, the same word is used here as for the four-legged animals. It is an offering of a sweet smell, rather than merely a burning up of the sacrifice. And thus, even the small bird pictures Christ who was offered up to God in this manner.

15 (con’t) its blood shall be drained out at the side of the altar.

The word for “drained” is matzah, which means to suck out. And so by implication it means to drain or even to squeeze out. As there was not enough blood to be gathered in a basin, and due to the small size of the bird, the blood was simply pressed out of it and onto the altar’s side.

Once again, the life is in the blood, and so it forms a picture of Christ whose blood was shed for sinful man, even the poorest of our species. None are exempt from His grace.

16 And he shall remove its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar on the east side, into the place for ashes.

A couple new words in the Bible. The first is the crop, or murah. It is only found here, and it signifies the alimentary canal. It comes from ra’ah which means “something conspicuous,” and thus it is the part of the bird which is prominently displayed.

The second is the notsah, or “plumage.” It is seen just four times. Here, in Job, and twice in Ezekiel. Like the animals which were skinned, the birds had their feathers removed, signifying the complete change in appearance. Just as Christ was marred beyond recognition, so were both the animals and the birds.

The third word is deshen, or ashes. However, it comes from the verb dashen, which means “to grow fat,” and thus it is the ashes of fat, and not ashes in general.

In all, the bird had its crop and its feathers removed, and then those were cast to the east side of the altar. This was the place furthest removed from the Holy of Holies, and it thus signifies that the place where uncleanness is, it being the place furthest from where the Lord dwells.

17 Then he shall split it at its wings, but shall not divide it completely;

What this is saying, is that he is to grab the wings of the bird and pull them so that the bird is split, exposing its insides, but the bird is not to be pulled completely apart. This then answers to the placement of the larger animals on the altar in a set manner. The animal would be too big to burn otherwise, but it was to still be in an order which showed that it was one animal.

The bird, being smaller, did not need to be divided up. It remained whole, which again makes the same picture of Christ as the animals did before. Christ’s body remained intact, but the inward parts were exposed, revealing only sincerity and truth. This is what David referred to concerning the condition of one who pleases God when he said, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6).

17 (con’t) and the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire.

Once again, we are reminded that this is a sweet smelling burning, not merely something burnt up with the use of the word qatar, or a fragrance like incense. The fire is the Lord’s, the wood is the cross, and the sacrifice is pure, undefiled, and acceptable. And so…

*17 (fin) It is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.

The same words are used again as were seem in verses 9 and 13. The repetition indicates that the offering of the poorest person is just as acceptable to the Lord as that of the richest man with the most splendid ox. The sacrifice comes solely down to the heart and intent of the offeror.

This is evident in the rite which is conducted, and in what is considered acceptable concerning the offerings. The one who offers was acknowledging that they were spiritually dying in the offering, but that a substitute was requested to be reckoned in his place. Thus, they were in essence uniting to the Lord through this vicarious act. In turn, they were then expected to conduct their lives in the manner which the offering was accepted.

To not do so would nullify the purpose of the offering. This is seen in the words of Isaiah, words which are repeated numerous times in the Old Testament, and which are then repeated in the New as well –

“‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?’
Says the Lord.
‘I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
Or of lambs or goats.’” Isaiah 1:11

The Lord wearied of their offerings because their offerings were wearisome. There was no heart in them. The people treated their status as one which was deserved. One who deserves favor does not need grace, nor do they need a substitute to make them acceptable before God.

But the very fact that the various offerings were made, was intended to show them that they needed more than what they inherently possessed. We will see more types of offerings as we continue on through the book, but for the burnt offering let us consider it one more time.

The various aspects of the offering are that it was brought volitionally by the offeror. It was offered in a vicarious manner, meaning that the placing of the hands on the animal was intended to relay that the animal was taking the place of the offeror. The animal was slaughtered and its blood, evidence of the ending of its life, was poured out. And then the offering was wholly burnt up on the altar.

From these acts, the people should have grasped that there was a disconnect between them and God. The very fact that an offering is made shows this. If someone was inherently acceptable to Him, then any offering of this type would be pointless.

Further, the fact that such offerings needed to be repeated, as did the other types of offerings we will see, shows us that they could never truly cause to happen what they were intended to cause to happen. If they did, then one such offering would be made, and it would never need to be made again. But such was not the case.

This was therefore true on both an individual level and on a national level. Neither was made perfect by the mandates of the law which showed them that perfection was necessary, and that they were, in fact, imperfect.

Understanding this, there is the truth which could have been deduced by anyone who thought it through to a logical conclusion. If nobody was perfect, as is indicated by the need for sacrifices, and if nobody was made perfect as is indicated by the need for continued sacrifices, then only a perfect Person could fulfill what these sacrifices were intended to mean.

Why a person? Because the animals didn’t work. Why a perfect Person? Because anyone who needed to offer a sacrifice other than himself was obviously imperfect, and all had to offer sacrifices other than themselves. Logically, there had to be an end to these things for perfection to come.

When Jeremiah promised a New Covenant, it meant that the Old Covenant must at some point be fulfilled. And thus, it meant that a perfect Person was anticipated who would fulfill it. This Man then, would be the fulfillment of each and every one of these sacrifices and offerings. If such is not the case, then He didn’t fulfill the law, but fulfill it He did.

This is why we look for Jesus in each precept and on every page. In so doing, we seek and then we find the One who came and did what God promised would occur. Now, the Burnt Offering is behind us. Next will come the Grain Offering, then the Peace, then the Sin, and then the Trespass Offerings. And from there we will go on to more offering details.

If we can just remember to keep looking for Christ, these things will go quickly, they will educate perfectly, and they will satisfy completely. Otherwise, the list of offerings is long, tedious, and seemingly irrelevant to our Christian walk. But understanding them will open up our life in Christ in a much deeper way.

Closing Verse: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2

Next Week: Leviticus 2:1-16 Here comes a completely different type of proffering… (The Grain Offering) (3rd 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 Burnt Offering

He shall kill the bull before the Lord
And the priests, Aaron’s sons, next to do
Shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood
All around on the altar, as I am instructing you

That is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting
This task they shall be completing

And he shall skin the burnt offering
And cut it into its pieces
So shall they handle this proffering

The sons of Aaron the priest
Shall put fire on the altar
And lay the wood in order on the fire
In this they shall not falter

Then the priests, Aaron’s sons
Shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat also
In order on the wood
That is on the fire upon the altar; there it shall go

But he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water
And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice
An offering made by fire
A sweet aroma to the Lord, pleasing and nice

If his offering is of the flocks—
Of the sheep or of the goats—as a burnt sacrifice
He shall bring a male without blemish
Only this will suffice

He shall kill it on the north side
Of the altar before the Lord
And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle its blood
All around on the altar, according to this word

And he shall cut it into its pieces
With its head and its fat
And the priest shall lay them in order on the wood
That is on the fire upon the altar; where the fire is at

But he shall wash the entrails and the legs with water
Then the priest shall bring it all and burn it on the altar

It is a burnt sacrifice,
An offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord
An offering both pleasing and nice

And if the burnt sacrifice of his offering
To the Lord is of birds
Then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or young pigeons
According to these words

The priest shall it to the altar bring
Wring off its head, and burn it on the altar
Its blood shall be drained out at the altar’s side
In these duties he shall not falter

And he shall remove its crop with its feathers
And cast it beside the altar on the east side
Into the place for ashes
To these instructions he shall abide

Then he shall split it at its wings
But shall not divide it completely
And the priest shall burn it on the altar
On the wood that is on the fire it shall burn sweetly

It is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire
A sweet aroma to the Lord, such as I do require

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

Thank You for this great thing You have done
And we shall thank You even unto eternal days
Marvelous! Wonderful! Stupendous! is Jesus Christ Your Son
And so to You, through Him we shall offer eternal praise

Hallelujah and Amen…

Leviticus 1:1-4 (The Burnt Offering, Part I)

Leviticus 1:1-4
The Burnt Offering, Part I

When someone decides to read the Bible, for whatever reason, they will normally start at Genesis and work quickly through that and the first half of Exodus. Then, about chapter 25 of Exodus, the reading slows down. Eventually, it is treated as a chore rather than a pleasure. For many, this is the standard pattern.

By the time they get to Leviticus, the book is closed, placed on a shelf, and never referred to again, except in times of great distress or personal need. In distress, the psalms are referred to. Maybe even the beatitudes are checked out.

For times of personal need, it is common to open the Bible arbitrarily with eyes closed, and then to point to any given portion with the right (yes, it must be the right) index finger. And then,,, in hopes of something miraculous directing their way to riches and glory, or the repair of a failed marriage, or whatever, they open their eyes and feast on that one verse.

If it is a verse or passage which gives them hope, the book is closed with satisfied delight. “Yay! I will have the years that the locust ate away at my possessions restored to me!” If the verse isn’t a satisfying one, the process is repeated until something better is obtained. And then all is right with the world once again. The book is closed and peace is restored. It is certain that nobody wants that one passage to be 2 Chronicles 21:12-15. That’s for sure.

This is the effect that the book of Leviticus has on many people. It is viewed as strange, hard to comprehend, brutal or outdated, and completely irrelevant to the world we live in today. It is, to them, as painful as having their blindly placed finger wind up on those words of 2 Chronicles. Words which, by the way, are our text verse of the day.

Text Verse: “Thus says the Lord God of your father David:

Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, 13 but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot like the harlotry of the house of Ahab, and also have killed your brothers, those of your father’s household, who were better than yourself, 14 behold, the Lord will strike your people with a serious affliction—your children, your wives, and all your possessions; 15 and you will become very sick with a disease of your intestines, until your intestines come out by reason of the sickness, day by day.” 2 Chronicles 21:12-15.

Reading the book of Leviticus seems as painful to many as the fate of Jehoram, king of Judah. Be honest, how many of you have ever read the entire book of Leviticus? And of you who have, do you delight in it each time you come to it? Do you say, “Oh boy! This is the cat’s meow and the bees knees?” Or do you read it to get through it and onto the next book?

While in Bible college, there was very little Bible involved. We had a few courses, but most of it was religious stuff, not Bible stuff. But there were a few mandatory Bible courses. One of them was “Old Testament Survey.” It was a survey of the entire Old Testament in a one week module. If one expected great theological discoveries from the Old Testament, this was not going to happen.

However, the professor asked that during the course each student would pick one Old Testament book, and do a full summary on it. We were to outline it, explain its authorship and dating, give its historical context, provide a summary of the book, and include the messianic expectations which could be derived from it. Further, we were to include an application of that particular book to our lives.

As the choice of book was up to each of us, it was obvious that a very large and complicated book, like Ruth or Jonah would be chosen. For the truly daring, the one-chapter book of Obadiah might be the courageous choice. As this is what was normally expected, my professor nearly had a heart attack when I told him I wanted to do Leviticus.

Surely, of all of the books of the Old Testament, this one had the least to offer, especially concerning messianic expectations and contemporary applications! But he was more than excited to approve my choice and await my submission. I chose Leviticus, because it is the heart of the Law of Moses, and one cannot understand the greater work of Christ properly without understanding that work in relation to the law.

Further, messianic expectations in Leviticus literally permeate the book. Like the detailed and marvelously pictorial hints of Christ in the construction of the sanctuary, each portion of Leviticus follows along that path as well. For those of you who survive through this book, you will have a much fuller understanding of the work of Christ, and how Leviticus points to our desperate need for Him.

I will not lie that there are portions which will seem tedious and repetitive to you. However, we will get through them, and you will ultimately say, “I will never look at this marvelous book the same again.” LEVITICUS! It is a marvel and a treasure of God’s wisdom and glory – revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes, it is a glorious part of 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. An Introduction

The book of Leviticus is the third book of the Law of Moses and of the Holy Bible. Its Hebrew name is derived from the first word of the book, va’yikra, which literally means “and called.” In Hebrew, the word consists of the letters vav, yod, qoph, resh, and aleph which numerically equal 317. This is numerically the same as the Hebrew word yabashah, or dry ground. We can think of Leviticus as the dry ground and firm footing of the Law of Moses. It is where the waters of chaos are separated and something substantial is brought out for the people of Israel to conduct their daily lives.

Beginning the book with the word “And” signifies that this is a continuation of what has already been presented. The book of Exodus closed out, but it did not really end. The thought process is simply continued with the opening of the book of Leviticus.

In the Masoretic text of the Hebrew, in the last letter of the word va’yikra, the letter aleph is written smaller than the rest of the letters. This is known as a miniscule, and it is a rare occurrence in the Old Testament. Majuscule and miniscule letters show up in seemingly arbitrary places and without any explanation. For this reason, they can only be guessed at concerning what they mean.

The scholar Rosenmüller notes that ancient variations of the manuscripts leave off the aleph at the end, and so it would say, “And the Lord appeared to Moses” instead of “And the Lord called out to Moses.” The smaller aleph might then be inserted to indicate that it is one or the other, but nobody is sure.

The English name, which is used by almost all modern translations, comes from the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint. They call it Levitikon, which means “relating to the Levites.”

Leviticus is the shortest book in the Pentateuch, being comprised of only 27 chapters, and yet it is certainly the most overlooked of these five masterpieces. A careful study of the book will lead the reader directly to Jesus Christ again and again – and again. As far as the book’s authorship and dating, the author is undoubtedly Moses. Despite modern higher criticism, there is no evidence to support anything other than Mosaic authorship. Internally, the book states, “And the Lord called out to Moses,” “The Lord spoke to Moses,” or “The Lord said to Moses,” etc., many times.

Although this is in the narrative format and therefore such statements could have been made by another author, there is no reason to disbelieve Jewish or Christian tradition which speak of Moses as the author. More to the point though, the New Testament in general, and our Lord Jesus Christ in particular, ascribes Leviticus to Moses as evidenced in passages such as Mark 1 –

Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.43 And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’” Mark 1:41-44

In those words, Jesus cites a requirement specifically mentioned in Leviticus 14. Such New Testament references confirm, without any doubt at all, that Moses is the author of the book.

There is dispute as to when this, along with the other 4 books of the law, was written; however, the conservative and traditional dating can be figured based on when Solomon’s Temple was built. By tracing back from that day as stated in 1 Kings 6:1, which indicates 480 years from the Exodus, we can assert with relative confidence that it was penned approximately 1445 BC.

There was a 45-day journey to reach Mount Sinai, where the Israelites worked to construct the Tabernacle. In Exodus 40:2 it stated, “On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.” This would have been the beginning of the second year and 345 days after the Exodus and 300 days since their arrival at Sinai. It would also make it the year 2515 AM. Later, the Israelites departed Sinai as indicated in Numbers 10:11

Now it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle of the Testimony.”

As Leviticus was certainly recorded by Moses during this 50-day period, we can be confident of this time-frame and dating. Whereas the book of Genesis spanned well over 2000 years of human history, Exodus spanned less than 100, and now Leviticus spans less than two full months. Although mere speculation, it very well may even be that the entire book was compiled during the eight days of the ordination of Aaron and his sons.

The importance of the information then is seen in the condensed time-frame. Special attention was directed to the details of this book, ensuring that the precise instructions at a particular moment in redemptive history were carefully compiled for us.

As far as a historical and redemptive context, the book was given to describe the proper method of approaching God; proper sacrifices when doing so; the priestly requirements which were intricately bound to the religious worship; and other areas of holy living.

These were needed because of 1) The fallen condition of man; 2) The growth of the population of the chosen race to a point where organized worship became essential; and 3) The pagan conditions to which Israel had been exposed during their sojourn in Egypt, thus necessitating a complete break from the incorrect worship conditions which had surely been infused into the Hebrew society.

Further, many of the regulations looked forward to the time when the Israelites would arrive in the Promised Land. As an example, instruction on the handling of mildew in permanent housing was issued. Due to the lack of modern fungicides, which we take for granted, God instructed the people in this area. However, these were issued before such housing was available, while still in the wilderness. Therefore, they anticipated the conquest and settling of Canaan. In a sense then, God was informing them that, “The battle is already won; the land is yours.”

The book deals with a multitude of matters which are all intricately connected to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. Although He fulfilled every stated requirement and Christological pre-figuring of Leviticus, thus redeeming us from the curse of the Law (see Galatians 3:10-13), we are reminded that we are to live holy lives before God.

We can look back on the great prophetic fulfillments of Leviticus and have absolute surety that Jesus Christ was and is the Messiah, and therefore is God come in human flesh. Reading and understanding Leviticus also reminds us of the sincerity of God’s promises and curses.

By following them, as laid out in Chapter 26, and then observing the consequences of them as fulfilled in the Jewish people, our faith is actually strengthened that all other promises in Scripture are also accurate and dependable. This book provides us with fundamental proofs of the surety of God’s Old Testament and its fulfillment in Jesus Christ as indicated in the New Testament.

Concerning the sacrifices which are many, and which seem brutal to the world in which we live today, the entire sacrificial system was necessary until the time that the true Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, would come and fulfill each and every one of them. What the world sees as brutal concerning mere animal sacrifices is really a foreshadowing of the most brutal of all sacrifices. One which every person on earth contributed to in their sins of the flesh.

The book itself is categorical rather than chronological. Being compiled in this way, it is a book of spiritual statutes for the people of Israel as the Lord’s congregation. The scholar Keil states that –

“…as the nation of Israel was separated from God, the Holy One, by the sin and unholiness of its nature, the only way in which God could render access to His gracious presence possible, was by institutions and legal regulations, which served on the one hand to sharpen the consciousness of sin in the hearts of the people, and thereby to awaken the desire for mercy and for reconciliation with the holy God, and on the other hand furnished them with the means of expiating their sins and sanctifying their walk before God according to the standard of His holy commandments.”

In accomplishing this, several severe object lessons, involving the death of members of the congregation, will be included for the people to read and remember.

As with many books of the Bible, there are countless sections and patterns which run through Leviticus, but as an overall theme, there are two major sections to the book. The first runs from chapter 1 to chapter 16. These are essentially laws for sacrifice and for purification. These will be highlighted by the laws for the Day of Atonement in Chapter 16. It is a chapter which so precisely pictures the coming Christ, that the only thing more exciting than reaching that chapter would be the rapture itself.

The second major section will go from chapter 17 to chapter 27. These mostly look to the process of sanctification in the lives of the people. These will be highlighted in the instructions for the sabbatical years and the year of jubilee. The two series then remarkably correspond to one another.

The first book of Moses looked to the work of God the Father through Christ in creation, and in directing that creation in the initial process of redemption. The second book of Moses then looked to the work of God the Son in Christ in the actual redemptive process, mirroring His own work countless times. This, the third book of Moses, will highlight then the work of the Holy Spirit applying the purification and sanctification of Christ to the people of God.

In all three books though, it is Christ, the anticipated Son of God who is on prominent display. Nothing is more obvious, and in a thousand different ways it will become evident. When the book of Leviticus is over, the Person and work of Jesus Christ will have been highlighted so many times that you will never look at this book in the same way again.

If we were to sum up the book of Leviticus with one single thought which carries us from Exodus and then into the continued life of Israel, it would be that “The Lord sanctified Israel by His presence, and so the people needed to sanctify themselves in His presence.”

II. The Burnt Offering

Now the Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying,

All translations essentially say the same thing here. And the Lord called to Moses… However, it is not how the Hebrew literally reads. Rather, it says, va’yiqra el moshe vaydaber Yehovah elav – “And called unto Moses and spoke Yehovah unto him.” To understand why this change is so important, we have to go back to the end of Exodus. In the last paragraph, it said –

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.” Exodus 40:34, 35

The beginning of Leviticus is being tied directly to this thought. As I said before, despite this being a new book, it is still only a continuation of the narrative which closed Exodus. Understanding that, we see that there is a time when the glory of the Lord retreated into the Most Holy place, and Moses was then able to enter there in order to speak with the Lord at the ark itself.

This marks one of three most important points in the Lord’s dealings where Moses was specifically called by Him. He was called to his commission in Exodus 3:4 at the burning bush. He was then called twice in Exodus 19 from the top of Sinai prior to the giving of the Ten Commandments. And, he is now called at the beginning of the instructions for the divine worship.

The first looked in anticipation to the coming of Christ. The second looked in anticipation to the work of Christ. And the third looks at the completion of the work of Christ and its application to the lives of His people. In this, the work of the Trinity is implicitly seen. Each member performs His part in the realization of the whole. Finally, as was the case with Exodus, the words should read “tent of meeting,” not “tabernacle of meeting.”

“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them:

The instructions given to Moses here are to be relayed directly to the people of Israel, and not merely to the priests who will receive the offerings which will be laid out next. This then is a corporate instruction intended for all of the covenant people. This is similar to the call to the people to bring offerings for the construction of the sanctuary which was in Exodus 25:2. The call went out to the entire congregation for free-will offerings to be made. Something similar now occurs at the beginning of Leviticus, not for the construction, but for the use of, the sanctuary.

2 (con’t) ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord,

There are many types of offerings which will be allowed – both in type and in purpose, and of which will be precisely named. Nothing else was to be offered except what the Lord specifically authorizes. Each will be detailed in a precise order as the book continues.

The Hebrew reads, “When a man brings an offering.” However, the masculine speaks of both male and female, just as it traditionally has in English. This is confirmed, for example, in the Nazirite vow of Numbers 6 where both men and women could make such a vow. After the fulfillment of it, the offering was then presented by either the man or the woman.

Further, the “when” of this verse implies “if.” Any person in the congregation could bring a voluntary offering. Though they are mandatory in the sense that they had to be brought in order to come near to the Lord, they are voluntary in that they accompanied the desire of the person to, in fact, come near to the Lord.

The word for “offering” here is qorban. It is used for the first two of 82 times in the Old Testament, and almost all of them are in Leviticus and Numbers. It is mentioned one time in Nehemiah and twice in Ezekiel, and that is it. It comes from the verb qarav which means “to come near,” or “approach.”

The idea is that in order to approach near to the Lord, there must be an offering presented at that time. No person could draw near to a king or a royal without presenting an offering. How much more the Lord who was Israel’s true King.

Understanding this, we can already see a picture of the coming Christ. We cannot draw near to God without an offering, and yet, we as believers are told that we can, in fact, draw near to God. This is through the work of Christ, which is our offering. This is spoken of by Jeremiah in the 30th chapter of his book –

Their nobles shall be from among them,
And their governor shall come from their midst;
Then I will cause him to draw near,
And he shall approach Me;
For who 
is this who pledged his heart to approach Me?’ says the Lord.
22 ‘You shall be My people,
And I will be your God.’” Jeremiah 30:21, 22

Jeremiah states that One would come who would be allowed to draw near to the Lord God. In the next chapter, it is revealed how this will be accomplished, which is through a New Covenant. When Jesus came, He established that New Covenant in His blood as is recorded in all three synoptic gospels, and which is confirmed by Paul in his writings, such as in 1 Corinthians 11 when speaking of the Lord’s Supper. This is followed up and explained in detail in the book of Hebrews.

The instructions, going directly to the people instead of the priests, shows that the priest had no say in the offering, but rather he was to follow through with his part in the process, inspecting the offering for type, perfection, and conducting the associated work in transmitting the offering to the Lord.

In Christ, we make our offering to God which has been deemed as proper and perfect, and thus He is our qorban. He is our offering by which we draw near to God. This is a voluntary offering in the sense that we must choose to use it, and yet it is mandatory in that if we choose to draw near to God, it must be through Him and Him alone. This is explicitly stated by the author of Hebrews which explains the New Covenant in Christ’s blood –

For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:18, 19

As long as we continue to think about how each detail points to Christ, the book of Leviticus will flow properly, it will be interesting, and it will reaffirm our own Christian walk which is far superior to these rites and rituals which are only foreshadowings of His great work.

2 (con’t) you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock.

The first type of acceptable offerings are those of quadrupeds, or behemah. These are set off in contradistinction to the birds which will be mentioned starting in verse 14. The word behemah, or livestock, is then further defined by the terms ha’baqar and ha’tson, or the herd and the flock. The herd speaks of cattle, and the flock speaks of sheep or goats.

The difference is found in the meaning of the words of each. The baqar, or cattle, indicates to seek or inquire. When one plows, they open up the ground, seeking out where to sow. The tson, or flock, comes from an unused root which speaks of migrating, just as flocks are known to do. Of the quadrupeds, only these were considered acceptable as offerings to the Lord.

‘If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd,

The first type of offering is now specified, the olah, or “burnt sacrifice.” The word means “to ascend,” and so the idea of the offering ascending in smoke is what is conveyed. The first time it was mentioned in the Bible was in Genesis 8:20 after the Flood of Noah. There it said –

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.

22 “While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.’” Genesis 8:29-22

The last time this is mentioned in the Bible is actually in the New Testament. There in the Greek it is known as holokautoma. As you can hear, the word finds its origin in the Hebrew olah. However, if you listen carefully, you can also here where our word holocaust comes from. Thus, one can see the where the concept of our modern term is derived.

But its meaning is applied differently based on the user. For those who burnt the Jews, it was as if it was a sacrifice to God which would supposedly please Him because they had done away with His enemies. For the Jews, it was as if a sacrifice to God had been made of their lives in order to please Him. Either way, no such word should rightly be connected to what occurred at the hands of the Nazis – from either viewpoint. There is but one truly acceptable offering which this burnt offering pictures. That is detailed in the final use of the burnt offering in Hebrews 10 –

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”

Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:5-10

This olah was completely burned on the altar. With the exception of the skin, no part of it was eaten, or kept, by either the offeror or the priest. The skin was given to the priest, and which he could use according to his wishes apparently. This is seen in Leviticus 7 –

And the priest who offers anyone’s burnt offering, that priest shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering which he has offered.” Leviticus 7:8

3 (con’t) let him offer a male

Unlike the sin offerings and the peace offerings, the burnt offering was always to be a male. This was specified to more accurately picture Christ in this type of offering.

There is one exceptional deviation from this which is found in 1 Samuel 6. When the Ark of the Covenant which had been captured by the Philistines was returned to the Israelites, those to whom it came took the cows that had pulled the cart on which it was carried and offered them as a burnt offering –

Now the people of Beth Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley; and they lifted their eyes and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. 14 Then the cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and stood there; a large stone was there. So they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 6:13, 14

This was an exception based on the circumstance, but not an acceptable custom according to the letter of the law.

3 (con’t) without blemish;

The word is tamim. It indicates that which is perfect, without spot or blemish. To make an offering with a blemished animal would be an insult. It would be like drinking half a coke and then when a friend asks for a coke, you give him the half you hadn’t finished and then go an open up of cool, fizzy, fresh one for yourself. This is exactly what the deceivers of Israel were known for doing –

But cursed be the deceiver
Who has in his flock a male,
And takes a vow,
But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—
For I 
am a great King,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“And My name 
is to be feared among the nations.” Malachi 1:14

This burnt offering, which was to draw a person near to God, was typical of Christ in this way as well –

“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18, 19

3 (con’t) he shall offer it of his own free will

The words here are not well translated. It should not say, “of his own free will.” Rather, it should say, “that it may be accepted.” The word is ratson, and it can be translated either way, but many other passages in Exodus and Leviticus explain the meaning which is to be used.

Despite this, and although it is not a sin offering, it certainly implies that there is a fracture between God and man which necessitated coming to the Lord with a gift in order to be accepted. But unlike the sin-offering, it is not intended to specifically take away sins so much as it is to obtain God’s favor. In other words, it looks to the universal sinfulness of man, whereas the sin-offering will look at the specific sins of man. In giving over this offering, it was picturing the surrendering of the life of the offeror wholly and completely to God, body and soul.

3 (con’t) at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord.

These words needs to be considered properly. First, there was probably somebody outside of the sanctuary itself who inspected all animals, even before they were brought in. However, the offering itself, once accepted, would then be offered, as it says, “at the door of the tent of meeting.

If you were awake during the giving of the details of the sanctuary, and in the details which described its construction, you might remember that I noted that the door and the altar are actually intricately connected. For example, in Exodus 40:6, it said –

Then you shall set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.”

At that time, I noted that the altar was said to be “before the door of the tent of meeting” despite it having the laver between it and the actual tent. This placement of the altar of burnt offering answered to the placement of the altar of incense and the ark. Just as those were connected, so were the brazen altar and the door.

We then learned that this pictured the work of Christ where He said that He is the good Shepherd. The altar was where the animals were offered, picturing Christ our offering. With that offering, He becomes our Door by which we again have access to the Father. Therefore, presenting the offering at the door of the tent of meeting actually indicates it being offered at the altar which then allows symbolic access through the door. The connection between the two is inseparable.

In this offering, there is nothing secret or hidden. It is done openly and publically. This is how Christ died. It was in a way that all could see and witness. Any and all who passed by would know that an offering had been made as they watched the smoke ascend into heaven. So it was with Christ whose death became known to all. Luke 24:18 shows us that it was fully known throughout Jerusalem. In an ironic twist, the One whose life had been given was questioned if He knew anything about it –

Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, ‘Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?’” Luke 24:18

Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering,

The meaning of placing of the hands on the head of the animal is debated hotly, but the next clause explains why it is done. There is no need to go further, except to explain what the words in the clause signify. There is a perfect animal, one without reason – implying innocence, and it has been brought as a whole burnt offering to the Lord.

The people who bring it, do so for a reason. One does not mow a patch of sand, and one does not water plastic plants. The burnt offering is intended to appease the Lord. If the Lord needs to be appeased, it indicates that there is an offender who seeks that appeasement.

The person who places his hands on the animal then is acknowledging that this is HIS sacrifice. He is the offender, and it is his offering. He is asking that the offended will accept it in his place. The implication is that if it were not accepted, then his life is lost already, and would remain lost.

Further, it is implied that this sacrifice would be sufficient to accomplish the mission. However, as these sacrifices were made often, it could only mean that they merely pictured a more perfect offering which lay ahead of them. Thus it was an anticipatory offering until a final, perfect offering could be made.

*4 (fin) and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.

The same word, ratsah, is used again here which was incorrectly translated as free-will offering in verse 3. The clause says, v’nirtsah lo l’kapher alav – “…and will be accepted to him to make atonement for him. The act of placing the hands on the head of the animal is what makes the transfer acceptable, and it is what then makes kaphar, or atonement, for the individual.

This word,
kaphar, comes from a root which means to cover. When Noah covered the ark with bitumen, the word was used. Thus, it figuratively means to cover over or expiate sin. In providing atonement, the Lord is granting mercy, and thus reconciliation is realized.

Although we are in the middle of a paragraph, this must be where we stop today, and so we will have to continue on with the rest of the chapter next week. The important thing to see so far is that the book of Leviticus begins with the need for an offering to satisfy God, and to restore us to a place of peace with Him.

We have already seen at the end of the book of Exodus that the Lord sanctified Israel by His presence. And yet, even with that understanding, the people of Israel were being told now that their sanctification was positional in His relation to them, but not complete in their relation to Him.

This is all the more evident by the fact that there are priests who were consecrated to minister to the Lord on their behalf. And it was even more evident because the priest had to be consecrated, and they needed to also participate in their own sacrifices before they could sacrifice for the people.

The more one looks into the law, into its requirements, and into what those requirements tell us, the more understanding there is that the law was and is wholly incapable of perfecting anyone. Only a perfect Person under the law could then transfer His perfection to the law-breakers.

And this is what Christ Jesus has done. We could simply cut and paste this thought to the end of every sermon we go through in the book of Leviticus. The law cannot perfect, but Christ can because He was (and is) perfect. It is not that the law is imperfect, but that those who are bound by it, with but one exception, are – in fact – imperfect. And so the law, and the book of Leviticus in particular shows us this.

The book begins with the notion of imperfection in man, and perfection in God. Who will bring the two together, and who will provide the needed imputation of righteousness? Thank God that the answer is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is why the doctrines of men – of Judaizers and of works-based Catholics and of works-based protestants – these doctrines are so poisonous. They rob people of the grace of God which is found in Jesus Christ alone. When someone tells you they don’t eat pork, tell them, “That’s great.” But when someone tells you that you shouldn’t eat pork, “Call him heretic Herman” and have nothing more to do with him.

Jesus Christ embodies every single detail of this law which stands opposed to us. It never made a single person perfect. And so why on earth, God’s beautiful green earth, would you want to voluntarily place yourself back under this system designed specifically for one Man’s success and all others’ failure? Why?

We’re only four verses into Leviticus and already we see what the rabid, wicked, and heretical people of the world refuse to see. We need Jesus. Thank God for Jesus who embodies this law which stood opposed to us. Thank God for Jesus who stands in its place and offers us grace. Thank God for Jesus, for us the shining smile upon God’s face.

Closing Verse: “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?” Galatians 3:2-4

Next Week: Leviticus 1:5-17 We started the chapter, and to its completion we will follow through… (The Burnt Offering, Part II) (2nd 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 Burnt Offering

Now the Lord called to Moses
Yes, He was relaying
And spoke to him
From the tabernacle of meeting, saying

Speak to the children of Israel
And say to them; let these words ring
When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord
You shall your offering bring

Of the livestock—
Of the herd and of the flock

If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd
Let him offer a male without blemish; according to this word
He shall offer it of his own free will
At the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord

Then he shall put his hand on the head
Of the burnt offering, this gesture he shall make
And it will be accepted
On his behalf for him to make atonement, for goodness sake

Lord God, how exciting it is to start Leviticus the book
And to ponder on the treasure hidden there
As we continue, help our eyes to carefully look
For Jesus in each word; surely He is revealed there

And be pleased as we continue to live in accord with Your word
Holding fast to the grace which is found in Christ Jesus
All glory we give to You, through Jesus our Lord
How can we hold back when so much He has done for us!

Hallelujah and Amen…

Exodus 28:31-43 (Clothed in Majesty and Righteousness)

Exodus 28:31-43
Clothed in Majesty and Righteousness

On Tuesday morning, while at my morning job and thinking about completing this sermon, I was pondering how people get duped into things concerning bad doctrine. The Hebrew Roots movement rejects Christ’s grace and reinserts the requirements of the law.

It basically says, “What Jesus did on that cross wasn’t enough.” In turn, each follower of this heresy is in the process of working their way to heaven… an infinite climb which will be cut short at their death. Instead of heaven, they will find another sad end.

If those same folks would simply read the word, take it at face value, and understand it in context, they would come to the letter of Galatians, put away their heretical works, and trust in the grace of Christ’s finished work – boasting in His cross alone. There would be peace in their lives, harmony between God and them, and they would be able to bridge that infinite gap via His shed blood.

Mostly though, I was thinking about the cult of Mary. People pray to her, they worship her, they trust in her to be their mediator to God. What is so curious to me is that after about 5 years of sermons in Genesis and Exodus, we have had literally thousands and thousands of pictures of Christ.

We have had pictures of the dispensations of time through which Christ works. We have had pictures of God’s people in collective snapshots, such as in the rapture, or in Israel, or in the church – all of which center on Christ.

In fact, in all of these 208 Genesis and Exodus sermons, plus the 13 Ruth sermons, and in the other various sermons we’ve done, there has not been one.single.picture.of.Mary… not one! Even if we were to force her into a picture or two as the RCC has done, it would still be far less than pictures of the apostles or the redeemed collectively, which are only the result of Christ’s work.

Comparing zero to about 17 jillion pictures of Christ, it should be obvious to even the dullest of sorts that God really wants us to focus on Jesus. It is all, and I mean all, about Him. Don’t get led astray into strange doctrines, and don’t take your eyes off of Jesus. Today’s text verse is about the priests and saints of the Lord, but they are only priests and saints because of the Lord…

Text Verse: Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let Your saints shout for joy. Psalm 132:9

The psalmist speaks of the priests being clothed with righteousness. This is pictured in today’s verses and it continued on all during the time of the law. But there is more. Because of the work of Christ, we too are counted as a kingdom of priests, and we too are clothed with righteousness. It is a truth which is 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. The High Priestly Robe (verses 31-35)

31 “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue.

Some of Aaron’s garments have already been detailed, including the ephod and the breastplate. Now a robe is detailed which will be worn under those implements but over the fine woven tunic. It is known as a meil. It was first mentioned in verse 28:4 in the list of what was to be made. Now its details are given.

This meil is a type of tunic which would reach from neck all the way down to somewhere around the knees; some believe even as far as to the feet. It was a completely seamless garment as is inferred by Exodus 39:22 –

“He made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue.”

The term “woven work” implies a seamless garment. However, Flavius Josephus explicitly documents this fact in his commentary on the priestly garments. He says that “the coat did not consist of two parts, nor was it sewed upon the shoulder, nor on the side, but was one long piece of woven work.”

It would have a hole for the head to go through and it had no sleeves. Therefore, the top portion of it would be mostly covered by the ephod and the breastplate. However, the lower part was fully visible. The plain blue would be a beautiful contrast to the variegated ephod and the gleaming breastplate.

This blue, as we have seen in other details of the tabernacle and priestly garments, signifies the law, especially in adherence to it. The word translated as “all,” as in “all of blue” is the adjective kalil. This is a new word in Scripture which comes from the verb kalal, which means to complete or make perfect. Thus it means that this robe is to be entirely made of only this color.

32 There shall be an opening for his head in the middle of it;

At the top and the middle, logically where the neck is, there was to be an opening for Aaron’s head to go through. Rather than a slit, it was to be round like a modern t-shirt. The word for “opening” is peh, meaning “mouth.”

32 (con’t) it shall have a woven binding all around its opening,

saphah yihyeh lephiv saviv maaseh oreg – “lips it shall have at the mouth around, work of woven.” The word translated as “binding” is saphah, meaning “lips.” Just as the robe was to have a mouth, so it would have lips around the mouth. The same word is translated as “speech” elsewhere because the lips are the place where speech issues forth from. The Hebrew is far more descriptive than how the English reads.

The word for “woven” is arag. It is a verb used for the first of thirteen times which means “weaving.” It is what a spider would do when forming a web, or what a weaver would do on a loom. The reason for this woven work is next explained…

32 (con’t) like the opening in a coat of mail, so that it does not tear.

The word for “coat of mail,” takharah, is very rare. It is used just twice, and both times it is speaking of this garment. It comes from the verb kharah, which means “to burn with anger.” Thus, it probably is facetiously used just as a coat of mail would be used in fighting.

The idea here is that this opening would be sewn onto the woven garment to give it additional strength to keep it from tearing. In other words, it is exactly what we have on our t-shirts today. If that lip wasn’t sewn all around the mouth of the shirt, the fabric would simply, and quickly tear as we pulled our head through.

33 And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem,

The hem is introduced here. It is the word shul which comes from an unused root meaning “to hang down.” Thus it indicates the bottom edge. To fully grasp the meaning, it is translated as “train” in Isaiah 6:1 –

“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.” Isaiah 6:1

Onto this hem, pomegranates were to be attached which were to be sewn out of blue, purple, and scarlet. The pomegranate is also a new word in the Bible, rimmon. It will be seen 32 times and it is an enigmatic symbol. The word rimmon is associated with the word rum, or “to be high, or exalted.”

It also carries the connotation of mental maturity and calling to remembrance. The modern Jewish notion of the pomegranate representing the law because it has 613 seeds, just as the law has 613 commandments, is a bit far-fetched. This is especially so because a pomegranate doesn’t have 613 seeds. The number varies with each fruit.

However, in that they are attached to the blue garment of the high priest, it does point to the notion of calling the law to remembrance. As far as the colors which these pomegranates were to be sewn, their meanings remain constant.

The blue represents the law; royalty is seen in the purple – which is a combination of blue and red; and war, blood, and judgment is signified by the red. The pomegranates were to completely circle the hem of the garment.

33 (con’t) and bells of gold between them all around:

Paamon or “bells” are now brought into the Bible. This particular word for “bell” is to be used only in connection with this high priestly garment. The word comes from pa’am, which means “times” or “occurrences.” In the ringing of a bell there is an occurrence which can be counted.

One would think that because they are on his garment that they would be described with the adjective tahor, or pure. However, that is lacking. But don’t despair! They are, in fact, made with zahav tahor, or “gold pure.” This is later seen in Exodus 39:25 –

“And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates on the hem of the robe all around between the pomegranates:”

34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around.

Jewish scholars of the past have claimed a certain number of pomegranates and bells were hung from the hem. However, the Bible is silent on this, and therefore there is no symbolism in that regard. Rather, what is clear is that they were to alternate between a golden bell and a pomegranate all the way around the hem.

35 And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers,

Verse 35 is a puzzling verse to many, but by looking at it one clause at a time, it clears up. The robe with the bells is to be worn whenever he ministers. The word for “minister” is sharat. It comes from a primitive root word and means, “to attend as a menial or worshipper.” In essence, it means to “wait on.”

35 (con’t) and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before the Lord and when he comes out,

The sounding forth of the bells was to be heard anytime that Aaron was to enter the Holy Place before, or in the face of, the Lord – as the word means. As he entered and as he exited, his movements would be heard. The word translated here as “sound” is qol. It means “voice.” A voice is something that calls out in an understandable way.

Thus, the voice of the bells was calling out as a reminder. But it is not a reminder for the Lord. He is fully aware of all things. He needed no reminders. Therefore, the voice of the bells was to be a reminder to Aaron of his responsibilities within the Holy Place.

35 (con’t) that he may not die.

v’lo yamut – “…and no he die.” The penalty for not treating the duties of the office with proper respect was death. The bells upon his garments were a reminder that he was to never treat his duties as an unholy thing.

Almost all scholars tie this sounding of the bells to the people outside the Holy Place, informing them that the priest was inside attending to his duties and that they were to pray and worship while he was in there. To support this, Luke 1:9, 10 is cited –

“So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.”

This is incorrect. These garments describe those worn by the high priest, not the priest selected to offer incense before the Lord. Further, whether the people outside prayed or not had no bearing on whether the high priest lived or died.

Rather, he was the servant attending the Lord. The Lord is holy. Should a servant show disrespect to his king, he would be killed. How much more then should the high priest treat the Lord with absolute holiness! The bells were to call this to memory with each step that he took.

The pomegranates were there as a testimony that he was to be mentally mature in the presence of the Lord. To fail in this regard would result in death. This lesson was learned by his two eldest sons when they failed in this regard –

“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. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. 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.” Leviticus 10:1-3

This verse concerning the bells is one of several such times this precept was stated to Moses.

A pomegranate and a bell, a pomegranate and a bell
A delightful fruit to think about and a wondrous tinkling too
In wearing these on your garments, all will go well
So you shall call to mind the things which you are to do

Attend to your duties, but keep the Lord on your mind
Each step that you take, call Him to remembrance
Trust in Him alone, leaving all else behind
And in this manner, have your duties in attendance

Walk in holiness all of your days
For your tasks are the most important ever known
And in your victory a new path you shall blaze
And to those who follow you, that precious path will be shown

II. Holiness to the Lord (verses 36-39)

36 “You shall also make a plate of pure gold

The next item to be made is a plate of pure gold. The plate is a new word, tsiyts. It indicates a burnished plate, but it also means a flower which is bright-colored, and even a wing which gleams in the air. Thus, this was probably a plate resembling a flower.

The Greek translation of the OT calls it a petalon, the plural of leaf. Later, it will be called the holy crown. Therefore, it was probably somewhat like a crown of leaves or flowers.

The gold for this plate is given the adjective tahor, or pure. The gold was to be completely undefiled in any way. It is a reflection of the divinity of Christ. The idea is that this plate would be highly visible and reflect any light which touched it.

36 (con’t) and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet:

Like the memorial stones and the stones of the breastplate, this plate was to be engraved as a signet. The words were to be clear and visible. As this was on his head, it would be the point most seen by anyone observing him. Even more than the memorial stones, or the stones of the breastplate, this would be the main focus of the high priestly attire.

However, like a canvass which is only a vessel for a painting, the gold was merely a vessel for conveying something else. In the case of this plate, it would be just two words. And the words to be engraved consisted of just eight letters…


qodesh Yehovah – “Holiness to Yehovah.” The number eight in the Bible is the superabundant number and the number of new beginnings. There was a rift between God and man and now that rift is beginning to be healed by the work of the high priest. He would be the mediator between God and man. The Lord is holy and the high priest was to be HOLY TO THE LORD. There was to be a dignity in the office which would allow him to minister on behalf of the people redeemed by God.

37 And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban;

The plate was to be attached to the turban by a blue cord. Consider the symbolism of the metal and the color of the cord. One speaks of divinity and royalty, the other speaks of the law.

37 (con’t) it shall be on the front of the turban.

The plate was to be right at the front of the turban, right at the forehead of Aaron. This is seen explicitly in the next verse…

38 So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead,

After 2500 years of human existence, the metsakh, or forehead, is introduced into the Bible here, and for a very good reason. The word comes from an unused root meaning “to be clear,” and hence, “conspicuous.” Therefore, the forehead is considered the prominent place of the man in the Bible.

The forehead is the place of conscience and the place of identification. It can therefore be a place of a clear conscience or a seared conscience. When King Uzziah illegally burned incense before the Lord, usurping the duties reserved for the priests, it was his forehead which broke out in leprosy.

When the Lord scolded Israel for having no shame, He said they had a harlot’s forehead. In Ezekiel 9, when the people who mourned over the abominations of the land were sealed for salvation, a mark was placed upon their foreheads.

The same is true with the sealed 144,000 of Revelation. It will be upon their foreheads. They will be those who realize that Christ is Lord, and their conscience will lead them to being sealed by the Lord. In contrast is the great whore recorded in Revelation 17 –

And on her forehead a name was written:

Revelation 17:5


The conscience of this great whore is completely seared to the holiness of the Lord. The use of the forehead now for the first time in the Bible shows that an awareness of both wrongdoing and what is right is to be maintained by the high priest. One cannot understand holiness without understanding depravity.

Therefore, the high priest is to be aware, at all times, of the holiness of the Lord. He is further to reflect this holiness in all that he does. This is seen in the continuation of the verse…

38 (con’t) that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts;

This verse shows the infinite gap which exists between God and man. Aaron, as representative of God, was to bear the iniquity of the holy things of the people which they offered to the Lord. What this means is even that which was offered according to the law, and which was considered “holy,” still bore iniquity before the pure holiness of the Lord. This truth is seen in the book of Haggai –

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?”’”
Then the priests answered and said, “No.”
13 And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?”
So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.” Haggai 2:11-13

The fact is that though in the land of the living, all people are spiritually dead before God, having inherited Adam’s original sin. Therefore, anything we touch is defiled and impure. The gold plate on Aaron’s head was an indication of God’s acceptance of his office as high priest to mediate between the people’s tainted offerings and His perfect holiness. John Calvin notes –

“It sounds harsh and almost paradoxical to say that holy things themselves are unclean, so as to need pardon; but it is to be held that there is absolutely nothing so pure but that it contracts some stain from us… Nothing is more excellent than the worship of God; and yet the people could offer nothing, even when it was prescribed by law, without the intervention of pardon, which they could obtain only through the priest.” John Calvin (via John Lange)

Aaron, as a picture of the coming Christ, was to bear the iniquity of the people before the Lord. The place of conscience, and the place of sealing and acceptance, meaning the forehead was to be reflective of this truth…

38 (con’t) and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.

At all times while ministering on behalf of the people, Aaron was to bear the plate and thus bear the iniquity of Israel. In so doing, they and their offerings would be accepted before, or in the face of, the Lord.

39 “You shall skillfully weave the tunic of fine linen thread, you shall make the turban of fine linen, and you shall make the sash of woven work.

The items to be made for Aaron’s attire close out with these words. The tunic, the turban, and the sash, not mentioned in any form since verse 4, are now instructed to be made. No other details are given here as guidelines for Moses.

The word for “weave” is shabats. This is the second and last use of the word in the Bible. It was used in verse 20 concerning the gold settings of the stones of the breastplate. Therefore, as it means “set,” it is believed to indicate here a checkered weaving.

Both the tunic and the turban were made in this way, with fine linen. These would then be solid white. The tunic would be under all of the other garments and it would have both sleeves extending to the wrists, and it would reach all the way to the ankles.

The sash is said to be made of “woven work” and is explained in Exodus 39 to be “of fine woven linen with blue, purple, and scarlet thread, made by a weaver” (verse 39:29). What is unusual about this sash is that it was probably not visible at all as it would be under the other garments. And yet, the instructions are clear, and the weaving of chapter 39 is specific.

Holiness to the Lord, pure and undefiled by sin
Performing His duties of mediation for us
Access to the Father has been granted again
Because of the work of our High Priest, Jesus

Only He can take what is tainted by our sin
And make it acceptable to God for each of us
Yes, God now accepts us once again
Because of the work of our High Priest, Jesus

Holiness to the Lord, because of the victory He did win
And now He has also brought that victory to us
Yes, we are granted full rights as sons, thanking God again
Because of the work of our High Priest, Jesus

III. Consecrating Aarons and His Sons (verses 40-43)

40 “For Aaron’s sons you shall make tunics, and you shall make sashes for them.

The tunics and the sashes for the sons of Aaron were to be white. There is nothing else noticeable about them. The instructions are simple and without any particular detail. The verb for making the tunics in this verse is asah instead of shabats of the previous verse. Therefore, these were probably not patterned. The garments of the sons were simple, unadorned except in pristine white, and yet they were distinct from all other people around them.

40 (con’t) And you shall make hats for them,

The word for “hat” is migbaoth. This is the first of just four times it will be used and only in reference to these caps for the sons of Aaron. It is from the same root as gibah or “hills” and gabia or “cups.” Hence, they are caps which fit the head.

40 (con’t) for glory and beauty.

The same term as was used to describe Aaron’s garments is again used here – for glory and for beauty. It may seem remarkable that plain white garments would be so described, but white symbolizes righteousness. At times in the Bible, Christ’s garments, or those of angels, are represented as being white. The glory and the beauty then is reflective of that which is of God – His righteousness.

41 So you shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him.

It is Moses who is instructed to not only have the garments made, but also to be the one to present and invest Aaron and his sons with them. It is really an amazing thing to consider. The prophet of God, the one who speaks His word, is the one to bring about the initiation.of.the.priesthood.

Thus it logically follows that the priesthood is subordinated to the office of prophet. The pattern follows through with Christ who was from the beginning the Word of God, but who became God’s High Priest according to the word of God as is indicated in Hebrews 5:5.

41 (con’t) You shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister to Me as priests.

The word for “anoint,” mashakh, has only been used once so far in the Bible. It referred to Jacob’s action of “anointing” the stone which he had set up as a pillar after sleeping on it the night before. Now it will become a common word in the history of the law. It is the same word used for anointing prophets, priests, and kings. It is the basis of the word mashiakh, or “messiah.”

The words for “consecrate them” are literally “fill their hand.” Moses would fill their hand with a part of a sacrifice and then present them to the Lord, thus consecrating them. And the word for “sanctify” means “to make them holy.” In their ordination, they would be set apart as priests; acceptable ministers to the Lord.

42 And you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs.

The miknas, or undergarments are introduced here and will only be noted five times, always in regards to the priests. The final time will be in the book of Ezekiel. It comes from a word which gives the sense of “hiding.” They are specifically noted as for the covering of their besah ervah, or “flesh of nakedness.”

The linen they are made of is a new word too, 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. These would reach from the waist to a little above the knees.

43 They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die.

One must ask why this covering is required. Nakedness was created by God and there was no hint of indecency in the Garden of Eden. However, after the fall, the man and his wife realized they were naked. Thus the nakedness of man is connected to the knowledge of sin.

Further, sin is an inherited disease. It is one which affects all people and which is transferred by the father through a union with a woman. Thus, the life of humans is one fraught from the beginning with sin, as well as both moral and physical decay. Thus, covering their bodies was symbolic of being covered in righteousness and life.

Should they expose their private parts before the Lord, it would be an affront because they had exposed the source of the transfer of that first sin committed so long before by their first father and which continued to be transmitted through them.

It is important to note that both the KJV and the NKJV receive demerits in their translation of this verse. It is not the “tabernacle of meeting” but the “tent of meeting.” The word is ohel and it means “tent.” This is why it first says, “the tent of meeting” and then “near the altar.” Although not yet described, this is speaking of the altar of incense which will stand in the Holy Place.

*43 (fin) It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him.

Anytime, from the life of Aaron, and through all of his descendants during the time while the law remained in effect, they were to be obedient to this precept. They were to wear these undergarments at all times when ministering to the Lord in their prescribed manner.

IV. Pictures of Christ and His Work

With the verses completed for the passage and the chapter, let’s take a few minutes and look at how they point to Christ and His work. First, the robe which is to be worn by Aaron is all of blue. As blue signifies the law, it is intended to show us, like the picture seen in the Ark, that Christ Jesus is the embodiment of the law.

As I noted, the word for “all,” as in “all of blue” is the word kalil. This comes from kalal, meaning to complete or make perfect. It is Christ who perfectly fulfilled the law, completing it on our behalf. He is literally “robed” in the completion of the law. Also, the robe was seamless, and points to John’s words about Jesus on the cross –

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece.” John 19:23

Shortly after this occurred, John records Jesus’ dying words, “It is finished.” The high priest of Israel’s robe was merely a picture of Christ embodying the law, fulfilling it, and finishing it for us. However, before He died, something else was recorded about Christ’s tunic. Despite dividing His other garments, the value of His tunic led them to say –

“Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” John 19:24

In Matthew 26:65, the high priest of Israel tore his clothes during Jesus’ trial. This was in direct violation of the Law of Moses. In Leviticus 21 it says –

He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes;” Leviticus 21:10

What we see in this was an ending of the old order of things. The Law of Moses was ended in Christ’s work and the New Covenant was established in His blood. The note of keeping the high priest’s robe from tearing was given as an anticipatory picture of the true High Priest’s garment not being torn.

But, the recording of the high priest tearing his garment signifies the ending of that priesthood. That Christ’s garment wasn’t torn, and yet His body was, signifies the introduction of the New. Next, the word to describe the hem around the neck was that very rare word takharah which comes from a root “to burn with anger.”

In this, the symbolism seems obvious; the anger of the Lord at the sin of man is what was on display there at the cross. The penalty for that sin was the tearing of Christ’s body, the true robe of humanity.

The pomegranates or, rimmon, as I said are associated with the word rum, or “to be high, or exalted.” They also carry the connotation of mental maturity, and calling to remembrance. The wearing of the pomegranates then only looked forward to the maturity of the New Covenant established through Christ’s work. This is seen in the use of the same word, rum, in Isaiah 52 –

“Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently;
He shall be exalted (rum) and extolled and be very high.
14 Just as many were astonished at you,
So His visage was marred more than any man,
And His form more than the sons of men;
15 So shall He sprinkle many nations.
Kings shall shut their mouths at Him;
For what had not been told them they shall see,
And what they had not heard they shall consider.” Isaiah 52:13-15

Christ was exalted through His death in fulfillment of the law. In Christ we too now have that maturity. Paul explains it in the book of Galatians where he calls the law a tutor to lead us to Christ –

“But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” Galatians 3:23-25

The colors of the pomegranates – blue, purple, and red, all point to the completed work of Christ, just as each time these colors have been mentioned. He kept the law, He was exalted to His rightful kingly status, and His blood is the judgment on our sin or against the sin of unbelievers.

The paamon, or bells, are specifically given to represent calling to remembrance the fulfillment of the law by Christ. The word comes from pa’am, or occurrences. Each precept of the law was specifically and perfectly fulfilled by Christ. Each tinkle of the bell is to call that to remembrance.

That they were of gold indicates His deity which reminded His humanity of each task He was to fulfill for His redeemed. That both the pomegranates and the bells are attached specifically to the blue robe of the High Priest signifies calling to remembrance His work in completion of the law and acknowledging His exalted status because of it.

That they encircled the entire hem shows the unbroken nature of His work in its fulfillment. Every word and every detail fills us with pictures of the work of Christ on our behalf.

The specific note about Aaron wearing this robe at all times when he went in and out before the Lord, and that the sound was to be heard lest he die, continues the picture of the constant reminder by God to Christ of His need to not die because of the law, but in fulfillment of the law. If He failed in any precept, He would die before the Lord. Thanks be to God, He prevailed.

The engraved plate, as I noted, is later called a crown. It pictures the royal kingship of Christ. Unlike Israel which had offices of king and priest which were not to be intermingled, Christ is the fulfillment of them both. This is explicitly stated by the prophet Zechariah concerning the coming Messiah –

“Take the silver and gold, make an elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying:
“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!
From His place He shall branch out,
And He shall build the temple of the Lord;
13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord.
He shall bear the glory,
And shall sit and rule on His throne;
So He shall be a priest on His throne,
And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.'” Zechariah 6:11-13

The special word used to describe this plate, tsiyts, speaks of Christ’s Human and Divine natures. The pure gold represents His pure divinity, but that it is a flower speaks of His humanity. This is seen where the same word speaks of the fading glory of man –

“The voice said, ‘Cry out!’
And he said, ‘What shall I cry?’
‘All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.'” Isaiah 40:6

Unlike fallen man though, Christ is the unfading flower who stepped out of heaven to restore us to that same beautiful state.

The engraving of HOLINESS TO THE LORD on this plate signifies the perfection of Christ. It is He who is the true Mediator for God’s people. It is He who makes our offerings acceptable to God once again, and it is He who restores us – fully and completely – to our heavenly Father.

That there were two words on the engraving signifies His Divine/ Human nature – qodesh Yehovah. The 8 letters signify the new beginnings which are found in Christ Jesus. In fact, the name JESUS in Greek, IESOUS, is numerically equal to 888. Thus He is the ultimate example of the New Beginning for fallen man.

The blue cord which tied the plate to the turban signifies the law as fulfilled which ties the divine Lord to His intercessory role as our high priest. It is He who is the bridge between the infinite Father and finite us.

The specific naming of the placement of the plate on the forehead of the high priest is to show both the place of conscience and of identification. The duality is seen in that He is first conscious of those He ministers for, meaning us. And He is also conscious of His rightful place before His Father.

Secondly, it reveals His priestly identity presented before us and which comes from His Father. It is He who bore our iniquities at the cross, and it is He who still makes our sin-filled lives acceptable as HOLINESS TO THE LORD. Only through Him can we be considered acceptable to God. This is actually realized on the very last page of the Bible with these marvelous words –

“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” Revelation 22:3, 4

The linen tunic and the linen turban reflect Christ’s absolute righteousness. It is what crowns Him and it defines His very character. This is why it is on Aaron’s head as a turban and is what is closest to his body concerning garments. They picture the pure and unsullied life and authority of Christ.

The unusual word to describe this linen, shabats, signifies that it is checkered into His very nature. Unlike any other human, only He possesses this complete righteousness in His nature. It is “set,” if you will, into His very being. As it comes out on both his arms and under his robe, it signifies that righteousness is an all-evident trait of His. Thus, it is this characteristic of Him that Pilate proclaimed –

“I have found no fault in this Man.” Luke 23:14

The woven sash which was used for the tunic, but hidden under the other garments is reflective of His divine majesty. This is seen in the 93rd Psalm –

“The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.” Psalm 93:1

The chapter closes with a transitional set of verses which lead us into the next chapter and the details for the consecration of Aaron and His sons. Without going into complete detail, the white tunics, sashes, and hats for Aaron’s sons merely picture our righteousness, endowed to us because of the work of Christ. It is He who has brought many sons to glory through His work.

The hats, as I noted, are a special word used only for these hats of the priests. The word is migbaoth and it is from the same root as gibah or “hills,” and gabia or “cups.” These words are tied directly to the Aramaic word Gabbatha, the place where Christ was judged before Pilate.

The symbolism is beautiful. The priests of the Lord Jesus are granted that status as the helmet of salvation upon their head because of the judgment rendered on Christ at Gabbatha.

The statement that the garments of the sons of Aaron were “for glory and for beauty” was the same statement made for the garments of Aaron. In other words, because of the work of Christ, His priests now bear the same glory and beauty as He before the Father. Think of it! Imagine what we have been granted!

Yes, we are considered righteous children of God because of Christ, but even more it is we who are a considered a kingdom of priests to God because of Him. This is what is pictured in the white garments of the sons of the high priest.

As it was Moses who clothed Aaron and his sons, so it is the Word of God who clothed Christ as a High Priest and who now clothes us through faith in His word. In this, we are anointed – sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). We are consecrated – the offering of our hands is acceptable to the Lord (Hebrews 10:20). And we are sanctified – made holy to serve and minister to God as priests (Revelation 22:3).

Lastly today, in the final two verses are a picture of our acceptable nature before God because of Christ. The linen undergarments are a picture of our spiritual nakedness being covered by Christ’s righteousness. As nakedness was not a consideration in the Garden of Eden, it is not physical nakedness which is being pictured.

Rather, it is the spiritual nakedness of fallen humanity. Though it is difficult for us to consider, the record of the cross is that Christ’s garments were taken from Him and parted up, with the exception of the tunic for which lots were cast.

This means that He hung exposed in His flesh to the world. And yet He was considered, just as Adam once was, spiritually covered. His death, shameful by the standards of the world, grants us His same spiritual covering. Through Him, we can never again incur the iniquity of sin and die. We are freed from sin’s power because of the work of Jesus Christ our Lord.

In all today, we have seen dozens and dozens of pictures of Christ and His work. As I said at the beginning of the sermon, it is up to us where we will fix our eyes and our devotions. If you want to fix them on the law, you will be judged by that law. If you want to fix them on Mary, you will die apart from Christ. Rather, call on Jesus, be reconciled to God, and have peace in yourselves because of the finish work of Another; because of Jesus’ work…

Closing Verse: And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. Revelation 22:4

Next Week: Exodus 29:1-14 Looking into these verses will be more than fun… (The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons, Part I) (79th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

Clothed in Majesty and in Righteousness

You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue
Follow all of the directions as I instruct you

There shall be an opening for his head in the middle of it
It shall have at its opening all around
Like the opening in a coat of mail
So that it does not tear; we don’t want that tearing sound

And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates
Of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem
And bells of gold all around between them

A golden bell and a pomegranate
A golden bell and a pomegranate, so shall it be
Upon the hem of the robe all around
These instructions you shall follow exactingly

And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers
And its sound when he goes into the holy place will be heard
Before the Lord and when he comes out
That he may not die; do according to my word

You shall also make a plate
Of pure gold and engrave on it; attend to my word
Like the engraving of a signet

And you shall put it on a blue cord, you see
That it may be on the turban
On the front of the turban it shall be

So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, as I tell
That Aaron may bear the iniquity
Of the holy things which the children of Israel
Hallow in all their holy gifts, given to Me

And it shall always be on his forehead, according to my word
That they may be accepted before the Lord

You shall skillfully weave the tunic
Of fine linen thread
You shall make the turban of fine linen
And you shall make the sash of woven work, as I have said

For Aaron’s sons you shall make tunics
And you shall make sashes for them, follow in this duty
And you shall make hats for them
For glory and beauty

So you shall put them on Aaron your brother
And on his sons with him, so shall it be
You shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them
That they as priests may minister to Me

And you shall make for them
Linen trousers to cover their nakedness
They shall reach from the waist to the thighs
As a part of their regular dress

They shall be on Aaron and on his sons
When they come into the tabernacle of meeting; these instructions apply
Or when they come near the altar to minister in the holy place
That they do not incur iniquity and die

It shall be a statute forever to him
And his descendants after him, all of them

Once again, O God we have seen Christ revealed
Each word points to Him and what He has done
In the words which were long ago concealed
New insights keep coming of Your precious Son

Thank You for the wonder of it all
And grant us the wisdom that on name of Jesus we will call

And then through Him we shall glorify you for eternal days
And to You, O God, we shall sing our marvelous words of praise

Hallelujah and Amen…