KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found.” (Leviticus 6:4)
The Children of Israel were situated at the base of Mount Sinai and the Tabernacle had just been built. It was time for the people to learn how to worship, and this portion of Leviticus deals with Israel’s approach to God.
A major part of their worship was to be through sacrificial offerings or sacrifices, and the established requirements in many ways pictured aspects of the believer’s salvation today. The burnt offering illustrates that the only way for the Children of Israel to approach God and find forgiveness was through the shedding of blood. Only blood could atone for sin. In this passage, we see not only what God commanded the Israelites to observe, but also how their sacrifices and other practices look ahead to the sacrifice made on Calvary by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
One of the sacrifices God made provision for was the sacrifice of thanksgiving. It was called a meat offering which, at the time of the translation of our Bible, meant any kind of food. In this case it referred to grain. Like the burnt offering, it was brought voluntarily. There was to be no leaven, which was symbolic of sin, in the grain offering. The meat offerings included oil, which typifies the Spirit of God. These offerings also included salt, which preserves against corruption and denotes purification and healing.
Another sacrifice of thanksgiving, the peace offering, was taken from the herd — a male or female without blemish, typifying purity. The purpose of the peace offering was not to make atonement for sin, but to express gratitude for God’s matchless and gracious care. It was also a voluntary offering and was both an act of worship and of communion.
The people were commanded to offer a sin offering; this was a sacrifice for unintentional acts that displeased God. God called these acts sins of ignorance. There were different animals to be sacrificed for each sin. These sacrifices made people cognizant of what God considered sin and were used to teach and guide the Israelites in God’s way. This offering was not voluntary, but was required of all: the priests, the congregation, the rulers, and common individuals.
God commanded the people to make a trespass offering to atone for specific acts of sin, of which the individual was fully aware. Also, they were commanded to make restitution if they obtained anything that belonged to another through deceit or negligence.
There was a holy fire on the altar that was to burn continuously. Every morning the priest would put on different clothes and remove the ashes into a clean place outside of the camp. He was to lay fresh wood upon the fire to keep it burning continuously. This represented God’s eternal presence among them.
God is holy, and He expects obedience and commitment from us. Even though it may take sacrifice on our part, we will receive abundant blessing as we honor Him with a complete “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1).