Leviticus Chapter 4
Leviticus 4:1 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,”
The laws contained in the first three chapters, seem to have been delivered to Moses at one time. Here begin the laws of another day, which God delivered from between the cherubim.
It is important to remember that the people had been so frightened by the voice of God, that they had asked Moses to talk to God for them. We see here, that Moses is receiving the message from God for the people, as well as for himself.
Leviticus 4:2 “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD [concerning things] which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them:”
“Ignorance”: The intended meaning is to stray into a sinful situation, but not necessarily to be taken completely by surprise (Num. 15:30-31), illustrates the defiant attitude of intentional sin.
“Not to be done … against any”: Sins of commission.
This statement tells us a great deal about sin. What you and I classify as sin, is not the only sin. God has a much higher standard about sin. Sins of ignorance happen many times with a brand new Christian. One of the things that quickly comes to mind in the discussion of sin is the Ten Commandments. When Jesus was speaking to the young man who wanted to know what he must do to be saved, the young man said he had kept the Ten Commandments from his youth. Jesus was pleased with the response, but He said, one thing you lack. You can easily see that just keeping the Ten Commandments is not enough. God looks upon the heart. Man must operate with a clear conscience and a pure heart. Jesus also said, if you look upon a woman to lust, you have committed adultery in your heart. With God (not man), just the desire in your heart to sin is sin. We will see over 600 ordinances in these next lessons. It is not humanly possible to keep up with all of them on a daily basis; and yet, if one is not properly done, it is sin. Somehow, there had to be a way out of all this, and that is what this lesson is all about.
Leviticus 4:3 “If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering.”
“Priest that is anointed” (see Exodus 29:29 and Lev. 16:32), which defined this person as the High-Priest.
“According to the sin of the people”: Only the High-Priest, due to his representative position, was capable of this type of guilt infusion. For example, Achan had brought about the defeat of Israel when he held back the spoils, but the entire nation was not executed, as was his family (compare Joshua 7:22-26).
We see in this, that the priest was a flesh and blood human being and he made mistakes too. This is not just any priest, this is speaking of the high priest, because it says the priest that was anointed. This appears that he might have even been bringing a message to the people that would cause them to sin. At any rate, his sin was associated with their sin (sin according to the sin of the people). A minister who sins, not only hurts himself, but the whole congregation. If you notice the offerings as we go along, you will note that the offering the anointed priest made was of greater value than the others. Jesus explains this very well when He said the following from Luke.
Luke 12:48 “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
You see, the priest should know better than the people, so his offering should be more. We look at the statement (young bullock without blemish), so casually. This was serious business. This bullock must be the very best of the herd. This must be a male animal, it must not have any broken bones, it must be young enough not to have been with a cow. We could go on and on, because everything about this animal had to be perfect. This bullock was a shadow type of Jesus Christ’s body.
Leviticus 4:4 “And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock’s head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.”
As the bullock of the burnt offering (see notes on Lev 1:3).
“And shall lay his hand on the bullock’s head”: The Targum of Jonathan says his right hand (see notes on Lev. 1:4).
“And kill the bullock before the Lord”: At the door of the tabernacle. That is, in the court, as Gersom observes. All this is typical of the imputation of sin to Christ, and of his death.
The only place of forgiveness for sin, is before the LORD, so he killed the animal before the LORD. Here again, we see the sin transferred to the bullock when he laid his hand upon the head of the animal. This, of course, is a type and shadow of Jesus, the head of the body of Christ, taking the sin of all who would believe upon His body on the cross. We could say that our sin was on His head. Sin must die. The bullock was killed, the body of Jesus also died. The wages of sin is death. Death of the substitute in both cases paid the price for the sinner. The difference, we have mentioned so many times, is that the animal’s blood could not do away with sin, it could only cover it. Jesus’ blood abolished sin, for all who will believe.
1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Leviticus 4:5 “And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock’s blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation:”
Let out and received into a basin. This he did himself, and not another, for he offered for himself, and the blood was to make atonement for him.
“And bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation”: Out of the court where the bullock was slain, into the holy place, where were the vail that divided between the Holy of Holies, and the altar of sweet incense, after mentioned. He actually went into the Holy Place.
As we said, the priest that is anointed is the high priest. Only the high priest must dare go into the Holiest place.
Leviticus 4:6 “And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the veil of the sanctuary.”
“Seven times”: The number of completion or perfection, indicating the nature of God’s forgiveness (Psalm 103:12).
“The veil of the sanctuary”: The veil marked the entry into the very presence of God in the Holy of Holies.
The number 7, as we have mentioned before, means spiritually complete. This sprinkling of the blood seven times then, shows that the blood is the reconciling factor, and the work is complete in it. This veil of course, is the veil which separates the holy place and the Holy of Holies. Inside the veil is a type and shadow of heaven and the throne of God.
Leviticus 4:7 “And the priest shall put [some] of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which [is] in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which [is at] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”
“Altar of sweet incense” (see Exodus 30:1-10). This altar was in the tabernacle proper before the veil. It was so close to the ark that Hebrews speaks of it as actually being in the Holy of Holies (Heb. 9:4). This altar was also sprinkled with blood on the Day of Atonement (Exodus 30:10).
“Altar of the burnt offering”: The altar in the courtyard on which blood was normally splashed.
To put the blood on the horns of the altar, symbolized that the power is in the blood. We know that all through these studies we have recognized that the symbolic meaning of the horns is strength and power. The smoke that rises from the altar of incense is symbolic of the prayers of the saints. The power of the prayers that we send heavenward is in the shed blood of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. When we pray, we are to pray in His name and by the power of His blood. The remainder of the blood was poured out at the foot of the bronze altar where the burnt offering was made. This blood would be absorbed by the earth. Jesus shed His blood for the whole earth.
Leviticus 4:8-10 “And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for the sin offering; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that [is] upon the inwards,” “And the two kidneys, and the fat that [is] upon them, which [is] by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away,” “As it was taken off from the bullock of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall burn them upon the altar of the burnt offering.”
When the priest had killed the bullock, and sprinkled and poured the blood, as before commanded. He then cut up the bullock, and took out its inwards, and put them in a vessel. And salted them, and strewed them on the fires, and burnt them. And the fat of them, as he did with the sacrifice of the peace offerings. So that what is here said, and in the two next verses. (Lev. 4:9), is the same with what is ordered concerning them in (Lev. 3:3; see notes on 3:3; 3:4; 3:5). Jarchi and Gersom both observe that they agree, that as one brings peace into the world, so does the other.
I dare not separate these 3 verses. They are so tied together in the type and shadow they show us of Jesus. I have said so many times, that the body of Jesus was just a house for Jesus while He was on this earth dealing with mankind. The Spirit within that body was God. The Word of God took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us. He was Immanuel (God with us). The body was as all men who walked the earth. That is why He was born of woman; so that He might relate to all of us who are in flesh. Jesus took on the form of flesh that He might purchase His creation with His blood. To truly understand what I am saying here we must read John chapter one over and over. I will quote a few Scriptures that prove beyond a shadow of doubt that we are His creation.
John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “The same was in the beginning with God.” “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
It was important for Him to take on the flesh, that He might be tempted in all areas we are tempted in, and yet He was without sin.
Notice in the verses from Leviticus above, that it was not the inner being that God was displeased with. You see, that which was inside the flesh of Jesus never stopped pleasing God. When Jesus took on the sin of the world, He took the sin upon His body, not into His body. The body of Jesus Christ died upon the cross, not the Spirit within that body. Jesus commanded His Spirit to leave the body and go to the throne of God.
Luke 23:46 “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”
You see, just as the offering of the bullock was divided here, so was the body and Spirit of Jesus at death. The bullock’s insides are burned as a sweet smelling savor to God in the tabernacle, and the body is carried outside the city wall to be burned. There is a separation of the Spirit and body of Jesus here at the crucifixion. God turned away from the sin on Jesus’ body; He did not turn His head from His Son within that body. On Him was laid the iniquities of us all.
Leviticus Chapter 4 Questions
1. How were these instructions passed to the people?
2. Why had they asked Moses to intercede for them with God?
3. What kind of sin is verse 2 speaking of?
4. When a person thinks of the sins they should not commit, what immediately comes to mind?
5. What does God look on to see if you are sinning?
6. Jesus said a man who looks upon a woman to lust has committed what sin?
7. How many ordinances will we get into in Leviticus?
8. How do we know the priest in verse 3 is the high priest?
9. What should this priest bring for sacrifice for his sin?
10. What were some of the qualifications of this animal supposed to be?
11. What was the name of this offering?
12. What happens many times when the minister sins?
13. What do we learn from Luke 12:48?
14. Who was the bullock a type and shadow of?
15. Where should the bullock be killed?
16. Our sin was upon the head of ________.
17. What does 1 John 1:7 teach us about Jesus?
18. Who is the only one who would dare to go into the Holy of Holies?
19. How many times was the blood sprinkled before the Lord?
20. What does that number symbolize?
21. What is, inside the veil, a type and shadow of?
22. Why was some of the blood put upon the horns of the altar?
23. What does the smoke that rises from the altar of incense symbolize?
24. What did the remainder of the blood being poured at the foot of the bronze altar indicate?
25. The _______ ____ _____ took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us.
26. Why is it so important to read the first chapter of John over and over?
27. What actually died upon the cross?
28. Where do we find the Scripture that explains that Jesus commanded His Spirit to leave His body and go to the Father?
29. What of the bullock offered was a sweet smelling savor to God?
30. What does that have to do with Jesus?
31. What happens to the flesh of the bullock?
32. When God turned away from Jesus on the cross, what was He really turning away from?
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