Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thursday - Leviticus 1 - Individual Atonement Offerings (part 1)

This book of Leviticus was called by some The Law of the Priests" (John Gill). After Moses and the Levites erected the Tabernacle... and after God's glory had filled it, God spoke to Moses out of the Tabernacle and issued (in this chapter) commandments concerning the ritualistic offerings of the people for atonement of their sins.

There were different rules depending on whether the animal was a young bull, a sheep, a goat, a dove or a pigeon. Practically speaking, what animal was brought appears to have depended upon the capabilities of each particular penitent worshipper.

There were certain responsibilities that the people had and other responsibilities that were reserved for the priests only... depending on what kind of animal it was. If the sacrifice was a young bull then the citizen was to select the animal according to God's instructions, bring it to the Tabernacle, lay his hand on it, kill it just outside the gate of the Tabernacle, skin it and dissect it according to the prescription. Yes, the commoner who came with the sacrifice to seek atonement for his specific sin was to be the killer of that sacrifice.  He was to lay his hand on the animal's head thus admitting that he was responsible for the death of that innocent animal (a picture of our guilt in the death of Christ). He would therefore be identifying himself with the sacrifice and would be figuratively transferring his own guilt to it.

The priests were then supposed to take the blood and sprinkle it on the brazen altar. Then they were to set a strong fire upon the altar in preparation for the carcass itself.  Finally, they were supposed to take the pieces of the carcass and burn the whole thing on the altar. It would have produced a distinct smell there in the court of the Tabernacle, but more importantly it was an “acceptable savor” in the spiritual olfactory sensors of the Almighty. The legs and the intestines had to be washed prior to the burning of the sacrifice to rid the body of foreign debris (feces and dirt).  I believe this washing was to remind the people of God's holiness and of the fact that immoral worldly pollution is absolutely unacceptable to God.

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