There is one law of them [the offerings];
the priest who shall make atonement with it, his shall it be.
To begin with, you might find it difficult to locate this passage using the Scriptural address I am using. As I have told you, I have recently begun a deep, deep study of Scripture; starting in Genesis, with the intention of reading my Bible through again for about the 4th time -- but this time, not skimming over those difficult passages, or those that seemed monotonous and (I'm ashamed to say) meaningless to me, the modern-day Christian.
I am using my Strong's Hebrew/Greek Concordance to look up the precise, historic meaning of words and not rely on my 21st-century Study Bible commentaries to explain what God wants me to know. To that end, I have begun reading the Bible from the Greek translation, from what I consider to be trusted sources: the Septuagint (for the OT), and Kenneth Wuest's expanded translation of the New Testament. Wuest was a noted Christian New Testament Greek (Κοινή) scholar of the mid-Twentieth century.
So .... needless to say, it has taken me quite a few months to make my way through Genesis and Exodus to what (in my less ardent days) I considered the burdensome Leviticus. I had always thought, "What did all these laws and commandments have to do with me?" But this time I was determined to discover what God would have me know about these various offerings and sacrifices that He commanded His chosen people to follow -- and included in His Holy Bible for all the world to read.
It has been laborious, but I really wanted to know the significance of each offering and why it was important to God that the Jews obey them. So, after weeks of flipping back and forth from my Strong's to the Septuagint, and comparing what I have found, while asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten me, this is what I have determined; this is my conjecture, so please do not take it as dogma -- do your own research. But I am coming to believe that this is what God wants us to take away from each of the different sacrificial offerings:
SIN OFFERING: It was made in acknowledgement of sins; admitting guilt.
BURNT OFFERING: It was made in dedication to God and to His service.
MEAT (GRAIN) OFFERING: It was offered in worship and acknowledgement of God's provision and the Jews' "daily bread". The use of Frankincense was mandatory - it was expensive, and therefore a costly sacrifice to the person, and pleasing to God. This offering pointed to a dependence on God and personal sacrifice.
PEACE OFFERING: This offering was made in acknowledgment of being made whole through the peace of knowing and experiencing God's forgiveness; signifies the peace that the sacrifice brings.
TRESPASS OFFERING: This was a specialized Sin offering, made when someone had been denied what was due him; it required repayment and restitution of 20% more than the original loss.
It is important to note that each of these offerings required a Priest of the people to offer a blood sacrifice upon the altar dedicated to God. It was ONLY through the blood that the people could expect forgiveness and reconciliation with God. But why did God institute and require these elaborate ceremonies? What was the purpose of centuries of obedience to these ancient customs? Why does the Bible repeat the information on these offerings multiple times?
Then it dawned on me [solely through the Holy Spirit, of course]! All these ceremonies and offerings point to Christ! Through these offerings, the Jews, through their centuries of repetition and practice; and we, Christians, through the repetitions of them in the Bible, should recognize our High Priest and His blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.
Look back over the significance I have provided of each of the offerings -- do you see Him and our need to reconcile with God through Him? He came because we have admittedly sinned. He dedicated His earthly life to God and to His Father's service. He is our "daily bread" and the costly, personal sacrifice that was pleasing to God. We are made whole through accepting Him as the sacrifice for our sins, which brings peace to our souls. And finally, He paid the 120% compensation that was due our Sovereign God on our behalf; for our depravity, sins, and the breaking of God's laws.
Once I realized that these sacrificial offerings actually had value and meaning for me, I delighted in looking for Jesus in the verses ... and discovering Him! Over and over again, at the end of each of these Biblical sacrificial ceremonies, I found the verse "and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him." THESE OFFERINGS ALL POINTED TO JESUS'S WORK ON THE CROSS! God gave these sacrificial ceremonies to the Jews so that they could recognize Jesus and His message when He came to them. Sadly, they did not discern that He mirrored their own sacrifices, and in truth, came to be their Sacrifice, once and for all.
And by revealing these sacrifices to us Christians through Scripture, we should be reminded of all that His sacrifice requires: admission of our sins; dedication to serving God; costly, personal sacrifice in following Him --- and all that it offers: we can begin our journey towards wholeness in Him; and gratitude that He paid the price on our behalf, so that we might be reconciled with God.
That brings me back to the verse I have chosen for today's post. You will most likely find it listed as Leviticus 7:7 in your Bible. I don't know why later Bible translations broke Chapter 6 where they did, but I prefer to consider this verse as a continuation of the purpose of Chapter 6, just as the Septuagint reads.
So, now, it is my hope that this verse will have a deeper, more personal message for you.... the priest that shall make atonement with it; his it shall be.... Just like all the rest of the Scripture in Leviticus, this points to Christ! As our High Priest, who has made atonement for us, we belong to Him! Does that bring you as much comfort as it does me?
I challenge you to go back and read Leviticus. Read it with new eyes and a new heart. Look for Him in all those verses that used to bore you; let the Holy Spirit reveal Him in all His glory, and I promise you that you will begin to connect the dots and see what an awesome God we have!
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