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Series Theme:   Studies in Leviticus - "The Law of Offerings - Lev 1-7   1/3



Part 1 (Ch.1-6)

(This page)


Part 2 (Notes)


Part 3 (Ch.6,7)

(to be added)

LEVITICUS – The Studies - Ch.1-6

PART ONE: The Basic Offerings  



(Click on reference to go to study)


1. Introduction: Lev 1:1,2

a) Mainly Giving Thanks

2. Burnt offering from herd: Lev 1:3-9

3. Burnt offering from flocks/birds: Lev 1:10-17

4. GRAIN OFFERING of flour: Lev 2:1-3

5. GRAIN OFFERING of cakes baked: Lev 2:4-16  

6. FELLOWSHIP Offerings: Lev 3:1-17


b) Dealing with my Sin

7. SIN Offering – for the Priest: Lev 4:1-12 

8. SIN OFFERING – for everyone else: Lev 4:13-35

9. Specific Sins requiring a SIN OFFERING: Lev 5:1-6

10. SIN OFFERINGS for the Poor: Lev 5:7-13

11. The GUILT OFFERING (1): Lev 5:14-19

12. The GUILT OFFERING (2): Lev 5:1-7



1. Introduction : Lev 1:1,2


A. Find Out

1. Who did the Lord speak to? v.1a

2. Where did He speak to him? v.1b

3. Who did He tell him to speak to? v.2a

4. What activity was he to address? v.2b

5. What did He say to bring? v.2c


B. Comment:

Again and again in these chapters we will find reference to the Lord speaking to Moses (see also 4:2, 5;14, 6:1.6:9, 6:19, 6:24, 7:22, 7:28), nine times in all. There is therefore, no question in the writer's mind that this sacrificial Law originated with God.

The second thing to note is that is was Law for Israel , for God's covenant people. Making offerings was part of the expression of their relationship with the Lord.

The third thing to note here is that it appears that the Lord is regularising the habit of bringing offerings. From the preliminary notes you will see that offerings were already something that people in relationship with the Lord did. Where the people wanted to just bring something to God as an expression of their relationship with Him, the Lord tells them to do it in a particular way. There is a sense of reassurance about this because once there is a set way laid down, it means that the person bringing the offering will not be worrying whether what they bring is acceptable to the Lord. In addition, the prescribed way will no doubt leave the Israelite pondering on the significance of what he has done, and that in itself will deepen his relationship with the Lord.

The fourth thing to note is that the offering brought is to be an animal from herd or flock. This will involve putting the animal to death at the doorway of the Tent (Tabernacle), and that also will leave the Offeror with a whole new appreciation of the value of life.


C. Application:

The Old Testament Law of Sacrifice no longer applies to us as Jesus has come and died as the ultimate sacrifice (Heb 7:27, 9:26-28), yet understanding what happened in the Tabernacle on God's command, will help us appreciate more fully what Christ has done. Ask the Lord to give you understanding of these things each day.

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2. Burnt offering from herd : Lev 1:3-9


A. Find Out


1. What was the burnt offering to be? v.3a

2. How is he to come? v.3b,4

3. What is the Offeror to do? v.5a,6a,9a

4. What are the priests then to do? v.5b,7,8, 9b

5. How is this offering finally described? v.9c.


B. Comment:   


Remember we said yesterday that this offering was given freely. It is therefore to be an expression of an open heart to God, but even that is tested by ensuring that the Offeror conforms to the instructions. For those who come with very full hearts, then give the biggest and the best – a bull with nothing wrong with it (v.3a). This giving will be real! The giver must come with it to the entrance to the Tent where it is checked and approved (v.3b). Once approved the giver himself must put it to death (v.5) after he has placed his hand on its head (v.4a), identifying with it, as if to say, I transfer my sin to it so that it is received as atonement (v.4b), or a substitute taking my punishment due for my sin. Even when bringing a gift to God, there is a reminder of His holiness and our sinfulness. We can't approach casually.

  The priests, in their official intermediary capacity, take some of the animal's blood and sprinkle it on all sides of the altar before the pieces of the animal are cut up and burnt on the altar. The blood represented the life of the animal (Lev 17:11) and so even before the altar is used there is a symbolic marking it with the signs of the life of the substitute. There is no casual use of this altar, it requires the laying down of a life before it can be used to approach God. Even the messiest part of the animal, its legs and entrails are washed before burning, indicating a required holiness of approach. When all this is done, it is said to provide a pleasing aroma to the Lord, simply He is pleased when the person reveals their heart by the obedience in their approach.   

  The priests, in their official intermediary capacity, take some of the animal's blood and sprinkle it on all sides of the altar before the pieces of the animal are cut up and burnt on the altar. The blood represented the life of the animal (Lev 17:11) and so even before the altar is used there is a symbolic marking it with the signs of the life of the substitute. There is no casual use of this altar, it requires the laying down of a life before it can be used to approach God. Even the messiest part of the animal, its legs and entrails are washed before burning, indicating a required holiness of approach. When all this is done, it is said to provide a pleasing aroma to the Lord, simply He is pleased when the person reveals their heart by the obedience in their approach.   


C. Application:


We can sometimes forget that God is holy and cannot be casually approached. The only reason we can approach so easily on a Sunday morning or any other time we turn to God, is that Jesus has become our sacrifice to take our sin and open the way to God. Even our desires to bless God have to be sanctified because of their imperfection.

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3. Burnt offering from flocks/birds : Lev 1:10-17  


A. Find Out


1. What are the offering options? v.10,14

2. What differences are there as to who kills the creature? v.11,15

3. What part is thrown away? v.16

4. Yet what similarities are there? v.13,17


B. Comment:

At first sight there is little difference between the offerings within these verses and the ones that went before. The big and obvious difference, and this is the reason that we pause on these verses, is in the size of the offering presented. It seems that the choice is left up to the Offeror and as we said previously, because this is a freewill offering for no reason other than to bless God, the Offeror is likely to present the largest creature he can afford. Hence the first offering covered was that of a bull. But perhaps the farmer doesn't own a bull and only has a flock of sheep or goats. That's all right, they will be acceptable. But perhaps he doesn't own a herd or a flock and so all he could obtain by catching, breeding or buying, would be a pigeon or a dove. Well that's all right.

Yet with each offering there is a condition or requirement. For the animals it is that they be without defect but of course with a bird, that is more of a difficult assessment and so the condition is simply that there will be two of them. These are simple requirements which were easy to follow, simple things that required simple obedience. What does this say? It says that anyone could come and bring an offering regardless of their financial standing. No one is to be excluded because they are inferior. Provision is made for all classes of people in the congregation and each one is given some simple instructions to follow.

What these instructions do is lay down simple procedures from God, things that people can do as a sign of coming HIS way.   


C. Application:


There is no room for anyone to feel inferior. Anyone can come to God, regardless of their background, regardless of what they have done in the past. When Jesus died to open the way up to God for us, it was for whoever: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16). Jesus is God's means of approach for us today. Jesus said, “ No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6)

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4. GRAIN OFFERING of flour : Lev 2:1-3


A. Find Out

1. What is the first form of this offering to be? v.1a

2. What is to be mixed with it? v.1b

3. What is the priest to take and do with it? 2a,b

4. How will it appear to the Lord? v.2c

5. What is to happen to the rest of it? v.3


B. Comment:


We can see elsewhere that this particular offering was to be offered alongside the burnt offering (see Num 28:3-6), the Sin Offering (Num 6:14,16) and the Fellowship Offering (Lev 9:4, Num 6:17). As with the Burnt Offering, it appears to have been presented to God purely as a heart expression of love to God, desiring to bless Him, hence the expression used, “an aroma pleasing to the Lord” (2:2c).

Whereas the Burnt Offering considered so far has been all about the giving up of a life to God, because of the nature of flour and the cakes produced from it, it is suggested that this offering represents the giving of human work or endeavour over to God. Flour and cakes are both formed as a result of human effort. Thus where it is just flour being offered, it is to be ‘fine' flour, flour that has been severely worked. In the same way that each of the burnt offerings had a condition or requirement attached to them that required obedience, so this is the requirement of this particular offering.

Whereas the Burnt Offering was a life given over completely to God and totally burnt, the Grain Offering is only a token handful burnt and the rest given to the priest. The suggestion here is that whereas the Christian life has to be totally surrendered to God, when it comes to work, that has to be surrendered to God but at the same time used to bless others. The flour is to have oil poured over it, a picture of the Holy Spirit covering or anointing our work. It was also to have incense or frankincense added which, many suggest, speaks of God's holiness, something that brings a beautiful perfume when the offering is burnt   


C. Application:


  Do we submit our work as well as our general lives to the Lord? Is our work anointed by the Holy Spirit? Is there a holy aspect about our work that is revealed under pressure (or fire), where we are seen to be different, of God?

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5. GRAIN OFFERING of cakes baked : Lev 2:4-16   


A. Find Out

1. What alternate ways could the flour be cooked? v,4,5,7

2. What ingredient(s) should NOT be included? v.4,5,11

3. What should they include in all their offerings? v.13

4. What variation of this offering is also mentioned? v.14


B. Comment:

The offerings covered here are from the same basic materials but the variation comes in the way they are cooked. This may be by an oven, on a griddle or in a pan. The ingredients already mentioned are simply mixed together and cooked using the different utensils and then the cooked product is offered. Why? Presumably this would most likely be a task performed by the women of the household allowing them to feel they can contribute something specifically to the offering system. Remember it is a freewill offering to show devotion to God.

In addition to the instructions of verses 1-3 there is also a further prohibition added. Yeast and honey are not to be added. Whereas incense gives off flavour in fire, honey and yeast simply melt and are ruined. Yeast was omitted from bread at the Passover and its absence now is a constant reminder of that time of totally relying upon God in the haste of the Exodus. Yeast is a life ingredient that puffs up the bread. Jesus warned, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” (Mt16:6) suggesting beware of the pride that puffs up. The apostle Paul, continuing to use the same analogy said, “let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor 5:8). Yeast, in other words, typifies pride or sin generally. When you surrender your work to God there shall be not an element of pride in even doing that. Similarly honey is that which adds a sweet taste to disguise what is bitter. Avoid anything which disguises the truth. Yet salt was to be added (v.13) as seasoning. Seasoning brings out the flavour, reveals what is really there. These are important ingredients.


C. Application:

In surrendering my work to the Lord, can I do it with humility and without any sense of pride or pretence? Am I aware that my gifts and abilities come from Him to start with, so I have no grounds for pride? Do I let Him purify my word, revealing His work? (see Mt 5:16)


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6. FELLOWSHIP Offerings : Lev 3:1-17

A. Find Out

1. From where might this offering come? v.1,6,12

2. What is the Offeror to do? v.2,8,13

3. What were the priests to do? v.2b,5,8b.11,13b,16

4. Where was it to be burnt? v.5


B. Comment:

  If you have read the verses through carefully, you might be forgiven if, at first sight, you have wondered if there is any difference between this offering and the Burnt Offering and the answer is, very little. The animals here may be male or female, whereas with the Burnt Offering it was to be a male. In both offerings the Offeror is to present it as one without defect and he is to kill it and the priest is to sprinkle its blood. With the Burnt Offering all the animal was to be burnt but here only the entrails are burnt, part of it belongs to the priest and part of it (see chapter 7) is to be eaten by the Offeror.

  It is this last point that really distinguishes it, as the only offering where the Offeror eats part of it. (see also Deut 27:7). With all the rest except the Burnt Offering, the priest only has part. Traditionally the name of this offering has been the Peace Offering. It is a time when the Offeror and the Lord, represented by His priest, sit down and eat together, fellowshipping in each other's presence. It is thus an offering that indicates a desire for unity with the Lord, a coming together of the Lord and His people.

You may also have noted that it is offered at the same time as the burnt offering and laid on top of that offering (3:5). The two offerings are distinguished from one another. The first is a free will offering that conveys desire to come near and bless the Lord. The second indicates a desire to enter into fellowship with the Lord, spending time in His presence. Both acknowledge the humanity of the Offeror and both the holiness of the Lord, the desire for fellowship is what makes the Fellowship Offering that much more special.

C. Application:

  Do we have a desire to draw near to the Lord? Great, but do we have a desire to draw near and stay in the Lord's presence, communing or fellowshipping with Him? This is an indication of maturity, a growing desire to know Him more and more.


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7. SIN Offering – for the Priest : Lev 4:1-12

A. Find Out

1. To whom do the following rules apply? v.1,2

2. Who is the first person dealt with & what is he to bring? v.3,4

3. What 3 things is he to do with the blood? v.5-7

4. What is to happen to the entrails? v.8-10

5. What is to happen to the rest of the animal? v.11,12


B. Comment:

  As we come to the Sin offering we should note that sin is defined in verse 2 as doing anything forbidden in God's laws. The sin that is covered is that which was done unintentionally, i.e. the person did not realise it was forbidden at the time but has subsequently realised it and knows they have to do something about it.

The first person considered is the priest himself. If he sins, as representative of the people to God, he brings a sense of guilt on the whole people. His sin, should it occur, must be the first to be dealt with, because he is the one who stands in the Tabernacle as the mediator between man and God. If that mediator is tainted then the whole system crumbles. The rules for what happens are similar to the Burnt Offering in as far as an animal is presented at the door to the Tent, the Offeror kills it and the priest take some of its blood. Thereafter it differs.

First some of the blood is sprinkled before the curtain where God is said to reside. This recognises that that entrance, having been lost by sin, is first to need to be sanctified by a life given up. Then some is put on the altar of incense, the altar used to daily present incense, as a recognition that this path to God has likewise been violated by the priest's sin. Finally the rest of the blood is poured out at the base of the main altar.

For additional comments on these see the Additional Note, “The Significance of the Blood” Note that it is the fat and entrails that is actually cut out and offered on the fire, suggesting that it is what goes on inside us that needs sacrificing, not the shell of the body. It is our mind, our soul, our will, that needs giving over to God, for it is from here that sin comes.


C. Application:

“Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom 12;1,2). Have I surrendered my heart, my mind and my will?


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8. SIN OFFERING – everyone else : Lev 4:13-35


A. Find Out

1. Whose guilt is now covered and who represents them? v.13,15

2. Where, again, is the blood to be put? v.17,18

3. Where again is the bull to be burnt? v.19,21

4. Whose guilt is next covered? v.22

5. What is to happen to the blood? v.25

6. Whose guilt is finally covered? v.27

7. What is to happen to the blood? v.30,34


B. Comment:

The offerings for the congregation, the leader and the individual are similar but for each one the beast gets smaller, as their importance diminishes. The things that need to be cleansed by blood change. For the congregation, as with the priest, the entrance into the Most Holy Place and the golden altar of incense are to be cleansed.

This is a sign that God's design is for the nation to be able to be represented as coming into His Holy Presence, but for the leader and an individual, the blood is only put on the horns of the bronze altar for they do not come into the Most Holy Place, in the same way that at Mount Sinai the people were not to touch the mountain (Ex 19:12), only Moses and the leading priests and the seventy representative elders were allowed to approach (Ex 24:1). The design of the various different sin offerings is therefore careful to maintain this big distinction. Because those priests and key elders, representing the nation, had gone up on the mountain, nearer to God than the people, thus if they sin it is more serious and the nature and extent of their offering has to be greater.

  For the ordinary leader (not an elder) and the ordinary members of the congregation, sin offerings simply recognised that they had broken their right to bring even burnt offerings, and therefore the blood they presented had to cleanse the bronze altar even before their offering could be burnt. It IS sin but they are less significant.


C. Application:

In life different people hold different roles and those roles carry different responsibilities. The bigger the role, representing more people – parents, teachers, leaders, managers, directors, governors etc. – the greater the responsibility and the greater the sin when there is failure, and the greater the accountability to God. Where are you in this?

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9. Specific Sins requiring a SIN OFFERING: Lev 5:1-6

A. Find Out

1. What is the first failure covered? v.1

2. What is the second failure covered? v.2

3. What is the third one covered? v.3

4. What is the fourth one covered? v.4

5. What is that person first do about it? v.5

6. What must they then do about it? v.6


B. Comment:

What similarity is there between the first and fourth sins? They are sins to do with speech. The first one is a failure to speak up when you should and the fourth is speaking carelessly.

How are the second and third similar? They are both about touching something that is prohibited and which will make the person ‘unclean'.

Why do we think these particular sins are mentioned? Because the people of Israel were called to be a special people, a holy people and they were holy because of what they DID. Justice was an important issue in maintaining the Law and therefore failure to take responsibility and speak up when you should, undermined justice. But truth was so important that sometimes an oath was required, and so responsibility over making an oath was high. Don't carelessly make an oath said the Law. But they were also holy because of what they ate and how they kept themselves clean, i.e. there were hygiene laws to promote good health and that, we suggest, is what was behind verses 2 and 3.

When a person became aware that they had failed in one of these ways, there were two things they needed to do. The first was with their lips – they needed to confess their failure. The second was bringing a sin offering. Words can be cheap but bringing an offering cost you, and that drove the point home! These were means of dealing with the very basics of being the holy people of God, and maintaining that holiness.   


C. Application:

  I wonder, as Christians, are we aware that we are a holy people and as such we have responsibilities that preclude certain behaviour. We may think it is all just a case of ‘believing in Jesus' but it is also about being children of God – children of a holy God and we care called to be holy as He is holy (1 Pet 1:15,16)


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10. SIN OFFERINGS for the Poor : Lev 5:7-13

A. Find Out

1. For whom are the following regulations given? v.7a,11a

2. What is to be brought as the first alternative, and for what? v.7

3. How are different offerings brought? v.8-10

4. What is the second alternative? v.11

5. How is it considered? v.11b, 13c

6. How is it to be given? v.12


B. Comment:

  Poverty is not to bar a sinner from coming to God using the sacrificial system and there are two options given. If the person doesn't have a lamb to bring then they can bring two doves or two pigeons instead (v.7). If they can't afford those then they can simply bring fine flour (v.11) as their offering – every family would have some of that and that was to be their offering.

  If the offering was two pigeons or two doves, they would be used in different ways. The first was to be seen as a sin offering and was killed and some of its blood shed thus brings cleansing and forgiveness by the giving of a life. (Note only the blood is used – the sign of a life being given). The second was a burnt offering (see 1:14-17) and it is burnt on the altar as an offering to please the Lord (see 1:17c) and acting in an atoning way (5:10) to restore fellowship with the Lord.

  If the offering was flour, it is to be brought without any additives (v.11) and the priest took a handful of it and burnt it on top of the other offerings on the altar as the most simple of the sin offerings. The rest was to be for the priest, part of his support, if you like.   


C. Application:

As we have noted before, no one is excluded from God's presence because of lack of possessions. In each case it was bring what you can afford. If you were well off, you brought an animal. If you were not so well off and had no animals you just brought two birds. If you were really hard up you simply brought some flour. The concern was to deal with the sin and to re-establish the relationship with the Lord. Today, because of Jesus, the way is always open. “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” (1 Jn 1:9) and that is all because Jesus has been our sacrifice and we come to God on that basis.

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11. The GUILT OFFERING (1) : Lev 5:14-19


A. Find Out

1. Who is to bring what, when, and what is it to be? v.15

2. For what is he to make restitution and add what? v.16a

3. What will the priest do for him? v.16b

4. When will a person be considered guilty? v.17

5. What is he to bring and why? v.18

6. What is it and why? v.19


B. Comment:

There are the two areas of sin covered in these rules: sins in regard to the Holy things of the Tabernacle (implied v.15) and any specific disobedience (v.17). In both cases there is guilt even though the failures were unintentional.

The aims of the commands given here appear to be a) to impose a penalty or fine (v.15), and b) to provide restitution (v.16) where that has involved loss (e.g. failure to pay a tithe?) and c) to make atonement (v.16,18) for his sin and receive forgiveness and, overall, to declare guilt even when it was unintentional and not realised.

The instructions in respect of guilt offerings continue into chapter 6 in respect of possessions, but initially these offerings considered here in chapter 5 are purely to do with the Lord. When it comes to wrongly handling holy things in the tabernacle or failing to come with required tithe or offering, this is to be clearly seen as a sin against God and the person is answerable to God. Similarly if there are commands in respect of the Lord which a person breaks, again this is to be clearly seen as a sin against God. In this manner these particular commands declare a specific accountability to the Lord. The person may not have realised   it, be he IS accountable to the Lord and has an unresolved or outstanding issue with the Lord until he deals with it.


C. Application:

These rules declare to us that knowledge of a sin is not the issue. We may not realise we are sinning but it is still a sin. As we might say today, ignorance of the Law is no excuse!

Many times Christians go blithely through life not realising that an attitude or action is sinful - but it is and while it remains unconfessed it acts as a hindrance in their life. Once it is confessed it is immediately dealt with by Christ's work on the Cross.

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12. The GUILT OFFERING (2) : Lev 6:1-7   


A. Find Out

1. What sin is next dealt with? v.2

2. What also is covered? v.3

3. What must the individual first do about these things? v.4,5a

4. What must he add and when must he do it? v.5b

5. What offering must he bring and why? v.6

6. How will that act, with what effect? v.7


B. Comment:


  The law moves on to sins against a neighbour in respect of property and the point is that such is seen as being unfaithful to the Lord (v.2). The sin is basically about being deceitful – distorting the truth. It envisages a neighbour leaving something in the care of the individual and he appropriates it and then lies about it (v.2). Alternatively the individual may have found something belonging to another and appropriates it and lies about it (v.3).

These things are sins and he is guilty and answerable to God (v.4) and so the first thing he must do is return whatever does not belong to him. Moreover he must add a fifth of the value of the item (v.5) and give it to the owner and he must do this on the day he comes to the Lord with his offering. It is part of the process of putting things right before the Lord. Now the main part of coming to the Lord seeking forgiveness is done by the guilt offering , a good quality ram (v.6) and, yes, it is to be seen as a penalty, something that costs the offender! Yet when he brings it and the priest takes it and presents it, it will be seen to act as atonement and he will thus be forgiven his transgressions.   


C. Application:

This specific law faces us very simply with the law of ownership of property. There is a right to ownership of something that we have bought or made – it is ours, and we have rights over it. If someone else takes our property, by whatever illegitimate means, that is wrong and they are answerable to God.

Also within this, there is the law of truth. This particular law seen here, involves deception and deception is a simple twisting of the truth for our own benefit. In a multitude of ways God shows that He is against the distorting of truth. Life is to be lived with truth as a primary foundation. Failure to do that makes us accountable to God.

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