Leviticus 4: This offering is the first of the non-sweet savor offerings. The first three offerings were sweet savor offerings and pointed to the person of Messiah and our relationship with Elohim.
The last two offerings are non-sweet savor offerings. They do not point to the perfect person of Messiah or of His Deity. Instead, they refer to the work of Yeshua Messiah on the tree for our sins. This offering is called the sin offering and the other non-sweet savor offering is called the trespass offering.
This chapter on the sin offering is much longer than any of the others. There must be much importance here.
This offering became the most important of all the offerings because it points to the fact that man is unclean because of his unintentional sin. The next offering is the trespass offering and speaks of the sin that man does. The sin offering speaks of what man is because of sin, not what man does.
These two offerings secure atonement and forgiveness from Elohim for unintentional sin. This sacrifice does not apply to defiant acts or premeditated crimes. The laws of chapters 4 & 5 do not delineate which crimes for which sacrifices are mandated. If such sins are defiant or premeditated, then the penalty is what is known as the “karet,” or the “cutting off” from among the people.
The punishment of the karet is viewed as a punishment from Elohim and not a punishment by the people or judges. Karet, or the cutting off from the people (or more stringent punishments such as death), was involved in a variety of religious sins such as adultery, murder, desecration of the Sabbath, or eating leaven on the Feast of the Unleavened Bread.
The difference between the sin offering and the trespass offering of chapter five is in their purpose. The sin offering purifies the accidental offender. The trespass offering (or guilt offering) is a penalty paid in the form of a sacrificial offering to Elohim. If someone could not fulfill their obligation in a vow made to someone else, the fact that it was a broken vow brought Elohim in. The offender must perform these offerings in order to make amends with Elohim. However, that person still must make amends with any person that was wronged by his breaking of the vow. That repayment must also be met with a penalty of 20% extra.
The objective of the offerings in chapters 4 and 5 is to maintain sanctity in the priesthood and among the people. Sin is a very serious issue. Most people probably take their own sin much too lightly. But that is not the case with Elohim. He takes our sin VERY seriously. Our sin must be atoned for, plus our sin makes us impure, or unclean. There are then two very important issues that must be addressed. That is the purpose of the these last two offerings.
(Lev 4:1 NASB) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
(Lev 4:2 NASB) “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them,
Lev 4:2: Notice that this is only for sins committed in ignorance. It only applied if you didn’t know any better or if it was a mistake. Sins that were committed willfully were not dealt with by a sacrifice.
Mankind has inside his heart a guilt complex due to his sin. This guilt complex of man must be diagnosed before it can be cured. Listen to the Psalmist who knows he is guilty and needs help (Psalm 139:23-24). We may think that we sin against one another, but that is not exactly true. While we do commit offenses against one another at times, our sins are first and foremost against Elohim (Psalm 51:4).
Some people think that psychiatry and psychology offer some secret methods that are beyond the capacity of the Word of Elohim. Instead of going to the couch of some psychiatrist for our guilt complex or personality problem, we need to go to the couch of the Father and ask Him to “Search me, O Master, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me.” Our problem isn’t that our mothers didn’t love us enough when we were little brats. Our problem is that we are an offense to Elohim and we need to know His ways and of Messiah.
The sin offering teaches us that we need to look at ourselves the way Elohim sees us. This makes us conscious of our unworthiness and of His provisions for us (Psalm 32:5). This is what lifts the guilt complex and releases us from sin.
(Lev 4:3 NASB) if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer to the LORD a bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.
Lev 4:3: The sin of the priest is considered first because he stood in the place of leadership. If he was wrong, then all those under him were wrong. Since this was the most severe of sins he had to bring a young bullock. This was the most valuable of animals. While his sin was no greater than anyone elses, his responsibility was greater.
That principle still holds true today (James 3:1).
This part of the sin offering is where there is a huge difference between the high priests like Aaron, and our High Priest, Yeshua Messiah (Heb. 4:15).
(Lev 4:4 NASB) ‘And he shall bring the bull to the doorway of the tent of meeting before the LORD, and he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull, and slay the bull before the LORD.
Lev 4:4: This is similar to the burnt offering.
(Lev 4:5 NASB) ‘Then the anointed priest is to take some of the blood of the bull and bring it to the tent of meeting,
(Lev 4:6 NASB) and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the LORD, in front of the veil of the sanctuary.
(Lev 4:7 NASB) ‘The priest shall also put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense which is before the LORD in the tent of meeting; and all the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
Lev 4:7: To sprinkle the blood seven times in front of Elohim secured Elohim’s relationship with the offender. This purified the offender for the sin they committed.
(Lev 4:8 NASB) ‘And he shall remove from it all the fat of the bull of the sin offering: the fat that covers the entrails, and all the fat which is on the entrails,
(Lev 4:9 NASB) and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys
(Lev 4:10 NASB) (just as it is removed from the ox of the sacrifice of peace offerings), and the priest is to offer them up in smoke on the altar of burnt offering.
Lev 4:10: This part of the sacrifice was very similar to the peace offering. After the person was cleansed through the offering, fellowship is restored.
The fat, which was considered the best part of the offering, is burned at the altar.
(Lev 4:11 NASB) ‘But the hide of the bull and all its flesh with its head and its legs and its entrails and its refuse,
(Lev 4:12 NASB) that is, all the rest of the bull, he is to bring out to a clean place outside the camp where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire; where the ashes are poured out it shall be burned.
Lev 4:12: This part of the offering was very different from the rest. Carrying the whole bull outside the camp speaks of the awfulness and uncleanness of sin. The uncleanness of sin should not be in the presence of Elohim in the Tabernacle.
In the same way, when Yeshua took on the uncleanness of our sin, He too was taken outside the city to a place called Golgatha, and crucified (Heb 13:12).
(Lev 4:13 NASB) ‘Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error, and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty;
(Lev 4:14 NASB) when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a bull of the herd for a sin offering, and bring it before the tent of meeting.
Lev 4:14: The penalty for the sin of the whole congregation is the same as the penalty for the sin of the priest. This is because the priest represents the whole congregation before Elohim.
There is another truth here for us. We need to realize that not only are we responsible to Elohim as individuals, but we are responsible to Elohim as an assembly and as a people. Elohim judges nations and when He does, the people often go down with the nation whether they are part of the problem or not.
Elohim also judges assemblies. The letters to the seven assemblies of Revelation not only warned the assemblies, but it warned the all the people in the assemblies as well.
(Lev 4:15 NASB) ‘Then the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD, and the bull shall be slain before the LORD.
Lev 4:15: The elders also represent the assembly or the people. The ritual for them is similar to that of the priest.
(Lev 4:16 NASB) ‘Then the anointed priest is to bring some of the blood of the bull to the tent of meeting;
(Lev 4:17 NASB) and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, in front of the veil.
(Lev 4:18 NASB) ‘And he shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the LORD in the tent of meeting; and all the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
(Lev 4:19 NASB) ‘And he shall remove all its fat from it and offer it up in smoke on the altar.
(Lev 4:20 NASB) ‘He shall also do with the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven.
(Lev 4:21 NASB) ‘Then he is to bring out the bull to a place outside the camp, and burn it as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the assembly.
Lev 4:21: The next section refers to a governmental ruler of the people.
(Lev 4:22 NASB) ‘When a leader sins and unintentionally does any one of all the things which the LORD God has commanded not to be done, and he becomes guilty,
(Lev 4:23 NASB) if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a male without defect.
Lev 4:23: The offering of a government official is not as valuable as that of the religious leaders. It is the offering of a male goat. The official doesn’t make this offering because of gossip or false accusation made about him. It is only because of real guilt of an unintentional sin.
We are told that rulers are ordained by Elohim. Therefore they are responsible to Him. Our leaders need to be reminded that they are responsible to Elohim for their actions and decisions.
(Lev 4:24 NASB) ‘And he shall lay his hand on the head of the male goat, and slay it in the place where they slay the burnt offering before the LORD; it is a sin offering.
(Lev 4:25 NASB) ‘Then the priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering.
(Lev 4:26 NASB) ‘And all its fat he shall offer up in smoke on the altar as in the case of the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin, and he shall be forgiven.
Lev 4:26: The ritual and procedure is the same as it is for the others. The only difference is the type of offering. The sin is equal for all, but the responsibility is greater for those who rule and teach the common people.
(Lev 4:27 NASB) ‘Now if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and becomes guilty,
Lev 4:27: This offering was to cleanse the offeror of the uncleanness of his unintentional sin. This offering is for one who is not a priest, ruler, or king among the people. Less valuable offerings were allowed if that person is not a leader among the people.
Man, in his sin, is in an unclean state. That is why Scripture speaks of man’s need to be “cleansed” from his unrighteousness (Psalm 51:1-5). That passage in Psalms tells us why offerings were to be performed when a child is born. They are “unclean” at that time.
(Lev 4:28 NASB) if his sin, which he has committed is made known to him, then he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without defect, for his sin which he has committed.
(Lev 4:29 NASB) ‘And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering.
(Lev 4:30 NASB) ‘And the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.
(Lev 4:31 NASB) ‘Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat was removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar for a soothing aroma to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven.
(Lev 4:32 NASB) ‘But if he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring it, a female without defect.
(Lev 4:33 NASB) ‘And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they slay the burnt offering.
(Lev 4:34 NASB) ‘And the priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.
(Lev 4:35 NASB) ‘Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he shall be forgiven.
Lev 4:35: A female lamb was also allowed as atonement for the sin of the private citizen.
Notice in verse 35 it says that the offeror is forgiven. That is what we have in Yeshua Messiah, the forgiveness of sins and total absolution. This forgiveness does not speak of the wonderful offering given by the person. The offering does not provide forgiveness to the offeror. This forgiveness comes only from the richness of the grace of Elohim.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas