Leviticus 6 – Instructions for the Priests
A. More instances for performing the guilt offering.
1. (1-6) The necessity of the guilt offering when a person sinned against a neighbor by lying or theft.
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “If a person sins and commits a trespass against the LORD by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if he has extorted from his neighbor, or if he has found what was lost and lies concerning it, and swears falsely— in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins: then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has extorted, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found, or all that about which he has sworn falsely. He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering. And he shall bring his trespass offering to the LORD, a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering, to the priest.
a. He shall restore what he has stolen: If a person was guilty of fraud or theft, it wasn’t enough that sacrifices cover the guilt of the sin before God. Restitution had to settle the account with the victim of the fraud.
b. He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering: It wasn’t enough to just return what was stolen. The thief also had to add 20% (one-fifth) to what was stolen as a penalty.
i. Restitution and its accompanying penalty had to be made the same day of his trespass offering. This powerfully demonstrated that one could not get right with God without also making his wrong right with men.
2. (7) The certainty of forgiveness when the sacrifice is made.
So the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he shall be forgiven for any one of these things that he may have done in which he trespasses.”
a. So the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD: This was marvelous assurance for a guilty conscience. The sinner could depend upon this promise and know their sin was covered before the LORD.
i. The New Testament makes a similar statement in light of the New Covenant, found in 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
b. For any one of these things that he may have done: The emphasis is that any sin can be cleansed through atoning sacrifice. Before the perfect work of Jesus on the cross the cleansing was not perfect, but it could be extended to any sin.
B. Specific instructions for the priests regarding the offerings.
1. (8-13) The burnt offering.
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Command Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the burnt offering: The burnt offering shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it. And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen trousers he shall put on his body, and take up the ashes of the burnt offering which the fire has consumed on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. Then he shall take off his garments, put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.
a. This is the law of the burnt offering: This offering spoke of consecration. The animal had to remain upon the altar in a slow burn for a long time, tended by the priest (shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night until morning).
b. And the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it: The long-burning character of the burnt offering is an appropriate illustration of the work of giving ourselves completely to God. Coming to God as a living sacrifice is not a quick work and we may feel that we are roasted on the fire for a long time.
i. “Does the perpetual fire burn on the altar of thy heart? Art thou ever looking unto Jesus, and beholding, by faith, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world?” (Clarke)
c. A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out: The perpetual fire is also connected to the idea that these offerings must be made continually. Before the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, it was impossible to perfectly complete them.
2. (14-23) The grain offering.
‘This is the law of the grain offering: The sons of Aaron shall offer it on the altar before the LORD. He shall take from it his handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, with its oil, and all the frankincense which is on the grain offering, and shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma, as a memorial to the LORD. And the remainder of it Aaron and his sons shall eat; with unleavened bread it shall be eaten in a holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of meeting they shall eat it. It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their portion of My offerings made by fire; it is most holy, like the sin offering and the trespass offering. All the males among the children of Aaron may eat it. It shall be a statute forever in your generations concerning the offerings made by fire to the LORD. Everyone who touches them must be holy.’” And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “This is the offering of Aaron and his sons, which they shall offer to the LORD, beginning on the day when he is anointed: one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a daily grain offering, half of it in the morning and half of it at night. It shall be made in a pan with oil. When it is mixed, you shall bring it in. The baked pieces of the grain offering you shall offer for a sweet aroma to the LORD. The priest from among his sons, who is anointed in his place, shall offer it. It is a statute forever to the LORD. It shall be wholly burned. For every grain offering for the priest shall be wholly burned. It shall not be eaten.”
a. This is the law of the grain offering: A portion of the grain offering belonged to the priests. They and their family ate it as a holy gift.
b. For every grain offering for the priest shall be wholly burned: There was a particular grain offering that was part of the anointing and consecration ceremony for a priest. This grain offering was not to be eaten, it was to be wholly burned before the LORD.
3. (24-30) The sin offering.
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed, the sin offering shall be killed before the LORD. It is most holy. The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of meeting. Everyone who touches its flesh must be holy. And when its blood is sprinkled on any garment, you shall wash that on which it was sprinkled, in a holy place. But the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken. And if it is boiled in a bronze pot, it shall be both scoured and rinsed in water. All the males among the priests may eat it. It is most holy. But no sin offering from which any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of meeting, to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten. It shall be burned in the fire.
a. This is the law of the sin offering: A portion of the sin offering was left over and was to be given to the priests. Anything touched by the sin offering or its blood had to be cleansed in a special manner because the sacrificial victim was thought to be infected with the sin of the one who brought the offering.
b. But no sin offering from which any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of meeting, to make atonement in the holy place, shall be eaten: Any portion from the sin offering made for national atonement could not be eaten. The whole animal had to be burnt before the LORD. Only portions from a sin offering made on behalf of an individual could be eaten.
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