Monday, February 12, 2018

While some could use different animals to sacrifice, ALL sinners needed to atone for their sins.

An Offering for the Common People
Leviticus 4:27-35:

This passage describes the process to be followed when an ordinary person (not a priest, not a leader, and not the congregation as whole) has committed a sin unintentionally and it is drawn to his attention. This offering may involve the sacrifice of a goat or a lamb – but both to be of the female gender.

Thoughts on the Passage

Notice the big difference here is that common folk were required to bring female animals. Matthew Henry summarizes by saying a common or private person could bring a female goat or lamb, but a ruler must bring only a goat and it is to be male. All other observances are the same.

Robert Jamieson also reminds that the blood of the sacrificed animal when offered by a common person was only applied to the altar of burnt offering in the court of the Tabernacle, whereas in the atonement of transgressions by the priests or the whole congregation, the process called for a further penitence – the application of the blood on the altar of incense.

We note in this chapter that sin atonement offerings were required by rich and poor, individuals and the congregation, as well as priest and rulers. No matter our status and role in society, we are all required to atone for our sins. The terms of acceptance were basically the same for them all at that time.  They are the same for all of us today.  There are no special passes like one may be available to purchase at Disneyland to avoid the line-ups or to get special seating privileges. Christ welcomes all of us in the same manner – just as we are. He offers us the same benefits from His sacrifice.

So, what can we learn from all these laws about sin offerings? Henry suggests two things:

First, to hate sin, and to guard against it. It is a serious thing that God wants taken care of, or He wouldn’t have prescribed the slaying and mangling of so many innocent and useful creatures to deal with it.

Second, to value Christ, the great and true sin offering, whose blood cleanses us from all sin – something the blood of bulls and goats could not do. And Christ does this for all of us – not just the Jewish people.

Finally, Jamieson reminds us that “none of these sacrifices possessed any intrinsic value sufficient to free the conscience of the sinner from the pollution of guilt, or to obtain his pardon from God; but they gave a formal deliverance from a secular penalty; and they were figurative representations of the full and perfect sin offering which was to be made by Christ.”

As I watch people of various faiths pursue such “formal deliverance” from the penalty their beliefs or their sects or cults or untrue religions impose, my heart breaks as I realize they are only pursuing a momentary relief and missing out on the benefits of true and eternal spiritual freedom through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

On a side note, I have no explanation as to why the common folk were allowed to use a female animal in this offering. The only thing I can think of is that they were more plentiful and/or perhaps, less expensive. If you have other thoughts, please share them with us.

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