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Types in the Book of Leviticus

Leviticus is the companion volume to Exodus. We left Exodus in the Tabernacle, but we did not know what to do with it. Leviticus is the Manual for the Priests of Israel. It tells us how to use the Tabernacle, and how a sinful people can approach God. It gives the laws of worship and life. This is how Israel is to live a holy life before God.

The Old Testament is filled with many offerings and sacrifices. However regardless of who offers the sacrifices, the priest, the nation, a ruler, or the common person, they are always one of the five referred to in Leviticus chapters one through five. It does not matter if it is a bullock, a sheep, a goat, a turtle–dove, or a pigeon, it is always one of these five.

The holy God must have a holy people and this holiness must embrace the whole life of man. Why the need for these sacrifices and a sacrificial system? The sacrifices remind us that man is a sinner and that his sin must be dealt with (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Hebrews 9:22). The only cure is Christ.

Leviticus tells us about the sacrifices and offerings as types. They point to the perfect sacrifice for sin, which would to be made at Calvary. Leviticus is God's picture–book for the children of Israel because it pictures the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. All the sacrifices in this book point to "the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). It is good to keep in mind that every Old Testament sacrifice anticipated the true and perfect sacrifice which Christ would offer at Calvary. They were shadows and types of the coming perfect sacrifice for sin. Christ is the end of all the sacrifices. These sacrifices were witnesses to the people that they were sinners and could be saved only by a substitutionary death, offered on their behalf. The sacrifices testified that the worshiper lived only by virtue of the slain victim in his stead. The continual repetition of the sacrifices testified that blood of animals can not take away sin. The sacrifices were a promise, a prophecy, and a pledge that one day God would provide the perfect offering for our sins.

All Old Testament sacrifices were mere shadows of the sacrifice of Christ and looked forward to it. The Old Testament sacrifices were worthless in their own right, but were accepted for the time as tokens of the future sacrifice of the Lamb of God (Hebrews 10:10–14). Once that sacrifice was offered, all other sacrifices lost their meaning, for the infinite value of the Savior's death was enough to pay the penalty for sin of all men for all times (Hebrews 10:18).

The offerings are broken down into two groups. The "sweet savor" offerings typify Christ in His meritorious perfections. The first three in Leviticus are sweet savor offerings and are voluntary. The last two are non-sweet savor offerings and are compulsory. The "non–sweet savor" offerings typify Christ bearing the whole penalty of the sinner. Leviticus shows the redeemed people of Israel that the way to God is by sacrifice and the walk with God is by separation.

THE SWEET SAVOR OFFERINGS

Burnt Offerings, Corban (Leviticus 1)

The Burnt offerings were offered daily as an offering of dedication. It is the most common sacrifice in the Tabernacle and pictures the idea of consecration and self surrender of the whole man to the Lord. Because of sin it was necessary for the offerer to die spiritually. A whole victim was consumed on the altar by fire. We sing the song "Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee." That is a burnt offering.

It typifies Christ offering Himself without spot to God in delight to do His Father's will even in death. There was no reservation. Christ completely yielded Himself to God on our behalf. (John 6:38; 4:34; Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14; 10:7ff). It is the "Surrender" of Christ.

This sacrifice also finds application in the consecration of the believer to God (Romans 12:1; I Corinthians 6:2e).

Meal Offering (Leviticus 2)

The meal offering is the sacrifice of daily devotion, and is called "meat" in the KJV.

It typifies the perfect manhood of Christ. He is perfect in thought, in word and in action. Let us feed on the perfect meal offering. He is the Bread of Life. We must first come to Him with our whole burnt offering, and then we keep coming with our continual meal offering. It is our very best; it is our gift of life. (cf. I Peter 2:22) Christ is the grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies (John 12:24; 4:34; 6:27).

The meal offering is also a beautiful picture of the sanctification of the believer, i. e. the one who has appropriated the burnt offering of Christ by faith. Do not reverse the order. Justification must come first (Romans 12:1-2). It's spiritual application is the service offered by the believer and the spiritual nourishment received. Service is a privilege, not remuneration. Acts 10:4; Philippians 4:18

Peace Offering (Leviticus 3)

The Peace Offering represents fellowship and communion with God. It is an offering of thanksgiving. The sacrifice conveys the blessings and powers by which salvation is established and secured. Man justified spontaneously engages in praise and exercises fellowship. It is always preceded by the daily burnt-offering. Thanksgiving to JHVH for salvation. The peace offering comes last in the order in which they were observed. "Peace" means prosperity, welfare, joy, happiness. It is a joyous feast including the priest, people and God.

It typifies Christ, our Peace (Ephesians 2:14; Colossians 1:20; Romans 5:1; II Cor. 5:19; I Jn. 1:3, 7). Christ is our mediator of peace.

NON-SWEET SAVOR OFFERINGS

Sin Offering (Leviticus 4)

The sin offering acknowledges sin (vv. 2, 3). It is for expiation for sin. In this offering man is a convicted sinner. God holds us accountable for sin. We are like criminals who have been found guilty and sentenced to death. 'The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23a). It did not deal with sins in general, but particular sins. This sacrifice dealt with the knowledge of sin of which the people were not aware of before.

It typifies Christ as Sin bearer. Christ is "made sin for us." (Cf. II Corinthians 5:21). He deals with out particular sins. His death covers every sin (I Peter 3:18; Isaiah 53:6; I John 1:9). Every sin must be covered––sins of open rebellion as well as unintentional and weak flesh. God is holy and no sin is left uncovered (I John 2:1, 2; Romans 8:3; Galatians 2:16; Hebrews 13:10–13).

Trespass Offering (Leviticus 5)

The trespass offering cleanses the conscience and sends the sinner back to make restitution (v. 5). It was for special sins by which a person had contracted guilt.

It typifies Christ making restitution for the injury caused by our wrongdoing. We bring our sin; Christ brings the offering and the atonement for sin. (Cf. I Corinthians 15:3). Christ is our guilt offering, the satisfaction, on our behalf to God. The idea of restitution, or restoration, of the rights of those who had been violated, or disturbed is in the foreground here (Cf. Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8; Isaiah 53:8; II Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 2:13, 14).

THE DAY OF ATONEMENT (LEVITICUS 16; 23:26-32)

THE FEAST OF JHVH (LEVITICUS 23)

PASSOVER (Lev. 23:5) is a memorial feast that speaks of redemption by blood. It is based upon the exodus out of Egypt (Ex. 12). Christ is our Passover is slain for us (I Corinthians 5:7).

UNLEAVENED BREAD (Lev. 23:6-8) speaks of communion with Christ and a holy walk. Christ cleanses the old, unregenerate life of the believer.

FIRST FRUITS of the barley harvest (Lev. 23:9-14) is typical of resurrection, first of Christ and then of "them that are Christ's at His Coming" (I Corinthians 15:22-23). God claims first fruits of everything. The sheaf represented all of the harvest. God has first claim on life. Jesus is now in the presence of the Father as the representative of the whole church still in the field. He will remain there until the Second Coming, and then the whole harvest will be gathered (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27). The believer is thus consecrated to God in Christ (I Corinthians 6:19, 20). We have the first fruits of the Spirit (Romans 8:23). We are the first fruits of His creation (Romans 5:9; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4ff; Matthew 27:52, 53).

PENTECOST IS THE INGATHERING OF THE FIRST FRUITS of the wheat harvest (Lev. 23:15-22). It was considered the birthday of Judaism, and it typifies the descent of the Holy Spirit to form the Church (Acts 2:1-4). The Church came into existence fifty days (Pentecost) after Christ's resurrection (Leviticus 23:16).

TRUMPETS (Lev. 23:23-25) was the New Year's day of the children of Israel and took place in the fall at about our October. The blowing of the ram's horn called the people to repentance and reminded them the LORD was in a covenant relationship with Israel. The ram's horn called to memory Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. The trumpet will herald the coming of the Messiah! Trumpets were used later in Israel. The shophars were used to call Israel to worship, walk, and war. It is prophetic of the future regathering of long dispersed people of Israel (Zechariah 14; Matthew 24:29-31).

TABERNACLES (Lev. 23:33-44) commemorated the time when the children of Israel lived in tents during their wilderness journey. It was celebrated in the fall and lasted an entire week. The people lived in booths out of doors and heard the reading of the Law. It reminded them of their absolute dependence upon God. It is prophetic of Israel's millennial rest (Amos 9:13-15; Zechariah 14:16-21). The Feast of the Tabernacles is a memorial of their redemption out of Egypt (Leviticus 23:43). Compare Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 14, 37; 8:12). There is to be a greater ingathering when Christ returns for His people (Revelation 7:9, 10).

THE SABBATICAL YEAR (Leviticus 25) was the year of meditation and devotion. It was a year long Sabbath. The purpose and character of the Sabbath was magnified. It occurred every seven years, and it let the land rest for a full year.

THE JUBILEE YEAR (25:8-24) was celebrated every fifty years, and was inaugurated on the Day of Atonement with the blowing of the trumpets. All Hebrew slaves were set free, obligations of debts were terminated, and land was restored to the original owner. It looks to the coming rest the Messiah will give when He comes and reigns in glory.

OUR KINSMAN REDEEMER (LEVITICUS 25:25)

The "Kinsman," or Goel, had the right of redemption. He kinsman could free the debtor by paying the ransom price. The kinsman must be nearest of kin, must be able to redeem, must be willing, and must be free of calamity or need of redemption himself. Redemption was complete when the price was paid in full. This right to buy back, belonged only to the nearest kinsman. Cf. Ruth 2:1; 3:12, 13; 4:4, 14

Christ is our nearest of kin through the incarnation (Hebrews 2:10-18; Job 19:25; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:7, 11, 14; I Peter 1:18-19; Romans 3:24; 8:3; Philippians 2:7). He met all the conditions of a kinsman. Jesus you are my kinsman redeemer. You have the right to redeem me, all that I have lost you can purchase. He has the power to redeem. He has the means to do it. He is ready and willing to redeem us.

OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST

The duty of the priest was to make atonement for the sin of the people by sacrifices. He represented the people before God and God before the people. He blessed the people in the name of the LORD (9:22). The priest taught the people the Law and the will of God (10:11; Deuteronomy 31:9-13). However, the priest of Israel could only point to a greater priest (Hebrews 10:1-3) who would be both the Great High Priest and the perfect Sacrifice that He would offer up to God.

Our High priest did not have to offer up a sacrifice first for Himself and then for the people (Hebrews 7:26-28). As our High Priest He entered into heaven itself (Hebrews 9:24; 10:13, 19-22), and offered up Himself as the sacrifice (Hebrews 9:7-8).

The animal sacrifices are no longer necessary because all the sacrifices were fulfilled in Christ. Therefore only one priest is really necessary. Christ is the Great High Priest and He is at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15-16). He is the only Mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2:5; I Peter 2:5; Hebrews 10:12; 7:25; John 14:6).

BLOOD OF ATONEMENT (LEVITICUS 17:11)

Blood cleanses from sin (I John 1:7). It is the basis of the covenant (Hebrews 9; 13:20). It obtains remission (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Hebrews 9:22b; Isaiah 53; Hebrews 13:12). The blood of Jesus obtains our sanctification (I Corinthians 1:2; Hebrews 2:10-11; 9:13-15). His blood obtains our redemption (Ephesians 1:7; John 1:29; Colossians 1:14; I Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 5:9; Acts 20:28). It is God's propitiation (Romans 3:25). It is our peace through Christ's blood (Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:20). It brings reconciliation with God (Colossians 1:20-22; Romans 5:l0ff). It obtains our victory (Revelation 12:11); Justification (Romans 5:9). Though His blood we enter into the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 10:19-20). The Jewish Talmud says, "There is no atonement except with blood."

Series of studies on Christ in the Old Testament


Title: Types in the Book of Leviticus
Series: A Look at the Book

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2008. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

Unless otherwise noted “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries for ten years. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Honduras.

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