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
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 cannot 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
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
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
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
This sacrifice also finds
application in the consecration of the believer to
God (Romans 12:1; I Corinthians 6:2e).
The meal offering is the
sacrifice of daily devotion, and is called "meat" in
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
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
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).
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 High Priest alone did
all the work on this special day. No one accompanied
or assisted him (16:17).
He had to offer a sin
offering and a burnt offering (16:3).
He had to lay his robes
of beauty and of glory aside, bathe himself, and put
on linen garments. (16:4).
He had to make an
atonement for himself and for his house (16:6).
He had to bring two goats
for the people, and to cast lots to select one for
JHVH and the other to be a scapegoat (16:7-8). The
reason for using two goats is that it was physically
impossible to combine all the features that had to
be set forth in the sin offering in one animal
(Hebrews 10:4, 12–14; 9:28; I Peter 2:24; Jn. 1:29).
He cleanses us of all (every) sin (I John 1:6-7;
Hebrews 9:14; 7:25).
After the choice had been
made by lot, Aaron was to kill the sin offering for
himself and his house (16:11).
After this he was to take
burning coals of fire from off the altar, and with
his hands full of incense enter within the veil,
into the holiest of all. The cloud of incense
covered the mercy seat (16:12, 13).
He then sprinkled the
blood with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward
seven times (16:14).
Then the goat for a sin
offering for the people was killed, and the blood
sprinkled in the same manner (16:15-19). The slain
goat is a type of Christ's death as being expiatory,
by which the holiness and righteousness of God as
expressed in the law has been honored and vindicated
(Romans 3:24-26). The slain goat vindicates the
holiness and justice of God (II Corinthians 5:21).
Our sin bearer died in our place (Isaiah 53:4;
After having made
atonement by the blood of the sin offering, Aaron
brought the live goat before JHVH (16:10, 20). The
sins of the congregation were then symbolically
transferred to this goat by the laying on of Aaron's
hands (16:21, 22). The goat, laden with the sins of
the people, was then led away by the hand of a
qualified man into the wilderness. The scapegoat is
a type of Christ's death as putting away our sins
before God, and as risen from the dead and living as
our High Priest, enabling God to declare
righteousness the sinner who believes in Christ
(Hebrews 9:26; Romans 4:25; 5:1; 8:33-34). Christ
lifts up and carries our sins away never to return
again. Just like this goat Christ suffered what the
sinner without Christ would suffer (Isaiah 53:6, 12;
I Peter 2:24). By faith we laid our sins on Jesus
and He bore them in His own body in His death on the
Cross. The scapegoat was a visible representation
that their sins were utterly removed and carried
away (Psalm 103:12). He remembers our sins no more
(Hebrews 8:12). Our sinless Great High Priest did
not have to first offer a sacrifice for Himself
(Hebrews 7:26-28); 9:11-15, 22).
THE FEAST OF JHVH
(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
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
(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;
(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 yearlong Sabbath. The purpose and
character of the Sabbath was magnified. It occurred
every seven years, and it let the land rest for a
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
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
BLOOD OF ATONEMENT
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
Series: Introduction to