Updated: Jan 22, 2022
“The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting” (1:1). And what did the Lord say to Moses? He gave him instructions for various types of offerings that would be brought by Israelites to the tabernacle:
The burnt offering, which was an offering for atonement, whether from the herd or birds.
Grain offerings, or an offering of remembrance, perhaps asking God to remember them as they made their petitions.
Peace offerings, symbolizing the communion between the Israelite and God.
Sin offerings, which were brought in order to address a broken relationship with God and to reestablish that relationship.
I suspect that many believers seldomly, or never, have read through the book of Leviticus, at least in any sort of careful manner. It just seems such an unfathomable jumble of sacrificial laws that have little to do with us. Might I suggest two big take-aways from this seemingly irrelevant book (which isn’t; irrelevant, that is)? One, the book is largely concerned with a right relationship with God. We need to focus on and remember the importance of this matter rather than missing the forest for the trees. Two, the sacrifices push us, in our understanding, inexorably toward Messiah and the atonement he makes for us. A key verse is 17:11 in which we read, “it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.” Hear the Apostle John: “The blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7b). And sing with Isaac Watts:
Not all the blood of beasts
on Jewish altars slain,
could give the guilty conscience peace,
or wash away the stain.
But Christ, the heav’nly Lamb,
takes all our sins away,
a sacrifice of nobler name
and richer blood than they. –Isaac Watts (1709)