I thought I would glance at the ESV Study Bible’s notes and see how the writers introduce the book of Leviticus. They point out that Leviticus describes five major offerings, and while each has its own emphasis, “the five offerings have common or overlapping elements, especially the use of blood and ‘a pleasing aroma.’” There’s another commonality, isn’t there? All point to Christ. In his Ephesian letter, Paul instructs, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). As Paul wrote these words, surely, he was remembering the Old Testament Scriptures and how they anticipate Messiah and his ministry.
And, so, what do we have here? We have sacrifices and offerings emphasizing fragrant offerings and blood sacrifices, a description that applies precisely to Christ. Year by year, as I read through the Bible, I am constantly amazed at the manner in which the story begins by telling of a redeemer and, then, little by little fleshing out that story until we come to Christ. A “fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” indeed!
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.
Believing, we rejoice
to see the curse remove;
we bless the Lamb with cheerful voice,
and sing his bleeding love. --Isaac Watts (1766)