Study Notes

Leviticus 4:1-7:38


In the first three chapter of Leviticus, we've looked at three different offerings - the Burnt Offering, which covered the worshipper's sinfulness and made him acceptable before God; the Grain Offering, which acknowledged God as the Ultimate Provider and offered the worshipper's service to God; and the Peace Offering, which was for fellowship with God.

Tonight, we look at the last two offerings, at the details of the Sin Offering and the Guilt Offering.

4:1-5:13 Sinner Vs. Sinning

The purpose of the sin offering was for the worshipper to have his sin forgiven - for atonement to be made. This may sound like the same thing as the burnt offering, but it is not. Realize that the burnt offering was to make atonement for your sinfulness. The sin offering makes atonement for specific sin - any unintentionally broken commandment needed to have a sin offering. This highlights to us the difference between being a sinner and committing sins.

The necessity of the Burnt Offering was because every person is a sinner. We are descendants of Adam, therefore, we are born sinners. David wrote,

Ps. 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

Paul told the Corinthians,

1Cor. 15:21-22 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

Death and sin came to the human race through Adam. Every baby born is a sinner. That was the necessity of the burnt offering. But the sin offering is for specific sins. Broken commandments.

Higher Prices For Higher Offices

There is an interesting pattern in the price of the sin offering. Notice the progression: The high priest had to offer a bull (v.3). If any other leader sinned, the cost of the offering was a male goat (v.22). But the price of a "common person" was less - a female goat or lamb (v.27).

Jesus taught that...

Luke 12:48 ...From everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

With more authority comes more accountability. The higher your position, the stricter the judgment. Remember that James told us,

James 3:1-2 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways...

Paul told Timothy that an elder in the church who continues in sin should be rebuked...

1Tim. 5:20 the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning.

So judgment is intensified as authority and position is magnified.

Provision For The Poor:

Like the Burnt Offering and the Grain Offering, the Sin Offering made provision for the poor. If he couldn't afford a lamb, then he could bring a turtledove or young pigeon (5:7). If he couldn't even afford the bird, then he could bring a tenth of an ephah of fine flour (5:11).


The basic sin offering was an animal without defect. The worshipper laid his hands on the head of the animal and confessed his sin. Then he would kill the animal, and its blood would be poured out. The fat was burned on the the altar, and the rest of the animal would be burned outside the camp.

But just as there were different prices for different people who had sinned, there were also different procedures to follow.

The high priest's sacrifice was to have the blood sprinkled in front of the veil, and put on the horns of the altar of incense.

The congregation's sacrifice was the same as the high priests, but with the added note that the elders represented the people by laying their hands on the head of the bull.

The leader's and common person's sacrifice was not sprinkled in front of the veil and put on the horns of the altar of incense. Instead, it was put on the horns of the altar of sacrifice outside.

Three Sins To Avoid

How should the sin offering apply personally to our own lives? Sin brings guilt on us. Let us refrain from it. Jesus died for all the sins we will commit, but let's not continue to sin that grace may abound.

Rom. 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

Sin is grievous to God and harmful to our relationship to Him. Let's avoid it at all costs.

Verses 1 through 4 of chapter 5 give us a list of three sins to avoid. The first is refusing to testify when we are witnesses. Jesus told all of His disciples,

Luke 24:46-48 and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

If we have seen Christ work in our lives and keep it to ourselves, we are refusing to testify as witnesses, and therefore sinning.

Next on the list is defiling ourselves by touching what we ought not to. The New Testament declares,

2Cor. 6:17-7:1 ...COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Third on the list is allowing words to come out of our mouths that haven't been carefully considered. Ephesians tells us,

Eph. 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such {a word} as is good for edification according to the need {of the moment,} that it may give grace to those who hear.

Eph. 5:3-4 But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and {there must be no} filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Three areas of sin that we should be aware of and avoiding.

Picture Of Christ:

Of course, this Sin Offering is a picture and portrait of Christ just as the first three were. Let's not repeat ourselves with all of the details, but I do want to point out something intriguing.

Notice that the body of the Sin Offering was taken outside the camp. The writer of the book of Hebrews correlates this with Christ, saying...

Hebr. 13:11-12 ...The bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest {as an offering} for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.

In God's perfect picture of Christ in the sin offering, no detail is left unnoticed.

5:14-6:7 The Guilt Offering

The purpose of the guilt offering was to make restitution for sin that was committed because of unfaithfulness, deception, robbery, lying, extortion, etc.

You see, although God is concerned primarily about the spiritual ramifications of sin, He has has also made provision for people that incur loss because of sin.

Plus Damages

The guilt offering consisted of a ram to be sacrificed, the cost of the loss because of your sin, plus a 20% penalty tacked onto that cost.

To The Lord And The Victim

The procedure for the offering was that the restitution be paid to the one who suffered loss - if it was in regards to the holy things, the money went to the temple. If it was towards a person, then that person was repaid. In both cases, the ram was offered on the altar to make atonement for his sin.

Personal Application:

The personal application here is rather obvious. Our sins affect others. We should do everything possible and more to make those situations right. Jesus told us,

Matt. 5:23-24 "If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

And Paul told the Romans,

Rom. 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another...

Make sure to make reconciliation and restitution with anyone that you've sinned against.

The Ministry Of Reconciliation

The picture of Christ here is that of Him as a sacrifice of reconciliation. Romans 5 says,

Rom. 5:10-11 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Jesus brought reconciliation between man and God, and man and man, just as the Guilt Offering did.

6:8-13 The Law For The Burnt Offering

These are instructions for the priests in regards to the burnt offering.

Notice that the fire on the altar was never to go out. This is a reminder that God is continually judging sin.

6:14-23 The Law Of The Grain Offering

These are instructions for the priests in regards to the grain offering.

Notice that whoever touched the grain offering became consecrated. Why is that? Remember that the grain offering was the public profession that God is the provider of all things I have, and a dedication of my life and service to Him. Anyone that comes in contact with a worshipper like that will most certainly be blessed and motivated towards holiness and dedication himself.

6:24-30 The Law Of The Sin Offering

These are instructions for the priests in regards to the sin offering.

Again, anyone who touched the sin offering became consecrated. If I am one who is continually confessing my sins to God, then I will be one who motivates others towards holiness.

7:1-10 The Law Of The Guilt Offering

These are instructions for the priests in regards to the guilt offering.

Here again we see a reminder that God provided for His priests by the sacrifices of the people.

7:11-21 The Law Of The Peace Offering

These are instructions for the priests in regards to the peace offering.

Remember that the peace offering was the one that brought people into fellowship with God. There can be no uncleanness in a person to have fellowship with God, or they will be cut off. This is a reminder that there no one can have fellowship with God before first being cleansed from all their sin by the blood of Jesus.

7:22-27 The Fat And The Blood

The Israelites were not to eat any fat or any blood - it was all to be given to God. Remember that in the Bible, fat speaks of plenty, of prosperity, of provision. These blessings are for the Lord, not ourselves.

The Bible speaks of blood as the life. Our very lives are to be given to God as well.

7:28-36 His Own Hands

We are reminded that sacrifices to God were to be made by the person's own hands. Each person has a responsibility before God - there can be no mediator between man and God besides Christ Jesus.

7:37-38 The Lord Commanded Moses

You may have forgotten that the setting here is that the Israelites are still camped at the foot of Mount Sinai. They have built the tabernacle, and God is giving these commandments to Moses from the Tent of Meeting.

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