Leviticus 1:1 "And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering
unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.
3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he
shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation
before the LORD.
4 And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for
him to make atonement for him."
Leviticus is a book on worship for the Children of Israel. It was written to help God's
people understand atonement, or how they could be brought into a right relationship
with God. Every picture in Hebrew worship pointed forward to the work of Christ and helps
us to understand why he had to die on the cross.
In the very first verse of Leviticus we are told that God called to Moses from the Tabernacle.
He no longer talked to Moses from the top of Sinai but has now come to dwell in His house!
The contents of the book of Leviticus is directly and indirectly referred to about 90 times in
the New Testament and probably contains more direct quotes from God than any other book in the
Bible. Some form of the word holy is used about 87 times, priest is found around
189 times, blood appears some 86 times, atonement about 45 times, and words
meaning sacrifice or offering about 300 times. The word Leviticus means "that
which pertains to the Levites," and is actually a manual for the priests. But the priests were
not the only ones who needed instructions for worship. It is not enough to just worship in
spirit, Jesus said in John 4:23,24 that we also must worship in truth!
There were five basic types of offerings by which Israel could approach God. The first three
were sweet savor offerings and the last two were trespass offerings. The first sweet savor
(or sweet smelling) offering was offered up by Noah after the ark had come to rest on dry
ground. The sweet savor offering was sweet smelling to God as it's smoke
ascended to heaven. The number one sweet savor offering was the burnt offering, which means,
"that which ascends." Is was the only one that was wholly consumed on the altar (it was also
called the "whole burnt offering" and the "continual burnt offering". Only the fat
portion was burned on most of the other offerings. The kind of offering a person brought to
the priests depended on their financial standing. The rich brought bulls, the middle class
brought goats or sheep and the poor brought birds (pigeons or turtledoves). The priests had to
keep track of who brought what and if it was within their means. It is important to note that
no one was excluded from bring an offering. There is no excuse for not worshiping God, then or
now! He offers forgiveness to everyone, regardless of economic or social standing! Another
thing that is important to notice is that each offering must represent the best the worshiper
has to offer. Then the offering had to be totally free of all blemishes and defects. We are
still to offer God the best we have, anything less will not be received! Each sacrifice was to
be killed by the person offering it except in the case of the birds. The blood of the burnt
offering was sprinkled around the altar of burnt offering by the Priests, it was never burned
directly on the altar. In the case of the burnt offering everything was sacrificed. We
must be totally dedicated to God today just as Christ sacrificed everything for us.
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