REAL LIFE expository Study Devotional – The Making of the Nation of God 3 : The Levitical Code of Worship and Separation

Day 8: Sin Offering.

‘‘If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering.’’ Lev. 4:3

Additional reading: Exo. 40:15; Lev. 3:1; 4: 14; 8:12; 9:2,7; Ezek. 43:19

Many times we sin, yet we remain unaware of our sins. This is not to say that one did not sin. The fact that you were unaware of you sin is no reason for you to continue sinning. Even though you were unaware, it remained sin before God. In order to stop this evil tide, God put in place the sin offering so that His children would became aware of this kind of sins and stop repeating them. Usually, the offender would offer sacrifice before God and receive forgiveness from God. The classes of people involved were the priests, congregation, rulers, the common people, and the very poor. Every class was expected to present his offering before God according to his status. This explains why there was a disparity in their offerings.

God told Moses: ‘‘If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering. And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock’s head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.’’ (Lev. 4:3-4). A mere reading of these verses may not give one a true picture of what they actually contain. We will have to look at some key words:

‘‘If the priest [kohen — literally one officiating, a priest also (by courtesy) an acting priest (although a layman):- chief ruler, own, priest, priest, prince, principal officer] that is anointed [masiah — anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); specifically the Messiah:- anointed, Messiah] do sin according to the sin [asma — guiltiness, a fault, the presentation of a sin – offering:- offend, sin, trespass offering, cause of trespass, trespassing] of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering. And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock’s head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.’’

If the priest — the one officiating, the chief ruler or the principal officer that is anointed — a consecrated person — set apart for a specific service — as a king, priest or saint do sin — cause of trespass, trespassing… This is the message: If the priest (the high priest) sins and brings guilt on the people, or if the sin of the high priest causes the people to sin, then he must offer this sacrifice… (Author’s words). In other words, the sin of the priest could be a cause of trespass in the camp, i.e. whenever the priest sins, it is assumed that the entire congregation has sinned, so it must be atoned for. The New Living Translation puts it this way: ‘‘If the high priest sins, bringing guilt upon the entire community, he must give a sin offering for the sin he has committed.’’ Then the New International Version: ‘‘If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people…’’

Is it not amazing that even the priests were not excluded from offering sacrifices for their sins? This is because they were appointed as priests (with infirmities) from amongst their brothers. And because they were human, they could sin as their people did, though their sin brought guilt upon the people — the entire community. This is instructive; no servant of God should think he is above sin. Those having spiritual authority over others should realise that their actions have a wider effect — the entire congregation of God — now the church could suffer. Therefore, caution must be taken by all who are in the service of the LORD.

Please note the following:

‘‘And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty; When the sins, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation.’’ (vv. 13-14)

‘‘When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning things which should not be done, and is guilty; Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish…’’ (vv. 22-23)

‘‘And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned.’’ (vv. 27-28)

‘‘And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing…’’ ( Lev. 5:1)

‘‘Or a soul touch any unclean thing…’’ (v.2)

‘‘Or if he touch the uncleanness of man…’’ (v.3)

‘‘Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good… He shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD…a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats….’’ (vv.4-13)

The sin of ignorance [saga — to stray (causatively mislead), usually (figuratively) to mistake, especially (morally) to transgress … go astray, cause to go stray, deceive, err, err, be ravished, sin through ignorance, wander, let wander, make to wander]. The sin of ignorance is that committed out of mistake — unintentional — going astray from the laws of God unintentionally. ‘‘If the whole congregation sins unintentionally by straying from one of the commandments of GOD that must not be broken, they become guilty even though no one is aware of it.’’ (v. 13 MSG). They may not be aware of their sins but before God they have sinned, thus atonement was needed.

The procedures for atonement for all categories of persons were essentially the same: The offender is to present his sacrifice at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting in the presence of GOD, lay his hands on the animal confessing his sins because remission of sin cannot take place without confession of guilt (Psa. 32:5; Prov. 28:13). Then, slaughter it before God. By laying hands on the animal, the animal identifies with the guilt of the offender. The priest is to take some of the animal’s blood to the Tent of Meeting, dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD — in front of the curtains of the Sanctuary.

The priest will then rob some of the blood on the horns of the Altar and pour the rest at the base of the Altar signifying the pouring out of his soul in true repentance before God as Christ poured out His blood as there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood. The entire fat is to be removed as in the case of peace offering and burnt on the Altar unto the LORD. This act brought honour to God as against the act of sin which dishonoured God. Then, the other parts — skin, meat, head, legs, etc, are to be taken outside the camp and burnt. Sin is detestable in the sight of God, so it must be dealt with outside the camp. Jesus demonstrated this when He dealt with sin outside the camp (Rom.6:6; Heb.13:11-13).

While the high priest and the congregation presented a bullock — a young bull for their sin offering, an elder brought a male goat, a common man presented a female goat or lamb; the poor sacrificed a dove or pigeon and the very poor fine flour. This was in respect to their status or ability.

The sin offering was compulsory for unintentional sins — cleansing from defilement, thoughtlessness, neglect, etc. Though God made provision for unintentional sin, He made no provision for intentional sin as all offenders were sentenced to death (Num.15:30-31; Heb. 10:28).

The sin offering restored a sinner back to fellowship with God. It also showed the seriousness of sin. By the death of Jesus Christ outside the camp, we have been restored to fellowship with God once and for all.

Meditation: Am I still living with the pollutions of sin?

Prayer: I lay myself bare at Your feet and confess all my sins. Cleanse me thoroughly with the blood of Your Son that I can fellowship with You without guilt.

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