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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Leviticus 4

  1. Intro:
    1. The previous offerings were familiar before, & had already been incorporated into Israel’s religion. {Burnt, Meal, Peace}
      1. The sin offering was an entirely “new” institution.
    2. There were 2 kinds of “bloody” sacrifices: [1] Sweet Savor (burnt & peace) [2] Offerings for sin (sin & Trespass)
      1. The 1st expressed Worship & was a sweat savor unto the Lord.
      2. The 2nd pointed to sin & because one did wrong.
    3. Here answers mans great dilemma, “How can God be just and yet justify me with all my guilt?”
      1. Spurgeon said, "I believe that the doctrine of Jesus paying for my sins is one of the surest proofs of the inspiration of Scripture, for who would or could have thought of the just Ruler dying for the unjust rebel?"

Verses 1-35

  1. SIN OFFERING! (1-35)
    1. It’s purpose: (2)
      1. To atone for sins committed “unintentionally” or unknowingly, especially where no restitution was possible.
      2. The sin offering was for unintentional sins of ignorance & not for deliberate sins of disobedience.
        1. For instance (Manslaughter without malice is so designated)
      3. For deliberate sins of disobedience, God made no provision for a “sacrifice”.
        1. Numbers 15:30,31 – leaves no other sacrifice. {“Ultimately God alone knows whether one sinned “through ignorance” or “with a high hand.”}
        2. All the offender could do was plead the mercy of God. {like David when he sinned “intentionally”} He said, (Ps.51:16,17) “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart; These, O God, You will not despise.”
        3. All you could do was to fall on the horns of the altar!
      4. This also shows us ignorance is no excuse in God’s sight!
        1. Different states have different laws! - Try to tell one of the “Good Ol Boys” down south that pulls you over…I didn’t know…I’m from California! & see how far that goes.
        2. Also, God’s Righteousness cannot overlook any sin. Yet, His Mercy provides a way.
    2. Sin Offering – Hata’t
      1. 580 times in the OT(root Hat’a). It was the basic word for sin.
      2. It means “to miss the mark, or miss the way.” (just like the µ )
        1. Judges 20:16 – to miss the mark
        2. Prov.19:2 – to miss the way.
        3. Prov.8:36 (NKJV)“But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death." – (NIV) “But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death."
    3. The sin offering differed according to position occupied!
      1. God has one standard of morality, however different levels of responsibility!
        1. There is a difference if a “lay person” or a pastor falls to immorality.
        2. Same with in secular society, there is a difference if an electrician or a Police officer falls to corruption. The one would never make the newspaper. (higher responsibility to civil service)
      2. A man w/10 talents has a responsibility beyond that of a man w/1.
      3. “No person is so obscure that his sin is overlooked. None is so prominent that his sin is condoned.”
    4. [1] For the High Priest! (3-12)
      1. Note: The Priests offering was the same as that of the “whole” congregation (3,14)
        1. Again, the higher the privilege the greater the responsibility.
        2. Lk.12:48 "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
      2. (7) When we sin it effects our prayer life – thus we find the priest had to cleanse the golden altar.
        1. Ps.66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” {NIV - If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;}
      3. Practical application: Dads if you are to be the priest of your family take heed to the seriousness of, & the high responsibility to, this ministry!
    5. [2] For the Congregation! (13-21)
      1. There were occasions in the history of Israel when the law of God was neglected to the point that the nation as a whole was guilty of sin.
        1. America? – I believe it is in the sense we can “pray for our nation”.
      2. Note: the elders(15) were responsible to oversee the spiritual life of the believers.
    6. [3] For a Ruler! (22-26)
      1. The responsibility of the ruler is 2nd to that of the High Priest. Yet, he was chosen by God & placed in a trusted position, a position in which he was to be an
      2. example of godliness to those subject to him.
        1. Should our rulers today (or our next Pres. take heed to this?)
        2. Should you, if you hold any public office or position?
    7. [4] For a Commoner! (27-35)
      1. The individual member of Israelite community was responsible for living a life of obedience to God’s revealed will.
      2. Q: Do you sense that same responsibility today? Or do you feel you’re just a number?
        1. I bet when Achan stole the Babylonian garment, 200 shekels of silver, & a wedge of gold he thought he was “just one Israelite”!
    8. (12,21) “outside the camp” – The fat of the sacrifice was burnt on the altar, but the body of the sacrifice was burned in a clean place…outside the camp.
      1. Why? [1] it made a distinction between the sin offering & the burnt offering so the worshippers wouldn’t be confused as they watched. [2] it also reminded the people that the sins of the high priest & the whole congregation would pollute the whole camp.“The sin offering was too holy to remain in an unholy camp.” (Warren Weirsbe)
      2. Hebrews 13:10-13 – Jesus died “outside the camp” for the same reasons…he was our “sin offering”!
      3. Jesus was crucified just outside the city gate(Damscus).
    9. The Sin Offering typifies Christ as our guilt bearer!
      1. 1 Pet.2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
      2. He is our Propitiation – the one who can “appease” the Father for us.
        1. How do we “appease” the gods? (philistine w/the ark; virgin to the volcano; small task from the Wizard of OZ)
        2. So man knows in all cultures in all ages if there is a God he must be appeased. God gives us the only way to appease Him. (Rom.3:23-26)
      3. It goes this way – “It is God who is propitiated(appeased, so reconciliation can be had) by the vindication of His holy & righteous character, whereby, through the provision He has made in the vicarious(take the place of another, substitute) & expiatory(to make amends for wrong doing, the barrier of sin is broken down)sacrifice of Christ, he has so dealt w/sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt & the remission of his sins.” (Vines pg.493)
    10. Result of this ritual? – Forgiveness! (4:20,26,31,35; also 5:10,13; 6:7)
      1. When the offerings were brought by faith, God promised to forgive.
      2. Again, even though the animals can’t take away sin or change the human heart, the sacrifices pointed to the perfect Sacrifice…Jesus Christ…He is our Sin Offering.
      3. The result to us is that our sin is removed, cancelled, because of His death “for” us, that is “instead of” us.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Leviticus 4". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/leviticus-4.html. 2017.