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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator

Leviticus 7

Verses 1-10

Leviticus 7:1-10

The law of the trespass-offering.

Lessons

1. The fatness and grossness of the carnal heart is to be removed and taken away.

2. God requires the heart.

3. Against covetousness in ministers.

4. To receive the sacraments reverently and with due preparation. (A. Willet, D. D.)

The trespass-offering

The trespass-offering may be considered as a variety of the sin-offering. The distinguishing characteristic of the trespass-offering proper was restitution. The offences for which it was offered were such as admitted of restitution, and the distinction from the sin-offering cannot be better expressed than in the words of Prof. Cave: “The sin and trespass-offerings were both sacrifices for sins; but in the former the leading idea was that of atonement, the expiation of sin by a substituted life; in the latter the leading feature was that of satisfaction, the wiping out of sin by the payment of a recompense.” It is well worthy of note that in the trespass-offering for sins against God, the ritual prescribed was sacrifice first, restitution following; while in those against man the order was reversed: restitution first, followed by sacrifice on the altar. The appropriateness of the difference will be readily seen. In the former case, where the sin consisted in withholding from God that which was His due, it was not really God that lost anything, it was the sinner. Giving to God is not regarded as a debt which a man must pay, but rather as a privilege which he may enjoy; and, accordingly, before a man can enjoy the privilege of which he has foolishly deprived himself, he must come and offer his sacrifice upon the altar. But when the sinner has been withholding from his fellow-man that which is his due, the delinquency is regarded in the light of a debt, and he is not allowed to go to the altar of God until he has paid his debt, and not only discharged the principal in full, but added one-fifth part thereto. (J. M. Gibson, D. D.)

This is the law

We find this text in many places (see Leviticus 6:25; Leviticus 7:1; Leviticus 7:11; Leviticus 7:37). What we want is just this-definiteness. There must be a line of certainty somewhere, or the universe could not be kept together. There may be ten thousand contributory lines, contingent or incidental lines, but there must be running right through the heart of things a law of definiteness and certitude; otherwise coherence is impossible, and permanence is of the nature of a dissolving cloud. We want to get upon that line. Quest in search of that line is orthodoxy. To seek after truth, what is this but to love wisdom and to pant for God? What have you? You have great information. What is the value of information? Nothing, beyond that which is merely momentary and tentative. It is the last thing to be known or that is known. But then in two hours we shall know something more. Information is never final. Hence men say, “To the best of my knowledge.” What a confession is in these simple words if we submit them to their last analysis! “To the best of my judgment,” “So far as I know,” “According to the best advice I can get”; what is all this but sand? You could not build a house upon such sand. It would never do for information to be final or complete or authoritative; it is by this kind of uncertainty that we are kept modest, it is by this kind of incertitude we are often inspired, and it is because intellectual life is a continual tumult that we grow athletically, that the brain becomes stronger. What we want to come upon is the line of law which itself is a line of progress, a line of change into ever-increasing largeness, but never a change of quality or of moral purpose. If we want to know the law we can find it. If you want to be right you can be right. “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Can we go to the law? We can do better. It is the business of the gospel minister to say how. We can not only go to the law, we can go to the Lawgiver, we can go to the living Jesus Christ. We can see Him face to face, or, better still, using the word “face” in its true interpretation, we Can see Him soul to soul. (J. -Parker, D. D.)

The priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt-offering.

The skin legislated for

Why God should think of so small and base a thing as the skin, some may ask a reason; and see you the reason and tile good of it.

1. It notably confirmeth our faith in His providence, that He will never forget us and leave us destitute of things needful and good for us, seeing we are much better than the skin of a brute beast, whereof yet He hath care and thought.

2. It showed that sweet and comfortable care that the” Lord then had, and still hath, of the ministry, that it should be maintained, and not defrauded of the least thing allotted to it, which still He showeth in all other particulars, urging still that they be given to the priests according to His will.

3. This care of the Lord for the beast’s skin, to appoint it to one that should have it, well taught that people then, and still teacheth us ever to be careful to,prevent strife, and to take away all questions and controversies as much as we may., that every one knowing what is his may therein rest, and peace ensue. The more God hath given you, the more must be your pain this way, in your good health and perfect memory. (Bp. Babington.)

Verses 11-18

Leviticus 7:11-18

The law of the sacrifice of peace-offerings.

The peace-offering


I.
Characteristics.

1. The animal offered might be a male or a female--differing in this from the burnt-offering.

2. It was not to be wholly consumed as the burnt offerings.

3. If for a thanksgiving offering, unleavened cakes, mingled with oil, as well as leavened, might be offered.

4. If for a vow or a voluntary offering, the parts to be eaten must be eaten on the same or the following day.

5. No ceremonially-unclean person could eat of the peace-offering.


II.
Significance.

1. The peace-offering, as the name implies, presents to us our Lord Jesus as our peace (Ephesians 2:14).

2. This is the key to this symbolic offering, by which may be unlocked, with certainty, some, at least, of its rich treasures.

(1) The parts consumed--representing the most excellent parts, the inward parts, the hidden energies--were offered on the altar unto God the Father--in which He was “well pleased.”

(2) The other parts eaten by the priests representing the true believer feeding on Christ as his Peace, having laid his hand of faith on Him; the sprinkled blood being the ground of peace.

(3) The wave-breast representing the love of Christ, and the heave-shoulder His all-power, give the two leading elements in Christ on which the believer feeds with joyous delight.

(4) The unleavened cakes, representing the new nature of the believer, being mingled with oil, the oil representing the Holy Spirit, show the necessity for even the regenerated to be assisted by the power of the Spirit for profitable communion with God in Christ, and to enter into the fulness of the love and power of Christ.

(5) Leavened bread, signifying evil, was to be offered as well as unleavened, to signify that our sinful nature should be recognised in our “sacrifice of thanksgiving”--not for condemnation, but for joy that it is judged. The sin in us should not hinder our communion with God in Christ, if we have no sin upon us.

(6) The ceremonially-unclean could not eat of the wave-breast or heave-shoulder, to signify that sin unconfessed, and therefore unpardoned, is an insurmountable hindrance to fellowship with God in Christ. (D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

The peace-offering


I.
THE PEACE-OFFERING A SACRIFICE OF THANKSGIVING. Three forms of it are specified--

1. The offering of thanksgiving, i.e., for some special blessing.

2. The vow, the fulfilment of a promise to God.

3. The voluntary offering, made from a principle of gratitude, when, with no special occasion, the worshipper called upon his soul and all within him to praise and bless God’s holy name. It was a peace-offering, a national thanksgiving, which Solomon made at the dedication of the Temple. It is this sacrifice which is so frequently referred to in the Psalms. In connection with the celebration of the Passover there were two peace-offerings. The former of these is continued in the Lord’s Supper, which is a feast of thanksgiving for God’s greatest gift to men. We should thank God at the sacramental table for all special exhibitions of the Divine goodness.


II.
The peace-offering is a sacrifice of fellowship. This, taken with thanksgiving, is its characteristic idea. The feature peculiar to it was the sacrificial meal; the partaking of that which was offered by the worshipper. The priests shared in what was offered in the meat and sin-offerings. The worshipper also partook of the peace-offering. The sacrifice was an act of holy communion. Also a social meal.


III.
The basis of communion in the peace-offering is sacrifice; and in the sacrifice, the shedding of blood. The shedding of the blood in this particular sacrifice does not represent, as in the sin-offering, the act of atoning for sin. The bleeding Christ as our Peace-offering is not our sin-bearer. But His blood in this offering also declares that an atonement has been made, and that the sole ground of fellowship with God is the reconciling blood of the Lamb (Ephesians 2:13-14).


IV.
The peace-offering requires holiness in the worshipper. This fact is expressed in the provision that unleavened bread should be offered as a part of the sacrifice. Yeast, or leaven, was a symbol of corruption. The principle of corruption must be carefully excluded, if our offering is to find acceptance. Is there old leaven of sin in your life?


V.
In the peace-offering the sinfulness of a nature partially sanctified is confessed. The curse of sin is no more on us, but it is in us. (G. R. Leavitt.)

Thanksgiving and thanksgiving

It is most interesting to find, here among the sober directions that Moses was commissioned to deliver to the Israelites, one which assumes a constant recognition of God’s love and bounty. The peace-offering seems to have for its definite end the earnest inculcation of a perpetual exercise of devotion, without any special occasion, as well as with some which are carefully mentioned. Perhaps the best account of the whole ordinance is given in the familiar words of Kurtz: “A state of peace and of friendship with God was the basis and the essential of the presentation of the peace-offering; and the design of the presentation, from which its name was derived, was the realisation and establishment, the verification and enjoyment, of the existing relation of peace, friendship, fellowship, and blessedness.” It may be well for us just to pick out the particulars of this form of description.


I.
In the peace-offering there was inculcated a spirit of tranquil trust. When one made the sacrifice, it signified that he was in the state of reconciliation with God. The law had lost its curse; sin was in process of being subdued; the soul of the glad believer simply rested upon the promises of redemption, and waited for its salvation. Among the severe passes of the Scottish highlands, it is memorable always to mention Glencoe; for no one who has ever climbed the fatiguing steeps can forget that, after the weary way had led him up and on, and beneath the shadow of the grotesque Ben Arthur, past many a disappointing elevation which he thought surely would be the last, he finally reached that mossy stone, by the winding wayside, on which are written the welcome words, “Here rest, and be thankful!” There, sitting down in peace, one sees the rare prospect of beautiful hill and vale, rock and loch kindling and shadowing each other, far away towards the blue horizon; and just beside him, at the turn of the road, is also the long path by which he came. Such spots of experience there are on the mountains of life, when the forgiven sinner, now a child, pauses to say to himself, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” In the original verse this reads “resting-places.”


II.
In the peace-offering there was inculcated also a spirit of heartfelt gratitude. This service is called “the sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Psalms 116:17). How many mercies have been given us! How many perils have been averted! How many fears have been allayed I How many friendly communions have been granted l How many anticipations have been kindled! How many hopes have been gratified! Per contra, just a serious thought might likewise be bestowed upon the other side of the ledger. Said old Christmas Evans, in an unusually lengthened period of reminiscence, “Thy love has been as a shower; the returns, alas I only a dewdrop now and then, and even that dewdrop stained with sin!” At this point the suggestion which this ceremonial makes concerning permanency of devout acknowledgment is welcome. “Thanksgiving is good,” said the venerable Philip Henry to his children, “but thanksgiving is better.” We ought not to seek to exhaust our gratitude upon any single day’s exercise. It is better to live our thanks through all our lifetime. A happy, grateful spirit is the Christian’s best offering to God, morning, noon, and night.


III.
In the peace-offering there was likewise inculcated a spirit of faithful consecration. There are always two sides to any covenant. When we plead God’s promises, we certainly have need to remember our own. God expects a Christian who has been favoured to be un-forgetful. Alexander Severus is reported to have made an edict that no one should salute the emperor on the street who knew himself to be a thief. And it must be unbecoming for any one to praise or pray who remembers that his life contains the record of some vow made once but still unkept. Hence it sometimes happens that one part of our history will give help to another, for it quickens the zeal of our love to call to remembrance a day in which God’s love drew forth our engagement. It is related of the famous Thomas Erskine, before he was a Christian man, that once when wandering in a lonely glen among the mountains of his own land, he came across a shepherd pasturing his flock. “Do you know the Father?” asked the plain man, with unmistakable gentleness of devotion. The proud scholar vouchsafed no reply, but the arrow struck. He was never easy again till he found peace with pardon of his sins. He would have been glad to thank his modest unknown benefactor. So he went forth along the same path for many a useless day. Years afterwards, he saw him almost in the identical spot. “I know the Father now,” he said, with sweet, grave greeting.


IV.
In the peace-offering there was inculcated a spirit of lively joy. We find this in the very unusual ceremony of waving a portion of the sacrifice in the air. There is no explanation given of this; what could it have meant but the holding up of one’s whole heart in the offering in the fall sight of God? It makes us think of the significant gesture of courtesy the world over, the swing of one’s hand when his wish is keen and his happy heart longs still to send it aloft, while the distance is too far for speech. A Christian, waving the offering of his gratitude before God, ought to be the happiest being on all the earth.


V.
In the peace-offering there was inculcated a spirit of confident supplication. Near a hundred years after this, it is recorded (Judges 21:4) that the men of Israel, “bewailing the desolation of Benjamin,” offered “burnt-offerings and peace-offerings” upon the same altar. That is to say, they mingled their prayers with gifts of appropriate penitence. So again., after a disastrously lost battle (Judges 20:26). And even down in David’s time, almost five hundred years later, the same conjunction of the two sacrifices is to be observed. He stayed the plague by his penitence in a burnt-offering, and he received relief in answer to his prayer in a peace-offering (2 Samuel 24:25). Nothing can be more attractive than this artless trust in the Divine mercy. “To give thanks for grace already received is a refined way of begging for more.”


VI.
Finally, in the peace-offering there was inculcated a spirit of affectionate solicitude. (C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Thank-offerings, vows, and freewill-offerings

It is easy to connect the special characteristics of these several varieties of the peace-offering with the great Antitype. So may we use Him as our Thank-offering; for what more fitting as an expression of gratitude and love to God for mercies received than renewed and special fellowship with Him through feeding upon Christ as the slain Lamb? So also we may thus use Christ in our vows; as when, supplicating mercy, we promise and engage that if our prayer be heard we will renewedly consecrate our service to the Lord, as in the meal-offering, and anew enter into life-giving fellowship with Him through feeding by faith on the flesh of the Lord. And it is beautifully hinted in the permission of the use of leaven in this feast of the peace-offering, that while the work of the believer, as presented to God in grateful acknowledgment of His mercies, is ever affected with the taint of his native corruption, so that it cannot come upon the altar where satisfaction is made for sin, yet God is graciously pleased, for the sake of the great Sacrifice, to accept such imperfect service offered to Him, and make it in turn a blessing to us, as we offer it in His presence, rejoicing in the work of our hands before Him. But there was one condition without which the Israelite could not have communion with God in the peace-offering. He must be clean; even as the flesh of the peace-offering must be clean also. There must be in him nothing which should interrupt covenant fellowship with God; as nothing in the type which should make it an unfit symbol of the Antitype. (S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)

Why the law of the peace-offering is given last of all

It is interesting, to observe that, although the peace-offering itself stands third in order, yet “the law” thereof is given us last of all. This circumstance is not without its import. There is none of the offerings in which the communion of the worshipper is so fully unfolded as in the peace-offering. In the burnt-offering it is Christ offering Himself to God. In the meat-offering we have Christ’s perfect humanity. Then, passing on to the sin-offering, we learn that sin, in its root, is fully met. In the trespass-offering there is a full answer to the actual sins in the life. But in none is the doctrine of the communion and worship unfolded. The latter belongs to “the peace-offering”; and hence, I believe, the position which the law of that offering occupies. It comes in at the close of all, thereby teaching us that, when it becomes a question of the soul’s feeding upon Christ, it must be a full Christ, looked at in every possible phase of His life, His character, His Person, His work, His offices. And, furthermore, that, when we shall have done for ever with sin and sins, we shall delight in Christ, and feed upon Him throughout the everlasting ages. It would, I believe, be a serious defect in our study of the offerings were we to pass over a circumstance so worthy of notice as the above. If “the law of the peace-offering” were given in the order in which the offering itself occurs, it would come in immediately after the law of the meat-offering; but, instead of that, “the law of the sin-offering,” and “the law of the trespass-offering” are given, and then “the law of the peace-offering” closes the entire. (C. H. Mackintosh.)

“Shall be eaten the same day that it is offered”

The priest that sprinkled the blood was to eat the pieces of this peace-offering the same day that it was offered. Some say this rule prevented covetousness arising in the priests; no one had it in his power to hoard up. Others say this rule was fitted to promote brotherly love; for he must call together his friends, in order to have it all finished. But these uses are only incidental. The true uses lie much nearer the surface. Israel might hereby be taught to offer thanksgiving while the benefit was still fresh and recent. Besides this, and most specially, the offerer who saw the priest cut it in pieces and feast thereon, knew thereby that God had accepted his gift, and returned rejoicing to his dwelling, like David and his people, when their peace-offerings were ended, at the bringing up of the ark (2 Samuel 6:17-19). The Lord took special notice of this free, spontaneous thank-offering, inasmuch as He commanded it to be immediately eaten, thus speedily assuring the worshipper of peace and acceptance. The love of our God is too full to be restrained from us one moment longer than is needful for the manifestation of His holiness. (A. A. Bonar.)

Verses 19-21

Leviticus 7:19-21

That soul shall be cut off.

Impurity forbidden

The gospel is a holy feast. It cannot be shared in by those who continue in their impurities. He that would enjoy it must be careful to depart from iniquity. Only “the meek shall eat and be satisfied”; that is, such as humbly surrender themselves to God’s requirements, and are really determined to forsake all known sin. There is a morality in religion, as well as faith and ecstasy. Grace does not make void the law. And faith without works is a dead and useless faith. Though we are redeemed by blood and justified gratuitously by believing in Christ, yet that redemption obligates us just as much, and still more, to a life of virtue and moral uprightness than the law itself. “We are not under law,” as those are under it for whom Christ’s mediation does not avail; but still we “are under law to Christ,” and bound through Him to a practical holiness, the pattern of which He has given in His own person and life. If His blood has purged us, it is that we might “serve the living God.” If “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus,” it is “unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” A pure life must needs go along with a good hope. “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” “A good tree cannot produce evil fruit.” And for a man to believe himself an accepted guest at the gospel feast while living in wilful, deliberate, and known sin, is a miserable antinomian delusion. The plain gospel truth upon this subject is, that, although we cannot be saved by our works alone, we certainly dare not hope to be saved without them, or without being heartily and effectually made up to do our best. Wherever grace is effective, a well-ordered morality must necessarily follow. (J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

Verses 29-34

Leviticus 7:29-34

Peace-offerings.

The believer’s peace and portion


I
. To have God is to have peace: for He is the God of peace; especially as revealed and given us in Christ. But what is given may be enjoyed, as what is offered may be received. Then let the gift be accepted, and the peace you desire will “keep your, heart and mind,” and this in all circumstances. The winds of adversity may smite you, and the waters of affliction overwhelm you; but as God is greater than these, He keeps in the perfectness of peace the minds that are stayed upon Him.


II.
Such peace is found is Christ alone; not in anything done by Him, or given by Him, but in His personal indwelling. “He is our peace?” The knowledge of Him will illuminate, and the faith of Him will impart security; but you must have Himself to have the portion that will satisfy, and the peace you need.


III.
But not only is Christ our peace, but from being the atoner, our peace-offering, He gives Himself to God an offering and a sweet-smelling savour, and then to us who trust in Him for deliverance and satisfaction. The ancient Jewish sacrifice of the peace-offering illustrates this--

1. The material of which it consisted was either a bullock, heifer, lamb, or goat; but in all cases it was to be “without blemish.” God is entitled to the best, and will receive nothing less. Yet how often is less than what He asks offered Him! That they who so act by Him should have few answers to their prayers, and little satisfaction in their religion, can be wondered at by no one.

2. Peace-offerings were offered by persons who, having obtained forgiveness of sins, and given themselves to God, were at peace with Him. Friendship with God was the principal idea represented therein.

3. Only a part of the peace-offering was given to God; but that was the best, the part to which He was entitled, and which He claimed. And it was accepted, as was shown by its consumption by fire. Offer Him your best, and, though in itself small and poor, He will receive it, and make liberal acknowledgment of His approval of it.

4. The Israelite was not at liberty to lay the fat of his offering at random, any way, or anywhere, on the altar. He had to lay it “upon the sacrifice that was upon the wood on the altar fire.” But that sacrifice was the lamb of the daily offering, which typified atonement in its fulness. There, God’s portion of the peace-offering was laid, and accepted according to the value of that on which it was offered.

5. Apart from Christ nothing is acceptable to Him. What you bring to Him may be your best, that which He asks for, and what is in itself valuable; but unless offered on the ground of atonement it is not received by Him.

6. But that is the ground within every one’s reach, and on which everything that is offered to God may be presented. There is no one by whom the name of Jesus may not be used as a plea, and His sacrifice urged as a reason for acceptance.


IV.
The peace-offering expressed the thought of communion and satisfaction. It supplied God with a portion, and man also. It furnished a table at which both met, and where they had fellowship with one another. God fed on the fat, and man on the shoulder and breast (Leviticus 7:31); and both were satisfied.

1. But we have Christ here; and we know what the Father ever found in Him; with what pleasure He ever regarded Him, in His righteousness of walk, perfection of obedience, and beauty of character. God was supremely pleased with all that Jesus was and did, as the representative of Himself to men, and the ideal man to the world, the indicator of holiness and the honourer of the law. Christ was, and is still, His well-beloved and His joy.

2. But not God alone fed on the peace-offering, man did that also; he ate of the breast and the shoulder. In the antitype these typified love and strength. These, believer, are your portion in Christ. You have His heart of love and His shoulder of might--His unchanging affection and His all-sustaining power. Enfolded in His embrace and enthroned on His shoulder of strength, you occupy a position where evil cannot harm you, nor want remain unmet.


V.
No Israelite who was ceremonially unclean was permitted to partake of the peace-offering, or share with God in the provision it supplied. And without holiness no man is now allowed to see God. But provision is made both for man’s expiation and for his sanctifying from all impurity. The Cross that separates from the guilt of sin also separates from its defilement. Christ is thus Sanctifier as well as Justifier. He “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people” (Titus 2:14). Thus beautified with His salvation, you will find a place in His banqueting-house of love, a guest at the Lord’s table, and satisfied with the food of which you partake (John 6:57; John 6:55; John 6:35). Are you satisfied with Christ? Does He appease all your yearnings, fulfil your every desire, give you rest, and prove your peace? “My beloved is mine, and I am His” (Song of Solomon 2:16). His resources are inexhaustible, His communications are continuous, and His glory is Divine. (James Fleming, D. D.)

The peace-offerings

In regard to the peace-offerings, the waving was peculiarly connected with the breast, which is thence called the wave-breast; and the heaving with the shoulder, for this reason called the heave-shoulder. When those parts were thus presented to God and set apart to the priesthood, the rest of the flesh was given up to the offerer to be partaken of by himself and those he might call to share and rejoice with him. Among these he was instructed to invite, beside his own friends, the Levite, the widow, and the fatherless. This participation by the offerer and his friends, this family feast upon the sacrifice, may be regarded as the most distinctive characteristic of the peace-offerings. It denoted that the offerer was admitted to a state of near fellowship and enjoyment with God, shared part and part with Jehovah and His priests, had a standing in His house, and a seat at His table. It was therefore the symbol of established friendship with God, and near communion with Him in the blessings of His kingdom; and was associated in the minds of the worshippers with feelings of peculiar joy and gladness--but these always of a sacred character. And in the way by which the worshipper attained to a fitness for enjoying these privileges--viz., through the life-blood of atonement--how impressive a testimony was borne to the necessity of seeking the road to all dignity and blessing in the kingdom of God through faith in a crucified Redeemer. (P. Fairbairn, D. D.)

No offering by proxy

The worshipper could not do the work by proxy. The man had to go for himself, and present the sacrifice himself, and lay his hand upon its head, and confess, and eat, all for himself. There can be no transfer of religious obligations--no substitution in the performance of religious duties. Of all things, piety is one of the most intensely personal. It is the intercourse of the individual soul with its Maker; just as much as if there were no other beings in existence. As each must eat, and die, and be judged for him or herself, so each must repent, and believe, and be religious for him or herself. I do not depreciate the importance of social relations, compacts and organisations. I believe that religion is very greatly dependent upon them. Had we never been placed in a Christian land, or been related to Christian parents and friends, or been brought into contact with the Christian Church, we never could have become Christians. But when it comes to the real activities and experiences of piety, they relate as directly to ourselves as individuals as if we alone existed. It is a great thing to have pious friends. The prayers of a godly mother are like soft silken cords around the heart of her son, which draw upon and check him in his wildest wanderings and his maddest passion. The rude sailor on the deck, or the hardened culprit in his cell, is melted and subdued at the mere remembrance of a sainted mother. But, though that mother be as good as the Virgin Mother of our Lord--though she nightly bathe her pillow with tears of supplication for her boy--it shall avail nothing to the salvation of her erring child, unless he himself shall move to turn from his follies, to bend in penitence, and to submit himself to God. True religion demands one’s personal and individual action--the putting forth of one’s own hand. No man or angel can do it for us. Preachers and pious friends may prompt, direct, encourage, and pray for us, but that is all. They can do nothing more. We must individually and for ourselves believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, or be lost. There is no other alternative. A very expressive gesture was required of the Jew to signify all this. He had to put his hand upon the head of his sacrifice when he presented it. He thereby acknowledged his sin, and expressed his personal dependence upon that sacrifice. The Hebrew word is still more suggestive. “He shall lean his hand upon the head of the offering.” It is the same word used by the Psalmist, where he says, “Thy wrath leaneth hard upon me.” Sin is a burden. It is ready to crush him upon whom it is. And with this burden the sinner is to lean upon his sacrifice for ease. He could not lean with another man’s hand; he must use “his own hand.” The ceremonial worshipper used the outward hand; we are to use the hand of the soul, which is faith. (J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

Verses 37-38

Leviticus 7:37-38

This is the law . . . to offer their oblations.

The gospel of the sacrifices


I
. There was a divine institution and command of god, for the offerings and sacrifices which were under the law.

1. An offering in general is anything presented to the Lord to become peculiarly His, and to be typical of Christ and gospel mysteries.

2. The legal offerings were set apart for God, with respect to Christ and His great sacrifice and offering up of Himself unto God for us.

3. Some have distinguished them into three sorts.

(1) Such as were offered at the brazen altar, or the altar of burnt-offering, which represented the death and sufferings of Jesus Christ.

(2) Such as were offered in the sanctuary, more near to the Holy of Holies, viz., the shewbread and the incense at the altar of incense; which had respect to His intercession for us at the throne of grace, in the virtue and by the merit of that sacrifice which He before had shed and offered up.

(3) Such as were offered in the Holy of Holies; which represented the full attainment of the ends of both the former, viz., our full access unto and communion with God through the influence both of the death and oblation as likewise of the prayers and intercession of Christ for us.

4. The sacrifices that were offered at the brazen altar are commonly distributed into two sorts--sacrifices of expiation, and sacrifices of thanksgiving. It is the former sort whereof the text speaks.

(1) These propitiatory sacrifices were offerings most holy to the Lord; for atonement, or for appeasing of His wrath; by the destruction of the sacrifice; to shadow forth the true atonement and expiation of sin, by the death of Jesus, and our reconciliation to and communion with God through Him.

(2) For further rules of illustration, take these propositions--

(a) The institution of sacrifices was presently after the sin and fall of man; but the renewed institution and further direction and regulation of them was by Moses unto Israel.

(b) In this renewed institution and regulation of their offerings and sacrifices, there were sundry adjuncts and ceremonies, some whereof were required and some severely forbidden to be added to them, all which were mystical and significant,

1. Adjuncts required. Sacrifices to be offered only at this ore altar. Salt. Music. Incense. Many ceremonious actions,

2. Adjuncts forbidden. In general, any conformity or compliance with the pagans in their rites and ceremonies. In particular, leaven and honey.

(c) The occasions upon which they were to be offered,

1. When under guilt of sin.

2. For the obtaining of any needful mercy,

3. To testify their joy and thankfulness for mercies received,

4. In the instituted seasons of them.


II.
The sacrifices of propitiation under the law, may be referred to there six kinds or sorts--burnt-offering, meat-offering, peace-offering, sin-offering, trespass-offering, and offering of consecrations.

1. There were some things in which these all agreed.

(1) They were all offered at the brazen altar.

(2) They were all holy of holinesses.

(3) They were all offerings made by fire.

(4) They were all propitiatory.

2. The difference consisted--

(1) Partly in the different matter of them. An ox or a sheep in some; flowers and wine in others.

(2) Partly in the particular ends and designs and occasions of them.

(3) Principally in the different ceremonies accompanying them.

Lessons:

1. Keep close to the rule of Divine institution in matters of worship.

2. See the worth and value of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the necessity of it, fur the justification and salvation of lost sinners. (S. Mather.)



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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Leviticus 7". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/leviticus-7.html. 1905-1909. New York.