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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator

Leviticus 7

 

 

Verses 1-7

THE GUILT OFFERING

Leviticus 5:14; Leviticus 6:7; Leviticus 7:1-7

As in the English version, so also in the Hebrew, the special class of sins for which the guilt offering is prescribed, is denoted by a distinct and specific word. That word, like the English "trespass," its equivalent, always has reference to an invasion of the rights of others, especially in respect of property or service. It is used, for instance, of the sin of Achan (Joshua 7:1), who had appropriated spoil from Jericho, which God had commanded to be set apart for Himself. Thus, also, the neglect of God’s service, and especially the worship of idols, is often described by this same word, as in 2 Chronicles 28:22; 2 Chronicles 29:6, and many other places. The reason is evident; for idolatry involved a withholding from God of those tithes and other offerings which He claimed from Israel, and thus became, as it were, an invasion of the Divine rights of property. The same word is even applied to the sin of adultery, {Numbers 5:12; Numbers 5:27} apparently from the same point of view, inasmuch as the woman is regarded as belonging to her husband, who has therefore in her certain sacred rights, of which adultery is an invasion. Thus, while every "trespass" is a sin, yet every sin is not a "trespass." There are, evidently, many sins of which this is not a characteristic feature. But the sins for which the guilt offering is prescribed are in every case sins which may, at least, be specially regarded under this particular point of view, to wit, as trespasses on the rights of God or man in respect of ownership; and this gives us the fundamental thought which distinguishes the guilt offering from all others, namely, that for any invasion of the rights of another in regard to property, not only must expiation be made, in that it is a sin, but also satisfaction, and, so far as possible, plenary reparation of the wrong, in that the sin is also trespass.

From this it is evident that, as contrasted with the burnt offering, which preeminently symbolised full consecration of the person, and the peace offering, which symbolised fellowship with God, as based upon reconciliation by sacrifice; the guilt offering takes its place, in a general sense, with the sin offering, as, like that, specially designed to effect the reinstatement of an offender in covenant relation with God. Thus, like the latter, and unlike the former offerings, it was only prescribed with reference to specific instances of failure to fulfil some particular obligation toward God or man. So also, as the express condition of an acceptable offering, the formal confession of such sin was particularly enjoined. And, finally, unlike the burnt offering, which was wholly consumed upon the altar, or the peace offering, of the flesh of which, with certain reservations, the worshipper himself partook, in the case of the guilt offering, as in the sin offering, the fat parts only were burnt on the altar, and the remainder of the victim fell to the priests, to be eaten by them alone in a holy place, as a thing "most holy." The law is given in the following words: {Leviticus 7:3-7} "He shall offer of it all the fat thereof; the fat tail, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the loins, and the caul upon the liver, with the kidneys, shall he take away: and the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a guilt offering. Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in a holy place: it is most holy. As is the sin offering, so is the guilt offering: there is one law for them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith, he shall have it."

But while, in a general way, the guilt offering was evidently intended, like the sin offering, to signify the removal of sin from the conscience through sacrifice, and thus may be regarded as a variety of the sin offering, yet the ritual presents some striking variations from that of the latter. These are all explicable from this consideration, that whereas the sin offering represented the idea of atonement by sacrifice, regarded as an expiation of guilt, the guilt offering represented atonement under the aspect of a satisfaction and reparation for the wrong committed. Hence, because the idea of expiation here fell somewhat into the background, in order to give the greater prominence to that of reparation and satisfaction, the application of the blood is only made, as in the burnt offering and the peace offering, by sprinkling "on the altar (of burnt offering) round about". {Leviticus 7:1} Hence, again, we find that the guilt offering always had reference to the sin of the individual, and never to the congregation; because it was scarcely possible that every individual in the whole congregation should be guilty in such instances as those for which the guilt offering is prescribed.

Again, we have another contrast in the restriction imposed upon the choice of the victim for the sacrifice. In the sin offering, as we have seen, it was ordained that the offering should be varied according to the theocratic rank of the offender, to emphasise thereby to the conscience gradations of guilt, as thus determined; also, it was permitted that the offering might be varied in value according to the ability of the offerer, in order that it might thus be signified in symbol that it was the gracious will of God that nothing in the personal condition of the sinner should exclude anyone from the merciful provision of the expiatory sacrifice. But it was no less important that another aspect of the matter should be held forth, namely, that God is no respecter of persons; and that, whatever be the condition of the offender, the obligation to plenary satisfaction and reparation for trespass committed, cannot be modified in any way by the circumstances of the offender. The man who, for example, has defrauded his neighbour, whether of a small sum or of a large estate, abides his debtor before God, under all conceivable conditions, until restitution is made. The obligation of full payment rests upon every debtor, be he poor or rich, until the last farthing is discharged. Hence, the sacrificial victim of the guilt offering is the same, whether for the poor man or the rich man, "a ram of the flock."

It was "a ram of the flock," because, as contrasted with the ewe or the lamb, or the dove and the pigeon, it was a valuable offering. And yet it is not a bullock, the most valuable offering known to the law, because that might be hopelessly out of the reach of many a poor man. The idea of value must be represented, and yet not so represented as to exclude a large part of the people from the provisions of the guilt offering. The ram must be "without blemish," that naught may detract from its value, as a symbol of full satisfaction for the wrong done.

But most distinctive of all the requisitions touching the victim is this, that, unlike all other victims for other offerings, the ram of the guilt offering must in each case be definitely appraised by the priest. The phrase is, {Leviticus 5:15} that it must be "according to thy estimation in silver by shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary." This expression evidently requires, first, that the offerer’s own estimate of the value of the victim shall not be taken, but that of the priest, as representing God in this transaction; and, secondly, that its value shall in no case fall below a certain standard; for the plural expression, "by shekels," implies that the value of the ram shall not be less than two shekels. And the shekel must be of full weight; the standard of valuation must be God’s, and not man’s, "the shekel of the sanctuary."

Still more to emphasise the distinctive thought of this sacrifice, that full satisfaction and reparation for all offences is with God the universal and unalterable condition of forgiveness, it was further ordered that in all cases where the trespass was of such a character as made this possible, that which had been unjustly taken or kept back, whether from God or man, should be restored in full; and not only this, but inasmuch as by this misappropriation of what was not his own, the offender had for the time deprived another of the use and enjoyment of that which belonged to him, he must add to that of which he had defrauded him "the fifth part more," a double tithe. Thus the guilty person was not allowed to have gained even any temporary advantage from the use for a while of that which he now restored; for "the fifth part more" would presumably quite overbalance all conceivable advantage or enjoyment which he might have had from his fraud. How admirable in all this the exact justice of God! How perfectly adapted was the guilt offering, in all these particulars, to educate the conscience, and to preclude any possible wrong inferences from the allowance which was made, for other reasons, for the poor man, in the expiatory offerings for sin!

The arrangement of the law of the guilt offering is very simple. It is divided into two sections, the first of which {Leviticus 5:14-19} deals with cases of trespass "in the holy things of the Lord," things which, by the law or by an act of consecration, were regarded as belonging in a special sense to Jehovah; the second section, on the other hand, {Leviticus 6:1-7} deals with cases of trespass on the property rights of man.

The first of these, again, consists of two parts. Leviticus 5:14-16 give the law of the guilt offering as applied to cases in which a man, through inadvertence or unwittingly, trespasses in the holy things of the Lord, but in such manner that the nature and extent of the trespass can afterward be definitely known and valued; Leviticus 5:17-19 deal with cases where there has been trespass such as to burden the conscience, and yet such as, for whatsoever reason, cannot be precisely measured.

By "the holy things of the Lord" are intended such things as, either by universal ordinance or by voluntary consecration, were regarded as belonging to Jehovah, and in a special sense His property. Thus, under this head would come the case of the man who, for instance, should unwittingly eat the flesh of the firstling of his cattle, or the flesh of the sin offering, or the shew bread; or should use his tithe, or any part of it, for himself. Even though he did this unwittingly, yet it none the less disturbed the man’s relation to God; and therefore, when known, in order to his reinstatement in fellowship with God, it was necessary that he should make full restitution with a fifth part added, and besides this, sacrifice a ram, duly appraised, as a guilt offering. In that the sacrifice was prescribed over and above the restitution, the worshipper was reminded that, in view of the infinite majesty and holiness of God, it lies not in the power of any creature to nullify the wrong God-ward, even by fullest restitution. For trespass is not only trespass, but is also sin; an offence not only against the rights of Jehovah as Owner, but also an affront to Him as Supreme King and Lawgiver.

And yet, because the worshipper must not be allowed to lose sight of the fact that sin is of the nature of a debt, a victim was ordered which should especially bring to mind this aspect of the matter. For not only among the Hebrews, but among the Arabs, the Romans and other ancient peoples, sheep, and especially rams, were very commonly used as a medium of payment in case of debt, and especially in paying tribute.

Thus we read, {2 Kings 3:4} that Mesha, king of Moab, rendered unto the king of Israel "a hundred thousand lambs, and a hundred thousand rams, with the wool," in payment of tribute; and, at a later day, Isaiah {Isaiah 16:1, R.V} delivers to Moab the mandate of Jehovah: "Send ye the lambs for the ruler of the land unto the mount of the daughter of Zion."

And so the ram having been brought and presented by the guilty person, with confession of his fault, it was slain by the priest, like the sin offering. The blood, however, was not applied to the horns of the altar of burnt offering, still less brought into the Holy Place, as in the case of the sin offering; but {Leviticus 7:2} was to be sprinkled "upon the altar round about," as in the burnt offering. The reason of this difference in the application of the blood, as above remarked, lies in this, that, as in the burnt offering, the idea of sacrifice as symbolising expiation takes a place secondary and subordinate to another thought; in this case, the conception of sacrifice as representing satisfaction for trespass.

The next section (Leviticus 5:17-19) does not expressly mention sins of trespass; for which reason some have thought that it was essentially a repetition of the law of the sin offering. But that it is not to be so regarded is plain from the fact that the victim is still the same as for the guilt offering, and from the explicit statement (Leviticus 5:19) that this "is a guilt offering." The inference is natural that the prescription still has reference to "trespass in the holy things of the Lord"; and the class of cases intended is probably indicated by the phrase, "though he knew it not." In the former section, the law provided for cases in which though the trespass had been done unwittingly, yet the offender afterward came to know of the trespass in its precise extent, so as to give an exact basis for the restitution ordered in such cases. But it is quite supposable that there might be cases in which, although the offender was aware that there had been a probable trespass, such as to burden his conscience, he yet knew not just how much it was. The ordinance is only in so far modified as such a case would make necessary; where there was no exact knowledge of the amount of trespass, obviously there the law of restitution with the added fifth could not be applied. Yet, none the less, the man is guilty; he "bears his iniquity," that is, he is liable to the penalty of his fault; and in order to the reestablishment of his covenant relation with God, the ram must be offered as a guilt offering.

It is suggestive to observe the emphasis which is laid upon the necessity of the guilt offering, even in such cases. Three times, reference is explicitly made to this fact of ignorance, as not affecting the requirement of the guilt offering: (Leviticus 5:17) "Though he knew it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity"; and again (Leviticus 5:18), with special explicitness, "The priest shall make atonement for him concerning the thing wherein he erred unwittingly and knew it not"; and yet again (Leviticus 5:19), "It is a guilt offering: he is certainly guilty before the Lord." The repetition is an urgent reminder that in this case, as in all others, we are never to forget that however our ignorance of a trespass at the time, or even lack of definite knowledge regarding its nature and extent, may affect the degree of our guilt, it cannot affect the fact of our guilt, and the consequent necessity for satisfaction in order to acceptance with God.

The second section of the law of the guilt offering {Leviticus 6:1-7} deals with trespasses against man, as also, like trespasses against Jehovah, requiring, in order to forgiveness from God, full restitution with the added fifth, and the offering of the ram as a guilt offering. Five cases are named (Leviticus 6:2-3), no doubt as being common, typical examples of sins of this character.

The first case is trespass upon a neighbour’s rights in "a matter of deposit"; where a man has entrusted something to another to keep, and he has either sold it or unlawfully used it as if it were his own. The second case takes in all fraud in a "bargain," as when, for example, a man sells goods, or a piece of land, representing them to be better than they really are, or asking a price larger than he knows an article to be really worth. The third instance is called "robbery"; by which we are to understand any act or process, even though it should be under colour of legal forms, by means of which a man may manage unjustly to get possession of the property of his neighbour, without giving him due equivalent therefore. The fourth instance is called "oppression" of his neighbour. The English word contains the same image as the Hebrew word, which is used, for instance, of the unnecessary retention of the wages of the employee by the employer; {Leviticus 19:13} it may be applied to all cases in which a man takes advantage of another’s circumstances to extort from him any thing or any service to which he has no right, or to force upon him something which it is to the poor man’s disadvantage to take. The last example of offences to which the law of the guilt offering applied, is the case in which a man finds something and then denies it to the rightful owner. The reference to false swearing which follows, as appears from Leviticus 6:5, refers not merely to lying and perjury concerning this last-named case, but equally to all cases in which a man may lie or swear falsely to the pecuniary damage of his neighbour. It is mentioned not merely as aggravating such sin, but because in swearing touching any matter, a man appeals to God as witness to the truth of his words; so that by swearing in these cases he represents God as a party to his falsehood and injustice.

In all these cases, the prescription is the same as in analogous offences in the holy things of Jehovah. First of all, the guilty man must confess the wrong which he has done, {Numbers 5:7} then restitution must be made of all of which he has defrauded his neighbour, together with one-fifth additional. But while this may set him right with man, it has not yet set him right with God. He must bring his guilt offering unto Jehovah (Leviticus 6:6-7); "a ram without blemish out of the flock, according to the priest’s estimation, for a guilt offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven: concerning whatsoever he doeth so as to be guilty thereby."

And this completes the law of the guilt offering. It was thus prescribed for sins which involve a defrauding or injuring of another in respect to material things, whether God or man, whether knowingly or unwittingly. The law was one and unalterable for all; the condition of pardon was plenary restitution for the wrong done, and the offering of a costly sacrifice, appraised as such by the priest, the earthly representative of God, in the shekel of the sanctuary, "a ram without blemish out of the flock."

There are lessons from this ordinance, so plain that, even in the dim light of those ancient days, the Israelite might discern and understand them. And they are lessons which, because man and his ways are the same as then, and God the same as then, are no less pertinent to all of us today.

Thus we are taught by this law that God claims from man, and especially from His own people, certain rights of property, of which He will not allow Himself to be defrauded, even through man’s forgetfulness or inadvertence. In a later day Israel was sternly reminded of this in the burning words of Jehovah by the prophet Malachi: {Malachi 3:8-9} "Will a man rob God? yet ye rob me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with the curse: for ye rob me, even this whole nation." Nor has God relaxed His claim in the present dispensation. For the Apostle Paul charges the Corinthian Christians. {2 Corinthians 8:7} in the name of the Lord, with regard to their gifts, that as they abounded in other graces, so they should "abound in this grace also." And this is the first lesson brought before us in the law of the guilt offering. God claims His tithe, His first fruit, and the fulfilment of all vows. It was a lesson for that time; it is no less a lesson for our time.

And the guilt offering further reminds us that as God has rights, so man also has rights, and that Jehovah, as the King and Judge of men, will exact the satisfaction of those rights, and will pass over no injury done by man to his neighbour in material things, nor forgive it unto any man, except upon condition of the most ample material restitution to the injured party.

Then, yet again, if the sin offering called especially for faith in an expiatory sacrifice as the condition of the Divine forgiveness, the guilt offering as specifically called also for repentance, as a condition of pardon, no less essential. Its unambiguous message to every Israelite was the same as that of John the Baptist at a later day: {Matthew 3:8-9} "Bring forth fruit worthy of repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father."

The reminder is as much needed now as in the days of Moses. How specific and practical the selection of the particular instances mentioned as cases for the application of the inexorable law of the guilt offering! Let us note them again, for they are not cases peculiar to Israel or to the fifteenth century before Christ. "If anyone deal falsely with his neighbour in a matter of deposit"; as, e.g., in the case of moneys entrusted to a bank or railway company, or other corporation; for there is no hint that the law did not apply except to individuals, or that a man might be released from these stringent obligations of righteousness whenever in some such evil business he was associated with others; the guilt offering must be forthcoming, with the amplest restitution, or there is no pardon. Then false dealing in a "bargain" is named, as involving the same requirement; as when a man prides himself on driving "a good bargain," by getting something unfairly for less than its value, taking advantage of his neighbour’s straits; or by selling something for more than its value, taking advantage of his neighbour’s ignorance, or his necessity. Then is mentioned "robbery"; by which word is covered not merely that which goes by the name in polite circles, but all cases in which a man takes advantage of his neighbour’s distress or helplessness, perhaps by means of some technicality of law, to "strip" him, as the Hebrew word is, of his property of any kind. And next is specified the man who may "have oppressed his neighbour," especially a man or woman who serves him, as the usage of the word suggests; grinding thus the face of the poor; paying, for instance, less for labour than the law of righteousness and love demands, because the poor man must have work or starve with his house. What sweeping specifications! And all such in all lands and all ages, are solemnly reminded in the law of the guilt offering that in these their sharp practices they have to reckon not with man merely, but with God; and that it is utterly vain for a man to hope for the forgiveness of sin from God, offering or no offering, so long as he has in his pocket his neighbour’s money. For all such, full restoration with the added fifth, according to the law of the theocratic kingdom, was the unalterable condition of the Divine forgiveness; and we shall find that this law of the theocratic kingdom will also be the law applied in the adjudications of the great white throne.

Furthermore, in that it was particularly enjoined that in the estimation of the value of the guilt offering, not the shekel of the people, often of light weight, but the full weight shekel of the sanctuary was to be held the invariable standard; we, who are so apt to ease things to our consciences by applying to our conduct the principles of judgment current among men, are plainly taught that if we will have our trespasses forgiven, the reparation and restitution which we make must be measured, not by the standard of men, but by that of God, which is absolute righteousness.

Yet again, in that in the case of all such trespasses on the rights of God or man it was ordained that the offering, unlike other sacrifices intended to teach other lessons, should be one and the same, whether the offender were rich or poor; we are taught that the extent of our moral obligations or the conditions of their equitable discharge are not determined by a regard to our present ability to make them good. Debt is debt by whomsoever owed. If a man have appropriated a hundred pounds of another man’s money, the moral obligation of that debt cannot be abrogated by a bankrupt law, allowing him to compromise at ten shillings in the pound. The law of man may indeed release him from liability to prosecution, but no law can discharge such a man from the unalterable obligation to pay penny for penny, farthing for farthing. There is no bankrupt law in the kingdom of God. This, too, is evidently a lesson quite as much needed by Gentiles and nominal Christians in the nineteenth century after Christ, as by Hebrews in the fifteenth century before Christ.

But the spiritual teaching of the guilt offering is not yet exhausted. For, like all the other offerings, it pointed to Christ. He is "the end of the law unto righteousness," {Romans 10:4} as regards the guilt offering, as in all else. As the burnt offering prefigured Christ the heavenly Victim, in one aspect, and the peace offering, Christ in another aspect, so the guilt offering presents to our adoring contemplation yet another view of His sacrificial work. While, as our burnt offering, He became our righteousness in full self-consecration; as our peace offering, our life; as our sin offering, the expiation for our sins; so, as our guilt offering, He made satisfaction and plenary reparation in our behalf to the God on whose inalienable rights in us, by our sins we had trespassed without measure.

Nor is this an over refinement of exposition. For in Isaiah 53:10, where both the Authorised and the Revised Versions read, "shall make his soul an offering for sin, " the margin of the latter rightly calls attention to the fact that in the Hebrew the word here used is the very same which through all this Levitical law is rendered "guilt offering." And so we are expressly told by this evangelic prophet, that the Holy Servant of Jehovah, the suffering Messiah, in this His sacrificial work should make His soul "a guilt offering." He became Himself the complete and exhaustive realisation of all that in sacrifice which was set forth in the Levitical guilt offering.

A declaration this is which holds forth both the sin for which Christ atoned, and the Sacrifice itself, in a very distinct and peculiar light. In that Christ’s sacrifice was thus a guilt offering in the sense of the law, we are taught that, in one aspect, our sins are regarded by God, and should therefore be regarded by us, as debts which are due from us to God. This is, indeed, by no means the only aspect in which sin should be regarded; it is, for example, rebellion, high treason, a deadly affront to the Supreme Majesty, which must be expiated with the blood of the sin offering. But our sins are also of the nature of debts. That is, God has claims on us for service which we have never met; claims for a portion of our substance which we have often withheld, or given grudgingly, trespassing thus in "the holy things of the Lord." Just as the servant who is set to do his master’s work, if, instead, he take that time to do his own work, is debtor to the full value of the service of which his master is thus defrauded, so stands the case between the sinner and God. Just as with the agent who fails to make due returns to his principal on the moneys committed to him for investment, using them instead for himself, so stands the case between God and the sinner who has used his talents, not for the Lord, but for himself, or has kept them laid up, unused, in a napkin. Thus, in the New Testament, as the correlate of this representation of Christ as a guilt offering; we find sin again and again set forth as a debt which is owed from man to God. So, in the Lord’s prayer we are taught to pray, "Forgive us our debts; so, twice the Lord Himself in His parables" {Matthew 18:23-35 Luke 7:41-42} set forth the relation of the sinner to God as that of the debtor to the creditor; and concerning those on whom the tower of Siloam fell, asks, {Luke 13:4} "Think ye that they were sinners (Greek ‘debtors,’) above all that dwelt in Jerusalem?" Indeed so imbedded is this thought in the conscience of man that it has been crystallised in our word "ought," which is but the old preterite of "owe"; as in Tyndale’s New Testament, where we read, {Luke 7:41} "there was a certain lender, which ought him five hundred pence." What a startling conception is this, which forms the background to the great "guilt offering"! Man a debtor to God! a debtor for service each day due, but no day ever fully and perfectly rendered! in gratitude for gifts, too often quite forgotten, oftener only paid in scanty part! We are often burdened and troubled greatly about our debts to men; shall we not be concerned about the enormous and ever accumulating debt to God! Or is He an easy creditor, who is indifferent whether these debts of ours be met or not? So think multitudes; but this is not the representation of Scripture, either in the Old or the New Testament. For in the law it was required, that if a man, guilty of any of these offences for the forgiveness of which the guilt offering was prescribed, failed to confess and bring the offering, and make the restitution with the added fifth, as commanded by the law, he should be brought before the judges, and the full penalty of law exacted, on the principle of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth!" And in the New Testament, one of those solemn parables of the two debtors closes with the awful words concerning one of them who was "delivered to the tormentors," that he should not come out of prison till he had "paid the uttermost farthing." Not a hint is there in Holy Scripture, of forgiveness of our debts to God, except upon the one condition of full restitution made to Him to whom the debt is due, and therewith the sacrificial blood of a guilt offering. But Christ is our Guilt offering.

He is our Guilt offering, in that He Himself did that, really and fully, with respect to all our debts as sinful men to God, which the guilt offering of Leviticus symbolised, but accomplished not. His soul He made a guilt offering for our trespasses! Isaiah’s words imply that He should make full restitution for all that of which we, as sinners, defraud God. He did this by that perfect and incomparable service of lowly obedience such as we should render, but have never rendered; in which He has made full satisfaction to God for all our innumerable debts. He has made such satisfaction, not by a convenient legal fiction, or in a rhetorical figure, or as judged by any human standard. Even as the ram of the guilt offering was appraised according to "the shekel of the sanctuary," so upon our Lord, at the beginning of that life of sacrificial service, was solemnly passed the Divine verdict that with this antitypical Victim of the Guilt offering, God Himself was "well pleased". {Matthew 3:17} Not only so. For we cannot forget that according to the law, not only the full restitution must be made, but the fifth must be added thereto. So with our Lord. For who will not confess that Christ not only did all that we should have done, but, in the ineffable depth of His self-humiliation and obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, paid therewith the added fifth of the law. Said a Jewish Rabbi to the writer, "I have never been able to finish reading in the Gospel the story of the Jesus of Nazareth; for it too soon brings the tears to my eyes!" So affecting even to Jewish unbelief was this unparalleled spectacle, the adorable Son of God making Himself a guilt offering, and paying, in the incomparable perfection of His holy obedience, the added fifth in our behalf! Thus has Christ "magnified this law" of the guilt offering, and "made it honourable," even as He did all law. {Isaiah 42:21}

And, as is intimated, by the formal valuation of the sacrificial ram, in the type, even the death of Christ as the guilt offering, in one aspect is to be regarded as the consummating act of service in the payment of debts Godward. Just as the sin offering represented His death in its passive aspect, as meeting the demands of justice against the sinner as a rebel under sentence of death, by dying in his stead, so, on the other hand, the guilt offering represents that same sacrificial death, rather in another aspect, no less clearly set forth in the New Testament; namely, the supreme act of obedience to the will of God, whereby He discharged "to the uttermost farthing," even with the added fifth of the law, all the transcendent debt of service due from man to God.

This representation of Christ’s work has in all ages been an offence, "the offence of the cross." All the more need we to insist upon it, and never to forget, or let others forget, that Christ is expressly declared in the Word of God to have been "a guilt offering," in the Levitical sense of that term; that, therefore, to speak of His death as effecting our salvation merely through its moral influence, is to contradict and nullify the Word of God. Well may we set this word in Isaiah 53:10, concerning the Servant of Jehovah, against all modern Unitarian theology, and against all Socinianising teaching; all that would maintain any view of Christ’s death which excludes or ignores the divinely revealed fact that it was in its essential nature a guilt offering; and, because a guilt offering, therefore of the nature of the payment of a debt in behalf of those for whom He suffered.

Most blessed truth this, for all who can receive it! Christ, the Son of God, our Guilt offering! Like the poor Israelite, who had defrauded God of that which was His due, so must we do; coming before God, confessing that wherein we have wronged Him, and bringing forth fruit meet for repentance, we must bring and plead Christ in the glory of His person, in all the perfection of His holy obedience, as our Guilt offering. And therewith the ancient promise to the penitent Israelite becomes ours, {Leviticus 6:7} "The priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven; concerning whatsoever he doeth so as to be guilty thereby."


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 6-10

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.

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 ( 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 ( 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 11-21

Verses 11-34

Verse 14

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 22-27

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 31-36

Verse 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.

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.

(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.

2. The difference consisted--

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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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Leviticus 7:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/leviticus-7.html. 1905-1909. New York.

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