Themes in Leviticus (02) - Sacrificial Worship

Date: 10/13/2013
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Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Leviticus
Organization: All Saints
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Themes in Leviticus (2): Sacrificial Worship

“Aaron then brought (qoreb) the offering (qorban, “near bringing”) that was for the people. He took the goat for the people’s sin offering (chattat - “hiding”) and slaughtered it and offered it for a sin offering (yechatte - “hiding/offering”) as he did with the first one. He brought (yaqrev, “near”) the burnt offering (olah, “ascension” Gr. holocaust) and offered it in the prescribed way. He also brought the grain offering (mincha, “gift”) took a handful of it and burned it on the altar in addition to the morning’s burnt offering (olah, “ascension”). He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship (shelem) offering (zevach, “offering/feasting”) for the people . . . . Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them.  (Lev 9:15-23 NIV)

Order of Sacrifices - The sequence of our worship follows from the “service” (leitourgia/latreia) of the old covenant. The basic order of sacrifice is emphasized in Lev. 9:22:  Purification Offering, Presence Offering (grain/tribute offering during this), then Peace Offering. “Christian worship has the same form: Entrance and confession of sin; renewal as persons. Ascension and the hearing of the Word, empowered by the Spirit. The word chops us up (Hebrews 4:12). Fellowship at the Table, with the Son. Blessing and Sending Forth” (JBJ). The actions of the NT assembly is a “liturgy” (leitourgeo/latreia) of “near-bringing” in terms of the tabernacle/temple “service” (Heb. 10:11/Rom. 9:4- Acts 13:2, Rom. 12:1). We do this now by grasping the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus by faith and by renewing covenant through these same steps on the Lord’s Day (Day of the Lord). This pattern of actions we may summarize as: Call, Confession, Consecration, Communion, & Commission.

Kinds of Sacrifices - Most summaries will state there are “five kinds of sacrifices in Leviticus”:  Burnt offerings (chap. 1), Grain offerings (chap. 2), Peace offerings (chap. 3), Sin offerings (4:1–5:13), Trespass offerings (5:14–6:7). However one of these is always plural: “peace offerings” which included the thank offering, the votive offering and the freewill offering. Thus, there were seven offerings in all.

The Representative and Symbolic Procedure: Leviticus 1:3–9

  • He shall lay his hand on the head: What do you say? “I Lay my sins on Jesus the spotless Lamb of God”
  • He shall slay the young bull before the LORD: You take the knife.
  • The priests shall offer up the blood and sprinkle the blood around on the altar: he’s caught the blood in a pan.
  • He shall then skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces: the worshiper flays the skin off and dismembers the body. Ps 22
  • The priest shall put fire on the altar: God’s fire is now kindled.
  • The priests shall arrange the pieces, the head and the suet over the wood on the altar: Now the defiled parts of the animal are removed and the heart and strength of the animal ascend in smoke to the Lord.
  • Its entrails, however, and its legs he shall wash with water. (skin, outer clothing touching the world and the feet touching the cursed ground), Taken out of the holy presence.
  • The priest shall offer up in smoke all of it on the altar. God receives this sacrifice now as acceptable.
Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more