Leviticus 1-10

Holy Worship Inside the Tabernacle

Introduction

1. Summary

• The sacrifices of the people and the priests at the tabernacle
• The ordination to priesthood of Aaron and his sons
• The violation of ordination vows by two sons

2. Structure

Holy Sacrifices (Lev.1:1-7:38)

Holy Priests (Lev.8:1-10:20)

 

I. Holy Sacrifices (1:1-7:38)

A. General Analysis

  • Emphasis on the people (Lev.1:1-6:7)
  • Emphasis on the priests (Lev.6:8-7:38)

B. Detailed Analysis

1. Emphasis on the people (Lev.1:1-6:7)

-Introduction (Lev.1:1-2)
-Burnt offering (Lev.1:3-17)
-Grain offering (Lev.2:1-16)
-Fellowship offering (Lev.3:1-17)
-Sin offering (Lev.4:1-5:13)
-Guilt offering (Lev.5:14-6:7)
Although this book may be thought of as a manual for the priests, who are mentioned nearly 200 times, the sacrifice rituals were not just the responsibility of the priests. The laity also participated in carefully regulated, yet significant ways. “Speak unto the children of Israel” (Lev.1:2). “And when any will offer…” (Lev.2:1). “If thou bring…which ye shall bring…and if thou offer” (Lev.2:4,11,14). See also Lev.3:1; 4:1; 5:14; 6:1.
Moses’ Message: God’s holiness requires that the people bring the right sacrifices in the right way
 

2. Emphasis on the priests (Lev.6:8-7:38)

-Burnt offering (Lev.6:8-13)
-Grain offering (Lev.6:14-23)
-Sin offering (Lev.6:24-30)
-Guilt offering (Lev.7:1-10)
-Fellowship offering (Lev.7:11-36)
-Summary (Lev.7:37-38)
Moses was concerned to ensure that the priests received their entitlement to sacrificial portions, and that the priests fulfilled their duties. “Command Aaron and his sons…the sons of Aaron shall offer it…this is the offering of Aaron and his sons…speak unto Aaron and to his sons” (Lev.6:9,14,20,25). See also Lev.7:10,22,35.
Moses’ Message: God’s holiness requires that the priests bring the right sacrifices in the right way.
 

3. The order of the sacrifices

There are various theories regarding reasons for the order of the sacrifices in chapters 1-9:

The collection is arranged in a 10 part scheme like the Ten Commandments, in which the five types of sacrifices are treated two times, once as they pertain to the people and the second time as they pertain to the priests. In the second series, the five types of sacrifices are arranged from most holy (whole burnt offering) to least holy (fellowship) – a natural order for priestly instructions. In the first series, however, which is addressed to the people, the peace offering, the most common type of sacrifice for the people, stands at the centre.[footnote]D Dorsey, The Literary Structure of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 76.[/footnote]

We are not told in the Old Testament how the sacrificial system operated in detail, but conclusions may be drawn from the threefold presentation of the order of sacrifice in Leviticus 1-9. In Lev.1:1-6:7, the order is burnt-, grain-, fellowship-, and then sin-and guilt-offerings, in what seems a grouping by association. There follows in 6:8-7:38 the order of burnt-, grain-, sin-, guilt-, and then fellowship-offerings. The content of this passage is described as torah, or instruction. The passage seems concerned with administrative procedures relating to the manner of offering. But in Leviticus 9, the system is seen in operation. This third order of sin-, burnt-, and fellowship-offerings is affirmed by other sections of the Old Testament in which the system is presented in actual performance (Ex.29:10-34; Num.6:14-47; Ezek.45:13-17; 2Chron.29:31-36). The conclusion is that the first priority of the sacrificial system is the need for sin to be forgiven. Personal consecration (burnt-offering) follows as a symbol of commitment, and, finally, the celebration of reconciliation takes place through the peace-offerings.[footnote]W J Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 43.[/footnote]

 

4. The ritual of the sacrifices

a. The sacrificial animal had to be healthy and without defect.

All that may be brought unto the Lord as an offering must be ceremonially clean. From the animal kingdom might be sacrificed oxen, sheep, goats, pigeons; and from the vegetable kingdom, corn, wine and oils. Thus, the sacrifice came from that which sustained the life of the offerer (the animal kingdom), and from that which the offerer produced by the toil of his life (the vegetable kingdom). Hence it may be said that in sacrifice the entirety of the offerer’s life was consecrated to the Lord.[footnote]E J Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (London: Tyndale Press, 1953), 85-87.[/footnote]

b. The offerer placed his hand on the head of the animal to indicate transference of guilt and substitution.

The sacrifice was also a substitute, offered in the stead of the sinner. In itself, of course, it did not have power to put away sin, but was typical of the one great sacrifice of Christ, and to Him it pointed forward.[footnote]Ibid., 85-87[/footnote]

c. The offerer slaughtered the animal near the altar of burnt offering.
d. The priest sprinkled some of the blood either on the altar of burnt offering or on the altar of incense inside the Holy Place.

The blood is said to make a covering for the soul. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make covering for your souls: for it is the blood that makes covering by reason of the life” (Lev. 17:11). The thought seems to be that the blood which is shed and applied to the altar blots out or obliterates sin from the sight of God by being smeared over it. Man and his sin is that which needs covering, and this covering is procured by God, not by man.[footnote]Ibid., 85-87.[/footnote]

e. The priest burned all or part of the animal on the altar of burnt offering.

Next followed the burning of certain parts of the animal upon the altar. This burning was to offer a sweet smelling odor unto the Lord. Thus it was symbolical of that substitutionary consecration which was offered to God by the victims. We are reminded of the words of Paul, “Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell” (Ephesians 5:2).[footnote]Ibid., 85-87.[/footnote]

f. Some parts of the animal were sometimes eaten by the priest and offerer

Lastly, and peculiar to the peace-offerings, there was the sacrificial meal, prepared by the Lord Himself. Thus was symbolized the blessed fact that sin had been expiated, and the barrier between God and man removed. It also included a state of positive favor and blessedness.[footnote]Ibid., 85-87.[/footnote]

 

5. The types of sacrifice

The book of Leviticus opens with a long section on sacrifice (chaps. 1-7). This emphasis on sacrifice is not at all surprising since it is the most important activity of formal worship during the Old Testament period. The absence of explanation of meaning and the focus on the detailed description of the ritual suggests that the meaning of the rite was understood by the original audience, lay and priestly, and all that was necessary was a reminder of proper procedure.

Sacrifice Name OT References Elements Purpose
Burnt
Offering
olah = ascending Lev.1; 6:8-13; 8:18-21; 16:24 Bull, ram or male bird (dove or young pigeon for the poor); wholly consumed; no defect.
All burnt, none eaten.
Voluntary act of worship; atonement for unintentional sin in general; expression of devotion, commitment and complete surrender to God
Grain
Offering
minhah = tribute or a present/gift Lev.2; 6:14-23 Grain, fine flour, olive oil, incense, baked bread, salt; no yeast or honey; accompanied burnt offerings and fellowship offering.
Part burnt and part eaten by priest
Voluntary act of worship; recognition of God’s goodness and provisions; devotion to God
Fellowship
Offering (Also called Thank-, Vow-, and Freewill-offering)
selamim = peace, fellowship Lev.3:7, 11-34 An animal without defect from herd or flock; variety of breads.
Fat portions burnt. Other portions shared in fellowship meal by priest and offerer.
Voluntary act of worship; thanksgiving and fellowship (included communal meal – Lord, priests and offerer get piece)
Thank-offering for an unexpected blessing
Vow offering for deliverance when a vow was made on that condition
Freewill offering for general thankfulness
Sin
Offering
hatat = sin, deliberate and inadvertent (sins which only become apparent later) Lev.4:1-5:13; 6:24-30; 8:14-17; 16:3-22 1. Young bull: for high priest and congregation
2. Male goat; for leader
3. Female goat or lamb; for common person
4. Dove or pigeon: for poor
5. Tenth of an ephah of fine flour: for the very poor
Fat portions burnt. Other portions eaten by priest
Mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin; most important and usually preceded others; confession of sin; forgiveness of sin; cleansing from defilement. Atoned for the guilt of sin.
Guilt
Offering
asam = offences for which restitution was possible Lev.5:14-6:7; 7:1-6 Ram.
Fat portions burnt and other portions eaten by priest
Mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution; cleansing from defilement; make restitution; pay 20% fine. Atoned for the damage of sin.
[footnote]The basis of this table is found in the Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 165.[/footnote]  

6. The effects of the sacrifices

The description of the first three sacrifices (burnt, cereal, and peace offerings) concludes with a variation of the expression, “an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord” (Lev.1:9,13,17; 2:2,9, etc). These three sacrifices stress the result of the offering from God’s perspective.
The sections presenting the two other sacrifices (sin and guilt offerings) are less concerned with the value of the animals presented and more with the types of sin committed (intentional or unintentional and inadvertent) and the status of the sinner. These sections are distinguished by variations of the expression “the priest shall make an atonement on his behalf for his sin, and he shall be forgiven” (Lev.4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10). These two sacrifices, then, emphasize the result from the human perspective.
Moses’ Message: Right sacrifices brought in the right way will please God and pardon sin
 

7. The end of the sacrifices

The ultimate purpose of the sacrifices was to remove barriers to fellowship with God and restore the sinner to fellowship with God.

One of the basic words for “offering” (qorbān) is derived from the verb “to bring near.” When sacrifices were offered, man came near God, with the hope that the sacrifice would be accepted and sin atoned for. Reconciliation with God was the goal of the worshiper, whose sinfulness always made it difficult to approach the Almighty.[footnote]H Wolf, An Introduction to the Old Testament Pentateuch (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

One of the ways this reconciliation and restoration was expressed was in the peace offering. After the fat had been burnt, the rest of the flesh was cooked and eaten by the priests and the people. Fellowship with God means fellowship also with God’s people.
Moses’ Message: Right sacrifices brought in the right way will restore you to fellowship with God
 

8. The danger of the sacrifices

The sacrificial system was never intended to be a substitute for or an alternative to obedience to the will of God. The Israelites for the most part tried to do just that. To them the sacrificial system became the alternative to their obeying the express will of God in the Ten Commandments, and the application of these commandments to their life.

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams (1Samuel 15:22).

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Ps.51:16-17)

The sacrifices were to break the hearts of the people; they were to crush the people’s pride and their arrogance. They were to make the people aware of God, of their own shamefulness and therefore to lead them to trust in God with broken hearts, to teach them that only God could deal with their sin.
 

9. Enormous dimensions of sin

There are many and detailed directives to teach that the whole sacrificial system is sacred to God and to be taken seriously. Calculate how many sins people commit daily, multiply that by two and a half million, and offer them all in one place. How many sheep, how many lambs, how many bullocks, how many doves? The immensity and variety of the requirement and the overwhelming impossibility of a perfect carrying out of the sacrificial system would have impressed on Israel the absolute impossibility of man in any way dealing with his own sin.
Moses’ Message: Let the number and nature of the sacrifices teach you about the number and nature of your sins.
 

10. Intentional and Unintentional Sin

Leviticus classifies sin under two major headings: un-premeditated (Lev.5:15; Num.15:29) and premeditated (or “with a high hand” – Lev.6:1-2; Num.15:30). Leviticus makes clear that both of these types could be forgiven (see Lev.4 for unpremeditated and 6:1-7 for premeditated) provided that the individual repented and confessed his sin.

Confession was required for all premeditated sinful acts as a precondition for the hatt’at (sin-offering). The inadvertent offender was not required to confess, but the repentance of the intentional sinner through his remorse and confession reduced the intentional sin to inadvertence, thus rendering sacrificial propitiation possible. However, as in the New Testament, access to forgiveness was denied to the unrepentant. While unpremeditated sins did not need to be confessed, confession made it possible for premeditated sins to fall within the system (see Lev.5:1-6; 16:21; 26:40; Num.5:6-8).[footnote]W J Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 43.[/footnote]

C. New Testament Analysis

1. The need for blood

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission (Heb.9:22)

 

2. Replica and reality

The Old Testament ceremonies are an earthly replica of heavenly realities that are alive and working for us today.

It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb.9:22-23).

When Jesus died he entered into the heavenly tabernacle to atone for our sins in heaven. In the New Testament, the replica is replaced by the reality.
 

3. Type and antitype

Old Testament sacrifices only gave a ceremonial holiness and not a judicial, moral or spiritual holiness. They did not have power to put away sin, but were typical of the one great sacrifice of Christ, and to Him they pointed forward.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb.9:13).

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins (Heb.10:4).

 

4. Christ the sacrifice

The New Testament describes Christ’s death in terms of Old Testament sacrifices, making knowledge of the Levitical system essential to the understanding of our faith. Without a basic knowledge of Leviticus, Hebrews will remain a closed book to the Christian.

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many (Mk.10:45).

Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor (Eph.5:2).

Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself (Heb.7:27).

J E Smith summarizes the typological meanings of the sacrifices as follows:[footnote]J E Smith, The Pentateuch (Joplin, Mo.; College Press Pub. Co., 1993), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

TYPOLOGY OF THE OFFERINGS

CONSECRATION OFFERINGS

CLEANSING OFFERINGS

Focus:
The Value of Christ’s Sacrifice

Focus:
The Virtue of Christ’s Sacrifice

BURNT
OFFERING

MEAL
OFFERING

PEACE
OFFERING

SIN
OFFERING

TRESPASS
OFFERING
His
Perfect
Commitment
His
Perfect
Character
His
Perfect
Communion
His
Perfect
Atonement
His
Perfect
Payment

 
a. Burnt Offering
This signified Christ’s total dedication of His life to God (Matt.26:39-44; Mark 14:36 ; Luke 22:42 ; Phil.2:5-11) which was a sweet-smelling savor (Eph.5:2).
b. Meal Offering
The absence of the leaven typified the sinlessness of Christ (Heb.4:15 ; 1 John 3:5).
c. Peace Offering
Foreshadowed the peace which the believer has with God through Jesus Christ (Rom.5:1; Col.1:20). Christ is our peace (Eph.2:14).
d. Sin offering
Prefigured the fact that in His death Christ was made sin for us (2 Cor.5:21) as He suffered outside the gates of Jerusalem (Heb.13:11-13)
e. Trespass offering
Foreshadowed the fact that Christ is also our trespass offering (Col.2:13) and that He gave His life as a ransom (Mat.20:28).

The whole sacrificial system of the Old Covenant is abolished. Every detail of every offering pointed to some aspect of the perfect sacrifice of Christ. In the humble, obedient life of Christ, culminating in a holy sinless death, the sacrifices instituted in Leviticus are rendered obsolete. When Christ came into the world he said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,’ from which the writer to the Hebrews concludes: ‘He takes away the first that he may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once’ (Heb. 10:9-10). What we have in type in Leviticus we have in reality in the Cross of Christ.[footnote]G Crossley, The Old Testament Explained and Applied (England: Evangelical Press, 2002), 118.[/footnote]

 

5. Old Testament attitudes continued in New Testament

While the sacrifices are fulfilled in Christ and cannot be repeated, the attitude and actions accompanying Old Testament sacrifices should continue

Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel (1Cor.9:13,14).

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (Heb.13:15-16).

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God (Phil.4:18).

His one surrender of Himself as the atoning Lamb, for ever quenched all wrath, for ever took away all curse, for ever satisfied all claims, for ever saved the family of faith, for ever opened heaven, for ever vanquished hell. To add to infinite perfection is impossible. Woe be to them who think such offering incomplete! The Levitical priesthood and sacrifices are gone, but the spiritual truth they represent stays for ever.[footnote]G Crossley, The Old Testament Explained and Applied (England: Evangelical Press, 2002), 120.[/footnote]

 

II. Holy Priests (8:1-10:20)

A. General Analysis

a Consecration to holiness (Lev.8:1-9:24)

b The fire of approval (Lev.9:24)

b’ The fire of disapproval (Lev.10:2)

a’ Violation of holiness (Lev.10:1-20)

B. Detailed Analysis

1. Structure

Moses begins the ceremonies (Lev.8:1-36)

Aaron and sons complete the ceremonies (Lev.9:1-24)

Aaron and sons violate the ceremonies (Lev.10:1-20)[footnote]Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 162.[/footnote]

 

2. The priest’s duties

The priest had three main duties:
a. To make atonement for the sins of the people by sacrifice
b. To pray for and bless the people in the name of the Lord
c. To teach the people the will of God and enforce His laws
 

3. Aaron: The High Priest

Although in one sense Israel as a whole was to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” ( Ex.19:6 ), the family of Aaron had to maintain a level of purity and ceremonial cleanness beyond that of their fellow countrymen. They were the only ones who could enter the Holy Place, sprinkle the blood of the sacrifices, and eat the meat that was “holy” to the Lord. And the high priest was the only one who could enter the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement to sprinkle blood on the Ark of the Covenant. In view of the dignity and honor of his office, the high priest wore a special set of beautiful garments which themselves had many spiritual lessons. A plate of pure gold was attached to his turban. On this sacred diadem were engraved the words “Holy to the Lord,” an inscription which symbolized the ideal the nation hoped to achieve as well as the special consecration of the high priests to the Lord.

Moses prepares and anoints Aaron and his sons for the priesthood on the basis of previous instructions (Ex.29:1-36; 40:12-15). These are elaborate and detailed in order to instill into the minds of priests and people the entire holiness and spotless purity of the Lord of glory. No one is to rush carelessly into the presence of the Almighty. No one may approach him without being thoroughly washed, without wearing spotlessly clean clothing, without the provision of an appropriate sacrifice – that is, one that God has authorized. The priestly garments and the ceremony of anointing with oil linked these men with the tabernacle as separated exclusively to the service of God.[footnote]G Crossley, The Old Testament Explained and Applied (England: Evangelical Press, 2002), 112[/footnote]

The consecration narratives tacitly ascribe to Aaron the dignity and authority of a royal figure (Lev. 8). He embodies for Israel the vocation offered in Exodus 19:1-6. Priestly clothing is of the character that befits an audience with the monarch. In his dress, therefore, the priest, particularly the high priest as king/priest, set forth the prospect of Eden restored (Davies 2000, 186). The anointing of Israel’s priests and kings indicated their special relationship to Yahweh. The basic function of Israel’s priesthood under the leadership of the high priest was to keep Israel holy, to decide what was clean and unclean, to keep Israel from everything that could defile, and to atone for Israel when defilement had occurred.[footnote]W J Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 44.[/footnote]

Moses’ Message: God has appointed and ordained one special mediator that can successfully atone for sin.
 

4. Aaron’s Sons: The Priests

Although the high priest bore the primary responsibility for the religious life of the nation, he received valuable assistance from his sons. They too wore special clothes to give them dignity and honor. As well as administrative duties, the priests officiated at the Tabernacle sacrifices, determined if individuals had been healed, superintended the cleansing rituals, taught the law and handed down judicial decisions. They also had a role in war.

Since the wars Israel fought were sometimes entered at the mandate of the Lord and were considered “holy wars,” the priests would be there accompanied by the Ark of the Covenant and other sacred furniture (Num. 31:6). The priests also blew the silver trumpets to give signals in battle (Num.10:8; Josh.6:4–5). Their presence – along with the Ark – was a sign that God was among His people and would drive out the enemy before them (Num.10:35 ).[footnote]H Wolf, An Introduction to the Old Testament Pentateuch (Moody Press: Chicago, 1991), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

 

5. Aaron’s Tribe: The Levites

When the firstborn sons of the Israelites were spared during the killing of the firstborn in the last Egyptian plague, God declared that all the firstborn were His. But instead of segregating the firstborn and separating them from their families, God chose the whole tribe of Levi to be His special servants in and around the Tabernacle. Though the Levites could not serve as priests, they were able to assist the priests in their work and to carry the Tabernacle whenever the camp was moved. Since the Levites were not given any inheritance in the Promised Land, the Israelites were commanded to give their tithes to the Levites. The Levites in turn were to give a tenth of those tithes to the priests as an offering to the Lord.
 

6. Fire of Approval (Lev.9:24)

Prior to assuming the heavy responsibilities of the priesthood, Aaron and his sons were ordained in an impressive seven-day ceremony. When the week-long ritual was completed, Aaron and his sons began their ministry. After presenting the sin offering and burnt offering for himself, Aaron presented the offerings on behalf of the people. In a remarkable demonstration of God’s acceptance of these sacrifices and His approval of the ministering priests, fire from heaven consumed the burnt offering on the altar (Lev.9:24). This miracle was similar to the descent of the glory of the Lord upon the newly erected Tabernacle in Exodus 40:34, and the people responded in joyful worship.
Moses’ Message: The right sacrifices brought in the right way and offered by the right person will result in the glory of God and joyful worship.
 

7. Fire of Disapproval (Lev.10:2)

The Nadab and Abihu story stands as solemn reminder that Israel’s system of worship was designed and instituted by God, not Israel’s priests. God is in charge; and the priests must follow His instructions.

The same fire that consumed the burnt offering and signaled approval of the Aaronic priesthood consumed the rebellious sons of Aaron two verses later. Severe as it was, the death of Nadab and Abihu demonstrated to all the people the requirements of their holy God. Privilege and position did not give them the luxury of violating the Lord’s command.[footnote]H Wolf, An Introduction to the Old Testament Pentateuch (Moody Press: Chicago, 1991), Electronic Edition.[/footnote]

This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified (Lev.10:3).

You might remember that the previous negative story about priests – Aaron’s sin with the Golden calf in Exodus 32-33 closed the unit that provided Yahweh’s instructions for the priests ordination ceremony.
Moses’ Message: The wrong sacrifices brought in the wrong way and offered by the wrong person will result in the judgment of God and mourning.

C. New Testament Analysis

1. Christ the Mediator

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1Tim.5:2).

 

2. Christ the Great High Priest

Hebrews presents Jesus Christ as the perfect High Priest who offers himself as the perfect sacrifice. This is contrasted with Levitical priesthood and Melchizedek priesthood

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (Heb.4:14; see also chapters 7-10)

A Better High Priest

Aaron as High Priest

Christ as High Priest

Called from among Men
(Ex.28:1)Compassion for the Wayward
(Heb.5:2)Spotless in Dress
(Lv.16:4)
 
Entered Earthly Tabernacle
(Lv.16:3)
 
Entered Once Each Year
(Lv.16:2)
 
Entered Beyond the Veil
(Lv.16:12)
 
Offered for his Own Sins
(Lv.16:11)
 
Offered Blood of Animals
(Lv.16:15)
Called from among Men
(Heb.5:4,10)Prayed with Tears
(Heb.5:7)Spotless in Character
(Heb.4:15)
 
Entered Heavenly Temple
(Heb.6:19)
 
Entered Once for All
(Heb.9:25)
 
Rent the Veil
(Heb.10:20)
 
Offered Only for Our Sins
(Heb.7:27)
 
Offered His Own Blood
(Heb.9:12)

 

3. Torn Veil

The veil represented that blocking of the way to God, so that only the high priest, and he only once a year, could actually go in to the holy of holies. When Christ died the veil of the temple was torn in two (Mat.27:51) which again was symbolic of the end of the symbol, and showed that not only the veil, but the whole temple, everything represented there, was now no longer needed. Christ’s death opened up the way for fuller access by all believers (Heb.10:20).

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh (Heb.10:20).

 

4. Priesthood of all believers

In reality, all of God’s children do now become a kingdom of priests. We all, through Christ have full and open access to God.

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1Pet.2:5).

We must live as Old Testament priests in separation from evil in life and worship (1Jn.1:7; 1Cor.5:6-8; 11:27-30; Heb.10:19-22).

The Christian church does not have a priesthood; it is a priesthood. As priests believers have direct access to God, speak to God on behalf of others and speak to others on behalf of God (1 Peter 2:9-10).[footnote]G Crossley, The Old Testament Explained and Applied (England: Evangelical Press, 2002), 120.[/footnote]

 

III. The Message

Original Message: God requires special and specific sacrifices and demands holiness of His priests in worship and life.
Present Message: God requires the special and specific sacrifice of Christ and demands holiness of His priestly people in worship and life.