Now, we continue look at the chapters from Leviticus found in our Bible Reading Plan. Previously, we looked at the grain offering (chapter 2) and the peace offering (chapter 3). This time, we turn our attention to the sin offering in Chapter 4.
The sin offering was offered for those who sinned unintentionally. These sins were not calculated, but done in the moment. Some time may have passed between the time they were committed and when the transgressor became aware of the offense. The human heart is deceptive and we can go for a period of time before the Holy Spirit draws our attention to our wrongdoing. But, once we become aware of our sin, we must confess our sins and remember that we need a Substitute to pay for even those sins. Ignorance is no excuse.
In the chapter, there are different sacrifices prescribed for each type of offense. If a priest sins, he must offer a bull (verse 3). This is the same sacrifice that is given for the whole people. Because Christ in his role as High Priest took on the sins of all of his people, the high priest of Israel must have an offering equivalent to the sacrifice given for all the people.
After he offers up the sacrifice as in earlier sacrifices, this time he brings brings some of the blood to the tent of meeting in order to sprinkle some of the blood on the veil. In the New Testament, we learn that the veil represents the body of Christ. Again and again, we see the Levitical sacrificial system pointing to our blessed Savior. He also puts some of the blood on the horns of the altar, which is a public display of propitiation (see Romans 3:23-26). It is the altar of fragrance which symbolizes that God is pleased with the sacrifice. Finally, the rest of the bull is taken to a clean place outside the camp and is burned until only ashes remain, a reminder that God’s judgment toward those sins is completed.
In the following verses (13-21), the procedure is given for an unintentional sin of the entire congregation. This time, the elders must place their hand on the bull, showing that leaders have a special responsibility for the sins of the people.
In verses 22-26, the procedure for the unintentional sin of a leader is given. This is similar to the previous sacrifices, but this time a goat is given, since the people did not share in the sin. Finally, in verses 27-35, the procedure for a common person is given. The sacrifice can be a female goat or lamb. Since the seriousness for the congregation is less, the animal does not need to be as costly.
We all sin more than we are aware of. Jesus’ sacrifice pays for all of those sins too. But, when we become aware of those sins, we must take those sins to Jesus too, that he might get the glory as the Substitute for all of our sins, known and unknown, intentional and unintentional. Even one unintentional sin on our part would require that Jesus offer himself as a sacrifice to bleed and die that he might offer up his blood as a testimony to the Father that his holiness requires the death of the sinner. Praise God that Jesus takes our place in that punishment when we trust in him and place our hand on the Lamb of God through faith.