The gospel can be defined as “God’s proclamation of mercy for sinners.” The gospel is good news! We know the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The good news of Christ, God’s proclamation of mercy for sinners, can be found throughout the Bible. Even in Leviticus. Yes, even in Leviticus!
The good news found in Leviticus is only good news when you see it’s connection to Jesus. The dietary, cleansing, and ceremonially laws, the special days and festivals, and all of the laws of holiness are simply shadows of our Savior!
Here are five truths from the offerings of Leviticus 1. Notice the good news throughout this chapter of the Bible and other verses from the Word of God.
Truth #1: The offering was to be a male without blemish. Jesus was a male without blemish, the perfect sacrifice for our sin.
Leviticus 1:3 (HCSB)
3 “If his gift is a burnt offering from the herd, he is to bring an unblemished male. He must bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting so that he may be accepted by the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (HCSB)
21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Truth #2: The person bringing the offering was to put his hands on the head of the animal, signifying that this animal was dying in the place of the person, an atonement for the person’s sins. Jesus died for our sins.
Leviticus 1:4 (HCSB)
4 He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering so it can be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.
Isaiah 53:6 (HCSB)
6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.
Romans 5:8 (HCSB)
8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
Truth #3: The offering was to be killed, and cut into pieces. This process demonstrated the total undoing and damaging effects that sin has upon our lives. Jesus was beaten beyond recognition, His body sacrificed for our sin.
Leviticus 1:6 (HCSB)
6 Then he must skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces.
Isaiah 53:4-5 (HCSB)
4 Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.
Truth #4: The entire offering was to be burnt up before the LORD. This points to the fact that our sin will lead us to hell – God will destroy both our body and our soul; the only way to avoid hell is to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, receiving His forgiveness and eternal life. At that point, our life becomes a sweet smelling aroma to the LORD.
Leviticus 1:8-9 (HCSB)
8 Aaron’s sons the priests are to arrange the pieces, the head, and the suet on top of the burning wood on the altar. 9 The offerer must wash its entrails and shanks with water. Then the priest will burn all of it on the altar as a burnt offering, a fire offering of a pleasing aroma to the Lord.
Matthew 10:28 (HCSB)
28 Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Romans 6:23 (HCSB)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Truth #5: The offering was a temporary atonement for sin, pointing to the need for a Savior. Jesus died as an atonement for sin, once for all. Read the passage from Hebrews below. Notice how your understanding of Hebrews is deepened after seeing the connection with the gospel in Leviticus.
Hebrews 10:1-14 (HCSB)
1 Since the law has ⌊only⌋ a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of those realities, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year. 2 Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, once purified, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5 Therefore, as He was coming into the world, He said: You did not want sacrifice and offering, but You prepared a body for Me. 6 You did not delight in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings. 7 Then I said, “See— it is written about Me in the volume of the scroll— I have come to do Your will, God!” 8 After He says above, You did not want or delight in sacrifices and offerings, whole burnt offerings and sin offerings (which are offered according to the law), 9 He then says, See, I have come to do Your will. He takes away the first to establish the second.
10 By this will ⌊of God⌋, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. 11 Every priest stands day after day ministering and offering the same sacrifices time after time, which can never take away sins. 12 But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. 13 He is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.
Thank you, Jesus, for offering Yourself as the sacrifice for our sin!