Lessons from Leviticus: Only Approved Sacrifices

The book of Leviticus is a treasure of what the LORD commanded to His people regarding sacrifices and offerings. The main theme of Leviticus is the holiness of God and much of the book conveys the clear message that the LORD is holy and anyone who would approach the LORD must come to Him on His terms. Leviticus also contains many pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ in foreshadows and types. Since this is the case and since many believers are unfamiliar with Leviticus, I wanted to begin some blog posts that I am calling “Lessons from Leviticus.”

In chapter 17 the LORD again speaks to Moses and says, “This is what the LORD has commanded.” The LORD then gives commands about the slaughtering of sacrifices and describes what must be done for any sacrifice to be accepted. (Leviticus 17:1-9) Every sacrifice must be “brought to the doorway of the tent of meeting to offer it to the LORD” and the priest must approve the sacrifice and the priest must offer the sacrifice. If the exact procedure commanded by the LORD was not followed, “bloodguiltiness is to be reckoned to that man” who offered the sacrifice and the one making the sacrifice “shall be cut off from among his people.”

Several observations should be made here:

  1. The sacrifices were governed by the LORD through His priest;
  2. The LORD determined what was an acceptable sacrifice;
  3. The worshipper can only bring an acceptable sacrifice or he will be cut off from his people.

In any case, it is obvious that the LORD takes these sacrifices very seriously. But here is the question: Why does the LORD make this a big deal? That is, why does the LORD command that all sacrifices must be approved? This is even more curious when we know that the blood of all these bulls and goats could never take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). So why did the LORD command that every one of these ineffective sacrifices; every bull and goat and lamb and ram and calf and pigeon has to be brought to the tent of meeting and had to be approved as an acceptable sacrifice?

The answer is that all the acceptable, approved sacrifices offered in the tabernacle and in the temple by all the priests pointed forward to the one perfect and final sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Every sacrifice had to be approved by the priest and then had to be offered to the LORD in the way that the LORD had prescribed because of the perfect sacrifice that was foreshadowed by every sacrifice. The cumulative blood of all the lambs, rams, bulls and goats slaughtered in the temple could not take away one single sin (Hebrews 10:4), but nevertheless the LORD required that every one of these imperfect and ineffective sacrifices be approved by Him through the priest, because each approved sacrifice pointed to the final perfect and supremely approved sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross. SDG  rmb  3/20/2016

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