Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the sin offering commanded to be observed by the Israelites. Dr. Johnson explains the relationship of the offering to the nature of a believer's sin, whether willful or not.
[Prayer] Father, we come to Thee in the name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. We again thank Thee of the greatness of the Son of God, and we thank Thee for these wonderful pictures of the work that he would ultimately do which are found in the Old Testament Scriptures. We thank Thee for the inspiration by which Moses wrote, and we thank Thee for the Levitical economy and for the remarkable way in which hundreds of years before the coming of Christ his ministry was set forth. Again, give us direction from the Holy Spirit as we consider the word and may the things that we study strengthen us in our faith. We ask Thy blessing upon this meeting and the meetings that follow in the institute.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] In our study of the Book of Leviticus in the light of typology, we are turning tonight to Leviticus chapter 4, and studying the sin offering. So will you take your Bibles and turn to the 4th chapter of the Book of Leviticus and I would like to read through the first 12 verses of this 4th chapter in which we have the instructions in the case of the sin of the anointed priest.
Now, later on in the chapter other instructions are given for sins from by the congregation, by the ruler, and by the common people, any one of the common people. And so we are not going to read the entire section, strictly speaking. The section on the sin offering goes through verse 13 of chapter 5, but, I think, we can concentrate our attention on the first 12 verses and cover the major in this chapter that have to do with the doctrine of typology. So Leviticus chapter 4, beginning with verse 1, and remember I’m reading from the New American Standard Bible.
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them.’”
You’ll notice that sentence is worded a little awkwardly, and this is one of the reasons why I do not like the New American Standard Bible with a whole-hearted devotion. It is an accurate translation and for that reason it is well worth our reading. And in the case of study it is reliable and you can usually count upon it giving us a fairly literal and exact rendering of the text. So as a teacher it would be good for you to read this particular version, but the persons who translated it did not have a great deal of literary skill or at least did not work at it very hard and so it has a number of awkward renderings in it. In fact, I think, it’s characterized generally by awkwardness. All you have to do is pick a version like Phillips, for example, and see how much better he has done the job of translation. He’s not as reliable in his theology but he knows how to translate, and the result is a much better rendering but you’ll see how awkward that is.
“Speak to the sons of Israel saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done (It’s very awkward. Shakespeare would not like it.) and commits any of them, if the anointed priest so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer (I left off the word sins.) if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people then let him offer to the Lord a bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. And he shall bring the bull to the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord, and he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull and slay the bull before the Lord. Then the anointed priest is to take some of the blood of the bull and bring it to the tent of meeting, and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the Lord, in front of the veil of the sanctuary. The priest shall also put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense which is before the Lord in the tent of meeting; and all the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. And he shall remove from it all the fat of the bull of the sin offering: the fat that covers the entrails, and all the fat which is on the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys (just as it is removed from the ox of the sacrifice of peace offerings), and the priest is to offer them up in smoke on the altar of burnt offering. But the hide of the bull and all its flesh with its head and its legs and its entrails and its refuse, that is, all the rest of the bull, he is to bring out to a clean place outside the camp where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire; where the ashes are poured out it shall be burned.’”
Bible students have called the first three offerings of the Book of Leviticus sweet savor offerings. If, for example, you have a Scofield edition of the King James Version, you will find as headings for the chapters that give us the burnt offering, the meal offering, and the peace offering, a statement to the effect that they are sweet savor offerings. The reason that they are called sweet savor offerings is because it is thought that they typify Jesus Christ in his own perfections and in his devotion to the Father. I think that is generally true. They do typify the perfections of our Lord and his devotion to the Father. The last two of the offerings of the earlier part of Leviticus, the sin offering and the trespass offering also called the guilt offering, these last two offerings the sin and guilt offering are called non-sweet savor offerings because they typify Jesus Christ bearing our sin and our guilt; both of these groups of offerings substitutional. That is, the opening three sweet savor offerings are substitutional in their force and also the non-sweet savor offerings.
In a sense these two aspects of the offerings illustrate what all reformed theologians the active and passive obedience of Jesus Christ. The active obedience of Christ was our Lord’s obedience and fulfilling completely the requirements of the Law of Moses. His passive obedience was his submission to the will of God in becoming the sacrifice for sin on the cross at Calvary. They used to like to stress that it was necessary for our Lord to render both active and passive obedience. He had to stand for us as our representative and obey the law perfectly for us and then he also had to suffer the penalty of the broken law for us.
Now, if that is a biblical doctrine and it does seem to have some biblical support then the two classes of offerings seem to picture that because we have in the three offerings stress on the active obedience of our Lord, his whole-hearted devotion to the will of God, and his obedient life. And then we have stress upon the penal satisfaction which he rendered when he shed his blood on the cross under the judgment of God and as the sin offering.
Now, in the case of the sin offering, however, we must make a slight modification. It is said that it is a non-sweet savor offering. I think that’s generally true, but there is an aspect of the sin offering that is a sweet savor. If you turn to the 10th verse and let me read it again I’ll try to point this out to you because it rests upon the meaning upon a word in the Hebrew text. “Just as it is removed from the ox of the sacrifice of peace offerings, and the priest is to offer them up in smoke.” Now, that’s the word I want to notice, “To offer them up in smoke or to burn them.” Now, I think, in the Authorized Version the word is rendered “burn” in verse 10, and then we have another word in verse 12 also rendered “burn.” The word in verse 10 rendered in our version “To offer up in smoke” rendered in others “burn,” just as in verse 12 is a word that really means, “to make smoke” and to make smoke often in the sense of making the smoke of incense. It is used in connection with incense. In fact, the word in the Old Testament for incense qatoreth is formed from the verb qatar which is used here. So that the idea back of the burning in verse 10 is not the idea of burning because of judgment but burning as a sweet savor to the Lord. That is to make to smoke in the sense of sweet incense up toward God. So there is an aspect of the sweet savor in the sin offering, and it is the burning of particularly of those things that have to do with the fat and with the inner man, stressing, of course, the fact that the Lord Jesus even as the sin offering perfectly pleased the Father by the obedience that flowed out of his inmost being.
Now, in verse 12 when the rest of the animal is burned outside the camp another word is used for burned which means to burn in the sense of to burn up, and that is fitting for the truth that is taught there and we’ll talk about that in a moment.
Now, this chapter beginning at chapter 4, verse 1, begins the discussion of the sin offering and it does not conclude until chapter 5, verse 13. Now you need to learn, if you do not know already, you need to learn how to read the Bible and if you will watch for little things it will help you in determining where the thought of the writer begins and ends. Will you notice verse 1 of chapter 4, we read, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying.” Now, we do not have that again until chapter 5, verse 14, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,” so we know from this that the section on the sin offering begins at chapter 4, verse 1, and it concludes with chapter 5, verse 13, in verse 14 we begin again another subject the guilt or trespass offering which we shall take up next time.
Now, in the intervening section beginning at chapter 4, verse 1, the writer of the Book of Leviticus, Moses, describes the sin offering as it is offered by different classes of people. Notice again in verse 3 of chapter 4, “If the anointed priest sins,” by the way that expression is a very interesting expression. It really is if the priest, the Messiah, that’s kahunnah Mashiyach which means “the priest the anointed one” but the word for anointing is the word from which we get Messiah. The reason that this term is used of the priest or the high priest is that he was anointed in his office. We will talk about that in our series as well and in that capacity he does typify our Lord Jesus Christ who is the anointed high priest.
But in verse 3 we read of the sin of the high priest and that does not finish until verse 12. Then in verse 13 we read, “Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly.” In other words, here is a collective sin on the part of the whole body and instructions are given with regard to that. Verse 22, we read, “When a leader sins,” and the reference is to a civil ruler and again instructions are given concerning the sin of a leader. And then in verse 27, he gives instructions concerning the sins of the common people. “Now if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally,” so you can see what he is doing here is taking up different classifications of individuals and their sins. First, the high priest then the whole congregation then the ruler, and then one’s of the common people. Generally speaking, the instructions are similar but there are some very interesting differences and we will comment on a few of them.
What I want to do tonight is just to single out some of the things that are peculiar in the sin offering. We have talked for two, three times about the things that are similar in the first three offerings trying to stress those aspects of the offerings that illustrate our Lord’s ministry and, I think, we now know what slaying the animal signifies and the fact that an individual brings it to the priest and that the individual slays it and that the priest is the one who applies the blood and so on. Well, we want to try to go on tonight and talk about some of the peculiar features of the sin offering. The first thing that strikes us is the statement in verse 2, “Speak to the sons of Israel saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally.’” The first three offerings, if you think about them, you will I’m sure, realize that those offerings were not required offerings. They were offerings that were set forth as a kind of invitation to the children of Israel. He did not say you had to bring a burnt offering. He didn’t say you had to bring a meal offering and he didn’t say you had to bring a piece offering. But now he is going to speak by way of command. For he says, “If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them, if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord a bull without defect as a sin offering.”
In other words, this offering is an offering that is not an invitation; it is a command addressed to those who have sinned. So when there has come to them the illumination that they have sinned they are to bring this offering. It is not an invitation. Another thing that strikes us here is that atonement dominates the picture of the sin offering and we will see that it does also in the guilt offering with a very interesting difference. But the thing that I want you to notice particularly is that sin in general is not in view here. He says, “If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded.” So it is a particular kind of sin that is referred to. It’s the sin of error. That’s the meaning of the Hebrew expression if a person sins unintentionally, if a person sins in error. If a person sins it is literally in wandering away from any of the things which the Lord has commanded. So the Hebrew then stresses the fact that these are sins of error. These are sins that are committed unintentionally. They are sins that are committed because we wander from the commandments of the Lord.
Did you notice so far we have not had any reference to what we should do if we sin deliberately? If it is not a case of error, if it is not a case of unintentional activity; what shall we do if we just say I’m going to sin knowing it’s a sin and sin? Well, do you know there is no sacrifice in the Old Testament for that kind of sin? When a person committed that kind of sin he was cut off from the congregation of the children of Israel. Highhanded, willful sin does not have any sacrifice for it. The sacrifices are for other types. So, I think, this is one of the first things that comes home to us that here we have sins in the sin offering that are committed unintentionally. Those intentioned sins have no sacrifice at all or to put it as it’s often put there is no sacrifice in the Levitical cultus for willful sin. What should happen when a person committed willful sin?
Well, what happened in the Old Testament occasionally was that men then fled to the altar of burnt offering and hung on that altar and cried out for mercy from God, for no provision in the Levitical system covered intentional sin. It is God’s way of stressing the heinousness of the kind of sin that says, “I know it’s wrong, but I will do it anyway.” It often happens with young people and older people too but I wanted to mention a particular sin of younger people. The Bible says we shall not marry an unbeliever. We know that, but we fall in love, and we like that fellow, or we like that girl and so we say, “I will just go ahead and do it and let the Lord do what he may.” That’s a very serious thing. That is willful sin. In the Old Testament God let us know that he considered that an assault upon his own throne. Now, occasionally God overrules in grace but it’s obvious that should be a warning to us. There are many other ways in which we older people sin too just as intentionally.
Now, let’s notice the next thing. In verse 3, he says, “If the anointed priest sins.” Now, notice he says that, “If the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people.” Now, isn’t that interesting. Now, you can see from this that the anointed priest here is looked at as the representative of the people. So here we have an evidence of the connection between the priests and the people. The priest was the divinely appointed representative of the Lord in the people of Israel. So he was the official representative and when he sinned he involved the whole of the people in sin. You can see immediately here that written into the Old Testament economy is the idea of representation. In fact, the Bible is full of the idea of representation. You cannot really believe the Bible and not believe the doctrine of representation. For example, when Adam sinned he plunged the race in sin. When Christ is obedient those whom he represents are reckoned as obedient in him. The idea of representation is a biblical idea and God has set it forth in Scripture in numerous ways. This is just one of them, “If the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people.”
Now, notice what he is to do. He’s to “Offer to the Lord a bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. And he shall bring the bull to the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord, and he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull.” Now that was to signify that the bull had been appointed, well I guess we would say, God appointed this arrangement as representing the substitute taking the place for the high priest. So the fact that he laid his hands upon the animal was token of the fact that the animal was now becoming the substitute of the anointed priest and the people. Incidentally, there is a passage in the Book of Numbers chapter 8, verse 10 through 12, which we don’t have time to look at that clearly indicates that the great stress of laying on of hands is not the transference of sin so much as the appointing of the individual as a substitute a reckoning of him as being a substitute.
Now, the third thing we want to notice is in verse 3. The animal that is to be brought for the offering is a bull a male ox without defect. Now, in the case of the other sins you will notice there are differences. For example, in the case of the congregation we read, (this is verse 13) “Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error, they shall offer a bull of the herd for a sin offering and bring it before the tent of meeting.” But then when we come to the leader we read that a goat is the offering a male and when we come to the common people well they could offer a goat and they can offer a female. Now, this is not a great point ladies but I did want you to notice that when you begin with the high priest and the whole congregation and the you move on down to the ruler and the common people you move from the male without defect to, ultimately, the female without defect but the female. Now, the reason for this is that there is a descent in importance of the people. And it just so happens and we’re not trying to transfer what happens out on the ranch to what happens in the circles of the church but it just so happens that the male ox was much more valuable than the female. Why, I don’t know. I could not understand why that is, I’m not a rancher. I’m sure that someone here could probably stand up and give three reasons why a male ox is more valuable than a female. Well, maybe it’s different now but in those days it was the more valuable animal. And that is why the male ox was used for the high priest and the whole congregation and then finally when the common people were to offer, who generally had a little less money, they were free to offer a female and a goat. And we will also see that in some of the offerings, of course, it is possible to offer birds so that there is provision made for those who did not have financial resources. You can see that in chapter 5.
Now, the fourth thing I want you to notice is found in the sixth verse, “And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the Lord.” By the way, I didn’t make the point a bull without defect, of course, this is representing the same thing we’ve seen in the offerings. This is a representation of our Lord Jesus Christ who was without spot and blemish himself. So this ox is designed also to represent the perfection of the character of the Lord Jesus but now we have something that is strikingly different here. Here we have some of the special marks of the sin offering that distinguish it from the other offerings and it is particularly different in the treatment of the blood and in the disposal of the carcass. “And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the Lord.”
Now, that is the first time we’ve had reference to that and it occurs in connection with the sin offering. He shall sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the Lord, “In front of the veil of the sanctuary.” Now, remember in the tabernacle there were two great divisions of it; out in the court there was the altar of burnt offering the brazen altar, and there was the brazen lever where the priest washed their hands and feet as they carried on their ministry. Then when they went into the tabernacle it was in two parts. There was the holy place in which was the lamp stand and the table of show bread and then back against the curtain that separated the first part from the second part there was the golden altar of incense. That is what is referred to here when he says the priest that he shall sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the Lord in front of the veil of the sanctuary that would be the second veil and behind the second veil there would be the arc of the covenant and of course the cherubim overshadowing the mercy seat. And in which was the tables of the law and the arc of the covenant. So here is an instruction given to the high priest that after the slaying of the animal he should take some of the blood in and he should walk into the holy place before the curtain that separates it from the most holy place where the arc of the covenant was and he should sprinkle that blood seven times before the Lord.
Now, remember the priests were not allowed into the holiest of all but once a year on the Day of Atonement. So when the sin offerings were offered a priest could not go into the place where the Lord symbolically dwelt over the covenant. He could only go in the holy place. So he took the blood in of the sin offering of the bull and he sprinkled it before the Lord before that curtain. Now, that was, of course, to symbolize that that blood had special relationship to the one who was behind that curtain but which he was prevented from seeing or and he was prevented from going in. And we read then that he should do that seven times and in verse 7 the priest shall also put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of incense. So the word put really means something like to smear. So he was to take some of the blood smear it on the horns of the altar of incense on which the incense was placed fired by the fire on the brazen altar out in the court. So that the smoke was ascending toward God and that altar incense signifies a lot of things but it signifies the fellowship of the people of God with God through communion with him. So the blood was to be smeared on the altar of incense which is before the Lord.
Now, this a very striking difference then from the other offerings. This is necessary because this is a sin offering. What does it signify? Well, one of the things that it suggests is that blood is necessary if there is to be access to the Lord in prayer. And, consequently, the sin which the individual had committed had raised a barrier between that individual and the Lord. And it was necessary if the relationship between him and the Lord were to be restored. It was necessary for blood to be shed. It is a very important picture of the fact that our sins do affect our communion with God.
Now, remember, all of this is within the family of the faithful. All of this is designed to typify spiritual truths. The people of Israel were the people of God. They were his people by covenant. They have been brought out of the land of Egypt by blood sacrifice. They represented the people of God but when they sinned their communion with God was interrupted. And so they were required to bring the sin offering and the blood was to be sprinkled toward the Lord in token of the fact that that sin must be expiated by the blood of a substitute. In this case the ox is the figure of the real substitute. So notice also the first thing is the sprinkling of this blood and then the smearing of the altar of incense suggestive of the fact that God must be satisfied in his holiness and his righteousness before its application to the golden altar of incense and the resulted prayer and communion is restored. It’s a beautiful picture of the effects of the ministry of the Lord Jesus.
Now, of course, when we come over into New Testament times we would naturally ask the question well what happens to us when we sin? What does this signify? Well it signifies at least one thing that when a believer sins his communion with the Lord is interrupted. Now, there is one sense in which his fellowship with the Lord remains constant. Once having been brought to know the Lord Jesus it can be said that were are in fellowship with God and that fellowship can never be destroyed because it is a term that represents our relationship to the Lord but sin disturbs our communion. It’s like a father and a son. I have a son. Nothing that that son could do could ever change the fact that he is a member of my family. His name is S. Lewis Johnson, Samuel L Johnson the third. Now, he could change his name. He could do any kind of thing that he wants to but he could never be anything but my son. Now, when he was growing up he was just as much my son as he is now, but occasionally he would do some things that interrupted communion with S. Lewis Johnson, Jr. and S. Lewis Johnson Jr. and S. Lewis Johnson III had a controversy every now and then. And it was a controversy that was not settled until there was some rapprochement between the two; either he confessed his sin and got right with me or I realized that I had made a mistake in thinking that he had done wrong. The former was much more common I must say [laughter] but, nevertheless, the latter happened a number of times too. We fathers are sometimes over anxious you know and we frequently believe others rather than our own children.
It is evident from this then that here we have indication of the fact that in this Levitical economy it is stated that sin does break our communion with God. Our union is never destroyed if we have believed in the Lord Jesus but our communion may be.
Will you notice also in verse 25 when he speaks of what should be done in the case of the sin of a leader and in verse 30 of what should be done in the case of the sin of one of the common people. Instructions are a little bit different. Look at the 25th verse, “Then the priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering.” And the same thing is true in the sins of the common people. Notice the priest in those cases was not to take the blood into the holy place and sprinkle it before the Lord and smear it on the altar the golden altar of incense but he was to take it and he was to sprinkle it on the brazen altar out in the court. Why the difference? Well the difference is simply this; the common people did not have any access to the holy place, the high priest did and the congregation did in their high priest. So in the case of the priest and in the case of the whole congregation when they sinned then it was necessary for that blood to be sprinkled or it was possible for that blood to be sprinkled in that holy place. But in the case of the common people and the ruler the nearest they could ever get on their own was the altar of burn offering. And so, consequently, the blood was sprinkled there suggestive of the restoration of their relationship with that altar. It is one of the many pictures in the Old Testament of the limited access that was available to God in Old Testament times. I think also we might add that in the case of the holy congregation it was ideally true that they were a kingdom of priests and thus were priests in their high priest perhaps I should have mentioned that.
One other thing we might think about for a moment, why is it necessary for the animal to be slain and the blood taken into holy place at all. Why does not the death of the animal sufficiently prefigure the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Well, the reason for this is that in the case of our separation from the Lord because of our sin, we not only are required by the Bible to die physically but our sin also brings spiritual death, physical death and spiritual death. Because of the fact that we are born in sin we are born spiritually dead and if we do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and even if we do the Lord does come we must die physically. That is an effect of the spiritual or eternal death. And when the Lord Jesus came he must both die spiritually and physically when he cried out, “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me,” he was dying spiritually but he also must die physically. That is an effect of the spiritual death.
Now, the same thing is true here the death of an animal does not picture the spiritual death as well as the physical death. And so the animal must be slain in token of the physical death and the blood taken in and sprinkled before the mercy seat sprinkled before the veil of the holy place in order to point out that there is a spiritual death that must be died by our substitute as well. So the twofold aspect is expressed in the slaying of the animal and the taking of blood in and sprinkling it before the Lord. It’s a very interesting picture of the different aspects of the work of the Lord Jesus who must die spiritually and physically for us.
Then in verse 10 we have the fifth of the things I want you to notice. He talks about the removal of the fat and then in verse 10 he says, “Just as it is removed from the ox of the sacrifice of peace offerings, and the priest is to offer them up in smoke on the altar of burnt offering.” I’ve already commented on the fact that this is to offer up in smoke in the sense of a sweet savor to the Lord. so the fat and these particular portions of the body that were in the inmost being of that animal these which represented the tenderest and deepest emotions the inner man are given up on the altar and are burned as a kind of offering of incense to the Lord. It is, I think, a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ who even though he was the sin offering and became sin for us in that offering expressed the most complete devotion and obedience to the Lord in our behalf. So here in verse 10 it is a sweet savor representation of the Lord Jesus as completely obedient for us to the will of God.
Now, that’s not the great stress of the sin offering but, nevertheless, it is there. In verse 12 we read of the sixth thing. That is all of the rest of the bull he is to bring out to a clean place outside the camp. Now, that’s striking. After having offered up the fat and certain parts of the animal, the inner man of the animal the rest of the body is to be taken outside the camp where the ashes are poured out and it should be burned on wood with fire.
Now, that’s a new thought. The animal here is to be taken outside of the whole camp of the children of Israel. In other words, it is not fitting for the sin offering to be burned inside among the people of Israel. Why is that? Well we’re given a help by the very verb which is used to describe what happens here, it’s to burn in the sense of to destroy. While the word “Qatar” is used in verse 10, this is the word saraph, and saraph means to burn something in the sense of to burn it up to destroy it. And so the ides is given us here by the very verb. That what we have now is a judgment. So the rest of the animal is taken outside the camp and there it is burn signifying the bearing of judgment of sin under the curse of God because that which was outside the camp was that with which the children of Israel and he could not have fellowship. Remember when the leper was diagnosed as a leper he was no longer allowed to live among the children of Israel. He had to live outside the camp. So the idea being outside the camp is being outside the fellowship of the Lord and his people. So this part of the sacrifice taken outside the camp stresses the fact that it is a sacrifice in which the animal bears judgment for sin pictorially. It’s a vivid picture of exclusion from the fellowship of God and his people. And of course, you don’t have to be told do you the application of this and the fulfillment in the New Testament.
Let me read a verse or two from John chapter 19. Our Lord Jesus Christ who is the sin offering where would you expect that he should be crucified in Jerusalem? No, every sacrifice of a sin offering in the Old Testament would cry out no. As the sin offering he must be sacrificed outside the city of Jerusalem. He cannot be sacrifice inside the city for he dies under a curse. Look at verse 17 of John chapter 19, “They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His cross,” and we know he went outside the city. Golgotha or Calvary whatever we may call it was the place of sacrifice and it was outside the city of Jerusalem. Our Lord Jesus must suffer outside the camp as the fulfillment of the sin sacrifice.
Turn to Hebrews chapter 13, where this is stated even more directly. Hebrews chapter 13 in verse 12 the writer of this epistle says, “Therefore Jesus also,” well, I’ll read verse 11 while you’re finding it, it’s in the New Testament, “For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” So our Lord Jesus had to suffer outside the gate because he was the sin offering.
Incidentally, those parts of the animal that were most repulsive were the parts taken outside the camp and so when you think of our Lord Jesus going outside the city of Jerusalem to suffer on Calvary you can immediately in your mind picture the stench of the sin offering because when Scripture says, “He hath made him to be sin for us,” it expresses in the most direct way what it was for Jesus Christ to become a vile sin offering for you and for me.
Now, one last point we really our time is up. You notice it is offered in a clean place. Isn’t that interesting? That the sacrifice of the sin offering is offered outside the camp, vile offering, but it should be in a clean place because this was sacrificial flesh and thus most holy by virtue of the intrinsic nature of the individual who was accomplishing the sin offering. By the way, even after the sacrifice was accomplished the worshipper in the Old Testament was still excluded from the presence of God under the old covenant. Even though he had done all of the requirements that the Old Testament required, he still was excluded by the Levitical economy from a face to face relationship with the Lord. That’s what we get only when the sacrifice comes and historically is offered on Calvary’s cross.
But one last thing would you notice that not a single Israelite so far as we know ever requested that God give them a system of animal sacrifices by which their ceremonial fellowship with him might be maintained. It was all given initially by God. He initiated the whole thing. It was a manifestation and an illustration of his grace in the provision of a way of access to him and a way of restoration. All of the truths of the Bible come to us by grace.
Let’s close with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for these ancient pictures of the truth of the word of God. How inspired the word of God is. Help us to be more diligent in our study of it and thus come to appreciate more what it is to have a sin offering that truly has removed our sin, the penalty of it forever.
We pray Thee through the Lord Jesus. Amen.