Christ in the book of Leviticus

Christ in the book of Leviticus

This is Michael Bell with the Christ Verse per Book challenge. We are learning a key short passage from each of the sixty-six books of the Bible, which each point to the Lord Jesus Christ.

In this study, we are looking at Leviticus, and we have chosen verses three and four of chapter one. “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting that he may be accepted before the Lord. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.”

We may wonder about the name of the book Leviticus. It is a book dedicated to the Levites who were in charge of the worship for the Children of Israel. If you read the book of Leviticus, you will find a great variety of laws, involving sacrifices related to burnt offerings, peace offerings, grain offerings, mixed with oil, and libations, which is a drink offering, a poured out offering. There were also instructions about the Tabernacle and how each piece of furniture was to be used, instructions about the three annual festivals and the details and what had to be done and how it needed to be done. Leviticus contains law after law, after law, after law, and we wonder at the great variety and complexity of this sacrificial system. It is almost confusing and overwhelming when it comes right down to it.

I believe there is a reason for this. The great complexity in the Levitical law has to do with the great complexity of Christ’s redemption, the great variety of ways in which he redeems us, and the great riches of the ways in which he saves us. One particular sacrifice does not tell the whole story, nor does one particular festival. One particular ritual done in the Tabernacle is just a snapshot of this great richness that we have in Christ.

For example, we could think of a large country like the United States or Argentina perhaps. If you saw a photo of a desert and a photo of the mountains and a photo of the plains and so on, you would say that it cannot all belong to the same country. Yet, it turns out it is all part of a same, varied, beautiful, and multiform country, and this is a picture of the salvation that we have in Christ.

This is why these laws are so complex. Each one is a snapshot of a rich treasure that we have in Jesus Christ, that gives us, as his believers, tremendous richness. Now, this particular offering mentioned in our passage today is a burnt offering. We notice that the burnt offering is very special indeed because it begins with the worshiper choosing an animal from his herd or from his flock; sometimes, even birds were used.

The idea was for it be a perfect specimen. Why did it need to be a perfect specimen? It points to the sinless of Jesus Christ. He was without blemish, without stain. He lived a life that was pleasing to God.Then, that worshiper needed to bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting. In other words, they needed to bring it before God. If you and I come empty-handed, we cannot be accepted. If we come just bringing ourselves, we will be rejected because of our sins and rebellions. If we bring some false prophet or somebody that we think is admirable, they too will fall short, and our offering will not be accepted before God. We must come to the house of God with Christ as our offering.

Then, we notice that the text says that the worshiper must lay his hand on the head of that victim. The idea here is that my bad thoughts and my bad actions and my bad intentions are all passed from me to that victim. I lay my hand as if those sins were being passed on to that victim before he is slain. After that, the animal was slain and offered as a whole burnt offering. This is what happens when a person believes in Jesus. We confess our sins, and we pass them on to Christ, and he bears our sins on the cross. That is why in Isaiah 53 it says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with his stripes, we are healed.”

Jesus death on the cross was like the sacrifice of an animal in the Old Testament and, through his death, he takes away the sins of all who believe in him. That is what we see at the conclusion of the verse. The sacrifice shall be accepted for the worshiper to make atonement for him. In other words, the sins of the worshiper are covered through Jesus Christ. Jesus takes care of our sins at the cross, and we must therefore meet him there. That is our altar.

That is where the transaction takes place. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh. I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

This must happen at conversion, but Jesus insists that must happen every day. We must continue to encounter Christ at the cross where our sins are taken care of. Luke 9:23 says, “He said to all, ‘If any would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’” Christ tells us that the act of taking up our cross is something we must do daily.

Now, if Christ is on every page of Leviticus, should not he be on every page of your life and mine?

Posted in:

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *