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Leviticus 7:1-10

‘Now this is the law of the guilt offering; it is most holy. In the place where they slay the burnt offering they are to slay the guilt offering, and he shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar. Then he shall offer from it all its fat: the fat tail and the fat that covers the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe on the liver he shall remove with the kidneys. The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar as an offering by fire to the Lord; it is a guilt offering. Every male among the priests may eat of it. It shall be eaten in a holy place; it is most holy. The guilt offering is like the sin offering, there is one law for them; the priest who makes atonement with it [a]shall have it. Also the priest who presents any man’s burnt offering, [b]that priest shall have for himself the skin of the burnt offering which he has presented. Likewise, every grain offering that is baked in the oven and everything prepared in a [c]pan or on a griddle [d]shall belong to the priest who presents it. 10 Every grain offering, mixed with oil or dry, shall [e]belong to all the sons of Aaron, [f]to all alike.

Throughout Leviticus, when the priest’s share of the sacrifice is mentioned, it tells us that it is holy. Which is only natural, since it has been presented to God. But it most certainly wasn’t to be taken lightly. In other passages, we read that if someone even touched the food, they would become holy as well. Not that they were without sin, but partaking in the holy things absolved their sin in God’s eyes. I think the reason this is mentioned, is that it was the priests responsibility to ensure that the sacrifice didn’t impart holiness at random, but that it would be on purpose. Satisfying the death penalty for sin wasn’t supposed to be something you stumbled upon. It was a deliberate act to appease the wrath of a holy God. On the other side of that, it wasn’t that God WANTED to hand out the death penalty (and it isn’t even so much about physical death, as a spiritual death/separate from God). It was that God loved His people, and WANTED them to be reconciled back to Him, so that they could fellowship with Him. It’s never about the punishment, it’s always about the love of God.

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Leviticus 6:19-29

19 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 20 “This is the offering which Aaron and his sons are to present to the Lord on the day when he is anointed; the tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a [i]regular grain offering, half of it in the morning and half of it in the evening. 21 It shall be prepared with oil on a griddle. When it is well stirred, you shall bring it. You shall present the grain offering in baked pieces as a soothing aroma to the Lord. 22 The anointed priest who will be in his place [j]among his sons shall [k]offer it. By a permanent ordinance it shall be entirely offered up in smoke to the Lord. 23 So every grain offering of the priest shall be burned entirely. It shall not be eaten.”

24 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 25 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the sin offering: in the place where the burnt offering is slain the sin offering shall be slain before the Lord; it is most holy. 26 The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. It shall be eaten in a holy place, in the court of the tent of meeting. 27 Anyone who touches its flesh will become consecrated; and when any of its blood [l]splashes on a garment, in a holy place you shall wash what was splashed on. 28 Also the earthenware vessel in which it was boiled shall be broken; and if it was boiled in a bronze vessel, then it shall be scoured and rinsed in water. 29 Every male among the priests may eat of it; it is most holy. 30 But no sin offering of which any of the blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the holy place shall be eaten; it shall be burned with fire.

Basically, if the sacrifice was for the priest, whether in ordination or sin, including the sacrifice for the sins of the community, then it was to be burned completely. The priest were not to partake whatsoever in such a sacrifice, since it was offered on their behalf. It reminds me of a story in the book of Acts, where a couple sells a piece of property to give the money to God. But after they’ve sold it they had second thoughts and decided to keep some of the money back. God didn’t take this lightly, they didn’t just get a reprimand. The couple received death for trying to deceive God and their fellow Christians. We need to be honest and forthright in our giving, not trying to do it for a show or a status symbol.

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Leviticus 6:8-18

[d]Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Command Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the law for the burnt offering: the burnt offering itself shall remain on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning, and the fire on the altar is to be kept burning on it. 10 The priest is to put on his linen robe, and he shall put on undergarments next to his flesh; and he shall take up the [e]ashes to which the fire [f]reduces the burnt offering on the altar and place them beside the altar. 11 Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments, and carry the [g]ashes outside the camp to a clean place. 12 The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it. It shall not go out, but the priest shall burn wood on it every morning; and he shall lay out the burnt offering on it, and offer up in smoke the fat portions of the peace offerings on it. 13 Fire shall be kept burning continually on the altar; it is not to go out.

14 ‘Now this is the law of the grain offering: the sons of Aaron shall present it before the Lord in front of the altar. 15 Then one of them shall lift up from it a handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, [h]with its oil and all the incense that is on the grain offering, and he shall offer it up in smoke on the altar, a soothing aroma, as its memorial offering to the Lord. 16 What is left of it Aaron and his sons are to eat. It shall be eaten as unleavened cakes in a holy place; they are to eat it in the court of the tent of meeting. 17 It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their share from My offerings by fire; it is most holy, like the sin offering and the guilt offering. 18 Every male among the sons of Aaron may eat it; it is a permanent ordinance throughout your generations, from the offerings by fire to the Lord. Whoever touches them will become consecrated.’”

There is a theme throughout these verses of permanence. God’s covenant with His people was not for a few years, or a few generations, but forever. In recognition of that, there was to be a fire on the altar forever. And the grain offering was a permanent right of the sons of Aaron (the priests). As human beings, it is easy to think short term. After all, our lives are but a vapor compared to eternity. But we must keep in mind there is a long game here. God has a plan for all of eternity, to rescue humanity, and restore their relationship with Him forever. As we play our part, always remember the stakes are high, the consequences of our actions have eternal implications.

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Leviticus 6:1-7

[a]Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “When a person sins and acts unfaithfully against the Lord, and deceives his companion in regard to a deposit or a security entrusted to him, or through robbery, or if he has extorted from his companion, or has found what was lost and lied about it and sworn falsely, so that he sins in regard to any one of the things a man may do; then it shall be, when he sins and becomes guilty, that he shall restore what he took by robbery or what he got by extortion, or the deposit which was [b]entrusted to him or the lost thing which he found, or anything about which he swore falsely; he shall make restitution for it [c]in full and add to it one-fifth more. He shall give it to the one to whom it belongs on the day he presents his guilt offering. Then he shall bring to the priest his guilt offering to the Lord, a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he will be forgiven for any one of the things which he may have done to incur guilt.”

While it seems the emphasis is on theft here, it is also about honesty, and being forthright in your dealings. You shouldn’t attempt to deceive people or hold back the truth for your own gain. Sometimes you can’t talk about something, but withholding information it for gain is sin, plain and simple. Best honest in your dealings, and let God take care of the rest.

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Leviticus 5:14-19

14 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 15 “If a person acts unfaithfully and sins unintentionally against the Lord’s holy things, then he shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord: a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation in silver by shekels, in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering. 16 He shall make restitution for that which he has sinned against the holy thing, and shall add to it a fifth part of it and give it to the priest. The priest shall then make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and it will be forgiven him.

17 “Now if a person sins and does any of the things [k]which the Lord has commanded not to be done, though he was unaware, still he is guilty and shall bear his punishment. 18 He is then to bring to the priest a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his error in which he sinned unintentionally and did not know it, and it will be forgiven him. 19 It is a guilt offering; he was certainly guilty before the Lord.”

Again we see these unintentional sins, and it states that even though it was not open rebellion, it is still sin. The penalty when it concerns the Lord’s holy things (items used in worship at the tabernacle) is a bit more stiff, and a ram is required here, plus a fifth of the value in silver shekels. God was raising the bar when it came to worshiping Him. The stiffer penalty meant folks would be more cautious, and less prone to error when it came to the things of God. Sometimes, I think we take for granted our places of worship. Even though your local church might not be the tabernacle of old, and has no area designated as the Holy of Holies, it is still one of the main places we meet with God (although hopefully you do that elsewhere of your own accord). Don’t take that lightly, but treat it with honor and respect.

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Leviticus 5:7-13

‘But if [e]he cannot afford a lamb, then he shall bring to the Lord his guilt offering for that in which he has sinned, two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. He shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first that which is for the sin offering and shall nip its head at the front of its neck, but he shall not sever it. He shall also sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar: it is a sin offering. 10 The second he shall then prepare as a burnt offering according to the ordinance. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has [f]committed, and it will be forgiven him.

11 ‘But if his [g]means are insufficient for two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then for his offering for that which he has sinned, he shall bring the tenth of an [h]ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall not put oil on it or place incense on it, for it is a sin offering. 12 He shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it as its memorial portion and offer it up in smoke on the altar, [i]with the offerings of the Lord by fire: it is a sin offering. 13 So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin which he has [j]committed from one of these, and it will be forgiven him; then the rest shall become the priest’s, like the grain offering.’”

God didn’t want excuses when it came to His people restoring relationship with Him. He expected everyone to do their duty, and whatever was necessary to be forgiven of their sins. By the same token, He didn’t want the sacrifice to become a barrier that would be difficult to fulfill, so He made special rules for the poor so that they would never be excluded from His presence. By the same token, Jesus didn’t come just to save a specific group of people. God sent His Son to save the whole world from their sins, that we might all be reconciled to Him. He puts us all on a level playing field. He died for each of us, because He loves every single one of us.

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Leviticus 5:1-6

1‘Now if a person sins after he hears a public adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt. 2Or if a person touches any unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean beast or the carcass of unclean cattle or a carcass of unclean swarming things, though it is hidden from him and he is unclean, then he will be guilty. 3Or if he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort his uncleanness may be with which he becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty. 4Or if a person swears thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, in whatever matter a man may speak thoughtlessly with an oath, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty in one of these. 5So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned. 6He shall also bring his guilt offering to the Lord for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin.

Verse 4 is interesting, especially in the NLT where it says something to the effect of “if you make a foolish vow…” When we promise (or vow) to do something, or be committed to something, we should not do it rashly, foolishly, or without thought. If you do this, you are in danger of being bound to do something wrong, even though it might sound like a good promise at the time. In the NLT, just the act of a foolish vow is implied to be sin, but here in the NASB we see it a little clearer, that the person is being tricked. Even though they think they are doing it for a good cause, or that their role is right and proper, the person who convinced them to swear an oath has other motives. And even unwittingly serving in an evil plot is considered sin when it is found out. We ought to be men and women of our word, so it should not be lightly that we make a promise or an oath to someone else. God wants us to be wise, not foolish, which is something that Jesus also emphasized in several parables.

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Leviticus 4:27-35

‘Now if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and becomes guilty, if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, then he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without defect, for his sin which he has committed. He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slay the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering. The priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar. Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat was removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar for a soothing aroma to the Lord . Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven. ‘But if he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring it, a female without defect. He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they slay the burnt offering. 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 all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar. Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the Lord . Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 4:27-35 NASB
http://bible.com/100/lev.4.27-35. NASB

Here we see that sacrifice for the common person could be either a female sheep or goat. These were less costly, which seems to indicate the importance of sin in a leader. But it also speaks to God’s provision. Those in leadership were likely to have more possessions than the commoner. Later on we will see alternative sacrifices for those who were really poor. The takeaway is that God will not demand something He has not provided. Likewise, everything we have is provided by God.

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Leviticus 4:13-26

‘Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty; when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a bull of the herd for a sin offering and bring it before the tent of meeting. Then the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the Lord , and the bull shall be slain before the Lord . Then the anointed priest is to bring some of the blood of the bull to the tent of meeting; and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord , in front of the veil. He shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the Lord in the tent of meeting; and all the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting. He shall remove all its fat from it and offer it up in smoke on the altar. He shall also do with the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven. Then he is to bring out the bull to a place outside the camp and burn it as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the assembly. ‘When a leader sins and unintentionally does any one of all the things which the Lord his God has commanded not to be done, and he becomes guilty, if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his offering a goat, a male without defect. He shall lay his hand on the head of the male goat and slay it in the place where they slay the burnt offering before the Lord ; it is a sin offering. 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 rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering. All its fat he shall offer up in smoke on the altar as in the case of the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin, and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 4:13-26 NASB
http://bible.com/100/lev.4.13-26. NASB

Here we see that the sacrifice for a priest (yesterday) was the same as that for the entire nation. This indicates the responsibility of leadership. This is further emphasized by the fact that here is a passage just for the sins of a leader, even though lesser than a priest. What position has God put you in? Who are you accountable to or responsible for? Do not take that lightly as God does not put us in pointless positions.‎

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Leviticus 3:1-12

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, 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. 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. 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.
Leviticus 4:1-12 NASB
http://bible.com/100/lev.4.1-12.NASB

One of the notes in my Bible makes an interesting observation. Unintentional sin, while it is not on purpose or born out of open rebellion against God, is still sin. It is as capable of separating us from our God as any other sin. We need to be mindful of this and, as Paul told the Corinthians, examine our hearts continually and ask God if there be any wicked way in us. Let no sin, no matter how small, separate you from God. Confess it to God and ask for His forgiveness.