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Leviticus - The Sin Offering


Larry Martinez

I want the first thank you if you have continued to read the series on the five offerings of Leviticus.


My desire is that you will continue to see the beauty of the finished work of Jesus Christ that he accomplished for us in the new covenant.


We have two offerings left to study. In this post, we will be looking at the Sin Offering:

Leviticus 4:1–3

1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If anyone sins unintentionally in any of the LORD’s commandments about things not to be done, and does any one of them, 3 if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer for the sin that he has committed a bull from the herd without blemish to the LORD for a sin offering.


I want you to notice in this passage several things.


The first is that the sins committed are unintentional.


Second, it immediately lets you know the first group of people- the anointed priest.


The Four Groups Concerning the Sin Offering

As we have discovered in the previous studies, there are always groups of people that are listed when discussing the offerings.


In the discussion of the sin offering, there are four groups of people.

Priest (Leviticus 4:3).

Congregation (Leviticus 4:13).

Leader/ Ruler (Leviticus 4:22).

Common People (Leviticus 4:27).

The main purpose of the categories of people is to let you know that it doesn’t matter who you are or what your position may be; we all need Jesus because every one of us has sinned (Romans 3:23).


The Three Types of Animals

The sin offering also has different categories of animals that may be brought for the sacrifice. They are as follows:

Bull- Priest and congregation (Leviticus 4:3, 13-14).

Male Goat- Leader/ Ruler (Leviticus 4:22-23).

Female Goat- Common people (Leviticus 4:27-28).

I believe these offerings can be seen as the financial status of the community in Israel.


Also, each sacrifice had to be without blemishes or spots. The reason for this is that everything symbolizes what Christ has done, and we know he is the perfect unblemished lamb of God (1
Peter 1:18-19

Leviticus 4:3–4

3 if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer for the sin that he has committed a bull from the herd without blemish to the LORD for a sin offering. 4 He shall bring the bull to the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD and lay his hand on the head of the bull and kill the bull before the LORD.

When the sacrifice was brought, the first thing that needed to be done was the “laying on of the hand” on the sacrifice.


In all the offerings we mentioned, every one of them had this done; it’s a picture of substitution.


Since each offering represents Jesus Christ, we can see him in the scriptures, taking our sin as our substitute:

Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Jesus was the one who received our sins so we could receive his righteousness by the act of substitution and transfer.


This is a powerful truth because it lets us know that we did nothing to become righteous, and Jesus did nothing to become sin. It’s a great exchange!

The next section that we will read has an interesting detail that I
believe will shine a light on our relationship and connecti
on to God.

Jesus Made the Way

Leviticus 4:5–6

5 And the anointed priest shall take some of the blood of the bull and bring it into the tent of meeting, 6 and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle part of the blood seven times before the LORD in front of the veil of the sanctuary.

I want you to notice that it was the anointed priest who was to bring the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the veil.


This act was also done when the sins of the congregation were to
be atoned for.


I believe the priest can be seen as a picture of church leadership, and the congregation is seen as the people of God.


We can only come into God’s presence because of the blood being sprinkled and making a way into the holy presence of God.


In the New Testament, you will discover that Jesus was the one who made a way for us to come into God’s presence as the priest and the sacrifice that was given for our sins (Hebrews 9:18-25, 12:22-24).

The blood was also supposed to be sprinkled seven times. The number seven represents completion, rest, or perfection.


Therefore, we have perfect cleansing and standing before God because the blood of Jesus has made a way. This is amazing and powerful!

The Two Alters

Leviticus 4:7

And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense before the LORD that is in the tent of meeting, and all the rest of the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting.

There were basically two alters during the time of Moses and the Tabernacle.


The first altar was outside, where the sacrifices were offered on the fire.


The second altar, the one being spoken about above, was inside the Tabernacle.


It had incense burning, and throughout the scriptures, this alter represents the prayers of the Saints:

Psalm 141:2

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

Notice how David uses Temple language to show how our prayers are received before the Lord.


The scripture in Leviticus also speaks of the altar having horns on it.


Horns in the Bible represent power and authority (see Jeremiah 48:25).


I believe this shows our power in prayer and how it only comes through the blood of Jesus.


I believe this is why we also pray in the name of Jesus because it is the only way our prayers are accepted before God. His blood and name give us authority and access to receive from God.

Leviticus 4:8–10

8 And all the fat of the bull of the sin offering he shall remove from it, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails 9 and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins and the long lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the
kidneys 10 (just as these are taken from the ox of the sacrifice of the peace offerings); and the priest shall burn them on the altar of burnt offering.


The Fat of the Offering

We covered the fat in one of the past offerings. It represents the best and most honored part of the sacrifice.


The fat is a picture of Jesus, who is the best the Father had to give us.


We are so loved by God that he gave us the best gift, which is his son so that you and I could be redeemed and
brought back into a relationship with him.


The Dung of the Offering

Leviticus 4:11–12

11 But the skin of the bull and all its flesh, with its head, its legs, its entrails, and its dung— 12 all the rest of the bull—he shall carry outside the camp to a clean place, to the ash heap, and shall burn it up on a fire of wood. On the ash heap it shall be burned


There is an interesting detail here that must not be overlooked.


When you look at the burnt offering, everything was to be washed and burned on the altar.


In the case of the sin, offering everything was to be taken outside the camp and burned. Why is this?

The reason is because it had dung in it. It is a picture of our sin and self-righteousness (Philippians 3:8).


If you read carefully and compare it to the other offerings, the sin offering is not considered a sweet-smelling offering because of this small detail called dung.


Our sins and failures are not something beautiful in the eyes of God. It would require him to give up his son to bring restoration.


Unintentional Sins

Lastly, it says that the offering was to be burned outside. Why outside the camp?

Hebrews 13:12–13

12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the
people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.

It was done outside the camp because it pictured Jesus Christ being crucified outside the city of Jerusalem, with him carrying our sins and self-righteousness.


The sin offering speaks of our “sinfulness - old self” more than “acts of sin.” I believe this is why they are unintentional sins.


This can also be seen in the purification acts, where things are
done unintentionally (read later in Leviticus).


This has been debated by some, but nonetheless, we sin because it's who we are, even when we don’t have laws because of our old man.


Our sin is such a bad thing that it must be dealt with by Jesus’ work.


Today, celebrate that Jesus not only dealt with your individual sins, but he also got down to the heart of man and dealt with our nature to make us new creatures in Christ.


He is our sin offering!

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LAST UPDATED: 11/14/23


About Pastor Larry

Larry is the co-pastor of New Covenant Church in El Campo, Texas. He has served in ministry for over 10 years, teaching and preaching the Gospel of grace. He continues to serve as a pastor and run


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