Reading through the Bible together

Friday, July 20, 2012

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In Leviticus 4, sin offerings remedied unintentional sins, which people did not recognize when they committed them. Leviticus 5:1-13 extends coverage to intentionally not coming forward as witness to a crime (verse 1) and to neglect to undergo purification or fulfill an oath (verses 2-4). When a person (man or woman) recognizes a sin, the individual bears blame that would lead to punishment until he/she confesses to God (not a priest), and offers a sin offering. Then God (not the priest), who knows when repentance is genuine, chooses to forgive. The sin offering for ordinary people is a female from the flock (also representing Christ), but alternatives of birds and even grain make merciful provision for the poor.


In Leviticus 5:14-6:7, trespass offerings atone for serious sins of sacrilege: Misusing a holy thing that belongs to God (such as tithe) or deliberately misusing God’s holy name in a false oath to defraud another person. Such sins bring wrongful economic benefit, which the sinner must restore to God or to the other person, plus a 20% penalty, before bringing a trespass offering (compare Matt 5:23-24). Even when we put things right the best we can, we need Christ’s sacrifice. Even when we sense our guilt but can’t identify our sin (Lev 5:17-19), we can leave our burden with Jesus!


Roy Gane

Andrews University