LEVITICUS - CHAPTER 6
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2000, 2004 James Melough
In the original, verses 1-7 of
this chapter belong with chapter 5 and continue the instructions relating to the
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,"
If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and lie unto his neighbor
in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken
away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbor;"
Although the sin was against a
person, it is said to have been against the Lord, reminding us that all sin is
ultimately against God, as confessed by David in Psalm 51:3-4, “For I
acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee
only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight....”
Just what the actual offences
were is unclear: “... lie unto his neighbor in that which was delivered him to
keep” may refer to something entrusted to another for safe keeping, and which
the offender refuses to return to the owner, claiming untruthfully that it was
lost or stolen, etc. “... in fellowship” seems to refer to something given as a
deposit or pledge which a man refuses to return when the pledge has been
redeemed. “... taken away by violence” refers to literal robbery, i.e., the
offender had stolen something. “... hath deceived his neighbor” refers to
having oppressed or defrauded his neighbor in some unexplained way.
The general idea is that the
offender has wrongfully taken something belonging to another.
“Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth
falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein:”
This relates to the offender’s
denying untruthfully having found something belonging to another.
“Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore
that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully
gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he
“Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the
principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to
whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.”
This surely reminds us of what
is written in Psalm 69:4 concerning the Lord, “... then I restored that which I
took not away.” We are the ones guilty of trespass, for in Adam we have taken
what belongs to God, claimed it as our own, and denied Him the rightful use of
it: the life He breathed into man in the day He created him. But in the guilty
man bringing his trespass offering we are being shown a symbolic picture of the
Lord being made sin for us, taking our sins upon Himself as though they were His
own, and in the giving up of His life at Calvary, His returning to God the life
that rightly belonged to Him as Creator.
But the trespasser was to
return to the aggrieved neighbor, not only the original thing wrongfully taken:
he was to add to it an additional fifth of its value, so that the one who had
been wronged received back more than he had lost, and so has it been in relation
to God. At Calvary He received back the life that belonged to Him as Creator,
but in addition has gained additional glory as the redeeming God, and as a
further addition has received a countless multitude of worshiping men and women,
destined to be conformed to the image of His beloved Son, and to be for His
glory throughout eternity.
“And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, a ram without blemish
out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the
This continues to confirm that
the old sin nature within us can produce nothing except sin in our lives. The
unblemished ram (the leader of the flock) is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ as
the sinless preeminent One, Who though Head of all creation, has been willing to
take our guilty place at Calvary so that our sins might be forgiven, and we
reconciled to God.
“... with thy estimation” is
generally understood to mean that the priest was to evaluate the worth of the
ram, a value of two shekels being the minimum acceptable worth of the animal
being presented for sacrifice as a trespass offering. This is the symbolic
declaration of the truth that those who would have their sins forgiven must have
a certain measure of the worth of Christ: they must comprehend that His death
alone makes atonement for sin. To believe that our own good works must be added
to His sacrifice is tantamount to saying that His sacrifice wasn’t enough, and
that is to insult God.
“And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord: and it shall be
forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.”
Since the priest represents
Christ, and since it was the priest who made the atonement for the offerer, the
lesson being taught is that it is Christ Who has made atonement for the
believer’s sins by offering Himself without spot to God as our Substitute.
For these sins also a ram was
the only offering that could be brought, indicating that these were the sins of
a spiritually mature believer.
THE BURNT OFFERING
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,“
"Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It
is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the
morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it"
This seems to imply that the
burnt offering was offered only in the evening, but the fact is that a lamb was
to be offered as a burnt offering every evening and morning, so that the altar
was never without a burnt offering, hence the frequent reference to it as the
continual burnt offering. The emphasis upon the night therefore, is to remind
us that this present age is the world's spiritual night - the Lord Jesus Christ,
the Light of the world, is absent in heaven, but the value of His sacrifice
remains for the comfort of those who wait for His coming as the bright and
morning Star, to end their night of sorrow, and usher them into the enjoyment of
heaven's eternal day. “... the burning upon the altar all night unto the
morning” directs our attention to the fact that this present spiritual night
of sorrow is soon to give place to that glorious morning when signs and symbols
will no longer be needed, for we shall see Him face to face, as it is written,
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in
part; but then shall I know even as also I am known,” 1 Corinthians 13:12.
"... and the fire of the altar
shall be burning in it." Fire is the symbol, not only of the holiness of God
which expresses itself as devouring fire in relation to sin, but it is a symbol
also of the Holy Spirit. The lesson therefore, may be twofold: (1) the holiness
of God will never cease to be a devouring fire in relation to sin, (2) the fire
was essential to the presentation of the burnt offering, transmuting it to smoke
which ascended to God as a sweet savor (the burnt offering being sometimes
called the ascending offering). It was through the Holy Spirit that the
Lord Jesus Christ "offered Himself without spot to God," Hebrews 9:14. The
further lesson relative to us is that apart from what the fire represents - the
Holy Spirit - there can be no understanding of what pertains to the Lord Jesus
Christ, and therefore no true worship.
6:10. "And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and
his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the
fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them
beside the altar."
The white linen speaks of
righteousness, the outer garment speaking of the righteousness that meets the
eye of man; the linen breeches, of that which is discernible only by the eye of
God. The lesson is of the need of holiness, not just in the eyes of men, but
also of God, in the life of him who would offer a burnt offering, i.e., who
would offer acceptable worship. It is for this reason that Paul commands
relative to the Lord’s supper, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and
drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of
the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and
drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and
drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body,” 1 Corinthians
11:27-29. There should be self-examination before sitting down at the Lord’s
table, every known sin being confessed, repented of, and forsaken.
The placing of the ashes (the
memorial of sacrifice) on the east side of the altar (the side on which the
offerer first stood when he brought his offering) is the symbolic announcement
that he sees there in the direction which speaks of sin and separation from God,
the ashes which tell him that he is now accepted on the basis of what the Lord
Jesus Christ endured at Calvary when the fire of divine wrath enveloped Him
because of our sin. There is no longer any separation between him and God. But
the ashes speak of the fire’s work, and remind us that before we could stand in
the place of acceptance, the Lord Jesus Christ had to stand where the fire of
God’s wrath must fall and expend itself on the One Who had willingly taken our
sins upon Himself and made Himself accountable for them.
6:11. "And he shall put off his garments, and put on other
garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place."
It is to be remembered that
while the priest is a type of each believer, he is primarily a type of Christ,
so that his donning the "other garments" (presumably his garments of glory and
beauty) to carry the ashes out to the clean place, may speak of the Lord’s
present position in heaven. Since there is no clean place on a defiled earth,
the picture may be of Christ now in heaven, crowned with glory and honor, having
carried there the equivalent of the ashes, i.e., the memorial of His sacrifice
at Calvary, to be there before the eye of God for ever. It is that heavenly
realm which we enter in spirit when we trust Christ as Savior, and draw near to
God to worship Him.
6:12. "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it;
it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and
lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of
the peace offering."
Since the fire represents the
Holy Spirit, the command not to extinguish it declares the truth that we are not
to quench or grieve the Holy Spirit. Since the wood represents humanity, the
placing of it upon the altar every morning speaks of the fact that we are to
consciously dedicate ourselves to God every morning; and the laying of the burnt
offering in order upon it speaks of the fact that we are to present our bodies
(including our minds) to God at the beginning of every day. The burning of the
fat of the peace offering upon it declares that as we present God with the
sacrifice of ourselves every morning, i.e., submit ourselves to His will, we
will walk in the enjoyment of His peace which passeth understanding.
6:13. "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar: it
shall never go out."
The repeated emphasis upon the
need to keep the fire burning continuously emphasizes two things, (1) the
eternal efficacy of the Lord’s sacrifice of Himself at Calvary, and (2) the need
on our part not to quench or grieve the Holy Spirit.
THE MEAT OFFERING
6:14. “And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons
of Aaron shall offer it before the Lord, before the altar.”
The sons of Aaron represent us
as believers; and the meat (meal) offering represents the humanity of Christ, so
that the typological picture is of our presenting to God in worship our
appreciation of the Lord’s perfect humanity. Experience teaches, in fact, that
it is meditation on the Lord’s perfect life which furnishes much of the essence
of what we offer to the Father in worship both in our private devotions, and in
our corporate worship.
“... before the Lord” is
literally “in the presence of the Lord.” This continues to emphasize that the
picture here is of our worship, for it is to God alone that worship is
presented. Our service to men in the gospel involves the presentation of Christ
to them as the One Who has become man’s Savior by Himself taking upon Him a
human body in which to die for man’s sin, because as God He could not die.
“... before the altar” focuses
attention on the cost of worship, for what was placed on the literal altar cost
the offerer something; and what we would offer to God in worship will cost us
something if it is to have any value in His sight. True worship requires the
sacrifice of time that is necessary for meditation if we are going to have
anything of worth to present in worship.
6:15. “And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of
the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is
upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savor, even
the memorial of it, unto the Lord.”
As already noted, the oil
speaks of the Holy Spirit by Whom the Lord was begotten, and by Whom He was led
throughout His life on earth, and through Whom He presented Himself without spot
to God at Calvary; while the frankincense speaks of the fragrance to the Father
of the Lord’s life and death.
That memorial handful burnt on
the altar portrays the truth that the Lord’s obedient life and sacrificial death
were first for the Father’s glory, and then for the redemption of our
6:16. “And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons
eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of
the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it.”
The remainder given to Aaron
(type of Christ as our great High Priest) and his sons (believers, the children
given Him by the Father) to eat, represents Christ as the living Word presented
in the written Word, to be our spiritual food. But eating gives satisfaction,
and the fact that it was given to Aaron and to his sons is the symbolic
announcement of the truth that Christ finds satisfaction in the result of His
finished work, as it is written, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and
shall be satisfied,” and we find our satisfaction in Him and His great work
accomplished at Calvary.
The majority of scholars agree
that the correct rendering of “with unleavened bread” is “as
unleavened bread,” and since leaven represents sin, the truth being declared is
that the Christ Who is our spiritual food, is sinless.
The requirement that it be
eaten in a holy place, “in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation,” is
the reminder that to feed upon Christ as presented in the written Word, it is
necessary to draw aside from the distractions of the world, to have a quiet
place where we can be alone with God as we read, study, and meditate upon the
written Word, and the Holy Spirit can take the things of Christ and reveal them
6:17. “It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it
unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is
the sin offering, and as the trespass offering.”
Since leaven represents sin,
the proscription of it here continues to emphasize the truth that even when the
Lord was made sin for us at Calvary, He did not cease to be intrinsically
sinless; the reference to the holiness of the sin and trespass offerings
continuing to emphasize the same truth. He had our sins upon Him at
Calvary, but there was no sin in Him. With us, there is no sin on
us because of His finished work, but there is sin still in us: the old
sin nature remains, and will be with us until we enter heaven. Then our
righteousness will be the same as Christ’s: as there is now neither sin in Him
nor on Him, so will it be with us when we receive our new bodies.
The reference to the fire,
symbol of the Holy Spirit, continues to declare the truth that He is inseparably
linked to our spiritual food, the written Word. His illumination of that Word
is essential to our understanding of it, and we will enjoy that illumination
only as He is unquenched and ungrieved.
6:18. “All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat
of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the
offerings of the Lord made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy.”
The male in Scripture always
speaks of the activity of the will, as the female does of passivity, and it is
axiomatic that there is greater need for the activity of the believer’s will to
be according to the Word of God, than there is for the submission of his will to
be under that same control. If the activity of the will is according to God’s
Word, it follows as a matter of course that the submissiveness will also be
according to that same Word, hence the command that only Aaron’s sons were to
eat the meal offering.
“... everyone that toucheth
them (the meal offerings) shall be holy” is not declaring that everyone touching
the meal offerings was thereby made holy, but that those who touched them were
to be ceremonially holy or clean. The lesson being taught is that if the
written Word is going to be our spiritual food, then we ourselves must be living
in obedience to its teaching, and for an obvious reason: sin grieves and/or
quenches the Holy Spirit, and deprives us of His illumination, so that we then
become like unbelievers, in regard to whom it is written, “The natural man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto
him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned,” 1
6:19. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,”
6:20. “This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which
they shall offer unto the Lord in the day when he is anointed: the tenth part of
an ephah of fine flour for a meat (meal) offering perpetual, half of it in the
morning, and half thereof at night.”
It seems that this was a
special meal offering to be offered every morning and evening by Aaron, and
those of his line who would succeed him as high priests of Israel. It speaks
therefore of the Lord Jesus Christ as the great High Priest of His redeemed
people; and its being offered every morning and evening speaks of His ceaseless
advocacy on our behalf. Its being perpetual speaks of the eternal effectiveness
of His advocacy.
Since ten is the number of God
as the Governor of all things, the tenth part reminds us that He in the exercise
of His governmental power has appointed the Lord Jesus Christ to be our
Advocate. The perfection of that advocacy is disclosed in the fact that He Who
represents us before God, is Himself perfect God and also perfect Man, He
Himself as man having satisfied all the righteous claims of God, and also our
desperate need by dying in our guilty stead.
6:21. “In a pan it shall be made with oil; and when it is
baken, thou shalt bring it in: and the baken pieces of the meat (meal) offering
shalt thou offer for a sweet savor unto the Lord.”
Its being prepared in a pan
has the same spiritual significance here as in 2:5-6, the only difference being
that here all of it was burnt on the altar. As noted in our study of chapter
two, the pieces or cakes represent us as having been vicariously crucified with
Christ, as it is written, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet
not I, but Christ liveth in me,” Galatians 2:20; and “God forbid that I should
glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is
crucified unto me, and I unto the world,” Galatians 6:14. It is suggested that
at this point the reader review the notes on 2:4-6.
6:22. “And the priest of his sons that is anointed in his
stead shall offer it: it is a statute for ever unto the Lord; it shall be wholly
6:23. “For every meal offering for the priest shall be
wholly burnt: it shall not be eaten.”
The priests referred to here
were those descendants of Aaron who in succeeding generations would be anointed
as high priest, so that each one is a type of Christ, our great High Priest.
The meal offering presented by each one portrays the Lord Jesus Christ offering
Himself without spot to God, and its being wholly burnt speaks of His dying in
our guilty stead. The fact that none of it was to be eaten, but burnt, assures
us that there was no mitigation of the punishment when the Lord at Calvary bore
the judgment due to us.
6:24. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,”
THE SIN OFFERING
6:25. “Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is
the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed
shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord: it is most holy.”
The fact that the sin offering
was to be killed in the same place as the burnt offering, i.e., on the north
side of the altar, declares that He Who died to glorify the Father, is the same
One Who died to make atonement for man’s sin; and since the north is the
direction which speaks of intelligence, the additional lesson is that He came to
earth with a full knowledge of what would be involved in glorifying His Father,
and in redeeming men’s souls: it would cost Him His life, and the terrible
suffering of Calvary.
“...it is most holy” reminds
us that even when He was made sin for us, the Lord never ceased to be in Himself
"The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be
eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation."
Since, as already noted, the
offering priest first represents Christ offering Himself to God as our
Substitute, and secondly, he represents us offering Christ to God as the One
Whose death has atoned for our sins, the priest’s eating it speaks of the
satisfaction Christ finds in His own perfectly completed work, and in us the
fruit of that work, as it is written, “He shall see of the travail of his soul,
and shall be satisfied,” Isaiah 53:11. But inasmuch as the offering priest also
represents us as a royal kingdom of priests, his eating it continues to remind
us that the Christ Whose blood has cleansed us from sin is the same One Who
sustains the new life made ours through His death at Calvary. We as a royal
kingdom of priests, feed upon Him through study of the written Word.
“...in the holy place shall it
be eaten” is the symbolic announcement that Christ will be our spiritual Food
only as we walk in holiness, for sin grieves and quenches the Holy Spirit Whose
ministry of enlightenment is essential if we are to understand the written Word
which is the revelation of Him Who is the living Word.
The requirement that it be
eaten in the holy place in the court of the tabernacle, declares the need to
maintain communion with God, for apart from the illumination given by an
ungrieved and unquenched Holy Spirit, the written Word is no more intelligible
to the saint than to the sinner - it will furnish no spiritual food.
"Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy: and when there is
sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thou shalt wash that whereon it
was sprinkled in the holy place."
The flesh here is that
of the sin offering, and the truth being taught is that the offering of that
sacrifice makes the offerer clean.
The washing of the garment
upon which the blood had been sprinkled would make it clean, and since garments
are the Scriptural symbol of righteousness, the lesson is that all who present
Christ as their sin offering are made perfectly clean: they are clothed in His
"But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden (boiled) shall be broken: and if it
be sodden in a brasen pot, it shall be both scoured and rinsed in water."
In 2 Corinthians 4:7 it is
written, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of
the power may be of God, and not of us," so it seems that the earthen vessel is
a picture of the believer. In order to understand the spiritual lesson of this
verse, however, it is necessary to understand what is represented by boiling,
and in the present context it represents study. The earthen vessel is the
believer; the water in the vessel is the “water of the Word” (the Word of God)
stored in his mind as a result of reading, study, meditation, and the ministry
of others. The thing being boiled is the portion of Scripture presently being
studied; the fire bubbling up the water in the vessel is the Holy Spirit using
what we already know, to help us understand the portion presently being
studied. The need therefore to break the earthen vessel in which the sin
offering was boiled, declares the need for us in whom Christ (our sin offering)
dwells, to be also broken, i.e., to have our wills broken, so that the principle
governing our lives may be that which governed the Lord’s life, "Not my will,
but Thine." The broken vessel would have to be cast away and replaced with a
new one. That's what happens at conversion. The old I (the man in Adam) is
replaced with the new creature (the new man in Christ). The flesh (represented
by the broken vessel) is useless to God, and equally useless to us. It has no
place in the life of the believer who would enjoy communion with God.
The brazen pot speaks of a
saint undergoing chastisement or judgment, of which brass is the biblical
symbol, and sin is the only thing that brings a believer into such a state. The
scouring therefore speaks of repenting, confessing, and forsaking the sin, while
the rinsing with water (the Word) declares the truth that it is only the Word
obeyed that can make and keep us clean, see e.g., Psalm 119:9, "Wherewithal
shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy
"All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy."
Since the male speaks of the
energy or activity of the will, the lesson here is that that energy or activity
is a necessity if we would "eat the Sin offering," i.e., nurture our life
through the study of the written Word. First, it takes a deliberate act of the
will to reserve the necessary time for study and meditation, and secondly, it
takes deliberate activity of the will to do the necessary studying.
"... it is most holy." This
reminds us that when Christ became our Sin-bearer and was made sin for us, He
was no less Holy in Himself than before He took our sins upon Him. What He was
intrinsically, the Holy One of God, couldn't be touched with the taint of our
sin even when He was bearing divine judgment for that sin.
"And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of
the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall
be burnt in the fire."
This continues to preserve the
distinction between Christ as the One Who has put away our sins, and as the One
Who is the food to nourish our new life. The same distinction is found in
connection with the Passover lamb, where the ritual connected with the blood is
distinct from that governing the preparation and eating of the roast lamb.