For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2000, 2004 James Melough


7:1.  “Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering: it is most holy.”


7:2.  “In the place where they kill the burnt offering shall they kill the trespass offering: and the blood thereof shall he sprinkle round about upon the altar.”


As discussed already, in the trespass offering we are being presented with a typological picture of Christ being made sin for us when He took our guilty place and died for our many sins.  Its being “most holy” continues to declare that even when He was made sin for us, He never ceased to be Himself inherently holy.  Our sins were on Him, but there was no sin in Him.


Its being killed continues to emphasize that “the wages of sin is death,” and that if our sins were to be atoned for, Christ must die. 


Its being killed “where they kill the burnt offering.” (on the north side of the brazen altar), continues to remind us that Christ’s death was first for God’s glory, and then for the remission of our sins.  Since the north is the direction that speaks of intelligence, its being killed there is the symbolic assurance that when the Lord assumed responsibility for our sins it was with a full knowledge of the fact that it would entail His death.


Inasmuch as there is no remission of sin apart from the shedding of blood, the sprinkling of the blood upon all four sides of the altar conveys the assurance that by the shedding of the Lord’s precious blood at Calvary all our sins have been atoned for, as it is written, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,” 1 John 1:7.


7:3.  “And he shall offer of it all the fat thereof; the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards,”


7:4.  “And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul that is above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away:”


7:5.  “And the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a trespass offering.”


As discussed already, the fat represents not only the energy of Christ’s will in doing the Father’s will, but also that aspect of His sacrifice which is beyond the comprehension of finite minds, and which only God Himself can appreciate.


Since the kidneys were believed by the ancients to be the seat of the intelligence, the burning of the two kidneys declares the truth that all the Lord’s thoughts, Godward and manward, were lovingly devoted even unto death.  He loved the Father so much that He would die to glorify Him, and He loved men so much that He was willing to die to make possible the remission of their sins.


Since the priest represents Christ and us as now made a royal kingdom of priests, the priest’s presentation of the trespass offering portrays first the Lord offering Himself without spot to God, and secondly, us presenting Christ to God for the putting away of the sins we commit as believers, and the restoration of our communion with our Father.


7:6.  “Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy.”


As discussed already, the male speaks of the activity of the will, and the priests represent us as a royal company of priests, so that the typological picture here is of us as God’s royal priests, feeding upon Christ, that is, nurturing our new spiritual lives by reading and meditating on the written Word in which Christ is set before us as the living Word, the true Bread Who came down from heaven.  Their having to eat it in the holy place is the reminder that holiness is essential if we would feed upon Christ, for that activity is impossible apart from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.  Grieving or quenching Him cuts off His ministry of enlightenment without which the believer can no more understand the spiritual meaning of Scripture than can the unbeliever.


7:7.  “As the sin offering is, so is the trespass offering: there is one law for them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith shall have it.”


We have already noted that in the sin offering God would have us see Christ as the One Who has effectively dealt with the principle of sin within us, that is, the sin nature which is the source of sin; and in the trespass offering, Christ as the One Whose sacrifice is effective to cleanse us from the sins which that old sin nature still produces in us even as believers.


The offering priest’s having the flesh of both the sin and the trespass offering for his spiritual food is to remind us of the sufficiency of Christ relative to the sin nature still in us, and the sins produced by that same sin nature.  The death of Christ has made full atonement for all sin.  His precious blood cleanses us from all the defilement of sin.


7:8.  “And the priest that offereth any man’s burnt offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt offering which he hath offered.”


Since the burnt offering represents Christ, and since the skin of the animal is its covering or clothing, and clothing represents righteousness - the filthy rags of self-righteousness, or the righteousness of Christ that clothes the believer - the lesson being taught in the officiating priest’s being given the skin is that the believer is clothed in Christ’s righteousness, that righteousness being made available to us through His death.


7:9.  “And all the meat (meal) offering that is baken in the oven, and all that is dressed in the fryingpan, and in the pan (stewing-pot), shall be the priest’s that offereth it.”


For the spiritual significance of the meal offering prepared in the oven, fryingpan, or pan (stewing-pot), please see the notes on 2:4-7.


As discussed already, the meal offering portrays the humanity of Christ: all that He was as Son of Man.  The priest’s being given all of it, except the memorial handful burned on the altar, continues to declare the truth that the Christ trusted as Savior, is also the Christ Who is the spiritual Bread to nurture the new life obtained by faith.  The part burned on the altar speaks of the sacrifice of Christ as being first for God’s glory.


7:10.  “And every meal offering, mingled with oil, and dry, shall all the sons of Aaron have, one as much as another.”


This continues to emphasize that Christ presented in the written Word is the spiritual food to nurture the new spiritual life, but an instructive distinction is made between that which was mingled with oil, and that which was dry.  Since oil is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit, the meal mingled with oil portrays the Word which is the portion of the obedient believer: he enjoys the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit as he reads God’s Word.  The dry meal, on the other hand, represents the Word which is the portion of the carnal (disobedient) saint.  Disobedience grieves and/or quenches the Holy Spirit, and cuts the guilty believer off from His enlightenment in the study of the Scriptures, so that, like the natural man, he doesn’t understand what he reads. 


7:11.  “And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the Lord.”


7:12.  “If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried,”


The peace offering was offered (1) as an expression of thanks to God for some particular blessing, (2) as the spontaneous expression of love and gratitude apart from any particular blessing, and (3) in connection with a vow, such as that of the Nazarite, for example.


Since the unleavened cakes and wafers and fried cakes were the meal offering which accompanied the peace offering, and have the same spiritual significance here as in chapter two, the notes on that chapter should be reviewed here.


7:13.  “Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offerings.”


Since leaven is a symbol of sin, this leavened bread represents the believer, for while we have no sin on us we do have sin in us, and the truth being portrayed is that while we are one with Christ and the Father as to our new nature (represented by the unleavened cakes), the old nature is still also with us, ever ready to produce sin in our lives.  (See comments on verse 20 relative to sin on us).  The leavened bread therefore represents us as we actually are while here on earth in bodies of flesh.  The presentation of the leavened bread here is the OT symbolic response to the exhortation given by Paul, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (spiritual worship),” Romans 12:1.  However sincere we may be in seeking to make that presentation, the sad truth remains that the sin in us, the old nature (portrayed here by the leaven), will still manifest itself, as declared in Romans 7, causing us to lament with Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death (this body of death)?” Romans 7:24.  But as new creatures in Christ we can also exult with the Apostle, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin,” Romans 7:25.


7:14.  “And of it he shall offer one (of each) out of the whole oblation for an heave offering unto the Lord, and it shall be the priest’s that sprinkleth the blood of the peace offerings.”


One of each of the unleavened cakes and wafers was lifted up to God as a heave offering, and then given to the officiating priest as his portion.  (The heave offering was lifted up towards heaven in grateful token acknowledgment that God is the Source of all our blessings and power, all being made available to us through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ). 


Since the unleavened cakes and wafers represent us in association with Christ Who is portrayed here by the officiating priest, the giving of them to the priest is the symbolic announcement of the truth that God has given us to Christ, as it is written, “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying ... Behold I and the children which God hath given me,” Hebrwes 2:11-13


7:15.  "And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any of it until the morning."


The eating of the flesh on the same day that it was offered, reminds us that the instant we trust in Christ as Savior, our peace with God begins.  We don’t have to wait to grow into it.  It may take time for us to appreciate it fully, but it is ours as much on the day of our conversion as it is after many years of walking in the enjoyment of it.  The equivalent of the Israelite’s eating is our feeding upon Christ presented in the written Word.  It is only as we feed daily on that living Bread, and obey it, that we will experience the peace of God which passeth all understanding.


The command not to leave any of it until the morning, however, teaches a very different truth.  There is to be fresh spiritual food for each day.  We are to read the Scriptures daily in order to obtain the necessary spiritual food for that day’s needs.  It is the tendency to try to live today on yesterday’s spiritual food, that has produced much leanness of soul amongst God’s people.  The same lesson is taught in God’s command that the manna was not to be kept over until the next day.  It was to be gathered, and used on the same day.


Relative to the Passover lamb there was an almost identical proscription, but there the flesh was to be eaten that night, anything remaining till morning being burned.  The lesson there is that we are to feast on Christ our Passover Lamb during the “night” of His absence, our eternal position in His governmental hierarchy being determined by the degree of our obedience to His Word here on earth.  There will be no opportunity to remedy delinquency once we leave earth.


7:16.  "But if the sacrifice of his offering be a vow, or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offereth his sacrifice: and on the morrow also the remainder of it shall be eaten:"


Relative to the vow, the permission to eat also on the second day seems to teach that a vow is not to be made lightly, and that the necessary fortitude to carry it out is to be found in obedience to the written Word.  Relative to a voluntary offering, the lesson appears to be that the love and gratitude which prompted the offering are not to be the mere fleeting emotional activity of a day, but are to be the result of a deep-seated continuous consciousness of God’s goodness.


7:17.  "But the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burnt with fire."


7:18.  "And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity."


The three days between the killing of the sacrifice, and the forbidden eating of it, speak of distance between the believer and the Lord Jesus Christ.  The type is fulfilled by every professed believer who neglects to nurture his soul by a daily reading of and meditation on Scripture, and who therefore for the most part lives in separation from the Lord.  Apart from a daily feeding on the written Word, our hearts tend to grow cold, resulting in our being drawn closer to the world, and farther away from Christ.  Such a person knows nothing of the peace portrayed in the communion enjoyed around the peace offering, nor is he in any fit state to worship.  The attempted worship of such a man is sheer hypocrisy, and is an abomination to God. 


The evil consequences of such neglect are declared in the words, “... the soul that eateth of it (on the third day) shall bear his iniquity.”  


7:19.  “And the flesh that toucheth any unclean thing shall not be eaten; it shall be burnt with fire: and as for the flesh, all that be clean shall eat thereof.”


7:20.  “But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.”


Obviously the flesh of the peace offering couldn’t of itself touch anything clean or unclean.  Its contamination could only be the result of its being touched by someone or something unclean; and since that flesh of the peace offering represents Christ as presented in the written Word, the lesson here relates to the handling of the Word by someone unclean, and the command that such flesh not be eaten, simply declares that until sin is confessed, repented of, and forsaken, the Word will furnish no sustenance for that man’s spiritual life.  As we have noted already, the Word is incomprehensible apart from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and sin cuts off that illumination.


Its having to be “burnt with fire” is the symbolic warning to such a man that instead of finding spiritual nourishment in the written Word, he is faced with the judgment of God, for as already discussed, fire represents both the Holy Spirit and the judgment of God.


“... all that be clean shall eat thereof” continues to emphasize that the Word is spiritual food only for those who are obedient.


The dire consequences of persisting in the attempt to handle  Scripture while walking in disobedience, and therefore apart from the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, are declared in the words, “... that soul shall be cut off from his people,” that is, he will die.


A careful consideration of the peace offering, particularly that part of it which involved the communal meal, suggests that it also foreshadows the Lord’s Supper, see, for example, 1 Corinthians 10:16, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?  The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”  Relative to the Lord’s Supper there are also solemn warnings concerning the moral fitness of those who would partake of it, the penalty for disregarding those warnings also being death, as it is written, “

“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.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (die),” 1 Corinthians 11:27-30.


7:21.  “Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean thing, as the uncleanness of man, or any unclean beast, or any abominable unclean thing, and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which pertain unto the Lord, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.”


The uncleanness of man is specifically ceremonial uncleanness, and since all of this is connected with worship, the reference is to something that disqualified the man from participating in worship.  The equivalent for the believer today is simply unconfessed sin. 


In the same context therefore the unclean beast represents the offering in worship of something disallowed by God.  It would include a great deal of what passes for worship in Christendom today; but that doesn’t exclude the fact that even where the outward form is scriptural there may be the offering of the equivalent of the “unclean beast,” - for example, prayers designed for the ear of the other worshipers rather than for God; hymns unrelated to the general theme of worship; scripture read to display the knowledge of the speaker rather than to lead the believers in the presentation of their worship.  We may, in fact, be guilty of “touching the unclean beast” more often than we ourselves are aware of. 


The “abominable thing” is literally “an idolatrous object,” the equivalent today being the veneration of icons, as practiced by Roman Catholicism, the harlot system which rules much of Christendom, and claims to be the only true church.  The evil, however, isn’t confined to that evil system, for again, even where the outward form is scriptural, the bread and wine of the Lord’s supper may become simply a fetish, an icon, the delusion being that as long as we have partaken of them we have “remembered the Lord” in His own appointed way.  Such “worshipers” are found chiefly in the nondenominational assemblies, and are known as SMO’s (Sunday morning only).  They know nothing of continuing “steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship ... and in prayers,” Acts 2:42.


This is not a contradiction of what is set forth in verse 13.  There it is a matter of sin in us in the form of the old nature which we are to keep in the place of death: here it is a matter of sin on us, unconfessed.  There can be no peace in such a condition, and to pretend to have fellowship with God while we are in such a state is to be guilty of blatant hypocrisy, hence the severity of the punishment.  There should be no sin unconfessed and unrepented of on the conscience of him who would enjoy fellowship with God, the Lord’s Supper being the focal point of that fellowship.  


7:22.  “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,”


7:23.  “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat.”


7:24.  “And the fat of the beast that dieth of itself, and the fat of that which is torn with beasts, may be used in any other use: but ye shall in no wise eat of it.”


Inasmuch as the fat represents what is beyond human comprehension, and portrays what God alone can understand relative to the Lord Jesus Christ, this proscription of the fat of any clean animal as food, appears to be the symbolic warning against any attempt to engage in mere speculation relative to spiritual things which are not contained in the written Word and revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Paul warns against this very thing in Colossians 2:18, “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.”  The need of the warning is demonstrated in the fact that such speculation has produced false doctrine and all the cults which discredit genuine Christianity.


7:25.  “For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people.”


The severity of the penalty declares the deadly consequences of such speculation.


7:26.  “Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings.”


Since the life of the flesh is in the blood, and the life belongs to God Who alone can give life, the eating of blood is also forbidden.  The only life that matters is that which is spiritual, a truth which God is here emphasizing in His proscribing blood, which is the basis of mere physical life, for spiritual life can neither be given nor nourished by that which is the basis of natural life.  It is by virtue of Christ’s precious blood shed at Calvary that we have spiritual life, and God sets such a value on that blood that He would guard it from even the possible appearance of common use.


7:27.  “Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.”


Again, the severity of the penalty declares the deadly consequences of disobedience relative to eating blood.


7:28.  “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,”


7:29.  “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings unto the Lord shall bring his oblation unto the Lord of the sacrifice of his peace offerings.” 


7:30.  “His own hands shall bring the offerings of the Lord made by fire, the fat with the breast, it shall he bring, that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before the Lord.”


As noted already, when God speaks through Moses He is speaking in law; when through Aaron, in grace; and when through both, He is speaking in law mingled with grace.  Here he is speaking through Moses.  He is giving a command in regard to the fulfillment of which there is to be no deviation, and since that command relates to worship, the lesson is that those who would worship God, “must worship Him in spirit and in truth,” John 4:24, that is, the content of worship must be at the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and the presentation must be according to the order prescribed in His Word.  The necessity of this imperative is revealed in the multiple vagaries which men call worship.


In the peace offering there was a part for God, then a part for the officiating priest and for the whole priestly family, and finally a part for the offerer and his family and friends, but it is emphasized that God is to be given His portion first.  We must never forget that all that the Lord did: the living of His perfect life and the offering of that life at Calvary, were first for the Father’s glory, and then for man’s redemption.


This was an act of worship, and its being emphasized that the man’s “own hands” were to present it, is the symbolic declaration of the truth that no one can worship for us.  One of the evidences that the Holy Spirit is in control, indicting the corporate worship of the assembly, is that those who participate audibly at the Lord’s supper will be found to be simply expressing the thoughts already in the minds of the assembled company.  If, however, we as individuals don’t have worshipful thoughts, such harmony will be lacking.


“... offerings of the Lord” is literally “offerings which belong to the Lord;” while “made by fire (symbol of the Holy Spirit)” reminds us that unless He is in control, the activity will be simply that of the flesh, and therefore unacceptable to God.


The fat, as already noted, represents the richness of the Lord’s inward life: that which the Father alone can comprehend.   It is beyond the comprehension of finite minds.


The breast in Scripture always speaks of love, and here reminds us of God’s love in giving His only begotten Son; of Christ’s love in being willing to come to die for the remission of our sins; and of the love we owe Him in return, as it is written “We love him, because he first loved us,” 1 John 4:19.


“... that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before the Lord.”  The wave offering is generally understood to have involved the holding out of the offering towards the altar and then drawing it back towards the offerer, the gesture being the grateful acknowledgment that God is the Giver of all we have.


7:31.  “And the priest shall burn the fat upon the altar: but the breast shall be Aaron’s and his sons’.”


The priest here is a double type: one, of Christ offering Himself without spot to God; and two, of the believer as a royal priest presenting his worship to the Father, the fat, as always, portraying what only God can comprehend relative to the sacrifice of Christ.


The breast, symbol of love, given to Aaron and his sons, speaks of that mutual love enjoyed by the Lord, our great High Priest, and by us, the sons given Him by God, as it is written, “Behold I and the children which God hath given me,” Hebrews 2:13.


7:32.  “And the right shoulder shall ye give unto the priest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings.”


It is instructive to note that the shoulder, symbol of strength and power, was heaved, i.e., lifted up towards heaven and then drawn down again towards the offerer, whereas the breast was waved, i.e., presented horizontally.  The lesson being taught is that when love is involved, we need what is on our own level, what we can understand, and Christ by His incarnation brought divine love down to our level where we can appreciate it and enjoy it, as it is written, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:13, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die, but God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” Romans 5:7-8.


But when it comes to strength and power we need more than that which is natural, on our own level: we need what is supernatural, heavenly, the power of Christ made available to us through the Holy Spirit, as it is written, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me,” Philippians 4:13, as Paul declared in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And he (God) said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”


We should note also the order mentioned: it is first the wave breast, and then the heave shoulder, the lesson being that first we need the love portrayed by the breast, for if the strength portrayed by the shoulder isn’t exercised in love it is a worthless thing, as Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13.


7:33.  “He among the sons of Aaron, that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder for his part.”  


The giving of the right shoulder (the side of power and strength) to the officiating priest, is to remind us that he who takes public part in the meetings of the Church must be endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit, for apart from that enablement his activity will simply be that of the flesh, and therefore worthless, a hindrance rather than a help to God’s people.


7:34.  “For the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel.”


Where there is love and the power of God manifest in the assemblies of God’s people, there will be peace in their midst, satisfaction brought to the Lord Jesus Christ the true Aaron, and satisfaction and peace amongst us His sons.


“... for ever” reminds us that the peace and power available to us here on earth will continue for ever in heaven, and in infinitely fuller measure.


“... among the children of Israel.”  This peace, which the world can neither give nor take away, is available only to believers.


7:35.  “This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointings of his sons, out of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister unto the Lord in the priest’s office;”


7:36.  “Which the Lord commanded to be given them of the children of Israel, in the day that he anointed them by a statute for ever throughout their generations.”


This was God’s provision for Aaron and his sons from the moment of their being anointed as priests in His service.  The basic lesson is that from the moment of our conversion (which makes us sons of the true Aaron) God’s desire is that we should enjoy His peace which passeth understanding (possible only as we walk in love for Him and for one another), and experience the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling us ungrieved and unquenched.


7:37.  “This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meal offering, and of the sin offering, and of the trespass offering, and of the consecrations, and of the sacrifice of the peace offerings;”


7:38.  “Which the Lord commanded Moses in mount Sinai, in the day that he commanded the children of Israel to offer their oblations unto the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai.”


The usual order of the offerings is changed here, and since God does nothing capriciously it is clear that we are meant to learn something from this changed order.  The peace offering is omitted from its usual place between the meal and the sin offering, and is placed at the end of the list, and is preceded by the consecrations offering which isn’t mentioned in the usual lists. The offering of consecrations clearly relates to the offerings presented at the consecration of the priests, so that according to the unique order of this new list the symbolic lesson is that in addition to seeing Christ as the burnt, meal, sin, and trespass offering, we must also see the need of consecrating ourselves to Him and to His service, if we are to know all the fulness of the peace portrayed in the peace offering.


[Leviticus 8]



     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough