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 2004 James Melough

9:1.  “And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;” 


In consonance with the fact that eight is the scriptural number of a new beginning, it was on the eighth day that the new order of priesthood commenced its ministry, and that the new order of worship began.


9:2.  “And he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord.”


As discussed already, all these animals represent the Lord Jesus Christ, and point to the different aspects of His vicarious sacrifice.


It is instructive to note that the presentation of the sin offering had to precede that of the burnt offering, the practical lesson being that sin must be repented of and put away before any acceptable worship or service can be offered.


Relative to the presentation of the sin offering for Aaron and his sons, the Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary makes the following pertinent remark, “In all false or corrupt forms of religion, the studied policy has been to inspire the people with an idea of the sanctity of the priesthood as, in point of purity and favor with the Divinity, far above the level of other men.  But among the Hebrews the priests were required to offer for the expiation of their sins as well as the humblest of the people.”


9:3.  “And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering:”


As the priests had first to offer a sin offering, so also must the people, for there could be no communion between them and a holy God until they were ceremonially clean, the prescribed animal being a kid of the goats, itself a figure of Christ being made sin for us, and dying to expiate our sin.  It is only on the basis of Christ’s perfect sacrifice that we can enjoy communion with God.


The one-year-old bull calf, and the one-year-old lamb, both unblemished, and having to be offered for a burnt, rather than a sin offering, represent Christ in the energy of His own will as the bullock, offering Himself without spot to God; and in the lamb, the perfect submission of His own will to that of His Father.  Their being for a burnt offering reminds us that His sacrifice was first for His Father’s glory, and then for the expiation of our sin.


9:4.  “Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord; and a meat (meal) offering mingled with oil: for today the Lord will appear unto you.”


The bullock and ram have the same spiritual significance as noted above, while the meal mingled with oil continues to typify the Lord Jesus Christ as Son of man living here on earth in perfect submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Their being presented for peace offerings is the typological declaration of what is stated in Colossians 1:20, He has “made peace by the blood of his cross.”


Man can enjoy neither communication nor communion with God until he has first been reconciled to Him by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, see Romans 5:10, “... when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son”; and it is only as we walk in obedience that He “will appear” unto us, i.e., reveal Himself to us through His Word.


9:5.  “And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord.”


Having brought the prescribed offerings, the people drew near to await the theophany, the appearance of God; and it is only as we are obedient that He will reveal Himself to us.


9:6.  “And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you.”


Moses assured them that their obedience in presenting the mandated sacrifices would be acknowledged by God in His revealing Himself to them; the practical lesson for us being repeated in that His revelation of Himself to us will be in proportion to the degree of our obedience.  As to how He reveals Himself to us through His Word: it is largely through the Spirit-given ability to discern Him in the Bible’s typological language, such as the types used here in Leviticus, a mode of communication unknown to the vast majority of Christians today.


9:7.  “And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the Lord commanded.”


It continues to be emphasized symbolically that sin is the great impediment to spiritual knowledge, and to the enjoyment of communion with God; the need to put it away being emphasized in the repeated command to offer first the sin offering.


9:8.  “Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.”


Our Great High priest, typified here by Aaron, had no need to offer any sacrifice for Himself, for though perfect man as well as perfect God, He was not begotten by human generation, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that He was untainted by the corruption of sin inherent in all others of Adam’s ruined race.


9:9.  “And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him: and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar:”


By this application of the blood the altar was symbolically cleansed, but we who have been redeemed and cleansed by a better sacrifice, “have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat, who serve the tabernacle,” Hebrews 13:10, our altar being the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, He being the One by Whom we draw near to God to worship “in spirit and in truth,” John 4:2, as it is written, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (the Word).”


9:10.  “But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar; as the Lord commanded Moses.”


For the spiritual significance of the fat, kidneys, and caul, see comments on 8:16, their being presented here for a burnt offering reminding us that the Lord was never more precious to His Father than when He was willing to be made sin in order to expiate our sin, His sacrifice being first for His Father’s glory.


9:11.  “And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire outside the camp.”


The flesh and the hide may represent all that unbelieving men saw in Christ: to them He was just another man.  But how different was God’s perception!  He saw in that One Whom men despised, His only and beloved Son.  The burning of the flesh and hide outside the camp very clearly portrays the Lord’s suffering at Calvary, not only outside Jerusalem, but also outside the whole hypocritical charade of Jewish religion centered in that city.


9:12.  “And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar.”


Since “the life of the flesh is in the blood,” 17:11, the sprinkling of that blood upon the altar declares that a life had been given up to make the blood available for the cleansing of sin, the type being fulfilled at Calvary when the Lord Jesus Christ shed His precious blood for the remission of every believer’s sins.  Every altar used for the offering of Israel’s sacrifices was a type of the cross on which the Lord died to make atonement for men’s sins, that atonement being effective for every person who trusts in Him as Savior.


9:13.  “And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar.”


This verse is the typological pattern for the worship of the Church, for they, Aaron’s sons, represent believers; and he, Aaron, the Lord Jesus Christ as the believer’s Great High Priest. The burnt offering represents our worship, i.e., the presentation to God of our estimate of the person and work of Christ, as we take our places around the Lord’s table on the first day of each week.


The “pieces” represent the different aspects of the Lord’s death occupying each believer’s thoughts as we keep that remembrance feast.


Its being emphasized that the head was included, is designed to teach that worship is more than the emotional response of our hearts: spiritual discernment is also a prerequisite of worship, and only eternity will reveal how many worship meetings have been marred by the obvious lack of that intelligence on the part of some participants.


9:14.  “And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.”


The inwards represent our inward thought life, known only to us and to God; and the legs, the outward life as seen by men.  Since water is a biblical symbol of the written Word, see Ephesians 5:26, the literal washing of inwards and legs is the symbolic announcement of the truth that our thought life, the inwards, is to be governed by the Word of God just as much as is the outward life represented here by the legs.


The application of course is first to Christ, His being the only life that has ever been lived in perfect conformity to God’s will as revealed in His Word.  The burning of inwards and legs upon the burnt offering which burned continuously on the altar has also something to teach us.  That continuous burnt offering is a type of Christ Who never once entertained even a thought that wasn’t pleasing to God.  His life is to be the foundation pattern of ours, every departure requiring confession, repentance, and abandonment of the sin as soon as we become aware of it.


9:15.  “And he brought the people’s offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first.”


“... the first” refers to the sin offering that had been offered first by Aaron for himself and his sons.  It represents what occurs at the conversion of a sinner.  Through faith he first presents to God the Lord Jesus Christ as his sin offering, i.e., as the One Whose death has made atonement for all his sins, past, present, and future.  The sins he commits as a believer are also atoned for by virtue of that one perfect sacrifice offered at Calvary.


9:16.  “And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.”


Again it is noteworthy that the offering of the burnt offering was preceded by that of the sin offering, the lesson being that there can be no worship until every known sin is confessed, repented of, and forsaken.  This declares the imperative of self-examination, confession, and abandonment of every known sin, before coming to the Lord’s table to worship.


9:17.  “And he brought the meat (meal) offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.”


As discussed already, the meal offering represents Christ as Son of man, i.e., as perfectly human, while never ceasing to be also divine, the second Person of the Godhead.  He had to become man in order to die, for as God He could not die.  What remained of the meal offering belonged to Aaron and his sons, see Leviticus 2:3, the truth thus symbolically declared being that the Lord Himself has found satisfaction in His perfectly completed work, as it is written, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied,” Isaiah 53:11.


“...beside the burnt sacrifice” means “as well as” or “in addition to” the burnt sacrifice.  It is called “the burnt sacrifice of the morning” because in Exodus 29:38-39 we read that one lamb was to be offered in the morning, and the other in the evening, and obviously the context implies that this was the one offered in the morning, since the one offered in the evening was the last sacrifice of the day.


9:18.  “And he slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about.”


Significantly the presentation of the peace offering was preceded by that of the sin offering, for as noted already, there can be no peace between God and man until man’s sin has been expiated.  The bullock and the ram continue to typify Christ in the energy of His own will doing His Father’s will.


9:19.  “And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver:”


For the spiritual significance of these parts see comments on 8:25.


9:20.  “And they put the fat upon the breast, and he burnt the fat upon the altar:”


The breast speaks of love and care, and the placing of the fat upon the breast points symbolically to the fact that the Lord’s love for ruined men is beyond the ability of human minds to measure: it extended all the way to His death by which their sins were atoned for, and a basis of perfect righteousness laid that enables God to pardon their sins, and bestow His priceless gift of eternal life.


The burning of the fat upon the altar continues to emphasize in  symbol that man’s eternal blessing has been purchased at inestimable cost: the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus Christ.


9:21.  “And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the Lord: as Moses commanded.”


The right shoulder speaks of power and might, and assures us that the Lord, our all powerful, almighty Representative, possessed the power and might to expiate our sins, and vanquish death, thus enabling God to bless us “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (things) in Christ,” Ephesians 1:3.       


See comments on 8:27 relative to the import of the wave offering.


9:22.  “And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.”


The trespass and meal offering are omitted here because God would focus our attention entirely on Christ Who, as our sin offering has dealt, not only with our trespasses (sins), but with the old sin nature that is the source of all our sins.  He is also our burnt offering (which speaks of worship), for it is He whom we present to the Father when we worship.  And finally, He is our peace offering, He “having made peace by the blood of his cross,” Colossians 1:20.


It was only after all these offerings had been presented that Aaron could lift up his hand and bless the people.  It is only on the basis of Christ’s finished work that God can bless us, see Luke 24:50-51 where it is recorded that the Lord, having completed the work which the Father had given Him to do, “led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.”


9:23.  “And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people.”


We have already noted that Moses represents the Law; and Aaron, grace, so that their going into the tabernacle together is the symbolic announcement of the truth that through Christ’s finished work, law and grace are reconciled, He having met all the Law’s requirements.  He kept the Law, but then in transcendent grace, He took our place - that of the law-breaker - giving His life as the price of our redemption, so that God can now impute Christ’s righteousness to us, and bless us as those no longer condemned, but rather approved, by His holy law.


“... and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people,” as promised in verse 6.  The type will be fulfilled on that soon coming day when we shall stand in heaven and behold His glory, our presence there being the Father’s response to the Lord’s petition recorded in John 17:24, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”


9:24.  “And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.”


The consumption of the offering by that miraculous heavenly fire was the evidence that God had accepted not only the offering, but also those who presented it.  It is the symbolic demonstration of the truth that He accepts all who present the Lord Jesus Christ as their spiritual burnt offering, i.e., who trust Him as their personal Savior and Lord.


The fact that the fire upon the altar was never to go out declares typologically God’s eternal existence.  He has never had a beginning, nor will He ever have an end.


In Hebrews 12:29 it is written, “For our God is a consuming fire,” and the redeemed of every age will worship Him eternally for the love and grace and mercy that impelled Him to give the Lord Jesus Christ to die in our guilty stead, so that we might be cleansed from sin, and enabled to stand in His presence unafraid, possessed of His very life and nature, the confirmation of that transformation being that the consuming fire which is the essence of His very being, will then reveal that we too possess that same life and nature which the fire manifests, but does not destroy.


We should never forget that our transformation is the result of the Lord’s having taken our guilty place at Calvary, where the fire of divine wrath against sin fell upon Him, as foretold in Psalm 102:3, “For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth”; and again in Jeremiah 1:12-13, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.  From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them ....”


What is described in this verse occurred in terrible reality at Calvary when the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the type of the burnt offering, and “... through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God....” Hebrews 9:14.


“... which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.”  Consternation, awe, and wonder prostrated them as they beheld the terrible glory of God.  Today an unbelieving world mocks God, His Word, and His people, but the day is fast approaching when their mockery will give place to wailing, as recorded in Revelation 6:15-17, “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” 

[Leviticus 10]


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