Sunday Night Bible Study: Levitical Sacrifices Pointed To Christ Jesus - M.R. DeHaan

M. R. DeHaan (1891-1965) was a widely respected bible teacher and pastor. He also founded the Radio Bible Class in 1938 and conducted a weekly program for 27 years.
Luke 24:27 'And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself"

The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us - John 1:14. The two disciples traveling the road to Emmaus on the very day of the resurrection were ignorant of the scriptures concerning the Lord Jesus Christ in "Moses and all the prophets", and because of that they were unable to recognize the risen Christ even as he came up and walked alongside them [Luke 24:15-16]. So he revealed Himself to them the only way it ever happens - through His Word [Luke 24:27]. It is no different today. Only through the 'written Word' is it ever possible to truly know the 'Word that was made flesh, and dwelt among us'. "Beginning at Moses"...was where the Lord Jesus started with the two disciples that day on the road to Emmaus, and certainly we should not neglect to go there also, and be sure to learn well what the scriptures written by Moses reveal concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

One very important section of scripture in this respect are the first five chapters of the book of Leviticus:

Christ Our Offering

Ephesians 5:2 'Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour'

In the first five chapters of the book of Leviticus we have five offerings in their order as follows:

1. The Whole Burnt Offering—Lev. 1.
2. The Meal Offering—Lev. 2.
3. The Peace Offering-Lev. 3.
4. The Sin Offering-Lev. 4.
5. The Trespass Offering-Lev. 5.

In these five offerings we have in type the complete and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ for sinners.

The number "five" is the number of the grace of God. In these five ceremonial offerings of Israel we have the typical revelation of God’s complete and finished provision for the sin of mankind, and the only key to peace in the heart, as well as peace on earth. These five offerings are divided into three parts. The first two offerings represent God’s provision in the Person of Christ for the sin question and have to do with the life and death of Jesus Christ to save sinners. The result of this is "peace with God."

The last two offerings (the sin and the trespass offerings) have nothing to do with the sinner but, rather, with the saint. They are God’s provision for the "sins of the saints"; those who were sinners but have been saved by the provision for salvation in the burnt and meal offerings. In other words, the first two offerings are for the sin of the sinner, whereas the last two are God’s provision for the sins of the saints (saved sinners). These two groups are united by the peace offering. The appropriation of the first two results in "peace with God" and brings justification for the sinner. The appropriation of the last two results in the "peace of God" and produces sanctitication. Bearing this division in mind, let us examine the five offerings briefly and see what Christ is to all them that believe.


The burnt offering comes first. In it an animal was slain by the priest and placed upon the altar in the court of the Tabernacle. The characteristic of this offering was that it was called the whole burnt offering. While part of the other offerings was given to the priest and the offerer (they that served at the altar were "partakers of the altar"), not so with this first one. Not a shred of it was given to the priest or anyone else. It was to be burnt whole upon the altar. Every part of it was to be consumed. It represents the Cross of Calvary, the place where our redemption roots and grounds itself. The Cross is the foundation of all our redemption. That is why the Altar of Burnt Offering stood at the very entrance to the Tabernacle of the congregation. As the Israelite entered the door he met first the Altar of Burnt Offering. Until he stopped there, he could never go beyond. There was no approach to the laver or the table of shewbread or the golden candlestick, much less the Holy of Holies, until the priest had first stopped at the altar. Here the whole animal was slain and consumed. Here the blood was shed which formed the basis of everything which followed.

Here upon the death of the innocent substitute rested every blessing of salvation. No wonder, then, that Satan should try to eliminate the Altar of Burnt Offering, the Cross! No wonder that infidelity levels all its attacks upon the blood and the need of an innocent substitute for the sin of man! Once the blood and the Cross are removed, everything else becomes powerless and vain. The Cross stands first in the plan of salvation.

I must needs go home by the way of the Cross,
There’s no other way but this;
I shall ne’er get sight of the gates of light
If the way of the Cross I miss.

The altar blocked the way into the Tabernacle and to go through the door meant to go by the Cross. How significant the words of the Lord Jesus when He said, "I am the door." That door opened to the Cross. He said, "He that entereth not by the door . . . is a thief and a robber." To enter the Tabernacle any other way but by the door is to eliminate the altar and the Cross. No!

There is no salvation apart from the Cross and the blood. This first offering was the whole burnt offering. Man added nothing to it, and man had no part in it whatsoever. What a picture of the Saviour’s work! He must bear the sin of the world alone. No one could help Him. Even in the last dread hour God hid His face as the Lord Jesus cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" In the work of salvation man has no part except to receive what He (Christ) alone provided. See Him hanging there, forsaken by God and man, bearing the sin of a lost world in His own body on the tree, experiencing alone the infinite wrath of God upon sin. Well did Isaiah the prophet see this when he said, "I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me" (Isa. 63:3), and Peter, when he said, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree" (I Pet. 2:24).

Alone my Saviour bled and died
On Calvary’s rough and cruel tree,
That I, forever justified,
At peace with God might ever be.
No toil of mine could ought avail,
No help of mine would He receive,
Complete the offering He gave,
And all I do is just believe.

Christ is the whole burnt offering, dying on the Altar of the Whole Burnt Offering, to provide a ransom for sinners.


The death of Christ alone, however, was not enough to bring about peace with God. Thus, before we have the peace offering, spoken of in the third chapter of Leviticus, we must stop first at the meat offering (meal offering) in chapter 2. The burnt offering did all in making payment for sin, but it provided no righteousness to make us presentable before God. Pardoned sinners can never stand before God. They must appear before Him not as forgiven sinners but as justified saints. There must not even be a remembrance of sin. God is so holy that even the memory of sin is enough to bar a man from His presence. For this reason we must have the meal offering before full peace is established. As the burnt offering represents Christ’s death, the meal offering represents His perfect life while here on earth. In this offering no blood is shed. It is bloodless. It was made of fine meal, without leaven or honey, baked with oil and frankincense.

Oil, as you know, is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and frankincense is the symbol of that which is pleasing to God. The Lord Jesus Christ during His ministry on earth came in the power of the Holy Spirit. At the beginning of His ministry He came to john to be baptized. He who had been conceived by the Holy Ghost, now was to be iilled with the Holy Ghost, and as He came up out of the waters of baptism, God poured on Him the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove and accepted the pleasing fragrance of His obedient act by calling from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17). The Lord was then ready as a man to begin His work.

At His baptism Christ declared His willingness to do God’s will in providing a salvation for sinners. By His temptation in the wilderness He proved His ability to defeat Satan, and by His life He demonstrated that He was able to provide a perfect human righteousness which should be imputed to poor lost sinners on the basis of His atoning work on Calvary. Remembering that the meal offering represents the life of Christ, we see the significance of the prohibition of honey and leaven. Honey is symbolic of the sweets of life. The good things of the earth which we love and which God wants us to enjoy were never experienced by our great meal offering. He came "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." He never had a home of His own. Wearing a borrowed garment, He depended on the generosity of His friends for His sustenance. To pay His taxes He had to send Peter fishing. He could say, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." He was poor and needy -— the extras of life and friends were never His portion. He was the offering without the sweeter things, the honey of life.

Then, too, there was no leaven in this offering. Leaven invariably stands for evil in the Scriptures. Never once is the word "leaven" used to imply good. It is a symbol of evil in doctrine or evil in practice. ]esus speaks of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees (doctrinal leaven). Paul speaks of the leaven of wickedness and malice (moral leaven). Neither of these were in the meal offering. jesus Christ was the only perfect Man since the fall of Adam. The spies sent by the Pharisees to trap Him came back without evidence. No accusations could be found against Him, and they had to bribe false witnesses to indict Him. Even then, Pilate, speaking for humanity, had to say, "I find no fault in him." He was the perfect meal offering.

O blessed offering, God’s only Son,
Who there for us salvation won,
No sin or guilt to call His own,
For others’ guilt He must atone.

No leaven in Him e'er was found
But previous meal and finely ground,
No honeyed pleasures were His lot,
But our dark sin He came to blot.

The death of Christ made payment for sin. It saves us from hell, but still cannot fit us for heaven. When Christ died He made payment for sin and those who believe will never be lost, but if no more had been done, man, though saved from hell through faith, could not enter heaven. He would be a forgiven sinner and no more. Therefore, to fit him for heaven as well, Jesus provided righteousness with which He clothes the forgiven sinner and imputes to Him His Own perfect righteousness. We are saved from sin by His death and saved for heaven by His life. Why did Jesus have to live thirty-three years before He went to the Cross? Why did He not come to the world as Adam did, a full—grown man, and immediately go to Calvary? It would have spared Him the reproach and reviling of thirty-three years. Friend, God is so holy that merely paying for sin was not enough. There must be a righteousness provided, a human righteousness as well as a divine righteousness. This Christ did when He lived to mature manhood in perfect righteousness and kept the law of God entirely. When we come to Him by faith, He imputes to us His death by which our sins are put away, and then He also imputes to us His righteousness; He "wraps us up," as it were, in His own righteousness, so that when God looks upon us He sees us in Christ, not as pardoned sinners, but as men and women in Christ, as perfect as though we had never committed a single sin but had always lived as perfectly as the One in whose garment we are arrayed.


Now follows the peace offering, and not until now (Lev. 3:3,5). When we accept Christ by faith He becomes our substitute in death and our righteousness in life. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). God accepts us in Him as perfect and holy; as though we had never sinned (Col. 1:20, 21-22). Sinner, will you accept this peace? There is nothing to do but receive Him by faith.


We have discussed the whole burnt offering as representing the death of Christ upon the Cross for the sin of man. By this offering the penalty of sin was borne by the Lord Jesus Christ and now all who believe on Him are free from the penalty of sin, eternal death and woe. More was needed, however, than merely salvation from hell. Provision must also be made for our acceptance into God’s presence. This, we saw, was provided by the same person to which the five offerings in Leviticus point. The second of these five offerings in Leviticus, the meal offering, is a type of the perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. This perfect righteousness is imputed to all who by faith have believed on Him and have been delivered from the judgment of God. The result of this is the peace offering whereby the sinner is at peace with God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (Lev. 3:5; Eph. 5:2)

Before considering the last two offerings in Leviticus 1-5, permit me to list them again in their exact order, for the order in which they occur is as important as the offerings themselves. In the first five chapters of Leviticus we have five offerings, one for each chapter. They are in their order as follows:

1. The Whole Burnt Offering—chap. 1.
2. The Meal or Meat Offering—chap. 2.
3. The Peace Offering—chap. 3.
4. The Sin Offering——chap. 4.
5. The Trespass Offering—chap. 5.

The first two have to do with God’s provision for the sinner and result in justification. The last two have to do with the sins of the saints after they are saved, and result in sanctification. The result of the first group is peace with God, and the result of the second group is the peace of God which passeth understanding.


When the Lord Jesus Christ came to die on the Cross for our sin, He not only knew what great sinners we were, but He also knew what terrible failures we would be after we were saved. He knew that we would not be able to keep ourselves, in our own strength, and if He made no provisions for our constant cleansing after we had accepted Him we would not remain saved a single day or hour. He knew the frailty of human nature, and since He gives eternal life He also makes provision for eternal life.

In the same Christ who saves us we have One also who keeps us. By studying carefully the peace offering in Leviticus 3 you will notice that two parts of the peace offering —— the shoulder and the breast - were to be given to the priest (Lev. 7:34). The shoulder is a symbol of power and strength, and the breast is the symbol of nourishment and sustenance. Both these are provided in Him who became our peace offering on the basis of the blood of the burnt offering and the righteousness of the meal offering. While we have peace with God because of His work for us, the peace of God is ours only as we exercise the power of a cleansed life and feed daily upon Him who is both our food and drink; the Lamb who was slain for our sins and then became the Passover Lamb to feed us during our journey through the wilderness.

When we accept Christ as our burnt and meal offering, we receive the first, and have peace with God, but it is not until we appropriate Him as our sin and trespass offering that we experience the second. The last two offerings in Leviticus, then, are God’s provision for the saints. We need to stop only once at the burnt offering — only once to be saved — but we fail to go to Him as our offering to be cleansed and forgiven, thus to be fitted for renewed, service. It is the failure of Christians to confess their sins and receive the cleansing that makes for the deadness and fruitlessness of the average believer.

One must carefully distinguish between sin and sins. The sin refers to the sinner. Sins are those acts committed by the believer after his salvation. John says in I John 1 "If we [believers] confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

If you turn to the fourth and fifth chapters of Leviticus you will notice that three kinds of sins are mentioned for which provision is made in these offerings. Notice first Leviticus 4:2-3:

'Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them . . . let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a sin offering.'

Now notice the second of the sins:

Lev. 5:1
'And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.'

Then follows the third of the sins:

Lev. 5:2 'Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be scarifice of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty (Lev.5:6). And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin'

For these three classes of sins a sacrifice was provided and the guilty Israelite was to bring the sacrifice, lay his hand in confession upon its head, and deliver it to the priest, whereupon his sins were forgiven him. Notice that these three classes of sins were:

1. Sins of Ignorance.
2. Sins of Omission.
3. Sins of Defilement.

God is a holy God. Failure to recognize His holiness leads ever to a false sense of our own holiness. The more a man boasts of his own holiness, the less he knows of God’s holiness. The more a man realizes the holiness of God, the more he will see his own vileness, and the more reluctant he will be to boast of his own goodness. God is so holy that He cannot permit even sins of ignorance to go unheeded but provided a sacrifice for them as well. How happy we, as believers, ought to be about this. Sins of ignorance are sins of which we have no knowledge or conscience. How many things you and I have in the past, possibly in the early days of Christian experience, only to find later on as we read our Bibles and learned God’s will that these things and practices were wrong! Because we had not been better instructed and because we did not have the full teaching and light 0n.matters of life, we practiced sins of which we were unaware. Then when the Word of God revealed the truth of these sins to our minds and hearts, what a joy it was to find that God knew beforehand what stumbling failures we would be and He had made provision with the blood of the sin offering for our cleansing the moment we came. Since none of us have perfect knowledge as yet, how important that each day the Christian should confess the sins of ignorance. This thought is expressed in that beautiful song called "Evening Prayer":

Forgive the sins I have confessed to Thee;
Forgive, dear Lord, the secret sins I cannot see.

The writer of those lines evidently realized the provision that had been made in the sin offerings for the sins we did not know we had committed.

The second class of sins we find mentioned in the fifth chapter. They are the sins of "omission." They are the things we should have done but have not done: our failure to stand up for Christ when His Name was reviled; our failure to seek to win others to Christ; Our failure to be as fervent as we ought in prayer; the opportunities we have wasted, opportunities that never will never return. How we permitted the weariness of our flesh and the fear of man to keep us from being our best! All that is sin. I wonder whether those who boast of their holiness realize that sin is not only doing wrong things but also failure to do all the right things. For these sins, too, the Lord made provision in Christ, our trespass offering, and all we need to do to be cleansed is to present Him again as our offering and then "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Our dear Lord recognized how frail we would be and took the weakness of His children into consideration when He provided the sacrifice on the Cross for us.

In the third group of sins of the believers found in Leviticus 5 are the sins of defilement. The Israelite might not even know that he had touched an unclean thing, but he was guilty just the same. God is holy — so holy that not one tiny spot goes unnoticed. We are living in a corrupt world. In our social, business and even religious life we are constantly brushing shoulders with unclean things. Is there a businessman who would dare to say that he can do business as a Christian in this world and not be defiled? You Christians have to deal with ungodly salesmen and customers. Some of you work for ungodly employers, in places where the very atmosphere reeks with smut and profanity. There is nothing you can do about it without casting your pearls before the swine. It defiles you, nevertheless, and you need cleansing. Our blessed Lord knew how hard it was going to be for you to live in this wicked world and try to make a livelihood under these conditions. He knew how difficult and impossible it would be to remain undefiled, and while He does not justify deiilement, He does make provision for it. To become daily defiled is sin even though unavoidable, but failure to avail yourself of the cleansing provided is inexcusable, and will result in the sure judgment of God. Since He has been gracious enough to provide a cleansing, surely you cannot expect to go unpunished if you despise His provision.

For each of these sins a sacrifice was provided. For one it was a bullock, for another a goat, etc. All of these sacrifices pointed to Him, our blessed High Priest, and all spoke of His blood [Heb. 9:12]. The Israelite was to lay his hand on the head of the sacrifice, thereby confessing his sin, and then the priest did the rest. O Christian, have you learned the victory that Christ offers when you yield everything over to Him?

Paul says in Philippians: 'Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus' (Phil. 4:6-7)

Are you defeated and discouraged? Then confess to Him and accept His promise that "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." When you have confessed, then trust Him. Do not be anxious any more, but having done your part, leave the rest to Him. Do not confess your sin more than once to Him. Many people confess the same sin over and over again, thereby insulting God. If you have confessed it once, then believe that He keeps His word. If we confess, He forgives. To confess the same sin again is to tell God you do not believe He forgave you the first time. Bring your sin offering in confession and then leave the rest with the Priest (Heb. 4:15). Go away with thanksgiving instead of doubt.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". 1John 1:9

M.R. DeHaan
James 1:22 'But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only'

1 comment :

:>) said...

Better than excellent. Thanks.