Bible Study with Jairus – Leviticus 6
Removing Obstacles that Hinder Our Fellowship with God
What is the purpose of the laws regarding offerings? God’s purpose is to help us remove every obstacle that hinders our fellowship with Him. These obstacles include our sins, shortcomings, and selfishness. After we have removed these obstacles, we can come to the Father in one Spirit (Ephesians 2:18). By doing so, we will be filled with His divine nature.
Like all laws, the law of the offerings gives us a framework that helps us not stray too far from God’s nature. Like the rumble strips on the shoulder of the highway, the purpose of the law is to keep us from driving into a spiritual ditch. These guardrails keep us from sinning and turning away from God.
But in order to truly manifest God’s nature in our lives, we need to have freedom in Christ. In other words, we need to absorb his external laws into our hearts and spirits. We can only have freedom in Christ when we no longer have to rely on external laws to restrict us. Instead, God’s Spirit guides us from the inside.
Truly knowing and experiencing Jesus Christ on the inside allows us to manifest God’s nature on the outside. When sin stands between us and God, we need to pray, repent, and remove the barriers imposed by our sins, world, and the flesh. We need to ask the Lord to strengthen us in the inner man so we can make progress and experience spiritual breakthroughs. This can only be achieved through constant fellowship with God.
The Linen Garments
God specifically commanded the priests to wear fine linen while offering burnt offerings. The fine linen represents the righteous deeds of the saints (Revelation 19:8) and reminds us of the importance of holiness (Leviticus 6:10-11).
The burnt offering was burned all night until morning (verse 9). Each morning, the priests added wood and the fat of the peace offerings to the fire (verse 12). The fire of the altar was not to go out at any time (verses 9, 12, 13). The priest had to wear linen garments when gathering the ashes from the altar (verses 10-11). But when he went outside the camp to throw ashes in a clean place, he had to take off his linen garment.
Leviticus 6:10-11 says, “And the priest shall put on his linen garment and put his linen undergarment on his body, and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has reduced the burnt offering on the altar and put them beside the altar. Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.” (Leviticus 6:10-11).
Why did the priests need to put on other garments and take off their linen garments when throwing the ashes outside? The answer lies in the holiness of God. The closer an individual came to the inner sanctuary, the holier they had to become. Ordinary Israelites could enter the outer courtyard, and ordinary Levites could enter the sanctuary. But only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies once a year.
When we approach God without respecting his holiness, we face serious consequences. Uzzah was killed when touched the Ark of the Covenant. Uzzah was only permitted to carry the items related to the outer courtyard, because he was a descendent of Merari. He was not allowed to carry the things in the sanctuary, let alone touch the ark of the Holy of Holies. So he died.
In addition, Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu were burned to death when offering profane incense to God. They were not yet priests, yet they approached God. They may have attempted to enter the Holy of Holies. They died as well. These examples show that when we are not holy enough, we cannot get too close to the Lord. Otherwise, He will kill us.
We all understand this logic. But we rarely think about it the other way around. What happens when a person leaves a holier place and enters a less holy place?
Inside the camp is holier than outside the camp. We can see that the camp is holy because sin offerings, burnt offerings, and other offerings were made to cover sin. However, the area outside the camp was unclean. The ashes, which were produced when the offering was burned, represented sin (and the death of the sin-bearing sacrifice). However, they also represented redemption. For example, “the ashes of the red heifer” were used to remove the sin and cleanse the Israelites (Numbers 19). To help us understand why the priests took off their linen garments when entering an unclean place to deposit the “ashes of redemption,” let’s consider two illustrations.
The first illustration is taken from Matthew 7:6: “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” Our linen garments restrict us from going to an unclean place and sharing our holiness with “pigs and dogs” who don’t appreciate our pearls. Sinners who live outside the camp (a picture of life before salvation) can only receive the ashes of redemption (a picture of repentance). Only after they repent can they enter the camp. They must be willing to become humble and receptive and put on clean linen garments before they can enter the sanctuary of God. The linen garment (a picture of the righteous deeds of the saints) must be obtained inside the camp (a picture of receiving salvation).
The second illustration is the humility of Jesus. Jesus came down from heaven and humbled himself. “He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8). In other words, he shed his “linen garments” and went outside the camp, a place of disgrace. Hebrews 13:12-13 says, “And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate, to sanctify the people by His own blood. Therefore, let us go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.”
Every truth has two sides. On the one hand, the Lord said that we should not give what is holy to the dogs. On the other hand, He humbled Himself and ate with tax collectors and prostitutes.
The law of the burnt offering reflects God’s provision and requirements. God requires us to be holy in order to see Him (Hebrews 12:14). But if we repent and beat our breasts like the tax collector did, we will be justified (Luke 18:9-17). On the one hand, God has strict requirements for drawing near to Him; on the other hand, he gives us the opportunity to repent and to draw near to Him. The main thing that prevents us from drawing near to God is our sins. God sent Jesus Christ to be our sacrifice and mediator so that we could draw near to Him. God removed the sins that prevented us from drawing near to Him. This is the main message of the law of the offerings.
God’s requirements for approaching Him
To get close to God, we must follow his requirements, because He is holy and we are sinful. God gave these laws and stipulations to guide the Israelites while they were still spiritually inexperienced. After they matured spiritually, he gave them more freedom.
To understand this, let’s look at the example of a dance instructor. A dance teacher begins by teaching the three-step dance routine, then the four-step tango, and so on. After the student masters each of the dance moves successfully, the instructor will set him or her free to improvise. The teacher will no longer limit the student’s creativity. He or she can dance as they please.
In the same way, God gave strict laws so that the Israelites could understand how to approach him. These spiritually immature people needed to learn how to discipline themselves, build good character and know God better. The law served these purposes. But after this good character has been built and the student knows God personally, he or she is freed from the law to live creatively under the power of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians have not reached the level of spiritual maturity that God expects, either as an individual or as a church.
God wants to get rid of obstacles that stand between us and Him. Our secret sins, the contamination of the world, and our imperfections of the flesh are like filth and sediment clogging the shower head. Even though there are many small holes in the shower head, the water can’t come out because it is blocked.
In the same way, the indwelling Christ and the Holy Spirit are powerful. They, along with God the Father, created the world. God is immensely great, but our sins block his powerful presence. Through his redemption, Jesus accomplished everything necessary to open up the way to God. The Holy Spirit is here to help us live for God. Yet the obstacles within us prevent Him from being manifested in our lives.
God’s law, specifically the law of the offerings, helps us deal with sin. In this way, we can be transformed, break free from the ordinary, and allow God’s life to fill us and flow through us.
The guilt offering removes transgression
The purpose of the guilt offering was to remove transgressions, whether those sins are budding or full-grown. If a person deceived and oppressed their neighbors (verse 2) or lied about something that had been lost (verse 3), they not only needed to restore it (with extra), but also offer a ram without blemish as a guilt offering to God (verse 4-6). When they did so, their sins would be forgiven (verse 7).
Many Christians still commit these types of sins. We are all greedy. But unlike nonbelievers, our consciences are disturbed when we break God’s law. We lose peace and fellowship with God. We should follow the wisdom of these laws: in addition to returning the wealth we greedily obtained, we should add a fifth to it, and receive the atoning sacrifice of Jesus to cover our sins. Because of our dishonest gain, we should suffer a loss.
Why do we need to do this? Because God’s presence and peace are more important than the loss of external possessions. The guilt offering teaches us how to cover our transgressions, obtain God’s forgiveness, and enter closer fellowship with Him.
The discussion of guilt offerings in this chapter is a continuation of the previous chapter. Leviticus 1:7 to Leviticus 6 talks about the five basic offerings (the burnt offering, the grain offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering). Leviticus 6:8 to Leviticus 7 discusses the laws regarding these five basic offerings (in a slightly different order: burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering, and the peace offering). We talked about the spiritual implications of this order when we were reading Leviticus 1, so I will not repeat them here. This is why chapter 7 talks about guilt offerings in addition to burnt offerings.
The law of the burnt offering requires us to be completely dedicated to God
We all know that the burnt offering is completely burned up as a tribute to God. Like Abraham offered Isaac, and like Christ offered himself completely to God, we should offer our lives as sacrifices. We should be completely dedicated to God. But often, we are not.
Because we are created by God, we should be entirely dedicated to Him, just like the burnt offering, which was totally consumed. If we are saved, we belong to God and are sanctified by Him. Our linen garments represent our righteous acts (Revelation 19:8). They remind us of the holiness that we experience inside God’s camp (salvation). Those who are in Christ (inside the camp) have linen garments, but those who are outside of Christ (outside the camp) do not have these linen garments. They can only receive the fine linen by repenting and turning to Christ.
Once we are saved, no one can snatch us out of Jesus’ hand (John 10:28-29). Yet we need to act like we are saved. The blood of Jesus Christ saves us from sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21). We must not live ordinary lives! We must live lives of holiness as pure as clean, white linen.
The law of the grain offering reminds us to let go of weaknesses
The grain offering included fine flour, oil, and frankincense. It must not be mixed with leaven. Fine flour represents Jesus’ tender nature; oil represents the Holy Spirit; frankincense represents the fragrance of Christ’s resurrection. Each of these things helps us let go of the weakness and dross of human nature.
For example, I often inadvertently hurt my wife’s feelings by my indifference to her emotions. I may not have sinned intentionally, but my flaws (indifference and selfishness) made her feel unloved.
In these situations, I need to experience the redemption of the grain offering. I need the virtues of Christ (represented by the fine flour, oil, and frankincense). I also need to experience God’s sacrifice (verses 15, 21) and nourishment (verses 16, 18). God’s sacrifice is Jesus Christ. As my grain offering, He has carried my imperfections to the cross.
God’s nourishment is also found in Jesus. Jesus is the bread that came down from heaven (John 6:58). Through consuming Jesus’ life, I will be transformed and fed by him. The more we feed on Christ, the healthier we will become spiritually, just like the more we eat healthy, organic food, the stronger we will grow.
Verses 22-23 specifically point out that if Aaron’s descendants were to succeed him as priests, they must offer a special grain offering. This grain offering must not be eaten, but wholly burned and offered to God. This offering was dedicated totally to God. This reminds us that those who approached God must be holy and not ordinary. Just like the fine linen mentioned earlier, those who came near to a holy God must be holy.
The law of the sin offering requires holiness
Holiness is mentioned frequently in the passage about the sin offering.
- “The sin offering that is killed before the Lord is most holy” (verse 25)
- The priest must eat it in the court of the (holy) tent of meeting (verse 26)
- Whatever touches its flesh shall be holy (verse 27)
- The blood-splattered garments must be washed in the holy place (verse 27)
- The earthenware vessel in which the sacrifice is boiled must be broken, and the bronze vessel must be scoured; every male priest may eat the sacrifice; it is most holy (verse 29)
- When the blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement, the offering was not to be eaten and must be burned (verse 30).
The essence of these verses is holiness. All who are in Christ (inside the camp) must be holy. Those who belong to Christ must also be holy. We learned about this concept when we discussed the fine linen. Those who went out of the holy camp had to take off their fine linen and carry only ashes.
The Bible says, “no offering shall be eaten if blood is brought to cleanse the Holy Place” (Leviticus 6:30). Cleansing by blood and ashes is only the first step. It removes the distance between us and God. Now that the distance has been removed through Jesus’ sacrifice, we can continually come to the Father in one Spirit through Christ (Ephesians 2:18). We can continually please God.
The more we draw near to God through the Holy Spirit in Christ, the more fine linen (righteousness) we have. The fine linen (righteous deeds of the saints) does not just represent the outward works we do for God. It also represents the way God fills us on the inside!
The purpose of the laws regarding offerings is to remove the obstacles that hinder our fellowship with God. God wants us to come before Him with confidence and have deeper fellowship with Him. Our Heavenly Father cares about us, and he wants intimacy with us even more than we want intimacy with Him!
When parents and children are apart, who misses each other more? Obviously, parents miss their children more. Likewise, the Heavenly Father desires fellowship with us even more than we do. The purpose of the Old Testament sacrificial laws was to remove obstacles between God and his people.
When we neglect fellowship with God, it breaks our Heavenly Father’s heart. The purpose of God’s sacrificial laws was not just to provide external regulations, but to keep people’s hearts from straying too far from Him.
Drawing near to God is the goal. Only by constantly drawing near to God can we obtain the essence of the law. When we draw near to God, we become who we are in Christ. We experience his law written on our hearts, and we obtain freedom in the Spirit.
Removing our sins and entering the camp is only the first step. After we come to Christ through his sacrifice on the cross, we must wear his fine linen (righteousness) and stay in the camp. We must abide in constant fellowship with God. This is what He desires for us to do forever.
Let us repent from our sins, put on the garments of his righteousness, and stay in Christ forever. Let us abide in deep fellowship with God!
 All Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.