“He is to slaughter the young bull before Adonai ; and the sons of Aharon, the cohanim, are to present the blood. They are to splash the blood against all sides of the altar, which is by the entrance to the tent of meeting.”-Leviticus 1:11
In chapter one of Leviticus, there are a few foundational principles behind all the sacrifices that we need to have firmly embedded in our craniums.
Chief among these principles is that ONLY A PRIEST FROM THE TRIBE OF LEVI is authorized to officiate over the sacrifices.
If the priest in question was NOT from the Tribe of Levi, he was illegitimate, period.
If a non-Levite fake priest was to officiate over the sacrificial rituals, the holy sanctuary would become defiled.
Another point we need to understand was that this Levitical priesthood was a shaking up of an already existing centuries-old tradition.
See, until these sacrificial laws were given to Moses, each individual Israelite family performed their own rites and rituals with the firstborn of the family serving as the head priest.
The Levites and their newly assigned station as the priests of Israel represented a radical departure from how things were done in Israel up to that time.
Once the Levite priesthood was established, household family rituals became instantly outlawed.
When this happened, many folks had difficulty accepting this new reality.
The firstborns in particular were really ticked off at losing their prestigious family priest status to this new Levite regime.
Moving on, the other point made clear in this chapter is about blood.
First, only the priests were allowed to handle the blood of the sacrificial animal.
Second, some portion of blood from every animal sacrifice had to be splashed onto the holy altar.
This was extremely important!
If the blood from the animal sacrifice was NOT splashed onto the Altar, the sacrifice was pretty much null and void.
It would have been the same as if no sacrifice had been offered up at all.
The BLOOD is what makes the sacrifice a sacrifice.
I’ll be explaining this in detail later but for now just understand that unless the blood from the animal makes contact with the Altar, the blood does NOT become Holy.
This brings us to another extremely important Biblical principle concerning holiness that you’ve just got to understand.
This is a super governing principle that will explain so much as we move forward in our studies.
The principle is this:
Once the Lord declares something HOLY, whether that something is an object or a person, the holiness of that object becomes contagious.
The state of holiness can be passed on from object to object, person to person, person to object etcetera.
And vice versa is also true, a defiled object can infect something holy.
This is why the HOLY must in all circumstances be kept separate from anything that is common or defiled.
And when I say “common” or “defiled”, be aware that these are not throwaway terms.
These are words that I will be defining in great detail later on.
Just please understand the point I mentioned that the holiness of an object or person can be transmitted to things and people around them.
Understanding this one point alone will shed light on so many things you probably wondered about in the Scriptures such as why the Lord had to destroy certain cities to every man, woman, and child, why believers should not mate with unbelievers, why the Lord had to destroy certain priests when they were officiating in His temple, etcetera.
One final point, understand that the sacrificial animal nor its blood is inherently holy.
Once the owner singles out an animal out of his herd to be used as a sacrifice, it’s not like the creature magically takes on the properties of holiness.
The blood of the animal ONLY BECOMES HOLY THE INSTANT ITS BLOOD TOUCHES THE BRAZEN ALTAR.
Once that happens, the blood is now ready to be used for its sacrificial purpose.
This closes Leviticus Chapter One.
The next time we meet, we’ll be discussing the next common sacrifice (there are five common sacrifices in total).
However, before we go, here are some quick review points of the first sacrifice, the OLAH or BURNT OFFERING we have been studying over the past couple of days.
-The OLAH is normally translated as the BURNT OFFERING which is what scholars call a functional translation. A literal translation would be NEAR OFFERING. It is called a NEAR OFFERING because the smoke from this sacrifice as it rose towards the heavens brought one NEARER to the Lord.
-This sacrifice was NOT about sin atonement. It was more like a gift to maintain your peaceful relationship with the Lord. It was also about acknowledging your corrupt condition before a Holy God.
-This sacrifice was offered up daily once in the morning and once in the evening.
-The animals for this sacrifice ranged from bulls, to sheep, to birds and the burning up of these animals was to be complete, nothing was to remain.
-When the Lord commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac, it was as an OLAH or a BURNT OFFERING.
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN LEVITICUS CHAPTER TWO