“When a leader sins and inadvertently does something against any of the mitzvot of Adonai concerning things which should not be done, he is guilty. If the sin which he committed becomes known to him, he is to bring as his offering a male goat without defect, lay his hand on the goat’s head and slaughter it in the place where they slaughter the burnt offering in the presence of Adonai ; it is a purification offering.”-Leviticus 4:22-24
We are continuing on with our study of the 4th Levitical sacrifice known as the HATTA-AT or Purification Offering.
Recall that there are four different ways this sacrifice is offered up depending on the class of the individual.
The four classes are the High Priest, All of Israel, the Tribal Leader, and the Common person.
While the sacrificial protocol for the High Priest and ALL of Israel are very similar, we will see a definite shift in procedures from the Tribal Leader.
First, the type of sacrificial animal to be used is a male goat instead of a bull which represents quite a shift down in terms of value.
However, the basic procedures do not change.
The male goat is brought to the Tabernacle, the tribal leader who sinned lays his hands on the goat indicating that his guilt is being transferred to the animal, the goat is killed and then a portion of its fat is burned up on the Brazen Altar.
However, in addition to the use of a different sacrificial animal, there are still some other interesting differences.
Note verse 26.
“All its fat he is to make go up in smoke on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice for peace offerings; thus the cohen will make atonement for him in regard to his sin, and he will be forgiven.”-Leviticus 4:26
The “Peace Offerings” is referring to the ZEVAH SHELAMIM.
So unlike when the HATTA-AT ritual is performed by the High priest or for all Israel, when the Purification Offering is done by the Tribal Leader, certain portions of the goat may be given to the priests as food, rather than the remainder of the animal being destroyed OUTSIDE THE CAMP as was done with the High Priest bull offering.
Another difference is that the sprinkling of the goat blood takes place OUTSIDE of the sanctuary and is done by a common priest instead of the High Priest.
Another difference is that the blood is NOT dabbed onto the horns of the Incense Altar located INSIDE the sanctuary (Holy Place), but on the horns of the Brazen Altar located OUTSIDE the sanctuary.
In a nutshell, the 3 main differences are as follows:
-The sacrificial animal changes from a bull to a goat. This was a significant step down not only in the importance of the type of animal but of the one who was offering up the sacrifice (the tribal leader), as compared to when the High Priest or the whole congregation sinned.
-From the whole animal being destroyed outside the camp, now parts of the goat can be used for food.
-A common priest officiates over the rituals instead of the High Priest.
I don’t know if you’re beginning to realize this or not, but Leviticus shows that the standard Western Christian idea that all sins are the same in the Lord’s eyes is a complete falsehood of a teaching.
As we can see right here in Leviticus, the Lord DOES grade or classify sins.
Personally, I always thought the teaching that a sin is a sin is sin was a bunch of nonsense.
Think about it.
How can stealing a candy bar be the same as committing premeditated murder in the Lord’s eyes?
Or how can the actions of the President of the United States be on an equal level of a common person?
The same goes for the sins of a Pastor or Leader of a Congregation.
Of course, the Lord is going to hold the leader more accountable because he or she represents the whole group and the responsibilities of the leader are much greater than the common person.
While the Lord may hold us equally accountable in terms of salvation (whether we accept Yeshua or not), in terms of earthly consequences, the nature of the sinful behavior and the position one holds in society matters.
Finally, let’s take a look at verse 27.
“If an individual among the people commits a sin inadvertently, doing something against any of the mitzvot of Adonai concerning things which should not be done, he is guilty.”-Leviticus 4:27
So here we come to the lowest class of HATTA-AT.
When I say “lowest class”, understand that I’m not talking about a comparison between the individual worth of human beings here.
I’m not saying the High Priest is intrinsically more valuable than the common person for example.
I’m just talking about the reality that the High Priest’s sins are much more serious than if the whole congregation sins.
And the whole congregation sinning is much more dangerous than a tribal leader’s sins.
And the tribal leaders’ sins are more serious than a common person’s sin.