I'm plowing through Leviticus these days. As I've read about thank offerings, grain offerings, and sin offerings, I realized how very grateful I am we don't have to go through all that ritual anymore! I, for one, have never seen an animal slaughtered, skinned, cut up, etc. etc. My meat comes from the grocery store and that's all I want to know!
So reading through Leviticus and Exodus about all the sacrifices is a little distasteful to some of us. But we have to remember that killing animals for consumption was a very common practice for the Israelites. Most families probably raised their own livestock and slaughtered them as needed. Seeing blood and such would not have been anything new to them. Today's farmers, ranchers, hunters, and meat industry workers were just like the Israelites--it wasn't anything new or unusual.
Even though the whole animal-offering-ritual is rather unpleasant to me, it wasn't to God! Time and again I read that the burnt offerings were "a pleasing aroma to the Lord." He gave His people specific instructions, so it pleased Him when they followed them. It still pleases God today when we obey Him and His commandments. Our love, worship and praise is a pleasing aroma to God!
In Leviticus 4 the Lord gives Moses instructions on how to go about atoning for sin. He starts off by saying, "When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands..." That tells me there is intentional sin and unintentional sin. How do we know the difference?
"When they become aware of the sin they committed.." (4:14)
"When he is made aware of the sin he committed..." (4:23)
"When he is made aware of the sin he committed..." (4:28)
When we sin, we will know it! Either because the sin we've committed is obvious or because God will bring it to our attention. Either way, we must take care of it.
"...he must confess in what way he has sinned..." (5:5)
But what about now? How do we atone for our sins?
I don't know about you, but I'm relieved that I don't have to take a lamb to a temple to have it slaughtered for my sins. But a Lamb did die for me. A perfect, spotless Lamb took all my ugly, nasty, black-hearted sin upon Him when He died on the cross.
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John the Baptist said this in John 1:29.
"Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders." Revelation 5:5, John's revelation of things to come.
"...he was led like a lamb to the slaughter..." Isaiah 53:7, which is prophecy of Jesus' dying on the cross.
The Lamb was sacrificed for your sin and for mine. That's why we don't have to take animals to the temple anymore. Jesus already paid the price for our sin. His blood has already been spilled.
Jesus is the ultimate sin offering!