By: John N. Darby

Notice in the first place that the tabernacle has been set up. It is out of the tabernacle of the congregation that this instruction is given. It supposes God is there, and it is a question of approach to Him.

There are two classes of sacrifices: those made by fire for a sweet savour; and the sin and trespass offerings (pretty much the same thing), which were not for a sweet savour, though the fat of them was burnt on the altar. The three sacrifices of sweet savour are – the burnt-offering, the meat (or meal) offering, and the peace-offering. “Peace-offering” is a bad name: “sacrifices de prosperite” they are called in French.

As to the offerings, they are here given as from Jehovah in their order; they are for men, but still from the Lord, just as Christ was; whereas, when men came to offer, they came, not with the burnt-offering, but with the sin-offering first. Here the divine statement of them is made, and the sin-offering is last because this is what Christ became when He had offered up Himself. It is first when persons come by them, and the order in a measure shews the character.

We first come in Leviticus 1 to the burnt-offering. “If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd,” and so on. Sometimes a bullock, and sometimes a goat, or a sheep, but a “male without blemish,” representing Christ in His perfection.

“Of his own voluntary will” should rather be, “for his acceptance.” There is one passage made me question it rather, but I believe that is what it should be. In chapter 22 you may make a difference; in verse 19 it means “free-will,” but in verse 29 it should be “for his acceptance.”

The offerer puts his hand on the head of the victim. “And it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him, and he shall kill the bullock before the Lord.” Then the priest was to bring the blood, and deal with that; this is the priest’s first act – to bring the blood.

The special character of the burnt-offering is, that it was not for a committed sin; on the contrary, what is to me a most wonderful thing is, that not only the question of our sins is elsewhere met, but in the burnt-offering it is the question of glorifying God in the place of sin itself – Christ “made sin.” And He who knew no sin was made sin, and stood in the place of sin (at the cross) before God, so as to glorify God there; “made sin,” which, except in a divine way of wisdom, is impossible. But Christ was made sin of His own voluntary will, and yet it was in obedience: these are combined; the two things are together. God “hath made him to be sin.” God put Him in the place of sin, and He offered Himself for sin (and He is our passover), freely and entirely for it.

198 This is what we may see in John 18, “if ye seek me, let these go their way.” Christ put Himself forward, “offered himself without spot to God”; but at the same time He is “made sin” – it is obedience too. The thing was, to unite this fact of sin being under God’s eye, and so to have it there as that God should be perfectly glorified about it. And only in a victim could this be. And there was perfectness in bringing it, for it was the giving up of Himself. Besides the fact of our sins put away there, you get nothing like the atonement. It is all for us all the while; yet Christ is there “made sin,” in absolute obedience and self-sacrifice, but making good the righteousness, and love, and majesty, and honour, and truth of God, and everything else that is in God. Now it is by this we come; and therefore it is not only that the sin-offering has been there, but in coming by this I come in all the value of that which has glorified God in the very place where I was; I come to God in all the value of this, and get the acceptance of it before God, like Abel. Nowhere else at all is anything seen like this.

Until the man lays his hand upon the victim, it is not a sacrifice properly. Christ, “through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God”; but now when I lay my hand upon the victim, that is the application of it, more than part of it.

We hardly get the “made sin” in the verses here. A man’s bringing a burnt-offering is as good as coming to the Lord and saying, “I have no devotedness to bring; but all is due to the Lord, and I bring it in the person of my sacrifice,” which in principle would be Christ. This is our coming by it: but one must come as having undevotedness, and not only everything wanting, but enmity against God – all that is bad. And then I am accepted in all the value of what Christ has done. Christ has been perfect in obedience and devotedness unto death, and He glorifies God, giving Himself up to God altogether, for this is the character offering Himself has, and He is made sin, and dealt with as such, and in this shews His absolute devotedness to God. He is sinless too of course, for He is without blemish. You will get the perfectness of Christ looked at in all His thoughts and will, as attested in the meat-offering; but here more, He is given up as a victim, made sin: there is the blood and atonement here. In the meat-offering you get what Christ was Himself here it is His offering Himself in the place of sin, that is, made sin.” If I say “instead of,” I must say “sins,” here not “instead of,” but “made sin.” We have sin brought in, which is more than saying we have sinned.

199 Just look round about, and always, and see what has come of God! He created everything good, and what state is it in? It is all corruption and defilement, and, if you could have the devil gay, it is here. Where was God’s glory, and all that He had made blessed? and where was His power? It was all utter dishonour done to God. Therefore there was Jehovah’s lot on the day of atonement. The whole thing was God’s character. Suppose God cut all off: it would have set aside wickedness, but there could be no love in that, though it would have shewn how man had failed. It would have looked like, “I have not made the thing well, and I am obliged to smash it up.” But the moment Christ comes in, you get perfect love, complete righteousness against sin, all that God is, looked at as against sin in itself; you get in the cross perfect love to the sinner, God’s majesty maintained. “It became him, in bringing many sons into glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” You get the truth of God carried out even against His own Son; that everything God is, the most opposite things, righteousness and love (which would have been so without sin, but) all brought out here in the person of Him who offered Himself in obedience and love; “that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” Every moral element, even that which seemed incompatible, all that God is, was displayed. And this is the place where God has been dishonoured. Thus, where all evil was, everything that was base and degrading, there the opposite was brought out when Christ was made sin.

Hints on the Sacrifices in Leviticus…..