Atonement: Purification Offering
Lesson #5 for November 2, 2013
There are basically three kinds of sin depicted in the Old Testament, each corresponding to the sinner’s level of awareness while he or she committed the transgression:  inadvertent or unintentional sin,  deliberate or intentional sin, and  rebellious sin. The “purification offering” prescribed inLeviticus 4:1-5:13 applied to cases of unintentional sin, as well as some cases of deliberate sin (Lev. 5:1). While an offering was available for these first two categories, none is mentioned for rebellious sin, the most heinous kind. Rebellious sin was done “in the face” of God, with a high hand, and the rebel deserved nothing less than to be cut off (Num. 15:29-31). However, it seems that even in these cases, such as with Manasseh, God offered forgiveness (see2 Chron. 33:12,13). (Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, for Sunday.) [ReadNumbers 15:22-31 as well as2 Chronicles 33:1-13. Wasn’t Manasseh a very rebellious sinner for 50 years?]
Next time you are tempted to sin, envision Jesus dying on the cross and see yourself putting your hands on His head and confessing your sins over Him. How might this concept, played out in your mind, help you to understand just what it cost in order to be forgiven? How could this idea help you to resist succumbing to that temptation? Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide for Monday, October 28. [Would that help us do what is right?]
What does it mean to carry sin? ReadExodus 34:7 and compareLeviticus 10:17. In the original language, both of these verses suggest that sin can be carried. Exodus 34 talks about God carrying sins. InLeviticus 10:17, the priest carried the sin. Without this special transfer, would the sin remain on the guilty party? (Leviticus 5:1) Do we understand this?
The blessing comes because of pardon; pardon comes through faith that the sin, confessed and repented of, is borne by the great Sin-bearer. Thus from Christ cometh all our blessings. His death is an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He is the great medium through whom we receive the mercy and favor of God. He, then, is indeed the Originator, the Author, as well as the Finisher, of our faith.—Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, p. 302.
As Christ at His ascension appeared in the presence of God to plead His blood in behalf of penitent believers, so the priest in the daily ministration sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice in the holy place in the sinner’s behalf.
The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement; so in the type the blood of the sin offering removed the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement.—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357.
The repentant sinner (1) brought his sin offering to the sanctuary, (2) laid his hand upon the innocent animal, and (3) killed it. The animal sacrifice (4) was eaten by the priest (for the commoner or ruler), or (5) its blood was carried inside the Holy Place (for the priest or congregation). Thus (6), the sinner was cleansed from his sin, and (7) the sanctuary was defiled by the record of the sin. What does each of these steps prefigure in the antitype? Adult Teachers Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, page 60.
2) Christ takes our place. We repent of our sins, confessing them to God.
By the act of bringing the offering to the sanctuary, the individual confessed himself a sinner, deserving the wrath of God, and signified his repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood would remove the guilt of the transgressor.—Ellen G. White, in Signs of the Times, July 15, 1880.
3) In the typical service, the sinner would lay his hands on the head of the sacrifice. Can we symbolically place our hands on the head of Christ?
4) In type, the animal was then sacrificed. In our Christian era, we believe that our sins ultimately led to the death of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. (Isaiah 53:4-6; Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3) It is very important to notice thatIsaiah 53:4 suggests that it was our sins that caused His punishment and not God. As we suggested earlier, the death of Christ was to teach us about the deadliness of sin. Was that the lesson they were supposed to learn from the ancient sanctuary services in the desert?
5) There was a difference in what happened next based on whether or not the sin was for the priest or congregation rather than for a ruler or common person. In the case of the priesthood or the congregation, the blood had to be carried inside the holy place and sprinkled on the altar of incense. In the case of an individual–ruler or common person–the blood was sprinkled on the horns of the altar of burnt offering. Then, the fat from the animal had to be burned on the altar of burnt offering. After burning the fat, if this offering was for a priest/congregation, the remainder of the animal had to be carried outside of the camp and burned. (Leviticus 4:12,21) If the offering was for the sin of a ruler or other individual, the priest was to eat a portion of the meat of the sin/purification offering. (Leviticus 6:25-30) In both cases, the sin was carried, in type, into the sanctuary.
We are not to be anxious about what Christ and God think of us, but about what God thinks of Christ, our Substitute. (Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 32,33)
© 2013, Kenneth Hart, MD, MA, MPH. Permission is hereby granted for any noncommercial use of these materials. Free distribution is encouraged. It is our goal to see them spread as widely and freely as possible. If you would like to use them for your class or even make copies of portions of them, feel free to do so. We always enjoy hearing about how you might be using the materials, and we might even want to share good ideas with others. So, let us know how you are using them. [email protected]
Last Modified: September 9, 2013
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Lesson 2: "Heaven" on Earth
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Lesson 4: Lessons From the Sanctuary
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Lesson 6: The Day of Atonement
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Lesson 7: Christ, Our Sacrifice
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Lesson 8: Christ, Our Priest
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Lesson 12: The Cosmic Conflict Over God's Character
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