What relevance does the sacrificial system in Leviticus have for modern Christians? For one, they offer a vivid illustration of just what happened in the Fall and what needs to happen to restore us to the Lord.
Over at Ligonier, I wrote:
When humanity fell in the garden, our relationship with God was fatally broken in a way that had implications for the whole of human existence. In order to enter into God’s presence, we now need to be made clean, ceremonially appropriate for the presence of God. God’s holiness is to be matched by human cleanness. Therefore, Leviticus instructs that the holiest places of the tabernacle are reserved for those who have been specially prepared for the work: the priests, and ultimately, the high priest (Lev. 16:1–5; 21).
The sacrificial system also reflects the ways in which humanity’s relationship with God has been terribly altered. Each sacrifice illustrates a different way in which God desires to be restored to His people through the work of redemption. The burnt offering (Lev. 1:2–17; 6:8–13), which includes the burning up of the whole animal, provides for the covering over, or atonement of, human sin before God. The grain offering (Lev. 2:1–16; 6:14–23) is associated with a gift or tribute, like those given to a king to ensure an alliance. The peace offering (Lev. 3:1–17; 7:11–21) involves the sacramental sharing of a meal between the worshiper and the priests, reflecting a mended relationship. The purification or sin offering (Lev. 4:1–5:13; 6:24–30) highlights the pollution or the defilement of sin for the believer and the need for purification. The reparation offering (Lev. 5:14–6:7; 7:1–10) foregrounds the need for a debt to be repaid to God so that the divine and human relationship can be made whole.
Each of these five sacrifices highlights a different aspect of God’s plan for redemption for humanity.
Read the rest here.