Life-Study of Leviticus, by Witness Lee

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Leviticus 9:7 says, “Then Moses said to Aaron, Come near to the altar and prepare your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make propitiation for yourself and for the people; and prepare the offering of the people, and make propitiation for them, as Jehovah has commanded.” In this verse we see that Aaron was to make propitiation for himself and for the people. The term propitiation needs to be distinguished from the terms redemption and atonement, for these words do not have the same meaning; there are important differences. Redemption was completed by the Lord Jesus’ death on the cross and this term should be used only for the New Testament. Before He shed His blood on the cross, there was not such a thing as redemption. What we have in the Old Testament is propitiation. Sometimes the Hebrew word for propitiation is translated “atonement.” Atonement is a matter of at-one-ment; it refers to appeasing the situation between two parties in order to bring them together, to make them one. Propitiation refers to the appeasing of a situation between two parties by doing something for one party to satisfy the demands of the other party.

As sinners, we had a problem with our righteous God. Although He loved us, something unrighteous existed between us and Him. Not until this unrighteous situation was appeased could we be one with God. Therefore, on the cross Christ accomplished redemption for us. Christ not only shed His blood to accomplish redemption, but in His ascension He entered into the heavens and presented His blood before God. Through this presentation of His blood, He acquired, gained, an eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12). When we believed into Christ, we entered into Him and received this redemption.

How did God deal with the sins of the Old Testament saints before Christ came? God covered their sins, but He did not remove them. Paul tells us clearly that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). Rather, with such sacrifices there was “a calling to mind of sins year by year” (v. 3) at the feast of propitiation. The sins of the Old Testament saints remained, but these sins were covered. This covering took place on the propitiation cover (Rom. 3:25), which was the lid of the ark of the testimony. Inside the ark were the two tablets, with five of the Ten Commandments inscribed on each. The Ten Commandments condemned anyone who approached God. But the blood of the sin offering shed on the day of propitiation was sprinkled on the lid of the ark for the making of propitiation. Hence, the cover of the ark was known as the propitiation cover.

In Leviticus 9:7 Aaron was told to make propitiation for himself and for the people. He had a problem with God, and he needed to do something to appease the situation so that he could have peace with God.

A. Signifying That Aaron as a Sinful Person Needed to Take Christ as His Sin Offering and Burnt Offering for Him to Be a Priest to Serve God

Aaron’s preparing his sin offering and burnt offering and making propitiation for himself first signifies that he, as a sinful person, needed to take Christ as his sin offering and burnt offering for him to be a priest to serve God. Before he could serve as a priest, Aaron had to have his situation appeased. He needed the sin offering and also the burnt offering.

Today the sin offering reminds us of many negative things, and the burnt offering reminds us that we should be absolute for God, yet we are not. We need to take Christ as our sin offering to redeem us back to a peaceful situation with God, and we need to take Christ as the burnt offering, as the One who lives in us and for us a life that is absolutely for God.

B. Signifying That Aaron Typified Christ Offering Himself as a Sin Offering for the Redemption of God’s People and as a Burnt Offering for God’s People to Be God’s Satisfaction

Aaron’s preparing the sin offering and the burnt offering also signifies that Aaron typifies Christ’s offering Himself as a sin offering for the redemption of God’s people and as a burnt offering for God’s people to be God’s satisfaction. In the sin offering God’s people are one with Christ; hence, we are redeemed in Him. He has acquired, gained, redemption. As long as we are one with Him, we have redemption. In the burnt offering Christ is one with God’s people; hence, He is living in us that we may live Him for God’s satisfaction.

The sin offering is something in death, and the burnt offering is something in resurrection. We are one with Christ in His death, and He is one with us in His resurrection.

C. Signifying That Whatever Christ as Our High Priest Did, He Did for Us, That We Might Be Redeemed from Sin and Made God’s Satisfaction

Finally, Aaron’s preparing the sin offering and the burnt offering signifies that whatever Christ as our High Priest did, He did for us, that we might be redeemed from sin and made God’s satisfaction. In the living Christ we are made God’s satisfaction by living absolutely for Him.


“Then he brought the offering of the people, and took the goat of the sin offering which was for the people and slaughtered it, and he offered it for sin, like the first. And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the ordinance. He also brought the meal offering and filled his palms with it, and offered it up in smoke on the altar in addition to the burnt offering of the morning” (vv. 15-17). This signifies that Christ offered Himself for us as our sin offering to deal with our sin, as our burnt offering to satisfy God, and as our meal offering to be God’s food and also our food. Every morning we should take Christ as these offerings, praying, “Lord, for this new day I take You as my sin offering, burnt offering, and meal offering, that I may live by You, with You, and in You and even live You for God’s satisfaction.”


In 9:18-21 we see that Aaron offered the peace offering for the people. This signifies that Christ offered Himself as our peace offering for us and God to enjoy Him as peace. We enjoy this peace as we enjoy Christ at the Lord’s table.

The enjoyment of Christ as the peace offering in verses 18 through 21 is based upon Christ as our sin offering, burnt offering, and meal offering, as covered in verses 7 through 17. Perhaps you are wondering why there is no mention of the trespass offering in these verses. Here the trespass offering is included in the sin offering.

This is the first time in human history that Christ is applied in such a way and to such an extent. In this application Christ is our sin offering, our burnt offering, and then our meal offering for our daily living, with the result that we enter into peace, which is Christ Himself. This is the initiation of the offerings, pointing to the living Christ, whom we are enjoying and eating every day as our daily food.

(Life-Study of Leviticus, Chapter 31, by Witness Lee)