Do we bear the weight of other’s sin when we forgive?

By David Phillips

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Behind the Ritual: Forgiveness in Leviticus

I was having breakfast the other day with a friend. I mentioned to him that I had been studying through Leviticus and his eyes became a little glazed over. We both confessed that we haven’t studied that book enough and even though had been a pastor, he admitted that maybe he had only read it once or twice. Studying it? He couldn’t think of a time.

Then I told him of some of what I had learned from the book. We both laughed at how ignorant of the book we were. But he noted how important this was, because it increased importance of the role of the prophets and the priests. But more importantly, the visible imagery created by the rituals increased our understanding of our role and it helped us see Jesus’ life as even more important – if that was possible – than it had been in the past.

There could not be a more important role in the ritual offerings instituted by God in Leviticus than the role of the priests in general and the high priest in particular. And Christians, as a kingdom of priests, we need to consider how this affects us. We need to understand how the process of forgiveness, and how we extend forgiveness, was expressed in the Levitical offerings. 

That important is demonstrated by an obscure statement by Moses to the High Priest Aaron in Leviticus 10:17-18:

17 “Why did you not eat the sin offering at the holy place? For it is most holy, and He gave it to you to bear away the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord. 18 Behold, …read more

Read more here: Faith in a Post-Everything Culture


David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.

He has also pastored 3 churches and loves to think about, write about and podcast about scripture, theology, and leadership.

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