BIBLE STUDY SERIES #230, 231 and 232

14 April, 1996

THE PRINCIPLE OF ATONEMENT - PART V

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our present series of Bible Studies began back in Genesis 12, with God's Call to Abram. We followed the Scriptural record through to the end of Genesis, and onward through Exodus. Last week, as it happened, we observed the season of Passover, commonly called Easter, and Christ's act of Atonement was (or ought to have been) a central theme of that observance. Now we have reached the point in Leviticus at which the Children of Israel are encamped at the foot of Mount Sinai while Moses has received and is recording the words of Yahweh, (Jehovah), the God of these Israelitish tribes, His people, who are gathered before Him. Their patterns of worship are now being explained in great detail in the Book of Leviticus, for it is through the symbolism incorporated and encapsulated therein that we are to learn the ramifications of God's Great Plan of Redemption and Salvation through Christ's Atoning work on our behalf.

We had examined the comments made by several sources regarding the nature of this book. Presently in view are the various types of acceptable sacrifices to be made before The LORD, in appreciation of His goodness, and to seek His forgiveness in the symbolic identification connecting them to the Atonement which is later to be provided through Christ. We have read through to verse 5 of Leviticus 2, where we pick up today's reading.

5. And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in a pan, it shall be of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil.
6. Thou shalt part it in pieces, and pour oil thereon: it is a meat offering.
7. And if thy oblation be a meat offering baken in the fryingpan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil.
8. And thou shalt bring the meat offering that is made of these things unto the LORD: and when it is presented unto the priest, he shall bring it unto the altar.
9. And the priest shall take from the meat offering a memorial thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
10. And that which is left of the meat offering shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the LORD made by fire.

We ought to remember that in Biblical symbolism, wheat can be taken as representative of the people of God. As flour, this wheat has been crushed in preparation for service to The LORD. The New Bible Dictionary, under the item "Wheat" comments that "Because of its importance as a food, it is a symbol of God's goodness and provision (Pss. lxxxi. 16, cxlvii. 14). It was used as a cereal offering in the temple (Ezr. vi. 9, vii. 22) and forms part of the sacrifice made by David on Ornan's threshing-floor (I Ch. xxi. 23). Its botanical nature whereby one grain gives rise to several new ears of wheat, while the original grain is used up, is taken by Christ to show that spiritual fruitfulness has its origin in the death of self (Jn. xii. 24; cf. I Cor. xv. 36ff.). As symbolic of the children of God, it is contrasted with the valueless chaff (Mt. iii. 12)."

The oil, as previously mentioned, is symbolic of The Holy Spirit's presence. Burning a portion upon the altar would indicate the dedication of the whole to God and to His service. The Companion Bible notes of the "frying pan" in verse 7 that this would be a flat plate or griddle. It would not appear as a pancake, however, because, as we see from the verse which follows, it must have nothing within it which would answer to the action of leaven, and hence it would be a stiffer bakery product.

11. No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the LORD made by fire.

A note in The Companion Bible mentions of "Leaven", that "leaven is fermentation, and honey or any sweet liquor is the cause of it. These two things forbidden because there was no error or corruption in the Antitype. All was divine perfection. Nothing therefore which answers to leaven may be in our sacrifice of praise now." With reference to this mention of honey, however, I am reminded that upon His appearance before the disciples in the upper room after His Resurrection, as Luke 24:41-43 records, Christ asked them "Have ye here any meat?" and upon being given "a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb", Luke records that "He took it, and did eat before them." Lest there appear to have been some change of symbolic pattern, or the emergence of some question regarding the former symbolism at this stage, I might point out that the honey was, on this occasion, eaten alone, directly from the honey comb, and not mixed with meal or any yeast, and thus, while the sugar contained therein held the energy which fermenting agents would require, the absence of those agents and the immediacy of consumption would not have allowed time or opportunity to cause fermentation in such baked flour as that to which the Leviticus stipulations pertain. Let us once again pick up the words of Leviticus, this time at verse 12.

12. As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the LORD: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour.
13. And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
14. And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the LORD, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.
15. And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering.
16. And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

With reference to the inclusion of salt in the sacrifice, the Companion Bible notes "First occurrence" (in the Bible). "Salt was, and is, the great antiseptic, preventing fermentation. As leaven and honey were forbidden in sacrifices, so salt is prescribed, because, when partaken of by the two parties, it made the covenant inviolable." The reference continues with further detail concerning "salt of the covenant." It makes reference to a note on Numbers 18:19 and if we turn to that note we find "Heb. covenant=berith, from barah, to cut; hence to eat. As salt was scarce and precious, and used with all eating, so it was put... for eating, just as the breaking of bread was... . 'A covenant of salt' was therefore a covenant made by sacrifice, which was first cut in two... and then eaten, thus solemnising an inviolable covenant."

A comment in The New Bible Commentary (Revised) states "Salt is to be used with all the sacrifices. Salt stands for permanence, for incorruption. Hence the expression, the salt of the covenant with your God... ." That reference continues: "Leaven and honey may not be used with the fire-offerings; they may not be placed on the altar. But both may be offered as first fruits (cf. Ex. 23:16ff...) this seems intended to guard against the inference that leaven and honey were unclean in themselves. Ex. 12:39 states definitely that the reason for eating unleavened bread when Israel went out of Egypt was that they went forth in haste and had no time to leaven it. The meal, the oil and the wine for the drink-offerings (which is not mentioned here, but frequently or usually accompanied the meal-offerings), were the three most important elements in the daily food of the people, frequently summarized in the phrase, 'grain, and wine, and oil' (e.g. Dt. 12:17). Consequently the cereal-offering and the oil which went with it and the accompanying drink-offering constituted an oblation of the daily food of the people. In offering it they recognized that they received their daily food from God. Oil, in view of its use in connection with the anointing of the priests and in the golden lamp-stand, symbolized also the gracious presence of the Holy Spirit in illumination and sanctification."

Keil and Delitzsch devote some pages to a detailed review of the matters which pertain to sacrifice in Leviticus, and we cannot today enter into a complete examination of what they say. I may include reference to these in future.

We shall continue with our regular sequence of these studies on following programmes, but perhaps, as we have been concluding the second chapter of Leviticus today, I might add a few words about the frankincense which was to be upon the handful of the offering which the priest was to place upon the fire. Young's Concordance shows us that the Hebrew word is "lebonah", and the Greek equivalent is "libanos." The New Bible Dictionary, under the item "frankincense" mentions that "This substance consisted of the resinous exudate of certain trees related to the terebinth...". It adds that "The whitish-yellow aromatic resin was obtained by incising the bark, and, although acrid to the taste, frankincense was extremely odoriferous. It comprised one ingredient of the holy anointing oil (Ex. xxx. 34), and was also burned with other substances during the meat-offering (Lv. vi. 15). Frankincense was placed in purified form on the shewbread in the tabernacle (Lv. xxiv. 7). While it gratified the senses... it was also symbolic of religious fervour (cf. Mal. i.11). The gift of frankincense presented to Christ by the wise men (Mt. ii. 11) has been interpreted as symbolizing His priestly office. May your life this week be lived as presented before The Almighty surrounded by that pervasive scent which was placed upon the shewbread before The LORD in The Tabernacle.

21 April, 1996

THE PRINCIPLE OF ATONEMENT - PART VI

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

Our present series of Bible Studies began back in Genesis 12, with God's Call to Abram. We followed the Scriptural record through to the end of Genesis, and onward through Exodus, tracing the descendants of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). The Almighty God thus moved to bring forth and form a nation and a constellation of nations. It would be through this people, formed and selected by God Himself to this very purpose, that the setting would emerge within which He would, in Jesus Christ, work to fulfil His prophetic word to provide the Redemption of His national wife, Israel herself, and the Salvation of all whom the Holy Spirit calls.

Last week we had arrived at the end of Leviticus 2. While long-time listeners will be thoroughly familiar with the various themes presented, I have to keep in mind that new listeners will constantly need to be assisted in certain facets of the background over which we have travelled during these last three years or so. The present theme is the matter of substitutionary sacrifices, symbolic of the work of Jesus Christ at the Crucifixion. We stand, in our imagination, among those Israelites camped at the foot of Mount Sinai as Moses relates to them the theological matters they are to undertake as a people worshipping Yahweh (Jehovah) their God. Certain of these have already been covered in Leviticus 1 and 2, ending with the following passage.

12. As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the LORD: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour.
13. And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.
14. And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the LORD, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.
15. And thou shalt put oil upon it, and lay frankincense thereon: it is a meat offering.
16. And the priest shall burn the memorial of it, part of the beaten corn thereof, and part of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

You may remember that, in our last lesson, we had explained that salt was, in effect, symbolically the counteractive agent to leaven, and that as leaven, because of the fermentation involved, was considered a symbol for sin, so salt, which restricts the activity of leaven, was used as a symbol for a good influence. We may remember the parable words of Our Saviour which in one form or another are recorded in Matthew 5:13, Mark 9:50 and Luke 14:34. Matthew states "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." The "covenant of salt" was to be God's Covenant with His people, as it was likewise the symbol of a covenant which could not be broken between one person and another. In the words of the note found in The Companion Bible, "...when partaken of by the two parties, it made the covenant inviolable." Today, we take up our continuing Biblical account at Leviticus 3, starting at verse 1 and, in what follows, I will be continuing with the next passage. Let us, then, hear the words of Leviticus Chapter 3.

1. And if his oblation be a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offer it of the herd; whether it be a male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.

The Companion Bible notes the variance which, in the peace offering, may substitute a "female", and draws the contrast with what we have read in Leviticus 1:3 and 10, where we found that "The burnt offering must be a male," reflecting the fact that Jesus Christ, as a man, would, in His Crucifixion, fulfil that prophetic role to which these sacrifices pointed forward. I might incidentally mention my own view that this fact, so clearly and definitely stipulated in the Levitical account describing the prophetic and symbolic precursor, would invalidate any presumptuous suggestion that a female figure may form an acceptable substitute as a crucified "Christ figure."

The Companion Bible, in its Appendix 43, lists the various Hebrew expressions which need to be understood in this connection. Under the heading "Offer" and "Offerings" we find this passage: "There are some twenty-four Hebrew words, more or less synonymous, which are translated 'offer' and 'offering' in the Hebrew Old Testament. These Hebrew words are also translated in other ways, so that it is important for the truth-seeker to know, in every passage, which word is used. The various words are noted in the margin, except when they are clearly translated by their distinctive meanings, such as burnt-offering, peace-offering, heave-offering, &c."

There then follows a listing and short explanation for each of nine Hebrew words, under the sub-heading "The VERB 'to offer'", and a further twelve Hebrew expressions under the sub-heading "The NOUN 'offering'". From that reference, we may pick out the Hebrew terms for "burnt-offering" and "peace-offering" for consideration at this time. These two words are "'Olah" and "Shelem." Of the term "'Olah", meaning the burnt offering, we read that this was so called from ... "'alah, to cause to ascend [as the flame and smoke ascend by burning]. In Greek holocausta, which conveys its meaning as being wholly burnt."

Thus it is evident in the case of "'Olah" that it was wholly devoted to God, and nothing was left. The term "Shelem", on the other hand, is explained thus: "the Peace offering, from the root Shalam, which conveys the idea of peace on the ground of perfection of compensation or recompense. Hence connected with the thought of rendering payment of vows or praises because of peace enjoyed. Sometimes combined with Zebach, (No. xii, below)." I think that the final words of this note are a very clear summation of the contrast between the "burnt-offering" and the "peace-offering." The note concludes by stating of the peace-offering that "It is eucharistic rather than propitiatory." In other words, it says "thank-you" to God, rather than "please accept this substitute in my place and forgive me."

Incidentally, to complete the thread of thought I might add that the later entry, No. xii, to which that note on peace-offering made reference explains "Zebach" as "any offering slain... the proper word for a victim, slain and offered. The Hebrew name for altar (mizbeah) is derived from the same root, and denotes the place of slaughter." Let us again pick up our Scripture portion, reading from verse 2.

2. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.
3. And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
4. And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.
5. And Aaron's sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
6. And if his offering for a sacrifice of peace offering unto the LORD be of the flock; male or female, he shall offer it without blemish.
7. If he offer a lamb for his offering, then shall he offer it before the LORD.
8. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron's sons shall sprinkle the blood thereof round about upon the altar.
9. And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat thereof, and the whole rump, it shall he take off hard by the backbone; and the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
10. And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.
11. And the priest shall burn it upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire unto the LORD.
12. And if his offering be a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD.
13. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of it, and kill it before the tabernacle of the congregation: and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle the blood thereof upon the altar round about.
14. And he shall offer thereof his offering, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
15. And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.
16. And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is the LORD's.
17. It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.

As our time has expired I shall leave with you the thought that for centuries these ritual blood sacrifices were made in anticipation of the great Sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary, so that we might have peace with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. It was God's gift of the flocks and herds from which a portion was returned to Him, in the same way that Jesus offered Himself on our behalf that we might appear sinless before The Throne. Wisdom dictates that we not scorn the opportunity to avail ourselves of this magnificent opportunity through attitudes like those expressed by the authorities at the Crucifixion. May you find words of wisdom herein to ponder during this coming week.

28 April, 1996

THE PRINCIPLE OF ATONEMENT - PART VII

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

We have been studying the Great Plan of The Almighty God for the re-constitution of all things into a more perfect accord with His perfect ultimate design. Our course has led us through a series of Bible Studies which began in Genesis 12 with God's call to Abram, to take his place in the long concourse of the history of mankind, as the progenitor of a new people, ultimately a nation and a company of nations through whom, and within which, God would send the incarnate expression of Himself, in order to become both Saviour and King to His people.

Today, we have reached Leviticus 4, which I shall read. The general topic is, in effect, an explanation of that which must be done If a soul shall sin, as verse 2 indicates. We then see that different categories of Israelites must present particular variations on the same sacrificial theme. The New Bible Commentary puts it thus: "In chapter iv the sin offering is considered with special reference to the status of the one whose sin is to be expiated: the anointed priest (i.e. the High Priest, viii. 12) (3-12), the whole congregation (13-21), a ruler (22-26), one of the common people (27-35). Guilt varies according to rank." which forms a thought for our national leaders today.

1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them:
3. If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering.
4. And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.
5. And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock's blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation:
6. And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the vail of the sanctuary.
7. And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
8. And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for the sin offering; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
9. And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away,
10. As it was taken off from the bullock of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall burn them upon the altar of the burnt offering.
11. And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and with his legs, and his inwards, and his dung,
12. Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt.

Sprinkling the blood seven times before the vail in the sanctuary is most significant. The Companion Bible note explains that "seven times" is the number of spiritual perfection. The vail is a "type of the perfect humanity of Christ." It is of "No avail for purposes of atonement without blood." The "fat" was "the best or choicest part." We might keep in mind the fact that a perfect bullock was a much more expensive animal than the normal offering.

13. And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty;
14. When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation.
15. And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD.
16. And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation:
17. And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, even before the vail.
18. And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
19. And he shall take all his fat from him, and burn it upon the altar.
20. And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them.
21. And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering for the congregation.

The New Bible Commentary explains: "In the case of the lay individual, whether a ruler or one of the common people... the blood is not brought into the holy place, but applied to the horns of the altar of burnt sacrifice and poured out beside it."

22. When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning things which should not be done, and is guilty;
23. Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish:
24. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering.
25. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering.
26. And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.
27. And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty;
28. Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned.
29. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering.
30. And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar.
31. And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.
32. And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish.
33. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering.
34. And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar:
35. And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.

The New Bible Commentary says "The anointed priest occupies a position of great importance. He is one of the people but he represents all of the people. Hence his sin brings guilt upon all of them (see verse 3, RV) and since he ministers in holy things and by virtue of his office is permitted to enter the holy place, his sin has profaned the holy place and atonement must be made in the holy place. Blood must be brought into the holy place and sprinkled toward the veil and placed on the horns of the golden altar (6, 7). The same ritual is to be performed when all the congregation sins (13-21), apparently because Israel, ideally considered, is a 'kingdom of priests' (Ex. xix. 6), and the Lord dwells in her midst. In this case the laying on of hands must be performed by the elders as representing the people. In the case of the lay individual, whether a ruler or one of the common people ('people of the land'), the blood is not brought into the holy place, but applied to the horns of the altar of burnt sacrifice and poured out beside it. The ruler offers a he-goat, the common man a she-goat or a ewe-lamb. In all cases the fat is burnt on the altar as in the case of the peace offerings (10, 31). But with regard to the rest of the sacrifice an important distinction is to be observed. In the case of the animals whose blood has been brought into the holy place, the rest of the flesh is to be burned without the camp, in a clean place where the ashes of the sacrifice are poured out (12). The principle involved is that the one for whom the sin offering is presented must not partake of any part of it (cf. vi. 24-30). The priest may not do this when making atonement for his own sin, nor when he makes atonement for the whole congregation of which he is a member. Cf. Heb. xiii. 10-13."

We, of the British-Israel-World Federation, understanding the descent of many in Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred lands from ancient Israel see these passages as of particular importance to ourselves. May these considerations assist in clarification of the need for a sinner to depend upon a substitute victim. Jesus Christ now takes the position of such to all who desire a means of atonement. We can be eternally grateful for this astounding gift of love, and, as Romans 12:1 says, present our bodies, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

[A January, 1999 "After-thought": The sacrifice of a Female animal as a Sin offering (Verses 27-28 and 32) might possibly symbolize that in this case the substitutionary offering is being made for a lay member ("one of the common people") of the ("Female") National "Wife" of YAHWEH, whereas a Priest (verses 3-4) or Ruler (verse 23-24) (either alone, or accompanied by the whole congregation; verses 13-15) might be seen as standing in relation to the nation in an office symbolically representing their Divine "Husband" and hence as a "Male" symbol, and so a male animal would then be appropriate.]

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