One unique thing about the sin offering in Leviticus 4 is that it is the only offering that non-Levites (non-priest) were commanded to make. All other offerings were sacrificed by Levites. The sin offering was one of the non-sweet smelling offerings (after all, sin stinks!) and was required for `unintentional' sins. Anyone (or should I say everyone) that became aware of their unintentional sin was required to make the sin offering. The `anointed priest' (vs. 3-12), the elders (for sins of the whole congregation)(vs. 13-21), a ruler (vs. 22-26), and any of the common people (vs. 27-29). I think this is everyone.... The order of events leading to the sacrifice is basically the same for each group: 1. Commit unintentional sins (the sin (or knowledge of the sin) is hidden from the offender). 2. The sin comes to the persons knowledge. 3. Once the sin is brought to knowledge, the offender (or the elders for the sin of the entire congregation) is to bring his sin offering. 4. The offender lays hands on the animal. This action symbolizes identity with the animal and the transfer of the sin from the person to the animal. 5. Then the offender (not the priest) sacrifices the animal. Isn't this a great picture of salvation? Before we are saved, we sin (often unintentionally). The unsaved sin without realizing it. Usually, there is no right or wrong, everything is relative. They are not worried about lying or cheating to get ahead, exaggerating deductions on their income tax return, living `in sin'. These actions are rationalized: I deserve it, they had it coming, everyone is doing it, noone is going to know, I'm not as bad as [fill in the blank]... When the Word is planted in the sinner, the sinner becomes aware of the sin (and the fact that he is a sinner). A sacrifice if required to deal with the sin. Just as the offender in the Old Testament laid his hand on the animal to signify the transfer of sins from the sinner to the animal, our sins were transferred onto Jesus as he hung on the cross. Just as the offender shed the blood of an innocent animal to pay the penalty for the sin, the blood of Jesus, who was without sin, was shed to pay - in full- the penalty for our sins. For "...without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9:22). Reminds me also of the woman at the well in John 4. There is no doubt that she was saved, by her testimony many believed (John 4:39). But did you notice how her `unintentional' sin (of living 'in sin') was dealt with first? (John 4:17-18) Thots?