The burnt sacrifice together with its grain offering is described as a sacrifice and sweet smelling savour to God in Leviticus 1.Paul also mentions that Christ's offering is a sweet smelling savour to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2 KJV

1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour

Leviticus 1:7 KJV

7 And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: 8 And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: 9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD

Did Paul have in sight the book of Leviticus here?

  • The answer below appears to give the correct reply. Is this not adequate?
    – Dottard
    Oct 13, 2020 at 9:22

1 Answer 1


"sweet savour unto the LORD" (or very similar) occurs numerous times in the Torah such as: Gen 8:21, Ex 29:18, 25, 41, 30:34, Lev 1:7, 9, 13, 17, 2:2, 9, 12, 3:5, 4:31, 6:21, 8:21, 28, 17:6, 23:13, 18, 29:2, Num 15:3, 7, 10, 14, 24, 18:17, 28:6, 8, 13, 24, 27, 29:2, 6, 8, 13, 36, etc. (this is NOT an exhaustive list by any means.) In all cases, it is the "aroma" of a burnt offering of various kinds; an extremely common sacrifice in the OT ceremonial system described in the Torah.

In the NT Eph 5:2 is a direct allusion to this sacrificial system but applied to the sacrifice of Christ. The NT does this often in places like John 1:29 (lamb of God), 1 Cor 5:7 (our Passover lamb), 1 John 2:2 (atoning sacrifice), 4:10 (atoning sacrifice), Heb 10:10 (atoning sacrifice), 12, Rom 3:25, etc.

This is yet another way that Christians imitate the life of Jesus who was the atoning sacrifice for our sins; thus Christian lives are also a sacrifice of service to God (Rom 12:1, Phil 2:17, Heb 13:15).

Here we find yet another example of how the Gospel is presented using the metaphors of the old ceremonial system of which Paul was so fond.

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