At the introduction of this series, we were reminded that God frequently creates things like air and water that perform a multitude of functions, and that these functions do not become apparent until we stop taking them for granted and begin to examine these things that God has created more closely. God's Word is just as much a creation of His as are water and air. His Word has in many cases a multitude of applications that are very valuable to our understanding. I think that we all know that there are types, there are symbols, there are figures, there are emblems, and there are allegories that are scattered throughout the Bible, and this in turns leads us to understand some of the principles of duality, and also to understand that there is a great deal more contained within God's Word than might appear on the surface once we begin to understand this principle.
In that sermon we also saw in Galatians 4:31 that Paul drew attention to this very factor when he said, "Do you not hear the law?" And then he referred to the story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac, showing that it was more than just a simple narrative that continued a story, but at one and the same time it was also an allegory teaching about liberty and bondage.
I want us to turn to a scripture that I used the last time, that I think it's important enough to begin to see why we need to do certain things.
Psalm 119:17-18 Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live, and keep your word. Open you mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Many times I have mentioned to you that we should not restrict the word law strictly to things like commandments, statutes and judgments unless the context demands it. More frequently than not, the word means general instruction rather than a specific command. It means both, but most times it means general instruction.
What God has done in writing the Bible—in the same manner as He has created other things—is He has created a device whereby He is able to cram a great deal more information into much smaller space than if He had designed a separate instruction for each and every category. But one result of this that concerns us is that these things are not on the surface—they must be dug for.
This two-verse section here was a prayer asking that as the servant (the person who wrote the psalm) dug, that God would reveal. So he is asking God's help in finding these hidden treasures. He doesn't merely ask for information, but also that he may live. He was already alive, so live has a different connotation to it than just merely being alive. He wanted a quality to life. He wanted to live abundantly and he wanted to live eternally—endlessly. He understood that much of the means to that end was contained within God's word and that he was going to be required to dig for it, and also is going to require the help of God—His inspiration, by means of His spirit for that to take place.
These things are instructions to you and me, and we should understand that we need to follow this same general practice as this person did, and know that there is a great deal of hidden information in God's Word, but it will be revealed by Him if we will dig for it—make the effort to find it. This is a godly request, so I think that we can be confident that if we do our part, God will do His part, because it is going to go a long way toward fulfilling His purpose in us. But never forget: we must dig.
In the sermon a couple of weeks ago we read Romans 8:28-29, but I want to read it again because it is so clear what God's purpose for us is.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Notice the qualifications there. Things work out for good for those who love God, and those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow [that refers back to the previous verse—those who love God and are called according to His purpose] he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son [our destiny], that He [the Son] might be the firstborn among many brethren.
That was the goal of the psalmist, that he might live in that family eternally. We also saw in that sermon that Christ is the object of very much of what is written in the Bible. We applied it specifically to the law. And so since we are to be in His image, and He is the object of these things, we can then begin to find clear instruction as to what we are supposed to do. What we are supposed to do, if we're going to end up like Him, is to strive to our utmost to live like He did, to do the things that He did, as long as within the framework of our lives that they apply. So He is that object in terms of what we are to aim for in the way that we live our lives, so that God's purpose can be fulfilled in our lives. So, the teachings of God describe Christ.
Another couple of carryover verses that I think are good and necessary for establishing a foundation before we go on are back in the book of Hebrews in chapters 9 and 10, but specifically Hebrews 9:1, and then verses 8 and 9, and then Hebrews 10:1. Here we pick up on the principle where the Bible shows us very clearly that there are types, figures, emblems, symbols, and whatever, in it.
Hebrews 9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
This is a carnal physical sanctuary. There's the subject.
Hebrews 9:8-9 The holy spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all [into the very presence of God] was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle [I can add here, too, the temple] was yet standing. Which was a figure [type, emblem] for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience.
If the sacrifices and offerings and gifts and so forth could not make a person perfect, why even have them? Well, the answer is so that examples could be set for us so that there would be object lessons that we could look at and even go through ourselves—things that would lead us to the reality.
Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
Those things not only served the purpose, they continue to serve a purpose. Now all I need for proof of that is Romans 15:4 where Paul said that "All these things were written for our understanding." Those things back there were done primarily, not for those people at that time, but for you and me. It was for us. Now the second scripture is I Corinthians 10:11, where he says virtually the same thing.
Therefore we can reach a conclusion that I hope hits home, which is that the sacrificial offerings of Leviticus were not insignificant. Tell me something: Is any word of God, any word, insignificant? They were neither insignificant, primitive, nor barbaric. They were a carefully devised teaching tool—a creation of God, to those under the Old Covenant who looked forward to the full revelation of the object of God's law, and to those of us who are under the New Covenant who look back on it and are striving to make the spiritual application. In other words, those things had a spiritual application to you and me. God's intent all along was that they be a teaching vehicle.
Notice in that verse, "For the law having a shadow of good things to come. . ." See, it has it right now. It's present tense. Those things were written for the New Testament, New Covenant church; not that we have to go through the ceremonies, but we do have to learn the spiritual lesson that is there. So they are still a shadow. They are still a teaching vehicle. In order for there to be a shadow, there must be a reality, and the reality is the life and death of Jesus Christ, and it is this reality that we are to strive to follow as closely as we can. As Paul put it, "Dear children. . . ," there in Ephesians 5:2, so that we can be a sweet savor to God.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Two things I want you to remember. Paul said that he was crucified with Christ, and that Christ loved him and gave Himself for him.
I Corinthians 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
That "I die daily" can be taken in two ways. Within the immediate context, he means that his life was in jeopardy every day. He meant literally. This was not figuratively. He explained some of that earlier in I Corinthians when he told about all of the things that he had gone through in order to serve the church. That's one application. The other has a connection to the crucifixion motif, and that is day by day he was dying in terms of some of his flesh, as it were, was being spiritually cut away as a living sacrifice in overcoming and growing.
When you put these two verses together, Paul is showing that there is a parallel between Christ's course and ours. "We are crucified with Christ; but nevertheless…" Here the parallel separates. He died. We live. We live only in order that we might die daily. It had to be done in this manner. Someone had to die for our sins in order that our sins could be forgiven, in order that there might be access to the throne of God, in order that we might have the spirit of God, in order that we might be created in the image of God. This also requires that we make the choices to give up the flesh day by day.
So when Christ was crucified, it was as though we were crucified, and thus all of our sins are paid in full. You see, the parallel doesn't end there. Every time that we obey God's instructions as part of the purpose of God, rather than unresistingly following the dictates of human nature, we are sacrificing ourselves to God and His purpose as a living sacrifice, and so we are to strive to live even as He lived, and thus the daily sacrifice [remember the Old Covenant, the Old Testament daily sacrifice] continues, only it's now spiritual in nature.
All of this serves a purpose, and that is, because the way we are when God calls us, we're like a hunk of raw marble. We don't look very much like Christ at all and we need to be sculpted, we need to be created. The analogy of the piece of marble ends there because we can resist (marble cannot) because we have will and because we have human nature. So our participation in what God is creating—His holy and righteous spiritual character in us, is something that requires that we make choices and that we die daily.
In Ephesians 4:12-15, Paul tells us why God gave the ministry:
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
I can interject something here. The King James did not translate a portion of this well. Where it says "for the work of the ministry," it should be translated "for the work of ministry." That word the is not in the Greek. Ministry is service, that's all. So we are being perfected for the work of service - service to God and service to each other. He gave the ministry for the edifying [upbuilding] of the body of Christ .
Ephesians 4:13-15 Till we all come in the unity of the faith [it's obvious that we aren't in unity yet] and of the knowledge of the Son of God [we have to come to know God], unto a perfect man [complete, mature. It doesn't mean without flaw, but it does mean grown up, mature.] unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
So the intent of all of this, all of this which was written beforehand, is that we grow up into Him.
Now at this point in this series of sermons we're going to be looking primarily at the burnt offering, the meal offering, and the peace offering. So instead of seeing Christ as redeeming us from sin—this is an important distinction—we see Him in His work for the already redeemed. There are five chapters at the beginning of the book of Leviticus. Five different offerings are described: the burnt offering, the meal offering, the peace offering, the trespass offering, and the sin offering.
I that we're going to be paying attention mostly to the burnt offering, and secondarily, the meal offering and the peace offering. Right at the very beginning, I want you to understand that the lesson for us here is, this is not Christ redeeming us by dying for our sins; it is Christ doing work for those who are already redeemed. So it's not in His help in bringing us out of Egypt, but rather showing us how to live our lives so that we stay out.
You remember the story of Israel in the wilderness. Those people kept wanting to go back to Egypt, and if you have any awareness of your own nature, it sneaks up on you. It's with us constantly and it is constantly trying to pull us back to what we were before. And so all the way on the journey through our pilgrimage to the Promised Land, somebody has to be going to bat for us as we go along.
There's more to this, though. He's working to show us how to live so that we stay out of Egypt, and also how to keep us in happy fellowship with God. In other words, it's broad instruction on how to keep from sin, and how to please God, because sin separates from God, and we want to constantly go forward and be tighter with Him.
These attitudes and the conduct that is shown in the offerings prepared Him to be our Redeemer. If He hadn't lived what the offerings showed us, He never would have been our Redeemer. In living the way the offerings show us, He sets us a pattern for how we ought to live. If we try to run our course as parallel to Christ's as we possibly can and try to do it the way He did it in attitude and conduct, there is no doubt that we will be prepared for the Kingdom of God.
Even though Christ is being described, please don't allow yourself to be separated from this, because they are instructions for us. The example is for us. And so, step by step, we're going to see Christ in the sacrifices as the offering; we're going to see Him as the offerer; and we are going to see Him as the priest. We cannot conform to every type, but we can conform to that which applies to us, and that's what we want to do.
When we see Him as the offerer, we see Christ as a person, as a man who comes offering himself. As the offering, we see Christ in His character—the perfect man. We see Him in His work. We also see Him as the victim—the one who is slain. As a priest we see Him in His relationship as it is today with us. Each one of these distinctions has meaning that is very rich.
Here we have another example of how Christ has designed something that has numerous facets to it. There's another example of this that I think that you're probably maybe even more familiar with, and that is the four gospel accounts. Each one of the accounts is the same, and yet different. It's very much like looking at a house that has four sides. Maybe the front side faces north, the next side faces east, the backside faces south, and the other side faces west. Now you stand in front of the north side, and then go to the east side, and you tell very quickly that it looks different, doesn't it? Yet it's the same building. You go to the south side and it looks different yet; and yet it's the same building. You go to the west side and it's the same building, but it still looks different from what it did on the other three sides.
Thus it is with the four gospel accounts. Each one of them is presenting the same man—Christ—but each one of them is looking at Him from a different perspective, and so different things are emphasized. For instance, Matthew presents Him as the son of Abraham, as the son of David. He is therefore saying in his presentation, "This is the Messiah. This is the King."
Mark is entirely different. He may mention Christ as King, or coming King, but his emphasis is primarily on showing Christ as a tireless worker—a servant to the church, laboring from morning to night, always being accessible to people, whether it's His own people or the people that He was preaching to.
Luke shows a slightly different angle to it. He shows Jesus as the son of Adam—the man, suffering in Gethsemane, bleeding blood. He's the only one that has things like that. He shows Christ as weak, like a man would be, and needing help.
John puts the coup de grace on it, and he shows Jesus as God in the flesh. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and everything was made by Him." And so you meet Christ in the book of John with all power, and when He gets to the crucifixion, He doesn't need any help—He's helping everybody, and He is power unleashed. When they come to arrest Him and He says "I am Jesus,"—whoof! They all fall over.
Same man, different perspective. That's the way the offerings are. The offerings show us different aspects of the life of Christ, especially in terms, in this case with the burnt offering, the meal offering, and the peace offering, in the way that He lived. So we see the same One who wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke and John also wrote this. He followed the design, He followed the pattern that He established way back there.
Now let's go back to the book of Leviticus and in chapter 1, the first four verses.
Leviticus 1:1-4 And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
This one is commonly called the burnt offering. Sometimes it is called the whole burnt offering. The reason the "whole" is added is because there are other offerings that are burned on the altar, but in this one, only the whole animal is burned on the altar. This offering represents Christ—or in parallel, us, completely wholeheartedly devoted to God. This offering represents Christ—or in parallel, us. This is what we're to strive for—completely wholeheartedly devoted to God.
It has four things about it that make it distinctive from the others. It is the only one of the offerings that has all four of these together, so this makes it different.
1) It is a sweet savor to God. It's a sweet savor to God, and what that indicates is that this offering is not given because of sin. There is no sin seen in this offering. If it was a sin offering, it would be repulsive to God.
2) It is offered for acceptance in the stead of the offerer. It is offered for acceptance in the stead of the offerer. In other words, the animal represents the offerer.
3) A life was given. In the meal offering for example, no life was given. So that makes it different.
4) It was completely burned up. In the case of the meal offering, it was not completely burned up. In the case of the peace offering, it was not completely burned up. But in the case of the burnt offering—the whole burnt offering—every part of the animal was burned up, except for the blood, which was dashed around the altar.
Let's go back to that verse in Ephesians 5:2, because I just want to touch on it, because we see that Paul draws upon this in order to give some spiritual instruction. Of course it draws our attention to the offering.
Ephesians 5:1-2 Be you therefore followers of God as dear children. [Christ is God. Follow Him.] And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
That language used there lets us know that he is not talking about Christ's crucifixion. But just the same, Christ also has loved us and has given Himself for us. Because of what He did, it was a sweet savor to God. He enjoyed it. He took satisfaction in it. It didn't repulse Him. Now what I want to draw our attention to here is that Christ not only gave Himself to us in sacrifice in the crucifixion, He also gave Himself for us in the way, in the manner, in the style, in the conduct, in the attitude that He lived His life. In other words, He was a sacrifice from the "git-go." He lived His entire life as a sacrifice, not just at the end. That's where the book of Mark fills in. He was the tireless, patient, laboring worker. His entire life was devoted to God from beginning to end. We'll show that a little bit more specifically a little bit later.
Three of the offerings were sweet. Two were not. The two that were not were the trespass offering and the sin offering. The sweet savor offerings were burned on the brazen altar, the others were burned outside the camp. The trespass offering and the sin offering were so repulsive to God, it's like He didn't want to have anything to do with it. He said, "Get it away from Me. Go outside the city and destroy it." But with these offerings, representing the way that He lived His life—not the way He died, but the way He lived His life—it pleased Him [God] and He wanted more of it. So there is no sin seen in the sweet savor offerings. They were completely voluntary as they pertained to the individual Israelite. In other words, an Israelite did not have to give these offerings. They were voluntary. It was up to him. There was no penalty seen in it. It was just a sweet offering.
Is God twisting your arm? Is He forcing you to obey? There's no doubt that He puts the pressure on us in terms of—mostly it's in our conscience. Psychologically, He puts us between a rock and a hard place in trial, and He manipulates events to lead us. Remember, the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth, not boot us into it, not force us into it. Our making of the right choices is voluntary. These offerings were voluntary, and because these were voluntary, I can guarantee you that Christ volunteered to the Father, saying, "I will go. I will be the sacrifice." Nobody had to twist His arm. He did it because He loved us. He loved His creation, and so He did it.
I'm going through these familiar scriptures because I want you to see the connection between what is back here. Things like this make the Old Testament come alive spiritually; not physically so much, —spiritually. We can see that God put these things in here for our spiritual benefit.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
My margin says "rational." Some bibles say "spiritual" service. There's nothing unreasonable about what God is asking us to do in being a living sacrifice. Remember, our Savior did it, and if we're going to be in His image, we're going to have to walk a path that is parallel to His, as much as it applies.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world. . .
This world hasn't been designed after God's way.
Romans 12:2 . . . But be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
So Christ, in the burnt offering, is not appearing as our sin bearer, but He is going even further than that, if that is possible, and doing something that is so pleasing. The character of it is so satisfying to God that it is sweet. There's not a bitter, sour thing in it. It is the way that He lived His life. It says that "Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for his friends." The context clearly indicates in living service the sacrifice was made; not as a crucifixion.
We're making our way back to Leviticus 1, but I want to stop off in Malachi 1 just to pick up a verse here. The whole first chapter is about the Levites profaning the offerings of Leviticus by not following the instructions that were given to them, relative to their responsibilities. This attitude passed on to the people, and they followed the poor example of the ministry, and they were bringing offerings that were not really qualified to be offerings. In verse 12 God is speaking. He says:
Malachi 1:12 But you [meaning first and foremost the priests, and then secondarily the people as well] have profaned it, in that you say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat [food] is contemptible.
Now the connection here is this: In the offerings of Leviticus, the brazen altar, where the sacrifices were burned, was symbolically seen as God's table—where He was eating. The thought is that the offering is God's food—like this is what strengthens Him, energizes Him, and satisfies Him. So the altar is God's table, and so whatever is put upon it is food. All of you, except for those people who maybe cannot smell, know how good food smells when it is cooking. What the sweet savor offerings represent is something that really pleases God, as though He is hungry for it—like He's a worker coming in after spending a whole day out in the field, and he is hungry, and he hits the house and he smells something so good - roast beef! That's the picture, only in this case it's not really food, it's the way people live. It's so good He can taste it!
Back to Leviticus 1. We're going to read verses 3 and 4 again.
Leviticus 1:3-4 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
There is an alternate translation to that phrase "of his own voluntary will," and it can be translated "for his acceptance." Later on when you're studying, you can look in Leviticus 23:11 and that exact same phrase is translated in the King James "for his acceptance." It can also mean "in his stead."
In other words, the offering is given in the stead of, in the place of the offerer. The offerer remains alive. The animal represents him. In this aspect, Christ becomes even more visible, and we fade into the background, but we are not entirely invisible, because every man's acceptance before God depends upon perfect righteousness. I'll tell you, this is awesome, because we are not perfectly righteous, but yet we are accepted into God's presence even though we are literally not perfectly righteous. This is why I said Christ comes to the foreground, we fade into the background, because we are accepted in terms of the burnt offering on the basis of the way Christ lived His life—not ours.
Oftentimes in prayer we will say, "We come to You, Holy Father, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ." It's not just the way He died, it's the way He lived. If He hadn't lived the way He lived, then the way He died would have been of no consequence at all. First things first. The perfect life came first and qualified for Him to be the sacrifice. What Jesus did, is that He came, born of a woman, He took on Him the same flesh and blood of the seed of Abraham, and He lived a perfect life. His perfect life was acceptable to God, and so God accepted His life, and by God's grace we are accepted because of Christ. That's why this offering has to be without blemish. "Offer a male without blemish." We are then accepted before God on the basis of His sacrifice, but this does not absolve us of our duty to live as close as perfectly to Christ's example as we can. That's our duty. If we don't make the effort to do that, then we do what it says there in Hebrews 10 - "We crucify the Son of God afresh and make Him an open shame, and we trample Him under foot."
What Christ did helps explain the word atonement. See that in verse 4? "Accepted for him to make atonement for him." Now normally we think of this word in the sense of a covering for sin, but there is no sin seen in these offerings here. Rather, what we see is a perfectly lived life, totally devoted to God. So reaching the conclusion that he's talking about sin would be a wrong conclusion. It would be incorrect.
But there is a very logical and true explanation, and that is that the word atonement indicates making satisfaction. Is God only satisfied by death for sin? The answer to that is absolutely not. That's what this offering is teaching us. There is something that satisfies Him even more. He says He doesn't want to see the death of the wicked. That doesn't bring Him pleasure at all, and I am sure that in one sense the sacrifice of His Son didn't please Him one bit either, because His Son became sin for us, and so that was, as it were, the death of the wicked—all of them piled on His head. In one sense, there was nothing more abominable that ever got into this universe than that—when all the sins of mankind were piled upon Him.
There is something that satisfies God, and that is meeting our duty. This atonement then is that Christ's life satisfied God's holy requirement, and so it covered, it gave Him satisfaction because that requirement was met. So there is no sin seen in this. This is not a sacrifice in which offended justice is satisfied. This is very important to understand this offering.
Let's go to Leviticus 4 and verse 20. Does anybody know what's in Leviticus 4? It's the sin offering.
Leviticus 4:20 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.
Now here the word atonement means to make satisfaction for sin.
Leviticus 4:26 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.
Again atonement is used in the sense of meeting the obligation, meeting the requirement, satisfying there and covering it with the blood that represented Christ's blood.
Leviticus 4:31 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.
No sin is seen in the burnt offering because that's not what this offering is teaching. In this offering, God is satisfied because the offerer has met His requirements by his life—by the way that he lived; therefore the offering shows the offerer accepted.
There is an interesting contrast to this back in Revelation 3:14 with the Laodiceans. We're not going to turn to it, but what did God do there? He spit them out of His mouth, figuratively speaking, or at least threatened to do that, because even though they were His children, the attitude and the way that they lived their lives was totally unacceptable to Him. There was nothing that gave Him satisfaction. So they're cast from His presence and we'll have to see how that works out.
Back to Leviticus 1. Here's another aspect of this.
Leviticus 1:5 And he shall kill the bullock before the LORD; and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
A life was offered. The first point was that it was offered for acceptance. The second one was that a life was offered. All of these things remember. Please don't forget this, or these sermons will have no point to them. They apply to us, and we're supposed to see ourselves in these as much as we possibly can. This distinction, that a life was offered—remember, the meal offering does not have a life offered within it—is very significant once you understand that this offering typifies devotion and that no sin is involved in this offering. Neither does it picture the death of the offerer. So the sacrifice was primarily seen as a gift to God.
You might remember the word Corban from the New Testament. Remember Mark 7—it is Corban. The people were saying, "It is a gift." That's what that means. It is a gift to God, and that's what the offering was. It was a gift to God. Now who did the offering represent? The offerer. What does this offering represent overall? A life given. A life lived, but given in total surrender to God.
We didn't make any emphasis of this, but the offerer had to lay his hands on the offerings, as he brought it, and that was done in order to identify the offerer with the offering—that the offering represented him. And then the animal was killed in order to signify that the animal represented the offerer giving himself. He made a gift of himself. Again, you see, this is voluntary. It's our choice. We have to make the decision, but He's teaching us what He wants us to do—to use our knowledge, to use our understanding, to make a gift of ourselves to God. There can be no more precious gift given to God than a life given in the way that it's lived.
We're going to go back into the New Testament again to Colossians 1. Here we're going to be looking at Christ's example again. What I'm reading this for is to just give us a hook to understand what it means for Him to give Himself in terms of things that we might be able to relate to.
Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
Now here it begins to describe Him in His offices and so forth.
Colossians 1:15-17 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
This is the One who gave Himself as a gift to the Father.
Colossians 1:18-23 He is the Head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.
We could go on there, but I don't think that there is any need to go on. I finished with the verse that I did because I wanted to draw us back into the picture once again, that this was done for us by Him as an example that we are to follow. So you see, He did what He did for us. He lived perfectly, and He died for us.
Let's go to Philippians. I want to read this in terms of what I have been saying.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. . .
That is the same mind that led Him to do what He did in behalf of us.
Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself [voluntarily] of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Do you see the pattern that He established? This is all bound up in the burnt offering. Now don't remove this statement that Paul made from its context.
Philippians 2:12-13 Wherefore [i.e. in light of these things that I have just written, Paul says], my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
You can see what I meant. The parallel is there. We can't of course do it as Christ did, but it's God's intention that we make effort to do it.
Leviticus 1:6-9 And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: 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: 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.
It was wholly burnt on the altar. Let's go back to Matthew 22. There is a New Testament statement of Jesus that fits this sacrifice to a tee.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
With that in mind, go back to Leviticus 1. What does the head represent? Remember, this is a totally devoted offering that represents the man. In our head is our brain. In our head, you might say, is our mind, and so the head represents our thoughts. I'm going to skip the fat for just a minute. What about the inwards? That has to do with the emotional quality of our life, our feelings. What about the legs? Everybody ought to know this. That has to do with the way we walk—the way we live our life, the way we work.
What about the fat? Fat is used in the Bible as a symbol of prosperity. It has to do in this context with our general health and vigor, or strength and energy. What do we have when we put these all together? We have an ever clearer identification with a total devotion, total surrender. Every aspect of our life surrendered to God's will. Nothing is held back. Nothing is reserved for ourselves. Everything is given as a gift - time, thinking, feelings, the way we do things, attitudes.
Let's see some examples from Jesus' life, just enough to give us an overview. We're going to look at the book of Luke first.
Luke 2:49 And he said unto them [His mother and father], How is it that you sought me? Wist you not that I must be about my Father's business?
He was 12 years old. Do you realize that these are the first recorded words that Jesus uttered? "I must be about My Father's business." In Luke 4 is His commission.
Luke 4:18-19 The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor [those weak and disenfranchised]; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives; and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
John 4:34 Jesus said unto them, My meat [meaning My food; that which energizes Me] is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
Go to John 19. This is Jesus' last recorded words.
John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished.
He did it! Thirty-three and one-half years, totally devoted. "I did it! It's finished."
Just by contrast, we could go back to Psalm 49, and you can do that in your own study. That psalm was written so that we might see a contrast between how the energies between this world are expended and what results, and the results of those who give themselves wholeheartedly to God. They are contrasted within that psalm.
Psalm 49:10-20 For he sees that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honour abides not: he is like the beasts that perish. This their way is their folly; yet their posterity approves their sayings. Selah. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah. Be not you afraid why one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lived he blessed his soul; and men will praise you, when you do well to yourself. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light. Man that is in honour, and understands not, is like the beasts that perish.
Receive Biblical truth in your inbox—spam-free! This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 140,000 subscribers are already receiving.