Hebrews Lesson 127 May 22, 2008
NKJ Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!
Open your Bibles with me to Leviticus 1. Now last time and the previous lessons - what we have done is to focus on the Tabernacle. Coming out of our studies in Hebrews 9, we need to have a pretty good understanding (pretty good frame of reference) to understand the Levitical sacrifices and offerings, the Tabernacle, the furniture in the Tabernacle, and the various procedures related to the rituals and the various procedures within the Tabernacle.
Now as I pointed out in the previous studies, there is only one entrance into the Tabernacle depicting the fact that there is only one way to God. God is the one who prescribes what those conditions are. God has the right to tell us what we need to do in order to come into His presence. Throughout the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, God is very clear as to what those requirements are. God has revealed this in a piecemeal fashion down through the ages. We call that progressive revelation. He didn't give everything at once, but He gave illustrations in the Old Testament through sacrifices. He just didn't give Adam the entire Levitical sacrificial system at the very beginning. Starting with Adam there were sacrifices, burnt offerings.
We see this mentioned several times in Genesis. Genesis 8 and Genesis 22 are the only times you have a burnt offering mentioned in Genesis. But, it sets the stage for what is then developed more fully by the time we get into the Mosaic Law. So these sacrifices are important. As someone would come into the Tabernacle, the first piece of furniture that they would see is the brazen altar which is… we have a model up here on the pulpit. It was approximately 7 ½ feet by 7 ½ feet and about 4 ½ feet wide. This is where the sacrifices were all conducted. It was made of acacia wood which is a very hard, incorruptible wood that was then covered with bronze. The wood pictures the Lord Jesus Christ in His perfect humanity. The bronze would be able to withstand the fire and the heat from the fires of the altar, which depicts the fact that Jesus Christ was able to withstand the judgment that God put upon Him on the cross. We looked at that and the meaning the words "altar" and "sacrifice" and how those words are cognates of one another. Now we are looking at the function of the altar. What happened when somebody came into the Tabernacle and they came to the altar?
This brings us to a study of the first 6 to 7 chapters in Leviticus which describes the sacrifices that were standard practice under the Mosaic Law. Each of these sacrifices pictures something about the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now when we looked at Leviticus last time I did a brief introduction and overview. Leviticus itself can be divided into basically two sections. The first 16 chapters deal with God's regulations on the cleansing necessary to come into His presence. That's where our focus is. In the second half of the book God reveals the standards for the ritual worship of Israel in chapter 17 to 27. Leviticus 1:1 takes up where the last verse in Exodus closes out that book. In Exodus itself we see all the descriptions for the construction of the Tabernacle and all of the furniture, the dress of the High Priest, and how everything was supposed to be made. Beginning in about chapter 25, God describes what He wants to have constructed. Then, He describes the construction. Then, you get a third description as they consecrate everything. So it's a repetitive book, but it gets the point across that God is very precise about the conditions to come into His presence.
We live in a world today where people want to say, "Well, we can come to God however we want to." They want to shift that orientation away from God as if God doesn't have the right to tell people what the conditions are to come into His presence. So one of the things that's emphasized in Leviticus is the holiness of God because this idea that people can come to God however they want to isn't something that popped up in the 20th century. This has gone on all the way back to the Garden of Eden as soon as Eve decided she could come up with her own version of God's plan and start redefining reality in terms of what would happen when she ate the fruit. So this has been an ongoing problem. God makes it very clear why there can be one and only one way into His presence because He is a holy God. He is absolute righteousness and He is absolute justice. Because His standard of perfection is so high, there is nothing man can do that can ever measure up to that.
Recently I was asked a question related to understanding human good. This is an interesting story and I'm not sure that I have all the information. There is a pastor in Indonesia who has somehow come into contact with one of the men who is a taper/transcriber for many things related to Dean Bible Ministries and they've been giving this Indonesian pastor a lot of different materials and funneling all this material to him. He's in turn using that to teach the Bible to Muslim background believers in Indonesia and is having a tremendous outreach. But he's trying to figure out a lot of things himself. He's read Chafer and Ryrie and listened to some other doctrinal teachers alone the way so he has some background. But he's asked some fairly basic questions. One he asked the other day was on the issue of human good.
He said, "Well, how can the sin nature produce human good?"
I thought, "Well, that's a question that most people probably had trouble with."
The reason is we think human good is not sin in and of itself. That's why it's not called personal sin. Human good or any of those "good" actions (any actions that flow from morality, any actions that help people, any actions that by comparison to what other people do) are basically good, helpful generous actions. Many unbelievers are capable of many good, helpful, generous deeds. It's just that they don't cut any ice with God. They don't measure up to perfect righteousness. They're not valid.
So when you're not a believer and there's no new nature, then all you have is a sin nature because of corruption from Adam and the inheritance of Adam's original sin - I mean Adam's sin nature and the imputation of Adam's original sin. Every human being has one corrupt nature and that's it. You're fallen. The only thing you can do is to produce out of that fallen nature. So there are some things that you produce out of that fallen nature that we classify as sin. Other things that come out of it aren't exactly sin. They're good deeds, but they don't have any spiritual value. They don't measure up to the righteousness of God. So the term human good is designed to simply portray that aspect, the morality that is produced apart from God or apart from any dependence on the Holy Spirit or application of divine truth.
So we recognize that every human being is fallen. Even though they can produce a measure of good, it can't ever measure up to that perfect standard that God has. So everything in the tabernacle is designed to reinforce the principle that unless there is some sort sacrifice (a blood offering in all but one case), then man can't come into God's presence.
But there is an answer here to the question - how can fallen, corrupt, sinful men have a relationship with God? And God has provided that solution and He pictures that through all these various sacrifices and offerings. So in some sense, they all picture something about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We call this kind of study typology. Some people can really get overboard with typology where every little thing and every little twist and every little turn is made to portray some spiritual truth. I think the most extreme case I ever read in that was some years ago somebody gave me a commentary on Genesis called Gleanings in Genesis by A. W. Pink. Some of you are familiar with him. He is a hyper Calvinist. I read through all of his commentary on Genesis. This was many, many years ago probably before I went to seminary. I was amazed at how he took everything that was mentioned in the Scripture and made it refer to Christ. Now that's hyper typology. There is a trend today among a lot of Bible scholars that they don't want to make anything a type, but that's just an over reaction to hyper typology.
But what we have clearly in the Old Testament is these pictures and symbols that God uses and that God used to prepare the Jews to teach them different aspects of doctrine through non-verbal ways in order to picture them as training aids so that by the time Jesus Christ would come, they would understand the purpose of His coming. They would understand the nature of what happened on the cross because they had all this background. Then we in the Church Age going back and looking into the Old Testament and studying the sacrifices can pick up on elements and aspects of those sacrifices that point to Christ that we wouldn't have necessarily picked up or that somebody in the Old Testament might not have necessarily picked up. Just because it was there doesn't mean they understood every aspect and every feature that was there. Nevertheless it's designed that way to teach something.
As we look at it through the lens of the New Testament we can say, "Aha!" (have one of those "aha!" moments) and say, "Well, that's why God had it constructed that way is because that's how it would depict something in relationship to the work of Christ on the cross."
So we see a lot this in these first 7 chapters in Leviticus where the sacrifices and offerings are described.
Then, there's an immediate shift into the sanctification or consecration of the priesthood. There is a natural order as you go through this. In Exodus we have the description of how to build the Tabernacle, how to build the furniture, what kind of dress the priest should have and then we get a description of the different kinds of sacrifices and offerings because before the priests can begin to function they have to be consecrated. There has to be burnt offerings and other offerings in order to consecrate them (set them apart) so that they can begin their service. So first there is the instruction on the Tabernacle itself. Then there is instruction on what sacrifices were necessary for certain purposes and the consecration there. Then, we get into the setting apart and the function of the priesthood.
So last time I began with just a very brief overview of the burnt offering. The one thing that you should remember in relation to all of these offerings is one word - and that is substitution. It is so clear in all of these sacrifices that God is teaching the principle that man on his own is incapable of having access to God. There must be a substitute who opens the door who does what is necessary in order to cleanse man of the problem of sin so that man can then have a relationship with God.
So I'm not going to go through each of these sections verse-by-verse because there is a certain amount of repetition and redundancy here. If you read through these chapters especially the first chapter related to burnt offering, there's a description of what you should do if you bring a male bullock from the herd. There's a description if you bring a young ram from the flock. Then there is a description of what you should do if you bring a bird for a burnt offering.
What is said about each of these is pretty much the same. The difference would depend upon the financial capability of each individual because a bullock would be quite valuable and so only those who were blessed a little more and had a little more affluency would be able to bring a bull. The next would be those who would bring a young ram from the flock; then for the poor, bringing a pigeon or a dove. But the bringing of a pigeon or a dove was viewed as an unusual situation because under the concept of the Law, if Israel is treated as if they're obedient and if they're obedient there won't be much poverty in Israel so you won't have very many people bringing pigeons and doves as a sacrifice. We know that under divine discipline they would be in such a situation.
Just to give you some summary information that I talked about last time.
- First of all, the location of the brazen altar speaks of the need of sacrificial atonement prior to entering into God's presence – prior to worship, prior to serving God. God multitasks. There are those I have read who have tried to make a strict case that the brazen altar and the burnt offerings specifically speak of phase one salvation. It speaks of sanctification in all of its aspects - positional as well as experiential because after you would bring your first burnt offering after you were saved, bringing a burnt offering after that is a repetitive thing. You don't get saved again and again and again. So it is a picture of the fact that Jesus Christ provides complete sanctification for us. So it relates to both aspects. So before you can serve God, before you can worship God, before you can have any kind of fellowship with God there must be a sacrifice.
Now let me add another point here. There's a difference between the experiential realities in the life of the average Jewish believer who lives maybe a two-day walk away from Jerusalem and the observance of certain rituals in the Tabernacle. If you live up in the north in what's later Galilee, live up around Nazareth or up around the Sea of Galilee and you commit a sin - does that mean that, "Well, I just committed a sin. I had better hoof it down to Jerusalem (That would take about two days) so that I can make a sacrifice and then turn around and get back up so I can back to work. I get half way back and I commit another sin. Well, I have to turn around and run all the way back to Jerusalem." Nobody would ever get anywhere. We talk about yo-yo confession with Christians going in and out of fellowship. You'd be running in and out of Jerusalem all the time and never get anything done. So these offerings have to do with ritual (with ritual cleansing) as well as the expression of the reality of forgiveness once that has taken place. So you have the ritual cleansing aspect and you have the real aspect which is when you have an individual believer up in Galilee…he sins and can confess his sin just as David does in Psalm 51 and he is forgiven and his fellowship with God is restored. Then the next time he goes down to Jerusalem, he needs to take a trespass offering or a guilt offering (sin offering) into the Tabernacle in order to have that ceremonial cleansing and recognition of forgiveness and the reality of forgiveness at that particular point. So it reinforces this. Everything we see in the ceremonial law is designed to emphasize two things - number 1 that just about anything you or I do can render us ceremonially unclean and incapable of coming into God's presence. That of course teaches the sinfulness of sin and how sin permeates everything in our lives. The second thing it teaches is that man cannot come to God on his own. There must be a blood sacrifice.
- The second point I mentioned last time is that the basic offering is the burnt offering. This is called the olah offering – olah from the verb meaning alah to go up or ascend. It's also called the holocaust offering because the Greek word that is used to transliterate this into the Septuagint is holokautoma which is the Greek word from which we get our English word holocaust. It has to do with the fact that everything was consumed in the offering. Then the other word that's important to see in the process is this word qarab. It's translated here as coming near. We find that down in verse 2.
NKJ Leviticus 1:2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock -- of the herd and of the flock.
…the idea of coming near to the Lord. Approaching Him emphasizes the idea of presenting it … emphasizes the aspect of fellowship. The noun cognate for this is the word qorban which is spelled q-o-r-b-a-n. This is the word that's used in verse 2.
It uses the word the word qorban there.
NKJ Leviticus 1:3 ' If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD.
Then it goes on to describe the first burnt offering. So the emphasis here with the word qorban is an offering. Then the use of the verb qarab emphasizes fellowship.
Fellowship as we have studied has two aspects. It's positional fellowship which every believer has at the instant of faith alone in Christ alone. It is a legal concept. We are adopted into God's family. It is a permanent eternal fellowship that can never be broken. However in terms of our day-to-day experience, it can be broken and it can be violated when we sin. This is why David says in the Psalms:
NKJ Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.
That day-to-day sin can separate us from God as we shift from walking by means of the Spirit to walking by means of the flesh. Instead of walking in the light, we're walking in darkness. The only way that we can recover is through confession of sin. So you have two kinds of fellowship portrayed here – positional and experiential both of which are portrayed typologically in the offering. The type, the picture…the word "type" means a shadow or a picture or example. The type gives us a picture of what is going on. The burnt offering is designed to picture Christ's full atonement on the cross which is final and complete in terms of its payment for sin. It also supplies the ongoing need for experiential cleansing of sin after salvation. This is why I John 1:7 precedes I John 1:9.
Now you are saying, "Well, what does I John 1:7 say?" I John 1:7 says:
NKJ 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
It's a present tense there and has that continuous idea that the blood of Christ continually cleanses from all sin.
Now there have been folks who come along and read that and said, "See, we really don't need to confess our sins because right here we have a clear statement that the blood of Christ continually cleanses us from sin. So why do we need to confess?"
I kind of sat back and scratched my head a little bit and said, "Well, let me see here. If 1 John 1:7 means you don't ever have to confess your sin, then why just two sentences later does John say:
NKJ 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
It's because 1 John 1:7 tells us the positional reality and the basis for the action that occurs in I John 1:9 so that the reality is that the blood of Christ is the basis for our eternal positional cleansing. But the way that is activated in our day-to-day life is that whenever we sin we know that if we confess it, admit it, acknowledge it to God; then instantly we are forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness on the basis of that death of Christ on the cross.
The second thing that I ought to bring up in talking about I John 1:7 is understanding that phrase "the blood of Christ." What does that mean? Does that mean the physical blood? Does that mean the literal, physical components that make up the blood (The red blood cells and white blood cells and the plasma and everything else that's involved there), or is this a figure of speech?
One of the things I mentioned before on Mondays - usually the last Monday of every month. This month is was last Monday. I meet with a group of pastor's and teach an extended form of Bible study methods. We've been reading a book by one of the professors I had at Dallas Seminary named Roy Zuck called Basic Bible Interpretation which is a very good book just introducing the basic principles – Bible study methods specifically related to hermeneutics. The chapter we were studying on Monday had to do with figures of speech. There is a book that he references that I just about tore apart when I was in seminary we used it so much called Figures of Speech in the Bible by EW Bullinger. The first 25 pages of the book are the Table of Contents listing over 200 figures of speech listed in the Bible. I mean that's the Table of Contents. That's not the description of all of them. That's the remainder of the book. So there are all kinds of figures of speech in the Bible. Bullinger's work is considered the definitive work on figures of speech used in the Bible. Bullinger states that the term when blood is used in these kinds of contexts is what's called a metonymy.
Now you never heard of that. You never heard of most of those – trust me. I was an English major in college. I never heard of 90% of these figures of speech. They pretty much limited our education to similes and metaphors. Every now and then they might throw in something like hyperbole, one or two others personification, but that was it. Well, a metonymy is when you put one word for something else that it is related to. Sometimes you have a metonymy of the cause for effect or the thing for the object of different ones like that. That's what you have here.
When somebody dies a violent death in many cases there is the shedding of blood. So go back to principles in the Mosaic Law and Leviticus where you have statements that the life is in the blood. That is a picture of the fact that when blood is no longer circulating, there's death. When somebody bleeds out that means their life is gone. They're now dead. They have exanguinated. There is no longer any blood there so they are dead. But not all violent deaths are caused by bleeding. You can stab someone or you can shoot them. You can find any number of ways to cause them to bleed, but there are many ways in which you can murder somebody through poison or strangulating or other ways in which there is little or no bloodshed, but you've still committed murder. You can go back into the Old Testament as far back as Genesis 9 when God authorizes capital punishment and He states it this way:
NKJ Genesis 9:6 "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.
The principle there is the shedding of blood in that context: he uses a figure of speech which indicates a violent kind of death and a wrong kind of death, the committing of a homicide.
So when we have this phrase "the blood of Christ", the blood stands for death. So when the animal's blood is shed on the altar that is a figurative way using a metonymy of talking about the death of the animal - the physical death of the animal. But, the physical death of a sacrificial animal in the Old Testament isn't just depicting the physical death of Christ on the cross. It is picturing the spiritual death of Christ on the cross when God pours out His judgment upon Jesus Christ.
You can look this up in any number of Greek lexicons under the word "blood", and it will point out that the word is used figuratively of the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross when He pays the penalty sins of the world. So, that's what is happening here. All of this is designed to picture these different aspects of Christ's work. So when we get into I John 1:7 and we learn that the blood of Christ or the death of Christ (that's His spiritual death) continually cleanses from all sin. If you were Jewish, you would have a certain picture in your mind related to all these sacrifices that you had seen. Then, you would have another understanding if we confess our sin that would picture the sin offering. That's the fourth offering that we'll study. When you put your hand upon the animal and there's a transference of your sin and guilt from you to that particular animal, that is what happens at the cross. Then you would confess your sin in relation to forgiveness. We'll get into that as we proceed in our study.
So the burnt offering pictures both the positional cleansing that occurs once for all when we trust Christ as our Savior and the ongoing experiential cleansing that takes place as we confess our sins. So the ultimate way to define this is that the burnt offering pictures the sanctifying work of Christ on the cross, which sets us apart so we can now have fellowship and have communion with God. So as the person would bring the offering, he would come up and he would lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering that it may be acceptable for him to make atonement on his behalf.
- Now the third point I have is that as they brought the burnt offering, he would come in and present the offering after they have gone through everything. We will go into some of the details in a minute. The entire offering is consumed by fire. What that indicates is that there is nothing left for the worshipper to do. Everything belongs to God. God is the one who completely consumes the offering and there is nothing leftover for the worshipper to do. Everything is done indicating that Jesus Christ in the judgment that the heat (the fire) depicts the judgment. In the judgment on Christ everything was paid for.
- The fourth thing we should note about the burnt offering is that this is the regular offering that is made every morning and every evening in the Temple. There is a burnt offering at dawn, a burnt offering at dusk continuously depicting the need for cleansing
- The main doctrine here (the main teaching we want to get across) is that no one can ever draw near to God (no one can have a relationship with God) apart from a substitutionary payment. There must be a substitutionary payment (a certain kind of death) as depicted in the violent death of the animal. This was a horrific, shocking thing to come into the Temple and to bring your lamb or the young bull and to kill it and to watch, collect all the blood, slit its neck, slit its throat, collect all the blood in the basin and hear all the sounds of the animal dying and collect all that. Then you would skin the animal and then divide up the parts, quarter it, lay it out in the correct order on the burnt offering and then it would all be consumed. We'll get into some of the details in a minute. So it's a very graphic picture that someone would have to go through again and again and again depicting that eventual work of Christ on the cross
- The burnt offering found its ultimate typological fulfillment in the cross. It pictures everything that is accomplished on the cross. So that picks up all the elements related to positional as well as experiential.
Now the purpose is to find as we see here in Leviticus 1:4 was to make atonement on behalf of the worshipper. We covered this last time, but we need to hear this several more times before it sinks in.
The English word "atonement" was generated in the early Middle Ages. It was a combination of the word at-one-ment to indicate the concept of reconciliation. What's interesting (and I don't know what this means) is there is no comparable word for atonement in the New Testament. If you look the word atonement in an English concordance, you won't find the word used in the New Testament. I'm not sure what that word means, but I think there's something significant there. One of these days I hope to figure it out. There's a lot of discussion. Most systematic theologies you read, it always talks about the work of Christ summarizing it in this term of atonement. Yet you never find that word anywhere in the New Testament. So it may be a word that is related to only the provisional aspect of the sacrificial system, but I can't be dogmatic on that. I haven't worked my way through everything yet.
You have two words that show up in the Hebrew text that are homonyms. They're spelled the same – KPR. Kaphar is how you would pronounce it. One word shows up in Genesis 6 when Noah covers the Ark with pitch. Another word shows up when you're talking about atonement. And for many years those were not distinguished. So you and I both heard people teach on atonement that it means to cover our sin. That would seem to fit. You have a picture with the Ark of the Covenant where you put blood on the Mercy Seat and it would cover sin. But now most Hebrew scholars and dictionaries distinguish between these two words and that this word that is used in Leviticus and in atonement passages has the idea of to propitiate, to expiate, to satisfy. This is a word that covers the cleansing aspect of the sacrifices. That is further substantiated by the fact that when you get into a study in the Septuagint which is the translation that the Jewish rabbis made of the Hebrew Old Testament that in many, many cases (not all, but in many cases) this word is translated by those Jewish rabbis with the word katharizo which is the word meaning to cleanse. So that is the primary picture of atonement is the cleansing of sin.
Now when the worshipper would come in, he comes in and he brings in one of three types of sacrifices for a burnt offering. The sacrifice is to be a male that is without spot or blemish. This depicts the Lord Jesus Christ who is sinless who was impeccable in His human nature. In the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, He had no sin. He's born of a virgin. There is no inherited sin from Adam. There is no imputation of Adam's original sin and He did not commit any personal sin. So the male animal is brought in. Usually it has been kept for a few days and observed to make sure that it is not ill, that there are no defects, no problems. It is authorized by the priest. The sacrifice was brought in and it was to be slaughtered. Its blood is then collected in a basin and then it is splattered on the altar.
When they do this, the worshipper is to put his hand (as I mentioned) on the animal and it's not just placing it there lightly. But it has the idea in the Hebrew of putting some pressure. In fact the rabbis translated it – they would push hard. So there's that indication of identification.
This is where we pick up ideas related to baptism in the New Testament, the baptism of the Holy Spirit where we are identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. The idea that you see in an ordination when pastors and church leaders will lay their hands or put their hands on someone who is being ordained. It is the idea that there is an identification going on in ordination that the person being ordained is being identified with the doctrine and the beliefs of those who are ordaining them. So in the sacrifice the worshipper would put his hand and hold on and push down on the animal. That is a sign that his sins are being identified with the animal and the guilt is being transferred to the animal. Then they would slit the animal's throat, take one of the bronze basins, collect all the blood and then they would take it and they wouldn't just sort of sprinkle it. They would splatter it. So there's again a sense of violence, a sense of intentionally there. The Hebrew word has the idea of throwing it against the altar, which indicates that is the place of judgment. In the case of the bird, the priest would twist his neck (break his neck) and simply put him on the altar and the blood of the bird would run down the side of the altar.
According to the description here in Leviticus 1, it was the worshiper who would slit the throat of the animal; but, later on it was the priest who would do it. Then they would take the animal and they would skin it. They would skin it out and the hide (the leather) would go to the priest. Leviticus 7:8 indicates that. I think that is a depiction of the fact that the hide which is without spot or blemish. Once you skin it you can tell that there's no defect in the hide, that the clothing of the priest with that skin is a picture of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. So the animal is skinned. The skin goes to the priest for their clothing.
The animal was then cut into pieces. If it was a bird, then the feathers were removed. That's why it's not going to smell bad, because you're not burning all the fur and all the feathers and everything else. You're butchering the animal. You're removing the hide and then you would take the entrails and clean the entrails. The priest goes over to the laver which is the place of cleansing and he is going to remove all of the dung, all the material from the inside of the intestines. So these are completely washed and cleansed before they're burned on the altar so you're not going to get all the fowl smell from the intestines and everything else in there burning on the altar. Everything that goes on the altar has to be clean just like the Lord Jesus Christ was without sin. So of all the dung is removed from the entrails. Then they are offered up on the sacrificial fire and the fat of the animal is also to be specifically stated to be removed and burned on the altar. Why is that? Why do we have the mention of fat? Because you're not bringing just some skinny little sick animal to the altar. This is the healthiest, strongest, most valuable animal in the herd or in the flock. The fact that there is fat present indicates that he is well fed, and is then presented. It is a sacrifice in the sense that worshipper is bringing something that is valued. So all this pictures the work of Christ on the cross.
So in summary what we have is #1 that the whole sacrifice pictures fellowship with God. So it is a foundational sacrifice even though it's not always the first sacrifice. It is a foundational sacrifice because it depicts substitutionary atonement. The second thing that we see is that these burnt offerings are the most common so this is going to be reinforced in the minds of the people twice a day, every day on and on and on. It's the most common sacrifice mentioned in the Scripture. The burnt offerings are only to be offered in a place where God authorized. According to Deuteronomy 12:13:
NKJ Deuteronomy 12:13 "Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see;
Solomon is going to violate that and allow burnt offerings in the high places from the beginning of his reign even though he is not worshipping idols. There is a violation of this law from the very beginning of his reign.
NKJ Deuteronomy 12:14 "but in the place which the LORD chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.
…only is a stated location. This is called the law of the central sanctuary.
The fourth thing that we notice is that anyone can bring an offering. They're not going to be restricted by their economic status, by how they much have, by how much they don't have. Anyone can bring an offering and if you don't have anything you can at least afford to bring a turtle dove or a pigeon.
The fifth point is that the complete burning of the sacrifice represents the totality of the judgment and purification. This pictures the fact that in Jesus Christ's death on the cross every sin is paid for. The picture of the burning also pictures the fact that it is the substitute that bears all of the penalty, all of the judgment; not the worshipper.
The sixth point, though the blood of bulls cannot take away sin as we learned in Hebrews, God did actually forgive their sins. I often use the words "it's provisional". By provisional I don't mean it's any less real; it's just because the ultimate sacrifice hasn't been accomplished yet. It's based on something that is going to happen in the future. So it's provisional. I don't mean that in the sense that God is holding out and waiting and if for some reason Christ didn't die because there was a certainty that Christ would die. So it is a real forgiveness. We see this in passages such as Psalm 130:3-4.
NKJ Psalm 130:3 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
NKJ Psalm 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
It was a real and total and complete forgiveness.
NKJ Psalm 78:38 But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, And did not stir up all His wrath;
So this is the idea that there is a full and complete and total judgment.
Then the 7th point is that in terms of studying the Old Testament, burnt offerings were in practice from the very beginning. The first mention of a burnt offering is in Genesis 8:20 at the time of the flood. Then there is a second burnt offering in Genesis. That is when God asked Abraham to come and offer Isaac as a burnt offering in Genesis 22.
In the book of Judges it's mentioned several times. Gideon offers a burnt offering when the Angel of the Lord appears to him. Jephthah wrongly vows to offer whatever comes out of the door of the house to greet him when he comes home as a burnt offering and ends up having to sacrifice his daughter. Then Manoah, the father of Sampson, offers a burnt offering in gratitude to the Angel of the Lord.
So there seems to be a couple of different motivations in bringing a burnt offering. One is in relationship to understanding the provision of grace to cover sin. The other is in gratitude to God for His provision. Burnt offerings are mentioned (or the word is mentioned) over 280 times in the Old Testament so this is your most common offering.
The next offering that we'll get into which is in Leviticus 2 is the grain offering or sometimes called the meal offering. Or, you could even call it the tribute offering. It is the bloodless offering. Of these offerings that we have in Leviticus, it's the only one that is bloodless. It was a raw grain offering that was mixed with oil and it could be either raw (just the flour itself) and oil or it could be baked in an oven or baked in a pan or fried in a skillet. There was to be no leaven or honey involved or used in the meal offering because this would picture corruption of some kind. It was to be from the first fruits of the harvest. It was also to be seasoned with salt. Salt is a preservative so this is a picture of God's preservation of the covenant with Israel.
Now as we get into a look at the grain offering in chapter 2, we read in verse 1:
NKJ Leviticus 2:1 'When anyone offers a grain offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour. And he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it.
So the word that we have here for fine flour is the word coleth in the Hebrew. It referred to the finest of flour. You take the grain and you have the whole grain and then you can take just the inner core of the grain. This is referring to flour made from the inner part of the grain that was very valuable. In fact in some passages it's indicated to be as valuable as silver and gold. Ezekiel 16:13 indicates that. In II Kings 7:1 it is only served in the palace of the king. So it indicated something that was extremely valuable and not something that was in everybody's pantry. It was a very fine flour. This flour (because of its uniqueness and the fact that it is refined so that the very best of the flour) represents the impeccability of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the offering of the first kind of offering (the raw flour offering), when the worshipper would pour oil on it this depicts the anointing of the Messiah, that He is the one that is anointed or appointed by God to carry out his particular task. When the frankincense is added to it in the offering when a portion was then taken to be burned on the altar, then this would produce sweet savor offering, a sweet smell. This indicates the fact that the Father is propitiated or satisfied. He finds the sacrifice of Christ on the cross to be pleasing to Him. Then the fact that this is a fine flour that is crushed and ground very finely is a picture of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was judged on our behalf.
There are four different types of meal offerings. You have an uncooked version. Then you have three that are cooked. The three that are cooked, they would take the flour and make small cakes of them. Some would be baked in an oven like a Dutch oven. Those baked in the oven, you couldn't see what was going on inside the oven. This is a picture of the unseen suffering of Christ on the cross as the Father covered the land with darkness so the people could not look upon the Lord at the time when the sins were poured on Him. So this pictures the unseen suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf.
The two other forms of the meal offering (frying cakes on the griddle which was a flat metal pan) pictured the visible suffering at the hands of man as did the frying pan where the cakes would be cooked inside a frying pan or skillet. So you had a pan-fried meal offerings.
A third form of the meal offering that's mentioned here is indicated towards the end. Look down to 2:14.
NKJ Leviticus 2:14 ' If you offer a grain offering of your firstfruits to the LORD, you shall offer for the grain offering of your firstfruits green heads of grain roasted on the fire,
Roasting on the fire is a picture of judgment.
grain beaten from full heads.
NKJ Leviticus 2:15 'And you shall put oil on it,
Again that placing of oil on it always depicts something related to anointing.
and lay frankincense on it. It is a grain offering.
...which would indicate the sweet savor.
So this form of the green ears is also a picture of what Jesus refers to in John 12:24 when he talked about the fact that unless the grain falls to the ground and dies, it can't bring forth new life. Just as He is judged for our sins on the cross and dies; it is through His death, burial and resurrection that we receive new life in regeneration. So this again pictures the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is also a depiction in the oil of the sustaining ministry of the Holy Spirit. Oil is often used in Scripture as a picture of the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. During His life on the earth, Jesus Christ was sustained by the Holy Spirit. We have passages such as Isaiah 11:1-2.
NKJ Isaiah 11:1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
That would be the Lord Jesus Christ coming from the stem of Jesse, Jesse being David's father coming out of that family.
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
NKJ Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
The Holy Spirit sustained the Lord Jesus Christ and this is one of the prophecies related to that. We see that the Holy Spirit was related to the baptism of Jesus when at His baptism the Father spoke from heaven and the people there would hear His voice.
NKJ Matthew 3:17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Then the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove.
Right after that baptism is when the Lord Jesus Christ then was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days and nights of fasting. Then He went through the three tests where Satan the tempter came and tested him. He is sustained through His testing through God the Holy Spirit. Then when He goes to the cross, He is sustained on the cross while He is bearing our sins through God the Holy Spirit.
So the oil represents that sustaining ministry of God the Holy Spirit in relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now when you look at the grain offering, it also is a voluntary offering emphasizing the individual volition of every worshipper. They would come and of their own free will they would bring this offering to the Lord and a portion (only a portion) of it was burned on the altar. The rest is given to the priest. Therefore this offering depicts the expansiveness and the sufficiency of God's grace in supplying for the needs of the worshipper as well as for the priest. So it emphasizes the sufficiency of God's grace. The main idea is that those who have been accepted by God express their gratitude and their dedication to Him through the meal offering. It is from their very best from first fruits and is designed to express the fact that we recognize that all that we have is from Him because of what He has provided for us on the cross.
Now next time we'll come back in chapter 3 and look at the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. Let's bow our heads in closing prayer.