LEVITICUS 1:1 – 3:17 and MATTHEW 24:32–51
Now that the Tabernacle has been constructed it is time to observe in how it will be utilized. The Lord will begin to speak to Moses regarding a series of offerings that will be made. These offerings will have different meanings and degrees of significance. The offerings will bring into clear view the different levels of consecration existent within a believer. We will also see how the Lord fulfilled each of these offerings through His earthly ministry.
Heb 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
Jesus did not go through the rituals of tabernacle sacrifices as we are about to see in Leviticus. His life was a fulfilment of those offerings. By studying the offerings we gain a greater appreciation for what He accomplished in addition to seeing the opportunity we have as well. The type and shadow of the Tabernacle and its offerings helps to illuminate our understanding of the offering we are to bring to God regarding our lives. The degree of offering will reveal our level of commitment and consecration. It is hoped that our tour through Leviticus will be insightful and not just blood and gore. There is a reason why this Book has been given and we want to learn from its gems.
The Book of Leviticus is also known as “The Handbook of Priests”. If we can glean through its truths it will help to position and qualify us to be Priests of the Most High God for these last days. The Book of Leviticus will also highlight the 7 primary Feasts of Israel as seen in chapter 23. Each Feast has a significance and message that helps to give greater understanding to our walk. For example, some believers never get beyond Salvation which is represented by the Passover. God can speak and does speak to those who press in, to those who seek and treasure the riches of God expressed throughout scripture. Our Christian walk is a progressive one; going from strength to strength.
There are 5 principal offerings covered in the first 5 chapters of Leviticus. They are in order:
1) Burnt Offering
2) Meal or Meat Offering
3) Peace Offering
4) Sin Offering
5) Trespass Offering
The first three offerings were performed at the brazen altar while the last two were performed without the camp. The first three offerings were given by faithful Israelites in their worship to God. (We bring the sacrifice of praise)The last two offerings were given by Israelites coming as sinners, worthy of punishment. We see Christ fulfilling the first three offerings in His expression of love for man (John 15:13). Christ fulfilled the last two offerings by becoming sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). In our lives we are called to present ourselves as a living sacrifice as seen in Romans 12:1-2.
The Burnt Offering is the first one mentioned. It is a voluntary offering (vs 2-3). In verse 5 we see the killing of the bullock before the Lord signifying a consecrated death to one’s flesh. There had to be a divine order in the lead-up to Christ’s death on the cross. This offering had to be done according to God’s order (vs 6-8). Christ died willingly, submitting Himself to the perfect will of the Father. We have an opportunity to present our bodies as a living sacrifice as well. It is not forced, it is a willing offering. You can understand how this offering would have a sweet fragrance attached to it. God delights in this level of sacrifice. We first see that the head had to be placed on the altar. This speaks of a consecrated mind. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2). The next portion of the bullock offering was the inward parts and legs (vs 9). The inwards relate to ones affections. What is in our heart; are our thoughts and emotions yielded to Him? What about our walk; do we live a circumspect life before God and man? This is a high level offering that requires us to be totally be yielded to God in body soul and spirit. The legs had to be washed in water for cleansing. This speaks of the washing of the Word. The burnt offering is designated in three different degrees represented by three different animals.
1:2-3 An offering of a bullock
1:10 An offering of sheep or goats
1:14 An offering of a turtledove or fowl type animal.
How can we appropriate this in modern day terminology and practise? Think of an altar call. Some will approach the altar in innocence, not knowing what they really want and God often accepts this. The Lord honours those who constantly seek for more of Him. This is seen in the innocence of a turtledove. With a goat one is seeking to offer up their will or independence. A Sheep type offering is reflected in those who seek to be submissive to what God is saying. A bullock offering is represented by one who fully knows what God is requiring and dedicates himself wholeheartedly to it.
The burnt offering is one that pleases the heart of God because it is one that a person chooses to give. He or she recognizes that God is worthy of their best and seeks to express it in the best way and measure possible. This can even be seen in a worship service; learning to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:24, Gen 22:5, 1 Sam 1:19). It can be recognized in a tithe or gift that goes above and beyond the norm simply because God is worthy of our best. This offering is reflected in the example we see in Abel. He gave by faith, not holding back his best. May we be faithful in presenting such an offering to God.
We will now look at the meal or meat offering. This is an offering that deals primarily with our relationship with man. Remember the two greatest commandments? It’s learning to love God first with heart, mind and strength as characterized in the burnt offering and then to love man in the same manner (Math 22:37-40). This is what this offering entails. Man’s relationship with one another. The key ingredient in this offering is “fine flour”. The process of making flour is a gruelling one. A seed takes root and grows as wheat. Then it is cut down (speaking of death) and then threshed and beaten. It speaks of great suffering, often at the hands of those we serve. This does not sound like a pleasant experience at all, so how does one endure and satisfy this offering? Well the next ingredient in this offering is “oil” which was poured upon the flour (vs 1). The oil speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit. We come to know more of the ministry of the precious Holy Spirit through this offering.
Col 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
The spirit of might is one of the attributes (7 Spirits) of the Holy Spirit as seen in Isa 11:2-3. When we are beaten down and refined it is the oil that brings life and the ability to rejoice in the midst of difficulty. This helps us to understand the true cost of brotherly love and unity (Psa 133:1-3, Exo 30:23-25). This meal offering is costly and yet we see how the Lord fulfilled this offering in His life and ministry. He suffered through the contradiction of sinners.
Heb 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds
We came to see earlier how Moses entered into that revelation of the long-suffering and mercy attributes of God (Exo 34:6). Moses was changed as a result of this exposure he had to God, which enabled him to fulfil the requirements of the meal offering in his own life. If we have that same cry that Moses had when he desired to know the ways of God and His glory we can become candidates in being able to make this consecration to the Lord.
The third ingredient was frankincense which was also added to the flour. This speaks of having no human sweetness as being part of the offering. If you add honey to fire it will explode, yet honey has an appeal due to its sweetness. Some people can be like this where they seem very nice and cordial in your presence but yet can change when put to the fire. Our relationships with friends, people in authority and even brethren can be so smooth as long as everything is flowing along nicely. What happens though when things change? What happens when one gets offended? What happens when one has things said about them that may not be true? What happens when those who are close to you do not understand your situation or say something very painful? Will such people be able to endure? What kind of offering would we present to the Lord under those circumstances?
This is why we are exhorted to make things right with people at communion if we have aught against them; not holding any grudges or ill feeling. Frankincense is a plant that puts forth a nice aroma under fire and pressure. The more fire you have the better the fragrance. Frankincense also speaks of “faith” so it is an offering that only the Lord can produce. We have to respond to it willingly but it is God who can arrange opportunities to allow this offering to take place.
There are a few other characteristics of this offering to consider. There was to be no leaven (which speaks of hypocrisy, sin or corruption) mixed in (vs 11). Our motives must be pure in our relationships with people with no flattering or self-serving agenda. The Lord so loved humanity in His role as the Son of Man. He faithfully gave His life in obedience to His Father’s will (Burnt Offering) but willingly gave His life due to His great love for humanity. (Meal Offering)
Our relationship with one another will be one of the greatest tests and challenges in the coming days. This relationship represents the last bastion of the enemy where he can circumvent and thwart the advancement of God’s kingdom. This was the last battle David had before he could take Zion. His battle was against the Jebusites who speak of those who sow discord amongst brethren. This is not an enemy outside the church but rather a stronghold within. The meal offering serves as the remedy and means in which we can come into that level of relationship with one another so that we can fulfil that 2nd portion of loving each other as we love God. I guess we can summarise the first two chapters of Leviticus by linking them to the famous two verses in Math 22: 36-40.
The final ingredient required was that each offering had to be seasoned with salt (vs 13). Salt speaks of sincerity and character. We can season “salt” in any environment. We can pray that God would help us to be sincere and to be able to leave a savour; a seasoning of His presence in all of our endeavours.
We come now to the Peace Offering. Many have peace with God but do not have the peace of God. This offering involves God, the one bringing the offering and the priest. It is imperative that we come to that position of having the peace of God, so that we can bring peace to others. The Peace of God serves as one of the greatest weapons against the enemy. When you have “true peace” you will not be shaken. It leaves nothing for the enemy to lay hold on in your life. Satan thrives on fear, jealousy, envy, anger and other such vices. If you have fear he can neutralize or paralyze you. The Peace of God is one of the greatest weapons we have against Satan and his devices (Psa 35:35-37, Rom 16:20).
One of the purposes of the Peace offering is thanksgiving. Remember, it was a free will offering and it allowed the one bringing the offering to express gratitude and thanksgiving to God. This is one of the keys in coming to know true peace. We need to be a people who major in thankfulness. It pleases the heart of God. When we give thanks in the midst of a trial or storm; it says something about our relationship with God. It demonstrates that we have a measure of peace of God in our lives. This then serves as an example and encouragement to others.
Joh 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
There are other interesting points that can be drawn from this offering. You have 3 degrees of offering as represented by animals. 1) Bullock, (vs 1) a lamb, (vs 7) and a goat (vs 12). This is another group of three that distinguishes levels of believers. The bullock can be likened to the man-child, the lamb to the church and the goat to the remnant as seen in Rev 12. There is a different level of consecration with each associated animal. We can link the three divisions of Moses tabernacle as another example of levels of consecration. Think of a goat for a moment. They like to “butt” heads. They have a streak of independence about them. Do you think there is “goat” type” Christians today? They look to serve God independently, on their terms. (This is not to be linked to the separation of sheep nations from goat nations)
Today the world is ever seeking for that elusive peace. It is pursued in the political and entertainment landscapes. There is only One true peace and it can only be found in the Prince of Peace Himself. There is coming a day when there will be one who will come on the scene who will seek to broker a peace among the nations. He may succeed for a season but it will be for the purpose of putting people into a false sense of security. This so called peacemaker will be in the person of the antichrist.
The peace offering is an absolute essential for the Christian of the last days. You may not always have control over a situation but the peace of God can allow you to be in control. God’s peace is real and it supersedes any circumstance. It is a fruit of the spirit as characterized by the plant spikenard (SOS 4:12-13). This was the anointing oil that Mary used in wiping the feet of Jesus shortly before His death (John 12:3). It was costly and it was an offering that was contended for. (Judas coveted its value for personal gain)
May God help to bring us to the place of presenting Peace Offerings before Him where web have the ability to be thankful at all times and to learn to rule and reign in any situation.
Psa 110:2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
Matthew 24 – Read day 36 commentary