In the series, we have explored quite a number of areas of the Old Testament
1. The Fall Feast (Part 1)
2. Pauls Explanation Of Col 2 (Part 2)
3. Day Of Atonement (Part 3)
4. Feast Of The Tabernacles (Part 4)
5. Clean And Unclean Meat (Part 5 , Part 6)
6. Burning Of Incense (Part 7, Part 8)
7. Lighting Of Lamp (Part 9, Part 10 )
8. Offering Of Sacrifice (Part 11)
Since Part 7 we have been talking about 3 things that the priest need to do on a daily basis.
The 3 things are
1. Burning Incense
2. Lighting The Lamps
3. Offering Animals
In our previous post, we have said that it is a good thing to offer sacrifice. But what is important is for the sacrifice to be acceptable before God. That is not about the quantity or the quality of the sacrifice. But rather it is about whether we offer our sacrifice in accordance to God.
That is why Priest ought to know the rules and regulations concerning sacrifice. All of Gods regulation regarding offering are recorded in Leviticus Chapter 1. We covered 3 of the rules. The animals must be without blemish, the offering must be done willingly and it had to be offered at the prescribed place of worship.
Now let us continue this study.
Pt 1: To Lay Hands On The Head
“Then he shall put his hand on the
head of the burnt offering, and it
will be accepted on his behalf to
make atonement for him.” – YHWH (Lev 1:4)
The 4th rule is that the one making the offering must put his hand on the head of the animal.When the hands are on the head, he is joined to his offering. It feels as though his sin was transferred onto the animal and the animal had to die on his behalf.
In the New testament, Jesus is the lamb that was sacrificed. We must be joined together with Jesus. Only then can our sin be forgiven. For Jesus tell us that no one comes to the father except through him. Are we now joined to Jesus?
When we are baptised, we are baptised into Christ. We have put on Christ. It is at baptism when our his blood cleanse us of sin, and his life is in us. That is when we are joined to Jesus, and that is a blessing given to us by God. That is why we are forgiven and we can inherit eternal life. That is why Christians ought to be joined with the Lord and not be separated from Jesus.
Today we have Christians who are joined to the Lord at baptism, but over time they draw themselves away from God. Even though they claim they still have faith and they pray to God. But their lives are no longer joined with Christ. It is something we often neglect, have we joined our lives to the Lord?
How do we achieve that?
“And whatever you do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father
through Him.” – Paul Col 3:17)
We must do all in the name of Jesus,that also serves as reminder that we must never transgress the teaching of God. So have we went beyond the teaching of Jesus? Are our actions for ourselves or for the Lord? The many things that we love, are they contrary to the teaching of God?
If one actions do not please God, we need to control ourselves and not sin against him. Then we can receive the grace of God and the blessing to be joined with God. Eventually we will receive eternal glory with him, that is why we need to keep ourselves in Jesus and not depart from him.
Pt 1.1 The Person That Lays The Hand
Who is to lay hand on the sacrifice? It is the man making the offering. The priest could only help the man to make his offering. But it is the person that must place his hand onto the head of the animal. This is an acknowledgement of sin and a submission to God’s method of forgiving sin.
Today there are many who believe that Jesus is God and he had the power to forgive sin. But are we truly willing to acknowledge our sins and repent before God? We all know the reality behind this. There are many who are baptised into Christ, but not everyone had truly repented. Many opt for baptism because they have their own hidden agenda.
Those who are like that have missed the most important reason for baptism. The true purpose of baptism is obey the command of Jesus , believing that he had the power to forgive sin. We need to believe that his blood is present at the baptismal site. After baptism, one need to repent from his previous sin and make a resolve to be a new man.
This is similar to putting your hands on the head of the sacrifice. It is to acknowledge your sin as well as Gods method to forgive sin. Only by doing so can the sin of men be forgiven. Even though we know this, but a burning question is still within our minds.
Pt 1.2 If God Wants All to Be Saved, why cant he save everyone?
Sometimes we ask, if God wants to save the world, how come there are people who are not saved? It appears that there are people who can withstand the will of God. As the result, even though God wants everyone to be saved, he is not able to save everyone.
But is this the right perspective? Does that mean that God had no power to save everyone?
God had the power to save man, but not everyone is willing to admit his sin and repent from his sin. If a man continue to sin against God and not treat it as a problem. Is it the problem of God or the problem of man?
If one were to acknowledge his sin, and ask God to preserve him so that he will not sin against him instead. Then during the times when we sin against him in our weakness , as long as we are willing to come before God and acknowledge our sin and repent, he is willing to forgive us.
But if we insist our way and continue to sin, we will eventually be judged by God. That is why we need to offer sacrifice, we need to place our hands before the head of the sacrifice and to knowledge our sins and ask for forgiveness.
Pt2 : To Kill The Offering Himself
“He shall kill the bull before the Lord;
and the priests”- YHWH (Lev 1:5)
The man who brought the offering must kill the animal himself. This is an act not done by the priest. In the same way, we do not just pray to God and ask him to forgive us. We need to make the resolve to kill the sinner within us and not allow it to continue living
That is why Paul said
“What shall we say then?
Shall we continue in sin
that grace may abound?
Certainly not! How shall
we who died to sin live
any longer in it?
Or do you not know that as
many of us as were baptized
into Christ Jesus were baptized
into His death?
Therefore we were buried with
Him through baptism into death,
that just as Christ was raised from
the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in
newness of life.” – Paul (Rom 6:1-4)
There are Christians who did not put to death their old and sinful self. They know that they need to lay their hands on the head of the sacrifice but they have forgotten to kill the offering. That is why Paul continue to tell them
“Likewise you also, reckon
yourselves to be dead indeed
to sin, but alive to God in
Christ Jesus our Lord” –Paul (Rom 6:11)
We need to make a resolve to kill our sinful self and not allow it to come back to life. Baptism is a sacrament that allow us to be buried together with Christ. The moment we get out of the water, your old sinful self have died. We have risen together with Christ with the live of Christ within us.
Pt 2.1 Putting To death Our Sinful Self
We need to become a new man, and that is something Christians often forget. That is why we remain our old sinful self with no change in us. But if we are not buried, how can we be resurrected?
Since we are buried with Christ, can we allow our old self to continue living? What do I mean by that? How often are we interested in the matter of sin? How often are we stirred to think about and to commit sin?
A person who is dead will have no interest in his surrounding, no amount of stimulation can move a dead man. For he is dead and he can feel nothing. So is our old sinful self dead or is he merely sleeping? Perhaps it only lose a bit of consciousness.
Should we continue to sin so that God grace can abound? We need to ask God to help us, we need to have a life of spiritual cultivation and nurture. We need to prevent our old self from coming back to life. We must no longer continue in the path of sin. We are not to draw near to places of sin, escape from youthful lust and draw near to those who call upon the Lord with a pure heart.
Only then can we be saved, it is a matter of our choice. The purpose of baptism is to bury our old sinful self with Christ. So that on the last day we will be resurrected and could join the Lord in heaven. If we truly believe, let us bury our old man. For Resurrection can only happen after burial. We need to remember this
Pt3 : To Sprinkle The Blood Around The Altar
“and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall
bring the blood and sprinkle the
blood all around on the altar that
is by the door of the tabernacle of
meeting. “-YHWH (Lev 1:5)
Here it tell us that the priest have to sprinkle blood all around the altar. why is this necessary? Would that not make a mess? The sight of all these blood, will it not traumatise us and leave a deep and scary impression within us?
Why did God choose such a method? Why do we need to do it? Will God only be appeased when he see blood all over the altar? Is God so obsessed about seeing blood? Will blood give him satisfaction so that he will have the mood to forgive?
The blood is not for God to see, but it is for men to see it. It serve to remind us the reason why the altar in the sanctuary is full of blood. If we had not sin, then there is no blood there. If we have not sin, does the animal have to die on our behalf? It is to remind us of sin and an acknowledgement of it. For one must make a resolve to repent from sin.
“For if we sin wilfully after we
have received the knowledge
of the truth, there no longer
remains a sacrifice for sins,
but a certain fearful expectation
of judgment, and fiery indignation
which will devour the adversaries” –Author (Heb 10:26-27)
Here it tells us that if we sin wilfully, there will not be a sacrifice of sin. He went on to tell us of a greater sin
“Of how much worse punishment,
do you suppose, will he be thought
worthy who has trampled the Son
of God underfoot, counted the blood
of the covenant by which he was
sanctified a common thing, and
insulted the Spirit of grace?” – Author (Heb 10:29)
Can a person trample the son of God? He is in heaven and we are on earth. Perhaps we may not be able to do it physically, but in many aspect Christians often trample the Lord underfoot. We treat the blood of the Lord as common, we choose to sin against God again and again, then ask the Lord to forgive us. Is this not trampling the blood of Christ? Isn’t this the same as brining another lamb and allowing his blood to be spilled once again?
There are times we treat the blood of Christa s common, we think that it is a free past to sin. All we need is to bring a new lamb to be killed. Then our sin are cleanse once again. Those who do that are treating the blood of Christ as common, for we allow his blood to be spilled again and again, to be sprinkled around the altar again an again.
That is why we need to resolve not to sin, when we sin in the moment of weakness, let us come before God and ask his forgiveness.
Pt 3.1 :The Misconception Of Grace
There are times we did not sin on purpose, we try to restraint ourselves and struggle within ourselves. Then we can come before God and ask for forgiveness. For we know that we have tried out best to prevent ourselves from sinning
But if we sin wilfully, if we take sinning as a habit, there is no struggle, no attempt to stop it. We think that we can just sin and ask God for forgiveness. Then we are like a child who simply say sorry whenever he commits a mistake. They only say sorry because they are caught, there are no real apology.
But if we choose to punish them, even if they say sorry. Then they will not make the same mistake again.
This concept is similar to having plasters for our wound. We wrap our wounds in plaster when we are hurt. You will not go around hurting yourself just because you have plenty of plasters at your disposal. But in an unfortunate circumstances we hurt ourselves, we can use the plaster to bandage our wounds.
In the same way, Jesus had used his blood to forgive our sins. We cannot go around sinning without remorse. We need to be careful and be cautious. Just like when we are using knife and scissors. If we are hurt by accident, then we will use the plaster.
But if we sin wilfully, treating the blood of Christ as common. We are trampling on the son of God who had sacrifice on the cross for us. Let us remember how he died for our sins, let us not crucify him again. Let us preserve ourselves and not sin, let us not allow his blood to be spilled once again.
Pt 4 : To remove The Skin Of The Offering
“And he shall skin the burnt
offering and cut it into its pieces.” – YHWH (LEv 1:6 )
God tell us to remove the skin of our offering. The skin represent our external appearance. It represent our self righteousness and our vain glory and reputation. At the same time, the animal is to be cut into pieces. So that no one will be able to know what offering that was offered.
Pride, glory and reputation can clause our downfall. It can create a lot of unhappiness. Many a times we refuse to give way because we are unable to put down our dignity and self respect. There are also time we are unable to let go of our inferiority complex, and that affect our attitude.
For some are proud, while some are always feeling inferior. these are extremes that we must not have. We need to remove the skin of our sacrifice.
Let us consider the example of Saul
“I have sinned; yet honor me now,
please, before the elders of my
people and before Israel, and return
with me, that I may worship the
Lord your God.”- Saul (1 Sam 15:30)
Saul confessed his sin before Samuel, for he had feared the people and followed their will. That is why he went against God and disobey the command of Samuel. But Saul wanted Samuel to go back with him to protect his reputation. He did not want the elder of Israel to see that God had not forgiven him.
On the surface it look like Saul had offered up a burnt offering, but he did not remove the skin of his sacrifice. He considered his dignity and honour above all else. Is that true repentance? Is that a true acknowledgement of sin? No, for he had said that it was the people that forced him to sin. As the result God had rejected Saul as king, for he did not remove the skin of his sacrifice.
We need to consider whenever we ask God for forgiveness. For our prayers are just like the offering of the Old Testament. Have we remove the skin from our sacrifice? If we do not God will not be pleased. Sadly today we consider our appearance more than anything and we failed in this aspect.
Removal of sin is painful, it can sometimes be a dangerous endeavour. When Jesus tore down the mask of the Pharisees and declared 7 woes on them, he peeled their skin layer by layer. But the Pharisees hated Jesus so much that they wanted to kill him.
Jesus is not being cruel, he wanted them to see their own hypocrisy. It is out of the love of God, to prevent them from perishing in their sin. For that is like cancer, it can only be removed by scrapping of all the cells and the good cells around. Only then can it be healed, can the body be whole again.
Pt 5 : To wash the animal with water
“but he shall wash its entrails
and its legs with water.” – YHWH (Lev 1:9 )
God tells us to wash the entrails and legs of the sacrifice with water. It had to be clean both externally and internally. Human being tend to focus on external appearance only. But Let us remember to cleanse the inside as well. We need to ensure that our sacrifice is holy and clean.
Let us not be double minded, a goody two shoes within the church and a wolf outside of church. For people like that are not true Christians. A True Christians knows his weakness and is willing to change himself.
He will change himself by relying on the word of God and the spirit. For he know he is far from perfect. He is a man who is diligent to watch his conduct. So that he will be a sacrifice acceptable to God.
Pt 6 : Burn the offering completely
“And the priest shall burn all
on the altar as a burnt sacrifice,
an offering made by fire, a
sweet aroma to the Lord.” – YHWH (Lev 1:9 )
When a sacrifice is made, all must be laid on the altar. Verse 12 tell us that the head and the flesh must be on the altar. The head represent our ideas and thinking, the flesh represent our strengths. We are to offer everything to God, for God had give each of us different talents.
There are some well developed in the head, while some are strong with the limbs. We need to allow God to use every aspect of us. But more often than not we choose to offer them to the world. For we feel that the world appreciate our talents and strengths more than God.
We forget that we are all redeemed by God. We need to offer ourselves to serve him. There are many things we can do for the Lord. Let us not look down on ourselves. Even if we think we do not have any talents, we can at least continue to pray for the church. We are still able to offer up our offering before the Lord .
All it takes is a heart of sincerity and truth. Let us continue to pray for the church and our house. Then we are all be a good and complete sacrifice for God.
Part 11-12 talks about the 9 rules let us recap them quickly.
1. Offering must without blemish
2. Offering must be offered willingly
3. Offering must be made in a prescribed place of worship
4. One making the offering must lay hands on the head
5. The one making the offering must kill the animal
6. The blood of the animal must be sprinkled around the altar
7. The skin of the offering must be removed
8. The offering must be washed in water
9. The offering must be burnt completely.