April 17, 2012

Revealing Christ in The Old Testament III: Offerings & Feasts


The Offerings

The Burnt Offering

The most obvious thing that Leviticus gives us, in the offerings, a fourfold view of the Death of Christ (the Sin and Trespass I will view as one). Just as the Gospels give us a fourfold view of His life Jesus' life but speak of the single and unique God-man.

In the Burnt Offering we see the work of Christ where He humbly offers Himself to God to do His the will of the Father even if it means going to His death.

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:6-8

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39

Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Matthew 26:42

The whole kit-'n-kaboodle or the whole offering, except the skin of the animal (I imagine the hair would've smelled pretty bad), was burnt upon the altar and all went up to God as an offering. So instead of the smell of burnt hair...we have the smell of the summer grill (so to speak). It pictures Christ who gave Himself completely and wholly as an offering or sacrifice.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ~Ephesians 5:2

Although Christ is seen and understood to bear our sins, He is in a more profound way but as accomplishing the Father's will which is in reality His will also thereby glorifying Him and the Father simultaneously which thereby shows God's righteousness and therefore vindicates God's holiness, sovereignty and many other things too numerous to mention here.

The Meal Offering

The Meal Offering shows Christ as perfect and sinless. He give His very being and faultless life to God. In the ceremonial system there was no shedding of blood in this offering so it reflects the absolute perfection an purity of Christ Himself and life He lived, rather focus on His death. The fine flour pictures His sinlessness in His life with its constancy of moral character. The oil pictures the grace and power of the Holy Spirit which characterized His life. I was often the use of oil in anointing of Kings or others that marked the spirit or power and authority from God being given. In this case in is the power and authority from the Holy Spirit. To me the frankincense is symbolic of the nature of His Person and life.

The Peace Offering

The Peace Offering, the blood, the fat and the kidneys of the offering were put upon the altar...

"And the priest shall burn it on the altar as a food offering to the LORD." ~Leviticus 3:11

This is the portion given to God.

Then the breast was given to Aaron and his sons and the right shoulder to the offering priest and those portions were to be man's part. If God and man both partake  of the same offering, there is an image of covenant or communion between the two. This is the same communion that we as believers share in based on the work Christ completed on the Cross to grant atonement for our sins. We share in Christ's work that is given to the Father. Therefore we are reconciled to God and at peace in our relationship with Him rather than enemies in our sin (Romans 5:10, 8:7)

The Sin Offering

The Sin Offering is unique in that it is the entirety of a young bull being burnt upon the ground outside the camp of Israel after the blood and fat were put upon the altar for God. This offering should be obvious in its purpose and overtones. Especially if we link it back to Abraham and Isaac (which would've been a sin offering/burnt offering) In Abraham and Isaac we see a profound shadow or typology of what was coming in Christ Jesus. It was for sin and shows Christ who was made sin for us as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:21: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus bore the searing judgment and wrath of God against sin on our behalf. Alienated, ostracized and afflicted with the wrath as a substitute in an act of propitiation, taking on the burden that we could not. He literally became God-forsaken bearing the guilt of sin for all humanity.

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame." ~ Psalm 22:1-5

The Trespass Offering

The Trespass Offering is also a form of Sin Offering as this offering is propitiation for violations against the command of God. Atonement was made by the blood of the offering, and the trespasser was forgiven. This offering shows Jesus Christ who died on a Cross for our sins (trespasses or infractions against God). He paid the debt in blood. Why blood?

"For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life." ~ Leviticus 17:11

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The Feasts

We of course see Jesus in all of the Feasts of Leviticus 23 also referred to as the Holy Days.

The Sabbath (Leviticus 23:1-4)

The Sabbath was not properly a feast, but like the feast days, it was a day set apart unto the LORD, and so a reminder regarding the Sabbath is here.

The Passover (Leviticus 23:5) 

The Passover in Egypt points to Jesus as our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6)

Pointed to the Jesus’ sinless life because leaven is a metonymy of sin in the Bible, making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus' body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.

The Feast of First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10) 

Pointed to the Jesus’ resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the "first fruits from the dead." More on that idea here: First Fruits Of The Resurrection - Part I: Jesus Christ

The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16) 

Occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and pointed to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age (see Acts 2). The Church was actually established on this day when God poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter's great sermon and his first proclamation of the Gospel.

The Feast of Trumpets or The Day of Shouting (Leviticus 23:24) 

It is possible this day points to the Rapture of the Church when the Jesus will appear as He comes for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:52).

The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27)

Many believe this prophetically points to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they "look upon Him whom they have pierced," repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah (Romans 11:1-6, 25-36).

The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:34)

Many scholars believe that this feast day points to the Lord's promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when He returns to reign over all the world (Micah 4:1-7). For the Jews it was a day of remembrance of the wilderness wandering.

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