This post is another in the “Tabernacle” series. Select “Tabernacle” under Categories to view the other posts in this series.
THE SACRIFICES AND THE OFFERINGS
There were five specific offerings required in the worship before the Brazen Altar, which was placed just inside the outer Gate of the Tabernacle.
The first three offerings were designated as “sweet savour offerings.” These were known as the “burnt-offering,” “The meat-offering,” and “the peace-offering.”
The other two were “the sin- offering” and “the trespass-offering.”
The first three offerings set forth the perfections which GOD the Father finds in the Lord JESUS.
The last two portray CHRIST as the Sin-Bearer for a guilty world.
In the sinless life of the Son, the Father found delight; but when the Son became a Sin-Offering, accursed for us, then the Father had to turn His face away from His beloved Son, while He uttered that despairing cry from the cross. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.” In that hour He was accursed, as He bore the guilt and shame of our sins upon the accursed tree.
The burnt-offering symbolized the ministry of CHRIST with whom the Father was well pleased, whose every attitude, motive, act and word and deed perfectly harmonized with the character and will of the Father, and so infinitely perfect that on the last night of His earthly life He could say, “He that hath seen ME hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9) The peace-offering represents the work of CHRIST by which believers are made at one with GOD. The atonement, or at-one-ment, whereby the sinner is pardoned and finds “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” is the only basis of peace and fellowship between GOD and the redeemed children of men.
The meat offering, which was without blood, represented the perfect character, holiness and beauty of the Son of GOD, the Breath of Life, the only source of Life Eternal. The Sin-Offering and Trespass-Offering represented CHRIST as our Substitute, whose shed blood is efficacious to cover all our sin, inherent in a sinful nature, and also all sins and trespasses which in any and every way have given overt expression to that sinful nature, in thoughts, impulses, emotions, and words and deeds. In other words, the Sin-Offering is the basis on which GOD deals with what we were and are by nature.
The Trespass-Offering is the basis on which GOD deals in mercy, pardoning our offences offered out of our sinful nature. The first is sin inherent. The second is a matter of sins committed out of our own will and desire.
GOD sets forth these offerings in Leviticus in the order we have mentioned them. But in approaching the Brazen-Altar the sinner was required to reverse them. The sacrifice or substitute for sin must be offered and accepted first. Then the offering for overt trespasses and willful offences toward GOD. The basis of forgiveness and pardon, underlying all was the shedding of the blood of Him who became our vicarious Substitute to save us from eternal death, the guiltless and spotless “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Five different living creatures could be presented as substitutes and sacrifices, which were acceptable unto GOD. These were a bullock, or ox; a sheep or a lamb; a goat; a turtledove, or a young pigeon. These were not the measure of an individual’s sins, but were graciously indicated as the sinner’s substitute-sacrifices, according to his ability to provide them. It is interesting to note that when the parents of JESUS came to the Temple with the baby Jesus, they were able to offer to the priest only a pair of turtledoves. Note that the lowliest that this world knows is not barred from the love and mercy of GOD, for a broken and contrite heart He will not despise, since under Grace that is the most precious sacrifice in the sight of the Heavenly Father, when we come to Him by faith, pleading the merits of His dear Son, as the sole basis of our redemption and salvation.
As all had sinned and come short of the glory of GOD, every sinner in all Israel, including the High Priest and all of the priesthood, as individuals, had to come with their substitute sacrifice for sin and sins. There were no excuses or exemptions. This is true today, and because we live in a Day of Grace, when any sinner anywhere may turn to the Lamb of GOD, our Redeemer and Saviour, and find pardon, peace and salvation.
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
The entire sixteenth chapter of Leviticus is given to the instructions for the observance of the greatest day in Israel’s year, the Day of Atonement. In Leviticus 23, this observance is given its chronological place among the Feasts of Jehovah. On this one day in the year, Aaron laid aside his garments designed for beauty and glory. He cleansed his body and clothed himself in spotless white.
Two young goats were presented before the Lord at the door of the Tabernacle, one was slain at the Brazen Altar. The other was led far out into the uninhabited and barren wilderness. This was called the “scapegoat.” First, Aaron laid his hands upon this goat’s head. As he did so, he confessed before the Lord the sins of all Israel. Symbolically the sins of Israel were laid on the head of the innocent goat, thus typifying our sinless Substitute, our Saviour, the Lord JESUS CHRIST. The goat then was driven far away, in token that Israel’s sins . . . and ours . . . have been taken away, to be remembered no more against us forever.
With the OTHER goat which was slain, was sacrificed a bullock upon the altar of Burnt Offering. Then Aaron took of the blood of these sacrifices in a basin, after the whole Tabernacle had been filled with the odours of much burnt incense, and bore it into the Holy of Holies, where he sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat with his finger seven times; while the Holy of Holies was filled with the fragrance of burning incense, symbolic of a great volume of prayers and intercessions ascending to GOD.
As Aaron came out of the Tabernacle he approached the altar and sprinkled the four horns thereon with blood. It was at this juncture that the scapegoat was led away into oblivion. Before Aaron left the Tabernacle he took off the robes he had worn in the Holy of Holies, cleansed his body and then put on the beautiful robes of which he had divested himself. Then he sacrificed the burnt-offering. The fat of the sin-offering alone was offered on the altar; and what remained was carried beyond the border of the camp, and there burned with fire. All of these observances were symbolizations prophetic of the ministry of Israel’s coming Redeemer and Saviour, who was crucified outside the wall of Jerusalem on Calvary. There He bore the sins of mankind, and made a perfect and eternal oblation of Himself and took our sins away.
This was both a day of mourning and of rejoicing. The more understanding and sincere was their mourning, in keeping with the symbolism of what they beheld, the greater their rejoicing. And so, within the Church, the body of Christ, it remains the same, to this very day.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!