The sacrifices and offerings of the Old Testament were only types and shadows of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Old Testament priesthood offered both gifts and sacrifices for the people. New Testament believers (priesthood) can learn from the Old. To present Christ as the final sacrifice we must bring reality to the types and shadows. God was not pleased with animal sacrifices because they did not accomplish what was needed to redeem man. The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin; it would only cover sin for a period of time. The sacrifices pointed to Christ and His death. God prepared a body for Christ to become the final offering. “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.” (Hebrews 10: 5-6)
The Old Testament had five major offerings: Burnt offering, Meal offering, Peace offering, Sin offering, and The Trespass offering. Each one points to Christ and has great insight into the New Testament priesthood. “Whatever was brought by the people to be presented to God, must be offered by the priest, who was to expiate their guilt by the blood of the sacrifice.” (Matthew Henry pg. 2392)
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Jesus is our High Priest with a more “excellent ministry”. (Hebrews 8:6) He is also the Mediator of a better covenant that is established on better promises. Jesus, our supreme sacrifice, offered Himself up once to put away sin forever. “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12) He has made the Old Covenant obsolete and has given us a “New Covenant.”
The burnt offering, also called the ascending offering, was the highest order of the Old Testament offerings. The entire offering was burnt upon the altar. The offering was to be made every morning and evening. “Burnt offering” is from the Hebrew word olah, “which means a step or (collectively, stairs, as ascending) usually a holocaust (as going up in smoke).”
The animal’s death points the death of Christ, the shedding of blood points to the atonement and the smoke ascending up typifies the resurrection.
Moses gives us instructions in the Book of Leviticus on how to offer the burnt offering.
If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he is to offer a male without defect. He must present it at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting so that it will be accepted to the Lord. He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. He is to slaughter the young bull before the Lord, they are to skin it and cut it into pieces. The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. He is to wash the inner parts and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma, pleasing to the Lord. (Leviticus. 1:2-9 NIV)
The burnt offering was on three levels based on one’s monetary wealth: a bull, a sheep or goat, or a bird. The animal was slain, divided into sections, then completely consumed on the altar.
The first type of Christ in the burnt offering is a male without blemish. Jesus offered Himself to God without spot or blemish. “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth, who when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (1Peter 2:22-23)
“Consider the sort of victim required for this sacrifice, the very purest, cleanest, and best of creatures, nothing else would answer. The most perfect of its kind. It is impossible to induce purity by anything impure. No imperfect being could become a perfect sacrifice, or effect a perfect righteousness. None would answer but the very Christ of all the flocks of God.” (Seiss pg.34) Jesus was the only perfect sacrifice that could bring reality to this type.
The sacrifice was to be presented at the door of the tabernacle. Jesus said He was the door. The only way into the Kingdom of God is through the death (door) of Jesus.
The priest was required to put his hand on the head of the burnt offering and it was accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. This served two purposes:
- a) The transferring of sin and
- b) Identifying with the death of the sacrifice. Jesus became sin to identify with all of man. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (1Corinthians 5:21) The death of Christ was my death. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:6) “The act of laying on of hands was expressive of full identification. The offerer and the offering became one and this oneness, in the case of the burnt offering, secured for the offerer all the acceptableness of his offering. Developed in the New Testament, namely, the believer’s everlasting identification with, and acceptance in, Christ.” (Mackintosh pg.16)
The burnt offering was the work of Christ, the meal offering the walk of Christ, and the peace offering the results of both. The peace offering was an optional sacrifice that was made in response to God’s acceptance of the sacrifices. It is the only offering in which the offerer gets part of the sacrifice. “The word peace signifies a cessation of hostilities, harmonious agreement, tranquility, the absence of disturbance.
There are two sacrifices for sin. They are divided into two offerings, the sin offering and the trespass offering. The sin offering symbolizes the nature of sin. The trespass offering symbolizes the act of sin. Sin is both a nature and an act.
Jesus is our sin offering. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Corinthians 5:21) God has always had a two-man plan, in Adam all are dead, but in Christ all shall live.
You can reconcile with God today by simply asking God to forgive you all your sins and by inviting Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Saviour.
Happy Easter season!
(To be concluded next week…)
Bishop Dr. Charles Olowojoba is the General Overseer of Dayspring Bible Church Worldwide with HQ in Abuja, Nigeria & President, Dayspring Christian Ministries Int’l. Website: www.dayspringcmi.org e-mail: email@example.com Help line: 08035150515