Tag Archives: Leviticus

Jesus in the Offerings/Festivals in Leviticus

8 Nov

Wave-offering1

Jesus pictured in the various offerings/festivals in Leviticus
We already looked at the Passover lamb and the feast of unleavened bread when we studied Exodus. We also just studied the sin offering and scapegoat on the Day of Atonement. However, there were many other offerings required of the children of Israel, established by God through Moses at the birth of the nation.
Wave offering/feast of Firstfruits: The literal meaning of firstfruits refers to the first portion of the harvest which is given to God. They are the first crops to come in, a pledge or hope of the greater harvest to follow, and they are specifically dedicated to God. It also referred to setting aside the firstborn, whether of man or beast.
“You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. Likewise you shall do with your oxen and your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.” Exodus 22:29,30
While there is no New Testament admonition for Christians to give firstfruits, we know that God loves a cheerful giver and that we are supposed to set aside our offering on the first day of the week as God has prospered us. It is supposed to be purposeful, not haphazard.
“On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” 1 Cor. 16:2

This feast was instituted when the nation of Israel was still wandering without land or crops. It was observed in faith that God would lead them to the land He promised.
Three holidays incorporated the giving of firstfruits; the Passover on the 14th, the Feast of Unleavened Bread from Sabbath to Sabbath beginning on the 15th, and the Feast of Firstfruits on the 16th of the month of Nisan. These were the dates that Jesus was crucified (Friday), in the grave (Saturday) and raised again (Sunday/Lord’s Day).
In Paul’s great chapter on the Resurrection, Jesus is referred to as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” 1 Cor. 15:20-23
“Christ rose as the first to be resurrected, but all who trust in Him will also rise from the dead in the final ‘harvest.’” Leon Morris
Similarly, Israel is referred to as the firstfruits, and the greater harvest is the ingathering of the nations of the world. “Israel was holiness to the LORD,
The firstfruits of His increase.” Jer. 2:3a
“Yet the number of the children of Israel
Shall be as the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered.
And it shall come to pass
In the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them,
‘You are sons of the living God.’ Hosea 1:10
Paul also referred to the gift of the Holy Spirit as a firstfruit, or down payment of even greater blessing to come. “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Rom. 8:23
Christians are also referred to as firstfruits. “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” James 1:18
This reminds us that all we are and have belong to God.
“Under the old covenant, sacrifices merely ‘covered’ sins, but in the new covenant, these sins are taken away entirely. Heb. 7:27, 9:12,25-28 There is no more need for continual sacrifices, because Jesus provided a once-for-all sacrifice for all our sins forever.” Heb. 9:11-14,24-28, 10:11-20 John J. Parsons
“The substitutionary shedding of blood, the life-for-life principle, is essential for the true at-one-ment with God.” John J. Parsons
The Feast of Pentecost: Leviticus 23:15-21
The Israelites were to count 50 days or seven Sabbaths from the day they offered the firstfruits on the day after the Sabbath (Sunday), to another Sunday. This feast was called the Feast of Weeks, later called Pentecost. They were to offer two loaves of fine flour made with leaven, along with seven lambs of the first year, without blemish as a burnt offering, with a grain offering and a drink offering. They were to sacrifice a kid of the goats as a sin offering and two male lambs of the first year as a peace offering.
The two loaves made with leaven, represented the inclusion of the Gentiles in the family of God. See Eph. 2:11-22,3:6, Gal. 3:28,29, 1 Cor. 12:13
Fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday (the Firstfruits), the disciples were in an upper room. The promised gift of the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues (15 known languages) Acts 2:6,8,11
The Spirit was given freely as a gift to those who already believed. This one Spirit unites all believers, Jew and Gentile alike, so we are now partakers of Abraham’s blessing that all the world would be blessed through him. Gen. 12:3
“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” Acts 11:15-18
“Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.’” Acts 10:34,35

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Jesus as the High Priest

7 Nov

High Priest
The first High Priest was Moses’ brother, Aaron. All subsequent priests were to come from the tribe of Levi only and the High Priest from among the sons of Aaron. For their duties, they were to be consecrated (set apart) and sanctified (made ceremonially clean and holy) through some rituals like washing, wearing priestly garments and being dabbed with blood from the sacrifice.
The priestly garments were designed “for glory and for beauty.” Ex.28:2 Two articles of clothing contained the names of the twelve sons of Israel; the ephod had 2 memorial stones set on the shoulders, Ex. 28:12 and the breastplate had the names engraved over his heart.
“So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the Lord continually.” Ex. 28:29
This represented Jesus’ cross-work where He died specifically for His people and His future intercession for us before the throne as our Advocate. His death wasn’t to make salvation theoretically possible if only someone would believe. Jesus said, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:15b
The High Priest was consecrated as holy. He had to offer sacrifices first for himself, because he was a sinner, and then for the people. But Jesus, because He was sinless, only offered up the sacrifice of Himself on our behalf.
“…who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” Heb. 7:27
The High Priest had bells on the hem of his garment. This way people could hear him. They were never sure if God would accept the sacrifice and forgive them.
“And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around. And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before the LORD and when he comes out, that he may not die.” Ex. 28:33-35
Side point. It’s believed the pomegranate was there to remind them of the first sin of eating the forbidden fruit.
“He had bells and a rope attached, because the experience could be so overwhelming that those outside listened to the bells ringing, meaning that the priest was moving about; but if the bells stopped ringing, they would pull him out, not daring to enter themselves.” Vladimir Berzoonsky
But we know that Jesus’s sacrifice was accepted. The evidence of this was His resurrection from the dead. If He was a false teacher He would have stayed dead. God vindicated both His life and His work. “…who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” Rom. 4:25 and “…because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:31
The High Priest was charged with keeping the light burning at all times. He also burned incense, which represented prayer.
“Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.” Exodus 30:7,8
Jesus not only intercedes for us in prayer, but the oil in the lamp is often compared to the Holy Spirit, which Jesus sent after He had ascended to Heaven. This oil now lights our lamps continually.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5:16

The High Priest/priest/people would lay their hand on the sacrifice to identify with it/lay their sins on it, and then witness its’ death. This showed them the penalty for sin. They probably wouldn’t appreciate how serious and heinous sin is by giving a piece of fruit.
“And he brought the bull for the sin offering. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull for the sin offering, and Moses killed it.” Lev. 8:14,15a
Jesus identified with us, taking on our sins even though He was the innocent Lamb of God.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,” 1 Pet. 3:18

Jesus is a better High Priest because He lives forever.
“Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Heb. 7:23-25
”But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:11,12
Jesus is considered our High Priest even though He was from the tribe of Judah, rather than the tribe of Levi, because He was a priest after the order of Melchizedek. We studied this in Genesis. See also all of Hebrews 7.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” Rev. 5:10
So if we believers are priests, what kind of sacrifices do we offer to God?
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Heb. 13:15
“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Heb. 13:16
So our sacrifices are our lives, daily, our praise and thanksgiving, and our good works.

Jesus as the Scapegoat in Leviticus

30 Mar

Scapegoat
What exactly happened there, on that Roman cross two millennia ago?

In 2 Corinthians 6:2, Paul says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Paul here summarizes the gospel message for us, bringing in the idea of imputation.

Imputation simply means that something is accounted to someone else. In this case, our sins are laid on Christ.

But there’s more. We get something too. Not only do our sins become covered by the blood of Christ, but we are seen as righteous in God’s sight. We are justified, another theological term, which means to be declared righteous in the Supreme Court of the Universe.

In the Old Testament, in Leviticus 16, we see an example of this idea. Two goats were presented at the front of the tabernacle; the High Priest would lay his hands on the head of the goat, and confess over it all the iniquities and transgressions of the children of Israel, putting their sins (ceremonially) on the head of the goat. In this case, the sins of the people were imputed to the goat. One goat was killed, and its blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat.

The other goat, the scapegoat, which is where we get that word, was left alive, and led out into the wilderness, never to be seen again.

It’s a beautiful picture. But as a type, it’s imperfect. Ideally you’d have only one goat. But you can’t kill a goat and then still have a live one to send out.

However, in Christ, you have One who is killed as an atoning sacrifice, and yet as a living Saviour He removes our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Just a point of geography, but you know that if you go north, eventually you’ll be going south again. But if you go east, you keep going east, or if you go west, you keep going west and you will never go east in that direction. It’s a beautiful way to show that we will never meet up with our sins again once they have been laid on our scapegoat, Jesus.

At the cross, an exchange takes place; our sins on Christ, His righteousness on us. It’s like being poor and indebted, to the point that you can never repay it even if you lived fifteen lifetimes, and then a rich benefactor places billions of dollars into your account. He imputes it to your account. This not only pays off your debt and provides for your care, but you are rich beyond your dreams.

Similarly we are indebted to God, and we owe a debt we can never pay, and suddenly, we find we are not only forgiven, but we have now become joint-heirs with Christ, who owns all things. We are promised His presence with us in this life, and eternity with Him in Heaven. Chrysostom said, “O Sweet Exchange!”

So now that we see what happened on the cross, you may say, “How can a few hours on a cross, even as horrible a death as that, possibly atone for a lifetime of sin?”

It has to do with the value or worth of the One who was crucified. Because He is infinite, He paid an infinite price. He was separated from His Father. That is the greatest agony He suffered on the cross.

“To see sin as it really is, contemplate what it cost to remove it. If we had fallen into a deep pit, we could tell how deep we had fallen by the length of rope let down to save us. In the same way, we can only understand the depths of depravity into which sin has brought us by the lengths to which God must go to redeem us.” Robert Morey

If forever in hell, seems too harsh a punishment for only a lifetime of sin, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach; you don’t know your own heart, or the value of the One you’ve offended. A threat against a person has a certain penalty, but a threat or assault against the Prime Minister has greater consequences because of the position of the one who has been so mistreated.

By extension, we could argue that an eternity in Heaven is too great a reward for only a lifetime of service. How can the J.W.’s believe in annihilation but still hold they will be rewarded for eternity? The most they should get is a week in the Caribbean!
You can’t have both. But that would assume we obtain Heaven by works. We do not. It’s not of works. It’s grace. Amazing Grace!

Here is a beautiful quote by R.C. Sproul in his book, Reason to Believe, on Grace:

“Nothing requires that God be gracious, not even His love. If grace is ever required, it is no longer grace. Grace cannot be required. If we merit it then it is no longer grace; if God is obliged to give it then it is no longer grace. When we think that God must be gracious, we confuse grace with justice. Once I rebel against God, He owes me nothing… If God deals with us ultimately on the basis of justice alone, we will perish.”

Prayer: “Thank you, God for Jesus, Who was the perfect scapegoat, Who could atone for our sins by dying as a Sacrifice, and also bear our sins away, never to be brought up against us again. Thank You for saving us by grace instead of dealing with us on the basis of justice.”

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