Church of God, Carmichael, CA

Shadows of Good Things

Or the Gospel in Type

Russell R. Byrum, 1922

[Original Page Numbers]


CHAPTER V

THE OFFERINGS THE ALTAR

(Leviticus 1—7)

  Only Christ could be fit sacrifice for sin. When the sad news reached heaven that the two holy beings whom God had created and placed on probation in the Garden of Eden had broken the divine commandment and must be forever banished from himself, God began at once to seek for their recovery. In the fifth chapter of Revelation he is described as sitting upon his throne with a book in his hand sealed with seven seals. This book which symbolized the plan of salvation, "no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open." Then it was said, "The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." No man nor any angel was qualified to save a world of sinners. Only he who is infinite, who could combine in his own person divinity and humanity, who could make an infinite sacrifice could redeem sinful men.

  He it was who laid aside his royal robes and kingly crown, stepped down from his exalted throne before which cherubim and seraphim bowed in adoration and worship, and came from that world of bliss to this world of sin, sorrow, and death. Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich. He "loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."

Classes and Quality of Sacrifices

  The Levitical sacrifices, excluding those of a special nature such as the Passover, were of five kinds, which are Scripturally divided into two main classes:

    Sweet savor Offerings:— Burnt, Meat, and Peace.

    Sin Offerings:— Sin, Trespass.

  The main idea of the sweet savor offerings was acceptance and worship. The latter class had for its primary purpose the expiation of sin. In the detailed description of all these sacrifices in Leviticus 1—7 the sweet savor sacrifices are described before the sin offerings, but [83] in practice the sin offering, came first and the worship offerings afterward as in the consecration of the priests. (See also 2 Chronicles 29.) Worship can not be acceptable until atonement is made for sin.

  The offerings consisted of animal and of vegetable offerings, although the vegetable sacrifices were never offered except in connection with a bloody offering or as its substitute. The bloody offerings were bullocks, sheep, goats, turtle doves, and pigeons, the fowls being acceptable from those too poor to provide a more expensive sacrifice (Lev. 5:7). The vegetable sacrifices were fine flour, oil, unleavened bread, cakes, wafers, or green ears of corn. No leaven was to be burnt upon God's altar because its decayed condition was symbolic of sin. Also no honey was to be offered there. But salt must accompany every sacrifice (Lev. 2:13). Also frankincense was offered with the meat offering.

  The animals brought for the "bread of God" must be the best of their kind. They must be without physical blemish, because they were typical of him who had no blemish of sin. The prophet Malachi severely reproved and pronounced a curse on the Jews of his time w h o brought the torn, the lame, the sick, and the blind. As was stated in our consideration of the nature of types, an unholy thing can not typify a holy thing. An essential quality of the true Sin offering was that he himself should be sinless, that his own life should not have been forfeited by sin. The typical sin offering must be like him "who was a Lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Pet. 1:19). He "offered himself without spot to God." (Heb. 9 :14). Both priest and offering in the type must be physically perfect properly to represent him who was combined Priest and Offering—the sinless Son of God.

The Burnt Offering

(Leviticus 1)

  The holocaust or whole burnt offering was the most common of all the bloody sacrifices and the most comprehensive in its significance. Probably this is the reason [84] why it is described first in the law of the offerings contained in Leviticus 1—7. The burnt offering was the most ancient variety of bloody sacrifices and was the sort offered by the devout patriarchs, Abel, Noah, Abraham, and Job. It was the one composing the Israelitish daily sacrifice each morning and evening (Exod. 29:42).

Kinds of Victims.—For a burnt offering the worshiper might bring of the herd, flock, or of fowls. It might be a bullock, a sheep, or a goat, in each case a male without blemish; or if the worshiper be very poor, as were evidently Joseph and Mary when they offered a burnt offering for the child Jesus (Luke 2 :22 24), he may substitute for these animals a turtle dove or a young pigeon (Lev. 5:7). But for this important sacrifice, observe that the victim must be a male for superior dignity, and without blemish to symbolize perfection, that it might be a proper type of the true Atonement for men's souls.

  Nature of the Ceremonial.—Whether the offering was of the flock or of the herd the details of the ceremony were practically the same. Come with me in imagination to the ancient brazen altar and witness the observance of the elaborate details of this offering. Let us stand here at the east side of the altar just inside the gate of the court. Here comes an earnest appearing Israelite leading a bullock by a halter. A priest robed in white linen garments approaches him and directs him with his animal to the north side of the altar.

  The offerer here solemnly places his hand upon the bullock in token of his identifying himself with it that it may suffer in his stead, that it may die for his sins, that its life may be poured out that his may be retained. Then he slowly reaches for and unsheathe a large knife provided for the purpose. With one quick stroke he cuts the bullock's throat and it falls prostrate and quivering upon the ground. While it struggles in the throes of death, the skillful hand of the priest holds to the wound a vessel provided for the purpose to catch the blood, while it spurts and gurgles from the cruel, ugly wound of the poor, suffering animal as its struggles grow weaker. [85]

  But I hear a kind hearted reader saying, "I can not bear this sight of suffering, and must turn my face away." But, reader, let me direct your view to a sight infinitely more awful—the dreadful scene of Calvary. There is dying, not a dumb animal, but the Son of God, the Creator of the universe. He is not dying the sudden, easy death of the bullock, but the slow, torturous death of crucifixion. His awful agony is not physical pain merely, and that the result of the clean stroke of a knife. His physical suffering is the result of four large spikes heartlessly driven through the quivering flesh of his hands and feet and which tear the tender flesh still more as the weary hours drag by. But especially does he suffer because of the awful weight of the sins of all mankind weighing down his spotless spirit. And, not like the animal, which is an involuntary victim, he willingly suffers all this because of his boundless love for you and me— oh, matchless mercy!

  But let us turn back to the shadow, the gory spectacle at the altar. When the blood has ceased to flow, the priest carries the blood to the altar, where it is dashed or sprinkled over the altar to symbolize the important fact that this life is given to God for atonement. The most important parts of the ceremony have already been performed. The laying on of the hand, the killing, and the sprinkling of the blood are characteristic of every kind of the animal offerings.

  Next the offerer flays or skins the animal and gives the skin to the priest, whose property it becomes (Lev. 7 :8). Then, while the priest arranges the fire and the wood upon the altar, the offerer cuts into proper pieces the victim, and after washing the legs and inwards with water delivers all to the priest, who lays it on the wood on the altar. And as the wood crackles in the fire and the flames leap up more fiercely, amidst the smell of burning flesh the offering ascends a sweet savor unto the Lord, while the happy offerer turns homeward with the blessed assurance that he is accepted of God. [86]

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Justification, Sanctification, Unity
Carmichael, California USA

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