SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LEVITICAL
SACRIFICES IN CHRIST
It is common for the Christian to
stop reading the Old Testament when they come to the book of Leviticus.All those sacrifices seem so ritualistic and
unrelated to the Christian life.But
once you find out their significance in Christ they take on a greater meaning
and makes you grateful for all Jesus has done for us as the Lamb of God that
has taken away our sins! (John 1:29)
- BURNT OFFERING (Lev 1:1-17) - Significance in Christ: Foreshadows
the total sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. (Heb
9:14) how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit
offered Himself without spot to God… Significance for the believer: It symbolizes
that the worshiper must be wholly dedicated to God without reserve. (Rom 12:1) 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.
- GRAIN OFFERING (Lev 2:1-16) – Significance in Christ: Represents
Jesus as the Bread of Life (John 6:35). The
flour was beaten fine as Christ was beaten for our sins. (Isa 53:5) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised
for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His
stripes we are healed. Significance for the believer: The believer, too,
has to be refined as a pure offering to the Lord. (Luke 22:31) And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has
asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
- PEACE OFFERING (Lev 3:1-17) – Significance in Christ: Through Christ’s
death man has been reconciled to God. (Rom
5:1)Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ.Significance
for the believer: We are at peace with God and we also have peace with one
another: (Eph 2:14) For He Himself is our
peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation…
- SIN OFFERING (Lev 4:1-35) – Significance in Christ: Emphasizes the
death of Christ as a satisfactory substitutionary sacrifice. (2 Cor 5:21) For He made Him who knew no sin
to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.Significance for the believer: No more does a
Christian have to feel guilty for their sins. (Eph 1:7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness
of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
- TRESPASS OFFERING (Lev 5:1-6:7) - Stresses that aspect of Christ’s
death which atones for the damage done by sin. (Isa 53:10) Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to
grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin… Significance for the
believer: We will want to make things right with God and with those whom we’ve
sinned against. (Mat 5:23-24) Therefore
if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something
against you,24 leave your gift there
before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and
then come and offer your gift.
A question often posed by
Christians is whether cremation is Biblical or not.Of course this query is especially sensitive
during times of the impending loss of a loved one.It’s a good question to ask, especially in
the light of the increasing popularity of cremation due to spiking funeral
costs.Does the Bible speak for one
method of burial over another?Let’s
look at both sides and then make a conclusion.
For Christian advocates of
burial, their contention is that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and
that it should not be desecrated by burning.(1 Cor 6:19-20) Or do you not know
that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have
from God, and you are not your own?20
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your
spirit, which are God’s.They also
bring up the fact that in the Old Testament the whole body was buried or placed
in a tomb.Genesis 23 records a whole
chapter concerning Abraham securing a burial place for his wife Sarah and which
then became the place of interment for the future patriarchs.
Then burial-only supporters bring
up the fact that when people were cremated in the Bible it was something done
for wicked deeds.(Joshua 7:25) And Joshua said, “Why have you (Achan) troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this
day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire
after they had stoned them with stones.(See also Lev 20:14; Lev 21:9; 1 Sam 31:12; Amos 2:1).
Another argument for burial against
cremation by Christians has been the teaching of the resurrection and how the
Lord will raise the body up and change it into a new body.(1 Cor
15:51-52) Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall
all be changed—52 in a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the
dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Proponents of cremation typically
retort that the body of Christians who died long ago are already broken down into
dust so why is it any different than a body in ashes?What
burial does in a set of years is accomplished in a few minutes by cremation.God
doesn’t need the old body to make a new body.Or even if He did couldn’t He bring it back together by His power?And wouldn’t this be the same for a person
lost at sea, etc?Besides this there are
the practical reasons such as low cost, simplicity, delaying the memorial
service for family members to arrive, the deceased love one’s wishes, etc.
Let’s be sensible.Nowhere in the Bible does it forbid to be cremated.There might be personal reasons but surely they
are not Biblical.It then comes down to
an issue of Christian liberty as with other debated subjects.(Rom
14:5)…Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
(Jer 16:14-15) “Therefore behold, the days
are coming,” says the Lord, “that it shall no more be said, ‘The Lord lives who
brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’15 but, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the
children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He
had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to
Have you ever met a fellow
believer who was stuck in the past?You
start talking about the Lord and what God is doing in your life and they get
excited about all the days of old and what God did back then.After a while you catch on and you begin to
discover that every time they talk about the Lord it’s about something long ago
and nothing current.For Christians like
this we need to encourage them and say it’s time to UPDATE YOUR TESTIMONY!
For a long time the Jews would
refer to their past deliverance from Egypt as the reference point in their
relationship with the Lord.But after
many years they fell away from the Lord and were taken into captivity to Babylon
for seventy years where they were purged from their idolatry.Jeremiah encouraged them that they would no
more refer to Egypt as the place where God had delivered them from.They would now have a new story to tell of
how God brought them back from Babylon.Jeremiah was essentially telling them to UPDATE YOUR TESTIMONY.
Many believers need to come
current in their relationship with the Lord.They speak about and glory in the past.(Psa 42:4…For I used to go with
the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and
praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.Notice how the psalmist says I used to and I
went.That is language of bygone
What happens to Christians that
make them freeze in the past?It could be many things.They got hit by the hard blows of life.They got depressed.They stopped growing.They didn’t read their Bibles.Eventually they fell out of church.They still seem to love the Lord but every
reference to their experience with Him is of long ago.
Are you one of those Christians
that has enjoyed a relationship with God in the past but has no glow for the
present?It’s time to forget the past
and move on. (Phil 3:13-14)…but one thing
I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those
things which are ahead,14 I press
toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Don’t be a yesterday Christian!(Heb
13:8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.Rededicate your life to the Lord and start
having a today relationship with Him.
God wants to do a new thing in
your life so you can give fresh praise for Him.(Isa 43:19) Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall
spring forth…It’s time to UPDATE YOUR TESTIMONY!
(Isa 52:12) For you shall not go out with
haste, Nor go by flight; For the Lord will go before you, And the God of Israel
will be your rear guard.
Okay, so twice today I almost got
hit by a car in a parking lot.The
people were so eager to go that they pulled out in front of me.I was thankful I was not distracted so I could
brake in time.I said a prayer for the drivers
in both incidents and also prayed for myself that I would learn to slow down
and take it easy.You say what?Is it possible to go against the grain of our
society as well as our own impatient spirit?What are we doing to ourselves?Why
do we allow all this pressure to affect us?Doesn’t God have a better way for us to live and operate?
I think it all comes down to
unrealistic expectations.Every day we
bite off more than we can chew and we end up with mental and emotional indigestion.America has a great work ethic and we have a
lot to show for ourselves but isn’t there a balance somewhere?What are some things we can do to be more
peaceful as we progress throughout the day?
- PRAY OVER THE DAY – (2 Chr 27:6) So Jotham became mighty, because
he prepared his ways before the Lord his God.In the morning give the Lord the day and all of the details.Ask
the Lord to go before you and make your paths smooth (Pro 3:6).You will be surprised at how your day will
- PLAN YOUR DAY – (Pro 16:9) A man’s heart plans his way, but
the Lord directs his steps.It is
good to have a general plan for the day.Write everything out as far as your To Do list goes.Then prioritize your list with the most
important items on the top.Then work
from the top down and check off as you go.You’ll be surprised how this simple method works and gets things
- HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS – (Mat 6:10) Your kingdom come. Your will be
done… Avoid over planning your
day.Don’t try to cram in your
objectives and making something work that shouldn’t be.That is striving in the flesh and God will
not bless that.If it works out great
but don’t overly push for it.Let God’s
peace rule in your heart (Col 3:15).The
minute it doesn’t it might be an indication of overload and overkill.It might be more realistic to plan 80% of
your day and leave room for the unexpected.
- BE FLEXIBLE – (Jms 3:17) But the wisdom that is from above is…willing
to yield…Life is organic but what
we try to do is treat it like steel.If
you do that you will be one frustrated puppy and a candidate for chronic anxiety.God doesn’t always work on our timeline but
He does make everything beautiful in its time (Eccl 3:11).Remember, God’s work done in God’s way will
accomplish amazing results for His glory and the peace of His children!
My wife Cheryl and I are missionaries to missionaries. We encourage servants of the Lord to keep on in their calling and to never give up. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.