THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE OFFERINGS
BY Henry Jaegers
As we glean through the book of Leviticus we will notice four specific offerings that have significance.
1. First is mentioned the burnt offering. (Consecration)
2. Second is mentioned the meal offering.(Service)
3. Third is mentioned the peace offering (reconciliation and fellowship)
4. Fourth is mentioned the trespass (or sin) offering (pardon and expiation)
We might wonder why the order of these offerings is placed this way. Normal reasoning might suggest that salvation should be first rather than third as mentioned in the outline. But the reason that the sin offering is not mentioned first is that Israel is already a covenant people. Their relationship to God in covenant assumes salvation has taken place. That is the common understanding. It is not necessary to place it first.
As in the New Testament teaching, salvation comes first: consecration comes next: the type of service we offer to God follows from our consecration. Finally reconciliation is necessary in our relationships to God and to men. Jesus in Hs teaching in the Sermon on the Mount said if we come before the altar and offer our gift to God and there we remember a broken relationship with a brother, we are to leave our gift at the altar, make things right, then come and offer our gift. (Matthew 5: 23,24) That is a New Testament principle on reconciliation. Having now an idea of how each of these offerings relate to one another ,we will come back and conclude the message of the burnt offering, Its application and its lessons for us.
Forgive a repetition but we must remember that the burnt offering has nothing to do with salvation. That is covered in the sin offering. The burnt offering is offering that speaks of consecration. It is laying our all on the altar. It is more like dedication rather than salvation.
1.Consider the need. It is not a once for all offering but one that needs to be made often. I recall the lesson Jesus taught when the he was washing the feet of his disciples. The illustration teaches us that in our walk in the world we become soiled and need to be refreshed. Likewise the burnt offering needs to be offered periodically as there are things that enter into our lives that hinder our walk. Our intentions may be pure but we are still men needing rededication from time to time. At this point it is important to give some information on the subject of sanctification. Sanctification involves three stages. First, at salvation we are what we call instantaneously sanctified. That is the first step, like the sin offering in our spiritual journey. Second there is what we call progressive sanctification. That involves growth and maturity and experience and sometimes failure. That is where we are now. As we grow in our spiritual life we are involved in the process of progressive sanctification. Finally the third stage is what we call final sanctification. That is when we are home with the Lord and there is no more sin, no more temptation, no more pain all is done and we're at home at last with the Lord. So this identification in the process of progressive sanctification shows the need for rededication and further consecration. What that burnt offering symbolizes is consecration and that consecration unlike salvation, is not once for all. It must be done periodically and sometimes frequently to renew our commitment to be faithful.
The Offering is to be without blemish. That speaks of its perfection
2. Consider its requirement. It is to be offered voluntarily. How sweet is our offering to God when it is offered out of a thankful and loving heart.. Such an offering is a sweet smelling Savior to God as well. When we are forced to give our giving is often accompanied by selfish thoughts and the wrong attitude. Sometimes spiritual leaders coerce people into giving by offering them free gifts or false hopes. Sometimes twisting Scripture out of context is laid upon people to get them to give, leaving the impression that it is God who is speaking because Scripture is used. All of this violates the principle of voluntary offering to the Lord.
3. Consider also the agency of the offering. God has ordained the priesthood to be the mediator between God and man. The word mediator refers to one who goes before or comes between. Jesus is the mediator between God and men in order to have access before the throne of God. The priests are God's agency to offer the sacrifice for the person making the offering. There needs to be no explanation or reason for God doing so. This is one of those matters where no questions are necessary. We shall see more about the priesthood later and discover more of their importance. Our goal is to offer to God a sacrifice that is pleasing in his sight. “Well done thou good and faithful servant should be our guiding principle and purpose”