Life-Study of Leviticusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider the way to offer the burnt offering. We shall view this matter from the standpoint of experience.
Regarding the way to offer the burnt offering as revealed in Leviticus 1, there are a number of puzzling points. One of these points concerns the priests, who are serving ones.
In Leviticus 1 we often read of “Aaron’s sons, the priests” (vv. 5, 7, 8, 11). A number of verses simply speak of “the priest” (vv. 9, 12, 13, 15, 17). The priests here are of three classes: Aaron, the sons of Aaron, and an individual priest, a priest who is singled out for service. As the book of Hebrews indicates, Aaron is a type of Christ. Aaron’s sons are types of the believers. In this chapter we do not see any actions performed by Aaron. Rather, here in relation to the offering of the burnt offering, we have the service of Aaron’s sons or the service of a particular priest. Whenever someone presented a burnt offering to God, the serving priests rendered some help to the offerer.
The various kinds of burnt offerings differ not only in size but also in the way they are offered. According to Leviticus 1, the burnt offering could be a bull, a sheep or a goat, or turtledoves or young pigeons. As we have pointed out, the differences in the size of the burnt offering indicate not that Christ Himself varies in size but that our apprehension, realization, and appreciation of Christ differ in degree. Surely a bull would not be large enough to represent Paul’s apprehension, realization, and appreciation of Christ, whereas even a pigeon may be too large to signify a new believer’s apprehension, realization, and appreciation. A new believer may be very zealous, but his appreciation of Christ is nevertheless very limited,
Having seen the significance of the differences in the size of the burnt offering, we now need to consider the significance of the different ways in which the burnt offerings were offered. The first two categories of offerings—a bull and a sheep or a goat—were offered in the same way. First, the offering was slain, not by the priests but by the offerer. Following this, the offering was skinned and cut into pieces. (The offering was not to be offered to God as a whole.) After the offering was cut into pieces, its inwards and its legs were washed with water. The offering was then ready to be burned, and it was burned completely. No part of it was rejected by God. This was the way to offer the first two categories of burnt offerings.
The way to offer the third category of burnt offerings— the turtledoves and young pigeons—was very different. With the offerings in the first two categories, the priest did nothing to the offering except dash its blood on the altar and lay the pieces of the offering on the fire. The slaughtering, skinning, cutting, and washing of the offering were done by the offerer. We may say that the offerer was the “cook” and that the priests were merely “waiters.” However, with the offerings in the third category, the offerer simply brought the offering to the tent of meeting, and the priests did everything else. The priest brought the offering to the altar, nipped its head, took away its crop, tore it by the wings, and offered it up in smoke on the altar (vv. 14-17). This surely is different from the offerings in the first two categories, where nearly everything was done not by the priest but by the offerer.
We need to see that in Leviticus 1 the way to offer the burnt offering is very particular and peculiar. The way of offering differs according to one’s spiritual age and spiritual ability. Therefore, my burden in this message is to point out that the way we offer Christ to God as the burnt offering depends entirely on our apprehension, realization, and appreciation of Christ.
Spiritually speaking, the one who offers Christ as typified by turtledoves or pigeons has a limited apprehension, realization, and appreciation of Christ. Such a one is young in the spiritual life and therefore lacks maturity. He does not have much ability to appreciate Christ. In contrast to worldly people, who have no appreciation or realization of Christ, a new believer has begun to have some appreciation of Christ. However, he does not yet have the ability to slaughter, skin, cut, and wash his burnt offering. He can only bring Christ as a very small burnt offering.
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