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 begin to consider the burnt offering, which is Christ for God’s satisfaction.
It is difficult for us to enter into the real significance of the burnt offering, and we admit that our experience of this offering is limited. Actually, very few Christians have the real experience of the burnt offering. We may have had much experience of the trespass offering and the sin offering and also some experience of the meal offering and the peace offering but only a little experience of the burnt offering.
The most fine and detailed types of Christ are in the book of Leviticus. Without chapter one of Leviticus, we do not have a way to explain or define Christ as the burnt offering. It is correct to say that the burnt offering is Christ for God’s satisfaction. But how could Christ be such an offering? This is not easy to explain. If we would know Christ as the burnt offering, we need to study Leviticus 1.
Before we come to this chapter, however, I would first like to consider Hebrews 10:5-10. Verse 5 says, “Wherefore, coming into the world, He says, Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.” Here “sacrifice and offering” refer to the totality of all the different sacrifices and offerings.
There is a distinction between sacrifices and offerings. Sacrifices are for sins, and offerings are for gifts. If we feel that we are sinful and need to offer something to God, this offering for sin, strictly speaking, is a sacrifice. However, if we bring something to God not for sin but for fellowship, what we bring is not a sacrifice but an offering.
Hebrews 10:5 tells us that God did not desire sacrifices and offerings but instead prepared a body for Christ. This indicates that God intended that Christ would be the replacement of all the Old Testament sacrifices and offerings.
Verse 6 goes on to say, “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You did not take pleasure.” This seems to be a repetition of verse 5. Actually it is an itemizing and definition of “sacrifice and offering” in the foregoing verse.
Verses 7 through 10 continue, “Then I said, Behold, I come (in the roll of the book it is written concerning Me) to do Your will, O God. Saying above, Sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You did not desire nor take pleasure in (which are offered according to the law); then He said, Behold, I come to do Your will. He takes away the first that He may establish the second; by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” The “roll of the book” in verse 7 refers to the Old Testament. What is the will mentioned in verses 7, 9, and 10, and what is the meaning of the words “I come to do Your will”? Some Bible teachers say that this means that everything the Lord Jesus did and said was according to God’s will. This interpretation, however, is not according to the context. “Which will” in verse 10 refers back to “will” in verses 7 and 9. The will of God in these verses is to take away the first, the animal sacrifices of the old covenant, that the second, the sacrifice of Christ of the new testament, may be established. Therefore, God’s will here is for Christ to come to replace the Old Testament sacrifices and offerings. At the time Christ came. God wanted Him to take away the Old Testament sacrifices—the sacrifices of sheep, goats, and oxen—and to establish the New Testament sacrifices, which are Christ Himself.
Hebrews 10:5-10 clearly indicates that the sacrifices and offerings in the Old Testament are types, shadows, of Christ. Christ is the reality, the body, of all those sacrifices and offerings.
Hebrews 10:5-10 further reveals that the foremost offering is the burnt offering. This is also indicated in Leviticus, where the burnt offering is mentioned first. If we are to understand what the burnt offering is, we need to consider Hebrews 10, which tells us that as the burnt offering Christ did the will of God. We should not interpret the word “will” in this chapter in a way that is common, natural, or human. God wanted Christ to replace all the Old Testament offerings and sacrifices. This is God’s will here, and Christ came to do it.
It was not a simple matter for Christ to replace the offerings and sacrifices with Himself. How could a man replace all the offerings and sacrifices? Consider the qualifications that were required and the kind of person one had to be. The person who replaced the offerings and sacrifices had to be one who was absolutely for God, even in every small thing. Anyone who is not absolutely for God in all of the small things is not qualified to do the will of God to replace the old sacrifices and offerings with the new, that is, to take away the first and establish the second. To take away the first and establish the second is to take away the old covenant and establish the new covenant. The will of God in Hebrews 10 is to replace all the sacrifices and offerings of the Old Testament with the sacrifices and offerings of the new covenant, and to do this one had to be absolutely for God.
We have spoken often about walking in the spirit and about practicing being one spirit with the Lord. In big things it may be easy for us to be one spirit with the Lord, but this is not easy in small things. How easy it is for a small thing to break our oneness in spirit with the Lord! But such a thing never happened with the Lord Jesus. When He was on earth, there never was a time when a small thing caused Him to lose His oneness with the Father. If this oneness had been broken, then He Himself would have been in need of a Christ. Furthermore, He would have been disqualified from being the burnt offering, needing someone to be His savior. However, the Lord Jesus was absolutely for God, and therefore He was qualified to be the burnt offering. It was a great thing for the Lord Jesus to do God’s will—to be the burnt offering to replace the Old Testament offerings and sacrifices.
None of us is qualified to be the burnt offering. If we had been regenerated without having become fallen, it would have been hard for us to break the oneness with the Lord in our living. Although we have been regenerated, we are still living in the old, fallen nature. We may exercise our spirit to have a life that is one with the Lord, but often a small thing will cause this oneness to be broken. What, then, should we do? Instead of being disappointed, we should recognize that we need Christ. We need Him to be our burnt offering.
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