Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We have pointed out that remembering that we have a sinful nature and daily offering Christ as our sin offering will protect us and preserve us. The offering of the sin offering was a basic aspect of the sanctification of Aaron and his sons to be priests. Let us now go on to consider some other aspects.
The sanctification of Aaron and his sons to serve God as priests required two rams, in addition to the young bull for the sin offering. Concerning the first ram, 29:15-18 says, “And you shall take one ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands upon the head of the ram. And you shall slaughter the ram, and take its blood and sprinkle it upon the altar round about. And you shall cut the ram into its pieces, and wash its inwards and its legs, and put them upon its pieces and upon its head. And you shall burn the whole ram on the altar; it is a burnt offering to Jehovah, a sweet savor; it is an offering by fire to Jehovah.” According to these verses, the first ram was slaughtered and then cut into pieces. This, no doubt, refers to Christ, who was slaughtered and cut into pieces. However, we also are involved, for we are identified with Christ. This identification with Christ is indicated by Aaron and his sons laying their hands upon the head of the ram (v. 15).
We all treasure the matter of identification with Christ. But have you ever realized that in Christ, with Christ, and through Christ you need to be slaughtered and also cut into pieces? Who among those who believe in Christ is willing to be slaughtered and cut into pieces? It is doubtful that anyone truly wants this. But in order to be a priest, we need to be slaughtered and cut into pieces in Christ and through Christ. We, of course, are not to slaughter ourselves or others, but God will slaughter us in Christ. The Bible indicates that whoever wants to serve God as a priest will be slaughtered and cut into pieces by Him.
When some hear about the priests being slaughtered and cut into pieces in Christ, they may protest and say, “No, we don’t agree with this. Are not the bulls and the rams types of Christ? Christ is the One who was slaughtered. God has slaughtered Christ and cut Him into pieces. This is not something that happens to us. Regarding this, Christ is our substitute; He has replaced us in being slaughtered and cut into pieces.” If this is your concept you are qualified only to be saved; you are not qualified to be a priest. Yes, Christ was crucified as our substitute. He was our replacement in bearing our sins when He died on the cross. Nevertheless, in order to serve God as priests, we must be identified with the slaughtered and cut Christ, the Christ who was cut into pieces by God.
After the ram of the burnt offering was slaughtered and cut into pieces, its inwards and legs were washed, and then the whole ram was burned on the altar as a sweet savor to the Lord. This indicates that after the slaughtering and the cutting, we need the washing and the burning. According to 29:4-5, Aaron and his sons were washed with water and then clothed with the priestly garments. That was the initial washing. After that, the priests had to be one with the ram that was slaughtered, cut into pieces, washed, and burned.
Verse 18 says that the whole ram was burned on the altar as an offering by fire to the Lord, a sweet savor to Him. The Hebrew term for burnt offering actually means ascending sacrifice. When this offering was burned on the altar, it became a sweet savor ascending to God for His enjoyment. This is the reason Numbers 28:2 and 3 speak of the burnt offering as God’s food. God’s food, the burnt offering, satisfies Him.
Certainly, Christ is the One who is burned to feed God and satisfy Him. However, we still need to lay our hands on Christ; that is, we need to be one with Him, identified with Him. This means that whatever we are and whatever we do must be slaughtered, cut in pieces, washed, and burned on the altar, the cross, entirely for God’s enjoyment and satisfaction. This will then become food for God.
In my early years as a Christian, I did not know that God needed food, that He needed something to eat. From the Bible I had learned only that it was necessary for us sinners to eat something. I did not know that God also wanted to eat. But when I restudied typology with the saints in Taiwan in 1953, I began to see that God needs food. The first aspect of God’s food is the burnt offering. This is the reason that, of all the offerings described in the book of Leviticus, the burnt offering is mentioned first.
Although in Leviticus the burnt offering comes first, regarding the sanctification of the priests described in Exodus 29, the bull for the sin offering is first, and the ram for the burnt offering is second. We must first offer Christ as our sin offering; we must realize constantly that we are sinful in nature and even sin itself. By our natural birth and life, we are sin. Those who would serve God as priests must have this consciousness and understanding. Since we are sinful in nature, how can we serve God? In ourselves and in our natural life, it is impossible. We need to be redeemed, and our sinful nature must be dealt with.
After the first ram was slaughtered, its blood was sprinkled upon the altar round about. This blood speaks of redemption. How is it possible for us to be God’s priests? It is possible only through redemption.
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