HE OFFERED FOR US
Part I ó Chapter 1. The Background of the Types
2.The Burnt Offering
3.The Meal Offering
4.The Peace Offering
Part II ó a separate booklet, contains the next three chapters.
"I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of (all) the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies ó presenting all your members and faculties ó as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
"Do not be conformed to this world ó this age, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs. But be transformed (changed) by the (entire) renewal of your mind ó by its new ideals and its new attitude ó so that you may prove (for yourselves) what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect (in His sight for you)" Romans 12:1,2 Amplified Bible.
First Printing: May, 1989
Second Printing: February, 1995
This book is written with the earnest desire in my heart that Christians would understand more fully the depths of the love of Jesus Christ expressed in His life and in His death on the cross. How little we have known of our acceptance in Him, our full and free cleansing from all sin, and the means of our fellowship in Him.
Magnificent truths are hidden away in the symbolism of the offerings of Israel given in the Book of Leviticus. To the casual reader, the accounts of the five offerings described in detail here, hold no interest and seem surely to belong to another day; another age. Not so! my dear brethren. The sacrifice of Christ ó His life given for us, culminating in His death for us, was so meaningful in its depths that one offering alone was not sufficient to portray it. Hence there were five: the Burnt Offering with its Meal Offering, the Peace Offering, the Sin Offering and the Trespass Offering.
When the veil upon your mind is lifted so that your heart sees and understands all that Jesus wrought for you, your tears will flow down your cheeks and you will cry, "O Hallelujah! What a Saviour!" And you will reckon the sufferings of this present time as not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in you (Romans 8:18).
There are many small details of the offerings that I have omitted for the sake of clarity. My desire was simply to share the essence of what I saw in the spirit concerning these offerings. There is much more than what I have shared. Hopefully, this will open up a new door for you to explore in the Word!
THE BACKGROUND OF THE TYPES
Walk with me through the Word as we search out the history of the Offerings so that we might establish a sure foundation. The first offering we find very early in the Book of Genesis, Ch. 3:7. After their disobedience, when Adam and Eve knew that they were naked, they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings That was the first sin covered with a covering of the fig-leaves of self-righteousness. God could not accept manís covering of his sin, so He slew an animal (could it have been a lamb?) for, ". . . the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them."
Even at this early stage, our first parents had to learn that sin could only be covered by the giving of a life and by the shedding of blood. The fall would prove far more costly than they had ever dreamed, for it would one day require God Himself to come to earth to abide in a human vessel to redeem His creatures and bring them back to Himself. For "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. " II Cor. 5:19.
The second offering, that of Cain and Abel, is recorded in Gen. 4:3-8. I believe we can safely say that the first family had been instructed by God as to how they should offer an acceptable offering unto Him. It is proven by this comment of Abelís when God had no regard for Cainís offering. His holy fire did not come down upon it and consume it! Abel said, "If you do well, surely you will be accepted." It stands to reason that Cain understood that Godís requirement was a life offered in place of his own. His parents had witnessed a life offered for them.
Yet, knowing this, Cain "brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground." The ground is a type and symbol of our flesh which was made from the elements of the dust of the earth. So ó Cain was offering to God the fruits of his own earth ó his own good works, his own righteousness, expecting it to be acceptable to God! Because it was not, he in anger slew his brother, becoming the first murderer in the human race. All who are yet counting on their good works, and their self-righteousness, are still offering up Cainís offering and God is still not regarding it, for the life of Jesus and His shed Blood is the only acceptable offering.
The first offerings were Burnt Offerings, which spoke of a life offered to God. The Sin Offering was not introduced until Israel was delivered from Egypt and the Law was given in the wilderness, ". . . for until the Law, sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law" Romans 5:13.
Why Are the Types of Value?
Some believers may feel that an intensive study of the offerings in the Old Testament would be a waste of time. "Should we not," they say, "concentrate on the New Testament and Christís teachings?" To these I would say, "The New Testament is Christ revealed. The Old Testament is Christ concealed. " What has been concealed will confirm and establish what has been revealed.
Do you ask yourself, "How can I present my body a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is my spiritual service of worship?" The types in the offerings will show you how ó in great detail, and you will appreciate Christ Jesus like you never have before, for the types are a set of pictures or emblems sent from the hand of God to teach His children things that could not be understood except in this manner. To put it simply, in the types, God takes his Son apart, as it were. He brings into mortal view, truths most elevated, in a way that shows us His heart, and How He views things. Through a series of pictures, He enables us to see and to understand exalted things in which He has been the actor. When we taste of these revelations of Christ, we shall agree whole-heartedly that "All Scripture is given by inspiration, and is profitable; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works" 2 Tim.3:16,17.
Ponder this fact: These representations of the work of Christ were so important to God that He caused Israel to offer them before Him daily for a period of 1500 years before Christ came. Surely they are of great significance and we ought to earnestly desire to see Christ revealed to us in each of the offerings!
A Walk Through the Books of Moses
(1)The Book of Genesis portrays types that teach of the dispensations to come, and how God has dealt with man in different ages and dispensations. For example, the covenant of the law is pictured by Hagar, a handmaid and a bondwoman. Sarah, the true wife and a free-woman, represents the covenant of grace (the New Testament dispensation) Gal. 4:21-31.
(2)The Book of Exodus has redemption as its one great truth. Paul says of this beautiful type: "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" I Cor. 5:7,8.
In Egypt we see the elect family, shoes on their feet, loins girded, ready to flee from Egypt, standing within the house whose doorposts have been sprinkled with blood. Out in the street the destroying angel is abroad in judgment, judging the pride of Egypt in the death of their firstborn.
This great truth have His children all learned ó the Passover speaks of our redemption through the Blood of the Lamb. We obtain salvation, not because of our own righteousness, but because the Blood has been applied to the doorposts of our hearts! Some Christians never know more than the sprinkled Blood in Egypt. To learn further of that Blood, Israel must be in the wilderness, separate from Egypt (the world, the realm of the senses). It is in the wilderness that God reveals to His people all the value of the Offerings.
(3)The Book of Leviticus speaks of the access of a chosen people to God. The New Testament contains forty references to these ordinances, so we can have no doubt that they bear very directly upon the work of Christ. Here we see access to Christ granted in personal communion and fellowship to a redeemed believer. We see the priest and the offerings meeting Israelís need in their access to Jehovah. In understanding this, we enter into peace and realize fully that we are indeed "accepted in the Beloved" Eph. l:6.
(4)The Book of Numbers gives us the wilderness. Here we know, not only redemption through the Blood of the Lamb, as a thirty-fold Christian, but we now know the presence of the Lord in our lives in a manner we have not known before. At Mount Sinai God came down and spoke unto His people and revealed Himself in a deeper dimension. His children know Him now in the dimension of the Holy Spirit ó guiding and leading them daily by the pillar of cloud and fire. They partake now of that hidden manna that is sent from heaven daily for their spiritual sustenance. They see the flinty Rock open to supply them with water in a dry and thirsty land. ". . . and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ" I Cor. 10:4.
Yet, for all His loving watchcare over them, they still murmured and longed for the flesh-pots of Egypt; they shrank through unbelief from going up to Canaan. Are these not living pictures of the Christianís experience as in the wilderness? (We, however, are not of those who shrink back and perish, but are of those who believe and so win possession of their souls. Heb. 10:35-39).
God Himself gives the reason for all of these manifold trials that they and we have experienced: "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his commandments, or no" Deut. 8:2.
(5)The Book of Joshua pictures the Church already with Christ in heavenly places, as across Jordan, entering the land of Canaan. Jordan is a type of death-to-the-self-life which we have to walk through before "We are raised up, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ" Eph. 2:6.
There had been no circumcision in the wilderness, but as soon as they cross Jordan, they are called to be circumcised ó in the very presence of their enemies! Christ, our true Joshua, has passed through Jordan. As members of His Body we are dead and risen with Him, therefore we must put away the filth of the flesh. "If ye be risen with Christ. . .. put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy" Col. 3:1,3,5,8. As we learn the power of the resurrection in our lives, we shall know true circumcision of the heart.
Also, in Joshua we meet fierce battles we never knew in the wilderness. We learn of "the wrestling, not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers in heavenly places," even spiritual warfare in the deepest sense of the word. In the wilderness we had no land to possess, but now there is a broad place before us to possess and to walk up and down in.
THE BURNT OFFERING
To effectively study the offerings, we must picture in our minds three distinct objects: the offering, the priest, and the offerer. Then know that Christ is the offering, Christ is the priest, Christ is the offerer.
As man under the law,our substitute, Christ stood for us towards God as offerer. His offering that He gave was "the body prepared for Him", that in it and by it He might reconcile us to God. When man had lost all respect unto the sacrifices and offerings, and God would no more accept them at his hand, ". . . then said He, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do Thy will, O God: yea, Thy law is within my heart" Heb. 10:5-9; Psalm 40:6-8.
His body was His offering."Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me" Heb. 10:5. He willingly offered His body for us. As the offering, Christ is seen as the innocent victim, a sweet savour to God, yet bearing and dying for our sin.
As priest, He took the Blood into the Holiest of Holies. As priest we see Him as the mediator between God and man.
To understand the offerings we must also understand "the laying on of hands." This practice is used today as we identify ourselves with anotherís burden and pray for him. This originated in Lev. l:4, "And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf." The offering was thus identified with the offerer. The giving up of the offering represented the surrender of the person of the offerer.
Different Grades of the Offerings
Bear in mind that Christís sacrifice was so all-encompassing that it requires many different emblems to portray it. Our love for Christ shall be greatly enlarged when we embrace all the details of His poured-out life and our longing to be like Him shall increase daily. Let us place our microscope on the different animals used for sacrifice. They each have something to tell us of Christ. They are called different grades of the same offering. They are: the burnt offering of the herd, of the flock, of fowls. Upon close examination we see in them different aspects of Christís work or person.
The bullock,of the herd, was the most costly offering. It is "strong to labor" and suggests the thought of service, of patient, untiring labor. Few see Jesus as presented in this first class. Most understand Him only in the "lamb" relationship. If we have been in Godís service to our fellowman, we will be able to see more readily this aspect of Christís offering in the emblem of the bullock.
The Gospels are full of this view of Christ; in fact, Mark always shows Jesus as "the girded servant" always available for the needs of the people. So completely does He give Himself to His work that "He had no leisure so much as to eat." His friends even accused him of being mad because of the intense burden He bore for the people that He refused to spare Himself. Mark 3:20,21 tells us, "And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said; He is beside himself." Only the emblem of the bullock can portray Christís patient, untiring labor for others ó giving of Himself continually, keeping back nothing for self. This Physician kept no office hours! We are told how often He arose while it was yet dark to pray before the people thronged Him with their needs. This offering shows us His life being poured out unstintingly for others. The holy record states over and over: "He gave Himself."
The second grade, the lamb "of the flock" is a more familiar emblem, yet it is a lower view of the value of Christís character. As the lamb, the thought is passive submission without a murmur. The lamb represents the submissive, uncomplaining character of Christís sufferings, as in Isa. 53:7, "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer is dumb, so He openeth not his mouth."
The third grade, a much lower view of Christís offering, is the emblem of the turtledove. In this class there is no thought of labor in service; no thought of the unmurmuring submission of the lamb; rather the thought is one of mourning innocence. As in Isa. 59:11, "All of us . . moan sadly like doves" and Mat. 10:16, "be . . . innocent as doves."
Some believers may see the various grades as an indication of caring of our Lord for the poor ó making a way for each person to offer whatever he could afford, even if it were but a turtle-dove like Mary and Joseph offered. This we do not deny, but we see much more in the varieties than a financial provision. These different grades show us the various levels of understanding that a believer may hold concerning Christís sacrifice for him. They may see His loving labor, His uncomplaining submission, or His mourning innocence. The thoughts of the Burnt Offering is man fulfilling his duty towards God. This duty is not merely a life of innocence, or a life of submission, but it is also a life of labor. The bullock brings out this aspect very clearly.
The Meaning of the Burnt Offering
I must confess that until the Lord brought light and understanding to me concerning the offerings, I supposed them to be all offered for sin, and all burned upon the Brazen Altar in the outer court. I knew not that the first three, namely, the Burnt Offering with its Meal Offering and the Peace Offering were the only ones that could be burnt upon the holy altar of God. These were called sweet savour offerings. The sin and the trespass offerings were not a sweet savour because they were charged with the sin of the offerer and could not be offered on the Brazen Altar.
These sin offerings were slain at the gate of the outer court and were taken without the camp where the clean, white ashes of the Burnt Offering were poured out. There were the sacrifices for sin burned ó where the ashes were poured out! "Even the whole bull shall he carry forth without the camp to burn it on a fire of wood, there where the ashes are poured out."
Oh, how my heart aches to be able to express to you what my spirit sees in this beautiful word picture! I can but entreat the Holy Spirit to anoint your eyes with eyesalve that you may see.
There was a continual Burnt Offering burning before the Lord night and day; the morning sacrifice burned until evening when the offering was wholly burnt. The evening sacrifice burned until morning, when the clean, white ashes would be removed to a place "outside the camp." What was so important about the ashes that were poured out? Through my tears I declare unto you that they spoke of the LIFE OF CHRIST, fully poured out, yea, given to God in perfect submission and yieldedness in every area of His Life. The Burnt Offering is the express fulfillment of the First Commandment given to man (which he could not keep); "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment" Mark 12:30.
Jesus had walked for thirty years, giving Himself to God, living but to express His will on earth, delighting to "do the will of God." From an early age we hear Him say, "I must be about My Fatherís business." And at the end of His life, we hear the words, "It is finished." How many times did He tell His disciples, "I can of mine own self do nothing"; "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me"; "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the son likewise." The whole Burnt Offering was the entire surrender of self to God in everything. Manís duty to God was fulfilled when Jesus perfectly kept the First Commandment ó for us ó on our behalf, as our substitute. God accepted it on behalf of every man!
Did that mean that Jesus was not tempted by self or the devil?
Not at all! We know that he was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. He was content to be nothing, that God might be everything. This, again, is what He is asking of His many-membered Body in this day. Will we be content to be nothing ó to be brought to ashes ó that HE might be all in us? His humility was simply the surrender of Himself to God, to allow God to do to Him what he pleased, whatever men might say of Him or do to Him. He had a human will, indeed, but His will was always subject to His Father.
When we wonder how we could ever make this full yieldedness of our life to God as Jesus did, we find the answer in the Burnt Offering that portrayed His Life fully yielded to God. First, the offering ó a bullock, was slain and divided into portions. The head was placed upon altar ó a fit emblem of the mind. Then, the legs were to be washed and placed upon the altar. Legs speak of our walk, which must be cleansed "by the washing of water by the Word."
The inwardswere also washed before being placed upon the altar. The inwards are our feelings, our emotions, will, desires and affections ó all the five aspects of the soul. These also had to be cleansed
before they could be offered. Lastly, the fat (which was in a special way the Lordís portion) was offered. The fat speaks of the strength, health and vigor of the whole person. The strength of our life is Godís and does not belong to us to squander in selfish, fleshly pursuits.
Here we see the whole Burnt-offering: the entire surrender of self to God in everything. Jesus gave up all, reserving nothing for self, or for His own ease, or for His credit, for His pleasure or His advancement. In Jesus, the head, the legs, the inwards, the fat ó all were surrendered, making Him without spot or blemish. Had there been but one thought ó one affection ó one step ó not fully yielded, He could not have been accepted as a whole Burnt Offering.
What a contrast His life makes with ours! Psalm 49:18 tells us, ". . . for men will praise thee when thou does well to thyself." With us, how many thoughts are for self ó our ease, our pleasure, our interests ó "Whatís in it for me?" How much of our walk, of our affections, is consumed on anything rather than the altar!
Not so with our blessed Lord:
ó "With all His heart He lived for God.(for the inwards were all consumed).
ó "With all His soul"(the head was offered)
ó "With all His strength"(the fat was offered)
ó "He gave Himself ó in all His perfectness,and satisfied the heart of God.
The fact that this offering was wholly burnt to ashes signified that Jesus had endured the searching fires of Godís holiness and all was consumed because all was yielded. His Life, offered for us, was completely accepted by God in every detail. Once, while praying for a believer, the Spirit showed me the Burnt Offering upon the altar. All was yielded and consumed in this oneís life except the head. I saw the head still unburnt upon the altar which signified that the mind ó the thoughts ó were not yet fully yielded.
Can you now rejoice over the pure, white ashes that were taken and poured out "outside the camp?" They were a symbol of the perfect acceptance of Christís life as offered to God "for us." Now our acceptance is secure, for the measure of His acceptance is the measure of our acceptance ó we are made accepted in the Beloved. (Eph. l:6). God receives us because He perfectly received the complete surrender of Jesus on our behalf. Where is there now room to grieve over our weaknesses, our failures, our unworthiness? Is not the sacrifice complete? Has it not been fully accepted? Can we, by grieving over our state, add anything to it? Nay, our substitute has satisfied God óand that, forever óHis life was a sweet savour unto God. Sin is not seen here at all. All that is known is that "He gave Himself" for us as an offering to God of a sweet-smelling savour." We are thus accounted as acceptable worshippers and can, because of this, come boldly unto the throne of grace in time of need, having confidence that we are accepted in the Beloved, not in anything of self.
The white ashes óthe Life poured out ó provided a clean place for the Sin and Trespass Offerings to be burnt outside the camp. Do you see that Christís life yielded wholly to the Father, had to precede His giving Himself for us for sin and trespass? If His Life had not proven to be "wholly and without blemish,"He could not have offered for sin.
The Holy Spirit revealed to a dear friend that Pilate publicly proclaimed Jesus as that Lamb fit to be slain, having no spot or blemish or any such thing. Three times he declared to the priests and the assembled mob, "I find in Him no fault at all." (Jn. 18:38; 19:4,6) He decided to scourge, or beat Him and let Him go. This custom was called being examined by scourging. And again, after He was scourged, receiving those stripes whereby we are healed, Pilate presented Jesus to them with these words: "Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in Him."
The sacrifice was ready to be offered. His service to mankind was complete ó He had shown them what His Father was like and how He loved and cared for them. His duty to God was complete, for His life had been wholly yielded to Him. All that was; needed was that He would be pronounced a fit offering and be examined by scourging. He provided no self-defense for Himself, no revilings for the pain and humiliation He endured. He was simply that Lamb, Who, before His shearers is dumb and openeth not His mouth. No wonder Pilate was the more afraid when the Jews said, ". . . he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God."
Even today, "He scourgeth every son He receiveth," for whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth. And, in a special way, we also are commanded to make that Burnt Offering. Romans 12:1 says, "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." In 1987 the Holy Spirit spoke these words to my listening heart, "This is the time of the whole Burnt Offering!"
THE MEAL OFFERING
The Meal Offering is always spoken of in connection with the Burnt Offering. The priest always threw a handful of meal on top of the Burnt Offering. The main difference between them is that life is offered in one case, and fruits in another. The life was always Godís portion and the fruit of the herb and of the tree was manís portion. As the Burnt Offering fulfils the First Commandment, the Meal Offering fulfils the Second Commandment, namely: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
The Meal Offering is actually Cainís offering. Had Cain first offered a LIFE as Abel did, then his Meal Offering would have been accepted. Instead, he despised the sprinkled Blood which acknowledged the claim of God upon his life, and presumed to satisfy God with the fruit of the earth (his earth), which is manís claim. Any man or denomination today who is counting on the works of the flesh for acceptance by God, should know that "God will not regard the offering." Man must first offer his life to God before he can be of much help to his fellow man. We serve man because we have offered ourselves to God! That is His order of service!
Materials of the Offering
The King James Bible erroneously calls this a "meat" offering when this word in other translations is rendered: cereal, grain, meal. The elements offered were: fine flour, oil, frankincense and salt. Each emblem holds a wealth of truth for the searching heart.
Jesus called Himself "the Bread of Life" when He said, "This is that bread which came down from heaven . . . he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever" John 6:58. Little wonder then that we should see this emblem of fine flour in the Meal Offering. Christ, our staff of life, is shown here as the Bruised One ó for "Bread corn must be bruised" Isa. 28:28. The emblem of corn ground to powder is one of the deepest suffering. Jesus was not only tried by fire (as in the Burnt Offering); Godís holiness was not the only thing that consumed Him, but in fulfilling manís duty to his neighbor, Christís soul was ground, pressed and bruised continually.
Those of you who have sat on the backside of some wilderness for many years, knowing you have a calling to serve your fellow-man, yet you are not set free to do so, behold Christ who yielded up His life to God for thirty years before He was led to begin His ministry to mankind. Ah, but what a ministry! What he accomplished in that short three and a half years was so mighty that the Bible declares, ". . . if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" Jn. 21:25. As you and I, "though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which He suffered" Heb. 5:8. This explains our long processings and waitings ó until all be yielded to God, that He might work His good will and pleasure through us as He did through Jesus. Oh, hasten the day, Lord!
We can relate to all of Christís bruisings as the grain was being crushed into fine flour. He was rejected when He would minister blessing. Shortly after he declared the gracious purposes for which He had been anointed by the Spirit, the people thrust Him out of the city and tried to throw Him over the edge of a cliff. He was misunderstood when He gave instruction. He suffered, not only His enemies, but those close to Him until He cried out, "How long shall I suffer you?"
Though rejected, misunderstood, suffering, yet Jesus never ceased His devoted service to all. We think when trouble or sorrow comes, it is time to care for ourselves. Not so Jesus. We think there must be a limit to our self-sacrifice. Not so our Lord! We think our interests, our reputation, our life, must not be touched or endangered. We think when our kindness is rejected we need not repeat it. We think our times of rest and relaxation are our own.
Nothingturned Jesus from doing good ó whether it was His disciples, the rage of His enemies, or the devices of satan. His self-surrender was complete.
The fine flour used in the offering points to the fact there was no unevenness in Jesus. In Him, every grace was perfect ó none was in excess; none was lacking. In contrast, we see much unevenness in His closest followers; one grace stands out above others and exposes their failings. In Peter, we are aware of his zeal, yet he denied Christ. In Paul, we see boundless energy, yet his energy led him to Macedonia when a door is opened in Troas. In John, the beloved disciple, his very affection for his Master brings out his unlikeness to Him. His desire was to be the highest, next to his Lord, in the kingdom.
In ourselves, we see our unevenness when we are one thing at home, or before God, and another thing before our brethren. In one situation we may be backward, in another hasty; in one place steadfast, in another wavering. When we think of one grace being greater in a person it is because that person is yet uneven. No one grace can be singled out where all are perfect. Jesus was made into fine flour, and so shall we be made.
Some years ago, we attended a camp-meeting and the main speaker was a minister who had a number of churches under his charge. In the morning meeting he said, "I canít remember the last time I lost my temper." He inferred that he was already fine flour, but had he been, he would not have said it.
That very night the stage was set to expose his unevenness. The ones on the platform began laughing under what they called a spirit of laughter and continued on in this manner for some time. (I judge them not!) Finally, an impatient man cried out, "Enough of this playing around! You ought to be preaching the Word!"
With that, the preacher rushed down from the platform and started a scuffle outside in which the preacher got a sock on the head. When he returned to the pulpit, out of breath, he ranted for a long time trying to make it look like he was really in the spirit, but all that came through was his anger. Ah, it was evident that the corn had not been bruised, much less ground into fine flour!
"And when any will offer a Meal Offering unto the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon" Lev. 2:1. Oil is used for food, for anointing the body, for medicine, for light, for anointing kings and priests, and in offerings. It is a constant type of the Spiritís workings.
To Israel in the wilderness it was said, "So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth,; that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock" Deut. 32:13. (And that spiritual Rock that followed them was Christ ó the source of all oil of the anointing!)
Let us examine the steps of the Meal Offering in the life of Jesus. He was born of the Holy Spirit, yet he needed a further anointing of oil for the ministry to His fellowman (just as we need the Baptism of the Holy Ghost for service!) In Luke 3:22 we read, ". . . the Holy Ghost descended on Him visibly." In this act, the oil was poured on the flour. Jesus was thirty years of age, the age when a man may become a priest, for his time of maturity had come. He had ministered unto the Father those many years in the giving-up of His own life in the outworking of the Burnt Offering, and now He was qualified to be a priest and mediator between God and man. We read that Jesus was now "full of the Holy Ghost."
Did He rush right out to heal the sick? No! He "was led by the Spirit into the wilderness" where He was 40 days tempted of the devil. If you are enduring manifold testing, donít blame yourself or the devil, for the Lord Himself orders our testings in our wilderness ó to show us what is in us, and to know if we will obey Him. Follow Jesusí example and cling to the Word of God and you will come through victoriously!
Upon His return, our Lord is found in the synagogue describing His anointing and its consequences: healing the sick, teaching the poor, feeding the hungry ó all in the power of the anointing (Luke 4:17-19). This is the Meal Offering: "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power; and he went about doing good" Acts 10:38.
Let us note one distinction here: In the Burnt Offering we have the Spirit under the symbol of water. Here the operation of the Spirit is for cleansing of the inner man and the outer walk. In the Meal Offering the Spirit is seen as oil. It is in service to man that the Spirit is specially needed in grace and power. We will be tried by the carnality of our brethren, and will encounter many difficulties of monstrous giants of evil still ruling in their land that need to be dispossessed. The only way that we can meet this service to our fellowman is in the grace and unction of the Spirit. The fine flour must be anointed with oil!
The third ingredient of the Meal Offering, frankincense, is the most precious of perfumes. It was shown first in connection with our Lord at His birth. The wise men presented the Christ-child with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gold is always a type of the divine nature. In this instance, it speaks in a very forceful way that this One who took on a body of flesh would manifest the nature of the Father so that we could know Him as He is.
We come to a deeper understanding of the meaning of the frankincense when we see how it is referred to in the love song of the Bride, the Song of Solomon. Sol. 4:6 says: "Until the day break and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense." Historically, this portrays the last hours that the Lord passed with His disciples before He instituted the betrothal supper just before the crucifixion.
Over and over Jesus had told them about the deepening shadows, but they could not discern them. They understood neither the darkness of the night, nor the dawning of a New Day. The Mountain of Myrrh is a figure of the tomb in which Jesus lay until He arose from the dead. The Hill of Frankincense spoke of the Cross of Calvary where, through the Eternal Spirit, He offered Himself. Myrrh shows forth the preciousness, the fragrance, and the priceless value of Jesus in His redemptive work on the cross. Frankincense is an emblem of His perfect acceptability before God, and His abandonment to do His will and to glorify Him in all things.
Jesus, in His lifetime, gave gifts unto men and wrought many miracles, but in life and death, He alone received gifts of oil, costly spices, spikenard, frankincense and myrrh, "with all the powders of the merchant." These precious perfumes were emblems of the praise and adoration which was due Him, and of the fragrance that was resident in Him
Lev. 2:1-2,11 tells us, "When someone brings a grain offering to the Lord, his offering is to be of fine flour. He is to pour oil on it, put frankincense on it and take it to Aaronís sons the priests. The priest shall take a handful of the fine flour and oil, together with all the incense, and burn this as a memorial portion on the altar, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. . . Every grain offering you bring to the Lord must be made without yeast, for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in an offering made unto the Lord by fire."
These emblems, though simple, are most significant. Frankincense is a fit emblem of the sweetness and fragrance of our blessed Lord. Honey, on the other hand, though sweet, is corruptible, soon fermented and easily turned sour. In frankincense, the full fragrance is not brought out until the perfume is submitted to the action of the fire. In honey, it is the opposite ó the heat ferments and spoils it.
It was only as the fires of Godís holiness tried Him that we were able to see that all in Him was precious fragrance. The holiness of God only brought out graces which would have escaped our notice had He never suffered. Much of the precious fragrance of His offering was the very result of His fiery trial.
In that day when the High Priest, with the holy anointing oil upon him, had been ministering before God in the Holy of Holies, came out and passed among the congregation, the fragrance of that holy oil enveloped him (Ex. 30:22-33). By the Spirit I behold Christ standing in Pilateís Judgment Hall with clouds of the fragrance of frankincense issuing from His person, for the True High Priest had come and was standing before His people as the Offerer, the Offering and the Priest.
What clouds of fragrance we would have missed if He had "called twelve legions of angels" to His aid! What depths of love we would have never known had we not heard Him say . . ."Father, forgive them; they know not what they do." Ah, the fire of Calvary brought forth the deep, penetrating fragrance of the nature of Christ like nothing else could do!
Why is honey referred to in connection with the frankincense? Everyone loves the sweetness of the honeycomb, yet the Word declares it has no place upon His altar. Honey speaks of the sweetness of the human nature. In some, their nature seems very sweet to our taste, yet it will not stand the test of fire. The first trial is enough to sour it. Some unsaved present a great sweetness before men, but when entreated to turn to Christ, manifest a resentful, arrogant spirit toward God. When some apparently sweet Christians are faced with some situation that was sent to bring a measure of death to the self-life, they react in a manner opposite of sweetness and we understand why the honey cannot be put on the altar of fire. The sweetness of our own human nature, which we have taken to be frankincense, has been shown to be fermenting honey. Who is there that has been put into sifting circumstances, where Godís holiness and our ease or interests come into conflict, without feeling how much is in us which could not be found a sweet savour on the altar?
The triumph of Christ is portrayed in these poetic lines: "Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders (spices) of the merchant?" Song of Sol. 3:6. All who loved God and recognized Jesus as the Messiah discerned the pillars of smoke and the perfumes which were resident in Him. As the Beloved came up to the Father from the wilderness of this world, with all the powders of the merchantman, so are His loved ones coming up, gathering these priceless perfumes as they journey on. As a pillar of smoke He guides them with the cloud of His presence and with His fiery pillar reveals every danger along the path.
As He brought to His Father mountains of spices and fragrance, so he has appointed His Own to bring home a precious cargo of spices, incense and perfumes which, as a merchantman in a far country, they must gather in the wilderness of this world. Only in the desert are the costly spices and gums found, and they are obtained through "many dangers, toils and snares." The pure gums come forth from the tree only when it is pierced, so we count it all joy to suffer for Christís sake.
Jesus was "Anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows, all His garments smell of myrrh, aloes and cassia." "Because of the savour of His good ointments, His name is like ointment poured forth." Sweetness there is in abundance, but the sweetness of frankincense, not honey. We hear the bride exclaim, "My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh, that lieth betwixt my breasts." In Eastern countries, women use costly oils and perfumes freely, concealing in their bosoms little bags of aromatic herbs or a small cruse of aromatic oil. Jesus is pictured here as a bag of Myrrh, a cruse of precious fragrance within that will perfume every area of her being.
"Lieth" means "to remain over night; to abide permanently. "Night"signifies the absence of the Bridegroom. It is during our journeyings through this wilderness, while we are in these bodies of humiliation, that our Lord is dwelling in our hearts as a little bundle of Myrrh. The myrrh is not only fragrant, but bitter. Bitterness is an emblem of suffering, as we partake with Him in His death that the life of Jesus might come forth in us. "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
The last ingredient of the Meal Offering is salt. The directions for its use were: "Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings"Lev. 2:13. This is a very positive reference. By contrast, then, the Lord gives further instructions: "Every grain offering you bring to the Lord must be made without yeast (leaven) or honey in an offering made to the Lord by fire. You may bring them to the Lord as an offering of the firstfruits, but they are not to be offered on the altar as a pleasing aroma" Lev. 2:11,12.
Here we have a very distinct comparison of types or emblems portrayed before us. Let us look closely lest we pass over the precious truths to be learned here. Salt is a well-known preservative against corruption, and as such it is the emblem of something perpetual, of unlimited time, or of incorruption. From antiquity it has been prized for its use in preserving meat and foods of various kinds, besides adding tang and flavour to food.
When the Apostle Paul made reference to "the incorruptness, gravity and sincerity" befitting a Christian, he says, "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt" Col. 4:6. Further, when a covenant is described as being perpetual, it is spoken of as a "covenant of salt." In 2 Chron. 13 there was war between the kings of Israel and Judah. Abijah, King of Judah, cried out to the hosts of Israel who outnumbered them two to one: "Donít you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?" Truly, the Lord kept His covenant with David that day and "the men of Israel were subdued", "and the men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers."
In contrast to the positive things said of salt, we have the negative comments about leaven. We read of "the leaven of the Pharisees," "the leaven of the Sadducees," and "the leaven of Herod." I Cor. 5:6-8 urges us to "purge out the old leaven. Your boasting is not good. Donít you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast ó as you really are. For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth."
Christís offering was the unleavened bread, at the time of Passover. At Pentecost, "a new meal offering" was to be offered unto the Lord. What was this new offering? Lev. 23:17 tells us, "From wherever you live, bring two loaves . . . of fine flour. . . baked with yeast (leaven), as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord." Two is the number of witness, so those who are this new meal offering shall b e witnesses unto Him. "These are those who did not defile themselves with women (false religious systems), for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb" Rev. 14:4. These two loaves speak of His Church who was bought with His Blood and received the firstfruits of the Spirit, even the infilling of the blessed Holy Spirit.
We have seen that these leavened cakes could not be offered upon the altar. They could not be burnt as a sweet savour unto the Lord, for they had sin mixed in them. Some would hope that, since the cake had been anointed with oil that it could then be acceptable unto the Lord. Not so! A cake might be anointed again and again, but if there was leaven in it, it could not be put upon the altar. The oil of the anointing could not make it acceptable to God.
Listen carefully, for there is a mighty, hidden truth here that we all must learn. Are we not inclined to look at a man who ministers the Word under the anointing with miracles following, and declare that he must surely be worthy to follow because of the anointing? Consider this: the operation of the Spirit in gifts of power, utterance, and healing do not alter or destroy the old nature one whit! When we understand the types and shadows in the Old Testament, they serve as yardsticks whereby we might measure Truth in the New! Aman proposed a certain doctrine to me as truth at one time, and I said, "But this is the type and shadow of that, and what you are saying bears no resemblance at all to the shadow." His mouth was stopped and he uttered not a word more. Let us learn well the shadow of the oil.
A young couple had been sent from Oral Robertsí University to Cambodia some years ago. There, they trained native pastors to take the gospel to their own people in the power of the Spirit. One particular man was having great success as an evangelist, but word got back to them that he had left his wife and small children and was living with another woman. The missionaries, with some elders from the main church, visited this erring one to entreat him to repent of his sinful ways. He boldly refused to do any such thing, declaring that the Lord was with him, for, said he, "The Lord is still healing people through my prayers." By the presence of the oil he tried to prove he was still acceptable in the Lordís work.
The brethren spent much time in prayer seeking Godís will in the matter. The Spirit clearly witnessed that he must be removed from his place as pastor. He had looked to the Spirit in him and to the outward manifestation of the Spirit for his acceptance. We are accepted in the Beloved (Eph. l:6) What Christ has done for us, not what He is in us is our only ground for acceptance!
Jesus said that one could do miracles in His name, cast out devils, and so on, but He would have to say, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Why did He say that? Because they were walking in self-will, not in the will of God. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father. . . "Their acceptance was not dependent upon the anointing, but upon the yieldedness of their will to the will of God, which is done through what Christ has done for us in His sacrifice.
Always remember, the anointing is not the sign of a manís acceptability. We are to look for fruit in a manís life. "By their fruits shall ye know them." No matter how many times the leavened cake would be anointed with oil, it still had leaven in it. The oil could not take away the leaven. We see this truth in Paulís life. Even though he had been caught up to Paradise and had heard unspeakable things, he yet needed a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble. The type in the offerings shows us that our acceptance is not in the oil, for the oil can never remove the leaven of sin and make us acceptable. Only Christís work for us can deal with the sin nature! Remember this truth when you need to discern a manís ministry!
The New Loaf Baked With Leaven
Iíll not soon forget how awed I was when I realized that we, as the Church, were that "new loaf" baked with leaven and offered to God at Pentecost. I had seen that Christ was represented as that unleavened bread that stood before God continually ó twelve loaves on the table of shewbread. This bread, which pictured He Who was the bread of Life, was made of fine flour, mingled with oil and anointed with frankincense. It was eaten by the priests and a portion of it was offered unto the Lord.
But at the Feast of Pentecost the Israelites were instructed to bake two loaves at home and bake them with leaven, and bring them to be offered by the priest (Lev. 23:17-20). This was the new meal offering, for the Church, which was also called "a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" James 1:18. We know that Jesus was "the firstfruits of them that slept", being the first one to arise from the dead and to live again in resurrection. Though still not full overcomers over sin, yet He called His believers, after Pentecost, a kind of firstfruits, implying that we should also walk in hope of overcoming sin and death in our members.
When the people brought these two loaves of bread baked with leaven, they ran into a snag. The Law implicitly stated that "No meal offering. . . shall be baked with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord made by fire." The people understood that the bread they baked represented their condition ó what they were! I was comforted with the thought that, for 1500 years before Christ came, His redeemed people were represented as bread baked with leaven (of hypocrisy, malice, sin). I didnít feel so disappointed to find those things in myself when I saw the type portrayed my human nature so truly. I tell people who are being dealt with in a deep manner about their self-life and are seeing it for the first time, that it is no surprise to the Lord óHe knew about it all along. It is only a shock to us because we didnít see it before He started revealing it to us. He knew all along what we would be like, yet He offered for our acceptance!
Acknowledging that leaven can never appear upon the holy altar of God, how then can His Church make an acceptable offering? In what manner can he receive us since we are baked with leaven and still struggle with sin in our members? Could we anoint the loaves with oil, a type of the Spirit? Would the Lord then receive them? We have already shown how the oil of the anointing is for grace and power. It does not cleanse the vessel and make it fit for the altar.
The answer is very clear in holy writ ó how we shall offer that leavened bread which we are. Lev. 23:15-20 tells in detail what I will explain in simpler terms. The priest is instructed to prepare animals for sacrifice from each one of the offerings ó the Burnt, the Meal, the Peace, the Sin and the Trespass Offerings. The priest takes up a portion of each offering in his arms and the two loaves of bread are put on top of all the parts and all is waved before the Lord. This beautiful, symbolic act proclaims to us and to all principalities and powers that the Church is offered to God with all the value of His work attached to it. In itself it cannot stand the trial of Godís holiness, for no measure of oil can neutralize the leaven. Only Christís work in its fullness could do it.
Can you see that because Christís offering (of His perfect life) was completely accepted by God, it brought satisfaction to Him? Now we can always know that we are perfectly accepted by Him when we approach Him in recognition and appreciation of the fullness of His holy sacrifice for us ó as our substitute!
I cannot help but cry out to Him in a loud voice, "O, Hallelujah! What a Saviour!" I remember that old song that says, "My heart is moved when eíer I think of Jesus." The Spirit responds within when we come to Him solely upon the merit of His finished work and not in some imagined goodness of our own. In fact, many labor under the misconception that God cannot receive them as an accepted worshipper because they are not yet perfect and feel the weight of the sin yet in their lives. Take heart; rejoice! for a full and complete offering has been made by Jesus Christ, and we are fully accepted in all that offering implies. When we come to Him, we come in the merit of His finished work and find acceptance. Glory to God!
This prophetic word was given to us for a dear friend who has been much under Godís Hand in yieldedness to Him, yet he is one of Godís "orphans", even one who has been fatherless in the true sense of the word.
"You shall not be any longer as one who is just limping along, but thou shalt have a victorious entrance into the kingdom of God. For all the demeaning, the self-denial, the yieldedness, the dying to self-will, I shall give thee super-abundantly above all that thou canst ask or think.
"The Jordan River has many times nearly overwhelmed thee, but I have sustained thee and brought thee forth as at this day. This is the day when I say unto thee, ĎMy son, Come thou up higher, for I purpose to exalt that Holy Thing that I have brought forth in thee.í"
THE PEACE OFFERING
This is the last of the sweet-savour offerings made on our behalf. It reveals an aspect of Christís offering which is the last to be understood by a believer. One must come to a certain state of maturity and communion with the Lord before one can understand the benefits this offering portrays for the believer. The full account of it is found in Chapter Three of Leviticus.
In the Peace Offering, only certain portions are placed upon the altar of God. These parts are "the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards; the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver. . . " Lev. 3:3,4. These parts are laid upon the Burnt Offering. So we see the Burnt óthe Meal ó and the Peace Offerings all laid out together before the Lord as a sweet savour unto Him.
Up until now, all was given and the offerer received nothing back except the witness that he pleased God and God was satisfied. Here, we have Godís portion removed first and placed on the altar. Note that it is the fat, as always. The fat belongs to the Lord as it speaks of manís strength and vigor. Here it is the "strength of the inwards"; could we say that all the strength of love and longing that we hold for our beloved Lord is here represented as offered to Him? Then, the kidneys which are referred to in scripture as "loins, reins, will," are given to God. Our heart and will yielded as His portion must come first if we are to know that close personal fellowship that the Peace Offering suggests.
Oh, blessed communion! After God receives His portion, the offerer, the priest, and God, all feed together! Yes, the offerer feasts, or finds satisfaction in the same offering that has satisfied God. Also, Num. 18:8-14 shows us that the priestís children also have a part and can eat of this offering. (Are you one of the priestís children?)
Now the offerer here, as elsewhere, is Christ. He is the man Christ Jesus for us without the camp, for us upon the altar, for us bearing our sins, for us accepted and satisfied. When Christ offered, God saw us offering, for Christ stood as offerer "for us." God looked upon Christ as us. He sees us, therefore, as Christ before Him. Oh, what sublime truth, that He should behold Christ in me rather than the frailty of my human nature!
The believer, when he sees Christ offering the Peace Offering, sees that the offerer, Jesus, standing for us as man, is satisfied. Those who understand the Peace Offering know they are "in Christ," and know their acceptance is in Him.
What do we like to do when loved ones come to visit? Why, the first thing we think of is feasting together ó of enjoying a nice meal in the company of loved ones. The food always tastes better in the presence of friends and family. To share a nice meal gives us satisfaction. Food signifies satisfaction. A person, after eating a good meal, may be heard to say, "I am fully satisfied."
Carry this thought over to the Peace Offering which is called "the food of the offering." God does not need natural food to sustain or to satisfy Him, for He is Spirit. What then does He mean when He says this offering is His food, or His satisfaction? Up until now, Christ has given Himself to satisfy God and man in the Burnt Offering and the Meal Offering. Now, in the Peace Offering, He Himself ó that blessed Offerer, is satisfied. How is He satisfied? He is satisfied because at last He can have sweet, intimate fellowship with His children; He can share with them the secrets of His heart as they share their hearts with Him.
We see that God has His portion, the priest has his portion, the offerer his, and the priestís children, theirs ó all partaking of that same food; all finding satisfaction in it. All sharing in joy, the fullness of all that Christ has done for them to bring them to the place where they could have fellowship and communion with Him.
Do you know that place of communion? Is your fellowship in Him, or in your church, or your pastor, or your social programs? Our true food and satisfaction is only found in feeding upon all that satisfies God ó even the complete work of Jesus! Anything less is not true fellowship and God does not eat with you.
We learned this lesson in a negative way. We had spent an evening with one who shared her sorrow with us at great length. Wishing to be supportive and understanding, we let her pour out her sorrow all evening, but after she left we felt completely weary and drained. We were made to understand that we should have taken this sisterís burden to the Lord in prayer after hearing it. Then we could have celebrated the Peace Offering in shared communion with Christ and encouraged one another in His love and compassion for us. We would all have been revived, rather than wearied. We should have eaten the only food that satisfies God and which He may eat with us ó even His finished work for us!
Actually, we understood for the first time what the Peace Offering meant when we had fellowship with a group who were very humble and loved one another and the Lord in a very close way. As they were worshiping and sharing in the Lord in a precious unity of Spirit, the Lord spoke to my heart, "These are partaking of the Peace Offering." They were feasting on Him - not extolling a man, or a movement, but were worshiping Him alone.
It was after this experience that we could understand Isa. 53:10,11, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied. . . "
What does it mean to "make his soul an offering for sin?" What is meant by his "soul?" The soul refers to the mind, the will, the emotions, the desires and the affections. We are having a real struggle to yield these areas of our soul, but Jesus yielded them all up perfectly and completely in our stead, because we were unable to do so.
So now, if we take His soul as an offering for sin, as a perfectly acceptable offering in our place, then something tremendous will happen that will bless both us and the Lord. When we do that, "He shall see HIS SEED. . . " We are the seed and the offspring of the Lord, and as such, we put our trust in His finished work for us. We know that what we canít do in our strength, we can look to Him to give us of His strength, for He perfectly overcame all the areas of the soul for us. Trusting Him in this way, we, His Seed, grow and mature daily as His image begins to come forth in us. Even though Jesus was bruised and put to grief for us, yet "for the joy that was set before Him (He) endured the cross, despising the shame. . . " His joy was to see HIS SEED coming forth! His Seed has found His offering sufficient for them, and it provides food for them to grow thereby. "He shall prolong His days" signifies that His nature and character will go on living and growing in His seed upon the earth.
Jesus never married and produced children of the flesh. All of His offspring are of the Spirit, for He is the Father of Spirits! But, He does have children, and He cherishes them as much, nay, more than any earthly parent could. He does not expect His spiritual children to be perfect all at once any more than we expect our children to progress from babes to adults overnight. And when spiritual "teen-time" arrives in our life, we despair of the pimples, the awkwardness, and the conflicts we experience ó yes, and rebellion too. We think the Lord will surely cast us off! Would we do that to our children? No! We would try to be as supportive as possible while this mixture of young adult and child learns to deal with the things in him and learns to accept responsibility. We always seem to feel that we would treat any situation with more love than the Lord would. I pray that this brief look into His offerings will convince you otherwise. He is the One who said, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Mat. 7:10. God is never grudging ó He came to save the world, not to condemn it!
And, bless God, He shall see the travail of His soul brought forth in earthen vessels and He shall be satisfied! His travail has not been in vain. So He feasts with us in sweet fellowship because we are His Seed óHis blessed offspring. We have accepted the offering-up of His soul for us ó doing what we could not do ó so that when our human frailties and weaknesses threaten to overwhelm us, we quickly look to Him for help, making His soul an offering that is acceptable to God and knowing that His travail shall not be in vain, for He is able to save to the uttermost!
As we minister to the Body of Christ, we find many who struggle with Godís acceptance. Even though Christ has offered, they are yet unsure of their acceptance. These do not freely enjoy communion with God, sharing with Him that "food" that satisfies God. As long as they are not certain that God has accepted them, their chief desire is to know God satisfied rather than to be satisfied themselves. Just as a criminal waiting for a reprieve from a death sentence will not ask, "Have I bread for today?" Food is not his concern. His burning question is, "Am I pardoned?" When death is staring him in the face, he cannot think of food or raiment. So we, when we settle the question of acceptance, and "make His soul an offering for sin", can begin to feed and to have communion with the Lord. Then we start to grow, for His fellowship and the security of His acceptance ministers health and strength to both the outer and the inner man. Now we can start feeding that new nature!
Have you ever seen a child of God who was suffering guilt over some failure or sin in his life? He finds it difficult to pray or read the Bible and has little to share in fellowship. This one is unsure of his acceptance, so he is unable to eat with God, the priest, and the priestís children, so he lacks that settled peace and satisfaction that communion with his Heavenly Father brings. May the Lord lead each of us more into His presence, to be taught what we possess in Jesus. Then, when we meet with our brethren, or our Father, we shall feast together on what there is in Him ó His Life, His ways, His sweetness, His soul offered for us.
What Is the Meat of the Altar?
We have fed on so much spiritual junk food that we are not too sure what this meat of the altar is that God delights in and desires to share with us. Out of Godís presence, man seeks food in many things. He may try "the riotous living of the far country" which leaves him empty and bereft. He may eventually come to "the husks" (empty forms) which the swine eat.
Others, searching after God, seek satisfaction in their feelings. If they feel good, they feel accepted. They count on an emotional "high" to help them feel accepted by God. But the emotional realm cannot be the meat of the altar, for the Lord cannot have fellowship with us in our emotions.
I am not here referring to our love and joy, for He rejoices with us when we rejoice. I mean our emotional reactions to feeling His presence. If a believer is in a meeting where there is lively music and praise, they feel good and feel that the Lord is really there. By mid-week this good feeling has evaporated and the clouds of discouragement may be starting to descend again. When he cannot feel the Lord through his emotions, he canít feel assurance that the Lord is with him, and canít feel accepted by Him. Our acceptance and our peace ought always to proceed from faith in His finished work and in His promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Does the indwelling Christ "flit in and out" of us according to our moods? The Spirit has come to abide, beloved. Is it true that He loves us when we feel good; and His love is to be doubted if we donít feel good? Our emotions are part of that soulish realm that we are called to put under subjection to the spirit within.
A precious sister died for a short time and was allowed to return again for a long and fruitful ministry. In heavenly realms she had the privilege of hearing angelic choirs singing to the Lord and it was wondrous to hear and to behold. When next she attended a church meeting, she was keenly aware that the content of the songs had mostly to do with the peopleís feelings, their emotions. There was little honor given to the Lord in the words; they were simply relating to God how they felt about this or that.
She was shocked! Finally, she could contain herself no longer and cried out: "Stop! Please stop!" The congregation was awed as she told them how the saints and angels worshiped the Lord in song. Most of the songs she had heard were from the scriptures ó many of them from the Book of Revelation, such as this one: "Alleluia, salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God. . .", and Rev. 15:3-4, the song of Moses ó all of them giving praise, honor, glory and exaltation to God. None were singing about their emotions or feelings about God. I have never forgotten this incident, and it made me realize that we must learn to look at our worship and communion form Godís side rather than our own.
Again, perhaps if we shared our experiences one with another, God would find food in that. Not so. Have you ever been "up to your ears" with the hearing of testimonies and experiences when you longed for more of Godís life; more of His presence?
It may be that a man could seek food or satisfaction in his own attainments ó his work, his prayers of faith, his outreach for souls? Would not God join him in communion to eat these things as food that would satisfy Him? Strangely enough, the type shows that if a man seeks satisfaction in his own attainments, he makes his raiment his meat. Can we ask God to share with us in eating our clothing?
This may sound foolish, but the garments of an Israelite are the symbols of a manís behavior and character (Ps.73:6; Rev.3:4; 16:15). Rev.19:8 interprets the type: "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Even if the garments are clean, are they to fed upon? Is our communion with God to consist of a recital of our attainments? That would provide no food for a living God! His food must be something much higher than anything we have done for Him, or even have become in Him.
What then, simply, is communion? Communion is simply sharing. The dictionary adds, "to talk together intimately." To have communion with a holy God, we must have something we can share with Him. He will not share with us in the unclean, so neither our attainments nor our works nor our feelings can yield communion, for the best have sin in them.
Listen, brethren, dearly beloved, there is a perfect offering, and if we would have communion with God, the only way is to share that offering. So little of Christís offering is understood, that when believers meet they have scarcely anything of Him to share. There is much exchange of ideas, but little communion. It is all right to speak to God about our feelings, our experiences, our sins and our trials, but these things of themselves are not communion. They are not "the meat of the altar."
Let us come before God to be filled with Christ; to be taken up with Him, with His life, His ways, His sweetness. Let us suck honey and oil out of the Rock! The true "meat of the altar," the "food of God", is the spotless offering which has already satisfied the Lord. The offering represents "the body of Jesus" ó including His walk, His thoughts, His strength, His affections (Heb.10: 5 -10). "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." We, together with Christ, can find meat in His offering and grow thereby.
When we cause our sharing to be more in Him, His presence becomes more real and our fellowship more alive as He speaks to us His secret councils. How we long that our communion with Him shall be enriched as He teaches us to partake of His food ó that which brings satisfaction to Him.
BILL AND ELAINE COOK
PO BOX 2221
GRAND FORKS, B.C.
CANADA V0H 1H0