In the light of all Scripture and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the sacrificial system of old is a compass to point us to God’s Son. Jesus’ sacrifice was the last sacrifice required – ever. Jesus atoned for the sins of all: once for all people for all time…
1 The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.
3 “‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord. 4 You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you.
9 He shall take out the memorial portion from the grain offering and burn it on the altar as a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 10 The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the food offerings presented to the Lord.
12 You may bring them to the Lord as an offering of the firstfruits…
Leviticus 1:1-4, 2:9-10, 12
Israel received instructions from God through Moses for the giving of offerings in the tabernacle. There are several key ideas which pop for me reading these instructions. In the light of all Scripture and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, these instructions have enhanced meaning. The sacrificial system of old is a compass to point us to Jesus.
The animal was to be without defect. Why would we bring the Lord an offering which is imperfect? Would we give half-heartedly to the Lord’s work? Would our offerings to God be the second or third grade leftovers of our stock?
No. If we want to bless someone we let them go first and we give them the best. And so we see that to give God our first and best, before we have given to ourselves and other priorities, is the model of giving – the model of offering. And the ministers of the tabernacle – our church staffs of today, share in the blessing of the gifts as their return for serving in the church.
How does that inform your offerings to God today? Do you give to God before you serve yourself with your pay cheque and do you give him the best and first of your time and service? Or do you offer what is left in the bank account and do you set your priorities and then figure out what time is left for serving in the church?
God did not give us his second best. He gave us his only son (John 3:16). Jesus is the sacrificial lamb (Isaiah 53), unblemished and without defect. Jesus is without sin and the only one who lived a perfect life (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus is the first-born – having first place in everything (Colossians 1:15).
And most importantly, the sacrifice of Jesus was the last sacrifice required – ever. Just as these offerings are said to atone for the sins of the person in Leviticus 1, Jesus atoned for the sins of all, once for all people for all time:
10 we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Praise his name…