top To ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"
The Earthly Sanctuary
A study in Leviticus ...................
.chapters 1-7 and 16 ..............
No consideration of the earthly sanctuary would be complete without first establishing the fact that it was mainly a picture of Jesus Christ and His work for the inhabitants of this world. From the building with all its individual parts, through the rituals and ceremonies, to the high priest and his clothing, we can learn, under the guidance of His Spirit, about our Redeemer and His plan of salvation. It was intended to illustrate the work of Jesus the Son of man from the "fall" of Adam and Eve right through to the second coming, therefore ALL those who accepted its teachings can be known as "Christians". [EGW comment].
In the same way, the heavenly sanctuary is a picture of the Son of God and His work in the universe. From that picture we can, and will, learn more of His everlasting concern for the peoples of eternity.
Two things are very evident from even a cursory look at the earthly system. The first is that a sacrifice (something other than the penitent) was needed, and the second that a priest (someone other than the offerer) handled the details. Both have been provided by Jesus Christ. He is the Victim, He is the Priest, and He can do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. Faith, then, is that belief which accepts that He HAS done it, CAN do it, and that He WILL do it for an undeserving sinner. [Romans 5:1-10]. Because of this, He tells us how we should behave if we would be safe while approaching God, for only by strict obedience can we approach the holy area where God sits.
But all the sacrifices and protection will mean very little if they do not eventually produce a holy life in us. If there is sin it must be acknowledged, if there is impurity it must be cleansed, if there is a defect in spiritual understanding it must be rectified. Jesus asks us to approach Him and be like Him for He spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, You shall be holy: for [or because] I the LORD your God am holy. You shall fear [or respect] every man his mother, and his father, and keep My Sabbaths [for love is the evidence of holiness]: I am the LORD your God". Leviticus 19:1-3.
It is not enough that Gods people have a place for public worship on earth or in heaven. It is important that they worship the right way inside, and live the right way outside, of it as Jesus told Abraham. "And when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be you perfect". Genesis 17:1. Therefore the earthly sanctuary service is a mixture of these two aspects of humanity. Some of the ceremonies took place at home in semi-privacy and others required a very definite public showing.
Because the earthly sanctuary is a "shadow" of the heavenly, (Hebrews 10:1) there are some differences in appearance, but the principles remain the same. In the heavenly sanctuary it is the self-sacrificing love of the man Christ Jesus which is on display. [See "Christ Our High Priest"]. In the earthly, the central theme seen by the majority of men and women is the blood of the animals, although it was the offering of incense on the altar of intercession which was most appreciated by God and the heavenly creatures. [Revelation 8:3-4]. Pictures of these heavenly beings were woven into the materials that formed the inside of the building and the veil to the 2nd apartment to show their interest. [Exodus 26:1-6, 31].
Another point we must take particular notice of is the fact that while the Bible refers mainly to the male of the species operating in the sanctuary, in every case it was expected that the reader would understand that females were also included as equals. Thus it is written:
"And the LORD spoke to Moses saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: he [and therefore she] shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried... [and she will also fulfill all the other conditions associated with the experience]". Numbers 6:1-3.
And in another place,
"And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to the priest: who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that has born a male or a female". Leviticus 12:6-7.
"If the priest's daughter also be married to a stranger [a non-Israelite], she may not eat of an offering of the holy things [otherwise she could]. But if the priest's daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned to her father's house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father's meat: but there shall no stranger eat thereof." Leviticus 22:12-13. [See also Leviticus 12:1-8].
Let us never forget this most important fact!
The earthly sanctuary picture system begins with circumcision for no uncircumcised person could enter it. [Ezekiel 44:9]. On the 8th day after birth a piece of the individual was removed as a symbol of the removal of the spirit of disobedience with which we are born. [Romans 2:28-29]. This ritual was performed without the conscious knowledge of the child, but with the consent and participation of the parents. So began the preparation for "choice", and until that time should come the child was to be covered by the righteousness of the parents. [1 Corinthians 7:14]. In the reality, since their sin in the garden, Adam and Eve and their descendants have been covered by the gift of "grace" from Jesus Christ, the "lamb slain from the foundation of the world", which is why sin does not kill us at birth. This covering of "grace" is extended to all earthly creatures without favour and lasts until totally rejected, or "the wages of sin" catches up to us. [Romans 6:23]. If, however, the invitation to be reborn is accepted then the "grace" becomes "the righteousness of Jesus Christ" which is imputed to the believer as a covering. This means in practice that the person is now classed AS IF they have never sinned, because a new creature now exists in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old one has paid the price and died with Him. (Galatians 2:20).
In the Hebrew world the "choice" was to be exercised at the dawning of individual recognition of the wider world about us, usually about the age of 12, but was not restricted to this. At this level the Jewish child was invited to participate in the passover ceremony and eat the flesh of the lamb. In this manner he or she was shown that into their life could come the conscious knowledge of the power of obedience and with it the acceptance of the call to work. It was at this time that they were called a "son or daughter of God". In todays world, the time between "circumcision of the heart" and "eating the lamb" (rebirth to baptism) is shown in the sanctuary system by the period of three and a half days from the choosing of the lamb until it was eaten. Exodus 12:3 and 6.
Both of the Hebrew ceremonies normally occurred in the home to show that conversion is a personal experience between God and the individual. But sometimes they were performed in the sanctuary or temple as a public witness. Luke 2:41-52.
At this point the salvation is complete, but not the redemption! ....... ....[Deuteronomy 10:16-17 and 30:6].
There is still work for the person to do therefore righteousness must now be imparted into the actions, not to gain salvation, but because of it. God can use witnesses as Jesus Himself said. [Matthew 5:16; John 10:32]. No longer AS IF, the righteousness is now available to become a reality in the life. 9 [1 John 3:7]. However, all that is required for the salvation of the individual is shown by the first two rituals, the removal of the old nature and the replacing of it by the new. In both cases this is done by Another, but requires the conscious acceptance of the chooser to be effective. Once that choice is made the person stands in the world and is seen by the angels as a "Christian", a follower of the LORD, as well as being seen as a Jew, or an Egyptian, or an American etc. by his or her fellow humans. 10 [EGW comment]. In reality, he or she is only a Christian. [See "Christian Patriotism"].
In such a one there has been a removing of the spirit of disobedience, and a replacement with the spirit of obedience, and the person is now capable of serving God by using Someone elses power, doing what was formerly impossible. Jesus Christ, the Creator, has removed the "natural" life and replaced it with a "spiritual" one. Without this double cure for the problem of the "sin master" within, no amount of works by the professed Christian could be of any use. They would be his or hers only, not the works of God. Today this change is normally illustrated by baptism, the first of the Christian rituals. Back there, it was by participating in circumcision and the passover feast. 11 [1 Corinthians 5:7-8.] However, after passing through one or the other, the work of "education" begins in earnest as shown by the seven sabbaths, or "holy convocations" of the yearly system. [See study in Leviticus 23].
Now also, comes the usefulness of the sanctuary building. It was intended to be a place of focus for those whose faith required a physical or earthly manifestation rather than a heavenly one. However, once faith had been built up past that point in the majority of Gods people by the physical presence of Jesus on earth the earthly sanctuary service was no longer necessary and it was not renewed after the destruction of the temple in the year 70AD. The heavenly sanctuary, or the physical knowledge of Jesus, took its place in the minds of the believers.
Even though "Show us the Father" (John 14:8) was a common request in the time of earthly sanctuarys usefulness, it was the believing and converted "Christian" who was expected to walk in through the gateway into the courtyard. 12 [Habakkuk 2:4]. To come without the circumcision and passover experience of "justification" was to act out the symbolism without the power and therefore was a waste of time and energy. This courtyard represented the special place on earth where God meets with His people. The building within the courtyard, the two-roomed tabernacle, represents the area in heaven where Jesus does His public work. 13 [EGW Comment].
Because the women of Israel were entrusted with the care and teaching of the young they were too busy to play-act, and were excused in the most part from attending the ceremonies which, after all, were only pictures of the realities. Satan, however, soon turned this situation around, making the picture into the reality in many minds. He then persuaded them to make it a rule that women were not allowed to enter the temple area and this is how most have understood the Old Testament times. Satan was desperately scared of the female understanding of Gods ways and wanted them out of it! But, as we have seen, those who did come were very welcome in Gods sight. [See "The Perfect Christian" for more on this].
From now on the Scriptures will use the male pronoun to describe the offerer but those who follow the Lamb should know that He also intends us to read "she" for "he" and "her" for "his".
The "burnt" offering
The first offering mentioned in the book of the Law is not a "sin" offering. It is the "burnt" offering of dedication. It had been initiated in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve on a simple altar of stones, and the skins of the sacrificed lambs were used by Jesus to replace the fig leaves of their own attempts at righteousness. 14 [Genesis 3:21]). Right through to the time of the patriarchs this symbol remained unchanged. 15 [Genesis 12:7-8]. Not till the time of Moses and the exodus did this simple ceremony need to be expanded to teach more clearly the truth of the gospel, and then a bullock was required instead of a lamb.
"And the LORD called to Moses, and spoke to him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, If any man of you bring an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and [or] of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD, and he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him". Leviticus 1:1-4.
Right at the beginning Jesus stressed the fact that the offering was to be voluntary. Any hint of force or reluctance made the sacrifice null and void, for these conditions do not exist in Gods kingdom. The offering showed the believers desire to serve and be used in Gods way and in this spirit it was accepted. In practice, the Israelite was expected to bring a bullock into the courtyard, place his hand on its head to show the transfer of his identity to it, then to kill it to show his "death" with his Saviour. The priest would then apply the blood. In the case of the offerer, the "death" was not supposed to be literal for God does not really want martyrs, but was a symbol of the fact that from now on the life of the offerer was available to be used as God directed. 17 [Romans 12:1-2; COL 403]. Now was publicly shown the imparting of righteousness, and "rightdoing" became the public aim of the follower of God.
The body of a "burnt" offering was totally consumed on the altar, with the exception of the skin, which became the property of the officiating priest. 16 [Leviticus 1:5-9 and 7:8]. In this simple manner, Jesus showed that while He could take our lives on earth and use them in His service, He could not take our polluted bodies into heaven. They would have to be changed or pass through the grave. 18 [1 Corinthians 15:51-54].
If the faith of the offerer was not large enough to afford a bullock, then he or she could bring a sheep or a goat. 19 [Leviticus 1:10-13]. In extreme cases even the sacrifice of a lowly pigeon or a dove could be accepted. 20 [Leviticus 1:14-17]. Thus Jesus illustrated that He was happy to accept any service at all so long as it showed a willingness to be used up.
For those who could not get to the sanctuary because of travel or sickness etc., there was a special provision made. Every day at 9am and again at 3pm a general "burnt" offering was made on their behalf as a picture of the at-one-ment. 21 [Exodus 29:38-43]. This sacrifice was kept burning from one time through to the other so that it became known as the "continual" or "daily" offering. It was joined by the individual ones as they were offered. It signified the dedication of the Son of God in His determination to offer salvation to all who have ever lived on this earth, and the acceptance of the dedication of the lives of those who turned their thoughts to it during the day.
There were other occasional sacrifices connected with the sanctuary which are not mentioned in these chapters. They deal with specific details of the problem of sin and are not needed in this study.
The "meal" offering
But offering the life without the possessions would only be an empty shell. So the next step in the sanctuary service was to add another offering to the first. An offering of "fine flour", "oil" and "incense" was required. It is called a "meat" or "food" offering in the King James Version of the Bible but was really a cereal offering and can be called a "meal" offering. Composed of these items (which are man-made modifications of the natural), and with no blood associated with it, it could not be offered on its own, but was always attached to the "burnt" offering. 22 [Leviticus 2:1-3]. So today, to offer our lives to Jesus without also allowing Him the use of, and consumption of, all our possessions and talents, would be a hollow gift.
The major request He makes of us is the 1st tithe. Here He asks us to return to Him 1/10th of that which He has given to us to look after for Him. 23 [Leviticus 27:30-32]. He does NOT ask us to give Him 1/10th of OUR increase. It is all His and what He is seeking is a realisation of that fact. ALL things come from Him and we need to know this. Not to return to Him His own is to steal from Him and this is how He wants us to see it. 24 [Malachi 3:8]. The priest was instructed to take out a handful of the flour and burn it on the altar with a portion of the oil and all the incense. The rest the priest could take and use for his own needs. What happened to the "meal" offering made by a priest? It was always completely burnt on the altar as a picture of the whole-hearted dedication Jesus expects from those who lead out in His work on earth. 25 [Leviticus 6:8-13].
In this way Jesus supplied the necessities of His co-workers. The offering need not just be the bare ingredients, it could be varied by being made into cakes, baked in an oven or fried in a pan. Just so, the 1st tithe is not necessarily only money, but the human addition is welcomed. 26 [Leviticus 2:4-10]. Whatever our talents, if they are used as God directs then they are accepted.
However, there were a few restrictions. No "meal" offering could be made with leaven [yeast] for God does not want any other substance added to our gift to make it look larger than it really is. Similarly, the addition of honey to "sweeten" the offering was also not needed. Whatever we have and wish to share is what God wants. One great essential was the application of salt, representing the direction of the Holy Spirit, for without His guidance the offerer is bound to make mistakes. 27 [Leviticus 2:11-16]. 12a [EGW Comment].
The Holy Spirit was pictured by the seven-branched lampstand (sometimes called a candlestick) which was on the south, or left side, of the 1st apartment as the priest entered it. On his right was the table with twelve loaves of bread representing the Bible. 28 [Jeremiah 15:16]. Also on it were the various spoons and dishes used in other ceremonies. Exodus 25:29-30. Between the two, and directly in front of the priest, nearer to the 2nd veil (and therefore nearer to the presence of God), was the altar of incense. 29 [Exodus 30:1-10]. The smoke and smell ascending from it and wafting over the curtain into the 2nd apartment represented the prayers of the people mixed with the righteousness of Jesus, reaching the Father. 30 [EGW comment].
The place of the offering of firstfruits is also mentioned in this chapter. They were not be classed as "meal" offerings, and therefore should not be burnt on the altar. They were to be given directly to the priests for their use. The only acceptable offering of first fruits as a "meal" offering was to be of "green", or fresh corn, made into a flour and mixed with the oil and frankincense as normal for a "meal" offering. 30a [Leviticus 2:14-16].
The "peace" offering
While the person is making these two offerings to God for His blessing of a new life and the ability to use it for the benefit of the others whom Jesus loves, he or she can also add a "thank you". This is demonstrated in the third offering which is called the "peace" offering. This was another from the herd, which could be male or female, in contrast to the "burnt" offering which had to a male. The first offering must recognise Jesus and His role as Saviour, while the third one did not need this distinction. As with the "burnt" offering, the animal could also be a sheep or a goat. 31 [Leviticus 3:6-17]. The process was the same as at the beginning of the first ceremony the laying on of the hand, the killing the animal, and the priest sprinkling the blood around the base of the altar and pouring the excess down the drain. Then came the change. The "dangerous to health" parts, the fat, the kidneys, and the caul above the liver, were offered and consumed on the fire of the altar. 32 [Leviticus 3:1-5].
If he or she could not afford the price of a bullock, then a lamb or a goat would be accepted. It was not the value of the offering that was important, but the offerers desire to show the depth of their repentance. What they considered important was shown by their expense in the offering. 33 [Consider Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8-9.].
All these ceremonies, the "burnt", the "meal" and the "peace" offerings took place in the courtyard (the earth) and no portion of the sacrifices, including any of the blood, was taken into the sanctuary building (heaven).
The rest of the body of the animal used in the "peace" offering was then joined by unleavened cakes and wafers, plus leavened cakes and bread to make up a whole gigantic meal. One of each of these items as a representative sample was waved by the priest above his head and these were then given to him along with the breast and right shoulder of the animal as his part in the thanksgiving. 34 [Leviticus 7:11-21; 28-34]. The use of unleavened and leavened food represents both the sinless and sinful aspects of the offerers life, both of which were acceptable at this point in their understanding.
Then the offerer had to consume the remainder in one or two days!
Because this was physically impossible to do on his own he could have made arrangements for some of his relatives and friends to be with him at this time and have a feast, but this was not what Jesus intended. His thought was that the genuine "Christian" would want to share his bounty with those less fortunate than himself and not capable of returning the favour. 35 [Matthew 25:34-36[. It became the perfect opportunity for using the 2nd tithe. 36 [EGW Comment]. Under the guidance of the Spirit the offerer would be able to personally satisfy the physical and spiritual needs of his or her guests. 37 [Deuteronomy 12:13-25]. Although this, like the "burnt" offering, was entirely voluntary, once having decided to make the offering there were specific rules the offerer must follow. Nothing was left to impulse or an overruling power of emotion, everything must be under the kingly power of reason. So, in the disposal of the 2nd tithe, both Creator and creature must work together to ensure that it is used to the greatest advantage.
Only after fulfilling these conditions and returning the two tithes can the "Christian" make a freewill offering. Then he or she has the freedom to decide how it is to be used. Of course, under such training as the sanctuary service gives, the guidance of the Spirit is sought and His advice listened to, even though the final decision is entirely in the offerers hands.
If the "peace" offering was a simple "thank you" for services rendered, the dinner must be eaten the same day, requiring a lot of participants. But if it was a vow or voluntary offering just because he or she was happy (such as a birthday), then it could be spread over two days. On no account could any of it be eaten on the third day, for on that day his Saviour was to be alive and working. If for any reason anyone did do this, then the sacrifice was worthless and an "abomination", which meant that nothing the offerer could offer would be of any use. 38 [Leviticus 7:15-20]. He or she has "trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he [or she] was sanctified, an unholy thing, and done despite to [or rejected] the Spirit of grace". (Hebrews 10:29).
Through the "peace" offering the Christian met with His LORD and supped with Him. 39 [Revelation 3:20]. Every Sabbath the priests ate the twelve loaves which were on the table in the sanctuary and replaced them with fresh ones. Thus the workers too had a meal with God. 40 [Exodus 24:3-11]. All this without a mention of sin, for he or she has been separated from the past life as illustrated in the circumcision/passover or baptism experience. [See the "Cleansing of the Leper"].
In literal terms all these ceremonies were very expensive and therefore were not lightly entered into. Nor were they frequent for the same reason. So today, Jesus warns us to count the cost before entering into the solemn compact with Him, but not to give up once we have begun. 41 [Luke 14:27-28; 9:62]. He has paid the major part of the cost, but we have to "sell all" to "buy" the pearl. (Matthew 13:45-46). Although salvation is full and free, it requires that we give all of our life and not just a portion of it to be used by the Spirit. It is not enough to be a one-day-a-week Sabbath-keeper, righteousness must be seen in every aspect of our daily experiences. 42 [EGW Comment].
The first "sin" offering - ignorance
Only now does the LORD mention the "sin" offerings. The first of these is for sins of ignorance and is not voluntary. Of these there were four categories; one for the priest, one for the congregation, one for the ruler, and one for the common person. But these four can be combined into two major practices, one in which the blood (the evidence) of the sacrifice is taken into the sanctuary building, and one in which it is not. 43 [Leviticus 4:1-12].
The priests sin
No. 1. A priest who sinned through ignorance, but later understood what he had done, was asked to bring into the courtyard a bullock which was "without blemish". He then laid his hand on its head and confessed that he had committed that sin, being very particular in specifying the action or actions of the sin. 44 [EGW comment]. He killed the animal as an acknowledgement that it represented himself and that he should die as a result of that sin, and also that Jesus was paying the price for him. Having done all he could in repentance, he left the rest of the ceremony in the hands of the "anointed" priest of the day and relaxed "in faith" while the man disappeared from his sight through the veil. 45 [Hebrews 10:19-20]. He had to rely on the "anointed" priest doing his part of the ritual. 46 [See Acts 4:27-28].
Into the building
The working priest took some of the bullocks blood into the 1st apartment of the sanctuary building and sprinkled it seven times on the dirt floor before the veil leading into the 2nd apartment, which was as close as he could get to the physical presence of God without danger of death. He then turned and put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of incense which stood beside him. In this manner the atoning blood of the sacrifice was added to the prayers of offerer. After that he left the room, went out into the courtyard and poured the remainder of the blood down the drain beside the altar of sacrifice.
The next step was to take the fat, the kidneys and the caul and burn them on that altar, again emphasizing their dangerous nature to health. The rest of the body of the animal was wrapped in its skin, taken outside the courtyard, right through the camp and outside its boundaries, to a "clean" rubbish place where it was burned with great ceremony. In this way, every one in the camp had an opportunity, not to hear the priests confession, but to see his forgiveness, cleansing, and reinstatement in the work. 47 [Consider John 21:15-17 and EGW comment].
The priest who had been forgiven and cleansed left the courtyard knowing that his sin was now safely transferred to the sanctuary (taken into the life of Jesus) and that he could rest assured that He could deal with it. Comforted, and at ease, no longer feeling guilty or ashamed, he returned to his house to continue his walk with God. 48 [1 John 1:9]. But of course, those feelings were now on his Substitute, Jesus Christ. 49 [Isaiah 53:4].
The churchs sin
No. 2. The same procedure was followed when the sin of ignorance had been committed by the whole congregation, this time with the elders confessing the churchs sin over the head of the bullock. 50 [Leviticus 4:13-21]. Some of the blood of the sacrifice ended up inside the sanctuary on the golden altar of incense/prayer.
The elders sin
No. 3. It was quite different in the case of an individual ruler or leader who discovered that he had committed a sin of ignorance. He was asked to bring a male "kid of the goats" and this time the blood was sprinkled by the priest on to the horns of the altar which was in the courtyard, the brass altar. The "dangerous bits" were burnt on the altar as in the "peace" offering picture, but the remainder of the animal was eaten by the priest who had handled the blood. By this graphic demonstration the sin which had been confessed over the head of the goat was shown to be transferred to the priest, not the sanctuary. 51 [Leviticus 4:22-26 and 6:24-30].
Now it became necessary for the priest who "carried" the sin to be set free from it. When his time came to leave the sanctuary, he would offer a sacrifice for the sin AS IF IT WAS HIS OWN. Through the benefit of this action the sin was transferred to the sanctuary. Thus is shown the action of Jesus in bearing our sins as His own. It is written of Him, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes you were healed". 1 Peter 2:24.
The ordinary persons sin
When an ordinary person of the tribes of Israel found out that they had unwittingly committed a sin, he or she was asked to bring a female "kid of the goats" or of the sheep, and go through the same procedure. 52 [Leviticus 4:27-35]. As with the ruler, their "sin" ended up in the officiating priests stomach. In this direct way God showed that His Son was willing and able to carry the sin and its consequences upon Himself. However, both ceremonies alike showed the same thing, for the building also represented the Son of God. Whichever way it was done, and for whomever it was done, the sin became part of the life of Jesus Christ and the end result was that "it shall be forgiven him [or her]". However, as a way of emphasis, the distinction was to be kept very clear in the minds of the observers as mentioned in verse 30. God repeats His statements in the Bible to underline them. 54 [Compare Genesis 41:32].
No portion of any of these offerings reached the immediate presence of God, who was pictured as being behind the 2nd veil, in the 2nd apartment.
To sum it all up,
Day by day the repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle and, placing his hand upon the victim's head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. The animal was then slain. "Without shedding of blood," says the apostle, there is no remission of sin. "The life of the flesh is in the blood." Leviticus 17:11. The broken [or, breaking of the] law of God demanded the life of the transgressor. The blood, representing the forfeited life of the sinner, whose guilt the victim bore, was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place; but the flesh was then to be eaten by the priest, as Moses directed the sons of Aaron, saying: "God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation." Leviticus 10:17. Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary. GC 418.
The 2nd "sin" a trespass against mankind
More serious than a plain sin of ignorance, the "trespass" sin (which was also a type of sin of ignorance) required a different approach. This is a class of transgression where the guilty one COULD have known what was happening and yet is unaware of it or has forgotten it. The sins are described as actions against our fellow humans resulting in some kind of a loss to another, such as;
giving false evidence while believing it to be true,
touching something "unclean" and not taking the appropriate steps to remove the pollution,
making an oath or promise without taking all things into account. 55 [Leviticus 5:1-4].
When any one of these, or something similar, came to knowledge of a follower of God, he or she needed first to make restitution for the loss and then to bring to the sanctuary a female lamb or kid of the goats for their forgiveness. Female rather than male, for in this case the "trespass sin" is in the "minor" category in the sight of the people of the universe, although it must be just as specifically detailed in the confession. 56 [Leviticus 5:5-6].
A "general" confession of "maybe Ive sinned", or "Im a sinner" can never be accepted by God. All confession must be detailed and to the point so that the practice can be recognised and stopped. 57 [EGW comment].
Again, if too poor in this worlds goods (or in spiritual understanding), the offering of two pigeons could be accepted. One of these was to be the "trespass sin" offering while the other became a "burnt" offering to accompany it. 58 [Leviticus 5:5-10]. In this manner, God taught that forgiveness for this type of sin was not enough. There should also be a re-education of the mind to cover these sorts of predicaments so that they became less and less obvious in the life for they show a lamentable lack of hearing the voice of the Spirit of God. While the forgiveness of sins is a high priority in Gods kingdom, the education of His people to stop the sinning ranks next to it. That way, He can stop us hurting one another unintentionally and prepare us to live in a sinless system. 59 [Jeremiah 26:1-3].
The bloodless "sin" offering
Right here comes one of the rarities in Gods kingdom. A offering for "sin" which does not have the blood or evidence of death associated with it!! It is written, "Almost all things are by the law purged with blood" and this is the exception. (Hebrews 9:22). Such an offering can only be made by the poorest of the poor. One who cannot afford two pigeons (which are normally very cheap) must be very lacking in knowledge of God. 60 [Leviticus 5:11-13]. Obviously they represented those who were not literal Jews. The "poor" in Israel had the privilege of representing the majority of Gods followers who were scattered throughout all the religions of the world, and who were the poorest of the poor. As Jesus said, "You have the poor with you always, and whenever you will you may do them good: but Me you have not always". Mark 14:7.
In this ceremony is described the predicament of those who have never heard the name of Jesus the Saviour. Those who have never seen a Bible, never heard from human lips the offer of salvation. Those who have had no conception of the plan of redemption in their lives, but who have come directly to the REAL sanctuary, Jesus Christ in person, and asked for forgiveness and cleansing. These are they who will come up to Him in heaven and say, "What are those holes in Your hands for?" (See Zechariah 13:6). How can they be forgiven and in heaven when they do not know about His death?
How have they done this? They have listened the voice of the Spirit of God and followed His leadings as best they knew how. They have asked for, and accepted, a power from outside of themselves in order to control themselves. They have prayed to their Saviour and called Him by whatever name they thought of. He is not proud. He is a Saviour by nature. He wants to save sinners out of this world and into the next. He will go to any legal lengths to do this, and ignorance of the love of God towards us, ignorance of His word, ignorance of His church, is no hindrance to entrance to His kingdom. All He needs to answer the accusations of the "accuser of the brethren" who claims that the evidence of goodness is required in the judgment, is the honest desire in the penitent to be changed from sinner to saint, and the acceptance of His "way" of doing it. If these conditions are fulfilled, then the "justification" is sure and swift. The "filthy rags" are replaced in a moment. 61 [Zechariah 3:1-4]. Such a one has participated in the "burnt" sacrifice which was continually burning on the altar.
Trespass in "the holy things"
Then there is another category of trespass. This one is against God in His "holy things". But this is a class of transgression where the guilty one who professed to be a follower of the Lord SHOULD have known what was happening! The Holy Spirit is only too anxious to warn us of the "holy" or "dangerous" things so that we will not get hurt, or cause harm to another. Therefore this sacrifice required a ram, not a female lamb, and a cost estimate of the damage caused by the sin so that a restitution can be made, plus a "fine" of 20% of the value to compensate for losses. All this was paid to the temple workers, the priests. 62 [Leviticus 5:14-16]. What a "cost" to Jesus this illustrates!! Remember His words? "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift". Matthew 5:23-2.
Only when "he shall make amends" can this sin be forgiven. Matthew 6:14-15.
Trespass against "forbidden things"
The law now states that "though he wist [or know] it not, yet is he guilty" if he or she should commit a sin against the commandments of God. 63 [Leviticus 5:17-19]. There is no excuse for not knowing the direct commandments of the LORD and His prohibitions. The penalty [result] for such ignorance must be paid and a ram is required, plus a cost estimated by the priests. At the very least this will cost the transgressor his or her earthly life! Such a one cannot be translated into heaven without seeing death for that requires a "virgin" or "pure" faith one which has led the Christian continually in the light. (Revelation 14:1-5). "He has certainly trespassed against the LORD".
The last "sin" the deliberate one
When Jesus moves into the area of deliberate sin which He calls a "trespass against the LORD", He illustrates this by mentioning lying to a neighbour about something held in trust, robbery with violence, wilful deception, and the keeping of lost property which has been found. 64 [Leviticus 6:1-7]. These are typical of the wilful sins which are so often committed by Christians and yet even these are forgiven them, for there is no sin which cannot be pardoned, except that of refusing the Spirits invitation to be forgiven! Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation". Mark 3:28-29. (Remember, only those who have partaken of the circumcision/passover or baptismal ceremonies are rightfully able to use the sanctuary service).
Of course, as in the case of trespassing in the holy things, restitution is required so that the severity of the sin may be recognised. To this is added the interest of 20% for loss of use etc. All this is to be given back, not to the LORD, but to the one who has been transgressed against. Thus is illustrated the principle Jesus will bring out on the day of judgment. "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it to Me". Matthew 25:40. Only if such restitution is impossible, such as in a case where the one sinned against is dead and has no heirs or family, can it be given directly to God.
But as well as paying back his fellow, the repentant one must also bring a ram to the sanctuary, again with the priests estimation of the damage cost, and pay that to the LORD. Thus he or she must pay twice. This because he DID KNOW what he was doing. For theft and the death of the stolen animal, or other wilful sins, the penalty could be even worse, "five oxen for an ox, or four sheep for a sheep". (Exodus 22:1). 65 [Leviticus 7:35-38].
By these methods the Spirit was able to show the Israelites, and we who live today, just how involved and difficult the work of Jesus is. 65a [GC 22]. But, as we have noticed, none of the confessions or evidences of "death" actually got to where God the Father was pictured as being, behind the veil in the 2nd apartment. The closest the pollution got to Him was the sevenfold sprinkling on the earth floor of the sanctuary building just in front of the veil. Therefore something more is required if the repentant sinner is to be forever separated from his or her sin and stand cleansed in the eyes of God and the universe, and Jesus who is the sanctuary is Himself to be cleansed.
That extra is the final atonement.
[To be continued]
To ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"
This page hosted by Get your own Free Home Page