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01 June 2007

Law of Sacrifice





Ex. 29:38-46, “38 Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. 39 The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: 40 And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering. 41 And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 42 This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. 43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. 44 And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office. 45 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.”

The Word of God contains specifications for how the Hebrews could go about fulfilling a perpetual/continual sacrifice unto God (Numbers 28 & 29).

Altars play a central role in the Word of God. It is the place where man meets his Maker. It is a hallowed place necessary for the relationship between the man and his God to flourish.

The Law of Sacrifice is that we are to be in constant communication and prayer with God. Altars play an important role in fulfilling this law.

Exodus 20:24, “An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.”

According to Walter L. Wilson, "It is called an altar of earth because it belongs strictly to this earth. God makes no provision for forgiveness and salvation after death. No sacrifice of any kind is available to the lost sinner after he dies. There is no altar in hell."[1]

There is no altar in hell! In hell you become totally and eternally cut-off from God.

There can be no relationship without communication.

Psalm 66:18-20, “18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: 19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.”

To paraphrase this passage in a more common vernacular: “If I hold with affection an evil or unjust act, God will not listen to me.” God is not going to listen to my prayer when He knows that I am insincere about my relationship with Him and that I enjoy sin.

The Apostle Paul put it another way when writing of those who “did not like to retain God in their knowledge” and were “full of all unrighteousness,” by stating: “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (See: Romans 1:18-32).

These regarders of iniquity and seekers of sinful pleasures will not be heard by God when they pray to Him in their insincerity, but for the sincere the psalmist did write, “But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer” (Ps. 66:19). Why? Because the psalmist cried out to God and extolled Him (Ps. 66:17). He was retaining God in his knowledge - - acknowledging God and prioritizing Him above all else.

Ps. 84:1-4, “1 How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. 3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. 4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.”

Vs. 3 = A Deserted Altar

Again, Wilson writes, "God’s people had forsaken both the worship and the service of the Lord to such an extent that the fires had gone out, the altar was cold, and no priest was near. The birds felt so much at home around these altars that they built their nests where the priests should have been serving, and the fires should have been burning.[2]

The people of the Name failed to make Him the true Lord and King of their life and lost their intimacy with Him.

They allowed idols to replace their time at the altar of God.
When do you pray?
Where do you pray?
How often do you pray?
Have you a specific place of prayer?
Is your daily and continual desire to be in constant communion with the Lord?
What is the constant in your daily affairs?

You can’t hear God clearly if you are not listening to Him.

Active Listening is part and parcel of continual prayer, which is why the Apostle admonished the early Church to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).

However, it is often too true that we allow the cares and troubles of life to gather in the place we once dedicated to God and now those birds and nests live in the place where once we came regularly for fellowship, repentance, communication, and relationship with God.

2 Cor. 10:3-6 contains what should be our response to the nesting birds that attempt to lodge themselves into our lives: "3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Two men in the Old Testament found themselves in opposite positions of relationship to God due entirely upon their habits regarding the altar and the law of sacrifice.

ABRAHAM:


  1. Gen. 19:27, “And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD.”
  2. Do you have a place where you daily stand before the Lord? A lifestyle of faithfulness in communion with the Lord?
  3. The Akedah (binding of Isaac) & The Seven-Fold Blessing of Abraham (Gen. 22).
    Abraham prioritized his relationship with God above all things, and the Lord revealed to him an attribute of His character - Jehovah-jireh (“Jehovah sees”).[3]
  4. Abraham is known in Scripture as the friend of God.


JOAB:


  1. 1 Kings 2:28, “Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.”
  2. There is no other passage in the OT where a pattern of prayer and sacrifice was established by Joab.
  3. He had no resources to pull from because he had no relationship with God. He attempted to gain the mercy and the authority of the altar without first building a foundation of relationship with God.
  4. God was not his priority.
  5. Joab’s first allegiance was to himself.


Jesus Christ has paved the way for our access to the Divine with His sacrifice on the altar of Calvary. He said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (Jn. 12:32). This “lifting” refers to the lifting up of the sacrifice upon the brazen altar by the priests. Because of Christ’s sacrifice we have been granted an avenue of access to God that Man lost in the Garden of Eden.

Hebrews 4:14-16, “14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Heb. 13:15-16, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

The continual faithfulness of Abraham carried eternal significance for himself, his lineage, and the rest of mankind. Our prayer habits also carry eternal weight, not only for ourselves but for others as well. When we begin to comprehend this truth we can understand the wisdom of that great missionary Billy Cole, who espoused the following ideology: “The reward for sacrifice is more sacrifice.” He also opined that “Until Jesus Christ comes there is no end to sacrifice,” which is, in this author’s opinion, the definition of the law of sacrifice because it contains the necessary ingredient of constancy.[4]


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SOURCE:
[1] Wilson, Walter L. (1957, 1999). A Dictionary of Bible Types. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. p. 9-11.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. "Hebrew Lexicon entry for Y@hovah yireh". "The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon". Retrieved: 1 June 2007. http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=3070&version=kjv.

[4] Cole, W.H. “Billy.” (2006). Teachings By Billy Cole. InstantPublisher.com

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