Tag Archives: Sacrifice

Remembering Their Sacrifice – Memorial Day

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Lame Excuses

Since the dawn of time man has proclaimed lame excuses for his downfalls and sin against God. Adam blamed the woman God had given him for causing him to sin by eating the forbidden fruit. Eve blamed the serpent for tricking her into being the first to partake of the fruit (Genesis 3:1-13). Moses’ brother, Aaron, blamed the fire for producing the golden calf idol when Moses’ return from Mt. Sinai seemed to be delayed (Exodus 32:1-24). Even King Saul had his share of lame excuses in attempting to blame others for his disobedience.

As King Saul’s patience waned in waiting for Samuel’s arrival in Gilgal, Saul went ahead and took it upon himself to offer the burnt offering for God’s blessing and protection before going into battle against the Philistines, something only a priest could do. Upon Samuel’s arrival as the giving of the offering concluded, Samuel asked Saul, “What hast thou done?” Saul’s defense in disobeying God’s explicit command clearly given in His Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai were numerous: 1) The people were scattered from me;  2) You didn’t come at the appointed time;  3) the Philistines are gathering against me; and, the lamest of all,  4) I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.” (1 Samuel 10:8; 13:8-12)

Saul’s lame excuse concerning the burnt offering did not prove to be his last, for on the occasion of battling the Amalekites for which he was commanded to destroy both life and property for their coming against the Children of Israel in the wilderness, Saul returned from battle with “the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good.” He had also spared the life of their king, Agag, whom he had taken as prisoner. Saul’s lame excuse to Samuel this time was But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.” It is then Samuel replied, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.”

For Saul’s lame excuses and continuing disobedience, God’s judgment was rendered against him. Samuel’s pronouncement from God against Saul was “Because thou hast rejected the Word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” It was then Samuel was sent to the sons of Jesse to anoint David the next king of Israel. (I Samuel 15; 16:1-16)

O Give Thanks Unto The LORD

cornucopia2O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;  And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.

Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.

Oh that men would Praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;  Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: Therefore He brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.

Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.

Oh that men would Praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

For He hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder. Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.

Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saveth them out of their distresses. He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Oh that men would Praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of Thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing. They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. For He commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.

Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven.

Oh that men would Praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Let them exalt Him also in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders. He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.

He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. And there He maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;  And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.

Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow. He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Yet setteth He the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock. The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.

Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

Psalm 107

JESUS, Our High Priest

In the wilderness God gave Moses detailed instructions on building the Tabernacle. Once settled in the Promised Land, King David desired to replace the Tabernacle tent with a permanent structure. God allowed David’s son, Solomon, to build the magnificent Temple high on a hill overlooking the City of Jerusalem. From the time of Moses until Jesus’ death on the cross, the blood of bulls and goats was what God required to cover sin, but upon the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross He became our High Priest, obtaining eternal redemption for us through His blood.

The Book of Leviticus outlines every aspect of God’s instructions to Moses, not only for the construction of the Tabernacle but also its furnishings and function. The high priest was to be appointed from the Levitical lineage of Moses’ brother, Aaron, and was tasked with entering once each year to seek forgiveness for himself and the sins of the people into the partitioned Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant resided hidden from the people. With the deaths of the high priests throughout the centuries, others were appointed to replace them, that is, until Jesus became the final and Eternal High Priest.

The Apostle Paul writes in the Book of Hebrews of Jesus becoming the Everlasting High Priest upon His death, burial and resurrection. In Hebrews 9:11-12 Paul explains, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in ONCE into the holy place.” As the Eternal High Priest, He alone became the Mediator between God and man. At His death the veil in the Temple separating the Holy of Holies from the people was rent in two from top to bottom forever giving man access to the Father through Jesus, His Son, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us,” (Hebrews 9:24).

As the High Priest of our salvation, Jesus came into the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself,” breaking down the middle wall of partition between God and man, and “after He had offered ONE sacrifice for sins FOR EVER, sat down on the right hand of God,” ever making intercession for us (Hebrews 9:26; 10:12; Ephesians 2:13,14; Romans 8:34).

JESUS – The Perfect Lamb

“And there were in the same country

Shepherds abiding in the field,

Keeping watch over their flock by night.”

This familiar verse found in Luke 2:8 carries greater significance than realized in a casual reading of the events of the first Christmas. Referring back to the Old Testament one reads of Ruth gleaning in the fields of Boaz located near the little town of Bethlehem (Ruth 1:22-2:3). It was the location of those fields where the ancestral home of King David was established, for Ruth and Boaz were David’s great-grandparents, necessitating the return of Mary and Joseph to register in the City of David for census purposes. The genealogy of Jesus found both in Matthew chapter one and Luke chapter three contain the names of Jesus’ earthly ancestors, which include David the King, David’s father Jesse, David’s grandfather Obed, and David’s great-grandfather Boaz. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem was not a coincidence, but planned by God the Father to fulfill His eternal purpose.

With Bethlehem situated just six miles southeast of Jerusalem, the shepherds keeping watch over the flock that night included priestly shepherds keeping watch from the two-story stone tower of Edar located midway between the two cities. The priestly shepherds’ sole task was to provide lambs for the Temple sacrifices. It was these lambs that were to be without spot or blemish (Deuteronomy 17:1), therefore upon birth the lambs were wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger within the tower to calm them and keep them from injuring themselves. After Rachel’s death and her burial in Bethlehem, Jacob “journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar,” (Genesis 35:19-21).

The Perfect Lamb of God was born on that holy night in a lowly stable, wrapped in nativityswaddling clothes, and laid in a manger, as were all the sacrificial lambs (Luke 2:1-20). It was JESUS who was sacrificed for the sins of the world, once for all time, the veil in the Temple renting from top to bottom negating any future sacrifices and giving man access into the Holy of Holies, to God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:50-51; Hebrews 10:1-12). The Prophet Micah wrote 700 years before the birth of Christ the announcement of the Promised Messiah would take place at the tower of Edar, known as the “tower of the flock” (Micah 4:8).

The Sacrifice of Children

A horrible thing has occurred in the land with the U.S. Supreme Court by a 7-2 ruling in Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973 legalized the killing of the unborn child. Since that time over 57 million babies have been denied their Right to Life. The Holocaust claimed the lives of over 17 million people the Third Reich deemed undesirables: Jews, the weak, the infirmed, the mentally handicapped, the deaf, Christians, dissidents, gypsies, including many other groups. A human outcry against the Holocaust has been heard around the world. The cry for the unborn has been but a whimper.

It’s not the first time a people has sacrificed its own children. Those who made the decision to forsake the One True God who had led them into the Promised Land, and opted for worshipping the gods of the Canaanites “caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into My mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin,” (Jeremiah 32:35). The Book of Ezekiel reveals the children were slain first before being offered to the idol (Ezekiel 16:21). Ahaz, the king of Judah during the Divided Kingdom Age, “made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the Children of Israel,” (II Kings 16:3). God asks, “Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter?” (Ezekiel 16:20).

The loss of future scientists and doctors, teachers and scholars, mothers and fathers, peacemakers and pastors has changed the potential of a once great nation founded upon the Word of God and His Law. Just as Cain’s brother’s blood cried out to God from the ground, the voice of the blood of millions of unborn cry out to Him today (Genesis 4:10). The LORD has plainly stated in Proverbs 6:16-17, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Himhands that shed innocent blood.” Nothing is more innocent than a child in the womb.

Salvation in the Old Testament

Before the coming of Christ and His death on the cross for sin, many wonder how those in the Old Testament came to salvation. God killed the animal in the Garden of Eden to cover the sin of Adam and Eve thereby introducing “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin,” (Hebrews 9:22). Later, Moses and the Children of Israel were instructed to construct the Tabernacle in the wilderness wherein sacrifices were to be made daily. Those sacrifices were a picture of the salvation revealed in the coming of the New Covenant, the New Testament, with the coming of Christ and His once-for-all sacrifice for sin.

In Leviticus we read of the Sin Offering that was to be brought to the Tabernacle priest when an individual sinned, either “through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering.” In acknowledgment of his sin, “the sinner was to bring a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned,” (Leviticus 4:27-28).

After the sinner offered his sin offering in confession of his sin, he offered a Burnt Offering signifying complete surrender, giving all of himself to the LORD. The burnt sacrifice was to be a male “of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock,” without blemish. It was to be offered “of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.” The one who had confessed his sin and was now offering his burnt offering to the LORD was to “put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering: and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. It was the repentant sinner who then killed his offering to the LORD, shedding the animal’s blood and cutting it up in pieces to be laid upon the altar by the priests. The burnt offering was to be totally consumed by the fire upon the altar, (Leviticus 1:1-9).

Upon offering his sin offering in acknowledgment of his sin, offering a burnt offering to atone for his sin, the repentant sinner offered a Peace Offering signifying reconciliation had taken place between the sinner and God. The peace offering was to be offered of the herd, either a male or female without blemish. The offering was to be laid upon the burnt offering (sacrifice) “and the priest shall burn it upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire unto the LORD.” The peace offering was then served for food to the priests and the one who offered it, symbolizing the communion one has with God upon his confession of sin, acceptance of God’s provision of atonement, resulting in receiving God’s peace that passes all understanding, (Leviticus 3; Philippians 4:7).

With the coming of Christ’s sacrifice for sin, no longer was the blood of bulls and goats necessary for salvation as it had been in the Old Testament. “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,” (Hebrews 9:11-12).