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  • The divine revelation in the Bible is progressive, advancing continually from Genesis to Revelation. Genesis reveals God’s creation and man’s fall, and Exodus reveals God’s salvation and the building of God’s habitation. As a further advancement of the divine revelation, Leviticus unveils the worship and living of God’s redeemed people. While Israel remained with God at Sinai for approximately eleven months (Exo. 19:1; cf. Num. 10:11), God trained them to worship and partake of Him for their enjoyment and to live a holy, clean, and rejoicing life. This book shows that through the tabernacle, with the offerings, and by the priests, God’s redeemed are able to fellowship with God, serve God, and be God’s holy people living a holy life, which expresses God. Christ is everything in the fellowship, service, and life of God’s people. The worship portrayed in Leviticus is a matter of contacting God by enjoying Christ as the common portion with God and with one another (cf. John 4:24 and notes). The issue of enjoying Christ with God is the holy living of God’s people.

  • The first and last verses of Leviticus indicate that the entire book is a record of God’s speaking. The speaking that began here took place not in the heavens nor on Mount Sinai but in the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting. In type this signifies that God speaks in the church as His tabernacle (cf. 1 Cor. 3:16; 14:23-31). The church as the Tent of Meeting is the unique oracle, the unique place of God’s speaking.

  • The tabernacle was God’s dwelling place (Exo. 40:34-35), and the Tent of Meeting was the place where God and His redeemed people met (cf. Exo. 25:22; 33:7). Both refer to the church, which is God’s dwelling place on earth (1 Tim. 3:15) and also a meeting place for the saved ones to meet with the saving God (cf. 1 Cor. 14:23-25).

  • Heb. qorban, meaning a present, or a gift. Strictly, the offerings are not sacrifices but presents given to God by the appreciators of Christ. Sacrifices are for redemption, for propitiation, whereas presents are gifts for intimate fellowship between us and God. The children of Israel were to labor on the good land and then offer to God as presents the produce they enjoyed and appreciated. Likewise, we should endeavor to experience and enjoy Christ and then offer Christ to God as a present with much appreciation. The tabernacle is for God to dwell in, and the offerings are for God to enjoy with us through our appreciation and presentation.

    Exodus ends with the erecting of the tabernacle (Exo. 40), and Leviticus begins with the offerings (chs. 1—7), implying a direct continuation between the two books. Both the tabernacle and the offerings are types of Christ. Through incarnation Christ came to be the tabernacle (John 1:14). This same Christ is also the Lamb of God (John 1:29), the totality, the aggregate, of all the offerings (Heb. 10:5-10). Christ came in incarnation to bring God to us (John 1:1—13:38), and He passed through crucifixion and resurrection to bring us to God (John 14:1—21:25), making God one with us and us one with God. The tabernacle signifies that God is in Christ that we may contact, experience, enter into, and join to God. The offerings signify God in Christ for us to enjoy and even to eat, digest, and assimilate (John 6:53-58) that we may be mingled with God. The way to enjoy Christ as the reality of all the offerings is to contact Him and take Him in as the Spirit of reality (John 6:63; 14:16-18, 20; 1 Cor. 15:45).

    According to Leviticus, there are five main kinds of offerings: the burnt offering (Lev. 1:1-17), the meal offering (Lev. 2:1-16), the peace offering (Lev. 3:1-17), the sin offering (Lev. 4:1-35), and the trespass offering (Lev. 5:1-19; 6:1-7). The functions of these offerings were:
    1) as sacrifices for sin, to make expiation for God’s people by appeasing the situation between God and His people,
    2) as gifts to please God,
    3) as food for God and for His serving ones, the priests.

  • All the kinds of cattle used in burnt offerings in this chapter were living animals that move and act according to their will. Christ was such a living one, with a strong will but with His will subdued to be subject to God. He never became blemished (v. 3) because His will was always subdued to be subject to God’s will (John 5:30; 6:38). As the burnt offering Christ went to the cross in order to do the will of God (Heb. 10:5-10 and note Heb. 10:72b).

  • The Hebrew word literally means that which goes up and denotes something that ascends to God. The burnt offering typifies Christ not mainly in His redeeming man from sin but in His living a life that is perfect and absolutely for God and for God’s satisfaction (v. 9; John 5:19, 30; 6:38; 7:18; 8:29; 14:24) and in His being the life that enables God’s people to have such a living (2 Cor. 5:15; Gal. 2:19-20). It is God’s food that God may enjoy it and be satisfied (Num. 28:2). This offering was to be offered daily, in the morning and in the evening (Exo. 29:38-42; Lev. 6:8-13; Num. 28:3-4).

  • As the burnt offering Christ is full of strength (a male) and freshness (young — v. 5), and He is without defects and faults (1 Pet. 1:19; Heb. 9:14).

  • The burnt offering was offered at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, i.e., in the outer court of the tabernacle. The outer court signifies the earth (cf. note Rev. 6:92), and the altar signifies the cross. The cross on which Christ offered Himself was on earth, but His offering of Himself was before God, and He was accepted by God and before God.

  • The laying on of hands signifies not substitution but identification, union (Acts 13:3 and note Acts 13:32b). By laying our hands on Christ as our offering, we are joined to Him, and He and we become one. In such a union all our weaknesses, defects, and faults are taken on by Him, and all His virtues become ours. This requires us to exercise our spirit through the proper prayer so that we may be one with Him in an experiential way (cf. 1 Cor. 6:17 and notes). When we lay our hands on Christ through prayer, the life-giving Spirit, who is the very Christ on whom we lay our hands (1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:6, 17), will immediately move and work within us to live in us a life that is a repetition of the life that Christ lived on earth, the life of the burnt offering.

  • Although the burnt offering is not for redemption, it nevertheless makes expiation for the offerer (see note Lev. 16:11). For this reason, the burnt offering must be a life that has blood to shed for expiation (Heb. 9:22). Because we are not absolutely for God, we need Christ as our burnt offering to appease our situation with God that we may have peace with Him. Because the burnt offering is for expiation, it can be eaten only by God (v. 9; 6:30). We are not qualified to eat it.

  • As the burnt offering Christ was slaughtered by men (Isa. 53:7; Matt. 27:31; Acts 2:23; Phil. 2:8).

  • God trained His elect to worship and partake of Him through the priests (Lev. 1:5-8; 2:2; 3:2; 4:5, 10; 5:8). The priests typify Christ as God’s Priest (Heb. 5:5-6), who offered Himself to God for us (Heb. 9:14, 26; 10:10). Christ is both the offerings and the Priest. He is the unique way for God’s people to worship and enjoy God.

  • Offering the burnt offering at the Tent of Meeting typifies the offering of Christ to God in the church meetings. The various kinds of burnt offerings (vv. 3-9, 10-13, 14-17) differed both in size and in the way they were offered. The different sizes of burnt offerings signify not that Christ in Himself varies but that the offerers’ experience, apprehension, realization, and appreciation of Christ differ in degree. The first two categories of burnt offerings — the bull and the sheep or goat — were offered in the same way: the preparing of the offering was done by the offerer; the priest’s function was only to sprinkle the blood on and around the altar and arrange the pieces of the offering on the fire. However, with the offerings in the third category, the offerer simply brought the offering to the Tent of Meeting; the priest did everything else. Those who offered a bull or a sheep or a goat signify the mature believers who experience and appreciate Christ in a deep and detailed way and have the spiritual ability to offer Christ in a processed way. Those who offered a turtledove or a pigeon signify believers who are young in spiritual age and who have limited experience and appreciation of Christ.

  • With this category of burnt offering there is no skinning, indicating that the offerer has not experienced Christ’s being stripped of the outward expression of His human virtues (see note Lev. 1:61 and note Lev. 1:91, par. 2).

  • As the burnt offering Christ lived a life that was absolutely for God’s satisfaction (John 5:30; 6:38; 8:29), a life that was pure and holy, with no element of the fall, no defect, and no sin (John 14:30; Luke 23:14; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:19; 2:22). Such a living was a satisfying fragrance, a sweet savor ascending to God for His pleasure and satisfaction.

  • The fire signifies the holy God (Heb. 12:29). With the burnt offering, the fire was not for judgment but for acceptance by God. This fire was to burn continually day and night (Lev. 6:9, 12-13).

  • Lit., cause to rise in smoke. This word is used for the burning (offering) of burnt offerings and incense.

  • The washing of the inward parts and the legs of the burnt offering does not imply that Christ was dirty; rather, it indicates that Christ’s inward parts and His daily walk were continually being washed by the Holy Spirit, signified by the water (John 7:38-39), to keep Him from becoming defiled by His contact with earthly things.

    In order to offer Christ to God as our burnt offering, we need to experience Him in His experiences and offer Him to God according to our experiences of Him (1 Pet. 2:5; Heb. 13:15). In particular, we need to experience Him in His being slaughtered (Rom. 8:36; 2 Cor. 4:11), skinned (Matt. 5:11; Acts 24:5-6; 2 Cor. 6:8; 12:16-18), and cut into pieces (1 Cor. 4:13). We also need to experience Him in His wisdom (1 Cor. 1:24, 30; 2:7; Col. 1:26-27), in His being a delight to God (2 Cor. 5:9; Gal. 1:10; Rom. 14:18), in His inward parts (Phil. 2:5; 1 Cor. 2:16; 16:24; Phil. 1:8; 2 Cor. 11:10), in His walk (Matt. 11:29; Eph. 4:20; 1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Pet. 2:21), and in His being kept by the Holy Spirit from defilement (1 Cor. 6:11; Titus 3:5). Experiencing Christ in His experiences is not a matter of imitating Christ outwardly but a matter of living Him in our daily life (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:21). The way in which we offer Christ as the burnt offering is actually a display and review of our daily experience of Christ. See note Lev. 1:141.

  • The head of the burnt offering typifies Christ’s wisdom; the fat signifies His being a delight to God (Matt. 3:17; 12:18; 17:5); the inward parts (v. 9) denote Christ’s inward parts, including His mind, emotion, will, and heart with all their functions; and the legs (v. 9) signify Christ’s walk.

  • The cutting of the offering into pieces signifies that Christ was willing to let His entire being be broken without any reservation. In His living as the burnt offering, Christ’s whole being and His entire life were cut into pieces (Mark 15:29-32; Luke 23:35-39; cf. Psa. 22:16-17). The cutting of the offering into pieces by the offerer indicates that his experience, apprehension, realization, and appreciation of Christ are deep and detailed.

  • The skin of the burnt offering is the outward expression of its beauty. Hence, to skin the offering is to strip it of its outward expression. As the burnt offering, Christ was “skinned,” stripped of the outward appearance of His human virtues (Matt. 11:19; Mark 3:22; John 8:48; Matt. 26:65; 27:28; cf. Psa. 22:18).

  • The sprinkling of the blood was for expiation (v. 4).

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