The Establishment And Destruction Of The Temple

Leviticus is the central book of the Pentateuch. This book was written by Moses. Leviticus continues the narrative of the book of Exodus, where at the end of the book God established the Tabernacle to dwell among the children of Israel in His Glory.

All the Bible is divinely inspired but the book of Leviticus is a remarkable one. It contains the large presence of the literal quotations from God Himself.

The major theme in Leviticus is various types of offerings constituted by God along with affirmations of His holiness.

Bible Reading

In this week’s insight, we will look into Leviticus 1-6 & Matthew 24.

Please, check our previous week’s insight – The Tabernacle – A Pattern of Worship

Overview

Prehistory. To get a clear picture and meaning of the sacrifices described in Leviticus 1-6, we have to read these chapters close to Exodus 34-40. These chapters of the book of Leviticus contain God’s requirements for sacrificial offerings given to Israel and are the center of Old Testament worship to God.

Adam was the first man who witnessed God establishing the sacrificial system in Genesis 3:21. Adam knew the price of his disobedience to God, as did Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:3-4) and Noah (Genesis 8:20-21). The sin has separated man from God, and these sacrifices were the proper and only way to approach the Holy One.

The Laws of Sacrifices

Leviticus 1-6. In Hebrew, the book’s name is Vayikra (va-yikra), and it got its name from the first word in Leviticus 1:1, And He [the Lord] called. God revealed to Moses the contents of the book of Leviticus during the thirty days between completion of the Tabernacle.

In the book of Leviticus chapters 1 through 6, God gave the Laws regarding (1) the burnt offering, (2) the meat offering, (3) the peace offering, (4) the sin offering, (5) and the trespass or guilt offering.

1. The Burnt Offering

The burnt offering was the first sacrifice that God revealed to Moses, and it covers Leviticus 1:1-17. This offering was to be voluntarily made by a believer. For this offering, God required a sacrifice from the flocks, namely, sheep, goats and birds.

The one who was making an offering was to lay on his hands and kill an animal. The priest was to sprinkle blood on the side of the altar and fire and burn the offering entirely.

Thus, in the Old Testament sacrificial system, the burnt offering was a complete consecration to God and it parallels with the New Testament, Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).

2. The Meat Offering

This is the only bloodless offering in the sacrificial system described in Leviticus 2:1-16. The raw flour anointed with oil and frankincense, cooked cakes or roasted meal were acceptable for such offering.

The offerer was to carefully prepare the meal (labour), pour oil on it (anointing) and season it with incense (soothing aroma). And when the offering is ready he was to present it to the priest for consecration to God.

In the Old Testament, this is an acceptable service to God, and in the New Testament it says that all our labour should be offered to God – And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).

3. The Peace Offering

The Moody Bible commentary put it in this way, that the peace (or fellowship) offering was a voluntarily shared meal in which the offerer celebrated with others that he was at peace with God.

In Leviticus 3:1-17, God instructed Moses to use any flawless animal from the flock (male or female) and to present it to the priest at the door to the Tabernacle. It was required from the priest to pour the blood on the sides of the altar. The fat portions to burn and the meat to share by the priests and offerers.

Obviously, this Old Testament peace offering is equivalent to the Lord’s Supper that Jesus Christ has established in the New Testament (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:17-20; also see 1 Corinthians 10:16-18). Thus, as the followers of Christ, we celebrate that we are in peace with God through the blood and the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

4. The Sin Offering

In Leviticus 4:1-5:13, God gave the longest speech instructing Moses regarding the offerings. This time God’s regulations are about an offering presented for an individual’s unintentional sin. Even the sins that are committed without the person knowing about them, are sinful and serious in the eyes of the holy God.

The sin offering is a purification from sin. The offerer was to lay his hands on the head of the animal (sheep, goats, or birds from the flock) as an act of identification and acknowledgement (Leviticus 4:4, 15, 24, 29). Thus, the sin was to be acknowledged to God before the transgression could be imputed to the substitute, and only then atonement could be made (Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13).

In the Old Testament, this is an example of forgiveness by faith in a substitutionary sacrifice. Similarly to that, we must receive the forgiveness of our sins (intentional or unintentional) by faith in the substitutionary sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

5. The Trespass or Guilt Offering

Leviticus 5:14-6:7 is a continuation of the sin offering but this time with a new variable in the equation of the sacrificial system. This time God expects His people to have remorse for their intentional or unintentional transgressions. Thus, they have to bear their guilt and show genuine repentance.

The purpose of the trespass or guilt offering is to make restitution to God (Leviticus 5:15-16) or the people (Leviticus 6:4-5). It is similar to the teachings of Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:23-24, where the Lord urges us to reconcile quickly and make restitution for our wrongdoings.

When shall these things be?

Matthew 24. This chapter of the gospel according to Matthew parallels Mark 13 and Luke 21. All three records are independent and complement each other. The major theme of those records is the events that lead up to the end.

The Second Advent

So, in Matthew 24:3, while resting on the mount of Olives, the disciples privately asked Jesus to tell them when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?

There are two Greek words used for the term ‘end’ in this chapter. One is that in verse 3; the other in Matthew 24:16, 13 and 14. The former means the concurrence of the events which lead up to the end; the latter, the actual end.

Three great signs, that the twelve asked about, will herald the Second Coming (Advent): (1) the false Messiah (Matthew 24:5); (2) the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15; see also Daniel 9:24-27); and, finally, the Parousia (Greek for arrival, or official visit) itself (Matthew 24:27-31).

Parable of the Fig Tree

Three trees in the Bible, the fig, the olive and the vine represent the nation of Israel nationally, spiritually and dispensationally as a witness for God in the earth (Matthew 24:32).

Example of the Days of Noah

In like manner in the days of Noah, when the men were insensible to the warnings from God regarding the coming flood, so will the men of this generation blind and ignorant to the signs announcing the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:37-42).

Parable of the Two Servants

There will be a special judgement for all those whom the Lord called to carry on the ministry of the Gospel. The faithful servant will be rewarded (Matthew 24:46). But the evil servant will be cut in two and his rewards will be as those for hypocrites (Matthew 24:51).

Insights Into The Scriptures

Since that tragedy that happened in Genesis 3:6-7, the men were separated from God by the distance of sin between them. And only through the Tabernacle of the congregation, that God commanded Moses to build, the Lord God removed the distance between man and Himself. God brought Himself closer, even to the point when He was speaking to Moses face-to-face (Exodus 33:11).

Thus, in Leviticus 1-6, God established the Laws of Sacrifices, the only proper and acceptable way to approach the Holy God. The sacrifices of the offerings that God ordained Himself: holy, blameless, humble and freewill. The purpose was to bring a worshipper, imperfect and sinful in his fallen nature, close into a relationship with the Lord God. Also, to remind a sinful man about the price that it costs to reestablish such a relationship.

Although God did establish a system of sacrifices, the offerings were not perfect and even far from perfect. And not only because they were presented by a perpetually sinful man, but because they could not satisfy a just and perfect God. Therefore, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering (Genesis 22:8).

Jesus Christ is the perfect sacrifice of God – holy, without blemish, humble and freewill. The countless numbers of sacrifices made by man were fulfilled by one and infinite sacrifice of the Son of God. And the temple, spoken of in Matthew 24, was about to fall.

Indeed, Jesus Christ brought man into a relationship with God the Father. He made the perfect sacrifice on our behalf with the effect of everlasting atonement for sin. Through His blood, the righteousness of the holy God is imputed to us – For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Insights

  1. The account of Genesis 3:6-7 shows that we unintentionally (Eve) and intentionally (Adam) committed sin against God. Thus, we have separated ourselves from the His Glory.
  2. The Laws of Sacrifices, in like manner the Tabernacle of the congregation, were the temporary solution to restore the initial state of relationship with God in the presence of His Glory.
  3. Thus, to establish an everlasting relationship with the Lord God a perfect sacrifice has to be made.
  4. Jesus Christ is the perfect sacrifice that any priest could never make (Hebrews 10:11-12).
  5. The temple of brick and mortar was destroyed that day and the new temple of the Spirit is erected to reside in those who accept His sacrifice forever.

If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not now!? Do not wait until it is too late! Embrace God’s Grace, Mercy and Love now – Accept Jesus Now!

Prayer

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13

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