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February 1 Today’s Reading — Leviticus 1-4
“Offering of Turtledoves”
From the very beginning, the Lord God has promised that he will forgive sin; but he has also declared that he will forgive sin only by blood atonement. It is written, “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). The holy Lord God demands blood atonement; and he provides what he demands in Christ. This is what is taught in the typical sacrifices he demanded of Israel under the Mosaic law, as they are described in the book of Leviticus.
The sacrifices of burnt offering could be a sacrifice chosen from the herd, or from the flock, or from the fowls. If it was a sacrifice from the herd, or from among the sheep, or the goats, it must be a male without blemish. However, if the sacrifice offered was from the fowls, it might either be male or female; and there was no requirement even that it must be without blemish. That was not by accident, but by divine decree, because the holy Lamb of God must be made to be sin for us if He would redeem us from our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Believing God, Adam, Abel, Noah, Abraham, and Moses believed the promise made in Genesis 3:15, and offered typical sacrifices, which by divine institution represented the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. They did not trust those sacrifices that typified Christ, but could never take away sin. They trusted Christ. If we would find atonement and righteousness, if we would find acceptance with God, we must, like those ancient believers, look to Christ. We must believe on the Son of God (Romans 3:19-26; 8:1-4).
For the Poor
Turtledoves and pigeons were distinctly the sacrifices of the poor (Leviticus 14:21-22). As such, they were eminently typical of our blessed Savior. The Lord Jesus always identified Himself with the poor and needy, because He came here to redeem and save poor, needy, helpless, destitute, bankrupt sinners (Luke 2:21-30). As the dove was slain by the priest, with one violent stroke, so the Lord Jesus Christ, our all-glorious Savior, was slain by the violent stroke of God’s holy wrath when He bore our sins in His own body on the cursed tree (v. 15; Isaiah 53:10-11).
Symbol of Peace
The dove is not only the epitome of humility, meekness, devotion purity, and chastity; it is also the constant emblem of peace and reconciliation. It is held before us in Holy Scripture as the type, picture, and symbol of peace, — of Christ Who is our peace. It was a dove that brought the olive branch back to Noah, declaring that the storm of God’s wrath was over. After our Lord Jesus Christ had, by the sacrifice of Himself, completely and forever exhausted the wrath of God for His people, He sent the Holy Spirit (The Dove of Heaven!) to His church, declaring reconciliation by blood atonement (Acts 2). This is exactly what was symbolized in our Lord’s baptism (Matthew 3:13-17). And when the time of love comes for the calling of Christ’s redeemed ones, He sends the Dove of heaven with the olive branch of peace, declaring that justice is satisfied, wrath is gone, judgment is over, and reconciliation is accomplished.