Sermon #13†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† †††††††† Leviticus Sermons
†††† Title:† †††† ďThe Fire Shall Ever Be BurningĒ
†††† Text:†††††† Leviticus 6:8-13
†††† Subject:† The ire Upon the Altar
†††† Date:†††††† Sunday Morning Ė July 22, 2001
†††† Tape #††† W-52a
†††† Reading: Isaiah 6:1-7
Fire is used throughout the Scriptures as an emblem of Godís holiness and justice. It was so from the very beginning.
∑ When the Lord God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, he set ďCherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of lifeĒ (Gen. 3:24).
∑ When Abraham offered sacrifice to God, he carried fire with him to the altar of sacrifice.
∑ Nadab and Abihu were killed by the hand of the Lord because they burned strange fire on Godís altar.
∑ God poured out fire and brimstone from heaven upon Sodom.
∑ Hell is a place of horrible torment, a pit of everlasting, unquenchable fire.
∑ When God gave his law at Sinai, the mount was filled with fire.
∑ Our God is a consuming fire.
∑ In the camp of Israel, upon the altar of God, fire was burned continually. It is written, ďThe fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out."
[Leviticus 6:8-13]† "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.  And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.  And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.  And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.  The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out."
†††† Do not ever imagine that there are redundancies in the Word of God. Everything written in the Book of Inspiration is written according to divine purpose. In the first five chapters of Leviticus, the Lord gave Moses specific instructions about how the burnt offering, the meat offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering were to be made. Here, in chapters 6 and 7, he gives instructions again about those same offerings.
†††† In the first five chapters, the instructions were for the people who brought the offerings. In these two chapters the instructions were give specifically to the priests, to Aaron and to his sons. In the verses before us this morning, the primary thing before us is the fire burning upon the altar. ďThe fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out."
Proposition: The fire burning upon the altar is an instructive picture of the holy justice of God which must be satisfied.
†††† The message of our text is given to us in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.
[2 Corinthians 5:18-21]† "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  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."
Divisions: I want to call your attention to five things in theses verses.
1. The Fire upon the Altar
2. The Priestís Linen Garment
3. The Priestís Other Garment
4. The Fuel for the Fire
5. The Perpetuity of the Fire
I. The Fire upon the Altar
Verses 8-9 -- "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it."
†††† Here the Holy One of Israel speaks again from the holy place, revealing the horror of his wrath against sin and the perfection of his infinite justice which demands its punishment. Godís infinite justice, burning against sin is displayed in the fire burning upon the altar of the tabernacle.
†††† This fire was never to be extinguished. In these five verses, the Lord tells us three times that the fire was never to be put out by man or allowed to burn out on its own. Why? Because ďevery one of his righteous judgments endure foreverĒ (Ps. 119:160). The fire burned all through the night as an emblem of the sleeplessness of hell and the burning wrath of God against all iniquity and of the ever watchful eye of divine righteousness that watches over the earth.
†††† In the pit of the damned they have no rest, no respite, no relief from the wrath of God. And the holy eyes of the holy Lord God ever behold the sons of men upon the earth. He whose eyes are a flaming fire constantly watches over his creation, beholding the sons of men.
1. In the Book of God, we read of the damned, that the smoke of their torments ascends up forever.
The fire and brimstone of hell produces a smoke ever rising up to God, the holy angels, the redeemed in Glory and the Lamb upon his throne.
†[Revelation 14:10-11]† "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:  And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."
[Revelation 14:18]† "And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe."
†††† All through the night the fire burned upon the altar. It could be seen by all the camp of Israel. The wise, believing father might well have taken his children to their tentís door before going to bed and, pointing to the fire, he may well have said, ďChildren, do you see that fire? Do you smell that smoke? Except you find refuge in the Lamb of God, so shall the fire of Godís wrath consume you forever.Ē
2. But, blessed be God, that fire represented something far greater than Godís holy and just wrath; it represented the way of escape.
Can you see the victim burned upon the altar, the lamb consumed by the fire, whose life feeds the flames?† That is Christ dying under the horrid wrath of God in the place of sinners who deserve to die. His suffering and death, upon which God the Father had his holy eye from eternity, was held forth in the camp of Israel perpetually in the fire burning upon the altar. There the love and justice of God met together in perfect unison, righteousness and peace perpetually kissed each other. Mercy and truth embraced each other. Beholding the fire on the altar, the believing Israelite could sleep peacefully through the night knowing that God in Christ is both a just God and a Savior!
II. The Priestís Linen Garment
Verse 10 -- "And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar."
†††† The priestís linen garment with his linen britches, portrayed purity (Rev. 19:8).
[Revelation 19:8]† "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."
In this suit of purity the priest was a type and emblem of Christ our Redeemer in his perfect purity (divine and human) coming to perform the work of atonement as our Substitute.
†††† In this suit of pure, white linen, the priest was to take the ashes of the burnt sacrifice off the altar and lay them for a while beside the altar so that all Israel might see that the flame of justice had not spared the sacrifice.
†††† There, the ashes lying beside the altar declared, ďJustice has found its object. The lightening of Godís holy wrath has struck the lightening rod. It shall not strike again!Ē
III. The Priestís Other Garment
Verse 11 -- "And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place."
†††† Coming out of the sanctuary, the priest has put aside his linen garment and is wearing another garment. He takes off the garment that had been ceremonially polluted by sin, and puts on another holy, priestly garment to carry the ashes of the sacrifice away unto a clean place. (The Valley of Ashes [Jer. 31:40] which was used for this purpose, is thought by many to have been the very place where our Lord Jesus Christ died for us Ė Calvary).
†††† This much is certain: Our great Savior, who bore our sin in his own body on the tree, wears another garment now. That body that was made to be sin for us has now been made glorious. He has cast off and cast away our sins. He has carried his blood into a clean place, having by the merit of his blood obtained eternal redemption for us!
IV. The Fuel For The Fire
Verse 12 -- "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings."
†††† We have already seen that the fire was never to be allowed to go out. If that were so, there must be a constant supply of fuel for it. Wood was constantly kept on the altar and the fat of the peace offering with the wood kept the fire burning continually.
It was the fat of the peace offering that fueled the fire. Justice fell upon Christ our Peace Offering. He bore the heat of Godís fierce wrath for us. He endured the fire of hell as our Substitute. By his death under the vengeance of Godís holy wrath, he obtained our peace.
V. The Perpetuity of The Fire
Verse 13 -- "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out."
†††† Throughout this instructive passage, we are constantly reminded that the fire of Godís wrath has no end. Three times our Lord Jesus declared (no doubt referring to this passage) that in hell the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched. The eternal justice of God will never cease to find fuel for the fire of his wrath in hell. It is written, ďThe wrath of God abideth!Ē Let every sinner tremble. The wrath of God is infinite! Hell is forever! But I cannot send you home with that.
†††† I close my message by reminding you that God has himself put out the fire. The Lord Jesus Christ has forever satisfied the wrath of God. He is that One Sacrifice which, when consumed by the fire of Godís holy justice has consumed the fire. The holy Lord God shall never cease to find complete satisfaction for his holy justice in his darling Son.
[Hebrews 13:10-12] †"We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.  For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.  Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate."
[Hebrews 13:20-21]† "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,  Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."