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“It is Most Holy”
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,….It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering…Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the LORD: it is most holy…All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy…Likewise this is the law of the trespass offering: it is most holy…Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy…..And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any of it until the morning.”
As you read this portion of Holy Scripture relating to the ceremonial sacrifices and services offered to the Lord God by his appointed priests, may God the Holy Spirit give you grace to focus your heart upon him who is the only true and real sacrifice for sin and “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth,” our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is my prayer that God the Holy Spirit would also cause you to know and feel the horrid evil of sin, the sin of your own heart, before the eyes of the holy Lord God. So great is the evil of our sin that God’s holy justice could never pardon and forgive it except by the blood of his own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The first seven chapters of Leviticus give us the inspired record of the law God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai regarding the sacrifices of divine worship and how they were to be offered. The burnt offering portrayed a celebration of acceptance with God by Christ. The meat offering was a sacrifice declaring the worshipper’s consecration to God in Christ. The peace offering was a celebration of peace and fellowship with God in Christ. The sin offering portrayed the Lord Jesus Christ as our Substitute, our Sin Offering. The trespass offering typified Christ’s effectual, sin-atoning sacrifice to God and the forgiveness of sin and restitution made by his blood.
The burnt offering, the meat offering, and the peace offering were freewill offerings. They were not required by the law but were voluntarily made. They were offerings arising from the grateful hearts of forgiven sinners for the praise of God. The Lord God never required anyone to bring them. He only required that if men and women worshipped him, they must do so in the manner he prescribed. — No one worships God who does not do so with a willing heart. Yes, we are made willing by the power of his grace (Psalms 65:4; 110:3); but we are willing worshippers. In all acts of worship, “if there be first a willing heart, it is accepted” (2 Corinthians 8:12).
However, the sin offering and trespass offering were offerings God required. He required them because they portrayed redemption, the absolute necessity of redemption, by Christ our Substitute. In these two offerings, the Lord Jesus stands before us and says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
In the first chapters of Leviticus (1:1-6:7) the Lord God gave specific instructions to the people of Israel (the rulers, the common people, and the priests) about how they must come before God in worship, bringing their sacrifices to him. Beginning at Leviticus 6:8 and continuing through the end of chapter seven, all the instructions given relate to the priests, to Aaron and his sons, who offered the sacrifices, ministering before the Lord in the tabernacle. In these two chapters, the priests stand before us pre-eminently as types and pictures of our Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest before God. The entire work they performed under the law of God in offering these daily sacrifices is declared to be “most holy.”
“It is most holy.” — Those words apply not to the sacrifice alone, but to the offering of the sacrifice, the burning of the sacrifice, the eating of the sacrifice, the place of the sacrifice, and the priests who offered the sacrifice. They are specifically applied to the ceremonies relating to the meat offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering.
I have found these seven chapters to be rich beyond measure to my own soul. I realize that I can only scratch the surface of this inexhaustible mine. But it is my prayer that, as I scratch the surface, you who read these lines will see the Savior of whom the Book of God speaks, fall at his feet, worship him, and find in him the boundless treasures of God’s free grace flowing freely to needy sinners because of his great, sin-atoning sacrifice. In these words of instruction given to Aaron and his sons about the sacrifices, three things stand before us like the star that led the wise men to Bethlehem, saying “Behold, here is the Christ of God.”
The first thing to which I would direct your attention is the revelation of God’s holiness. Everywhere today people talk about holiness, about being holy, and about doing holy things. The word “holy” is thrown around by religious people with less thought than profane men use profanity. All the light talk (with very serious religious tones) about holiness reveals one certain fact. — This generation knows absolutely nothing about holiness or the revelation of God’s holiness.
In the Book of God, men and women are described as saints, sanctified, holy men and women only because they are in Christ who is holy. Christ is our holiness. He is that “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” None are described as being holy because of their own personal character and conduct.
“It is most holy.” — Those four words are used only ten times in Holy Scripture (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 6:17, 25, 29; 7:1, 6; 10:12, 17; 14:13; 24:9). Every time they are used they refer to those sacrifices that typified the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ as our sin-atoning Substitute.
Without question, God’s holiness is displayed in part in many ways and by many things. God revealed his holiness in the garden. He made his holiness known on Mt. Sinai. His holiness is stamped upon every man’s conscience by his creative hand. His holiness is displayed in his righteous judgments. But all these things reveal but a portion of his holy character. They convince us that God is holy, but do not and cannot show us his holiness. The holiness of God is revealed and known only in the sacrificial work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary.
If you would see the holiness of God, go to Mt. Calvary. Behold the crucified Son of God and learn something about God’s holiness. Behold this burning bush that is not burned. Hear God speak. Take off your shoes here, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground. — “It is most holy!”
Beholding the floods of water over the earth, the smoke of Sodom, the plagues of Egypt, and the righteous judgments of God upon men and women in daily providence, I know that the Lord God is holy, and I tremble before his holiness. Standing at the foot of Sinai’s dreadful mount, beholding the fire and smoke, feeling the quaking earth and hearing the terrifying thunder, I see that God is holy and I tremble before his holiness. Lying upon his bed, with the cold sweat of death on his brow, looking into the grave, slipping off into hell, the dying sinner hears the screams of his guilty conscience, knows that God is holy, and trembles with terror in his soul. But standing upon Mt. Calvary, beholding the bleeding, dying Lamb of God as my all-sufficient, sin-atoning Substitute, I see God in his majestic, splendorous, infinite holiness forgiving sin for Christ’s sake, and I love his holiness! I rejoice in his holiness!
Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and his great sacrifice for sin, the Lord God declares, “It is most holy.” He who undertakes the work of making an offering for sin must be holy. It is written in chapter 6, verse 18, “concerning the offerings of the Lord made by fire: everyone that toucheth them shall be holy.” The sacrifice itself must be ceremonially holy. The place where the sacrifice is made and accepted is the holy place, upon the holy altar. The One to whom the sacrifice is made is the Holy Lord God. The one for whom the sacrifice is made is, by the sacrifice, made to be holy. — Everyone who touches the sacrifice shall be holy!
Behold this wondrous mystery. — Here is the Holy Lord God made to be sin, punishing sin, putting away sin, and forgiving sin, that sinners might forever live before him without sin in spotless holiness, that we might be made to be “holy and without blame before him!” This Holy One who is our Substitute is that holiness we must have (1 Corinthians 1:30-31; Hebrews 12:14).
“Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay,
While through Christ’s blood absolved I am
From sin’s tremendous guilt and blame.
For with His spotless garments on
I’m holy as the Holy One!”
Second, notice that God gave specific commandment for the eating of the sacrifice.
“And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it.” (Leviticus 6:16)
“All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute forever in your generations concerning the offerings of the LORD made by fire: everyone that toucheth them shall be holy.” (Leviticus 6:18)
“The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Leviticus 6:26)
“All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy.” (Leviticus 6:29)
“Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy.” (Leviticus 7:6)
That sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord was to be completely eaten. Remember, the sacrifice had sin imputed to it. It was to be eaten by the priest who offered it. What does that represent?
It speaks of our Savior’s complete identification with sin. He was made sin. As the priest ate the sin offering and made it his, so the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our great High Priest, took our sins to be his own (Psalms 40:12; 69:5).
The sacrifice had to be completely eaten in one day. So in one day the Lord Jesus consumed and took away forever all the sins of all his people (Zechariah 3:9).
And the sacrifice must be eaten by Aaron and his sons. — “All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat it… The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it…All the males among the priests shall eat it: it is most holy.” Why were the males and only the males to eat the sacrifice of the sin offering? The females, the daughters of Aaron, were allowed to eat the wave offering as well as his sons (Numbers 18:8-11), but not the sin offering. — Why?
Throughout the Scriptures, the female is presented as the weaker vessel. As such, the daughters of Aaron could never serve as priests, because the weaker vessel could never portray him who is God in human flesh. The weaker vessel portrayed weakness and need. The male here portrays a man, but a man with strength to consume and put away sin. You see, that Man who is our great High Priest is the God-man, our omnipotent Savior. He and he alone has the ability to make our sin his own and put it away!
The Lord Jesus Christ made his people’s sins his own. He bore the wrath and judgment of God against us for our sins in his own body on the cursed tree. Thus, he fully identified himself with us and with our sin, so that we might know with full and blessed certainty that the matter is forever settled (Romans 8:1-4, 33-34; Hebrews 1:1-3; 9:26).
Our salvation, our peace, our happiness, our eternal blessedness does not in any way depend upon us, our works, our feelings, our goodness, or even the strength of our faith, but upon the perfection of Christ’s atonement alone.
“‘Tis done! The great transaction’s done!
I am my Lord’s and He is mine!”
Now read 2 Corinthians 5:21 and see the fulfillment of the type.
“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)
Never was the Lord Jesus Christ more fully seen as the Holy One of God, never was the holiness of God so fully revealed as when God’s own dear Son was made sin for us upon the cursed tree. The vileness and blackness of our sin, with which the Son of God identified on the cross, showed him to be “most holy.” Though he was the Sin-bearer, he was sinless. Though he endured all the horror of the wrath of God, he was his Father’s delight. Though he was forsaken of God when he was made to be sin for us, he yet dwelt in the bosom of the Father. Precious mystery! Who can sound the mighty depths of Calvary? This is the great mystery of godliness. “It is most holy!”
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
Come, poor, needy sinner, come touch the Sacrifice with the hand of faith, and you shall be holy. It is written, “Whosoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy.”