Sin Against A Fellow Believer - Part II
Leviticus 6:8-9 — “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.”
If sin is dominating the child of God in some way, this means that the believer is not properly availing himself of the great victory purchased by Christ at the Cross. Considering the price that He paid, it is a travesty of the highest sort for us not to avail ourselves of all that for which He has paid the price, at least that which we can have at present.
The phrase, “unto the morning,” found in Leviticus 6:9, proclaims the fact that the day or morning is coming when the long night of sin will be totally and completely finished. This speaks of the coming kingdom age when Jesus will come back to rule on this earth. However, its greater meaning pertains to the coming time of the new heavens and the new earth when former things will have passed away (Rev. 21:4), even as is described in the last two chapters of the book of Revelation. The Scripture then says, “for there shall be no night there” (Rev. 21:25).
“And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place” (Lev. 6:11).
To remove the ashes to a clean place, the priest was to change his sacred robes in which he had ministered at the altar. He was to put on other garments, though less holy, but not common, since the removing of the ashes was still a sacred function.
Great care was taken that the place to which the ashes were removed was well sheltered so that the wind should not blow them about. The priest was not allowed to scatter them but had to deposit them gently. No stranger was permitted to gather them or to make profit by the ashes.
The priest being required to change his garments when he removed the ashes each morning presented itself as a portrayal of the fact that Christ, of whom the priest was a type, had finished His work. This pertained to the satisfying of the righteousness of God, which was the holiest of all; hence, it required the linen garments. Now, Christ would embark upon another aspect of His ministry, which was to serve as our high priest, constantly making intercession for us (Heb. 7:25; 9:24).
This is the reason that the burnt offering was a sweet savour offering exactly as were the meal offering and the peace offering. The sacrifices for sin were not sweet savour offerings, which constituted the sin offerings and the trespass offerings.
The law of the burnt offering tells us that this was the holiest work of Christ. In other words, the Cross came up before God as the holiest work of the Saviour, eclipsing any and everything else that He had done. That’s the reason that Paul said: “But God forbid that I should glory (boast), save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14) (The Expositor’s Study Bible).
THE CROSS IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL DOCTRINE
“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” (Lev. 6:12).
Concerning this, Charles Ellicott said:
This is introduced here in this fashion, in order to caution the priest whose function it is to remove the ashes, that when engaged in this act, he is to take great care that in taking off the ashes from the altar, he does not knock away the pieces of fat of the burnt offering, which constitute the fuel, which could cause the fire to go out. Each morning, the priest was to replenish the wood on the altar which had been consumed during the night.
It is said that there were three separate piles of wood by the altar, and it was kept that way at all times. The largest one was for the daily sacrifice to be burned, which was a whole burnt offering, and which was offered up twice a day, 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The second pile of wood was that which provided the coals of fire that could be put into the censers and, in fact, was done so twice a day at the time of the morning and the evening sacrifices. They were placed on the altar of incense, with incense poured over these coals of fire, which filled the Holy Place with a sacred fragrance and a sacred smoke. This was a type of the intercessory work of Christ, which is carried on in heaven unto this very hour.
The third pile of wood was said to be the perpetual fire from which the other two portions were fed. It was not quenched, we are told, until the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar.
THE FIRE WAS NEVER TO GO OUT
The fact that the fire was to never go out proclaims the fact that the Cross alone is the answer to the sins of mankind and, furthermore, that it will ever be the answer. The fact that it was to never go out also proclaims the absolute necessity that we understand that the Cross is the foundation of our faith. It is not a mere doctrine, but rather the foundation of all doctrine.
While it can be spoken of as a doctrine, it must be understood that it is the foundational truth from which all supplemental doctrine springs. I’m sure that Jesus addressed what He had done on the Cross as more than a mere doctrine among doctrines.
If one properly understands the Cross, then one has a working knowledge of the Bible. To not understand the Cross means that in some way, the individual has a perverted view of the Word of God. In fact, the story of the Cross is, in effect, the story of the Bible.
This is so closely intertwined that we might even turn it around and it would work accordingly, meaning that the story of the Bible is the story of the Cross. Once one begins to understand the Cross, then what I have just stated becomes overly obvious. The study of the tabernacle and of the sacrificial system, which we are studying now, all and in totality is a study of the Cross.
THE FAT OF THE PEACE OFFERINGS
With the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering, a peace offering was to be presented and offered with each one of these offerings every time they were offered.
The peace offering presents the fact that the other offering, whatever it might have been, was accepted by God, and peace was thereby restored to the one who had sinned. It was the offering of a finished work and faith in that finished work.
THE PERPETUAL BURNING OF THE FIRE
“The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” (Lev. 6:13).
It is believed that when Moses dedicated the tabernacle, meaning that it had been constructed and now erected exactly as the Lord had demanded, the Lord sent fire down from heaven and ignited the wood on the altar (Ex. 40:29–38; Lev. 9:24).
The fire on this altar, which was ignited originally by God, was to be kept perpetually by the priests. This means that it was to never go out because the need of the people was ever present, as it regarded cleansing from sin.
Presently, and I speak of the time of the new covenant, even though it is a finished work, we are to ever look at the Cross as the answer, in fact, the only answer for the ills of man. This means that we are to preach the Cross continually, i.e., “it shall never go out.”
The truth is, there is less preaching of the Cross presently than there has been at any time, I believe, since the Reformation. This means that the church presently is in worse condition than it has been at any time since the Reformation. The Holy Spirit is given less and less place because the preaching of the Cross has been given less and less place. The two - the Cross and the Holy Spirit - go hand in hand.
THE CROSS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
Unfortunately, the denominational world attempted to preach the Cross without the Holy Spirit, and presently, they are basically left preaching much of nothing. The Pentecostals tried to preach the Holy Spirit without the Cross, which, incidentally, the Holy Spirit will not tolerate, and they are basically left now as little more than a hollow shell. In fact, they are chasing spirits thinking it’s the Holy Spirit!
The Scripture is emphatic, this fire “shall never go out!” However, I’m afraid it is going out, making the altar, i.e., the Cross, totally ineffective. The Cross is Christianity, and to remove the Cross is to take the heart out of Christianity, leaving it no more, as stated, than a hollow shell.
This article is an excerpt from the book, The Sacrificial System, by Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart.