All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Salvation in Unforgettable Terms – Part 1
Based on Leviticus 1–6

The ancients thought literally, so when God gives them the plan of salvation in covenant form, it is portrayed to them in that manner. Initially the covenant is delivered verbally, and later it is given in a show-and-tell form for literal thinkers, with the establishment of the sanctuary with its compartments, sacrifices, and offerings.

The sanctuary for the ancients is the dwelling place of God on earth with His people. It is a portable structure, enabling God to live with them, even as they move from place to place. It is divided into three parts: the court, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place; and the sinner’s progressive religious experience involves all three areas.

The Court

The court is the outer part, where a sinner’s journey begins, and the altar of whole burnt offering is its religious center. An animal is killed each day in its northern part, representing judgment; its entrails and legs are washed in the southern part of the court, considered the favored section.

The animal is completely burned on the altar as a whole burnt offering, and represents the complete sacrifice and death of the future Messiah. Its death pays the penalty for sin, in substitution for the death of the sinner. Through this, the sinner is saved and completely justified (declared righteous) before God. The Messiah’s righteousness becomes the sinner’s righteousness.

It’s Personal!

When an Israelite unknowingly sins, and his transgression comes to light, he brings an animal as a sin offering to the door of the sanctuary. He then places his hand on its head, confessing his sin. This represents the transfer of his sin to the innocent victim that prefigures the Messiah.

The sinner then must slay the animal, himself. This makes a deep impression regarding the awfulness of his sin! The blood of the animal is taken by the priest into the sanctuary court and sprinkled around the altar of burnt offering, indicating that the sin is transferred from the sinner to the sanctuary.

In cases of known sin, and when he wrongfully takes or misuses something, the Israelite must restore what was wrongfully taken, adding a penalty of 20 percent. He then brings a trespass offering to the sanctuary and follows a similar procedure to the sin offering. Both of these offerings result in the complete forgiveness of the sinner, transferring his sins from him to the sanctuary.

The Holy Place

The saved sinner is also linked to the next compartment of the sanctuary—the Holy Place. Saved from sin through the death of the Messiah, he must now live saved by the life of the Messiah. Like the whole burnt offerings, both public and private, the grain or meal offerings can be part of the daily ritual of the sanctuary, or privately brought by an individual.

Chief among the public grain offerings is the showbread (or the Bread of the Presence) that is kept continually before the Lord. It consists of 12 loaves, placed in two stacks on the table, and changed every Sabbath. A drink offering accompanies the morning and evening sacrifice.

Private grain offerings are voluntary, and can be offered at any time. They are a testimony of their dependence on the Lord for sustenance and life. On the Lord’s part, it serves as a continual promise that He will continually sustain His people. Applied to the Messiah, literally, it indicates that His slain body serves as food to sustain one who is saved, just as His blood serves as drink. In theological terms, the Messiah’s resurrected life serves as the means for sanctification.

Next month we’ll look at the stunning Most Holy Place!

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