Up to Leviticus 16
When we walk into Leviticus cold, it can be very confusing. All the offerings, with such specificity. What’s up?
However, when we look at it through the eyes of the New Testament, things become somewhat clearer. Hebrews says that the Law has the “shadow of the good things to come, and not the image.” These sacrifices were to lead the people to an understanding of the True Sacrifice, which would someday come. If all of this tutelage had not gone before, God’s people would never “get” the sacrifice of Jesus as God’s perfect Lamb.
There are detailed instructions for each offering and sacrifice, but certain requirements are constant. If it’s an animal sacrifice, it is to be perfect. No spot or blemish. It is to be the first born or the finest. All of this points to the perfect Lamb of God, which is to come.
If the offering is grain, there is to be no leaven. In other words, pure, pure, pure! The sacrifices to God were to be the finest, purest, and best. Like Jesus!
Then we come to the food laws. There was a time when I really couldn’t “get” these. But a few years ago, as I was studying a book by a Christian nutritionist, things became clearer. All of the “forbidden” animals are scavengers. They don’t eat vegetable matter or regular meat, they are the “clean up team,” eating things off the ground. So those animals are full of toxins.
You can see how the laws regarding leprosy, leprous houses, and discharges are also to protect the people. For all of those years God was protecting His people from disasters, keeping them Holy, and leading them to understanding.
You know, it’s a miracle that He could get so much information to these people who had so little understanding of what it’s all about.d
The laws, the priests, the sacrifices, all of the institutions were “placeholders,” to lead us to Christ. What a miraculous God we love and serve!
Up to Matthew 26
At the end of Jesus’s ministry He warns His disciples about things to come. Some of these are mentioned in other Gospels, so I won’t talk about them here. There are a couple of stories, however, I feel we need to emphasize.
First, the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.(Matthew 25). All ten of them have lamps and go out to meet the bridegroom. So they all are Christians, wanting to meet Jesus, seemingly somewhat prepared. Then they all fall asleep. So far, about the same.
Then comes the cry, “He’s here. Go out to meet Him.” At that time there is a separation, since only half of them have the necessary oil, and the ones without oil get left behind.
So what is this oil? It’s the anointing which comes only from the presence of God and His Holy Spirit. The ones with the oil aren’t basing their walk on things that happened many years ago. Their life with God is fresh and new because of their intimacy with Him. They are fervent in their prayer life and in their reading the Word. Their walk is current and alive.
Sheep vs Goats
The second illustration I would like to mention is this judging of the sheep and goats. (Matthew 25:31-46). Those of us living today really need to take heed to this. We tend to have a sliding scale by which we judge people and their significance. Are they beautiful, educated, rich? Well then they are important. Are they dirty, poor, unsophisticated? Not so much.
Shame on us! In God’s eyes, every human being on the face of the earth is important. The dirty, homeless man or woman means as much to the heart of God as the extreme on the other end. Everyone is important to Him.
If we are truly to represent Him to the world, we should show no partiality of any sort. The hungry, the thirsty, the naked, and the imprisoned all are those in need of God’s message. His Gospel. We must be willing to take it to them anywhere and everywhere we can.
We are to be ready in season and out of season. As we go into the world of our everyday lives, we should be ready to share, pray, give and bless all of those He leads us to. True Ambassadors for Christ.
So here’s to the true ambassador in all of us!