Many Christians often neglect the Old Testament. Far less attention is given to it than the New Testament. There are 39 books in the Old Testament, and of those books Leviticus is probably one of the most neglected. Yet it holds a vast treasure in truths and spiritual principles concerning our worship and relationship to the Lord. We will look at one such principle in this message.
Chapter one of Leviticus speaks of the burnt offering, which is called the whole burnt offering because the entire sacrifice is consumed by fire. Its counterpart in the New Testament is found in Romans 12:1: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. The Greek word for “bodies” is soma, which means the entire being. In other words, we are to present the whole self – body, soul, and spirit – unto the Lord as a living sacrifice. The whole burnt offering, then, speaks of the offerer making a total and complete dedication of himself unto the Lord.
The third chapter of Leviticus describes the peace offering. Part of the sacrifice in this offering is offered up in smoke on the altar as food unto the Lord (Leviticus 3:11). Another part of the offering is consumed by the worshiper (Leviticus 7:15). Thus, the peace offering is partaken of both by God and by the worshiper. The peace offering, then, speaks of the worshiper and God partaking of each other's life. It is a relationship of oneness, a higher level relationship with God than most ever attain to, but one that is accessible to all.
Leviticus 3:5 gives the key to this deeper relationship with God. And Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice… The whole burnt offering is first made and then the peace offering is placed upon the altar fire that consumed the burnt offering. This tells us that the whole burnt offering is the foundation for the peace offering. The close walk with God, the partaking of His life and Him partaking of ours, cannot be entered into without first dedicating our entire being unto the Lord. This means that we retain no possession of any part of our lives; the Lord is the sole possessor. It is only when He totally possesses us that we also possess Him, and that is the peace represented by the peace offering.
Ultimate security is found in this kind of relationship with God. That is why it is called the peace offering. When we no longer possess any part of our lives but are totally possessed by God, then we are no longer concerned about our well-being. We are His responsibility. Even the self-preservation instinct vanishes. We no longer have to defend ourselves or retaliate to abuses. Personal affronts no longer exist. Anything that confronts us confronts the Lord. We are identified with Him and He with us. We are one!
It is quite common for Christians to assume the benefits of the peace offering without first becoming a whole burnt offering. Giving up control of one’s life is not easy, even when it is being given to God. All call Him Lord, but very few really submit to His Lordship. We are deceiving ourselves when we claim Him Lord and still retain lordship over certain areas of our lives. We can talk a good walk, but the peace of a real walk with God is not found without the foundation of the whole burnt offering.
Copyright © 1999 by Henry DuBose