Monday, March 18, 2013

Jesus Christ -- the Fulfillment of the Law

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Monday, March 18, 2013:  Numbers 26:52-28:15

Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time.’  Numbers 28:1 (NKJV)

God gave Israel an intricate and detailed system of offerings and sacrifices.  Passages such as the one we read today are scattered through Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy.  They carry us through an impressive sequence whereby Israel related with Almighty God.  If you take the time to read it all carefully, it is absolutely amazing.  When you consider the fact that they had no copy machines, no computers, but only human scribes slowly hand-writing all of this while traveling through a desert, it constitutes a virtual miracle.  The details from passage to passage are exact -- with amazing consistency. 

As New Testament believers, we thank God for the finished work of Jesus on the Cross!  Therefore, we often tend to jump past these lists of sacrifices and offerings.  We treat is like obsolete relics from a by-gone era.  If, however, we read them as "shadows of the good things to come" (Col. 2:17, Heb. 8:5, and Heb. 10:1), these intricate details become the backdrop from which we can view THE GLORIES OF CHRIST!

Isn't is amazing how exacting and detailed our God is?  He says, "Do it the right way at the right time!"  So, obviously we should ask to what extent we are today to keep these offerings and sacrifices.  There are FIVE MAJOR OFFERINGS in Old Testament Law:  1) the burnt offering, 2) the grain offering, 3) the peace offering, 4) the sin offering, and 5) the trespass offering.  Interestingly, three of these deal with sins and two (grain and peace) deal only with thanksgiving and worship.

Then, there is the matter of timing.  Numbers 28 and 29 calls for sacrifices and offerings DAILY, WEEKLY, and MONTHLY.  On top of that, there are the seven Feasts that Israel observed.  Specific sacrifices and offerings accompanied all of this.

Old Testament demands our attention!  I believe that the entire Law falls into roughly four categorizations.  I have written elsewhere in this blog about this.  Those four are: 1) the moral law, 2) the spiritual law, 3) the ceremonial law, and 4) the practical law.  We need to know which of these apply today and which are fulfilled or satisfied.  These offerings and sacrifices are a part of the ceremonial law.

It is the ceremonial and practical laws that Paul and other New Testament writers speak of most clearly when they say, "Christ is the culmination (fulfillment) of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes" (Rom. 10:4).  JESUS FULFILLS THE LAW IN OUR BEHALF!  He becomes our purity and our sanctity.  This releases great praise and adoration for the wondrous Cross!

So, how do I honor these sacrifices and offerings today?  What should I do?  I would invite you to walk through the Scripture yet further studying the patterns of devotion and faith that underly them.  We no longer are bound by a Levitical priesthood and the rituals of outward sacrifice and offering.  God has written these laws on our hearts.  Jesus has become our great High Priest by who we ourselves may enter the Holy Place -- not an earthly sanctuary but a heavenly one (Heb. 9).  Our sacrifices are no longer bulls or goats, grain or drink.  Our sacrifices are a heart of devotion continually offering the "sacrifice of praise" (Heb. 13:15). 

It all points to Jesus.  He, and He alone, is our fullness and our fulfillment.  He is the hope of glory.

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