Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Sweet Savor Unto the Lord

Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

The blood of the sacrifice was given to us for an atonement, as a payment for the sins which we have committed. Without the blood of the sacrifice there is no payment for sin. The blood is essential. Without the blood there can be no payment. Jesus supplied the blood for our sacrifice. We do not ever need to kill again to pay for our sins. That debt has been canceled out once and for ever, but in the days of animal sacrifice it was never the sacrifice alone. The sacrifice was followed by the burning of it upon the altar. . . .

Leviticus 1:9 . . .the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the LORD.

I do not read where God enjoyed the sacrificial killing, but 23 times:

Lev_1:9; Lev_1:13; Lev_1:17; Lev_2:2; Lev_2:9; Lev_3:5; Lev_4:31; Lev_6:21; Lev_17:6; Lev_23:18; Num_15:3; Num_15:7; Num_15:10; Num_15:13; Num_15:14; Num_15:24; Num_18:17; Num_28:8; Num_28:24; Num_28:27; Num_29:2; Num_29:13; Num_29:36;

I read that things offered and burned by fire He finds to be pleasurable. Why is that? Why is it necessary to burn the sacrificial offering?

In those days every family was to come and make an offering of atonement at the temple. I cannot find a specified required frequency for the offering of the various kinds of sacrifice, but it is mentioned going yearly in association with different festivals and feast days. In any respect, there were millions of Hebrew people. Thousands upon thousands of animals would have been offered every month. The blood of the offering was as payment, as atonement, as a cleansing for sin, but if left and allowed to accumulate and not quickly disposed of, these mountains of animal carcasses offered, surely would not have been very cleansing. The wilderness tabernacle and later the temple of God itself would have carried the stench and pall of death. Without the cleansing fire, it would have become not a place of holiness, but a place of profanity. . . a place of infection and vileness. That which is dead, that which died for atonement must not be allowed to remain and rot, but must be removed and purified by fire. Therefore the sacrifice must be closely followed with the fire of purification. . .

I began this study thinking about and meditating on the role of fire in my spiritual life. . . .I expected to find many references equating fire to passion, but in the Bible fire is much more universally used as a means of cleansing or disposal.

1 Corinthians 3:15-17 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

We are the temple of God. The temple had a fire of sacrifice burning, never to be put out:

Leviticus 6:12-13 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. 13 The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.

This fire is always to be ready to dispose of dead things. It is an eternal fire in the temple of God. If then I am the temple of God, what fire is there within me? What then is this altar of fire within me? What form does this fire take in the child of the new covenant?

A fire has two essential components. First it must have oxygen. Without oxygen a fire cannot exist. Every breath we take, contains mostly inert useless gases. For both fire and life, oxygen is required. This vital principle which gives life, is in the New Testament translated from the Greek word 'pneuma', the breath of God. . . the Spirit of God is the now revealed essence required for the fire of our internal new covenant altar.

Without the Spirit of God, without this Spiritual oxygen, fire is not possible. We cannot have a cleansing fire burning within us without the breath, the Pneuma of God. . .

But fire has another essential component. It not only requires oxygen, but there must be along with the oxygen, there must be something to burn:

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

We surely have no need to re-crucify or to burn our Savior, and maybe here the analogy falls short, but we are to mortify those parts of us which are not holy, we are to kill, we are to sacrifice that which is sinful within us, but as in the Old Testament temple, we cannot allow these things which have been done away with, to accumulate. These things which we mortify, cannot lay around inside of us, to putrefy and taint the temple, but must be disposed of upon the altar within us. . .

It is not enough to merely turn away from our unholy parts, we cannot put them merely in an internal tomb and cover them with a rock within us. We never desire these bodies of darkness within us to resurrect. We cannot retain them as any kind of memorial within us, or the stench of their remains will contaminate our holiness. We must do that which cannot be undone by mortal hands. Only by the total and permanent destruction of our sin filled nature do we create a sweet savor unto the Lord.

Do not merely kill off those sinful things within you. Place them on your altar. Bring them forward in your mind, offer them in a time of fervent praise and worship. Ignite them while filled with the Spirit of God and burn them into oblivion. . . .

I say it again. . .create within you a sweet savor unto the Lord. . .

I love you my God. . .

I love you all. . .

Dave Stokely

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