We have seen the relevance of the symbols in the Holy of Holies in this book. Now let’s look at the entire tabernacle and see how it all fits together. The Holy of Holies was certainly the heart of the temple (tabernacle), yet there was much more to the temple than its heart. How to be saved is found at the entrance to the temple.
The Entire Temple and Acts Chapter 2
We are going to see the fulfillment of the main symbols in the Hebrew temple, in Acts chapter 2. From Acts 2:37 where the apostle Peter was giving the gospel message on how to be saved, through the very last verse in Acts 2, the main points of the temple were fulfilled. The last verse, verse 47, was where the believers were “praising God and having favor with all the people.” Let’s start with Peter’s message:
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren , what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
39 “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:37-39
There were four points to Peter’s message in verse 38:
- Repent (Turn from sin and turn from false ideas about Jesus.) “Likewise, I say to you, there
is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10, also Luke 15:7
- Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Identify with Jesus in His death and resurrection). Please read Romans 6:1-11 and Colossians 2:11-12 which explain about baptism in Jesus’ name. Then, please read Galatians 2:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, 2 Corinthians 4:10, Colossians 3:3, Hebrews 10:10, Romans 7:4, Romans 6:18, Philippians 3:10-11, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 John 1:9, Acts 20:32, Acts 26:18 and 1Peter 2:24. There are also many more scriptures making these points, directly or indirectly. For example the following scriptures make these points or the practical follow through of these points: Ephesians 4:20-32, Colossians 3: 5-15, Galatians 5: 22-24, 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Titus 2:14, and many more scriptures.
After reading these scriptures, we can see that this vital message is part of the Gospel and New Testament teaching. We died with Jesus and we rose with Jesus by grace through faith. This Gospel reality happened at the same time that Jesus paid for our sins, providing forgiveness for our sins. Why is one truth (forgiveness) part of the Gospel and the other not? The answer is that both truths are part of the Gospel. The ideas that we died with Jesus and rose with Jesus by grace through faith dominate New Testament teaching. We all need an EXPERIENTIAL understanding of what this means. All Christians should start with at least a rough understanding of this.
Some folks are not able to get baptized in water because of their circumstances (jail, elderly care facility, etc.), yet they can be taught the meaning of baptism in Jesus’s name, and agree with it. Obviously, just dunking a person in water is not a requirement for salvation. Although, not agreeing with the above truths which dominate the New Testament and are the meaning underlying baptism in Jesus’ name; is flat out deadly and could very well damn a person. We will talk about these powerful truths below.
The audience in Acts 2, being Jewish, probably were remembering laying hands on the animal offerings at the entrance of the Tabernacle and identifying with the animal sacrifice. Peter’s audience might also have been thinking that they were soon going to be persecuted or die for their faith. This dominant New Testament teaching of being identified with Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection is introduced to the new believer through Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.
Baptism in the name of the Father and the Holy Spirit are also implied in Peter’s message. The first part of Peter’s preaching in Acts 2 dealt with the God of Israel who is the Christians’ Father through faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is being received in Peter’s gospel message also. Thus in Acts 2, the believers were baptized in the name of the Father, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20), as well as being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Maybe, initially, the seeker only has a rough idea that by identifying with Christ in His death and resurrection, their life is going to be transformed by God. Maybe, it might take weeks, months or years to communicate this dominant New Testament teaching to the seeker. Whatever the case, this vital New Testament teaching and truth must be understood to some degree and fully agreed to. The seeker must want to be united with Christ in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:5, Philippians 3:8-11). We will discuss how to experientially walk in this truth later in this chapter. Also, in a later chapter in this book entitled, “THE Revival Message,” this teaching is explored.
- For remission of sins (Receive forgiveness for your sins. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins. Ephesians 1:7, etc.)
- Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Ask Jesus by His Holy Spirit to come into your heart. You are asking for God’s very person and presence to come and take control of your life. Surrender to the Lordship of Christ. This means that you want Him to lead you by His Spirit (Romans 8:14)).
The Spirit is God and He is going to do many things in you. He is in you and with you to lead you (Romans 8:14), empower you for service and ministry to God and people (Acts 2:15-21), refresh you so that you can endure life’s problems and follow the Lord (Isaiah 44:3, Hosea 14:5-7, Zechariah 8:12), teach you (Ephesians 1:17-19, Luke 24:45, 1 John 2:27, John 16: 13), help you (John 14:26), and comfort you (John 14:26) on your journey of following Christ; and more. Invite the Spirit to have complete control of your soul and life.
The ministry and person of the Holy Spirit should very much be seen in the light of the believer being united with Christ in His resurrection (Romans 8:11; Romans 6:4). The believers’ life in the Holy Spirit is what it means to be united with Christ in His resurrection. Life in the Spirit replaces the sins that we died to through the death of Christ. Life in the Holy Spirit replaces the sins that we received forgiveness for through the death of Christ. Please read the chapter in this book entitled, “THE Revival Message.”
Also, when the believer is raised up by God after his physical death (1Thessalonians 4:16-17); this also is what it means to be united with Christ in His resurrection.
If you want to lead someone to the Lord, the Apostle Peter’s four point message is the best way to get it done. There are so many of us who are weary of having seekers make easy, quick prayers and then move on and live their lives as if nothing ever happened. For seekers to fully receive these four points in Peter’s prayer; it might take a day, a month, a year, four years, or more. They must be established and grounded in these teachings. For seekers to become the children of God, all four points must be embraced and cherished. This is how people get genuinely saved and established in the faith. Leaving out any one of these four points is doing a giant disservice to the seeker, the church of Jesus Christ, and to God Himself.
If you are tired of seeing one hundred people praying a prayer at an evangelistic altar call, and then disappear never to be heard from again; use the altar call that the apostle Peter used. I would rather see a few genuine salvations that take some time to establish, than a whole bunch of fake fruit. If it takes additional seminars, meetings, get-togethers, or follow-ups in order to establish the new believer; then that is what it is going to take. We have no business thinking that our ministry had accomplished something if these four points were not established in the converts’ lives.
Also, the new converts were “added to their number” in Acts 2:41 and Acts 2:47. In other words, the new converts joined the church. Seeing this result gives the minister some assurance that his or her ministry was effective.
Baptism in Jesus’ name means identifying with Christ in His death and resurrection. So how does a believer gain an EXPERIENTIAL understanding of this truth? Let’s look at Romans 6:1-11.
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
3 Or do you not know that as many of us that were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should WALK in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin….
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:1-7, 11
What does it mean that we died with Jesus Christ? The Bible teaches that the believer died on the cross with Jesus Christ BY GRACE through faith.
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
15 and He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again….
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 17
The fact that we died with Christ is actually a very simple truth to walk in. Because He died for us and we died with Him, we ARE dead to sin. It’s what we ARE. Because I have already been crucified with Christ by grace, I have every right to BE dead to any given sin (Romans 6:11). This does not mean that I never sin. This speaks to my authority won over sin because Jesus died for me. This means that I AM dead to sin because Jesus died for me. There is no sin; no matter how many decades long the habit; no matter how atrocious the habit; that I cannot walk free from and experience substantial victory (Of course, that area of weakness will certainly be something I should be aware of in the future, and for the rest of my life. For example, a former alcoholic should steer clear of bars and places where he will be asked to drink alcoholic beverages).
The “past tense” aspect of this truth means that I have authority over any given sin. Because “it is finished” (John 19:30), I have every right and all authority to walk out of any given sin. I do not care how big and awful the sin is. I do not care how long the person has been enslaved. I do not care! You can start walking out of it based on the fact that Jesus set you free on the cross. BE dead to sin because Jesus died for you. Consider yourself to be dead to that sin (Romans 6:11). This is the foundation of my deliverance. This is my confidence! There are certainly many great words of wisdom that can be built on top of this foundation. But, let’s get the foundation laid first.
And BE forgiven while you are at it. If you are going to be dead to it, also be forgiven for it. Also, BE healed in Jesus name. BE reconciled to God. Be justified. “…be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40). “…and the Lord added to the church daily those who were BEING saved” (Acts 2:47). Learn how to “be” in Jesus name. Declare it. Act on it. In Jesus name come out of that sin right now. Take action and step out on this truth, now! “… Behold, now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2b).
Whenever you declare or believe the truth that you are dead to a sin because Jesus died for you, you are exercising your God given authority over that sin problem. You are exercising the authority of the cross of Christ over the power of that sin.
You need to also receive and declare that you are forgiven for that sin. This is exercising the authority of the cross over the condemnation, guilt and death that the sin brings into your life.
Also, and very importantly, once you declare or believe that you are dead to a particular sin and forgiven for that sin only because Jesus died for you; IMMEDIATELY invite the Holy Spirit to take control of your life. Don’t wait one Nano second to do this. The Holy Spirit was given to you to help, assist, lead and encourage you to take a new path to replace what you are dying to. Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to God in order to supply us with the Holy Spirit (John 20:22, Philippians 1:19, Galatians 3:5, Luke 11:13, Romans 8:13-15). We didn’t just die with Jesus Christ, we rose with Jesus by grace through faith. “… recon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:11b).” The Holy Spirit in our life is the resurrection power of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:10-11). This resurrection life REPLACES the sin that we died to and were forgiven for.
It is all about the cross and the Holy Spirit: not just the cross; not just the Holy Spirit. It is also all about deliverance from a particular sin, and forgiveness for that sin. Not just forgiven and not just delivered. Both!
Dying to a sin by the authority and power of the cross, and choosing to walk in a new direction by the help of the Holy Spirit; this is the meaning of baptism in Jesus’ name. “I am dead to that because Jesus set me free at the cross. I invite the Holy Spirit to move in my life and heart to live a new life (Romans 6:4).” I declare that I am free from that sin and forgiven for that sin. Then, in the very next breath, I ask for the Holy Spirit to take control of my life. This is what it means to have an experiential understanding of being united with Christ in His death and resurrection. (Also, the forgiveness truths (redemption and substitution) compliments the identification truths.)
By the way; don’t use the word, “positional,” in your confession or faith. The word, “positional,” is the kiss of death to the power of the cross in your life. Your first clue about this is that the word, “positional,” is not ever used in the Bible, when referring to the truth of being “crucified with Christ,” or anything else for that matter. The truth of the cross is weakened and diluted when the word, “positional,” is used. It is like adding a touch of arsenic to your food. Over time, it will kill you. Make the cross an identity thing, and you will see God’s power and authority. “Reckon yourself TO BE dead to sin …” Romans 6:11. And the one and only reason that you are dead to sin is because Jesus loved you and died for you (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Dead to sin is what you ARE by grace. Drive this truth into your heart of hearts. Meditate on it. “….How shall we who died to sin, live any longer in it” (Romans 6:2)? Forgiven is what you are also.
When I declare and believe that I am dead to a sin because Jesus died for me, I am exercising authority over that sin. Then, I open my soul and heart to the Holy Spirit. Life in the Holy Spirit replaces the sins that I died to. Consider the following scriptures:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law.
24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24
Notice the Spirit and the cross (vs. 24). Both are necessary.
Another necessity is what we might call the “want to.” This has to do with repentance which was the Apostle Peter’s first word in Acts 2:38. You can declare that you are crucified with Christ and are therefore dead to a sin; but if you really don’t want to be dead to that sin, you are going to have problems with that sin. Is there a sin that you just don’t want to be free from? There has to be a determination and desire to be free from this sin that so easily besets you. God requires our participation in all this. The reality is that our entire walk with Jesus Christ involves cooperation. We have to cooperate with the Holy Spirit; He won’t force us to do things, usually. We have to agree with the cross in that we need to want to be free from that sin; and of course we have to want to be forgiven (This is the easier part of this. 1John 1:9).
If the “want to” just is not there, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the desire. In other words, I am open to have God give me the desire to do the right thing. Pray for the desire. Pray daily for this. I have had many a prayer like this answered in my life. I believe Francis of Assisi said that because of his newly found relationship with God, he began to love the things he used to hate, and hate the things he used to love. God by His Spirit can change your desires if you ask and want Him to. Open your heart to God and His Spirit and let Him help you with your desires in some areas of sin. Let Him help you with your relationships and your marriage. Hang in there and be patient (Romans 4:17-22).
Jesus set us free at the cross very much like God opened the Red Sea for the children of Israel. The way has been opened for us, but we need to walk out of the land of bondage one step at a time. The angels will not carry us. Start walking now. Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. Start now and see the salvation of God open up for you. (The fire by night and the cloud by day is a type of the Holy Spirit leading the believer in Christ. Exodus 13:21-22)
It is interesting to note that all of the above instructions given above about our daily, moment by moment, walk with God; and instructions dealing with our sinful tendencies; can be summed up and seen in Peter’s gospel message in Acts 2:38. Repentance has to do with our “want to.” Forgiveness is in Peter’s instruction. Being dead to a sin and being raised up by inviting the Holy Spirit to take control is found in Baptism in Jesus’ name. The Holy Spirit is an essential part of Peter’s message, especially on the resurrection side of this gospel (Although the Holy Spirt does have a sanctification ministry also).
I see in all this, that baptism in Jesus’ name solidifies and makes possible a lasting repentance. The Holy Spirit’s help and encouragement makes possible a lasting walk of righteousness as a resurrected new creation. Side by side with all of this, forgiveness is essentially deliverance from spiritual death, curses and hell that our sin brings on us. This deliverance from death is so that we can experience life and blessings in the next life, and to some degree contend for it in this life. This all is not without persecution from demons and the world.
Thus the complete gospel is deliverance from death into life (Forgiveness), and deliverance from sin into righteousness (Baptism in Jesus’ name). Sanctification (deliverance from sin) and righteousness (right living by the Holy Spirit) are perfected in heaven where the spirits of righteous men are made perfect (Hebrews 12:23, Philippians 3:21, 1John 3: 2-3, etc.). We have this hope of perfected righteousness and perfected life and blessing to be revealed and given to us when we physically die in Christ (2 Peter 1:10-11, 1 John 3: 2-3, Philippians 3: and many more scriptures).
Consider Peter’s gospel call in Acts 3, which is the very next chapter after his first message in Acts 2. This second message paralleled his first gospel call.
19 “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord….
26 “To you first , God, having raised up His servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning every one of you from your iniquities.” Acts 3:19,26
In this altar call we have the same four points that Peter made in Acts 2:38, only using different words.
- Repent (The same wording as Acts 2:38)
- Be converted (Easton’s Bible Dictionary includes the following in its definition of “conversion”: “…men are converted when, by the influence of divine grace in their souls, their whole life is changed, old things pass away, and all things become new Acts 26:18).” 2Corinthians 5:14-17 is another scripture that says this. This understanding of “conversion” is a great basic understanding of the meaning of baptism in Jesus’ name. Please review the above teachings on baptism in Jesus’ name.
- That your sins may be blotted out (This means forgiveness or remission of sins)
- Times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (The Holy Spirit was sent down from heaven and from God’s presence, to refresh, comfort, encourage, lead, empower, help us, and more. Just remember a good worship service where you were refreshed. Remember fellowship with other believers that helped you greatly (Romans 1:12, 2Corinthians 1:4). Remember an encouraging word from the Lord that refreshed and comforted you. Think of times when the Holy Spirit gave you hope when things were looking kind of bleak. “Times of refreshing” is a beautiful phrase to describe the ministry of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter and Helper. He is also our Lord and the One who leads us (Romans 8:9, 14; 2 Corinthians 3:17).
“… for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).” Because of the Holy Spirit in their lives, believers begin to enjoy and have contentment living for God and doing the right things in life (righteousness). “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace … (Galatians 5:22).” The Spirit gives us joy and peace as we love God and people. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain (1Timothy 6:6).” Being content as we live for God is great gain. The Holy Spirit helps us to be content as we serve.)
Now, we want to relate these four points of Peter’s gospel message to the burnt offering, grain offering, and peace offering found at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. We are demonstrating, that from Acts 2:37 to the very last verse of Acts 2, all of the main symbols of the tabernacle were being fulfilled. They continued to be fulfilled throughout the rest of the book of Acts. They continue to be fulfilled in obedient and knowledgeable Christians to this very day. Let’s look in Leviticus chapter one and two to see the burnt offering and the grain offering. We will be referring to these scriptures throughout this section.
3 “If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord.
4 “Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.
5 ‘He shall kill the bull before the Lord; and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood and sprinkle the blood all around the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
6 ‘And he shall skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces.
7 ‘The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire.
8 ‘Then the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar;
9 ‘but he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water. And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord. Leviticus 1:3-9
1 “When anyone offers a grain offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. And he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it.
2 ‘He shall bring it to Aaron’s sons, the priests, one of whom shall take from it his handful of fine flour and oil with all the frankincense. And the priest shall burn it as a memorial on the altar, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.
3 ‘The rest of the grain offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons.’ It is most holy of the offerings to the Lord made by fire. Leviticus 2:1-3
Regarding the burnt offering; notice in Leviticus 1:3 that the person making the offering was doing it by his own free will. This speaks to the fact that a person gets saved willingly. They choose salvation, they cannot be forced into it. Their parents can’t force them to become genuinely saved. The government can’t force people to become Christians. A person cannot force their spouse to get saved (They can pray for them to have the desire). The believer must come to Christ as an act of his will. God wants relationships that are voluntary, not forced (2 Corinthians 9:7, etc.).
Also notice that the person making the sacrifice was making this offering at the door to the tabernacle of meeting (temple) which would be near where the altar was located. The door of the tabernacle of meeting and the burnt offering (grain offering, and peace offering) at the door, speak symbolically of coming to Christ. The reality is that the entire tabernacle (temple) symbolizes Jesus Christ. Coming to the tabernacle of meeting (temple) through the door and through the offerings, was symbolic of coming to Jesus Christ by faith.
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. John 2:19-21
It is truly magnificent how Jesus turned an incident involving the Hebrew temple into a statement about Himself and His body (John 2:13-22).
Also, notice that the tabernacle is called the “tabernacle of meeting.” This was a meeting place. This was a place where God met with His people. Jesus Christ, whom the whole tabernacle of meeting symbolized, is the new way that we meet with God. In the tabernacle of meeting the Father, the God of Israel, was between the cherubim of glory. (The tabernacle of meeting became the temple later, when the children of Israel occupied the Promised Land.)
Furthermore, repentance which was the first of the four points of Peter’s gospel message in Acts 2:38, is pictured by the person coming to the entrance of the tabernacle of meeting and making the sacrifices. The seeker could have been wandering anywhere and trying anything, but he chose to come to the entrance of the tabernacle. The seeker could have been offering incense on a hill somewhere to another god. The seeker standing at the entrance of the tabernacle of meeting is a picture of the believer turning to God, repenting of his sins, and seeking to be saved by Christ. Also, without the seeker repenting of His sins and sinfulness he will not understand who Jesus Christ is and what Jesus can do for him.
In Leviticus 1:4 quoted above, the believer put his hand on the head of the burnt offering and the offering was accepted on the believer’s behalf to make atonement for him. The believer by putting his hand on the animal was identifying with the animal and believing the animal to be his substitute. Isn’t it interesting that the Old Testament believer had to IDENTIFY with the animal in order for it to be his SUBSTITUTE.
In the Pulpit Commentary regarding Leviticus 1:4, it says, “…This putting, or forcibly leaning, the hand on the victim’s head, …, was a symbolical act implying ‘This animal is now for present purposes myself, and its life is my life.’ It was this act of identification with the offerer which made it be accepted for him to make atonement…”
Peter in Acts 2:38 had the seekers identify with Christ in His death and resurrection through baptism in Jesus’ name, in order for them to have forgiveness for their sins. “… and let everyone be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; …” Forgiveness of sins is a truth that is related to the doctrine of substitution. Jesus was our substitute and paid for our sins so that we can be forgiven. Yet, in the Old Testament, this substitution required that the seeker identify with the sacrificial animal by putting his hand on (and press into) the head of the animal that was to be sacrificed. Similarly, the true believer in Christ must identify with Christ in His death and resurrection, and receive forgiveness of his sins. These two fundamental truths go hand in hand, and side by side. Identification and substitution are both acts of God’s grace.
Regarding this identification truth, please read Romans 6:1-11 and Colossians 2:11-12 which define baptism in Jesus’ name. Then, please read Galatians 2:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, 2 Corinthians 4:10, Colossians 3:3, Hebrews 10:10, Romans 7:4, Romans 6:18, Romans chapter 6, Philippians 3:10-11, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 John 1:9, Acts 20:32, Acts 26:18 and 1Peter 2:24. There are also many more scriptures making these points, directly or indirectly. For example the following scriptures make these points indirectly: Ephesians 4:20-32, Colossians 3: 5-15, Galatians 5: 22-24, 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Titus 2: 14, and many more scriptures.
In Leviticus 1:3, it is said that the offering was male and without blemish. This speaks to Jesus Christ being sinless when He was sacrificed to make atonement for our sins. Atonement meant that the judgement that the believer deserved for his sins, was transferred to the sacrificial animal. This burnt offering was a type of Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins.
In verse 5 of Leviticus chapter one the priest killed the bull and then sprinkled the blood around the altar. This blood that the priest sprinkled was symbolic of the blood of Christ shed for the forgiveness of sins (1Peter 1:2). We believers have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7, Romans 3:23-24, Galatians 2:16, Colossians 2:13, etc.) The concepts of redemption, forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7), and atonement are very much related.
In verses 6 through 9 another aspect of salvation begins to unfold. Not only did Jesus pay the penalty for our sins through the shedding of His blood, but we died with Jesus on the cross. Later in this book we will demonstrate many absolutely powerful examples of Old Testament symbols that point to these New Testament truths. Some of these powerful symbols are found in the burnt offering and the grain offering described here.
The body of the burnt offering was cut up and placed on the altar in verses 6-9. It was positioned with the wood. Wood speaks of human flesh or the human sinful nature (1Corinthians 3:12-15; here, wood gets burned up in judgement.). All of the body parts minus the skin were put on the altar with the wood and then burned. The animal’s body on the altar symbolizes the New Testament truth that the believer was crucified with Christ by grace through faith (Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, etc.). The animal body parts were associated with the wood and both were burned up. The burning of the flesh on the altar speaks to Christ’s flesh AND our flesh.
Interestingly, the skin of the animal was not burned on the altar in Leviticus 1:6. I believe that this symbolizes that the exterior of the believer remains basically the same after salvation. It is the inside of the believer that undergoes a radical change. Although, many notice that the light on the inside does tend to shine through the outer body.
In verse 9 it states that all of the parts of the burnt offering were completely burned up. The entire body of the animal was burned up less the skin. In the peace offering the believer, the believer’s guests, and the priests ate parts of the sacrifice. In the burnt offering, all of the meat was burned to the Lord. The smoke ascended up as a sweet aroma to God. This speaks to the New Testament truth that the entire body of sin was crucified with Christ. Romans 6:6 says “…that the body of sin might be done away with….”
The above truth does not mean that the Christian never sins. It does means that the Christian has authority over any of his sinful tendencies because Jesus died for him. He is already dead to any sin that he wants to be dead to, because he already died with Jesus by grace through faith. Therefore, the believer IS dead to sin because Jesus died for him. Dead to sin is what he IS (Romans 6:2, 11). The reader can experience a lot of freedom by meditating on, declaring, and acting on this truth. God has opened and split the Red Sea; you can now come out of the land of bondage any time that you want to (Exodus 13:3). The cloud by day and fire by night (the Holy Spirit) will lead you.
Verse 9 describes the sacrifice as “an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.” Only the burning of the flesh made the sweet aroma to the Lord. The sprinkling of the blood made atonement for the believer’s sins. The atonement satisfied the righteous demands for judgement required for their sins. The burning of the flesh (sin nature) on the altar, was a sweet aroma to the Lord. The burning of the flesh speaks to Christ’s flesh and our flesh. The believer was united with Christ in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:5-11) by grace.
Now, a fundamental truth and pattern of the gospel is that if there is a crucifixion, there must also be a resurrection (Romans 6:4-5, Colossians 2:11-12, 2 Corinthians 4:10, and many more). Also, if you want a resurrection in your life, you need a crucifixion of some sin or sins (Galatians 5:22-24, note verse 24). So where is the picture of the resurrection in the burnt offering? The picture of the resurrection is found in the grain offering which follows it. A handful of the grain offering was put on top of the burnt offering.
As shown in the scriptures quoted above at the beginning of this section, Leviticus 2:1 speaks of grain in the form of fine flour. This offering is different from the other four offerings described in Leviticus chapters 1 through 7. The difference is that the grain offering does not involve an animal sacrifice. The reason for this is because the grain offering symbolizes the resurrection of Christ, and it symbolizes the believer being resurrected with Christ by grace through faith. The believer was and is crucified with Christ as was symbolized by the burning of the flesh on the altar of the burnt offering. The believer is also raised up by grace through faith to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). This was symbolized by the grain offering, a handful of which was often put on top of the burnt offering and burned as a sweet aroma to the Lord (Leviticus 2:2).
Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ covers the same spiritual realities that the second half of the burnt offering and the grain offering covered. The first part of the burnt offering, the sprinkling of the blood for atonement, should be seen as a complementary truth with the burning of the flesh. Many New Testament passages have these two truths mentioned side by side as in Galatians 2:16-21, Colossians 2:11-13, Romans 3:19-31 and chapter 6, 2 Corinthians 14-19, Acts 2:38, etc. In the New Testament when these two truths are mentioned side by side; sometimes one truth is mentioned first, while other times the other is mentioned first. The burnt offering beautifully pictures these two fundamental truths of the cross coexisting side by side.
In Leviticus 2:1, the grain in the form of fine flour, the oil and the frankincense were mixed together. Of course the oil speaks of the Holy Spirit, the flour speaks of righteousness (right living), and the frankincense speaks of prayer (incense, Revelation 5:8, etc.). The simplicity of these three ingredients is seen in the following simple prayer: “Lord, help me do this.” “This” refers to the right thing. Asking God for help is relying on the Spirit to empower and help the believer do the right thing. The whole sentence is a prayer and demonstrates reliance on the Spirit to follow Christ. Thus, the Spirit filled life is seen in these three “ingredients.” The Spirit filled life is a life of prayer and dependence on God and His Spirit for the purpose of following Christ. These three “ingredients” are mixed together as seen in verse one.
Salt is added to this grain offering in Leviticus 2:13. This speaks to the fact that Spirit filled believers are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).
Also, in Leviticus 2:14-16 there is discussion of how to offer first fruits to the Lord. Notice that this discussion of the first fruits is in the chapter explaining the grain offering. This is showing us that the grain offering in Leviticus 2 is related to the feasts of the Lord involving grain offerings and first fruits in Leviticus chapter 23. Bear with me on this, because this is important.
This grain offering should be seen in the light of two of the feasts of the Lord involving grain and seen later in Leviticus in chapter 23. In Leviticus 23 the harvest of grain is celebrated in the feast of first fruits, and is a picture of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 15:20, Leviticus 23:10-14). Also, fifty days after the feast of First Fruits, there was the Feast of Pentecost (Greek word) which also involved a harvest of grain (wheat, Leviticus 23:15-22). This particular feast was the appointed time for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on the followers of Christ in Acts 2:1. In other words, the grain offering in Leviticus 2 speaks of the resurrection just as the feast of First Fruits (Leviticus 23) speaks of the resurrection. Also, the grain offering with the oil in Leviticus 2 involves the Holy Spirit. The Feast of Pentecost (Greek word and name) in Leviticus 23, which is observed 50 days after the feast of First Fruits, speaks of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The two feasts and the grain offering are all related to grain, making our interpretation of the grain offering all the more solid.
A handful of this grain offering was taken by the priest to be burnt as a sweet aroma to the Lord (Leviticus 2:2). The apostle Paul wrote, “Indeed, I have all and abound. I am full, having received from you, a sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God (Philippians 4:18; Philippians 2:12-13). Paul was referring to a material gift from the Philippians to him. This righteous and loving act was like a sweet aroma that pleased God. The act of the Philippians in the New Testament fulfilled the Old Testament type which was grain offering. Both were sweet smelling aromas to the Lord. By the way, there are lots of New Testament scriptures about pleasing God with our behavior: Hebrews 13:16, Colossians 1:9-10, 1Thessalonians 4:1, 1 John 3:22, 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, Ephesians 5: 8-10, and many more.
Also, all of the incense was burned to the Lord in Leviticus 2:16, showing that all prayer goes to God and God alone. Our trust is in God and God alone. Not all of the oil and flour were burned to the Lord.
The rest of the grain offering was eaten by the priests. People feed on our good deeds. Ministers of the Gospel feed on our good deeds and contributions.
Moving on from the grain offering, I want to make the following observations regarding the bronze altar, the fire on the altar, and the bronze basin of water found farther in from the altar in the tabernacle courtyard.
- The altar and the flesh on the altar speak of the sanctification ministry of the cross of Christ; namely the believer was crucified with Christ by grace. Christ’s death on the cross has other ministries and meanings, but the flesh on the altar speaks of sanctification (the believer being set apart from and free from sin by grace through faith, Hebrews 10:10, etc.).
- The fire on the altar speaks of the sanctification ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does many things in and through the believer; but the fire on the altar shows the sanctification ministry of the Holy Spirit. He burns out our fleshly, carnal life by pointing out sins in our lives that need to be crucified with Christ (Galatians 5:24, etc.).
- The water in the bronze basin speaks of the sanctification ministry of the word of God. The word of God has a variety of ministries to the believer; but the water in the bronze basin represents the sanctification ministry of the word of God. The word of God washes out sins in our lives by pointing out carnal areas that need to be crucified with Christ (Galatians 5:24, etc.).
Thus, God is crucifying, burning and washing us, to get us all cleaned up for our service to Him. (You must be a mess! Yeah, me too.) The Cross, the Spirit, and the Word of God (1 John 5:8)!
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, 22 sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-22
Also, read Philippians 2:12-15, 1Peter 2:24, as well as many other New Testament scriptures.
We started this section of the book promising to show how Acts 2:38 through the very last verse in Acts chapter 2, touch and parallel all the main points and symbols of the tabernacle. So far we have the following tabernacle parallels to Peter’s gospel message in Acts 2:38.
- Repent in Acts 2:38 is seen by the seeker coming to the entrance to the tabernacle and ready to sacrifice the burnt offering and the grain offering (and the peace offering).
- Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ in Acts 2:38 parallels the burning of the entire flesh of the Burnt Offering on the altar; and the Grain Offering. The symbolism of the second half of the Burnt offering and the entire Grain Offering cover the same spiritual territory as the symbolism of being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-11, Colossians 2:11-12).
- Remission of sins (forgiveness of sins) in Acts 2:38 is seen in the sprinkling of the blood of the Burnt offering around the altar at the entrance to the tabernacle of meeting, and elsewhere.
- Receiving the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38 is first seen in the oil of the Grain Offering. The grain of the Grain Offering typifies the fruit of righteousness, the fruit of the Spirit, and bearing fruit unto God (Romans 7:4-6).
The Holy Spirit and His ministries will also be seen in the Holy place and the Holy of Holies. It is fitting that the Spirit and both rooms in the tabernacle are prefaced by the word, “Holy.” Jesus Christ who is pictured by the entire tabernacle, supplies us with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:5, Philippians 1:19, John 7:38). Thus, both holy rooms symbolize the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It can also be said that the fire at the altar, the oil of the grain offering, and both Holy rooms in the tabernacle, show and symbolize the work of the Holy Spirit.
It is interesting that the believer comes to Christ and God the Father through Christ’s sacrificial death. The Old Testament believers approached the tabernacle by first participating in the sacrifices. The sacrifices of the tabernacle were pictures of various truths of the death of Christ. This all shows us what it means to be IN Christ, because this is how they got IN and how we get IN to partake of the benefits of this salvation.
Appropriately, the various ministries of the Holy Spirit which are pictured in the Holy of Holies, the Holy place, and elsewhere in the tabernacle; show us what it means that Christ is IN us by His Spirit. We are in Him and He is in us as the New Testament teaches (John 17, etc.). Remember that Jesus referred to Himself as the temple (John 2:19-22 and other scriptures).
The next and third offering made at the altar at the entrance to the tabernacle, was the peace offering. This offering was also called the fellowship offering. It is different in many ways from the burnt offering. One major difference of the peace offering was that the participants ate much of the meat and they possibly did this with a priest, guests, friends and family. In this way the peace offering was in contrast with the burnt offering. With the burnt offering all of the meat was burned to the Lord, rising up as a sweet smelling aroma to God.
Also, in the peace offering, the priests were given certain, prescribed parts of the sacrifice to eat. The priest’s portion was the breast and the right thigh (Leviticus 7:29-36). On the other hand, the peace offering was similar to the burnt offering in that the blood was still sprinkled for atonement by the priest.
Another major difference with the peace offering was the emphasis on the burning of the fat. The fat and certain internal organs like the kidneys were burned to the Lord in the peace offering. In the Old Testament, the “fat of the peace offering” was commonly referred to. The burnt offering dealt with the fat also, but not with such emphasis. Also, the Lord forbade the eating of the blood or the fat (Leviticus 3:17).
3 ‘Then he shall offer from the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire to the Lord. The fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, 4 ‘the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove; 5 ‘and Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is on the wood that is on the fire, as an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord. Leviticus 3:3-5
Notice that the fat of the peace offering was burned on the altar as a sweet aroma to the Lord. Also, notice that the fat of the peace offering is laid on top of the burnt sacrifice which was on top of the wood which is on the fire (Leviticus 3:5). The peace offering was also laid on top of the handful of the grain offering which was commonly laid on top of the burnt offering.
The burnt offering was associated with and on top of the wood which represents the flesh or carnal nature of humanity. We then have a hand full of the grain offering laid on top of the burnt offering. Then we have the fat of the peace offering laid on top of all of that. Meanwhile we have the blood of the burnt offering and the blood of the peace offering sprinkled around the altar. In other words, we have two fundamental themes working side by side. The blood speaks of redemption and atonement (and forgiveness). The burned parts speak of crucified with Christ, raised with Christ, and then the meaning of the fat of the peace offering is yet to be explained.
What spiritual significance does the fat of the peace offering have? There is no way that God just made up this “fat” ritual just to be doing it. God always has a purpose for what He does. It might be a mystery to us, because of our hard hearts (Matthew 13:11-17). It would probably be good for the reader to try and figure out what the fat symbolizes. This exercise will help you engage in this subject. Below is my understanding of the meaning of the fat and the peace offering.
The entire peace offering, also known as the fellowship offering, speaks to the New Testament truth known as reconciliation. We were enemies with God and enemies with each other, when we were living in our sins apart from Christ. Remember in Romans chapter one where people did not give glory to God and then descended into all manner of “antisocial” behavior, otherwise known as sin (Romans 1:20-32). New Testament teaching on reconciliation can be found in Romans 5 (peace with God in Romans 5:1, Romans 5:10-11, and more), 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Ephesians 2:11-22, Colossians 1:19-23, and other scriptures.
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard …. Colossians 1:20-23a
Isn’t it amazing that God devoted an entire offering to this problem of enmity; that is, enmity with God and enmity with each other. It shows the huge value that God puts on unity and harmony in the body of Christ (the church). The New Testament is loaded with teachings related to how God values harmony and unity in the fellowships of believers; thus the need for reconciliation.
3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another says, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 1 Corinthians 3:3-5
Even the bread of Communion has an important emphasis of unity in its meaning.
17 For we though many, are one bread and one body, for we all partake of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Even Jesus in His high priestly prayer emphasized unity.
21 “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17:21
And with these concepts of peace and unity is the Bible’s focus on the fat of the peace offering. The fat speaks of excess or surplus. The surplus belongs to the Lord. The fat was also mentioned in other offerings. Let’s look at some New Testament scriptures that speak of this subject. This next scripture below involved sending material help to other members of the church living in Jerusalem.
13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there might be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.” 2 Corinthians 8:13-15
44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. Acts 2:44-45
I am not a socialist or a communist. There is a huge difference here between communism and the Biblical church. The members of the church gave with a willing and even cheerful heart because of God’s Spirit in them. Communist and socialist governments take one’s goods by force and then usually squander or inefficiently use the proceeds. Socialist leaders tend to siphon money off to themselves, their friends, and family members. They also squander the money on foolish and wicked projects like abortion and other evil organizations and purposes.
This idea of the fat or excess belonging to God (and His people and His work), extends far beyond finances. Excess time, excess energy, excess knowledge, excess understanding, excess faith for anything (these might be considered the believers’ spiritual gifts where each has a measure of faith, Romans 12:3), and countless other surpluses relate to the fat of the peace offering. Consider the following scripture.
23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,
25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 1 Corinthians 12:23-25
In the scripture above, honor should be distributed equally so that there should be no schism in the body. One might think of a family where one child is favored and honored more than the others. This inequality in the area of respect and honor can lead to a schism or division in the family. Note Joseph and his brothers in Genesis chapter 37 through chapter 48. Also note that the apostle Paul publicly rebuked Peter for favoring Hebrew believers over Gentile believers in Galatians 2:11-14. Peter for wrong reasons was giving preferential treatment to one part of the body of Christ. Honor, acceptance, and friendship were not being distributed equally.
Isn’t it interesting that the discussion of reconciliation is accompanied with a discussion of fat and surpluses, which lead to a discussion about divisions and schisms in the fellowship. Also, notice how reconciliation is designed to bring unity and harmony with God and believers; and believers with each other.
I have read that the fat is to be interpreted as the “best part.” I don’t think so. If I went to eat at a steak house and was served a plate full of fat, I would hardly consider that the best part. Fat refers to excess and surplus. Living off the fat of the land means living off the surplus of the land because of its abundant fruitfulness.
It seems like an overabundance of anything in the body of Christ, needs to be shared with the other members, lest there develop schisms in the body of Christ. Also, and very importantly, this sharing is also how the body builds itself up. The apostle Paul was loaded with spiritual treasures and wrote the following to the believers at Rome. “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established… (Romans 1:11)”. Paul wanted to share his abundance of spiritual treasures with the believers at Rome, so that they would be established and helped.
Consider the following scripture from among many: “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16). Thus, the sharing of each “joint” causes the body of Christ to grow and be edified. Ephesians 4:12-13 says the following: “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; ….”
Don’t we always ask for or give people a chance to “share” their testimony, teaching, word, or some spiritual or physical contribution with the rest? “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (1 Corinthians 14:26). God blessed each with some new increase, a surplus of some sort. This surplus needed to be shared to edify the body. Not sharing a surplus, as mentioned above, leads to divisions in the body of Christ.
The scripture below also deals with not sharing in the body of Christ. Not surprisingly, it also addresses factions in the body of Christ.
19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.
20 Therefore when you come together in one place, is it not to eat the Lord’s Supper.
21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of the others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you. 1 Corinthians 11:19-22
In the early Corinthian church the believers ate a meal with communion. Some people in the church of Corinth were eating and drinking in front of the poor. The poor had no dinner to eat while waiting for Communion. This behavior was shaming the poor and causing a schism in the body. Thus, this is an example of a surplus that was not shared, but was conspicuously consumed and demonstrated in front of “have nots.” It caused a division in the body of Christ. Also, at least some of the offenders were judged with sickness and death for not recognizing and treating the poor members as equal members of the body of Christ. (1Corinthians 11:27-34, particularly verse 34; also consider 1Corinthians 10:17). This example demonstrates how important unity is to the Lord.
The apostle James wrote, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” One’s surplus should be used to meet another’s genuine needs. Now, people who are poor because of substance abuse or laziness have greater needs than just money and provision. Consider 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 and Ephesians 4:28. In Ephesians 4:28 the former thief was commanded to work with his own hands that he might have something to give to those in need. The former thief was to create a surplus by work. Then, of course, the fat or surplus belonged to the Lord. Giving to the poor in Jesus’ name is giving to the Lord.
Another example of giving a surplus to others was the Old Testament practice regarding the gleanings. Leviticus 19:10 instructed the children of Israel to not glean their vineyards, but leave the gleanings for the poor. Deuteronomy 24:19-21 instructed the children of Israel to leave the surpluses (“left overs”) of the grain, olives and grapes for the poor, the strangers, the fatherless and the widows. Lots of scriptures deal with the gleanings or surpluses in the fields. These surpluses belonged to the Lord and these surpluses were for the poor. Remember the spiritual principle that the fat belongs to the Lord; you should not eat it. Also, when we give to the poor, we are giving to the Lord.
Proverbs 19:17 says that he who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord. Matthew 10:42 says that whoever gives one of these little ones a cup of cool water because they are a disciple, will not lose his reward. Jesus told Saul (soon to be Paul) in Acts 9:4-5, that when Saul was persecuting the Christians, he was actually persecuting Jesus. The Bible teaches that when we help someone in Jesus name, we are giving to God as well as that person. Conversely, when Saul was hurting Christians, he was actually persecuting Jesus, Himself.
This idea of sharing is also a powerful reason why we need good fellowship. In a good fellowship the believer should be getting what they need to survive; what they need to be encouraged; and what they need to be fruitful in Christ. When we share with each other, we are giving to the Lord. The practice of sharing the excess, and the practice of seeking an increase to share, helps to edify the body of Christ.
The last two offerings of the five offerings described in Leviticus chapters one through seven will be discussed here. The sin offering (Leviticus 4) and the trespass offering (Leviticus 5 and part of Leviticus 6), both deal with individual, specific sins. The sin offering basically pertains to unintentional sins (Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, 27). If a believer unintentionally made a mistake, they would make a sin offering. That particular sin would be atoned for and forgiven through the sin offering (Leviticus 4:20, 26, 35). It appears that the word “forgiven” is first used regarding the offerings, with the sin offering and the trespass offering; but not used in the first three offerings mentioned above.
The trespass offering which was the fifth offering in Leviticus, emphasized the damage that a sin did to the Tabernacle or to the people hurt by the trespass. “And he shall make restitution for the harm that he has done in regard to the holy thing, and shall add one-fifth to it and give it to the priest…”(Leviticus 5:16a). The concept of restitution was introduced here with the trespass offering. Regarding restitution mentioned in Leviticus 6:5, the sinner would restore full value of the loss to the offended person plus one fifth more. The sinner would then make his trespass offering and have his particular sin atoned for and forgiven.
Both the sin offering and the trespass offering had to do with maintaining and restoring peace and fellowship with God and man. We all know what it is like to have a sin crop up and cause trouble in our walk with each other, and with our walk with God. The sin needs to be dealt with in order to restore peace and fellowship back to the relationships. This process certainly is related to the peace (fellowship) offering. The sin and trespass offerings maintained the peace and fellowship among the believers and with God. The peace offering, sin offering and the trespass offering remind us of what should be happening in a Communion service (the Lord’s Supper).
Some New Testament scriptures that would relate to the sin and trespass offerings would be the following:
12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16
The above scriptures are not directly about getting saved, they are about maintaining and restoring fellowship with God and man if a sin or sins occur. These two offerings and the corresponding New Testament scriptures are on the “saved” side of the peace offering. The burnt offering, the grain offering, and the peace offering are about getting saved. The peace offering is located right in the middle of the five offerings.
The New Testament communion service would definitely relate to the sin offering, trespass offering and the peace offering. The communion service would help restore and promote unity and harmony in the body of Christ; and restore fellowship with God, Himself. The fellowship with family, friends and priests seen in the Peace offering points to the New Testament communion service.
Now, there is a fundamental difference between the New Testament believer and the Old Testament believer. In the Old Testament, the burden for restoring a relationship when a person or God’s temple had been wronged, was through restitution. The wrong doer had to make up for the damages done. This was the principle of an “eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth …” (Exodus 21:23-25). This principle of restitution is also valid and desirable for the New Testament believer who has harmed someone. Many New Testament believers would want to make restitution for the damages done through their sinning against someone. Many would insist on it.
In the New Testament, though, the burden for restoring the relationship is on the person who has been wronged. This is done by the offended one forgiving the wrong doer. The offended one is imitating Christ when he forgives like this. The offended one is demonstrating who Christ is and what He has done for humanity.
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12 (Notice that in this part of the Lord’s prayer, the person is praying that God would forgive them like they forgive others.)
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:13
The above are sobering, but exciting and revolutionary scriptures. In the Old Testament with restitution or in the New Testament with forgiving those who trespass against you; both are all about reconciliation and restoring peace with the brethren. Certainly, if someone is continually offending you, you need to take action to resolve the issues in some way (Matthew 18:15-18, Luke 17:3-5, Galatians 6:1).
The purpose of this entire chapter is to show how the main points of the whole tabernacle were fulfilled in Acts 2:38-47. Of course the main points of the tabernacle are also seen throughout the book of Acts. We are now ready to discuss the next great part of the tabernacle and the next section of Acts chapter two. The next great part of the tabernacle has to do with the room called the “Holy Place,” which was right next to and before the Holy of Holies. The section of Acts chapter two which corresponds to the Holy Place is the following verse:
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42
There were three main articles in the Holy Place, and they correspond to three truths in Acts 2:42 above. The three articles in the Holy Place were the golden lampstand, the table of showbread, and the altar of incense.
- Prayers mentioned in Acts 2:42 point back to the altar of incense in the Holy Place. In the Bible incense symbolizes prayer (Revelation 5:8, Psalm 141:2, and Revelation 8:3).
8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8
- Fellowship mentioned in Acts 2:42 points to the golden lampstand in the Holy Place. Consider the following scriptures.
20 “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands which you saw ARE the seven churches.” Revelation 1:20
31 “You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece….
36 “Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; and all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold.
37 “You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. Exodus 25:31, 36-37
20 “And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually.
21 “In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.” Exodus 27:20-21
15 “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16
In Revelation 1:20 the seven lampstands stand for seven churches. In Exodus 25:37 we have a lampstand with seven lamps being built for the Holy Place. Thus we have seven churches in Revelation corresponding to the seven lamps in the temple lampstand.
Notice in Exodus 25: 31, 36 and 37, God makes a huge emphasis on the lampstand being hammered from one piece of pure gold. It was not to be cobbled together with various, different pieces. The lampstand is a picture of the Church of Jesus Christ. Again, as through all scripture, the one piece is demonstrating that the church of Christ is to be characterized by harmony, unity, peace, oneness and fellowship under Christ and God the Father.
The light given out by a lampstand stands for good works in Matthew 5:15-16. It is interesting that the church is pictured as a lamp that gives out light to those all around. That light is the church’s good works towards each other and towards those around them. In Exodus 27:20-21 the light is fueled by the oil which is a type of the Holy Spirit. The ministry of the Holy Spirit always involves right living or righteousness.
As a side point here, the harmony, unity, and good works portrayed by the Golden Lampstand, would always require an extraordinary emphasis on right living and love, and genuine deliverance from sin. As a New Testament example of such an emphasis, read 1Peter 2:24, and notice the scriptures before and after this verse are all about relationships with people. Another point to be made here is that love fulfills all righteousness (Romans 13:8-10). Love is the bond of perfection (Colossians 3:14).
Also, gold, silver and precious stones are spoken of in 1Corinthians 3:7-15, and symbolize the good work of building God’s spiritual building (the church) on earth. Consider here that the lampstand in the Holy Place was made of pure gold.
- The breaking of bread is most likely referring to taking Communion together with a meal. Breaking of bread (Communion) mentioned in Acts 2:42 points back to the peace offering (also known as the fellowship offering), the sin offering and the trespass offering. The teachings on the breaking of bread would certainly overlap with the teachings on the Golden Lampstand also. Yet, as mentioned previously in this chapter, the sin offering and the trespass offering have to do with maintaining fellowship and peace with God and people. These two offerings involve a person committing a particular sin or sins, and seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with God and man for those particular sins. Receiving forgiveness for sins committed happens at Communion. Restoring fellowship, harmony and peace with God and man, happens at Communion. “For we though many, are one bread and one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1Corinthians 10:17).
The burnt offering (redemption, forgiveness; and crucified with Christ), the grain offering (raised with Christ to walk in newness of life; and more), and the peace offering (reconciliation) relate to how to get saved (Acts 2:38). Such teachings are also remembered at Communion.
As just shown above, the great Christian institution of Communion has a similar emphasis as the peace offering, sin offering and the trespass offering. Also, notice the amazing similarity between the bread of Communion and the meaning of the lampstand in the Holy Place.
22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat, this is My body.” Mark 14:22
17 For we though many, ARE one bread and one body, for we all partake of that one bread. 1Corinthians 10:17
1Corinthians 10:17 clearly states that we believers are the one bread of Communion and the body of Christ. The bread of Communion symbolizes the body of Christ (Mark 14:22). The body of Christ is also a phrase used for the church (1Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:24, Colossians 1:18). Therefore, we can confidently say that the bread of Communion metaphorically symbolizes the church, among other meanings. The Golden Lampstand also symbolizes the church. Thus, the bread of Communion and the Golden Lampstand both symbolize the same reality, namely, the church of Christ.
The body of Christ and bread of Communion are also interpreted in the Bible as deliverance from sin so that the believer can walk in good works and love: (1Peter 2:24, notice the word “body”), 1Corinthians 5:6-8 (unleavened bread), Romans 6:6 (deliverance from the body of sin), Hebrews 10:5-10 (body).
The point of the above teachings on the body of Christ is the following: It takes the experience of deliverance from sin and walking in love or right living (righteousness) in order to experience unity and harmony. Thus, the biblical meaning of the body of Christ has the unity message and the message which provides the means of attaining that unity; namely, crucified with Christ so that we can walk in righteousness and love (1Peter2:24, 1Corinthians 5: 6-8, Hebrews 10:5-10).
The lampstand in the tabernacle also had the unity message of the church symbolized by the lampstand being hammered out of one piece of gold. The lampstand also had the message of letting our light (good works, righteousness) shine in this world which glorifies God (Matthew 5: 15-16). The golden lampstand gave out light and was fueled by oil which was a type of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:8-15 speaks about the Christians being children of the light, and about the fruit of the Spirit.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.
13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
14 Therefore He says,
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:8-17
The lampstand in the tabernacle (symbolizing churches and fellowship) and the bread of Communion (symbolizing the body of Christ, the church) show some similar meanings, yet they are not completely similar. This similarity is another strong indication that helps us believe that our interpretation of the lampstand is correct. These two different symbols cover some of the same spiritual territory.
Unlike the golden Lampstand; Communion, having the bread and the cup, also relates to the sin offerings and trespass offerings which involve maintaining peace and fellowship with God and people. The sin and the trespass offerings point to the blood which is symbolized by the cup of Communion. The bread of communion also has the truth that the believer has been crucified with Christ by grace (1Peter 2:24, Hebrews 10:10, 1Corinthians 5:6-8). These messages are not directly seen in the Golden Lampstand.
- Apostle’s doctrine mentioned in Acts 2:42 correspond to the table of showbread in the Holy Place. The table of showbread had twelve loaves of bread. These loaves were changed weekly and were eventually eaten by the priests. When we see the number twelve in the Bible, we have to immediately think of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. Consider these scriptures in Revelation near the very end of the Bible.
12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: Revelation 21:12
14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Revelation 21:14
The Hebrews considered the twelve loaves of show bread to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. In the New Testament, the twelve apostles and their teachings became the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20-22, Mathew 16:17-18). Revelation 21:14 quoted just above puts the names of the apostles on the twelve FOUNDATIONS of the wall of the new Jerusalem. The twelve apostles parallel the twelve tribes of Israel. Also, regarding this line of thought, Jesus referred to the apostle Peter as the rock on which Jesus would build His church. Jesus called Peter this after Peter declared his revelation of Christ (Matthew 16: 17-19). The rock is like the foundation.
The twelve loaves of show bread were eaten by the priests. This fact reminds me of the prophet Jeremiah when he said, “Your words were found and I ate them, (Jeremiah 15:16a)….” When the children of Israel ate and lived on the manna in the wilderness, it was to teach them that “… man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4 and Deuteronomy 8:3).” I understand that manna is a different kind of bread than the show bread, yet the idea of feeding on the word of God is a very Biblical thought.
In the Old Testament, the priests ate the show bread. The New Testament teaches that we believers are a royal priesthood (1Peter 2:5, 1Peter 2:5, Revelation 1:6). Also king David and his men ate the show bread when they were hungry (1Samuel 21:6, Luke 6:3-4). David and his men were not priests. The above facts point to the New Testament believers feeding on the word of God. We feed regularly on the word of God just like the Old Testament priests fed regularly on the show bread.
Some people think the table of showbread is symbolic of Communion. This doesn’t fit because there is no cup prominent on the table of show bread. Also the bread of Communion is all about the symbolism of one bread and one body (1Corinthians 10:17, Mark 14:22, etc.). The twelve loaves don’t fit this vital symbolism of oneness. These things are easy to discern if one’s mind is not biased, or if one does not have an “ax to grind.”
The show bread is called the “bread of presence.” This speaks of the fact that God’s presence accompanies His word. God watches over His word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). God confirms His word with signs and wonders following (Mark 16:20).
The show bread is also called the “bread of faces.” They say it translates literally as “Face Bread.” Evidently, the Talmud says that it was called this because it had many faces. This fits with what the word of God is like. Each teacher of the word tends to show a different emphasis and “face” of the word. The twelve apostles certainly had different points of emphasis and different ways of communicating Biblical truths.
This entire chapter has been about showing how Acts2:37-47 fulfills all of the main points of the tabernacle (temple). Acts 2:37 started at the entrance of the temple with the offerings. The offerings demonstrated Biblical salvation. Acts 2:42 moved to the Holy Place with its articles (symbols). These articles in the Holy Place were fulfilled in Acts 2:42. Now we will move to the Holy of Holies and we will see how Acts chapter 2 fulfills the articles (symbols) in Holy of Holies. Actually, we have already shown how the four symbols in the Holy of Holies were fulfilled in Acts chapter 2. This was done in a previous chapter to this book. Let’s consider again the articles in the Holy of Holies.
- Aaron’s rod that budded (lion) which was found in the Ark of the Covenant.
- The golden bowl of manna (man) which was found in the Ark of the Covenant.
- The two tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them (ox) which were found in the Ark of the Covenant.
- The cherubim of Glory (eagle) which were above the Ark of the Covenant and above the mercy seat. These cherubim point us to giving God glory.
Acts 2:41 tells us that three thousand people came to Christ and were added to the church’s number. Acts 2:43 tells us about the wonders and signs done through the apostles. These two scriptures demonstrate the face of the lion and are a New Testament fulfillment of Aaron’s rod that budded. By the power of God the kingdom was increased by three thousand souls. Also, signs and wonders were demonstrations of God’s power.
In Acts 2:45 the believers voluntarily sold their possessions and gave the proceeds to help meet the needs of each other. Such generosity was extraordinary acts of love and righteousness. These acts fulfilled the heart of the commandments of God (the two tablets with the Ten Commandments in the Ark of the Covenant) and were examples of the face of the ox.
In Acts 2:46, the believers “…ate their food with simplicity and gladness of heart.” The believers found their provision in the kingdom of God, thus showing the man’s face of God and fulfilling the symbol of the Golden Bowl of Manna.
In Acts 2:47 the believers were praising God which was an example of the eagle face of God. Praising God fulfilled their responsibility to give God glory thus fulfilling an important meaning of the Cherubim of Glory and God’s presence residing between the cherubim. Also, in this scripture the disciples were having favor with all people. In my opinion, this favor fits the idea of obedient believers having a certain amount of respect and honor among people, even though their hearts were focused on giving God glory.
Thus, the heart of the Temple; that is, the symbols in Holy of Holies; were fulfilled by the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the first believers in Christ. This was recorded in Acts chapter two and beyond.
This chapter, “The Tabernacle and Acts Chapter 2,” makes for excellent teaching to groups anywhere and anytime. Even if you can’t get the Tabernacle symbols in because of time constraints, the breakdown of the various teachings of Acts 2, are very edifying and compelling. I can preach and teach forever on Acts 2:38. The four basic points in that verse relate to our walk with God; twenty four-seven; and moment by moment. We are those who are being saved (Acts 2:47b).