Foundational themes in Genesis (Part 23)

Theme: Sacrifice

(Key verses: Genesis 3:21; Gen 4:1-5)

When the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened after their disobedience to God’s commandment, they discovered that their flesh was naked and not suited for the holy presence of God. They hid themselves from God and, like all natural minds, they came up with what seemed good and right in their own eyes (self-righteousness) to cover their flesh. But God sees our righteousness as filthy and stinking rags:

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

God was not caught off guard by what Adam and Eve did because God knows all things long before it happens…and more than that…He works all those things to take place exactly how He planned it before the foundation of the world (Job 37:16; Ps 139:1-18; Ps 147:5; Eph 1:11). This truth destroys the false teachings of “free” will and the so-called “fall of man”. God even prepared a sacrifice for sin long before the physical types were introduced. Jesus’ incarnation was “foreordained before the foundation of the world” and He is the first “of the creation of God” to have the spirit of God in fullness, even while in a body of naked flesh…of course He had to grow as a human while in this body of sinful flesh (Rev 3:14; John 3:13; 6:38; 10:17-18; 16:28; 17:5):

1Pe 1:20 Who [Jesus] verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.

Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

All physical sacrifices mentioned under the old covenant are types of the one true sacrifice for sin, Jesus Christ, who is also the spiritual antitype for all the physical priests who was doing the sacrificing in the tabernacle and temple (Rom 1:20; Heb 5:6; Ps 110:4; Heb 7:12-28). God’s ownership of all is clearly seen “from the beginning”:

Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Lev 7:8 And the priest that offereth any man’s burnt offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt offering which he hath offered.

Sacrificing of this flesh in us (the desires of the body and the carnal mind) is foundational to our understanding of how God owns all things in this creation which He again will “gather together in one all things in Christ”, including all in the generation of the first man Adam (Eph 1:10). This process of sacrifice happens in us when we tremble at the word of God, and when we can see that flesh is shamefully naked in all aspects, even when are “carried away” by its beauty and appeal:

Ez 9:4-6 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel was gathered to me, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice. 5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, 6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.

Throughout Scripture this theme of a sacrifice is used to broaden our growing understanding of what it entails because we cannot grasp spiritual things all at once:

Joh 16:12-13 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Knowing that God also created evil and sends evil spirits, it is clear that Adam and Eve were given the breath or spirit “of the world” with all its inherent lusts and pride which cannot receive or know the holy spirit of God (Isa 45:7; Gen 2:7; 1Sam 16:14; 1Ki 22:20-23; 1John 2:16; Gen 3:6):

1Cor 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The various aspects of a sacrifice are extremely important to note as that helps us to appreciate and “know…the only true God, and Jesus Christ” because that is what spiritual life is all about:

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

We see that the first two sons of Adam and Eve had different mind-sets and understandings of what sacrificing entails, representing the two different minds we all are given at the appointed times – “first…that which is natural [mindset], and afterward that which is spiritual” (1Cor 15:46-49). The themes of worship and thanksgiving are closely linked to sacrificing, and here it is brought to our attention for the first time in the Scriptures (refer also to Gen 22:5; Rom 12:1):

Gen 4:1-2 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

The concept of a sacrifice includes offerings. The offering from the “fruit of the ground” is an essential part of sacrificing, but according to the law of offerings under the Mosaic law it should be accompanied by a burnt offering (Hebrew: “ôlâh” – completely burned in entirety). The burnt offering was the most significant part of all offerings and was presented at all! This is what God revealed first and foremost through the first sons of Adam and Eve:

Gen 4:3-5 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Cain followed his parents’ example in thinking that God will be impressed with man’s ideas of worship. One thing that Cain did not take heed of, for our learning, was that the sacrificing of a life was first and foremost in God’s order of worship and salvation. Jesus set the example for us. The order is also very important because we can do absolutely nothing without His work or His faith in us. “Good works” follow the faith which demonstrates that God works all things after the counsel of His will (Jam 2:17-18; Eph 1:11):

Php 2:12-14 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

Murmurings and disputings flows from disobedience to God’s clear instructions and the resulting operation of the wrong order. Without faith it is impossible to please God and faith without works is dead (Heb 12:6; Jam 2:14-26). When the gift of faith is at work in us we know that sacrificing one’s life is the only acceptable worship to God. After the flood, Noah worshipped God when he sacrificed of the “clean beast” as an expression of worship and thanks for God’s provision. But another aspect of sacrifice was introduced here also. In type, Noah’s sacrifices reveal God’s covenant relationship with all mankind:

Gen 8:20-21 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

The altar and its burnt sacrifices also features prominently in the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Gen 22:1-14; Gen 26:23-25; Gen 35:5-7). Abraham who was known as the man with a tent and an altar, and with him God again reinforces His covenant to save all people, with an oath:

Gen 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Gen 13:16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

Although Abraham (Abram then) was put to sleep having no active part in the cutting of this covenant, all the animals, except the fowls, were cut in two parts for our learning:

Gen 15:10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.

A covenant is between at least two parties. In Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God, the Father made this covenant with us all. Abraham served as is a type of Christ who is God’s “seed” of salvation for all in the Adam (John 8:56; 1Tim 2:3-6; 1John 2:2; Rev 5:6-9):

Gen 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Flesh cannot do anything “well” in God’s eyes because flesh is sin, and this sinful flesh is “at the door” of all in the generation of the first Adam (it is present in the first Adam from his creation). Only the sacrifice of this fleshly earthy life can open up the new spirit life of the last Adam who is the only One who can “do well” (Matt 10: John 12:24):

Gen 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

With the revealing of the law through Moses, more detail is added to this theme of sacrifice in Scripture. Only a specific tribe in Israel was now ordained to do the sacrificing – the priestly tribe of Levi, pointing to the “royal priesthood” chosen in Christ with the new law of the spirit under a new order (Ex 29:1-35; 1Pet 2:9; Heb 7:12; Rom 8:2).

Rom 8:1-2  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

1Pe 2:9-12  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  10  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.  11  Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;  12  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

The offerer had to bring the animal himself, lay hands on it, and kill it. Christ was never the substitute offering for us as the apostate Christendom wants us to believe, but He was the example and forerunner of how we must follow in His footsteps:

1Pe 2:21-25  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  22  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  23  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:  24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.  25  For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

We must lay down our own lives and take up our own cross. This is only possible when we have the life of Christ in us and follow His example (Mat 16:24; Mat 19:21; Rev 14:4,13; 1John 4:17):

Mat 10:38-39  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.  39  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

In the Mosaic law meticulously detailed instructions were added to these offerings, which were wearing on the flesh when we also think of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly sacrifices which were to be offered concurrently. Even just reading the book of Leviticus gives many a headache. But this is just to show us how impossible it is for flesh to please God through its own strength and devices:

1Cor 15:50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Rom 8:6-8  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

But with every detail we are given to see in these offerings, our own spiritual insight in Christ is increased and our own ideas decrease. For example the animal (or beast) must be killed at the north side of the altar made of wood overlaid with copper (symbolizing the flesh), because spiritual righteousness is obtained through the “terrifying” judgement of the “terrors of God” on the flesh of the first Adam (Ex 27:1; Job 6:4):

Job 37:22 (GW) A golden light comes from the north. A terrifying majesty is around God.

Lev 1:11 And he shall kill it on the side of the altar northward before the LORD: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall sprinkle his blood round about upon the altar.

In the five main offerings which physical Israel had to offer, the meal offering (the “fruit of the ground”) was always with the burnt offering of an animal – of “the herd” or “the flock” or “the fowls” (Lev 1:2, 14):

Lev 23:18 And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.

Ezr 7:17 That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.

We also see the two major divisions within these five offerings – the sweet savour offerings and the non-sweet savour offerings. When we are puffed up with our own will (own ideas and solutions) and in naked flesh, the non-sweet smelling offerings apply which are the sin and trespass offerings. The best flesh, even Jesus in flesh, is still dung and not good at all – it needs to be sacrificed “without the camp” (1Cor 5:21; Luk 22:42; Luk 18:19; Php 3:8):

1Cor 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Exo 29:14 But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering.

The burnt, meal and the peace offerings fall under the sweet smelling savour offerings when we can see it is Christ’s works in us which enables us to do good works, even serving and placing other’s needs ahead of our own (Php 4:18). Even our sinful flesh and all our sinful deeds in that flesh was His idea – and this is only seen and accepted through the faith of Christ in us:

Rom 7:14-25  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.  15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

The offerings and the sacrificing of self also help us to not look for preeminence and physical rulership over others, but we are rather servants of the Christ (Eph 2:10; Eph 5:2; Rom 12:1; Php 2:18). This reveals how we are “filling up the things that lack of the tribulations of the Christ”:

Col 1:24 [Rotherham] Now, am I rejoicing in the sufferings on your behalf, and am filling up the things that lack of the tribulations of the Christ, in my flesh, in behalf of his body, which is the assembly.

The more we grow and increase in the knowledge and understanding of the Christ, the more we become interested in the finer details of these sacrifices as we also move from sacrificing the lowest offering of fowls initially (typifying a babe in Christ), to give our best of “the herd”, namely the ox or bull, in type – our whole life (the full tithe):

Mal 3:10-11  Bring ye all the tithes [10 out of ten = your whole life] into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  11  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

The building of the true spiritual temple of God in us will cost us everything (2Sam 24:18-35; Luk 14:28-30):

Pro 14:4 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

Heat in the form of a fire is needed for every sacrifice. Jesus said that everyone will be salted with fire (Mk 9:49). Everyone’s work will be revealed by fire (1Cor 3:13-15; Rev 20:10-15). If we are filling up of the afflictions of the Christ, we will gradually see the purpose for all the fiery trials in our own lives and endure it “as a lamb to the slaughter”, God willing (1Pet 4:12):

Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Sacrifice and obedience go hand in hand which king Saul, a type of our impatient and disobedient old fleshly king, learned the hard way, for our admonition. God is not interested at hollow outward fleshly rituals to please people (physical “corban”). He is interested in our obedience to His commandments which correlates with sacrificing and true worship (Mar 7:10-13; 1John 5:2-3 Acts 14:1; Acts 19:1). Fleshly sacrifices are not accepted because flesh is spiritually blind, lame, and sickly (Isa 1:11-19; Jer 7:21-23; Mal 1:7-14):

Mic 6:6-8 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

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Want let op julle roeping, broeders: julle is nie baie wyse na die vlees nie, nie baie magtiges, nie baie edeles nie; maar wat dwaas is by die wêreld, het God uitverkies om die wyse te beskaam; en wat swak is by die wêreld, het God uitverkies om wat sterk is, te beskaam; en wat onedel is by die wêreld en wat verag is, het God uitverkies, en wat niks is nie, om wat iets is, tot niet te maak, sodat geen vlees voor Hom sou roem nie. (1Kor 1:26-29)
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