KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end-time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
Having considered the beautiful purpose of God in the Royal Priesthood, and the qualifications for that priesthood, we now approach the subject of THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD. We shall proceed to examine the contents of the twenty ninth chapter of the book of Exodus. To consecrate the priests is to hallow them to act as priests unto the Lord. God said to Moses, "And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to HALLOW them, to minister unto Me in the priest's office...thou shalt CONSECRATE Aaron and his sons" (Ex. 29:1,9).
It is always enlightening to study the typical rituals and ceremonies of the Old Testament, even though the rites have become obsolete, the altars deserted, and the dust of priest and devotee has long since mingled in the sand of the desert, or the green of the field. All were but shadows and types wonderfully portraying greater and grander realities to be experienced now on the higher plane of spiritual life. Through these examples and shadows the Holy Spirit has faithfully established the pattern of the order of the Kingdom of God. For this reason the Levitical ritual of the consecration of the priesthood is possessed of sublime importance for every candidate for the Royal Priesthood, and we are drawn to examine it with holy and reverent curiosity. There are so many beautiful and holy truths to be explored, and such a deep and vital work to be wrought upon mind and heart as we meet the immutable principles of priesthood consecration.
To consecrate the priests is to hallow and equip them to act as priests unto the Lord. The consecration of the priests involved a great deal of ritual which consisted of five chief parts: (1) ceremonial washing (2) robing (3) anointing (4) the offering of three sacrifices on behalf of the priests (5) causing them to perform a part of their office, in earnest and in token of the performance of the whole ministry to be fulfilled from that day forward.
The first three parts we will explore later in another connection. I am impressed at this time to draw your attention to the threefold sacrifice connected with the consecration of the priesthood. Each of the offerings had a separate meaning for the priests. The succession in which the sacrifices followed each other on this occasion, first the sin
offering, then the burnt offering, and lastly the consecration offering, has its ground in the meaning of each sacrifice. The priest passed through a spiritual process. He had transgressed the law, and he needed the deliverance signified by the sin-offering. If his offering had been made in truth and sincerity, he could then offer himself as an accepted person, forsaking all self-interests, dying completely to self, yielding his all forever to God, as a sweet savor, in the burnt offering. And in consequence he could be quickened, strengthened, equipped, and empowered by God in the consecration offering. This is, therefore, an offering by degrees. A little fellow can come rushing down in a service of consecration and he says, "I give myself to the Lord" But there are three orders or degrees of consecration, and he must pass through all three before he is the Lord's! There is the offering of a bullock as a sin offering; but as the offerings proceed there is the offering of a ram as a burnt offering and the offering of another ram as an offering of consecration. There is a wonderful progression here. And ALL who would be consecrated members of the Royal Priesthood must experientially pass through ALL that is here typified by these three offerings.
THE BURNT OFFERING
In the last Study we dealt with the first of these offerings, the sin offering. This brings us to the second, the burnt offering. The Lord commanded Moses, "Thou shalt also take one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram. And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar. And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head. And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the Lord: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord" (Ex. 29:15-18).
All the offerings speak of Christ, and all speak of Christ in union with His body; but as we know, God's truth is many faceted in its beauty, and therefore many types and symbols are required to adequately portray the whole truth. And even then they are but types and shadows of the reality which is experienced only on the spiritual plane. What does the term "burnt offering" mean? What is an offering? The Scripture shows us that whenever a thing is set apart from its original position and usage and is laid upon God's altar, specifically for Him, this thing is then an offering. In the Old Testament men offered bullocks and rams and many other things as offerings. The principle is this: The ram originally lived in a sheepfold and was used for wool and for breeding. Now it is taken from the sheepfold and brought to the gate of the Tabernacle. There is a change in its position. Then it is killed, placed on the altar, and consumed by fire to be a sweet smelling savor unto God. This is a change in its usage, and in its state of being, too. Thus, this ram becomes an offering. An offering, therefore, as it relates to the animal sacrifice, is none other than a thing which is set apart for God and laid on the altar, with a change in position and a change in usage and in state of being. Once it is offered as a sacrifice, it leaves the hands of the offerer and can no longer be used for his own advantage and enjoyment. All the sacrifices on the altar BELONG TO GOD and are for HIS usage and enjoyment. To put it simply, to be an offering means to be sacrificed to God for HIS USE In the burnt offering Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram, thus identifying with the ram. While they were identified with the ram, a sharp knife severed his carotid artery, causing the powerful, struggling animal to pump his blood out of his own body. Then the carcass was cut in pieces, washed, laid upon the altar, and the entire ram was wholly burned: the flesh, the inward parts, the skin, the fat, the dung, the head all of it. Nothing was reserved. No part of it was used for any purpose. None of it was eaten. Nothing was thrown away. It was consumed upon the altar in totality. The offerer identified with the animal and said in effect, "Lord God, as I offer this animal to be wholly given and burned before Thee, reserving nothing unto myself, so do I give myself to Thee to be Thin, to do Thy will, to fulfill Thy purpose, reserving nothing unto myself; all that I am, all that I have, I surrender to Thee, Lord, to be Thine, and for Thy use, and Thine alone." In the burnt offering the offerer surrendered himself completely in response to a special call from God. He yielded his life and pledged himself to do what God was asking of him, cost what it might.
The great example of making a burnt offering is that of Jesus yielding Himself to God, coming in the flesh, perfectly living out His Father's will on the earth plane, and dying finally upon the cross. And so the burnt offering would speak of Christ in total obedience to the Father's will, which eventuates in the sufferings of the cross, and which ascends unto God as a sweet smelling savor. Ah, HE IS THE EXAMPLE! We see that wondrous life of the Lord Jesus when He walked on earth. We see Him born as a babe in Bethlehem's manger. We see Him when He was twelve years of age, in the temple, about His Father's business. We see Him as a carpenter in that poor town of Nazareth. We see how He acted when He came forth in His ministry for God, how He spoke the Father's words, how He did the Father's will, how He performed the Father's works, how He conducted Himself before men and how He treated them so kindly, so gently, so humbly, and so holily. He lived and died wholly unto God, claiming no rights, reserving nothing for Himself. He lived and died as a burnt offering for God's satisfaction, a sweet savor unto His Father in heaven. This is all very glorious and we can fully appreciate the burnt offering once we understand the great truth that it has absolutely nothing to do with sin. It was not a sin
offering, nor was it a trespass offering nor yet a peace offering. It was the offering that must follow the sin offering, it was what every priest must do after being for given and cleansed from all sin. It has to do with our whole being, being given over to God in a practical way. Jesus was not a sinner, He never sinned, He was pure, holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. But though He was a Son, He yet possessed A WILL OF HIS OWN which had to be continually YIELDED UP to His Father's will. If Jesus did not have a will other than God's will, His own will as a man, He would never have prayed, "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, NOT MY WILL, but THINE, be done" (Mat. 26:39; Lk. 22:42).
This is the kind of consecration Paul speaks about when he says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1). Before we are consecrated to cod as a living sacrifice, we are like a wile ram living In the mountain wilds; we act completely by our own will. Only when we become a living sacrifice to God do we cease from our own activities in order to await God's commands. Once the sacrificial animal in the Old Testament became a sacrifice, it was killed and then burned completely. We may say that it was a dead sacrifice. However, in our case, after we consecrate ourselves, we are still alive; we are a living sacrifice. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live" (Gal. 2:20). The difference is that in the past we lived for SELF, but now we live for God. Before, we sought after our own benefit; now we seek His pleasure. Formerly, we were interested in our own affairs; now our concern is about the Father's business.
Ah, Jesus was the first priest to be so fully consecrated to God, but it should not be difficult for us to understand that in the same way He lived as a burnt offering every member of the Royal Priesthood must live, too. Not only did Aaron (the High Priest) lay his hands upon the head of the dying ram, but his sons (the priesthood) laid their hands upon it also. It was killed and Moses cut the ram into pieces, and washed the inwards and legs in water, and placed every piece upon the altar WITH THE HEAD, and burnt the head and the pieces and the fat. Thus, during the Church age, Jesus and His body, the great High Priest and the members of the Royal Priesthood, are being presented, member by member, before God on the altar of consecration, yet all are counted TOGETHER as ONE SACRIFICE. The Head was laid on the altar first, and since then all who are "crucified with Him," as in the type, are laid with the Head upon the same altar. The burning of the offering on the altar shows how God accepts the entire sacrifice, as "a sweet smelling savor."
Ray Prinzing has so aptly written, "The root thought in sacrifice is TABLE-BOND between the worshipper and his God. In general, sacrifice is an offering made to God with the design of expressing, securing, or promoting friendly or normal relations with Him, based on the belief that the worshipper and God are capable of holding personal relations which can become closer, or more hostile. Thus Israel had its various offerings. There was a 'sin offering' that was made, and this offering was to signify a covering over of their sin, so that they might have a communion with God over the table, fellowship with out the condemnation and guilt consciousness of their sin. So they had this TABLEBOND with its various offerings; thank offerings, freewill offerings, etc. And especially the Passover illustrates the table-bond, for they ate of the lamb, after its blood was applied to the doorposts, etc. Then we note the peace offering, for it had three parts. The Lord's part, that which was burnt upon the altar, was the fat which covered the inward parts, the tail entire, the two kidneys, etc., and the blood sprinkled around the altar. The priests had their share, consisting of the right shoulder and breast. And then the worshipper's portion consisted of all that was left. To sit down and feast before the Lord a table-bond, a time of communion and fellowship in the presence of his God, a sense of peace that all was well between them and their God.
"But there is an altar which goes beyond all this self-indulgence, lays bare the secrets before God, and deals with the inner spirit of man. Heb. 13:10 says, 'Our altar is one of which the worshipper's HAVE NO RIGHT TO EAT' (Moffatt translation). Thus implying a realm beyond where we satisfy ourselves, while we offer our sacrifice. It is totally and completely unto HIM, for His pleasure alone. To declare, 'Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name' (Ps. 103:1). Nothing withheld, no reservations for self, it is all given over to Him. For His pleasure alone, a table for His delight without our personal gratification involved. Certainly, once we have given Him our all, He will also bless us with the fullness of Himself, but our inner motivation, in ministry to the Lord, is that of total abandonment to Him FOR HIM, without a thought of what shall be received in return. While we have eaten of Him, partaken of Him, received of Him, now we would give ourselves to be totally His, for His satisfaction. They who are to be SONS OF THE HIGHEST, priests of the Most High, are those who come near to Him, to stand before Him, to minister unto Him" end quote. Glory to God!
BURNING THE SACRIFICE
The Hebrew word translated "burnt" offering is OLAH and signifies "a step; stairs; ascending, as 'going up' in smoke; to go up." Every shade of meaning of the word denotes "ascending" unto God and points out alike the mode of the sacrifice and its meaning.
Our usual thought of fire has been that it is a purely negative force, working only destruction and loss. But our GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE and, I would remind you, the very same God IS CREATOR and IS LIFE and IS LOVE. A recurring word throughout the Scriptures is, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is ONE LORD" (Deut. 6:4). What does it mean that God is ONE? It means infinitely more than that God is merely one person, for one in the numerology of Scripture means UNITY, UNITED, UNFRAGMENTED, UNDIVIDED. It means that every aspect of God's being and nature is moving in harmony; His justice is not warring against His mercy, His judgment is not pitted against His grace, His wrath is not striving with His love. Every part of the plan, purpose, will and nature of God is ONE unified, united, harmonious, in perfect accord and agreement, all moving toward the same end, the one complementing the other. The God of love and the God of judgment is the same God and both His love and His judgment are unified to accomplish the same purpose. This is why the Scriptures declare that God is both the "Saviour of ALL" and the "Judge of ALL". He is not the Saviour of some and the Judge of others. The very same God who is the Judge of ALL is also the Saviour of ALL. He JUDGES ALL and He SAVES ALL! Can we not see by this that His judgment and His salvation are unified and harmonious, working TOGETHER to effect :he same end the restoration of all into God. His judgments are thus UNTO SALVATION. There is no conflict. God is ONE!
"Our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29). This relates specifically to the principle of the burnt offering. In the institution of the Aaronic priestly ceremonies, God sent fire OUT FROM HIMSELF to consume the first offering (Lev. 9:24) to show His acceptance. This same fire, divine fire, was to be kept burning continually (Lev. 6:9), so that every burnt offering was consumed by the very fire of God. That is why it was such an abomination when Nabab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, lit a fire by their own hands and offered "strange fire" before the Lord so that He destroyed them. Thus, it is GOD HIMSELF who consumes the sacrifice! "And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the Lord: it is a sweet savor, an offering made by FIRE unto the Lord.'
To consume does not mean to annihilate, for there is no such thing as annihilation in the absolute sense. It has been stated, in a scientific writing, that FIRE RESTORES ALL THINGS TO ITS ORIGINAL STATE. When fire consumes a log in your fireplace it does not destroy any of the elements within the log, it merely CHANGES THEIR FORM. Combustion is the process by which chemicals combine to form new chemicals. For example: a tree might be cut down, sawed into fire wood, and burned. When the wood is burning the heat causes the chemicals of which the wood is composed to vaporize, mixing with the oxygen in the air to form new chemicals, including water and the gas carbon dioxide. So what was formerly a tree is no longer identified as the form of a tree, but the substance thereof is now simply CHANGED into a DIFFERENT FORM and exists in its new form within the atmosphere as water, carbon dioxide, etc. Thus, to burn, means to CHANGE. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that fire does not burn down; it always burns up; it seeks the highest level. And all that it consumes "goes UP in smoke," to exist in a new form in a higher dimension. Even if you take a pan of water and place it over a fire, before long the water will take on the property of the fire and will begin to go UP in steam. To burn means to CHANGE, and the change is always UPWARD in its motion.
FIRE is the heat and light that you feel and see when something burns. It takes heat to start a fire, but once the fire is started it produces heat that keeps the process going. Thus, fire is really HEAT and LIGHT producing a CHANGE UPWARD! This we rejoice in, and how we desire to be identified in that energy force which is restoring all into its original state, and developing it to its highest potential in God's purpose. As one has written, "In the study of fire itself, we find that fire works through combustion, which is a PROCESS ACCOMPANIED BY THE EVOLUTION OF LIGHT AND HEAT. Praise God, this easily relates to the spiritual process whereof we speak. In our present state, subject to the bondage of vanity, on this grossly material plane, we are moving on a very low vibratory level. But as the fire of God works in us, it raises us to higher degrees and planes of light, that we may 'walk in the light, as He is in the light.' Wherein then is the loss? We only lose our carnal mind, that we might possess HIS MIND, and we exchange the realm of darkness for the realm of light.
"The most familiar of all the processes of fire, is when the oxygen of the atmosphere combines with the combustible material. Oxygen is a beautiful type of the Spirit. Introduce the SPIRIT OF GOD into any given situation, and He will burn out all the dross and restore back into pure spirit form again. Now, sometimes we pray for the Lord to hasten His work within us, but let it be remembered, the more rapid the combustion, the greater the heat! We would like to be changed into His image, but we don't like all the intense heat of the tremendous fiery transition. 'Who among us shall dwell with the devouring (consuming) fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting (age
abiding) burning?' (Isa. 33:14). 'For every one shall be salted (seasoned) with fire' (Mk. 9:49). Or as the Moffatt translation gives, 'Everyone has to be consecrated by the fire of discipline.' That which has been thoroughly processed by the fire, need fear the fire no more, for once the dross is gone, only the form is changed to higher degrees. Solids become fluid, liquids become vapour, and as we go through the fiery trials, it is only to bring us into a higher SPIRITUALIZED STATE OF BEING, where we shall redound to the praise and glory of God" end quote.
Now, all the consecration of the Royal Priesthood is connected with fire, for all three sacrifices were accompanied with fire, and perfection is promised through fire. O my brother! My sister! I am afraid there is a great deal of comfortable Christianity that wants to be saved, converted, delivered, Spirit-filled, blessed, prospered, healed, and continually made happy; but it is not the Christianity of Christ. Many Christians who love the blessings, the gifts and the thrills would like to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit without the baptism of FIRE. But what God has joined cannot be sundered. "He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and FIRE" (Mat. 3:11); there is the promise what will you do with it? There is only one preposition in the original, not two as in the English, to show the identity of the two baptisms, or rather that there is but ONE. The Holy Spirit and the Fire are not two items, they are one, for our God IS a consuming Fire. Wherever the Spirit descends He brings FIRE in His train. "There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:3-4). Fire is a symbol of purification and transformation. It consumes the dross and tin of self, the wood, hay and stubble of ignorance and folly. "The fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." Everyone shall be salted with fire, baptized in fire and in the Holy Spirit. Hence the Spirit came upon the disciples in a fiery form because they needed purification, purging, change and transformation. Those baptized with this baptism will know not only the glory and blessing and power of God, but the subduing, melting, abasing, refining, transforming, elevating effects of the SPIRIT'S FIRE. Therefore, to present our bodies and our lives a living sacrifice unto God, is offering ourselves as a burnt offering unto Him. Then the fire from heaven can come down and consume that which we have presented unto Him and set it a flame and make us a fiery minister of God (Heb. 12:29). Our God is a consuming fire! If we faithfully present ourselves unto Him upon the altar as a continual sacrifice, God will consume the whole life and make us an able minister to manifest HIS LIFE unto the world. "He makes His ministers a flame of fire" (Heb. 1:7).
To be HIS PRIESTS we must be changed from our carnality and selfhood into HIS DIVINE NATURE. No divine change can be wrought on God's elect, saving by "passing through the waters and through the fires" which are appointed for us, waters and fires as real, though not of this world, as those which moved in the laver of the Tabernacle, or burnt on the altar of old. Our Lord can no more spare our nature than the ram was spared by Moses. This is that "spirit of judgment and burning," promised by the prophet, with which the Lord shall "purify the sons of Levi as gold and silver are purged, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness" (Mal. 3:3).
The statement concerning the burnt offering wherein the Lord says, "It is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord," is most meaningful. When the rams were killed and offered to God as burnt offerings, it was first necessary for God to do His thorough work upon them, that is, to consume (change) them by fire, if they were to be pleasing and acceptable unto Him. If the sacrifice were not consumed (changed) by fire, it would remain raw and would rot and become foul smelling and could never be acceptable or pleasing to God. The consecration of the Royal Priesthood today is just like that. We have heard His voice, we have responded and have offered ourselves, yet if we do not allow God to work first by fire, but go out to minister unto Him and work for Him and serve Him, that ministry and that work and that service will be raw flesh, untempered, corruptible and foul smelling. It will be the raw flesh of self-effort and soulish zeal, the foul smelling corruption of dead works and man made promotion and program. How much of that there is upon God's altar today! It can never be accepted by God, let alone satisfy Him.
The areas where these sacrifices were offered must have carried many odors: the odors of the animal itself, the blood, the burning wood, the burning flesh, the smoke from the sacrifice. Surely one could be almost overcome and overwhelmed by all these odors. Then think of what all this means in the spiritual sense, for all of them spoke of the change which takes place in our lives as God works upon us by fire, transforming from carnal to spiritual, from our will to His, from our mind to the mind of Christ. Ah
the transformation is to Him a sweet smelling odor, a heavenly fragrance, a spiritual aroma! Oh, the wonder of it! A pall of smoke must have hung over the place like the Shekinah glory over the ark and the mercy seat. This is significant, for when one does draw nigh unto God through the rent Vail of His flesh, into the Holy of Holies, then the Shekinah glory of His presence will commune with him from above the mercy seat of his surrendered, obedient heart. What a transformation! Think of the precious things which chemistry brings out of refuse of the flavors, scents, and colors which are every day being extracted from what appears worthless. Who can tell what may yet be wrought by fire? Fire can free and transform what water cannot touch. ALL THINGS shall be dissolved (changed) by fire (II Pet. 3:12). And the smoke (expression, manifestation) of this change is a SWEET SMELLING SAVOR to God! All is spiritualized and ascends to Him, made acceptable and well pleasing by fire.
When a ram was taken for sacrifice and offered upon the altar, he was immediately cut off from all his previous relationships. He was severed from his master, his companions and his sheepfold. After he was consumed by fire, he even lost his original form and stature. All his choicest parts were changed to a sweet smelling savor to God, and all his former hopes, dreams, ambitions, will, purpose, strength and glory were reduced to a heap of ashes. Everything was cut off, and everything was finished. This was the result of the ram being offered as a burnt offering to God. Since our consecration as priests involves the outworking of the burnt offering in our lives, the result must be the same. There must be the giving up of everything to be burned to ashes by God to the point where all is finished. Today, wherever we lay ourselves, our ego, our pride, our will, our ambition, our way, our talents, our works, our strength upon the spiritual altar and sacrifice it through the consuming fires of God all will be burned to ashes. But we ourselves will be CHANGED, SPIRITUALIZED, RAISED UP to know God and to minister and work and serve in the high and heavenly realm of HIS SPIRIT, a sweet fragrance to God. OUR WILL will lie as ashes, but HIS WILL WROUGHT OUT IN US will be the sweet smelling fragrance of the new life ascending to the higher plane. If your consecration brings you into the fierce heat of the fiery trial, and the fires burn on the altar all night, until you feel that everything you are and have has turned to ashes, there is still only one course of action to take STAY ON THE ALTAR, for when the morning comes, He shall say, "Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice" (Ps. 50:6), and then shall we be found unto honor and glory and praise before Him, the Royal Priesthood consecrated unto God.
THE THREE DEATHS OF CHRIST
There was never a time when it was more necessary than it is now that all who are consecrated as priests should see to it that we "be dead with Him," and all that we have and are should be offered to Him upon the altar of burnt offering, that He may change and accept us and make use of us unto the praise of His glory. Especially is this a matter of concern to those who understand by the Spirit that very soon all the members of the BODY will be accepted with the HEAD, a sweet savor to God; and that the work of sacrifice being then finished, the glorious work of the Royal Priesthood of blessing all nations and restoring all things will begin.
The popular notion is that the death of Christ was His cruel death upon the cross of Calvary. The truth is far greater than that, for the Christ in fact died three times, or shall we say that His death was threefold, having three dimensions. We read in Isa. 53:9, "And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death." It is interesting to note that in the Hebrew the word death is plural "deaths". Is that not rather curious? "In His deaths!" Did Christ die more than one death? Yes! The plural, "deaths," intensifies the force; as of Adam it is said, in the Hebrew, that "dying thou shalt die" (Gen. 2:17), that is, Adam would enter into a DEATH PROCESS in which he would pass from one realm of death to another and die and die and continue to die until the process was completed and he was totally dead in every aspect, spirit, soul and body; so the Christ experienced a reverse PROCESS OF DEATH that led Him from death to death until He had died to all the negative in every realm and could only live unto God forevermore. Isa. 53:9 would not be true if it referred only to His physical death, for He did not make His grave with the wicked in His physical death. He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a "good man and a just", "who also himself waited for the kingdom of God", and was one of Jesus' disciples (Lk. 23:50-51; Mat. 27:57). Yet He made His grave with the wicked and with the rich in His DEATHS. Let us see how this is so.
Paul clearly sets forth the sacrifice of Christ when he says, "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich" (II Cor. 8:9). This passage positively teaches the preexistence of Christ and clearly sets forth His sacrifice. The sacrifice He made did not happen AFTER His incarnation, but BEFORE. He left the "GLORY that He had with the Father BEFORE THE WORLD WAS" and His boundless "RICHES in glory" and entered into this fallen world, being "made in all points like unto His brethren." Ah before ever the babe appeared in Bethlehem's manger, the Christ had DIED TO ALL THAT HE WAS AS GOD in order to become a man! When Jesus came and was numbered with the transgressors, He cut every tie binding Him to heaven. He burned every bridge behind in His course of action. With this in mind we can appreciate the magnitude of His sacrifice set forth in these words: "Let this same attitude and purpose and humble mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus. Let Him be your example in humility who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God (possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God), did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained; but STRIPPED HIMSELF of all privileges and rightful dignity so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born as a human being. And after He had appeared in human form He abased and humbled Himself STILL FURTHER and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!" (Phil. 2:5-8, Amplified).
We cannot believe otherwise than that Jesus had a physical body, that He entered this world with no previous memory whatsoever of His previous existence as God. He had no teaching, words, thoughts, powers or anything else when He was a babe in the manger that other babies do not have. He did not have any capacities or attributes belonging to essential Deity which are not, or which may not, by the grace of God and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit also be possessed by man. Since "His brethren" are men who have been born of the Father, begotten sons of God, but are not on this physical plane endowed with omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, we are led to believe that Jesus DID NOT HAVE THESE EITHER. Jesus plainly said, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which bath sent Me" (Jn. 5:30).
The connection which Jesus had with the Father was retained by FAITH. It was a perfect, complete FAITH CONNECTION. Jesus was limited to operating solely by faith and to tally dependent upon the Father even as sons today are so limited. Truly, He DIED TO ALL THAT HE WAS AS ALMIGHTY GOD, He emptied Himself, that He might become man the Son of God! THAT WAS HIS FIRST DEATH. When He laid down His preexistent life and entered into the charnel house of this fallen world, "He made His grave with the wicked," and when He died physically, He was laid in the tomb of the wealthy Arimathaean and thus made His grave "with the rich." And all was as a burnt offering unto God.
And now we are prepared to consider another interesting feature in the life of Christ one that will further show the scope of His death and the depth of His consecration upon the altar of burnt sacrifice. When Jesus left the glory and riches of His preexistent state and "was made flesh," what sort of a condition did He enter into? Jesus came as the Head of an entirely new creation. In fact He Himself, though emptied of His deity, WAS A NEW CREATURE, different from any that had ever been. I want to make it very plain that Jesus was in no way derived from the first Adam, either by flesh or by blood. If He had even one drop of the first Adam's blood flowing through His veins, then He Himself NEEDED A SAVIOUR. Hear now what Paul says of the Christ: "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven" (I Cor. 15:45-47). Jesus was not fifty percent the first Adam and fifty percent the last Adam. He was one hundred percent the last Adam! He was not fifty percent the first man, and fifty percent the second man. He was not fifty percent the man of the earth, and fifty percent the Lord from heaven. The second man IS (100%) THE LORD FROM HEAVEN. To be the last Adam He could in no way contain any part of the first Adam. To be the man from heaven He must not be a descendant of the man of the earth. He must be an entirely NEW KIND OF MAN, a special creation of God, as was the first man in the day when he was created. The first Adam was truly without father, without mother, without descent he was no' derived from the life of any other man who had ever lived. So the last Adam! Though He was conceived IN the womb of Mary, He was not OF Mary. He was not formed from a union of the sperm of God with the ovum of Mary. His genes were not half from Mary and half from His heavenly Father. "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called THE SON OF GOD," declared the angel to Mary. He was as truly man, as truly flesh as was the first man, but He was also as truly a UNIQUE CREATION OF GOD as was the first man in Eden. Oh, the mystery of it! Jesus the Christ was THE WORD MAN He was NOT old Adam's flesh imbued with God's life. He is the SECOND MAN, the Man from heaven, the Godman, Head of a new SPECIES OF MEN, a NEW CREATION of God in the earth, each member of which is a SON OR DAUGHTER OF THE MOST HIGH! He stood in all the dignity and splendor and wisdom and power and dominion given to man in the beginning ere sin and limitation and death came upon him. What a man! Sinless man. Perfect man. Diseaseless man. Unlimited man. Anointed man. Crowned man. Man in the image of God. Man in blessed fellowship with his Creator. Man the revelation of God to creation. Deathless man. What a specimen! What a man! This man was THE SON OF GOD.
When Jesus came to earth He died to all that He was as God to become amen. But when He came to the Jordan He DIED TO ALL THAT HE WAS AS A MAN to be the Son of God. When He went down into the watery grave of John's baptism to "fulfill all righteousness," He offered there all the capabilities, potentials, ambitions, desires, and talents He possessed AS A MAN, laying all upon the altar, completely surrendered to God, reserving nothing for Himself, a burnt offering, a sweet smelling savor unto God.
Can we imagine what Jesus might have accomplished had He elected to use the wisdom and knowledge and power resident in His PERFECT MANHOOD for His own ends? He could have used His power for wealth and become the richest man in the world. He could have used His talents for power, usurped the thrones of the rulers of this world and become Emperor of the mighty Roman Empire. He might have used His powers for sensual gratification, attracting the fairest women of the world to Him, and building the largest and most beautiful harem ever possessed by a man. He could have become the world's greatest general, or the most famous artist, or the most acclaimed orator, or the most accomplished musician, or the most brilliant scientist, or the most articulate philosopher, or the most important, distinguished, eminent, exalted, renowned, or noble of a thousand different vocations and positions. But He didn't! He could have rallied the masses and marshaled an army before which the name of Alexander the Great would pale into oblivion. He could have built great hospitals and gold domed cathedrals. He could have initiated wonderful programs to better society and save the world from disease, poverty and trouble. But He didn't! He said, simply, "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I can do nothing of Myself; but as My Father bath taught Me, I speak these things...for I do always those things that PLEASE HIM" (Jn. 8:28-29). Yes, dear ones, He DIED TO ALL THAT HE WAS AS A MAN that He might do only and always the will of His Father. And that will led Him to Calvary and the tomb and down into hell.
We shall measure and appreciate the burnt offering of the firstborn Son just in proportion as we realize the depths to which Jesus descended to redeem us. How fitting and comforting it was of the Father that when Jesus came to Jordan to be baptized, symbolically and actually burying there His perfect manhood with all its prerogatives and powers He should bear witness by a voice from heaven to His perfect satisfaction and pleasure in Him! "And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water, and lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is My Son, the Beloved! (N.V.) in whom I am well pleased." A sweet smelling savor! Jesus is the true David of whom the Psalms and other Scriptures speak so often. David means BELOVED; hence the Father says, "This is My Son, the BELOVED!" My Son because manifesting MY nature, love; the Beloved because He is the great antitype, the true David, the MAN AFTER COD'S OWN HEART, doing all His will, of whom the shepherd king of Israel was only a shadow. And let it be remembered, too, that in all this Christ was our FORERUNNER, our LEADER, and CAPTAIN. Those who will follow in His footsteps will also come "in due time" to the "perfect man", God's beloved because they are surrendered completely to Him to live HIS LIFE and to do HIS WILL, reserving nothing unto themselves. They, too, shall at last come to opened heavens, the dovelike Spirit and the approving voice. The way to life and perfection is through humiliation, suffering, self crucifixion and death by way of the altar of BURNT OFFERING.
Oh that men today would come to the altar of burnt offering! The prevailing idea in the churches today is: God is doing big things. So we must think big...talk big... preach big...act big...initiate bigger and bigger programs...build bigger and bigger buildings...raise bigger and bigger offerings to get on bigger and bigger radio and television stations to see greater and greater things accomplished for God. I do not hesitate to say, however, that in many cases those who seek to do the "big things" often usurp the power of God and use it for their own profit, power and fame as they lodge in the most expensive hotels, eat the finest food, wear the most costly apparel, drive the most luxurious cars, live in the most elegant homes, own the most lavish beach properties, build multimillion dollar enterprises, gather multitudes of followers unto themselves and control other men's lives, often with money extracted from widows and orphans and the poor and meek of the earth. Oh! How God must lament over His people today as He lamented over Israel of old.
The following words by George Warnock are pregnant with meaning for all who receive the call to the altar of burnt offering. "How God longs for those people who will take everything that they have ever received from God, yes everything: their doctrines, their fellowships, their churches large or small; their gifts and ministries; their plans and schemes for enlargement; their programs for world evangelism and world outreach; and lay them all like Isaac on the Altar of Burnt Offering, on one of the mountains that God would show them. But God hasn't shown me any such mountain, I hear someone say. Nor will He do so, until you walk with God from altar to altar...until you fervently desire to do God's will...until you learn HIS WAY and earnestly desire to walk in HIS WAY...until the will of God becomes to you your highest prize and your daily bread...and until you are prepared to recognize that as the heavens are high above the earth, so are God's ways higher than your ways, and God's thoughts higher than your thoughts.
"When Jesus spoke of union with the Father, the people said He blasphemed, because He was making Himself equal with God. But in fact He was NOT. 'My Father is greater than I,' He said; and again, 'I can of mine own self do nothing...' In this realm God is truly glorified; for in this realm we must decrease, that HE might increase. In this realm we can do NOTHING, that He alone might do ALL THINGS. In this realm we have no righteousness of our own, no ministry of our own, no life of our own. All this we must lay down. All selfish purposes and ambitions must be laid aside. All talents, gifts, and enablements must be laid on the Altar of Burnt Offering the Altar of total sacrifice. Remember, Ishmael must be cast out, but Isaac the Beloved had to be laid on the Altar of Burnt Offering. Henceforth we must walk only in His Life, in His Truth, in His Righteousness. His purpose in our lives is all that we pursue, and doing His will becomes our highest prize. Henceforth we must live and work and minister in TOTAL UNION WITH HIM" end quote.
Ah "If any man will come after Me," Jesus said, "let him deny himself..." We thought it meant deny the liquor store, deny the theatre, deny the pool hall, deny the miniskirt, deny communism, deny Castro and the Antichrist. But ME? Sweet, precious little ME? Deny MYSELF? We would rather deny the liquor store and the Antichrist than to deny OURSELVES! We all know how the world naturally attracts us and offers us a place, a position, a name in it. But even the so called Christian world often holds an attraction to us and offers a hope of a future in it with certain benefits for OURSELVES. Many folk, after being saved and filled with the Spirit, have hopes of success among men of becoming such and such a person, or such and such a ministry, with all the recognition and prestige and glory that comes with it. There are some who hope to be famous preachers, some to be world wide evangelists, some to obtain a doctor of divinity, and some to be the leader of the Bible study or prayer group, or to be recognized as an elder, a preacher, or a prophet.
All these are hopes in which, if not laid upon the altar and consumed by the holy fires of God, are hidden many elements which are for the building up of OURSELVES. When we see the prosperity of others, we become envious. When we see the ministry of others, we covet the same. When we see the blessing of others, our heart is moved. We want to be a blessing, but at the same time we enjoy the position, the attention, the power. All this proves that we still have hopes in OUR future. All these hopes, however, never exist in a consecrated person. A truly consecrated man is a man who has given up HIS FUTURE. He abandons not only his future in the world, but also his so called spiritual future. He no longer has hopes for himself in anything; all his hope is in God. He lives purely and simply in the hand of God. He has no ministry or program to perpetuate, he is what God wants him to be and does what God wants him to do. God can change the order at any time and he will change with it. He clings to nothing, for God Himself is his only hope, his only motivation. Whatever the outcome may be, he does not know and does not care. He only knows that he is a sacrifice, wholly belonging to God. The altar is forever the place where he stands, and a heap of ashes is forever the result. His own will, his own way and his future have been utterly abandoned and do not enter into consideration at all.
This giving up of the future is not a reluctant act after something has already happened to wreck your future hopes; it is a willing surrender before such an event. It is not waiting till you have lost or failed in your business and then giving up. It is not waiting till you fail to obtain a Ph.D.degree, and then give up. It is not waiting till you fall flat on your face in the ministry you desired, and then say, "Thy will, Lord." It is not running out to do something for God and when it doesn't work out, giving up. When we speak of giving up the future, of denying ourselves, we mean that when a profitable business opportunity comes along, when an excellent job awaits you, when a Ph. D. degree is within your grasp, when some spiritual ministry or opportunity for Christian service opens before you, you willingly give it all up for the Lord's sake. This is truly called the giving up of the future. Even if the entire glory of Egypt is placed before you, you can say to it, "Goodbye, I must go to Canaan."
I do not mean that you must not own a business, or have a job, or receive a degree, or fulfill a ministry. I mean that whatever you do you will not do because there is something in it for you. Whatever you do WILL BE THE LORD'S DOING, not yours. And if He says to you, "Go plow," you will just as joyfully crawl onto the tractor as you would stand behind the pulpit. And if He changes your orders and bids you lay down and forsake all that you are doing and all that you have attained to, you respond without hesitation and without even asking, "Why?" As one has said, "You mean God told me to start this big Church and get involved in this extensive outreach, and now I am supposed to drop it all? You mean God called me into the ministry, and now asks me to lay it down and go to work in a factory or sawmill, or get involved in some monotonous routine job on an assemblyline? God called me to higher things than that! You mean God called the apostle Paul to the high and holy calling of apostleship to the Gentiles, and then shut him up in prison to waste away his days in a prison cell? And so the call of God to higher heights in Him is not heard because we have not identified with HIS WAYS, and therefore we do not really appreciate the thoughts and the intents of His heart" end quote.
The wonder, the meaning, the glory of the burnt offering is beautifully summed up in these words penned by George Warnock: "Once the story of Joseph was just that, a beautiful story. But now it means more, because in small measure at least we have been able to identify. He had a vision...and we have a vision. He would like to see it fulfilled, but he soon learned that only God Himself can fulfill the vision that He has given. He does not give us the vision as an incentive to work on, but as a seed of truth to embrace and allow it to fulfill God's purpose in our lives. We wonder how a Word so sweet can become an experience so bitter. As Joseph cherished the vision the fulfillment of it became more and more distant and more and more impossible. Finally he discovers himself in a foreign land, completely cut off from the family that he saw in the vision a prisoner and a slave rather than a king and a ruler. To try and figure out what might have gone wrong would only lead to further frustration, so he simply tries to forget it all. (Eventually when his first son is born he will call him, 'God has caused me to forget...'). He cannot deny what God showed him, but he will just lay it aside...or put it in a bottle, seal it, and cast it upon the waters. And yet, in and through it all, God was consistent" and without any intermission working out all the intricate details in Joseph's life that would eventuate in the vision being gloriously fulfilled, only on a much higher and loftier plane than Joseph ever imagined as a young lad who dreamed the dream. Gone were the thoughts of greatness. Gone the thought that some day I'm going to be somebody great, and all you boys are going to have to recognize it. Here was a man of the Way who in walking with God became a stranger in his own home, a byword among his own brothers, a dreamer whose dreams soon vanished when he was sold to the Ishmaelites and became a stranger in a foreign land. And so the vision of greatness was fulfilled in the perfection of God's order; but it was only fulfilled as Joseph found grace to identify with GOD'S WAY; and in so doing the dream itself was utterly transformed until it became a transforming experience in Joseph's own heart; and a vision of mercy, of deliverance, and of compassion for those who had mistreated him. The man of the Way, whose feet were hurt in fetters of brass, and whose soul was laid in iron, was recognized for what he was: the elect of God, marked with the mark of God and destined to become Zaphnathpeaneah...a name which signifies a 'Revealer of Secrets' to the Hebrews, but to Pharaoh and the Egyptians it meant: 'Saviour of the World"' end quote.
If our pursuit of sonship and kingship and priesthood contains any element of desire for a future, for greatness, for a name, for recognition, for power, for SELF we have not yet come to the altar of burnt offering, nor have passed through the consuming fire of God. O Father! Draw us to Thy Tabernacle door. Help us to offer there our offering, ourselves. Thou whose love is a fire, burn up and destroy all that hinders or refuses the triumph of Thy love. Consume the sacrifice and convert it into its own heavenly light nature, transform our beings into flames of love!
J. PRESTON EBY
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas
If you would like any of these messages or would like to be on J Preston Eby's mail list you may write him at the above address or e-mail me at Gary@Sigler.org and I will forward your request to Preston. He has nothing to sell, all his writings are free to all. You may contribute to his ministry to help spread this message to the world, but gifts are not tax deductible.
The Royal Priesthood