Matthew 27:45-66 Part 9 Adjunct to the Crucifixion

Before we leave Matthew chapter twenty-seven and the crucifixion of Christ, I’d like to give you, now, an “overview” of the Law of the Offerings.

This effort is, by no means, meant to be definitive; in fact, an attempt to even “introduce” the subject in just a few minutes can be rightly criticized as being “the height of futility”!

But our Lord Jesus… in His suffering and humiliation and crucifixion, and in His “yielding the Spirit into the hands of the Father”, and in His burial, and in His resurrection and ascension to the Right of the Father, is the “sum” of the offerings of the tabernacle in the desert (and the temple in Jerusalem).  He is the “substance” of all the many services of the tabernacle.

And for those who wish to “know” Him in all His beauty and glory, and to worship Him in spirit and in truth, and to “commune” with Him in joy, you will wish to trace all the “shadows” and “pictures” – forth to the reality.

For, in the “man-made copy” of the heavenlies (i.e. the tabernacle) is the Person and Work of Jesus Christ the Lord typified and foreshadowed.

So, with fear and trembling, I give you this morning a very brief overview of the offerings (prescribed by God to Moses – for Israel); this – with the understanding that Jesus Christ IS the Offering (in all its variances and details); and He IS the One Who brings the offering; and He IS the One Who receives the offering and presents it (the Priest); and He IS the One to Whom the offering is presented!

It is His work, and His alone, which is the atonement for sin!  Man… sinful, cursed and depraved, has no ability to enter into communion with God.  So God the Son (in all His glorious Person and work) offers Himself to Himself, to atone for our sin, in order that we might have communion with Him.

As we’ve seen, the tabernacle was the one place on earth (given by God) which was the man-made, analogical copy of the reality that exists in the heavenlies.

That reality was seen by men, and it was described in Scripture (by the Revelation of the Holy Spirit).  Jesus said, “Abraham saw My day, and he was glad.”  Abraham had been enabled to “see” that which was coming (the tabernacle, the mountain, the Christ, the heavenly realities); otherwise, how could he have known which mountain he was looking for when he was sent by God to sacrifice his only son?

When he saw the mountain (Mt. Zion), he knew that that was it.  Mt. Zion was “the firmament” mountain!  It was the place which so replicated that which he knew to be a “picture”, or a “shadow” of the existence of God over His creation.  And he prepared to sacrifice the “only son” upon that mountain!

And Mt. Zion thereafter became the place upon which the temple was built… and the place where Christ (the Only Son) was sacrificed!  Mt. Zion (and the “dome of the Rock”) was created by God to “look like” the firmament… over which God exists – apart from, and wholly other than, His creation.  And under the firmament existed Israel – and then the rest of the creation!

This was exactly what Ezekiel saw (as written in the first chapter of his prophecy).  After describing the Cherubim creatures of God, this is what Ezekiel saw:


“And over the head of the living creature there was the likeness of a firmament, like the terrible crystal to look upon, stretched forth over their heads above.  And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other; every one had two which covered on this side, and every one had two which covered on that side, their bodies.  And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a noise of tumult like the noise of a host… when they stood, they let down their wings.  And there was a voice above the firmament that was over their heads; when they stood, they let down their wings.

And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above.  And I saw as it were, glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it round about, from the appearance of His loins and upward; and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about Him....  This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jahveh.  And when I saw it, I fell upon my face….”


And we won’t quote any more now, but this “kind” of appearance was seen, to some degree, a number of times in Scripture – one of which was to John the apostle (in the Revelation)!

Now, Mt. Zion was a “piece” of that pattern (which Abraham saw); and he recognized it!  Moses actually went up into the Glory Cloud (which is also described here by Ezekiel).  David saw it as well… and he desired to build the temple (the permanent tabernacle) right on top of that dome!  He knew that that’s where it should be.  And, of course, so did Solomon… and he built it there; and it was just like the tabernacle – the dimensions of which had been given (in infinite detail) to Moses at Sinai!

The tabernacle in the desert, and the temple built on the dome of the rock (in Jerusalem), were man-made replicas of the Throne-room, Judgment-seat of Jahveh over the firmament of His creation.  Ezekiel saw the holiness and brightness of the glory of Jahveh – outside and over and above His created universe.

And underneath Him (that’s what Ezekiel saw) were the living creatures whose wings were spread toward one another.  And that’s exactly what is depicted in the “Holy of Holies” at the “top” of the tabernacle!  Made of molded, solid gold, the cherubim (with wings toward each other) form a “covering” for the mercy-seat (which was the ark of the covenant).  Here is pictured, in “shadowy”, man-made forms, the glorious Presence of Jahveh – the Creator, Judge and Lord of all.

And all the sights of the glorious brightness and holiness of Jahveh were seen… and the tumultuous, awesome sounds of the cherubim were heard… when God was pleased to occupy the man-made “holy of holies” in the midst of Israel.

And the separation that exists between depraved, sinful and cursed mankind and the Holy Creator/Judge of all is clearly comprehended in the tabernacle.  God, in all His holiness, is unapproachable by men – except by His Own gracious provision.

There is universal “deadness” and “uncleanness” in the sons of men.  Man exists in an accursed state – due to his sin.  Man, in all his nature, is separated from God and “dead” eternally.  He is worthy only to be judged and cast “down” into condemnation!

The “veil” at the entrance to the Holy of Holies (which is one piece) is the man-made picture of the firmament itself… entrance through it forbidden on pain of immediate extinction.  For how can an unclean creature approach (through the firmament of creation itself) into the Presence of Jahveh Himself – outside his created realm?

Now, underneath the Throne-room, Judgment-seat of God (the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle), existed another room called “The Holy Place”.  If you now understand your pictures before you… in this room were three things (We need to scan these pictures in):  the table of shewbread, the lampstand, and the altar of incense.  This is the room where there is acceptable worship of the “Wholly Other Lord God of Hosts”.

This was where the nation of Israel, in right relation to Jahveh, and with foreshadowed anticipation of that which was to come, gave praise and thanksgiving to God through the designated priesthood.  I’ll give you a brief (all too brief) meaning of each of those items in the holy place in a minute.  At another time (when we have more time), I’ll also describe for you the priest and his very elaborate garments and his duties as he ministered to God in his tabernacle – all a picture of the Christ in His mediatorial work.

But just a word, now, concerning the largest area of the tabernacle.  As you hold your picture of the tabernacle straight up in front of you, it’s the area at the bottom.  This is not an “enclosed” area… in other words, it has no roof like the tabernacle-proper does (although it is enclosed on the sides).

Representing the creation itself – the world (if you will) – the created realm of mankind in its lost and depraved and cursed condition.  The fact that it is enclosed on the sides indicates that it is, indeed, the creation of God, and that it is, indeed, under His covenant.

All the creation, and all men (whether they dispute the facts or not) live under the covenant of God.  Whether they are arrogant with regard to the covenant – and die; or submit with anticipation of the fullness of the covenant – and live.  They are all under the covenant!

And in the midst of the created realm (the outer, open area of the tabernacle) rested two objects:  the altar of the burnt offering and the laver.  The priests would kill the sacrificial lamb (or bullock), sprinkle its blood on all the furniture and objects in the tabernacle, and burn the animal in the altar.

The laver was used by the priests in the various washings and baptisms prescribed in the Law.  Then they would go in to the room called the holy place – acceptable to God.

And it needs to be said once again that all of these things existed by way of command from God; and it is all a picture, or a shadow, of that which is a higher reality.

And as the priesthood of Israel (for the people) performed all their ceremonial duties – using all the furniture and objects and utensils of the tabernacle – Israel worshipped God in anticipation of the fullness of His covenant promises!  In other words, all these ministrations in the outer court and in the holy place – for the people – were to be in hope and anticipation of the coming salvation of God in Christ!

The history shows that the entire ceremonial system became an “end” in itself – a religion in an of itself – and so perverted, rather than being a hope for the coming “Lamb of God” Who would atone for the sin of Israel!  But that’s another series of sermons.

Now for the brief look at the Law of the Offerings.  The Lord Jesus Christ was crucified; we just finished preaching through that.  He was sacrificed for the sin of mankind.  And He entered, once, through the veil, into the Holy of Holies – having made atonement for men… His blood having satisfied the wrath of God toward us.  And He is now our High Priest/Mediator before the Mercy Seat in the Heavenlies.

And all His work, and His ministrations before the Judgment-seat of the Father, is the “fullness” of all the shadows and pictures of the tabernacle and the priesthood and the offerings.

In other words the “Reality” represented by the ceremonial and sacrificial system (in all its “shadowy” substance) did indeed come.  God’s promise to provide His Own “Lamb” was met.  And the hope and anticipation foreshadowed in the tabernacle and all its ministrations was satisfied!  Even though Israel perverted the entire system, God was faithful to follow through with what He said!

In the sacrificial Law – the Law of the Offerings – there were four main groupings of offerings (and many variations of each); and Jesus, the Christ of God, was the One oblation satisfying them all!  He stands in fulfilling relationship to them all.  And each one, with all its variations, prefigures in some way His humiliation and suffering and death – and the mediatorial work of the Royal High Priest!  He is the offering; and He is the “Offerer”; and He is the Priest Who administers the offering!  Listen to the writer to the Hebrews in chapter ten – quoting from Psalm eleven:


“Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein (the which are offered according to the Law), then hath He said, ‘Lo, I am come to do thy will.’  He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.  By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, the which can never take away sins; but He, when He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the Right Hand of God; henceforth expecting till His enemies be made the footstool of His feet.  For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”


The first of the main groupings of offerings foreshadowing the Christ is The Burnt Offering – and its different grades, all these intended to represent all the different aspects of the one sacrifice of the Messiah.  The burnt offering was the offering of a life, with the blood of it sprinkled over all the tabernacle.  It was an offering for acceptance, for the acceptance of God, because of the depravity of men and the holiness of God.  After cleaning, it was wholly burned at the altar upon entrance into the open area of the tabernacle, and its burning was a sweet savour unto God.  And there was no acceptance before God without it.

The second main grouping was the meat offering.  Remember, now, that God had given man all the herbs and trees bearing fruit for our “meat”.  So the term “meat” here means a portion of that which Israel brought from its crops.  Fine oil was made from its olives, and fine flour from its grain.  And Frankincense was mixed with it for a sweet-smelling savour unto God.

Some of the meat offering was burnt on the altar; and all the rest was wholly consumed by the priests.  It is generally thought that the Person of Jesus Christ and all His perfections is indicated in this offering.  So when the Church comes before God having made this sacrifice, it comes into His presence with the sweet savour of the Christ.

Thirdly, there is a grouping of offerings called the “peace offering”.  A slain animal if offered, part of which is burned upon the altar – a sweet-smelling savour unto God, another part of which is consumed by the one who offered it; and the third part is consumed by the priest and his children.

God is seen here as being at peace with the offerer and with the priest and his children – all of whom have shared in the One oblation.  Christ, or course, is that One Oblation; and, as High Priest with little children, He is one with the Father and with all those who share in the sacrifice.

Oh, the height and depth and breadth of the riches of Christ!  I wish we had time to explore this deeply, for this, I think, is the last great concept understood – even by more mature believers!  The great SHALOM!  Peace with God in Christ, the Royal Priest and with all His children!

The fourth main grouping of sacrifices were the sin offering and the trespass offering.  (We could break this into two offerings since there are some differences.  But the similarities allow us to group them together.)

These were whole-burnt offerings – not of a sweet savour to God, and not burned at the altar.  They were burned outside the camp.  Christ not only was sacrificed for cursed, depraved mankind; but He died as well for our sins and our trespasses!

He Who knew no sin was made sin for us; and He was cast outside the gate – outside the camp – and poured out for our sins.  The Lamb without blemish was accursed for us to expiate our sins. 


He “was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed”!


“He His own self bare our sins in His Own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, might live unto righteousness”!


Blessed be God that we have such an offering!  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel – that we have, prefigured for us in the Law of the Offerings, a Savior Who has made atonement for us and made us “acceptable” unto God; Who has satisfied the wrath of God toward us; Who has expiated (or covered and taken away) all our sins and trespasses, and defeated them; Who has made restitution for us; and Who has made Peace between God and the children of the Priest!

Our Lord, having been made the substance of all the offerings, and having passed through the veil into the Presence of God the Father, is now our High Priest; and He is now our tabernacle!  He tabernacles with men!  There is no longer an altar for burning offerings… there is no longer a sprinkling of blood; but by His One offering we have acceptance of God and access to God.  There is no veil; there are no “shadows” of substance to come.

We are priests in His Holy Temple.  As the altar of incense was a sweet savour to God, so our praise and prayers of thanksgiving are pleasing to Him.  As the “shewbread” was the figure of the body of Christ and the Church in Him, so we now “feed” upon Him.  And as the lampstand represented the perfect light of God, we now have the Spirit of Christ as our Comforter and our Teacher.

And now… this is the Church of Jesus Christ; and we are to present our bodies as sacrifices unto God.  After all, we are identified with Christ!  As He is, so are we in this world.  We are identified with Him in His shame and in His joy.  We suffer with Him and in Him.  We are humiliated with Him – in His death, and in His burial; and we are resurrected with Him in His resurrection.  May God give us grace now to take upon ourselves His “Likeness”.

Next Lord’s Day… the resurrection of Jesus Christ.