The Cloud, The Glory, and the Burnt Offering (Exodus 40:34-38; Leviticus 1:1-17)

In the latter verses of the book of Exodus, Moses has directed the erection and arrangement of the tabernacle, the cloud of God’s presence (Spirit) covered the tabernacle as God’s presence fill the tabernacle.  From this point forward, the cloud would hover above the tabernacle.  When the cloud lifted, the Israelites would disassemble the tabernacle and follow the cloud wherever it went.  At night, the cloud would become a pillar of fire.  This represented the presence of the Holy Spirit to the people of God.  It is so very essential that our churches and ministries be clothed with, covered by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Church services that are simply ritual or form may offer words of praise unto God, but unless the Holy Spirit is tangibly present within a meeting of believers, the time is more formality than encounter.  The church today needs encounter with God.

The first passage in the book of Leviticus speaks to the nature of the burnt offering.  While this is a type or shadow of the sacrifice of Christ, it is described using three different animals: a bull, a sheep, and a bird.  There was significance placed upon the type of sacrifice, due to the size of the family offering the sacrifice, and the nature of the offering.  Regardless of those parameters, however, the process for offering the burnt offering speaks to the nature of Christ’s sacrifice as well.  They were to present the offering to the priest as a substitutionary offering.  One of the symbolic ways this was demonstrated was by the individual placing their hand upon the head of the bull, showing that the animal stood in their stead as a sacrifice for sin.  We have a wonderful covenant of grace today that was sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ.  Whereas the blood of bulls and goats, sheep and birds, may have been able to cover the sins of mankind in the Old Testament. the blood of Jesus washes away our sins and cleanses us of all unrighteousness.  The burnt offerings and sacrifices kept judgement from being meted out upon the Jews.  The crucifixion of Jesus Christ, however, justifies and makes us free!

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