Joe Teisan: October 2018
WHY DO I NEED A SUBSTITUTE?
If Psalms, the prayer book, is the most popular volume of the Old Testament, Leviticus, with its shadow-pictures of Christ, is the least read. Jews have not made these offerings since the Temple’s destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D., and we wonder if they will ever regain the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and reinstate the sacrificial system. Psalms is the Temple’s songbook, while Leviticus gives rules for the daily sacrifices, yearly feasts, and regular work of the priests. When Christ said, “It Is Finished!”, He completely fulfilled Leviticus, as explained in Hebrews. But today, we find enormous teaching value in Leviticus, because it better helps us to understand the sufferings of the Lamb of God.
The law of the whole burnt offering requires that the entire lamb, goat or bull is consumed by fire upon the brazen altar located in the court of the Tabernacle. It must be a male without blemish, and its skin is kept by the priests for their support. The atoning blood is caught in a bowl by the priest and sprinkled at the base of the altar. Just as the Jews did long ago, I stretch out both arms and lay hands on the head of Christ. With confession of sins, this is a transfer of my guilt to the innocent LAMB. Christ, who knew no sin, becomes sin for me! Christ is accepted by God, to make atonement, or a cover for my sins so that God’s holy eyes do not even see them. “He shall kill”, means that my sins killed Jesus, and that the Innocent had to die for the guilty. In trusting Him, I yield my life to Christ, and serve, not sin, but Him only. His one sacrifice is like a sweet aroma, well-pleasing to the Father. There is no space to brag about my self-righteousness, because salvation is all from the Lord.
Salvation is not in any church, priest, dead saint nor church ritual, but it is my voluntary act of devotion, surrender, belief and total commitment to my Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The blood of Christ, scrubbing away all sin, guilt and eternal death, makes me righteous, fit to stand in God’s heavenly presence. But first, I need sincere repentance and faith, which does not mean, “to do penance”, but to change my mind from false ways, to trusting only in Jesus.
In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress, Christian runs to the Cross with a heavy load on his back. He sees an empty Cross and empty tomb. Christian believes in Jesus. “His burden loosed from off his shoulder, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the tomb, where it fell in, and I saw it no more. Then Christian was glad and said with a merry heart, He has given me rest by His sorrow, and life by His death. Now, as he stood weeping; behold three shining ones came to him and said, Peace to you. The first said, Your sins are forgiven. The second, stripped him of his rags and clothed him with new garments” (Zech. 3:1-5, Rom. 4:3-8, Mark 2:5, Is. 53) (John Bunyan).
“Surely, He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows . . . He was wounded for our transgressions . . . With His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all . . . Yet it pleased the Lord to . . . make His soul an offering for sin . . . He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53).
Joseph A. Teisan