The burnt offering to God to belong to Him, for everlasting life (Matthew 22:31,32)
The burnt offering means a permanent belonging to God. However, to concretely understand the meaning of it, we must take into account the biblical context. The text above alludes to the vow of Judge Jephthah. In the rest of the story, the reader understands that the burnt offering to God, was to be a permanent ministry of the daughter of Jephthah, at the Tabernacle, in sacred service rendered to God. This text shows that the burnt offering made to God becomes his special property. This means that the human or the group of humans symbolized by this burnt offering, becomes the permanent property of God, with a view to everlasting life. According to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, what belongs to God lives forever: “Regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, who said: ‘I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’? He is the God, not of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31,32).
The burnt offering is a sacrifice that can have several spiritual meanings, but which point of convergence is belonging to God by redemption (ransom) (either by the resurrection or the survival of the great tribulation), in view of everlasting life. In the context of the narrative of Judges chapter 11, the spiritual burnt offering is a permanent ministry at the Tabernacle, within the framework of a sacred service. In Revelation 7:9–17 it is written that the great crowd that will come out of the great tribulation will serve God and his Son in the spiritual temple. Therefore, this part of humanity will be a spiritual burnt offering, which will allow their redemption, and will make it a special property of God, in view of everlasting life, like the daughter of Jephthah and the Levites, of ancient Israel (Numbers 1:53 “The Levites must be responsible for the care of the tabernacle of the Testimony”).
Thus, a human consecrated to God is a spiritual burnt offering. In ancient Israel there were humans who consecrated themselves to God as a spiritual burnt offering or dedication through a Nazirite vow (Numbers 6:1–21). There were exceptional cases, where it was God or a human who consecrated the child to be born as a spiritual burnt offering, as a special property of God. The best known examples are Judges Samson and Samuel, and also the prophet John the Baptist (Judges 13:7 (Samson); 1 Samuel 1:22 (Samuel); Luke 1:12–17 (John the Baptist)). A human who is baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, becomes a special property of God and of his Son Jesus Christ. By his decision, he who dedicates himself to God and to Christ, symbolizing him visibly by baptism, becomes a spiritual burnt offering, at the service of God and of Christ with a view to everlasting life (Matthew 28:19). A human set apart by baptism, as a spiritual burnt offering for God, becomes a “Holy One”, either heavenly or earthly (this is the primary meaning of this word). In the book of Daniel and in the prophecies of Christ, we understand that God acts towards humanity for the “Holy Ones”, that is to say humans who are from now on, the special property of God and of Christ, as spiritual burnt offerings, for everlasting life (Daniel 7:27; Matthew 24:22 (but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short)).
The spiritual burnt offering can have the meaning of a ministry of the Word in the service of God and Christ: “May you pardon our error and accept what is good, And we will offer the praise of our lips as we would young bulls” (Hosea 14:2) . “Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that make public declaration to his name” (Hebrews 13:15).
The burnt offering in its spiritual sense, can have the symbol of what belongs to God, by the redemption (ransom), and the survival. The first burnt offering made to God was that of Abel (Genesis 4:4 (The record suggests that Abel offered lambs as a burnt offering. It is possible that this offering later retained as a major symbol of mankind’s future redemption through his resurrection (John 1:29); Hebrews 11:4). According to the context, by this burnt offering, it seems that Abel fully understood the meaning of the promise of God in Genesis 3:15 (the heel wound) and the need for redemption for his everlasting salvation and that of humanity that was to come into existence, and that it would require the shedding of blood or the death of a human (symbolized by the death of a lamb).
Another narrative of burnt offering is that of Noah, on leaving the ark, after the flood: “Then Noah built an altar to Jehovah and took some of all the clean animals and of all the clean flying creatures and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And Jehovah began to smell a pleasing aroma” (Genesis 8:20,21). This burnt offering to God was of a “pleasing aroma”. This sacrifice was closely tied to the thanksgiving for the survival of Noah and his family. The expression “pleasing aroma” suggests that this burnt offering symbolized the survival or redemption of Noah and his family through the flood by means Jehovah God (see the opposite aspect of Jehovah not smelling pleasing aroma, in Leviticus 26:27–31: “I will not smell the pleasing aromas of your sacrifices”; it is interesting to note in this quote, that Jehovah associates destruction with the fact that He does not smell the pleasant aroma of the sacrifice. So, when Jehovah God is “smelling pleasing aromas, the one who is making this spiritual burnt offering, is in a situation of approval before God. This symbolizes the possibility of redemption (ransom), there is hope of everlasting life or resurrection, unlike the destruction evoked in this biblical quote, above).
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