Next, let's review again just three verses in which Scripture shows us that the meaning of the sacrifices that were burned on the altar is none other than good works:
«And to do good and of theaidMutual in the olvideis; whyof such sacrificesGod is pleased». Hebrews 13:16
«But I have received everything, and I have abundance; I am full, having received from Epaphrodituswhat you sent; fragrant smell,sacrifice I acceptpleasing to God." Philippians 4:18
"You also, like living stones, be built as a spiritual house and a holy priesthood,TO OFFER ACCEPTABLE SPIRITUAL SACRIFICESto God through Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 2:5
The main altar of the Temple in Jerusalem was a grill on whose fire cereals such as wheat, barley, rye and oats were placed to be roasted, either in the form of bread or even complete sheaves; fruits such as dates, figs, apples and pomegranates were also burned in it; in addition to the allowed animals (Leviticus 11), such as the sheep or the goat, just to mention two; pure spring water, pure olive oil and wine were also ritually poured out on the altar (Numbers 28:14 / 2 Kings 16:13).
Everything that was brought as an offering to be burned on the altar had to be of excellent quality (Leviticus 22:21 / Numbers 28:31). Even in the case of that offering considered as firstfruits, the best of the best was always selected (1 Samuel 15:9 / 1 Samuel 15: 15 / 1 Samuel 15:21). It was considered a fault to bring an offering to the altar that was not suitable in this sense and therefore it was rejected (Deuteronomy 15:21).
Table of Contents
Sacrifices on the altar symbolize good works
As I already showed you in the previous chapter, absolutely all the rites of the Law of Moses are designed with a specific purpose, which is to preserve a message, a spiritual meaning (Deuteronomy 6:20-21).
It was none other than the prophets who tirelessly tried to teach the people that those offerings that were presented on the sacrificial altar were mere protective coverings (Matthew 7:12 / Matthew 22:40 / Acts 28:23 / Romans 3:21) since that for God the important thing was the preservation of the Message and its subsequent spiritual fulfillment.
"With what shall I appear before the Lord, and worship the Most High God? Shall I appear before him with burnt offerings, with one-year-old calves? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousand streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my bowels for the sin of my soul? O man, He has declared to you what is good, and what does God ask of you: only to do justice, and to love mercy, and to humble yourself before your God». Micah 6:6-8
Let us remember that all the offerings that the people of Israel brought to the sacrificial altar symbolize mercy, justice, faith and humility (1 Samuel 15:21-23 / Psalm 40:6-8 / Psalm 51:16-17 / Proverbs 21:3 / Isaiah 1:10-17 / Isaiah 58:5-7 / Jeremiah 6:19-20 / Amos 5:21-24 / Hosea 4: 6 / Hosea 6:6 / Micah 6:6-8) . That they are nothing more than to feel sorry for those who have less and do what is in our power to help them, even to the detriment of ourselves. THAT IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS (Matthew 7:12 / Matthew 22:40 / Galatians 5:14).
"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is similar: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.Of these two commandments all the law dependsand the prophets." Matthew 22:38-40
«Owe no one anything, except to love one another; becausehe who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law«. Romans 13:8
"Whyall the law in this single word is fulfilled:you will love your neighborlike yourself." Galatians 5:14
The salt in the offerings represents pure love in good works
Likewise, the sacrifices that were burned on the altar, by law, had to be accompanied by salt, not honey. Next we show the spiritual meaning of such a ritual mandate.
“And you shall season every offering that you present with salt, and you shall never make the salt of the covenant of your God lack from your offering; in every offering of yours you shall offer salt." Leviticus 2:13
Just as at that time no offering that did not carry salt was accepted, neither will our heavenly Father accept good works that do not carry pure love, that is, he will completely reject those good works that we do with the hidden intention of obtaining fame in exchange for them. money, favors or recognition from men, etc. (Matthew 6: 1-4).
«Not everyone who says to me: Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day: Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and perform many miracles in your name? And then I will declare to them: I never knew you; get away from me, you evildoers.” Matthew 7:21-23
Pure love, not feigned and free from all corruption of evil, supernatural love which all our offerings -good works- must carry, is the love that only the Holy Spirit of God can produce in His children (1 Corinthians 13: 3-7).
Salt as a purifying element
"For all will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be salted with salt." Mark 9:49
One of the many uses of salt in antiquity was to preserve food, but another of the uses for which it was intended was sanitary, that is, to heal wounds, because the ancients discovered that salt also acted as a a powerful purifier.
The figurative phrase "to throw salt in the wound" comes to us from that ancient practice of cleaning an exposed wound by throwing salt on it. Of course the treatment was painful, but there was nothing more effective. Thanks to a quick intervention, the wound was prevented from spreading, healing completely. It is precisely to that ancient cleansing use that our Lord Jesus Christ refers to in the prophecy that we have just read and about which we will talk a little more below.
purification of the offering
The sacrifice our Lord refers to in this passage is the offering that the Israelites brought to the altar in the Temple of Jerusalem in ancient times.
As we already mentioned, the offerings consisted of food. Whether they were animals or crops, everything that was offered was sprinkled abundantly with salt to purify it, just as it was done with wounds, by mandate the food was sprinkled with salt to cleanse it of all possible corruption.
The salt in the offering represents that all our good works will be tested.
So the Lord is not really interested in the House of Israel ritual sacrifices (1 Samuel 15:21-23 / Psalm 40:6-8 / Psalm 51:16-17 / Proverbs 21:3 / Isaiah 1:10 -17 / Jeremiah 6:19-20 / Amos 5:21-24 / Hosea 4: 6 / Hosea 6:6 / Micah 6:6-8), but the good works we do by obeying His Word. But there is more: just as the offerings of ancient Israel were purified with salt when brought to the altar, all our good works will also be subjected to the purifying fire:
«…the work of each one will become manifest; for the day will declare it, since it will be revealed by fire; and the work of each one, whatever it is, the fire will test it. If anyone's work that he built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, though as if by fire." 1 Corinthians 3:13-15
All the good works that we do will be tested by the purifying fire, eliminating all corruption from them, leaving only those that remain.WE HAVE MADE WITH GENUINE LOVE:
«And if I distributed all my goods to feed the poor, and if I gave my body to be burned, and I have no love, it is of no use to me. Love is suffered, it is benign; love does not envy, love is not boastful, it is not puffed up; He does not do anything wrong, he does not look for his own, he does not get irritated, he does not hold a grudge; You don't enjoy injustice, but you enjoy the truth. Everything suffers, everything believes, everything awaits, everything endures. 1 Corinthians 13:3-7
Only the good works that we do with genuine and pure love, not feigned and corrupt, that is, without any hidden intention or interest in gaining something with it, be it fame, earthly riches, control over people, etc. they will last, because only true love is pure and eternal:
"Love never stops being; but prophecies will come to an end, and tongues will cease, and science will end." 1 Corinthians 13:8
So our offerings, our good works, must spiritually carry salt, which means that they must be clean of the corruption that are the hidden intentions behind them, because in the other life they will be subjected to the purifying fire that will judge our souls. Just as in the past the priest examined the offerings and if there was a lack of salt in them or detected with his expert eye and nose even a pinch of corruption, he returned them and declared them unacceptable, so our high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:21 ), will examine our offerings, the good works, and those that do not carry the purifying salt of the Spirit and therefore corruption, will not be accepted.
"Having purified your souls by obedience to the truth, through the Spirit, for unfeigned brotherly love, love one another dearly, from a pure heart." 1 Peter 1:22
«…and all the churches will know that I am the one who searches the mind and the heart; and I will give to each of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:23
It is with this standard -the spiritual fulfillment of the Law- that the Lord Jesus Christ warns that he will judge the tribes of Israel:
«When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on his throne of glory, and all nations will be gathered before him; and he will separate one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right: Come, blessed of my Father, inherit THE KINGDOM PREPARED FOR YOU from the foundation of the world. Because I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; I was naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me; in prison, and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him saying: Lord, when did we see you hungry, and we fed you, or thirsty, and gave you drink? And when did we see you a stranger, and we took you in, or naked, and we covered you? Or when we saw you sick, or in jail, and we came to you? And answering the King, he will say to them: Verily I tell you that as soon as you did it to one of these my smallest brothers, you did it to me.
Then he will also say to those on the left: Depart from me, cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Because I was hungry, and you gave me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not take me in; I was naked, and you did not cover me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they too will answer him saying: Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, or in prison, and we did not serve you? Then he will answer them saying: Verily I say to you, insofar as you did not do it to one of these little ones, you did not do it to me either. And these will go to eternal punishment, and the just to eternal life. Matthew 25:31-46
Not everyone who says to me: Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day: Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and perform many miracles in your name? And then I will declare to them: I never knew you; get away from me, you evildoers.” Matthew 7:21-23
So far we have learned that the Word commands that we, the House of Israel, should not carry out the rites of Moses (Galatians 3:2-4 / Galatians 5:3-4), but it is our duty to extract from such rites their concerning spiritual meaning and obey them; and although we no longer bring offerings to the altar -as was done before-, it is the duty of the House of Israel to continue offering the same sacrifices, but now in a spiritual way (1 Peter 2:5). Just like that of the Lord Jesus Christ, who offered himself, giving us an example of the offering that pleases God, our own life:
"And walk in love, just as Christ also loved us, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a fragrant aroma." Ephesians 5:2
So our good works are burnt offerings whose fragrant aroma rises pleasing to God. It is the prophets who teach us that the ancient sacrifices on the altar are actually symbols of the good works that the children of God must practice; and the Lord wants us to do the good works that such sacrifices symbolize and NOT THE BACK.
"WhyI want mercy, and not sacrifice, yknowledge of God more than burnt offerings«. Hosea 6:6