13… the priest shall bring it all and burn it on the altar; it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.
In Old Testament times, when a burnt offering is killed, its head is severed, the fat removed, and the entrails and legs washed. Then, everything is placed on an altar and burnt, and the sacrifice is a sweet aroma to God.
All this speaks of the death of Jesus, who has “given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma”. (Ephesians 5:2)
The head of the sacrificed animal speaks of the mind of Christ offered as a covering for our minds. This means that although our minds are often clouded with unbelief, worries, foolishness, filth and human reasoning, God treats us as if we have the mind of Christ, without wrong or displeasing thoughts, bringing pleasure to Him like a sweet aroma.
The fat of the animal speaks of the riches of Christ, His best, for God equates the fat of something with the best of that entity. (Genesis 45:18) The fat of the burnt sacrifice speaks of Jesus giving us His riches, His best, as our covering. So God does not see us in our lack, but in the riches and excellence of Jesus going up to Him as a sweet aroma.
The entrails or intestines speak of Jesus’ motivations, feelings, affections and desires. We often feel fearful, anxious, stressed out or angry (and it affects our stomach and intestines). But God sees only Jesus’ feelings and desires, which are always pure, beautiful and acceptable to Him — a sweet aroma.
The legs refer to Jesus’ perfect walk — His power to serve and obey the Father — imputed to our weak and faltering walk. And the fact they are washed shows that even our crooked walk has been cleansed.
Precious saints, God does not see your foolish mind, weak nature, inadequate feelings or faulty walk. Instead, He sees you in the perfection of His Son, who gave Himself up for you as a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God…Hallelujah!
Hebrews 8:12 12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
I once read a comic book which showed how a man lusted after a woman, then died of a heart attack and went to heaven. In heaven, he saw a big screen showing everyone present a recording of all the sins which he had committed while on earth, including the last one. How embarrassing!
Don’t worry, that is not going to happen to you in heaven. There is no big screen with front-row and circle seats for everyone to sit and watch your past sins. There is no video recorder in heaven recording your sins right now. Because your lifetime of sins has already been punished in the body of Jesus, God declares to you, “Your sins and lawless deeds, I will by no means ever remember!”
This is true even for the Old Testament heroes of faith such as Abraham, Moses and David. If you read Hebrews 11, which was written after the cross of Jesus, you will notice that there is no record of their sins or failures. Yet, their life stories tell us that they were far from perfect.
Abraham lied twice about his wife Sarah. He told Pharaoh, and later, King Abimelech, that she was his sister to protect his own life. Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew, and hid the body in the sand. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and later arranged for her husband to be killed in battle. Yet, their sins were not recorded in Hebrews 11, only their deeds done in faith!
God is showing you that He does not record your sins or failures today. Instead, He records your faith confessions and deeds done in response to what His Son has done for you. Every time you sin, every time you waver in your faith, God does not record it. But every time you believe Him and respond in faith, He records it! That should not make you want to sin more. It should free you to love God more!
So don’t be conscious of your failures. If God Himself does not remember them, who are you to remember them? Be conscious instead of your righteousness in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), and you will reign in life! (Romans 5:17)
Luke 15:31 31… ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.
After running a few errands for his parents, a little boy went to his father and said,“I know why you and mummy had me.”“Why?”asked his father.
“So that you guys would have someone to run errands for you!” exclaimed the boy.
Like the little boy, do you see God as a Father who demands obedience and service from you? Have you ever felt that unless you obey Him and keep all His commandments, you don’t have a right to be blessed by Him?
Jesus shared the story of the prodigal son to show how some of us call God “Father” and yet don’t know His heart. There are two sons in this parable. We know what happened to the prodigal son, but we can also learn something about the older son. This is what he said to his father when he discovered that his father had thrown a party to celebrate the return of his irresponsible, spendthrift brother: “Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.” (Luke 15:29)
Now, this son believed that his father had brought him into the world to serve him. He saw his father as someone issuing commandments to him all the time. And he saw himself as someone who had to obey those commandments to enjoy his inheritance. But the truth is that the father had already given him his inheritance. (Luke 15:12) The father even reminded him lovingly: “Son… all that I have is yours.” And I am sure that inheritance included more than one goat!
Have you, like the older son, failed to understand your Father’s heart? Your heavenly Father already gave you a rich inheritance in Christ when you became His son. He wants you to know that you have received the Spirit of sonship. (Romans 8:15) So call out to Him, “Abba, Father!” and know how much He loves you. Because you are His heir, all that He has is yours to enjoy today and always!
Ephesians 1:3 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
God does not see as we see. Abraham was a childless, 100-year-old man. His wife, Sarah, at 90 years old, was doubly dead in her womb. (Genesis 17:17) Yet, God saw him and talked to him as if he were already the father of many nations.
My friend, God wants you to see the way He sees. Right now, you may see yourself going through a trial in your marriage, work, finances or health. But God sees a blessed marriage, success at work, supernatural provision and a healed body because He tells you that you are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
You see, God sees you in Christ. So when you see yourself in Christ, who is outside time, you step into the timeless zone. In that timeless zone in Christ, whatever needs and trials of yours are already removed, repaired, restored or resurrected! In that timeless zone in Christ, you are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places!
Proverbs 17:8 8A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers.
When we see something moldy, we throw it away. But when Alexander Fleming saw his culture dishes contaminated with mold, he discovered penicillin. You see, he had a gift which prospered him.
Joseph, a Hebrew slave in Egypt, had nothing except his gift of interpreting dreams. But look at what that gift did for him. It prospered him. He interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and became the most powerful man in Egypt after Pharaoh. (Genesis 41)
“But Emmanuel Stephen, what if I don’t have any gift?”
My friend, don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have any gift. God has given each person a gift which can open doors of opportunities and bring in great blessings.
Maybe you are just not aware of that gift you have inside you, or perhaps it has profited you nothing thus far as you have not found out how best to use it. You need to take your gift and ask God for wisdom to cultivate it until it becomes such a powerful tool or “precious stone” that wherever you turn, you prosper.
Now, please don’t go and quit your job after reading this. What you should do is ask God for wisdom regarding your gift. For when the wisdom of God is added to your gift, that gift becomes “a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers”.
This was the case with a church brother who was tremendously gifted in the creative arts. For a long time, he lacked the confidence and boldness to leave the security of his police job and step out on his own. But when he began to seek God’s wisdom for his situation, God gave him boldness to leave his job and go back to school to pursue the creative arts. In school, he prospered, becoming one of its top students and impressing the principal so much with his creative gift that he was offered a teaching position in the school even before he graduated.
Psalm 91:1 1He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
In the Old Testament, there was a place where God met with His people. In Exodus 25:22, God said, “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony…” This place was above the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant, under the wings of the two cherubim. The psalmist calls it “the secret place of the Most High… under the shadow of the Almighty”.
The mercy seat covered the ark which contained the three emblems of man’s rebellion: the golden pot of manna — man’s rebellion against God’s provision, two tablets of stone on which God wrote the Ten Commandments — man’s rebellion against God’s standard, and Aaron’s rod — man’s rebellion against God’s authority. Once a year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrificed animal on the mercy seat and so make propitiation for the sins of Israel.
Today, it is not the blood of animals that makes propitiation for our sins, but the holy blood of the Son of God. (Romans 3:24–25) The word for “propitiation” in the original Greek text is hilasterion, which actually means “mercy seat”. So Christ is our mercy seat. His blood speaks for us and puts God on our side. God does not see our rebellion. He sees the blood of His Son and accepts us!
That is why we can come boldly to the secret place of the Most High, in Christ, and feel secure that we have every right to be in God’s presence. We can come boldly to Him to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
And because Christ, our mercy seat, covers us with His blood, we are under God’s protection. We are in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty. Here, no evil will befall us, nor will any plague come near our dwelling. (Psalm 91:9–10) In the secret place of the Most High, we are favored and kept safe from all harm!
Mark 11:24 24Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
A blind lady was led to a great healing evangelist for prayer. After he had prayed for her, he asked her, “Now, tell me what you see.” She opened her eyes only to be told, “Close your eyes. Tell me what you see.” She opened her eyes again only to be told, “I didn’t say to open your eyes. I asked you what you saw. Close your eyes! Now, tell me what you see.”
This went on for a while, until the lady realized that the evangelist was asking her what she saw on the inside. Did she see herself seeing? When she understood that, she said, “I see myself with sight.” Then, the evangelist told her, “Now, slowly open your eyes.” That moment, she opened her eyes to perfect vision!
When you prayed just now, what did you see inside you? Were you praying for someone’s healing, but seeing that person in a coffin? Were you praying for a financial breakthrough, but seeing the banks pursuing you till you were bankrupt?
You see, you don’t get what you pray for. You get what you believe you receive when you pray. Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
Beloved, “whatever things” covers your every need. And believing that you receive them comes before having them. Jesus once told a centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” The centurion’s servant was healed that same hour. (Matthew 8:13) The centurion believed that he received his miracle even before he saw it in the natural.
So when you pray, what do you really believe and see on the inside?
“Well, Emmanuel, I really can’t see it.”
Then don’t pray yet. Change your vision on the inside first. Start seeing yourself with the answer. See yourself healed. See yourself living in the bigger house that you need. See yourself enjoying more than enough. When you can see it and believe it, then pray in faith, and you will have whatever you ask for!
John 19:2 2And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head…
If hard work is the formula for prosperity, then everyone who works hard should be prosperous. But this is certainly not the case. Many people who work very hard are still in lack!
I am not advocating laziness. What I am saying is that working hard by the sweat of your brow is not how God’s provision comes. In fact, if you have to work overtime all the time and are stressed out, you are probably operating under the curse.
What curse is that? It is this curse: “In the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread…” (Genesis 3:19) And it refers to the stress, struggle and anxieties that come with working hard and yet producing little. Now, work itself is not a curse since God gave Adam work before the fall — Adam was to tend the garden of Eden. It was only after he sinned that the land was cursed and it brought forth thorns, and man had to toil to eat of it. (Genesis 3:17–18)
But praise God, Jesus wore the thorns on His head to show you that He has borne this curse for you and redeemed you from it. He wore the crown of thorns so that you can work stress-free and yet have the results. You don’t have to be worried and stressed out day and night like the people of the world just to get ahead in life. Your heavenly Father can get you there without the worries and stress. (Matthew 6:31–33)
Beloved, every curse that was supposed to fall on your head fell on Jesus’ head, typified by the crown of thorns. He wore the crown of thorns for you so that you can have peace of mind. He wore the crown of thorns for you and took your curse so that you can wear the crown of glory and take His righteousness, and all the benefits of that righteousness!
Today, don’t labor and toil like the people of the world. Instead, expect to see the blessings of God come into your life without blood, sweat and tears because Jesus wore the crown of thorns for you!
2 Samuel 9:7 7So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.”
When the people in the palace heard that King Saul and his son Jonathan had died in battle, they panicked. Fearful that David was coming to seize the throne, and kill all the sons and grandsons of Saul, they ran for their lives. A nurse took Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, and ran. But as she fled, the five-year-old boy fell and became lame in both feet. (2 Samuel 4:4)
The poor boy would not have been crippled if they had known that David actually loved Jonathan and Saul, and would have looked after Jonathan’s son because he had made a covenant with Jonathan. (1 Samuel 18:3)
In this story, King Saul represents the human race. He is like Adam who sinned against God and forfeited all that God gave to man. He had the position, but not the power anymore because of sin. Jonathan, who came after Saul, represents Jesus, who came as a human. Jonathan was not like Saul — he was good, just as Jesus is not like Adam — Jesus is the perfect Man. David represents God. So Jonathan’s covenant with David speaks of Jesus’ covenant with God. Mephibosheth represents believers today who are “lame” in some way — sick, depressed, fearful, poor and so on.
Now, Mephibosheth became lame because of bad news that was based on a lie. Many believers today are suffering needlessly because they believe the wrong things about God. They think, “My sin has found me out! God is coming after me!”
Well, I have good news for all Mephibosheths: David is not after your life! When David looked for Mephibosheth, it was to show him kindness, to take care of him and restore to him the land that had belonged to Saul his grandfather.
Likewise, God is not out to get you. He knows all about your sins and still loves you. That is why He sent Jesus as the payment for your sins. And because of Jesus’ covenant with Him, He says to you, “Don’t be afraid, I will surely show you kindness. I will restore all to you and you shall always eat at My table!”
Psalm 127:2 2It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.
Are you one of those who have trouble sleeping at night? Perhaps just this morning you said, “I was up the whole night — my boy was running a high fever,” or “I slept for only two hours — I was awake polishing up my presentation,” or “I couldn’t sleep at all — I was worried about the bills that are piling up.”
God “gives His beloved sleep”. Who are His beloved? You and I! Because we are in Christ, we are His beloved. (Ephesians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13)
God says, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows…” In other words, it is pointless to worry and lose sleep because the truth is, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
So let God be the one who builds your career and watches over your financial investments. Let Him be the one who guards your health, marriage and children. Don’t worry and stay up late as if you are the source of the increase, or the one who has the power to make things happen and save the situation. No, God is the one and He says to you, “My beloved child, throw that care to Me and go to sleep.” And while you are sleeping, He is working on your situation. He, who neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:3–4), works the night shift for you as you sleep!
But because we are such doers and performers, it is hard for us to let go and let God take over. But when we actually do, casting all our cares, anxieties and worries once and for all into His hands, we will see how He cares for us affectionately and watchfully. (1 Peter 5:7) We will see Him taking care of our problems and working things out for good. (Romans 8:28)
Genesis 1:26 26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
When God made man, He gave man dominion over everything on earth. To have an idea of the kind of dominion that man would have had had he not sinned, let’s look at the perfect Man, Jesus Christ.
When Jesus wanted to pay the temple tax, He only needed to command a fish to bring the money to Him. (Matthew 17:24–27) When He wanted to feed a multitude, He only needed to multiply five loaves and two fish in His hands. (Mark 6:34–44) When a storm threatened the lives of His disciples, He only had to speak to the storm and there was perfect calm. (Mark 4:35–41) And every sick person who was brought to Him went away healed. He even brought the dead back to life because He had dominion over death!
Today, you have the same dominion that Jesus exercised because Christ is in you. (Colossians 1:27)
“Emmanuel, forget about having dominion over the sea, air or earth. I want dominion over my backache which has robbed me of my time with my children. I want dominion over my financial situation.”
My friend, because God’s purpose for you is to have dominion on earth, He will keep you healthy. After all, it is hard to rule the earth when you are sick and lying on your bed. And God will prosper you because it is hard to want to do things when you are in lack.
We need to understand that since God’s greater purpose is for man to have dominion on earth, it would include the lesser blessings such as health and provision. Then, we will see ourselves as God sees us, walking in dominion, and we will walk in victory over our negative circumstances in the natural realm.
Beloved, you have been born again of the Spirit, born to rule and have dominion over everything on earth!