The Smell of Burning Flesh

The below item is part of my "Conversations" series.

A teenage Christian coming to her father with a question about the Bible

Isabella: It says in the Bible that God liked the smell that animal sacrifices gave off when they burned.* Why would God like that? Wouldn’t a burning animal smell disgusting?

Jack: Barbecue doesn’t smell bad, does it?

Isabella: No.

Jack: The law that said that the Hebrews had to burn their animal sacrifices was just God’s way of reminding people that we have to cook meat before we eat it. Lots of the rules in the Old Testament are really just reminders of how to live a healthy life.

Isabella: Jesus was the last sacrifice, right?

Jack: Yes. That sort of underlines my point — God didn’t require the body of Jesus to be burned after He died on the cross because burning isn’t really part of a sacrifice. It’s something you do to an animal before you eat it.

Isabella: If burning isn’t part of a sacrifice, then why was Abraham going to prepare a fire before sacrificing Isaac?

Jack: That’s a different matter entirely. It wasn’t the fire that was important to God, but the wood for the fire. Isaac carried the sticks for the sacrificial fire** just like Jesus carried his cross*** on the way to his own sacrifice.

Isabella: I thought that Simon carried the cross for Jesus?

Jack: Jesus carried the cross for a while and then Simon did.**** In the same way, Abraham carried the wood after Isaac did.***** The whole story of the binding of Isaac was a foreshadowing of the death of Jesus on the cross. God allowed Abraham to find a substitute for Isaac, just like God provided Jesus as a substitute sacrifice for our sins.

Isabella: Wow! Does everything in the Bible work together like that?

Jack: Yes, Love.

*Exodus 29:25, “And thou shalt receive them of their hands, and burn them upon the altar for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour before the Lord: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord.” Leviticus 1:9, “You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. ” Also in many other places in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.

**Genesis 22:6: “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.”

***John 19:17: “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:”

****Luke 23:26: “And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.” See also Matthew 27:31–32 and Mark 15:20–21.

*****Genesis 22:9: “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.”


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Posted on March 31, 2014 at 7:16 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Conversations

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