II. THE FIRE ON THE ALTAR BEING KEPT BURNING CONTINUALLY AND NOT GOING OUT
The fire on the altar should be kept burning continually (6:9b, 12a, 13). Verse 12a says, “The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it must not go out.”
A. Signifying That God as the Burning Fire in the Universe Is Ready to Receive (Burn) What Is Offered to Him as Food
The continual burning of the fire on the altar first signifies that God as the holy fire in the universe is ready to receive (burn) what is offered to Him as food. God’s receiving us is His burning us. When we are burned by God, we should be happy because this burning means that God is receiving us.
B. Signifying That God’s Desire to Accept What Is Offered to Him Never Ceases
The continual burning of the fire also signifies that God’s desire to accept what is offered to Him never ceases. God desires to accept us, and He accepts us by burning us. The more He burns us, the more He accepts us.
III. THE PRIEST BURNING WOOD ON THE ALTAR EVERY MORNING
The priest burned wood on the altar every morning (v. 12b). This signifies the need of the serving one’s cooperation with God’s desire. This cooperation is to add more fuel to the holy fire to strengthen the burning for the receiving of the burnt offering as God’s food. As we are being burned, we need to add more wood to burn ourselves and also to burn our fellow serving ones. Do not quench the fire but add more wood to keep the fire burning.
If there were only one serving one, the burning fuel would be exhausted. Therefore, we need more serving ones, more companions in being burned. The more serving ones there are, the more fuel there will be to burn ourselves and others.
The priest was to burn wood on the altar every morning. The morning signifies having a new start for the burning.
IV. THE PRIEST PUTTING ON HIS LINEN GARMENT AND LINEN BREECHES OVER HIS FLESH IN TAKING UP THE ASHES OF THE BURNT OFFERING
“The priest shall put on his linen garment, putting on linen breeches over his flesh” (v. 10a). Linen is fine, pure, and clean. The priest’s putting on his linen garment and linen breeches thus signifies that fineness, purity, and cleanness are needed in handling the ashes (the result) of the burnt offering. We should not think of the ashes as waste that can be handled in a careless manner. On the contrary, the ashes are the result of the burnt offering, and in handling this result we need to be proper. We need to be fine, pure, and clean.
V. THE PRIEST PUTTING ON OTHER GARMENTS TO CARRY THE ASHES OUTSIDE THE CAMP
“Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place” (v. 11). This signifies the stateliness in handling the ashes (the result) of the burnt offering. In God’s eyes, the result of our burnt offering is highly regarded. It is fine, pure, and clean. Thus, in carrying the ashes outside the camp, the priest wore stately garments and carried the ashes in a stately way. This teaches us to have a high regard for the result of our burnt offering.
To become a full-timer is to offer ourselves to God as a burnt offering. Concerning this, there should be and must be a result. We should regard this result and not despise it or consider it insignificant. The result of our being a burnt offering will be something that carries out God’s New Testament economy. What we do as full-timers is not merely to preach the gospel to save sinners, to establish local churches, to teach the Bible, or to help people to grow in life and in truth. What we do must result in the building up of the Body of Christ, which is a miniature of the coming New Jerusalem.
What we are doing is actually extraordinary, but to the worldly people it is nothing. To them what we are doing is ashes. However, God has a high regard for these ashes. Eventually these ashes will become the New Jerusalem. Have you ever realized that the ashes, the result of the burnt offering, will be the coming New Jerusalem? I realize this, and I believe it. I believe that I will be there and that what I am doing will be part of that city. The New Jerusalem is our destiny and our destination.
How can the ashes of the burnt offering become the New Jerusalem? Ashes indicate the result of Christ’s death, which brings us to an end, that is, to ashes. But Christ’s death brings in resurrection. In resurrection, the ashes become precious materials—gold, pearls, and precious stones—for the building of the New Jerusalem. All three precious materials come from the transformation of the ashes. When we are brought to ashes, we are brought into the transformation of the Triune God.
(Life-Study of Leviticus, Chapter 23, by Witness Lee)