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A sermon written by by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., Pastor Emeritus
and given by Jack Ngann, Pastor
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Afternoon, March 26, 2023

“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake…” (Genesis 8:20-21; p. 16 Scofield).

The first thing that Noah did when he came out of the Ark was to build an altar to God and offer burnt sacrifices to Him. God had told Noah to take seven of each “clean” animal and bird, and only one pair of each “unclean” kind (Genesis 7:2-3). Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

The clean animals included a few “beasts” and “birds,” but apparently no “creeping things.” It seems likely that the clean animals were those adjuged suitable for domestication…and thus also suitable for sacrificial offerings in atonement for man. Since no previous categorization of animals as “clean” or “unclean” is given in Genesis, it is perhaps reasonable to believe that God allowed Noah to use his own judgment on this [or perhaps these categories had been revealed earlier to Adam, Abel and others, but not recorded in Genesis, only inferred]. The three pairs were to encourage the relatively greater numerical proliferation of the clean animals after the Flood…The seventh animal in each [clean] group clearly was intended for sacrificial purposes (Genesis 9:20). Much later, the Mosaic law plainly spelled out which animals were to be regarded as clean in the Israelite system (Leviticus 11, etc.), though all such distinctions were to be removed altogether in the Christian dispensation, Acts 10:9-15; I Timothy 4:4 (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, 1986 reprint, pp. 190-191).

To understand Noah’s sacrifice we must realize two things: (1) that it was a continuation of earlier sacrifices; and, most importantly, (2) that it was typical of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.

I. First, Noah’s sacrifice was a continuation of earlier sacrifices.

“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20).

We must not think that this was the first time a sacrifice was made. The first sacrifice was made by God Himself.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of [skin]” (Genesis 3:21; p. 10).

God killed an animal and clothed our first parents in the skin. This was done to cover the shame of their sin.

Then their son, Abel

“also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering”
     (Genesis 4:4; p. 10).

The Book of Genesis does not specify that such sacrifices continued, but it is implied. Only a brief sketch is given concerning the lives of the patriarchs. So we are not surprised that such a sacrifice is not mentioned again until Noah came out from the Ark. One of the strongest arguments comes from a statement in the Book of Revelation concerning

“the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”
     (Revelation 13:8; p. 1342).

Before the world was created God planned to send Jesus to die on the Cross to propitiate His wrath, and atone for man’s sin. Thus, it seems natural that God would call for animal sacrifices, which would point forward to that time in history when Christ would come as the true

“Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”
     (John 1:29; p. 1115).

In the time of the patriarchs the sacrifices tended to be spontaneous acts of reverence. But under the law of Moses sacrifices became a duty. The material and manner of the sacrifices were described in minute detail in the Book of Leviticus. I am lifting out one verse that sheds light on these Levitical sacrifices.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul”
     (Leviticus 17:11; p. 150).

These sacrifices went on in the Tabernacle and, later in the Temple in Jerusalem. When Jesus was eight days old, Mary and Joseph

“Brought him to Jerusalem…And to offer a sacrifice”
     (Luke 2:22, 24; p. 1073).

From God’s sacrifice of an animal to clothe Adam and Eve, to Abel’s sacrifice, to Noah’s sacrifice, to Job’s sacrifice, to Jacob’s sacrifice, to the Passover sacrifice, to the Mosaic sacrifices in the Tabernacle and the Temple – all of these sacrifices had the same kind of meaning that the Lord’s Supper has today. The Lord’s Supper looks back to the death of Christ on the Cross. The sacrifices of the Old Testament looked forward, toward the true Sacrificial Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. Which brings us to our next point.

II. Second, Noah’s sacrifice was typical, as were all the Old Testament
sacrifices, of the full sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

Dr. M. R. DeHaan said,

The face of Jesus Christ is on every page of Scripture. Every single incident in the Word of God, in some way, directly or indirectly has some connection with God’s revelation concerning Him. This our Lord Jesus Himself taught on that first resurrection day [when He said] (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., Portraits of Christ in Genesis, Zondervan Publishing House, 1966, p. 28), “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken…And beginning at Moses [the first five books of the Bible, written by Moses] and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25, 27).
Jesus [said] all the Scriptures speak of Him. Not a line of the New Testament had as yet been written when He spoke these words. It is of the Old Testament Jesus declares that they all speak of Him. The Old Testament therefore…is a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Once we realize that the Old Testament is a revelation of the Lord Jesus, and we must find Him somewhere on every page, the study of the Old Testament will be transformed…to a thrilling, exciting exercise as we look for His face, hiding among the incidents recorded in the Book [especially in Genesis]. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “Search the Scriptures…they are they which testify of me” (M. R. DeHaan, ibid., pp. 28-29).

In this sermon, we are only dealing with the Old Testament sacrifices, and how each one of them is a type. In each case, Christ is a fulfillment of the type. He is the antitype. He shows us how each sacrifice points to Him as the fulfillment, giving the true meaning of the type as it was fulfilled in Christ Himself. The Apostle Paul tells us that the various teachings of the Old Testament,

“are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ [the reality, the substance, is in Christ]” (Colossians 2:17; p. 1264).

Thus we see that all of the Old Testament sacrifices point to Jesus. Dr. John R. Rice, speaking of Noah’s sacrifice, said,

Noah builded an altar…Abel had offered animal sacrifices, too. This is before the ceremonial law [of Moses], but even Abel and Noah understood that the sacrifices represented Christ, the Lamb of God who would come to die.
Those who were saved in Old Testament times were saved by faith in the Saviour who would come. Dimly it may be they saw, but by faith they did see that God would provide a sacrifice, even as Abraham had told Isaac, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8). It was by faith that Noah, looking forward to the coming Saviour, offered sacrifices that pleased God. Today we take the Lord’s Supper…[which pictures] the death of Christ for us. The sacrificial [animals] meant the same to Noah, although the sacrifice pictured was [at that time] in the future (John R. Rice., D.D., A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Book of Genesis, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1975, pp. 229-230).

The bread we take in the Lord’s Supper points back to Christ, crucified on the Cross to propitiate God’s wrath and justify us in His sight. The cup we drink points back to the Blood He shed on the Cross to cleanse us from our sin. The Lord’s Supper does for us today what Noah’s sacrifices did before Christ came. The Lord’s Supper points back to Christ’s sacrifice. The sacrifices of Noah, and other Old Testament believers, pointed forward to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

When you come to Jesus, you are looking back to His death as payment for your sin, as they looked forward to His crucifixion when they offered those bloody sacrifices before Christ came.

But my question to you today is this – have you looked back to what Jesus did for you on the Cross? Has His suffering and death made any impression on you?

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter pointed back to Christ on the Cross and said, “Whom ye have crucified” (Acts 2:36). They were “pricked in their heart” when they heard this (Acts 2:37). Has that happened to you? Are you convicted of your sin, which nailed Him to the Cross? John Newton said,

Oh, can it be upon a tree
     The Saviour died for me?
My soul is thrilled, my heart is filled,
     To think He died for me.
(“He Died For Me” by John Newton, 1725-1807).

Could you say that? If the suffering and bleeding and torture Christ went through to save you from the penalty of sin makes no emotional impression on you, and do not prick your heart with conviction, then the great Sacrifice of Christ, which fulfilled all the Old Testament sacrifices, will not make any lasting impression on you. You will not come to Him. You will not be washed clean by His precious Blood. You will not be saved.

It is my prayer that you will turn to Jesus and be saved by the sacrifice He made for your sin. Amen.