“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). The animal sacrifices of the Old Covenant are a prophetic representation of all that was accomplished through the death of Jesus, and of what is to be accomplished within us as the substance of the spiritual sacrifice we are called to in the New Covenant.
In Old Covenant sacrifices, the blood was drained from the body of the animals and their flesh was burned on the altar. Leviticus 17:11 & 12 says that the life of the flesh is in the blood and that the blood is not to be eaten. As a result of the fall, man is born with the worldly, carnal nature which is considered by God to be a beastly nature because it is self-serving, and is solely governed by pride, lust, envy, and wrath, and by information that may be gathered from the confines of the physical arrangement. – “I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts” (Ecclesiastes 3:18). The commandment to not partake of the animal’s blood was a way for God to say that the beastly life is death and that His people are not to allow their soul to partake of it, which is the same as saying don’t let your soul be influenced with, fed by, or draw its life from pride, lust, envy, and wrath and the physical arrangement.
The beastly nature came into mankind through a man so it had to be removed from mankind through a man. The life, sufferings, and death of Jesus were for the sole purpose of overcoming and putting to death all that came alive in Adam when he partook of the knowledge of good and evil and fell into the beastly life governed by self and the worldly, physical arrangement of which he had been created to have dominion over. So, the blood that flowed from Jesus, and His death on the cross, was the real removal and death of the worldly, beastly life in man, and it’s the spiritual fulfillment of that which was represented by the blood being drained from the animals in the Old Covenant. Since Jesus has now overcome and put the beastly life to death in His body of flesh, it can be overcome and put to death in all of mankind.
Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53). Drinking His blood and eating His flesh are not physical acts but are spiritual acts of the soul — the mind, intellect, reasoning, and emotions. Drinking His blood has a two-fold meaning. One is that of the soul receiving His blood to be the death of our beastly nature because He took the beastly nature upon Himself, overcame it, allowed it to be put to death in Him, and to be poured out of Him in the crucifixion — “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The soul is drinking His blood by receiving this to literally make it free from its union with the spirit of this world, which is one and the same as making it free from the beastly life. The soul also drinks His blood by receiving it as the provision for being regenerated with the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The life-blood of our risen Savior is the Holy Spirit, so the soul is also drinking the blood of Jesus when it receives the Holy Spirit to be one with it and to be the head of this spiritual union. Read Ephesians 5:22-33.
The body, or flesh, of Jesus is dead to sin and alive to God. So, to eat His flesh also carries a two-fold meaning. The soul is eating His flesh when it receives the death of His physical body as the power to free the body of man from being a vessel for sin to dwell in and work through. The soul is also eating the flesh of Jesus by receiving all that was accomplished in His body as the provision for it to partake of grace, which is Divine ability, so that it may now live solely unto God. Read the 6th chapter of Romans. By receiving the love of the Truth and dying to our own pride, lust, envy, and wrath, and the life governed by and subjected to the physical arrangement, we are surrendering our beastly nature to be removed by the death of the cross.
The body of the animal was burned as a sacrifice upon the altar. This is a prophetic representation of the beastly nature being consumed by the spiritual fire of God within our heart — “For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). Burning meat has a repugnant smell, but the burning sacrifices of the Old Covenant were a “sweet savour” to God because it was a physical type, or representation, of the spiritual fire of God purifying the soul by overcoming and destroying the carnal, beastly nature within fallen man — “And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the Lord : it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord” (Exodus 29:18). The word translated as “savour” is from a Hebrew word that means “rest”. This is very significant because the wrath that is within the soul of fallen man is only put to rest, or atoned, when the spiritual elements of pride, lust, and envy have been overcome and consumed by the fire of God. Jesus says, “For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another” (Mark 9:49 & 50). Salt is for preservation and we can see from these verses that the salt which preserves our soul is the fire of God burning within us. We can also see that the fire must be in us and given place to do its work or it’s of no benefit. So, Jesus is saying that we must surrender our pride, lust, envy, and wrath to be consumed by the fire of God, which is the same as Him saying, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23-24). In the heart of a repentant believer, the spiritual fire of God consumes, breaks down, and purifies the spiritual elements of hell, just as physical fire purifies physical elements. So, the flesh of the animal being burned on the altar was a prophetic message to reveal that the beastly nature of fallen man must be consumed, and the heart must be purified by the fire of God.
Now, because Jesus has accomplished all of this in Himself, and risen from the grave, it can and will be accomplished in everyone who truly repents as the result of a godly sorrow and believes the gospel to receive a birth of the Divine nature within them. Jesus doesn’t remove our physical blood and burn our body with physical fire, but He provides all that is necessary to remove the worldly, beastly nature from us, to purify our soul with the spiritual fire of God, and to regenerate us with the Divine nature. Dying to self and living wholly to God is the true act of offering our bodies as a living sacrifice because it is the total surrender of our being, including our body, to be nothing but a vessel for this work to be accomplished in, and for Jesus to live through, whereby the way we think, all we allow, all we consent to, say, and do is generated by the fire of God, illuminated by the Light of God, and governed by the Spirit of God.