16”x20”x.75" Acrylic on canvas
* Framing options available. This is a slender canvas and requires framing.
Before Christ, God gave His people the law so they would have knowledge of sin and become utterly aware of their condition before a holy God. To get a better sense of their powerlessness, He said they needed to make an offering, a pure offering. But offerings meant different things. The two main offerings included a sin offering, or burnt offering, as a gift. The sin offering was intended to humble the people before God. It was atonement for their guilt. The animal would take the place of a person. One would offer a dove, if he were a common person, or a lamb, if from a higher social standing. They would kill the animal and the priest would sprinkle the blood on the altar. Later the animal would be removed from the altar and burned outside the camp. This animal, being that it was the best and purest animal you could offer, was certainly a difficult sacrifice. God brought His people to a place of humility and grief over their sin through such action. With the burnt offering, a person of some means would bring a spotless lamb. But the poorest family would offer a dove. A portion of the meat would be handed to the priest and it would be burnt, giving off a pleasant aroma that ascended to Heaven. The burnt offering was to be a sweet aroma to God as atonement for sins, symbolizing our spirit cleansed from wickedness in the sight of humility. This was all the cost of sin, but in this sacrificial act it was also the acknowledgment of God being King and Lord of all. But this sacrifice was only temporary and needed to be renewed on a regular basis.
I was recently reading a Bible passage that was talking about the birth of Jesus, the one that foretold of His being born of the Virgin Mary. It was a miraculous birth in a place where animals were housed. They wrapped Baby Jesus in strips of fabric to keep him warm and quiet and then they laid him in a feeding trough. The Word says He came in such a humble way and knew no sin neither then nor for the rest of His life. He is the perfect, spotless Lamb of God.
God desires to redeem us from our sin, so he sent His son in such a way as to shame the wicked and haughty. To show us our sinful ways and so that we can understand the great love He has for us. Instead of an animal as a temporary sacrifice, God sent His son, His only Son. On the eighth day after his birth Jesus identified with the sin of us all, so Joseph and Mary give two customary offerings, a sin and a burnt offering. Since they are very poor and couldn’t afford a lamb, and since they were common people, they offered the best they could… two turtle doves. (Luke 2:24) Later, Jesus would be the unblemished lamb being offered as a sacrifice for all.
This painting of two doves marks a reminder for me of a present knowledge of my sin, regardless of any circumstance; the knowledge of God, who is Lord and King of all; and of the day my life was eternally changed, not because anything I did, but by what God had done. In his unfathomable love for both you and me He provided a permanent sacrifice through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus the spotless lamb. He came for the poor, the broken, the helpless, and the humble. He came to set those bound by sin to be free through faith in Him. In Luke 4:17-19 Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
The symbol of the dove has been one of peace and new beginnings, a peace you can experience by repenting of your sin and, by faith alone, receiving Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sin.
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your hearts be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27