Before an animal could be declare fit for sacrifice or for food, he had to be examined. This was required to receive the seal of approval. If, for example, the animal was to be offered for a sacrifice, he was examined and approved by the priest. If he was without blemish and qualified for sacrifice, a seal or branding was placed on him to signify his acceptance.
Jesus offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice. This is why He is called the LAMB OF GOD. John 1:29, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the LAMB OF GOD, Which taketh away the sins of the world." These were the words of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, who introduced Him first as God's sacrifice. There are many passages which point to Jesus as the LAMB OF GOD. Revelation 7:14, "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the LAMB." Revelation 13:8, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the LAMB slain form the foundation of the world." Revelation 19:7, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him; for the marriage of the LAMB is come, and His wife hath made herself ready." Revelation 21:9, 14, 27, "And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the LAMB's wife. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of he LAMB. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the LAMB's book of life."
Since Jesus was the Lamb of God, meaning that He was the complete, perfect sacrifice, He too must be examined and approved by God the Father. When man sinned, he was separated from God. God wanted that fellowship restored, but He could not do so unless His justice was satisfied. God's mercy said that He wanted to forgive man, but God's justice said that man could not be forgiven unless a suitable sacrifice was found. Christ offered Himself as that sacrifice, which means that the sacrifice of Christ as the as the Lamb of God was the only way that God could be merciful and just. It was the only way that God, within His righteousness, holiness and justice could receive man back to Himself. Since God wanted man's fellowship more than more than man wants God's fellowship, then Christ first died FOR GOD. It is often said that Christ died for us, but the main thing was that Christ died FOR GOD in order that God could accept us back, for Christ and Christ alone satisfied the righteous and holy demands of God!
God approved His Son for sacrifice. That approval must be followed by a seal. That seal was the Holy Spirit. John 6:27, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed."
God announced His approval in Matthew 3:17, "And lo a voice from Heaven, saying, This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased." It is interesting that at the same time that God announced His approval, the Holy Spirit was upon Jesus. Matthew 3:16, "And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him." This simply fulfills the type that the sacrifice must be examined, approved and sealed. God accepted Christ as the perfect sacrifice. He declared His approval when He said, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased." At the same time the Holy Spirit was upon Jesus in the form of a dove sealing Him as the only acceptable sacrifice for the sins of man.
It must be remembered that the lamb was approved by the priest for sacrifice AND for food. Ah, what a beautiful picture! Not only is Jesus the sacrifice that God accepts and upon Whom God has placed His approval and His seal, that is the Holy Spirit; but Jesus is acceptable by God as a feast! We feast on Him. Notice John 6:27, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed." Notice especially the stress on "meat that perisheth." This meat that perished had to be approved and sealed by the priest. This meat that does not perish, even our Saviour, was approved by God and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
When the passover lamb was slain, he was approved. He was examined for four days, from the tenth day of the first month to the fourteenth day of the first month, after which he was offered. Then for seven days after he was killed, the families feasted upon the sacrificed lambs. Hence, the lamb was approved for sacrifice and for food. Praise the Lord, our Saviour is the only acceptable sacrifice approved by God and sealed by the Holy Spirit. He also is the only approved One on Which we can feed in order that wed might grow in grace.
We shall see that there is another sacrifice that has been approved by God and sealed by the Holy Spirit. When a person comes to Christ, he is accepted by the Father in Christ. His faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justified the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." God then sees the believer clothed in the righteousness of Christ, declares him blameless, without blemish. This is the doctrine of justification. God declared the believer as righteous as Jesus Christ, for He sees him clothed in Christ's righteousness, and his standing before God is just as if he had never sinned. This does not mean that the believer lives a life above sin; it means that he stands before God blameless because he has had the righteousness of Christ imputed to him in response to his faith in the finished work of Calvary.
This makes the believer fit for sacrifice, for he has been accepted. The believer's sacrifice, however, is not that of offering himself to die as did his Saviour, but rather offering himself to live for his Saviour! This is called a LIVING SACRIFICE. Romans 12:1, "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." No one is fit to become this sacrifice until he has first become inspected and examined. This examination is done after the believer has put on Christ and is wearing His imputed righteousness. He immediately receives the seal, which is the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13, "In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." II Corinthians 1:21, "Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God." Now that the believer has been examined and declared righteous, he is fit for sacrifice, and God will accept his living sacrifice as holy and acceptable by God. The Holy Spirit is this seal, and as such, is called the earnest of our salvation. Ephesians 1:14, "Which is the earnest of our inheritance unto the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." This word "earnest" means that the Holy Spirit seals us and becomes the downpayment for our salvation. When a downpayment is made, it is forfeited if the payment is not made in full, so when God allowed the Holy Spirit to seal us and become the earnest (downpayment) for our salvation, He was risking the unity of the Godhead on the security that the believer has in Christ. If one justified person could lose his salvation, then the Godhead would lose His unity.
This seal of the Holy Spirit is for eternity. It remaineth even in the end time. Revelation 9:4, "And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads." The only ones that will be preserved will be those who have the seal.
In some amusement parks when a person pays for his ticket, he receives a mark on his hand that is not visible unless it is placed under the right light. He wears this mark. When he presents himself for a ride or other entertainment, this mark, invisible unless it is under the light, is presented, which means the price has been paid for his admission. Thanks be to God, even when Jesus comes again, we will be sealed by Him. Though that seal is unseen by man, the seal (the Holy Spirit) is seen in the light of eternity, and we are declared as His! The seal of eternal divine ownership shall be worn by the believer for eternity! Hallelujah!
(Chapter 29 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit)