INTRODUCTION: The Levitical sacrificial system had five separate and distinct offerings that could be made to the Lord. They mark a progression of closeness with the first offering mentioned being the closest to God and the last one being the first step in approaching God. This seemingly backwards approach is not unusual in the Bible. God usually begins from His perspective, not ours. He describes the furniture of the most holy place first and then proceeds to the holy place and the courtyard. He creates heaven and then earth (Genesis 1:1). Notice the following table with the offerings given in reverse order and their symbology explained.
|Trespass Offering||Christ paid for our sins in His death (Hebrews 10:12)|
|Sin Offering||Christ atoned for our fallen sin nature on the cross and satisfied the wrath of God (Isaiah 53:10-11; Hebrews 9:26)|
|Peace Offering||Christ made peace with God on the behalf of man and opened the way for true fellowship with God|
|Meat Offering||Christ gave Himself as a living sacrifice and shows us the way to be a living sacrifice for God (Romans 12:1)|
|Burnt Offering||Christ gave Himself entirely to God being fully consumed in His surrender and is our example in this|
The offerings of the law almost require a threefold approach. First, we should understand them as a way for the OT saints to make and keep a right relationship with God. Second, we should see the typology of these offerings as they point to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us. Third, we should see their application in our own approach to God.
The burnt offering is the first offering specified by name in the Bible. Noah offered burnt offerings when he left the ark (Genesis 8:20). Abel’s offering was certainly a burnt offering as well although it is not called such (Genesis 4:4). The burnt offering is also the most common of the offerings mentioned in scripture and probably the most commonly offered. The table shows the five offerings in rank as to which of them are mentioned most in scripture.
- THE OFFERING WAS BROUGHT (Leviticus 1:1-2)
- To the Tabernacle of the Congregation (Leviticus 1:1-2)
- Of the Herd and of the Flock (Leviticus 1:2)
- IF THE OFFERING WAS OF THE HERD (Leviticus 1:3-9)
- The Nature of the Offering (Leviticus 1:3)
- A male without blemish (see 1 Peter 2:22)
- Offered of his own voluntary will
- The Acceptance of the Offering (Leviticus 1:4)
- The offerer identified with the offering
- By putting his hand on the head of the offering (see also Leviticus 3:2, 8, 13; Leviticus 4:4, 24, 29, 33)
- The laying on of hands in the Bible usually meant the bestowing of something to another.
- Blessing (Genesis 48:14-15)
- Sin (Leviticus 16:21)
- Honor (Numbers 27:18-20; 1 Timothy 4:14-16)
- In Leviticus 1:4, the putting of the hand on the head of the offering was a bestowing of responsibility or guilt.
- The burnt offering was not dealing with specific sins that had been committed.
- The burnt offering was an indication that the offerer wanted to give himself to God and be acceptable unto Him.
- The laying on of the hand indicated a desire that the offering take the place of the offerer.
- Imputation Substitution
- The offering took the place of the offerer.
- It was accepted in his place accepted for him.
- The offering made atonement for the offerer.
- The offerer received the benefit paid for by the offering.
- The Killing of the Offering (Leviticus 1:5a)
- It was killed by the one making the offering.
- The work of the offerer
- He determined to make the offering of his own voluntary will (Leviticus 1:3).
- He brought the offering to the tabernacle door (Leviticus 1:3).
- He laid his hand on the head of the offering (Leviticus 1:4).
- He killed the offering.
- As far as the law allowed, the offerer was identified with the offering. In bringing the burnt offering, he was in a sense bringing himself to the altar (Psalm 40:6-8; Psalm 51:16-17).
- It was killed before the Lord.
- Practically, this meant that it was killed in front of the tabernacle, a place which represented the presence of the Lord.
- Symbolically, this meant that it was killed for the sake of the Lord in total surrender to Him.
- The Blood of the Offering Was Sprinkled (Leviticus 1:5b).
- A common practice under the law
- To hallow or sanctify (Exodus 29:21; Leviticus 8:30)
- To cleanse the impure (Leviticus 14:51-52; Leviticus 16:19; Hebrews 9:13)
- It was sprinkled by the priests as mediators for the offerer.
- It was sprinkled on the altar to make the offering acceptable to the Lord.
- It is a type that was fulfilled by Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:24; 1 Peter 1:2).
- The Flaying of the Offering (Leviticus 1:6-9a)
- The offering was prepared (Leviticus 1:6).
- It was flayed; that is, the skin or hide was cut off (Micah 3:3).
- The skin, being considered unclean, was not to be part of the burnt offering. It was to be removed before the offering was sacrificed.
- The skin could be kept by the priests who made the offering (Leviticus 7:8).
- It was cut into pieces.
- Each part must be separate from the others.
- Each part must be sacrificed.
- The fire was prepared (Leviticus 1:7).
- The priests put fire on the altar.
- A continual fire burned on the altar (Leviticus 6:12-13).
- But the fire was built up for the particular offerings.
- The priests laid wood on the fire.
- It was laid in order on the altar (Leviticus 1:8).
- The parts; a picture of the various areas of the persons life
- The head; the mind and soul of the man
- The fat; a picture of the pleasures and joys of life; these also must be given to the Lord in a complete sacrifice.
- The inward parts were washed (Leviticus 1:9a).
- Some parts were washed in water before being offered; washing in water is a picture of the cleansing of the word of God.
- The inwards; a picture of the inward man, the heart
- The legs; a picture of the works of man
- The Consummation of the Offering (Leviticus 1:9b)
- The entire offering was burned.
- It was a sweet savor unto the Lord.
- It was especially sweet unto the Lord.
- It was a complete sacrifice made willingly.
- NOTE: The first three offerings (burnt, meat, peace) are both voluntary offerings and a sweet savor unto the Lord. The last two offerings (sin, trespass) are required and are not called sweet savors to the Lord. It is evidently sweet to the Lord when we serve Him because of love and not because we must (see Ephesians 5:2; Philippians 4:18; Hebrews 13:16).
- IF THE OFFERING WAS OF THE FLOCK (Leviticus 1:10-13)
- Namely of the Sheep or Goats (Leviticus 1:10)
- The Work of the Offerer (Leviticus 1:10-11)
- He shall bring a male without blemish (Leviticus 1:10).
- He shall kill it on the north side of the altar (Leviticus 1:11).
- The Work of the Priest (Leviticus 1:11-13)
- He shall sprinkle the blood round about the altar (Leviticus 1:11).
- He shall cut it into pieces (Leviticus 1:12).
- He shall lay them in order on the wood (Leviticus 1:12).
- He shall wash the inwards and the legs with water (Leviticus 1:13).
- He shall burn it all upon the altar (Leviticus 1:13).
- IF THE OFFERING WAS OF THE FOWLS (Leviticus 1:14-17)
- The Offering Shall Be Turtledoves or Young Pigeons (Leviticus 1:14).
- The Work of the Priest (Leviticus 1:15-17)
- He shall bring it unto the altar (Leviticus 1:15).
- He shall wring off its head, and burn it on the altar (Leviticus 1:15).
- He shall wring out the blood at the side of the altar (Leviticus 1:15).
- He shall pluck away his crop with his feathers (Leviticus 1:16).
- He shall cleave it with the wings thereof (Leviticus 1:17).
- He shall burn it upon the altar (Leviticus 1:17).
CONCLUSION: The burnt offering was a complete sacrifice. In the burnt offering, nothing was to be eaten by man. It was all to be consumed on the altar as a gift to God. We need to look at our sacrifice to God in the same way. We need to give ourselves entirely to Him. This is, after all, only our reasonable sacrifice (Romans 12:1).