THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE ANCIENT JEW AS PRESENTED
IN THE BOOK OF LEVITICUS
The Offerings And The Feasts
Part 2 – The Burnt Offering
The Burnt Offering represents faith in Christ and this will be the predominant theme in our study today .
1: The Price Of The Burnt Offering
- Relative to the financial situation of the offerer. The well off could sacrifice a bullock or a sheep whereas the poor could bring a dove. Christ in the gospel is accessible to all.
- Bringing the offering involved a cost. The bullock and the sheep or goat had to be male which indicated strength. The beasts had also to be without blemish, which signified that they were choice animals. The pigeon (v14) was a young bird which was the fittest and the strongest. In ancient times the eating of meat was often reserved for particular occasions. It is unlikely that flesh was not consumed on a daily basis as we do today. Therefore to kill the fatted calf, for example, in the parable of the prodigal son was a major event. These people were asked to offer beasts that were most valuable and precious. Christ was the best and the purest yet He was offered for our sins.
- The beasts
- Bullock or ox was an emblem of service.
- Sheep was the emblem of silent submission.
- The dove was the emblem of innocence. The dove’s crop was taken out. This was a section of the stomach relating to appetite. The Lord had no fleshly appetites, unlike other men.
- The Place
- Only the lamb was to be slain at the north side of the altar indicating that it was of no relevance where the other creatures were offered. The Lord died for all the peoples of the earth; north, south, east and west.
2: The Participation In The Burnt Offering
- Personal Engagement
- Free will offering (v3)
- Placing of the hand upon the head of the beast (v4)
- Slaying of the beast (v5)
- Cutting the beast into pieces (v6)
- The offerer watched as the dove’s head was wrung before its wings were dislocated (v16,17), a fitting type of Christ (Ps 22:14)
By this time the offerer was soaked in blood and the putrid smell of death was lingering from his clothes. It was his sacrifice, he was personally occupied in it. As we worship our
Lord we need to daily lean by faith upon the merits of our Saviour’s blood. We should ever realise that our sins nailed our Lord to the tree. We ought to seek to understand the extreme violence that Christ subjected to as they tore his flesh and abused his body. As we worship God we need to be engaged in what it cost our Lord to bare away our sin.
- Priestly Assistance
The offerer could not simply turn up by himself and sacrifice his beast. He needed the priest to accept his sacrifice, to gather the blood for sprinkling upon the altar and to burn the carcase. It is not our faith or gratitude that saves us. It is what our faith rests on which provides redemption. We have a high priest whose offering is accepted, whose blood is presented and who was consumed by the fierce wrath of God on Golgotha.
3: The Purpose Of The Burnt Offering
- V4 “It shall be accepted for him”
Through the Pentateuch man was the ever on the verge of facing the angry wrath of God. Throughout the wilderness journey Israel on many occasions suffered terribly because of their sin. In the tabernacle, however, God devised a way by which his holiness could live with man’s sin and it involved sacrifice. These people knew what would happen if they were not accepted, therefore they came.
- V4 “to make atonement for him”
The word atone means to cover. It can also mean to make redemption or pay a ransom. Through the burnt offering man was accepted because his sins were covered and the ransom was paid.
- V9 “a sweet savour unto the Lord”
God was pleased with this sacrifice; therefore, it was a sweet smell in his nostrils. Without the sacrifice he smell the foul stench of our sin but with the offering of blood he is well pleased. Compare Gen 6:5 with 8:20,21.
4: The Periods For The Burnt Offering
- This offering was presented twice daily as part of the morning and evening sacrifice (Numbers 28:1-6). We ought to come to the Lord at least twice a day to offer ourselves and praise him for his goodness.
- The burnt offering was employed during times of consecration and rededication to the Lord (Genesis 22:2). It is only as we come to Christ by faith that we obtain the resolve to follow him wherever he would lead us.
- This sacrifice was employed after sin was committed (Psalm 51:19). What is significant about the Psalm 51 is that David only offered his burnt offering after he confessed his sin and displayed a broken heart before God (v17). While Calvary covers all our sin there must be confession and repentance that we might enjoy the blessings of the atonement (1 John 1:9).