Updated: May 17, 2018
A five-part series dealing with the five Offerings of Leviticus.
The Burnt Offering
The Meal Offering
The Peace Offering
The Sin Offering
The Trespass Offering
These things were a shadow of that which was to come, we do not practice them, for they were fulfilled in Christ, of whom they all pointed to in types, symbols and shadows. Thus, He said; search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. (John 5:39)
Therefore, as we search the scriptures concerning the topic of the Five Offerings, let us not view them as a legalistic command that must be enacted to earn God’s grace. Nevertheless, through the revelations therein we shall contract a glimpse of the wonderous acts of God throughout the ages.
The first of the five offerings to expound is that of the Burnt Offering.
The background of the Burnt Offering and its applications.
Unlike the Pagan nations during the time of our text, their so-called offerings and sacrifices were that of humans. An act God strongly forbid, as the Creator, He cherishes life.
Onto His chosen people, Israel, He established the sacrificial system through Moses. Perhaps the second most influential person in history, next to Christ.
Moses, born a slave, raised a Pharaoh, cast out of society in his prime, wandered for 40 years. Returned as a deliverer of millions against the most powerful nation, without drawing of a sword, or the shooting of an arrow. Established the greatest government system on earth, without partaking of it. Gaves the world the Decalogue. (Ten Commandments)
One can attribute the success of recent western civilization to these Ten given rules. Wherever it is observed or acknowledge there is liberty. Whereas, wherever it was once accepted, but rejected; the nation's moral fiber is set on a course for moral deterioration and anarchy.
Nevertheless, the study of the text will be the relation between the sacrificial system and Jesus Christ. As well as its relation to us through types and shadows.
The sacrificial system was an outward expression of those who partook thereof, precisely Israel, and those who at times joining with them in becoming one with them as a nation and people. Through this system, men were held accountable for their wrongdoing. This gives them an inward desire to restore the broken relationship cause by sin between them and God, and ultimately the broken relationship between humanity, the world and God, which will be mended together by Jesus Christ.
Wherever there is sin, there is hurt, death and destruction, physical death or spiritual death. The System of our study served as a temporal measure in dealing with sin, until He who have the power over sin was made manifest, the Lord Jesus. Until then, all things in the sacrificial system pointed to Christ, as a reminder to those who came before us, knowing that someday, greater than the millions of sacrifices will be made manifest. Until then, the sacrificial system was a stopgap measure. (a temporary way of dealing with a problem) The Lord would rather obedience than sacrifice, but due to man’s sinful nature, this was unlikely. Yet a Loving God will not watch the destruction of His people through sin.
Therefore, this was the sacrificial system, the exposition of one of five of the offerings.
The name derives from the offering being consumed in fire. Also known as a WHOLE burnt offering, symbolizing Christ, who is our ALL. Its Hebrew name is עולה, which comes from the word meaning to ascend.
May the believer’s past of failures be burned to ashes never to be remembered. Therewith, let us rise in newness of life. As Christ would be lifted on the Cross and ascend on High, at the right hand of the Father. That whosoever believes in Him shall be seated with Him in Heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), but before we can receive the acceptance of the glory of the Father in Heaven, our Sinful Nature must be dealt with in totality.
The requirements of the brunt offering called for a bullock, a sheep or bird, precisely (Pigeon or a dove) One might ask, what about the innocent animals? The innocence of the animals gives more insight to the reason typifying the sacrifice. They were innocent, yet they became a sacrifice. As Christ was Innocent, He became the sacrifice for humanity, for those who will accept.
One cannot serve God in part righteousness, while willfully choosing to partially practice certain sin. Instead, all sin, must come under the wrath of a Holy God. So great is the power of sin that humanity cannot undo its destructive effects. It takes a power greater than the power of sin to destroy sin. This power is the wisdom of God that was manifested in Jesus Christ, who became the Sacrifice in the place of fallen humanity.
At the Cross the Lord Jesus took the penalty for ALL sin, past, present and future (1 Peter 3:18... Romans 6:10...Hebrews 9:28) He died to sin once, but greater is the power of God, though He died to sin once. Yet, He lives forever. Having taken ALL the penalties of sin, like the burnt offering that was completely burned on the altar, likewise, Christ completely gives Himself for us by completely destroying the power of sin.
Through this, we are accepted by God. Hence, the Burnt Offering was an offering of acceptance.
The offerer brought the animal to the altar. The altar typifies the Cross of Christ, it is at the Cross sin where must be dealt with, and there sin was destroyed. (1 Peter 2:24) One cannot overcome sin through willpower, fasting or the likes. The animal was presented by the offerer to the priest. (the priest, a type of Christ) The focus of the priest was the sacrifice, not the one offering the sacrifice. Therefore, let us come to Christ, just as we are.
The offerer laid his hand on the sacrifice wherewith it was slew on the North side of the altar. Heaven is to the North, (Isaiah 14:13; Psalms 48:2) our help comes from above.
The laying of the hand of the offerer on the sacrifice, portrays that we in ourselves cannot overcome sin, it must be transferred by the removing thereof. Through this, the sin of the sinner was passed on to an innocent undefiled animal (Leviticus 1:4). Like Christ, who knew no sin, He took on the sin of many that we might be made the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)
The animals that became the innocent sacrifice, typify Christ, His person and His sufferings for our atonement.
Three types of animals were acceptable, a bullock, a sheep a young pigeon or dove. Although the animals mentioned here are diverse in their representation and class. However, they all had one thing in common. Their perfection, meaning they had to be perfect. It typified Christ, the representation of His perfection. They too had to be without blemish. If a bullock or a sheep, it had to be a male with without blemish, and the most perfect of its kind (Leviticus 1:3).
In their diversities, we however, see God's wisdom of unity in reaching out to all mankind, rich or poor, through Jesus Christ, who is the same unto all men. A turtle-dove unto the poor as well as a lamb unto the rich. For those who couldn’t afford a bullock or a lamb. They had a choice between a young pigeon, or a dove.
The animals in their representation of Christ
Though we are diverse in our status, but we all face the same problem, the problem of sin. Moreover, there is only one solution for sin, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. All the offerings in some ways typified Christ and His work. Like the Burnt offering, the altar on which the animals were sacrificed and burned typified the Cross on which Jesus died.
Whereas the types of the animals typified the person of Christ and His work.
The bullock typified Christ in His power. Yet, He became weak unto death; that we may receive His victorious power over sin.
The sheep typified Christ in submission to the will of the Father that we may be shielded from the wages of sin which is death.
The dove typified the Spirit of God upon Christ. Whereas both birds were the image of the gentle, and the harmless nature of Christ.
The death of the animals on the altar, and the death of Christ on the Cross for the remission of sin.
As the sacrifice represented Christ in His fullness, their deaths on the altar typified the judgment and death we all once faced and the death in which Christ suffered for us that we may live.
Recorded in Leviticus 1:5, the animal was killed before the Lord, typifying all transgressions of sin is exposed before God. Exposed that it may be atoned by the blood of Christ. Or in the refusal of His precious shed blood, judgment shall befall the transgressor. The death of the animal wasn’t hidden, typifying Christ's death was visible to all, as His victory is self-evidence.
Its unblemished skin was flayed from its body and its body being cut into pieces. Or the head of the bird wring off, and the plucking away of its feathers. This typified of Christ giving us His robe of righteousness while taking our bare shame of sins and the penalties thereof.
As He hung on the Cross, stripped and smitten, with His hands stretched, bound and nailed to the cross-beam. The tissues in His body experienced tremendous pain and attempt to adjust naturally from the unprecedented forceful pulling of the muscles, veins and tissues, but to no avail causing the flow of air to His lungs to decrease.
Agony and slow breathing soon turn into dizziness, but without a quench, the body experiences waves of cramps, with each wave being painful than the previous. As the muscles pull back for a relief. The body of our blessed Lord was shredded in pieces from within as the animal was cut in pieces on the altar, so was His body.
The cross-beam, called the patibulum, or the horizontal part of the Cross was then lifted up and connected to the vertical beam that was planted in the earth, known as the stripe.
This caused another shock wave of pain throughout His body. Therewith, His feet were connected to the stripe, the vertical beam, as a long nail was driven through the flesh and bones and into the vertical beam causing Him to be fastened by bruises and pain. With the four wounds to His body. His both hands and feet. The number four is the symbol of universality. Typifying Christ bore the pain and penalty of sin for all, north south east and west. The blacks, the whites and in-between. Out of those four bruises came grace, as His side was pierced, came forth water mixed with blood. And all the many other bruises He bore, He bored for the many who will receive Him as Lord.
Continuation of the typification, the entrails of the animal was not exempted from the burning on the altar nor was its outward body parts exempted. This typified Christ's death atoned for men as a whole, body and soul. One cannot serve God only outwardly while holding back spiritually. Nor should a believer attest to serving the Lord spiritually while struggling outwardly in the members of his or her body.
Such was seen in the burning of the flesh on the altar. The animal as a whole having been cut in pieces was burnt on the altar. Except for its skin, which was removed as previously mentioned. Foreshadowing of what Christ would do on the Cross. Although, He became a sin sacrifice for us. It did not change His perfect image. Hence, the unblemished skin or covering of the animal was removed before it bore the penalty of the transgressor.
The burning on the altar and the sharing of its blood was a foreshadow of the precious Blood of Christ, the extinguisher of man's transgression. The shield against the destructive power of sin and the cure for man’s brokenness and the mending of sinful fallen man's fellowship with God.
One might ask, why blood of all things? The answer can thus be summed up, blood is the substance of life, or the life is in the blood. At the dawn of man, sin corrupted the life of man. So then, how can the corrupt blood of an ill patient treat that patient and restore health to the body? It cannot, it takes an outside source. In the case of fallen men, a powerful source that is immured to the corruption of sin and greater than the destructive power of sin. The Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Do we physically obtain His blood? Certainly not, but this we know, man is a Spirit being housed in a physical body. Our motives, feelings, emotions and thoughts are not the works of our physical body. These things are from within our body, which are unseen, but they give maneuverability and life to the physical body. So, the receiving of Christ’s Blood for purification, is done by faith. For faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
As the animal blood was sprinkled for covering against sin and its body burned on the altar, typifying the destruction of sin. So was Christ on the Cross, as He hung, enduring pain and suffered the sin of the world. The intense tension to His body, the decrease of air flow to His lungs and the stretching and pulling of every fiber of His being without retracting, would cause a great shock and extreme heat to the body. Hence, one of our Lord's saying on the Cross was, I thirst. As recorded in John 19:28. Physically He thirst. Whereas, spiritually doing such burdensome time, yet He thirst to fulfill the will of the Father. The Father 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 gruesomeness of the burnt offering and the Blood of the Cross of Christ, it's not merely to present a bloody sacrifice, but rather, it shows how awful and damnable sin is, and the measure in which it must be dealt with.
The offering pointed to the Cross of Christ. It grieves the heart of the sinner turn saint to see the blessed Lord, who knew no sin, yet He took on the sin of the world. A world that was made by Him, but its people for the most part knew Him not. Yet, He made the first proposal to die for the world. Yet, He lives that those whosoever believes in Him might live in newness of life.
The Cross of Christ is a sad reminder of the destructive power of sin. However, a greater power is the victory won over sin. Such victory is not of sorrow, nor defeat, but of a glorious triumphant from the very throne of Heaven to all the four corners, width and depth of the Earth. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Seeing the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God typifying our burnt offering, should surely bring joy to our hearts. He came down to do the will of God, taking on the form of man, heaven rejoiced and sung songs of praises. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Surely the glory was in His death, in that He died to destroy sin. Yet He ever lives as a testament of His victory He won for us.
For He said, I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father (John 10:17-18).
I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1:18).
Wherefore sons and daughters of God, rejoice in the Lord forever more. Neither forget the price that was paid for our victory.
BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD, WHICH TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD!