Chapter 2. The Burnt Offering: Leviticus 1:1-9

Leviticus 1:1‑9  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
 
Let it be noticed that Leviticus 1-3 are one utterance of Jehovah. They are the three offerings of a sweet odor to Him, though differing in other respects. They are the positive side of Christ as a fire offering, a savor of rest to Jehovah. They are not for inadvertent sin against any of His commandments, or for guilt where His name and ritual may enter, or for reparation in His holy things, or in neighborly wrongs. The first were God's appointed ground and means of approach to Him Who had come down to dwell in their midst, but in His sanctuary, the tent of meeting for His people. From chapter 4 to 6:7, are sin and guilt offerings to remove hindrances or restore interrupted communion with Him Who on the day of atonement established the title of His people to draw near Him.
The most important of the sweet savor gifts or presentations was the Burnt Offering. With this the olah or holocaust, Jehovah began.
“And Jehovah called unto Moses and spoke to him out of the tent of meeting, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, When a man of you presenteth an offering to Jehovah, ye shall present your offering of the cattle, of the herd and of the flock. If his offering [be] a burnt offering of the herd, he shall present it a male, perfect; at the entrance of the tent of meeting he shall present it for his acceptance before Jehovah. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to atone for him. And he shall slay the bullock before Jehovah; and Aaron's sons, the priests, shall present the blood and sprinkle the blood round about on the altar that [is at] the entrance of the tent of meeting. And he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it up into its pieces. And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay wood in order on the fire; and Aaron's sons, the priests shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order on the wood that [is] on the fire which [is] on the altar. But its inwards and its legs shall he wash in water; and the priest shall burn all on the altar, a burnt offering, a fire-offering of sweet odor to Jehovah” (Lev. 1:1-91And the Lord called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. 3If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord. 4And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 5And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 6And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. 7And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: 8And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar: 9But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the Lord. (Leviticus 1:1‑9)).
Had there been no sin in man, or death through it, we could scarce conceive of a burnt offering. Yet it is an offering neither for sin nor for guilt, but God glorified where sin was by a victim, the blood of which covered it from God's eyes, as the fire consumed it and brought out nothing but sweet savor. The steer, which the offerer brought near as an offering, presented in type the perfectness of Christ in giving Himself up to death in love and for the glory of God, unreservedly surrendering His life yet in obedience, the plainest contrast with Adam forfeiting his by disobedience. It was for the offerer's acceptance, and it made atonement for him; which could not be without death and the shedding of blood, and the fire-testing of divine judgment which consumed all with no other consequence than a savor of rest to Him.
A sinful man can approach God on this ground only. It foreshadowed Christ, Who through the Spirit eternal offered Himself spotless to God; or as He said beforehand, Therefore doth the Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it again: this commandment I received of My Father. So in Hebrews 10 quoting Psalm 40, He says, Lo! I am come to do Thy will, O God. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. He came thus to replace what the first man wrought in wronging God, by His perfect giving Himself up to death and judgment that God might be glorified in Him, now man, and thus clothe with His own acceptance those who believed in Him. Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. Great as was Adam's sin, infinitely greater is the Second man's obedience unto death; and who can sum up the immense and countless results in blessing for faith now, as forever and for the universe when power will act publicly to God's glory!
It was not the priest's part but the offeror’s to present the victim at the entrance of the tent of meeting, or at the brazen altar (v. 3). It was he too, who laid his hand on the head of the burnt offering (v. 4). This signified identification by grace with the offering. The acceptance of the holocaust was transferred to the offeror. As the Son emptied Himself to become not man only but a bondman, and, when so found, humbled Himself in obedience as far as death on a cross, God answered, not by reconciling and forgiving only but, by setting man in His person and through His work in His glory. Only none share the blessedness but those who believe, certainly not such as despise Himself and God's call by unbelief. After the animal was slain, the proper priestly work began in sprinkling the blood round about on the altar (v. 5); as it was theirs to put fire on and lay wood to feed it (vss. 7-8). The washing in water accomplished for the offering inwardly and outwardly the purity which was intrinsically true only of Christ. And this went up to God under His absolutely searching judgment an odor of rest (v. 9). It has been justly remarked that the word for “burn” here, not in the offerings for sin or trespass, is the same as for burning the incense: a striking if minute proof of their essential difference, though both coalesce in setting forth fully the wondrous death of Christ.