The Burnt Offering

Leviticus 1  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
(Read Lev. 1)
This is the Offering, which presents the death of Christ in its highest aspect. The Hebrew word, Olah, translated Burnt Offering, means " that which goes up," that which ascends. It was a voluntary Offering, presenting Christ typically as the One, who voluntarily offered Himself to God, even as an atoning sacrifice for sin. It should be carefully noted that ATONEMENT is connected with it. It was burnt upon the Brazen Altar, and gives the Altar the name of " The Altar of Burnt Offering " (Ex. 30. 28; 40. 10). We read, " In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me), to do Thy will, O God " (Heb. 10:6, 76In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (Hebrews 10:6‑7)). That will took Him to the cross, for the settlement of sin, securing God's glory in fullest measure.
The Laying on of Hands
The laying on of hands denoted identification of the offerer with the offering. He was met by the words, " It shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him." The laying on of hands in this case was very significant. It meant all the merit of the Sacrifice was transferred in type to the offerer, so that he stood in all the acceptance of the offering at the hands of God. The offerer was thus brought into Divine favor.
Christ's death in this aspect was alluded to by the Apostle Paul in writing, " To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted IN THE BELOVED" (Eph. 1:66To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)). The Beloved is Christ, but we do well to meditate on the reason why the word, " Beloved," is chosen. It is the only time our Lord is so designated. If the Scripture had said that we were accepted in Christ, that would have been true but hardly sufficient, for the Spirit of God would emphasize the warmth and wonderful nature of the acceptance in which our blessed Lord stands before God as our Representative. So the Spirit of God uses the endearing word, " BELOVED." We can sing with joy,
" So dear, so very dear to God, We cannot dearer be;
For in the person of the Son, We are as dear as He."
In this aspect of Christ's death we learn how wonderfully acceptable and fragrant was the atoning death of our Lord to the One who sent Him. All that was burned on the Burnt Offering Altar went up as " a sweet savor to God."
Different Values in the Animals Sacrificed
Of the herd, a bullock without blemish.
Of the flock, a sheep or goat without blemish.
Of fowls, turtle doves or young pigeons.
The bullock is more valuable than a sheep or goat; the sheep or goat more valuable than the turtle doves or young pigeons. This presents to us the varying degrees of appreciation the believer has of the death of Christ. But thank God, the sacrifice of pigeons was accepted equally with that of a bullock. We are accepted, not according to the measure of our apprehension of the death of Christ, but of God's full and perfect appreciation of the death of Christ. None of us can rise to this height, but God accepts us on the ground of what He thinks of the death of His Son. This is a source of great comfort to us, and would give us confidence to praise God for His unspeakable gift.
The bullock without blemish was the highest form of sacrifice. On the part of the offerer it typifies a very high appreciation of the death of Christ. The offerer was to slay the bullock. The priest then sprinkled the blood about the Altar. Nothing short of blood-shedding can make atonement for sin. The Burnt Offering was then flayed, and cut into his pieces, typifying God's appreciation in detail of all that led Christ to offer up His life on the cross. Fire was placed upon the Altar, and wood laid in order thereon.
Then the priests were to lay the parts-the head and fat—upon the Altar, the inward parts were to be washed in water, and all was consumed upon the Altar. The inwards and legs washed in water typify Christ in the inward springs of His being (the inwards), and in all the detail and energy of His walk (the legs). It has been well said by another, " As to the washing with water, it made the sacrifice typically what Christ was essentially, pure." All was to be burnt on the Altar.
The key to the understanding of this beautiful type of the death of Christ lies in two main ideas. First, the word for burning typifies the ascending in fragrance up to God of the wonderful devotion of our Lord in giving Himself to death in carrying out the will of God. It is a word that is used for the burning of incense, fragrance ascending. Second, it carried with it the thought of the acceptance of the offerer.
If there never had been a sinner saved through the atoning death of our Lord, yet His death would have glorified God as nothing else could have done. Christ's devotedness to the will of God in this was delightful to the heart of God.
The offering of a sheep or goat " without blemish " suggests a less vivid appreciation of the death of Christ, but yet most precious and acceptable to God, precious as He knows so fully the value of that perfect offering of our Lord upon the cross. But being a Burnt Offering, the animal sacrificed had to be a male, typical of the dignity and blessedness of this presentation of the work of Christ.
But an offerer might be poor. The bullock, or even the sheep or goat, might be quite beyond his means. Provision was made for such. He was allowed to bring turtle doves or young pigeons. Grace would meet and appreciate the feeblest apprehension of the death of Christ, which would not abate one iota of the acceptance wherewith the offerer was accepted, for that depended, not on the offerer's apprehension, but on the value GOD sets on that wondrous sacrifice.
The crop and feathers of the birds were cast away, typifying that the worshipper may mix up unworthy and unacceptable thoughts of Christ's death with what is worthy and acceptable. In the case of the bullock, or the sheep or goat, all was burned upon the Altar, but in this case the crop and feathers were cast by the east side of the Altar by the place of the ashes, showing that unworthy thoughts of Christ must perish.
The birds were cleft in two, but short of being wholly severed asunder, again typifying poverty of apprehension, as if the worshipper could travel thus far on the right road, but had not the strength of apprehension to go the whole way.
And yet how touching is the grace of God in meeting such a case. How cheering to such to be greeted by the same words as were given to the offerer of the bullock or sheep or goat, " It is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto the LORD."
The head was to be burned upon the Altar, while the blood was wrung out at the side of the Altar. Nothing short of blood would meet the case. Poorly as we have presented this wonderful sacrifice, it may encourage us to desire enlargement of soul in the apprehension of this wondrous aspect of the death of Christ.