THE BURNT OFFERING
Verses1-4 say, “And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Speak 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. If 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. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.”
The book of Leviticus is the book of worship. It follows correctly the book of Exodus. First there is redemption (Exodus is the book of redemption) then there is worship (Leviticus the book of worship). The sinfulness of man, his helplessness to redeem himself, and his redemption by the blood of the Lamb and the power of God is seen in Exodus. The worship of the redeemed man, his holiness unto the Lord through sacrifice, and his enjoyment of fellowship with God in the tabernacle (Christ pictured) is seen in Leviticus.
The first offering in the book of worship is the burnt offering. The burnt offering is mentioned 17 times from Genesis through Exodus. This is the number of victory according to Biblical Mathematics by Dr. Ed Vallowe. Our victory over sin is through Christ’s sacrifice alone. The burnt offering is mentioned 6 times in Genesis with reference to the sacrifice of Isaac. The number 6 is the number of man and comes short (for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God) of the divine number 7, the number of completeness. Isaac came short of picturing Christ’s sacrifice because he was a sinner and a ram had to be offered in his stead. Have you wondered why the ram was caught by the horns in the thicket (Gen. 22:13)? This is not only a picture of the crown of thorns but it is a picture of a perfect innocent sacrifice. If the bush had caught him by the body, it could have scratched the ram and he would not have been a perfect sacrifice. Amen to God and the Lamb forever. God’s types of His Son are all perfect.
THE BURNT OFFERING A PICTURE OF COMPLETE SURRENDER
IT MUST BE OFFERED VOLUNTARILY
Thus the willingness of the one offering the burnt offering is seen in the burnt sacrifice being offered in his stead. Jesus is our burnt offering. He is offered in our place. Our offering is unacceptable because we are unable to pay God by death for our sins (Rom. 8:3. So we see in Jesus our substitute. Not only do we see Him as our substitute we see His attitude of willingness to surrender all to the Father to the point of death on the cross. The complete surrender of His will to the Father is seen in His prayers in Gethsemane. He also testified of His total dependence upon the Father; John 5:19 says, “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”
His absolute and complete surrender is seen in Isaiah’s prophecy: Isaiah 50:4-6 says, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” This prophecy tells us what went on between Jesus and His Father. First, the Father woke Him up morning by morning. This is what we call a quiet time. Second, the Father gave Him the tongue of the learned. Third, He gave Him wisdom to speak. Fourth, He never resisted the Father in the slightest way, i.e., He was completely surrendered to His Father’s will and NEVER turned back at any instructions received from Him, even to the death of the cross. That my dear people of God is complete surrender.
I cannot surrender completely. Have you ever tried it? You ought to try it with honesty of heart and see how futile it is. You cannot make yourself. Your self won’t mind you. It was a joyous day for me when I realized that Jesus is my complete surrender to the Lord. Jesus offered Himself voluntarily as is pictured in the burnt offering. Next, there is,
THE IDENTIFICATION WITH THE SACRIFICE
This is brought out in verse 4 in the words, “And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering.”
There are two things that I see in this picture:
1. Transfer of sins to the sacrifice. Like Isaac in Genesis 22 cannot go through with the sacrifice because he is not a perfect sacrifice, the Jew who offered the burnt-offering was admitting he was a sinner and the innocent sacrifice had to be offered in his stead. Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus, the suffering Saviour, is the substitute God made for us who could not bear our own sins. Then again in 2 Cor. 5:21 Paul says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
2. Identification with the sacrifice. The burnt-offering was one where the one making the offering had to become one with the sacrifice. He did this in a picture by putting his hands on the head of the sacrifice. We must identify with Christ in a personal way. You have heard the expression “Christ is my personal Saviour.” This is what is meant by this statement. Until you become personal with Christ, He is not your Saviour. He died for you personally. It was not just masses of people for whom Christ died. He died for the masses ONE AT A TIME. God saves no group of people. He saves individuals. My sins put Him on the cross even though I was not alive at the time. I am represented by those who put Him on the cross. As long as one resists the truth of Christ actually dying for one’s personal sins, he is not a candidate for salvation. If your sins didn’t put Jesus on the cross, He didn’t die for you. If you have never identified with Jesus personally, do so now. Put your hands on Him realizing you cannot pay the price, you cannot be totally sold out to God, and He could and did for you. HE IS YOUR COMPLETE SURRENDER BEFORE GOD.
BELIEVE WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS THAT HE IS ACCEPTED FOR YOU
This is brought out in the words in verse 4: “and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.” Who accepts this sacrifice? It is God. And it is God’s Word where He says that the sacrifice is accepted FOR the one making the offering.
When Jesus entered His public ministry and manifested it at the baptism of John, Matthew 3:17 tells us that a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Just before Jesus died, in His prayer recorded in John 17 He prayed in verse 4, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Then the resurrection is the greatest act of approval and is recorded as such in Romans 1:4: “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
Ephesians 1:6 brings this out: “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Where is our acceptance? It is “in the beloved.”
Hebrews 7:25-26 says, “ Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” The word “became” translates “prepo” and means, “to stand out.” It is an imperfect indicative active verb. The imperfect tense is continuous action in the past. He as our High Priest continued to become US until He completed our redemption and now represents us in heaven on the ground of a completely satisfying sacrifice. Next,
THE SACRIFICE HAD TO DIE AND THE BLOOD APPLIED
Once the one offering the sacrifice identified with it by putting his hands on its head, it had to die. That is the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23). Death is never a pretty picture. The sacrifice was to be “flayed” and burnt completely. Then, that was not enough, the blood had to be applied. It is not enough for Jesus to die for all men. Men have to identify with Him (Confess our identification with Him) and own Him as dying in our place. The blood must be applied. How is the blood applied? I’ll just give a couple of Scripture references: Romans 3:25 says, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Romans 5:9 says, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” The blood has to be applied by faith. Then last,
IT WAS A SWEET SAVOR OFFERING
The burnt offering is said in Lev. 1:9 to be “an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.” This means the smell was good, i.e., the sacrifice was well pleasing to the Lord. This means that God had accepted the sacrifice of the burnt-offering offered in the stead of the sinner.
A believer who trusts in Christ for his all is pleasing to the Lord in spite of his personal failures. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:15: “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.” When God sees us, He sees Christ. Jesus is our life and all that pertains to it.
This is not taking anything away from our obedience to Him in a practical way. But practice will always be short of what you want. I have talked to a very few people who have ever been satisfied with their quality of commitment. I always expect more out of myself that I can perform no matter how hard I try. When I discovered that faith allows me to come before God in Christ’s commitment and consecration, it delivered me from the guilt of failure. Now I know that I am well pleasing to the Lord in spite of my failures. What to do? Get discouraged and quit? No. I continue to press on in His strength and when I fail, I come to Him with a new application of the BLOOD and I am immediately restored. I can say by faith that I am “unto God a sweet savour of Christ.”
May the Lord bless the lessons of the burnt-offering to our hearts and assure us that we are accepted in the person of our WHOLE BURNT OFFERING.