“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.” — Leviticus 1:1-4
The first of instructions for offerings unto the LORD, YHVH God of Israel, is the burnt offering. The burnt offering is significant in many ways.
We note first, that it is a grace offering as it comes by the providence of God in His provision through the herds or flocks, and not from the works of our hands, neither from the understanding of our hearts, nor of the intellect of our heads.
Second it is a sanctified offering as it is decreed by God through His command. As God is holy, that which He commands is also holy.
Third, it is a consecrated offering as this offering is a burnt offering; the whole animal is offered with one exception: the skin or hide is given to the priests and the crop and feathers of doves are cast to the ashes. Because the whole animal is offered it is an offering wholly consecrated to the LORD.
Next, it is a prophetic offering as this offering is “a male without blemish,” for the Son of God was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), nay, in fact, He “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Although Christ came to earth to save His people from their sin, and though He knew what sin was, He was not intimately affectionate with sin, neither was He even casually acquainted with sin, nor did the remotest or most fleeting thought of sin enter His heart, soul, mind, or strength as to cause our Lord to succumb to temptation. Furthermore, the prophetic burnt offering was Christ’s willing joy as He endured the wrath of God and the curse of sin upon the cross for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2), and laid down His life willingly for His sheep (John 10:15).
Fifthly, it was an offering of spiritual access. As the offering was brought to the door, the access provided by that offering could meet God at one place alone, the door of the tabernacle. Jesus Christ is the only way God (John 14:6a), His truth alone fulfills God’s command in the burnt offering (John 14:6b), and there is no life at all apart from Christ or faith in His name (John 14:6c; Acts 4:12). He is the Door (John 10:19), having come into the fallen world to dwell or tabernacle among men (John 1:14).
Sixth, the burnt offering is an offering of justification. The hand upon the head of the offering presents the shadow of imputation: the imputation of sin and guilt from the worshiper to the offering; and an imputation of righteousness from the innocent sacrifice to the worshiper.
Seventh and finally, the burnt offering is an offering of acceptance and reconciliation, the burnt offering foreshadowing Christ’s atoning work of Redemption as a holy and wholly consecrated sacrifice unto the Father. In Christ alone, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, …[God] hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).
Therefore, as Christ is our Burnt Offering, let us walk in the Spirit of reconciliation and love by faith (2 Corinthians 5:17-21), and bring unto Jehovah an acceptable, consecrated sacrifice in the name of Christ Jesus, being clothed with the skin of His righteousness!
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” —Romans 12:1
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” —Romans 13:14
[This devotional is from a devotional message delivered at the midweek prayer meeting of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, March 30, 2011, coinciding with the one of the scripture portions scheduled from the R.M. M’Cheyne Daily Bread Bible Reading Plan. You can listen to that 23 minute devotional through the MP3 Popup Player by clicking on the message title, “Consecration“]