The Burnt Offering
The Burnt Offering
The most well known class of offerings is the burnt offering. It was the oldest and commonest sacrifice of the Old Testament which was offered. The Hebrew word for burnt offering is olah, which means ascension as in smoke. An olah is completely burnt on the outer altar; no part of it is eaten by anyone because the offering is given wholly to God. The burnt offering was offered daily throughout the year, morning and evening. It represented an individual’s full submission to God every day; “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 (Rom 12:1).
The burnt offering was to be a male cattle, sheep, goat or bird without blemish depending on the economic class of the individual. If the social standing of the individual was such that he was required to offer a bullock, a lamb would not be acceptable to God. If, however, the individual was from a less prosperous economic class an offering was made proportional to an individual’s income. As an example turtle doves and pigeons were acceptable as burnt offerings for those without cattle or sheep. This offering was made by Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the time of her purification, that indicates that Jesus was born of parents who were poor and of low social standing. Our responsibilities are measured according to our privileges, not more than we have, not less than we have, always the best of what we have, without defect; “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be required” (Luke 12:48). God has always made a way for all classes of people to come to Him.
Note: Man today more often gives God the leftovers of our gain, or, for that matter our time. Many young people today “hold off” becoming Christians so they can experience the fullness of the world. However, the Bible says the glory of a young man is their strength. God always has, presently is, and always will use young people for His glory. God asks for the first fruits of our increase not the leavings.
Also, the burnt offering was a free will offering. It was offered by the individual by his own volition. This reveals to us that our submission to God’s plan of salvation is not forced upon an individual, but is of his own free will. As like Christ sacrifice on Calvary; “No man taketh it from me (life), but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” Depicted in the Garden of Gethsemane we find Christ sacrifice was a submission of his own will in the flesh, to the will of God.
In verses 7-9 of Leviticus chapter 1 the priests prepared the altar and placed on it the head and the fat of the offering. The offerer washes the inner parts and the legs with water before the pieces were placed on the altar by the priests so that it was all burnt. The inspection and washing meant there was no outward or inward blemish.
Christ was scrutinized both outwardly and inwardly by man and no fault was found in Him. This not only applies to Christ, but the individual believer. The Pharisees were adorned and look blameless on the outside; however, inwardly they were full of extortion and excess. Jesus did not condemn the scribes and magistrates for cleaning the outside of the cup, but only admonished them to clean the inside of the cup as well. For it is the inward parts of the man that are judged by God, for out of the mouth comes the abundance of the heart. Once the inside of a man is clean it will eventually reflect on his outward appearance (Matthew 23:25-27). We must cleanse ourselves daily from both inward and outward sin to present ourselves before God.
Note: The different parts described in these verses represent and indicate the fullness or completeness of the sacrifice:
The Head – thought life
The Inwards - represents the will
The Legs - indicate walk which represent lifestyle
The Fat - represents health