The Burnt-Offering
Leviticus 1:3
If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish…

The burnt-offering was one of what might be called the common law offerings of mankind. There were two of these at least — the slain and the burnt-offering. It is not always possible to distinguish these in the early history of sacrifices. The former was one in which slain beasts were laid upon the altar in token of man's fellowship with God; the latter was one where the animals were burned with fire as incense to Jehovah, expressive of man's dependence, obedience, and need of forgiveness. The burnt-offering was the most significant of all these earlier sacrifices, and probably included at times all the others. It is fitting for this reason, as well as for its superior importance, that it occupy the first place in the directions of the sacrificial code for Israel. The law of burnt-offerings was one which now became invested with the new sovereignty of a statute. It was not superseded in its significance or any of its associations, but some of these were emphasised. Branches grew out of the stalk which had its roots in the first sinner's heart and the earliest race history.

I. THE IDEA OF SELF-SURRENDER UNDERLAY THE GIFT OF THE BURNT-OFFERING. Save on great occasions, like that of a dedication of the Tabernacle or Temple, this was a voluntary offering. As men were urged onward into clearly marked modes of worship they were not deprived of their upward look. Before there is expiation or justification there must be a relation of fellowship between man and his Maker. The burnt-offering was the best symbol of this confidential self-surrender because it was the sacrifice of a living thing. The blood was regarded as the vehicle of the life. When the Hebrew came of his own choice thus before the Lord he made an offering of himself.

II. THE IDEA OF EXPIATION UNDERLAY THE OFFERING OF THE BURNT SACRIFICE. The Israelite who came before the altar to make a burnt-offering laid his hand upon the victim in token of his desire to have it accepted as a sacrifice for sin. The great breaches of the moral law were not atoned for by any ceremonial under the Hebrew code. The most flagrant sins which were atoned for or covered by sacrifice were those of carelessness, and had reference to a breach of ceremonial law. Therefore we are justified in emphasising in the burnt-offering the idea of self-surrender. The expiation of the murderer's sin must come from a sacrifice God should make in His own Son. The sinner took refuge with God in the hope of the holier offering and Mediator God should provide.

III. THE ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE OF THE BURNT-OFFERING REQUIRES THE MEDIATORIAL OFFICE. The worshipper has accepted the offices of God's mediator. God has received man's trust, his surrender, his obedience. The spirit of Abraham with raised hand above his only son is that which must fill the heart of every true worshipper under the Mosaic dispensation. He accepts God's offering as a sacrifice, whether made before the foundation of the world, at the Tabernacle altar, or on Calvary. Obedience is the best element man furnishes in the atonement. Obedience to the unseen God is the arrow of which faith is the bow-string.

(W. R. Campbell.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: "'If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall offer it at the door of the Tent of Meeting, that he may be accepted before Yahweh.

The Burnt. Offering; Or, the Father Glorified
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